Links 5/2/19

Buzz Aldrin: It’s time to focus on the great migration of humankind to Mars WaPo. This is the WaPo, not The Onion.

Can cheap fashion ever be ethical? Quartz

T-shirt recycling is here, and it could transform fashion Fast Company

‘Superbugs’ Could Kill 10 Million Annually Without Urgent Action, Warns New Report Common Dreams

A hundred years ago, May Day was a very big deal TreeHugger.

Do additives help the soil? Phys.org (RM)

Are You Ready for Drive-Thru Botox NYT

Missing cat returns home 475 days after it went missing in the Montecito Mudslide KEYT, For all you catlovers.

‘Spectacular’ jawbone discovery sheds light on ancient Denisovans Guardian (The Rev Kev)

UFO information not expected to go to general public, Navy says San Fran Chronicle

Waste Watch

Scrap Collector: Investigation reveals pervasive plastic scrap smuggling into Malaysia Waste Dive

Maine is first state to ban single-use plastic-foam containers Fox News (The Rev Kev)

WHAT IF AIR CONDITIONERS COULD HELP SAVE THE PLANET INSTEAD OF DESTROYING IT? Wired. I’m inherently wary of technofixes….

Because ‘The House Is on Fire,’ Naomi Klein Takes Centrism-Obsessed Media to Task for Failed Climate Coverage Common Dreams

UK Parliament declares climate change emergency BBC (david l)

Class Warfare

Survival of the Richest Medium chuck l: From last July but forever germane.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO WORK AT WALMART? Who What Why

The hidden global workforce that is still fighting for an eight-hour workday WaPo

In US and UK, the Working and Middle Classes Are Under Attack TruthOut

Many college grads feel their grip on middle class loosening The Eagle

Another Bad Idea Brought to You by the Koch Brothers Common Dreams

Kentucky Provides a Lesson in How Not to Run a Pension Fund California State University Emeritus & Retired Faculty & Staff Association

Varsity Blues

In College Admissions Scandal, Family Paid $6.5 Million to Get Their Daughter Into Stanford WSJ

L.A.’s Elite on Edge as Prosecutors Pursue More Parents in Admissions Scandal NYT

May was right to sack Gavin Williamson. No one will be sorry to see him go The Guardian (The Rev Kev)

Bloomberg alleges Huawei routers and network gear are backdoored Ars Technica

737 Max

Nikki Haley joins Boeing board The Hill (Tim)

2020

Buttigieg meets with Hillary Clinton The Hill

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Amazon’s facial-recognition technology is supercharging local police SanFran Chronicle

Julian Assange

VIPS: Extradition of Julian Assange Threatens Us All Consortium News (martha r)

Julian Assange sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching bail Independent

Syraqistan

Russia winning the push for peace in Kabul Asia Times

US military stops releasing Afghanistan war information AP

Venezuela

Venezuela – Guaidó Got Snookered – White House Starts Beating War Drums Moon of Alabama

On Venezuela, America Should Check Its Regime Change Impulses at the Door American Conservative

A Hundred Years of Solidarity Jacobin

Japan

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito pledges to be ‘symbol of unity’ after ascending Chrysanthemum Throne to begin new Reiwa era SCMP

China

As US-China deal nears, Beijing relaxes rules for foreign banks and insurers, in concession to Washington SCMP

Washington Is Dismissing China’s Belt and Road. That’s a Huge Strategic Mistake. Politico

India

The US Must Not Be Allowed to Strong-Arm India-Iran Ties The Wire

Jal Sahelis: Women in parched Bundhelkhand villages are leading the charge for water conservation Scroll

India: decades of hostility against NGOs have worsened under Narendra Modi The Conversation

Trump Transition

Homeland Security to Start DNA Testing Asylum Seekers as It Tries to Back Up ‘Fake Families’ Scare Tactic Gizmodo

The New ‘Infrastructure Deal’ Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things New York magazine re Silc: “all the shit wont hit the fan until the next recession. then we’re going demo socialist.”

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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258 comments

  1. Steve H.

    > Do additives help the soil? Phys.org (RM)

    “Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi live in and around plant roots, helping the plants take up nutrients. Hart explains that many farmers will use commercially produced AM fungi to improve soil quality and increase yields. However, after the study, she says there is still little evidence that the inoculants work.”

    *sigh* Dropping it into depleted soil is asking a lot of it. I have wood in my ground, it turned red clay black, I can see the mycorrhizal fungi throughout, and the area around the raised beds swells up a half a foot when it rains. And it triggers my salivary glands just thinking about it !?!

    Reply
    1. Quanka

      “Releasing invasive species into the soil without knowing what the impact will be” — yeah, that sounds about right.

      As I’ve learned more and more about the soil, this is a common theme. We literally have no idea what we don’t know.

      The soil is the most heavily populated ecosystem in the world. Under your feet are literally millions (billions?) of organisms. The Mansanto method of farming has basically been to nuke the shit out of the soil until only one thing grows (the thing we genetically modified to grow even in the presence of toxins). Whether its a forest or the plains – there SHOULD be a complicated web of organisms living in the soil and supporting one another. I am no expert but these organisms can interact, share nutrients and even fight predators together (when one tree of a forest is being attacked the entire grove of trees can start releasing hormones).

      But, b/c technology. and markets. Quite honestly its all BS. B/c as the article shows, these market based products cost a lot and don’t do anything. It would be better to leave the soil to manage itself. There is a huge “value” that the soil “creates” simply by being itself. I hate using those terms but this is how we must speak in our market oriented system.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        It’s crazily degenerate…everything must bring someONE (emphasis on ONE) wealth. It’s a way of thinking and living that could only be accepted by masses of traumatized people.

        Reply
      2. rd

        I think a lot of research needs to be done before the term “invasive” can even be understood for fungi. They have been around a very, very long time and so many of the species can be found world-wide in conjunction with specific genuses of plants. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/47170-Fungi

        In farms, the soils will have been very disrupted for a long time, so the entire bacterial and fungal systems will be highly disrupted. So introduction of a different fungus could result in an “invasive” takeover. But a takeover of what? The original natural system? Probably not.

        So I think the research should take a hard look at whether or not introduced fungi are invading existing “undisturbed” forests, grasslands etc. (of which there are very few) to see if they are a) taking over; and b) causing significant mortality of plants.

        Keep in mind that earthworms (often viewed as good by gardeners) were wiped out in the glaciated areas of North America. Their re-introduction, especially non-native one from Europe and Asia, have been changing forests in the glaciated regions over the past couple of centuries by changing how dead vegetation and soil get processed. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasive_earthworms_of_North_America

        So it is all very complex.

        Reply
    2. Phacops

      The fungal analog of kudzu. What can go wrong?

      It sounds like a sciency buzzword has been commercialized without an actual and refined knowledge of the soil micribiome.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        The Japanese EAT kudzu – use the storage roots for starch, feed the tops to animals. I suspect they find our problems with the plant amusing.

        OTOH, it doesn’t grow here – at least not yet – so it’s easy for me to say.

        Incidentally, wisteria does grow here, and I’ve seen it pulling down good-sized cedar trees. I don’t think it’s edible.

        Reply
    3. PlutoniumKun

      It reminds me a little of the pro-biotic scam. Apart from certain specific types, here is very little evidence that they can thrive in an unhealthy stomach. You keep your stomach biota thriving by feeding it with good food and fibre (probiotics) and avoiding bad stuff. Its the same with soil. Micro-organisms are well able to look after themselves once you provide them with a good home.

      Reply
    4. Amfortas the hippie

      aye. it will do nothing for barren, dead “soil”.
      and it requires living roots.
      as for the worries about foreign organisms/one size fits all…1. these critters are literally everywhere there’s roots, and the more reputable organic suppliers offerings for innocculants are hardly frankenbugs.
      2. I’m working right now on the Rodale DIY method…essentially, taking a wild plant from that strip of woods over there(local mycorhizae), cutting up the roots and mixing it with (local) sand and some compost, and then planting millet(b/c it happens to be the C4 warm weather annual grass seed I have to hand–I use it for cover crop/chicken/goose fodder during our very hot summers).
      as of yet, this method of soil regeneration hasn’t been co-opted by the monsatans of the world, and is still a pretty fringe activity.
      I’m sure at some point, the evildoers will invade this, as well…like they did “Organic”, before.

      Reply
      1. Janie

        Thanks for the Rodale DIY tip. Sounds like a smart yet simple idea! Thinking of you and yours…

        Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        How can it be all-the-way co-opted? Corporate Johnny-come-latelies can do it, but they can’t stop you from doing it.

        Reply
        1. amfortas the hippie

          not all the way, perhaps.
          but the big boys do seem to have a talent for screwing things up.
          like the manure problem i keep harping in.
          people purchase and use such immortal herbicides at least partially out of ignorance. the label contains no mention of manure. i managed to get the local feedstore to stop carrying them for a time, but tractor supply…and other feedstore’s still do… so there’s pressure to carry them…and new brands of the same stuff.
          when monsatan figures out how to frankenstein mycorrhizae it will be the same, and the county extension guy will wholeheartedly recommend it.
          it is a constant struggle

          Reply
    5. rd

      They work best when there is long-term carbon in the soil and it is not a mono-culture, so the fungi connect multiple types of plants. It also takes some time for them to develop the interconnections, so tilling everything up once or twice per year is not optimum. The harvesting and tilling also strips nutrients and carbon out of the soil. Tilling some charcoal into the soil along with the fungi would probably help some of these farmers. That is the “terra preta” concept that is a millenia or more old. They basically mixed charcoal, urine, and other nutrients into depleted soil and let it populate with fungi and bacteria and then planted in it. The charcoal provided long-life carbon that did not volatilize quickly with bacterial action, so the ground would stay fertile longer.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        I’m playing with tierra prieta, too. there’s usually charcoal left over when i cook on the pit, and that gets picked out, crushed and added to the compost.
        it’s all mesquite and oak charcoal, and generally from our place(fwiw).
        and like you say…no monocropping. i do french intensive(when i’m up and running), with lots of perennial herbs and things. I don’t like bare ground,lol.intermixing various crops confuses the bad bugs, too.
        the control bed, where none of this happens, is used for trap crops(purple mustard, right now), but as this phase of gardenbuilding from scratch gets going, i’ll hafta do regular bean tests in that bed, too.
        the native soil is a very sandy loam…and in the fields, is depleted from cotton farming decades ago…and overgrazing by my mom and stepdad(entertainment cows. sigh).
        hardly any veggies like it, save for melons and pumpkins.
        hence, the raised beds and (finally) radical composting.
        biggest problem…aside from labor…is obtaining manure that ain’t contaminated with persistent herbicides.
        only test for that is the bean test…where one plants a bean in it, and observes how it grows. if the dow/dupont superpoison is there, the bean plants will look like they’ve been sprayed with 2-4-D.
        takes time, and explanation to whomever is there waiting with a loader to fill the trailer,lol.
        and, Janie: https://rodaleinstitute.org/science/articles/quick-and-easy-guide-on-farm-production-of-arbuscular-mycorrhizal-fungus-inoculum/

        Reply
    6. Ignacio

      This is readily done but you have to use fungi that are present in your soil, compatible with your plant and your soil and ensure that you have good inoculation technique. Mycorrhyzal fungy not only help nutrient take up but protect against root pathogens. Correctly done it helps to reduce fertilization needs. In some cases it also serves biorremediation and increase plant tolerance against contaminants

      Reply
      1. Ignacio

        In fact micorrhization is essential in reforestation programs. In has proven functional in olive trees, fruit trees, grapevines. In annual crops migth be different the shorter growth season the less efficient i guess.

        Reply
  2. Clive

    Re: “WHAT IF AIR CONDITIONERS COULD HELP SAVE THE PLANET INSTEAD OF DESTROYING IT?”

    Firstly, don’t you just hate it when articles SHOUT AT YOU in block capital letters? It’s usually a warning and indeed it is a valid one here.

    Yes, your skepticism is fully justified Jerri-Lynn. For one thing, anyone who was paying attention in 5th grade science class would spot that enthalpy loss is a thing. As is entropy. As is the first law of thermodynamics. In any electrical or mechanical system, such as an air conditioner, you get friction losses, motor inefficiency, losses in the evaporation/condensing cycle of the refrigerant and so on. So even if you can reclaim all the “waste” heat energy, you’re going to, unavoidably, be a net energy consumer.

    And then there’s the carbon capture proposal, which is equally nuts. The best way of avoiding energy losses is to reuse the waste heat in an efficient as possible way using the simplest and cheapest components and system. This is already available today and doesn’t need any more Progress Thru Science (TM) imaginary solutions. Using waste heat ejected from the cooling cycle for domestic hot water (DHW) generation is easily implemented and requires comparatively simple equipment. Many manufacturers already make bolt-on hot water modules which can be attached to the condenser section of air conditioner outdoor units. When there is DHW demand, a valve opens and transfers the hot refrigerant gas to a condenser in a water loop. DHW leaving water temperatures of 50 degrees centigrade are possible, a booster heater can raise this further if needed. If there isn’t continuous DHW demand, a tank can be installed to store the hot water until needed.

    COPs (coefficients of performance) of 7 or even 8 are possible (you get 7kW of heating for DHW for every 1kW of electrical power input, about the maximum theoretically achievable). This way, way exceeds what is potentially available for fuel production, as suggested in the article.

    CalPERS PE fund has probably already invested in the sort-of-a-scam.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I’ve heard for a few years about something called a “minisplit”…which sounds like a window unit version of a super efficient heat pump…but I haven’t had the time/money/opportunity to investigate further.
      the one person I sort of know who has one swears by it(elec bill in july from $300 to $20).
      I built our house to have natural flow, much like the ancient Persian cooling towers…and, indeed, I’m considering another experiment along those lines with a 4 foot diameter, 30 foot long corrugated steel pipe I’ve had my eye on at the dump for more than a year.–heat up the air at the top, using black paint and sunlight, and it draws air from below. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_chimney
      as the house is now, it works pretty well…we don’t run the AC until at least june…and we’ve gone without ac in july and august(105 degrees) to test it and remained relatively comfortable(so long as the cowboy pool is clean and filled,lol).
      it can be done.

      Reply
      1. JB

        Ductless mini-splits are energy efficient compared to other space cooling technologies, assuming you are in need of space cooling (you may not be, given your solar chimney). If you go that route, make sure to size it appropriately.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yeah.I’d need expert advice for such a pricey addition… lack of expertise in such esoterica out here has been a big issue.
          i drove 2 hours one way, 16 years ago, to get and then install the first tankless water heater out here.
          local plumbers, etc were incredulous…and then eventually amazed. now, it’s normal(you’re welcome,lol)
          same with a solar well pump:”why you want that?..jess hook it up to the power line…”
          same with about a hundred other little tweaks and innovations i’ve ended up having to cracker rig myself.
          hell…i was the first to raise sand about the county spraying diesel on the brush on the side of county roads as a weedkiller,lol.
          it’s what great grandaddy did, after all.
          while this backwards small c conservatism is the source of much of the charm of these folks, it’s quite irksome, sometimes.

          Reply
    2. ewmayer

      The TANSTAAFL part is actually the 2nd law of thermodynamics, not the 1st. (!st law is that of energy conservation: energy can be transformed among various modes, but never net lost or gained for a closed system.)

      Plant a tree, save an A/C unit! In that vein, a pet peeve of mine: housing developers need to start being disincentived from bulldozing every single shade tree in areas where they build. It’s uterly inane: Instead of figuring our which trees will need to go based on the development plan and leaving as many of the rest standing as feasible, they just nuke the site, build, and then spend $$ planting new trees which will need 20 years to create a decent amount of shade.

      Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Has anyone figured out how to do the same thing you reference for air-conditioner condenser-heat capture and putting into heatable water . . . . and making equipment which can capture waste heat from the condensers of refrigerators? For putting into heatable water also?

      Reply
  3. David

    Yesterday was May Day and there were violent scenes in many French cities, especially Paris. The situation was extremely confused, and that is reflected in the rather disconnected media coverage yesterday and this morning. Things will be a bit clearer if you keep the following in mind when reading media coverage.
    May Day processions (they are not really demonstrations) have been held for generations, and there are informal rules about them. They are organised by the major trades unions and various left-wing parties, and the routes are agreed with the authorities well ahead of time. The marchers are organised and marshalled, and the trades unions have what are called “services for order,” who not only keep the marchers on the right routes, but are trained to intervene if necessary to ensure security. (They tend to be muscular rugby-playing types). These services work on in cooperation with the police, who themselves usually stay in the background. Over the years there has been very little trouble, and the atmosphere has usually been festive. Two things have changed recently.
    As the trades unions have lost members, their ability to provide security for the processions has reduced, at the same time as groups wanting to exploit the processions have become more numerous and more violent. These groups have many different names, but are generally referred to as the “black blocs” because they usually dress in black, and operate in small groups at the heart of demonstrations. (Strictly, “black bloc” is a principle of organisation, not a movement.) In 2018, they infiltrated the May Day march and caused havoc in a number of areas of Paris. They now turn up with weapons, and with gas masks, crash helmets and protective clothing. This makes them very hard to disperse with riot control equipment, and means that the kind of equipment that would actually force them to disperse would be too dangerous to use, because of the potential effects on unprotected members of the public. So they operate with relative impunity: yesterday, TV pictures showed masked and protected BB smashing tarmac to make projectiles to throw at the police, who were mostly required just to stand around and launch tear gas, largely ineffectively. A Facebook page earlier this week calling on people to make Paris “the Riot Capital” had 1500 promises of support before it was taken down. The authorities expected between 1 and 2000 BB yesterday.
    Secondly, the march organisers decided to invite the gilets jaunes to participate: having at first dismissed them as fascist thugs, the Left now apparently hopes to gain some political advantage this way. It’s clear that this was a mistake: the GJ are not used to organised demonstrations, have no marshals and, critically, can be infiltrated easily. It was clear that the BB had infiltrated everywhere among the GJ, and there is now a self-proclaimed tendency within the GJ that copies the tactics of the BB and is starting to act like them. (Unless it’s the other way round of course: it’s hard to be certain). The result was that the trades unions quickly lost control yesterday, and the situation became hopelessly confused.
    The first reports suggest that, nonetheless, the consequences were not that bad. Many shops and restaurants were closed and boarded up anyway, and damage seems to have been relatively limited. Moreover, the police were using different tactics since the replacement of the Prefect a few weeks ago. In the past, they have essentially been static and not intervened unless ordered to do so by the incident commander. This meant that they were loudly criticised for allowing shops and restaurants to be vandalised in front of them. The new orders gave much more discretion to leaders on the ground to intervene specifically against the BBs, and to go into the crowds and separate out them if they had evidence of recent involvement in violence. This happened at the very beginning around Vavin. Reports suggest that marchers found this tactic worrying, and even frightening, but it was effective. Not least, the number of those hurt was sharply down: 24 protesters and 14 police, one badly. The wreckage is still being tidied away and the controversies have now started, but it’s clear that the result could have been much worse.
    More will no doubt become clear over the next few days.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks for this David, very interesting and lucid.

      This has always been my fear about the GJ – like any ‘leaderless’ group they leave themselves open to outside infiltration and manipulation.

      That said, their staying power has been impressive, I honestly thought that it would all blow itself out over a few weeks. They have become a genuine political force and I think will result in changes for the better, even if not in ways they had anticipated. They have badly shaken the establishment.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        “like any ‘leaderless’ group they leave themselves open to outside infiltration and manipulation.”

        Groups with leaders have infiltration too: the Civil Rights Movement in the USA.

        The way to battle infiltration and manipulation is through getting to know who is in the group. That takes time and face to face contact.

        Reply
        1. todde

          I’ve ‘known’ people for years who wound up turning on ‘their people’ when they are staring a 25 year prison sentence in the face.

          How did we battle that? When it came time to testify in open court, a dozen of so of us would show up and sit in the front row and remind them that actions have consequences.

          You will be infiltrated, there is nothing you can do about that. You will have to use that knowledge to manipulate the people who are trying to manipulate you.

          Reply
          1. j7915

            Proper cell organization, no transparent line of communication, command or co-ordination. Good training and everyone will know what to do when necessary. Got that off the ‘net when Y2K was the talk of the day and blue helmeted armored units were traveling from Canada to California, and black helicopter were ubiquitous. Most helicopters look black at a distance of course.

            Like the single seat nuclear armed TAC fighters that were based in Alaska. If they lost contact with the airbase AND saw a mushroom cloud they would head for their target. From a book on US nuclear aw shits, AKA Broken Arrow incidents.

            Reply
          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Then again, slow and patient classy mass-movements could render infiltration pointless and irrelevant. How? By developing a set of consistent principles, goals and behaviors to begin with and by growing the group-movement slowly enough to assure the indoctrination of all joiners into the principles, goals and behaviors.

            By the time such a movement was big enough for Government to consider it worth infiltratiing, it might be stable enough to ignore any advice and suggestions coming from the infiltrators if such advice and suggestions went against the Prime Directives of the group-movement.

            Maybe Government tried to infiltrate the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
            But if Government placed any infiltrators inside the SCLC, would those infiltrators have been able to get the SCLC to preach and practice violence terrorism? I never heard of it happening.

            Reply
    2. paul

      I know this isn’t a chatroom,but…
      I have a brother coming over from australia and my niece has her heart set on seeing paris.
      Would you consider this wise at the moment?

      Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Paul.

        As long as your family stay away from the city centre on a Saturday, they will be fine. They may need to travel early and late and use alternative transport to the Metro in case the Metro stations in the centre are closed.

        1 May was always going to be “chaud”.

        Bon voyage!

        Reply
      2. dearieme

        See it before it vanishes, eh?

        We once went to see Venice before it imminently sank into the lagoon. That was forty years ago, and do you know, it’s still there.

        It’s a while since we’ve been to Paris, though even then the Gare du Nord was looking a little seamy.

        Reply
        1. mle detroit

          The Venice of 40 years ago is not still there, demographically speaking; now it’s all shopkeepers working for the tourist dollar. But I’ve had the same thought about Glacier National Park.

          Reply
          1. paul

            Very true yet , I visited earlier this year and, beyond the main drag from the harbor and railway station, it was wonderful.
            So strange being in a car free place (and I have never learned drive).
            The food was rather poor,but the bars were welcoming.

            Reply
            1. dearieme

              Poor food: so that’s not changed either.

              I still think Venice is the greatest human work of art. For chimpanzee art I cannot speak.

              Reply
        2. paul

          I passed up chances to visit tripoli and damascus, and they aren’t really there anymore, 20 years later.

          Reply
          1. dearieme

            I’m glad I saw San Francisco decades ago. What I read of it now is sad.

            On the other hand those European cities where all the old buildings were once smoke-blackened are now far handsomer – for starters, London, Oxford, Cambridge. Edinburgh too, I’d think.

            Reply
            1. paul

              You might think, and I can only speak for you fourth example, but that is not reflected in reality.
              The central edinburgh I explored and shared as a youngster is quite gone.

              Reply
            1. ambrit

              I understand that Air America had regular flights to those places a few years ago. Now, you have to take the bus.

              Reply
        3. j7915

          So is the leaning tower, don’t forget to take a looong video of the view never know when luck strikes. Had acquaintances, he American she German he spend and entire reel of 8 mm in a moment of hope :)). My Mam could not resist to make the obvious comment, home movies being what they were, and still are.

          Probably a good idea to stay away from hot spots that are near diplomatic venues, they are not intersting but sure attract trouble. The US Embassy in Rio de Janeiro, BR had those tall glass windows on the ground floor….and the iconic cobble stone mosaic sidewalks.

          Reply
      3. Lona

        I was a tourist in Paris in March without problem. When it was time to go back to the airport there were protest which caused subway stops on the line to be canceled but the train still ran to the airport.

        Reply
      4. Ignacio

        Avoid buying water bottles in the street (a theft should I say) bring yours from the spmkt. Read carefully the note at restaurants checking an extra beer hasn`t been included.

        But above all, enjoy this beautiful city!

        Reply
  4. Wukchumni

    Buzz Aldrin: It’s time to focus on the great migration of humankind to Mars WaPo. This is WaPo, not The Onion.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It’s loony, but there’d be a new name for those in the great migration:

    ‘Earthbacks’

    About a month after the moon landing, my parents took me to the ticker tape parade in Manhattan, and about 100 feet from where I was perched on my dad’s shoulders, I could swear Buzz was waving at me, acknowledging my presence there.

    In terms of flight-flown space collectibles, Apollo 11 is the ne plus ultra of all missions, and by a wide margin the most valuable. Astronauts were allowed to bring a certain amount of personal effects on board missions, and these make up the most of said collectibles.

    Here’s a diminutive 4 x 6 inch old glory that sold for $62,500, to give you an idea of the lunacy of values attached to little nothings.

    https://www.foxnews.com/science/rare-apollo-11-us-flag-flown-to-the-moon-sells-at-auction

    Reply
    1. Harry

      Are we sure Buzz isnt running some kind of Martian real estate scam? “Get in on the ground floor, and buy a whole Martian continent for the price of a couple of Brooklyn brownstones”

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          “We’ll have Mons Olympus, Valles Marineris and Cydonia Labarynthus too!”
          “It’s lovely going through, the Deming human zoo!”
          Welcome to the Hudson Bargain Embayment!

          Reply
      1. polecat

        Maybe GoldenSachMen, with the help of a reformulated buzz, will become the new Martians … once the marsforming is complete ..

        I’m sure the late Ray Bradbury would be rolling in his veld !

        Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps Buzz Aldrin remembers the Social Unity we all had in the Space Race and he misses that Unity today. Perhaps he thinks that a Mission To Mars can help us all get our Unity back.

      I wonder if the right kind of Mission to De-Warm the Global could help us get our Unity back if it were designed and presented in the right way.

      Reply
  5. Summer

    RE: Washington is dismissing China’s Belt and Road…

    “Trade war” and maintaining chaos in the ME, right in the areas along and/or near the trade routes, doesn’t appear very dismissive.

    Reply
  6. Wukchumni

    US military stops releasing Afghanistan war information AP
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The ‘stan box is the grift that keeps on giving, and now we’re on ‘a need to not know basis’ which is never good news when there’s a paucity of positivity.

    It’ll be interesting in a few hundred years when historians chronicle how we went down as an empire, probably mystified that we spent so much time & effort in a place that hardly mattered in the scheme of things, oh so far away.

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      Lots of money for the MIC, CIA/warlord drug gangs, and all the crooked contractors who have made billions out of that phony war that’s why it keeps going. An entire mini-empire within the Empire has grown up over that war–it is now an entrenched industry.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      It is a historical fact that Afghanistan is know as the place that empires go to die. And yet nobody ever learns that lesson. I guess that each empire tells itself “This time, it will be different!” and the Pentagon was no different. The past few decades Russia has tried and failed. The US has tried and failed. I wonder if the Chinese will ever try?

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Tang China never made to Afghanistan.

        They were stopped at the Battle of Talas (Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan today), in 751 AD or CE.

        Reply
    1. paul

      Then the exporters of under/unemployment will have to develop a meaningful relationship with venus.

      Reply
      1. paul

        There goes the plan!

        Meddling non experts!

        If we had only listened to authority, we woulldn’t have been in this fine* mess.

        Thank you US, scooby doo internationalists

        *one you can walk away from into a higher payed, more secure job

        Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A wall can be a brick wall, an ocean, energy shield, distance, etc.

        The distance wall, a wall of empty space (not completely empty though), is the obstacle in this case.

        Reply
    2. Plenue

      They don’t need to. Mars is an irradiated, airless desert. The only option for colonists would be to live their entire lives in submarine bunkers. Terraforming will never happen because Mars doesn’t have enough gravity, and also has no magnetic field.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        It would be a matter of time scales. After all, most Xenogeologists now believe that Mars had an atmosphere and running water on the surface. All that under similar conditions as exist today. Indeed, the posited planetoid that smacked into Mars and did all the destruction is theorized to have melded in with the planet. So, Mars now has more gravitational pull than earlier, when Mars already sustained some sort of atmosphere.
        Dump a few terratons of cometary material into the surface of Mars and when a balance is reached, add more cometary material as needed to offset natural losses of atmosphere to space.
        Sure, people will have to live in “sheltered” dwellings in the beginning, but, it is beginning to look as if those ‘left behind’ on earth might have to do the same. Especially when the Terrestrial magnetic poles flip.

        Reply
      2. Conal Tuohy

        I have read a scientific paper (by NASA scientists I think) which proposed a method of generating a suitable magnetic field; a number (a dozen or so?) of superconducting electric cables encircling the globe at evenly spaced latitudes. The current flowing through the cables would be gradually built up to a suitable level by some local power plants. It’s a lot of work, but theoretically doable, and the resultant field would keep the solar wind at bay, and allow a refurbished atmosphere (a separate problem) to persist, and allow people and other life forms on the surface without other radiation shielding.

        Reply
    3. WheresOurTeddy

      The president of Mars has already said they’re building a forcefield around the planet and Earth is going to pay for it

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        “President of Mars?” Was there a Martian Peoples Revolution while our backs were turned? I thought that Marvin the Third ruled the Red Planet.

        Reply
  7. Wukchumni

    Hand-Hewn Granite Basins at Native American Saltworks in the Sierra Nevada

    This site in the northern Sierra Nevada contains about
    369 circular basins carved in fresh, glaciated granodioritic
    bedrock, with 325 basins crowded together in an area of
    2,700  m2 on the main terrace. These terrace basins have a
    median average diameter of 125 cm (80 percent between 100
    and 160cm) and a median depth of 75–80 cm. They show
    a strong congruity to similar granitic basins in the southern
    Sierra Nevada apparently of Native American origin that are
    generally shallower.

    The basins are not of natural origin, as indicated by
    uniformity in size and nonoverlapping character of the basins;
    their common arrangement in lineaments; details of the shape
    of the basins; features in common with granite basins in the
    Southern Sierra Nevada; and, most compelling, the clustering of all the basins adjacent to (within 20 m of) two saline
    streams fed from a nearby salt spring. Native Americans
    apparently excavated them for the purpose of collecting saline
    water to evaporate and make salt for their use, and also as an
    animal attractant and a trade commodity.

    https://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2009/5225/sir2009-5225.pdf
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    There are over 1,000 of these ‘Indian Bathtubs’ that are typically sunk 3-4 feet deep and 3 to 4 feet wide into granite, scattered on a north to south radius @ an altitude of around 5,000 to 8,000 feet for about 100 miles. The mystery being, how did the Indians create them having only stone tools & fire?

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      >fresh, glaciated granodioritic bedrock,

      Haha I’m going to have to add “fresh” to “perfectly preserved” as words that don’t mean to archaeologists what they mean to the rest of us.

      Reply
      1. rd

        This is why the soils north of the Mason-Dixon line are so fertile. The glaciers stripped everything off, ground it up, and redeposited it. As a result, the soils are “fresh” (less than 20,000 years old) and unleached unlike many of the soils in the south that are residual soils formed on the bedrock and have been leaching for hundreds of thousands or millions of years.

        So those big glacial till and glacio-lacustrine clay plains throughout Canada and the northern US are very fertile. As plant roots penetrate the soils and bacteria and fungi break down the minerals, new nutrients are being released all the time.

        The tropical regions are in a delicate balance where the decomposing vegetation is the primary source of nutrients for new plant growth. When that gets destroyed through deforestation or careless farming practices, then it takes endless amounts of fertilizer to produce new vegetation.

        Reply
        1. Anon

          Yes. Excellent explanation.

          The acidic soils of tropical regions also make using temperate soil fertilizer ratios, there, wasteful. Tropical soils have very different structure and composition (drainage, natural pH range, cation exchange capacity) than soils in mid-US. Re-introducing sufficient organic matter into depleted tropical soils is important. (A section of T.C. Mann’s “1491” describes how some Amazon basin cultures used human excrement/food scraps to maintain soil fertility in small “garden” zones.)

          The absolute dumb-luck of the pilgrims coming to a fecund portion of the “New World” is more than fortuitous.

          Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      Neolithic farmers in Europe frequently carved large freestanding basins from granite and even quartz. There is a spectacular example in Knowth in Ireland (its sometimes described as granite, but I think its more properly a quartz and feldspar sandstone, but almost as hard as granite). Its about 5,000 years old. I know its hard because as a student archaeologist I witnessed a surveyor in steel hobnail boots use it as a step ladder (he got very loudly shouted at by the lead archaeologist) and didn’t leave a mark.

      With patience, its amazing what you can shape with hard quartz sand as an abrasive medium.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Hongshan culture in Mongolia, from about 5,000 to 6,700 years ago, and one of the earliest jade cultures, left us with many beautiful jade objects.

        According to Wikipedia’s article, Mohrs Scale of Mineral Harness, jade is between 6-7, and quartz is at 7, and corundum at 9. That, presumably, was how the early artisans worked jade.

        Reply
    3. aletheia33

      thank you, wukchumi.
      ancient technologies now lost to us.
      the human species may wish before too long that it had not forgotten how to make those basins.
      this resonates with the mars suggestion–let’s not think about ancient technologies we’ve forgotten, just blast off into a brave new atomic/chemical future! USA is so family blogged up.

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        Actually, Wukchumni gives the 2 key ingredients: fire and stone. You can build a hot fire to weaken the underlying rock, then use a hard handheld stone as a sledgehammer to crack the stuff and rough-shape the hole. Build another fire, dig out another [however deep the fire acts to weaken the rock] inches. That having been said, I’m sure it took an immense amount of sweat equity and patience, and no small amount of skill. But for folks living in one area for centuries, digging out even one or two holes a year adds up to impressive total over time. It’s not like they wear out from being used, right?

        In cold weather using water poured into cracks to freeze and break rocks is also a possibility. In modern times, drilled holes and hydraulic cement (which expands as it sets) are a higher-tech version of this. One can split impressively large boulders this way – think of it as a slo-mo kind of dynamite.

        Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      It looks like the Venezuelan government trolled the arch troll (Trump) himself.

      Looks like they let everyone think there would be high profile defections and so let Guaido come out and make a fool of himself and the US Government. I notice the Guardian (a major cheerleader on the ‘liberal’ side for regime change) has gone awful quiet today after pretty much predicting the fall of Maduro yesterday. Multiple eggs on many faces.

      I thought from the beginning the best way for the Venezuelan government to deal with Guaido was to use mockery and otherwise avoid getting baited into doing anything extreme or violent. They’ve played it beautifully.

      Reply
    2. prodigalson

      Random Guy’s expression on his cell phone looks similar to that of a teen who just wrecked the family car and is calling his parents to let them know.

      Reply
    3. Summer

      I saw that “coup” on CNN yesterday. It looked like people late to a half-assed parade that ended about an hour earlier, but still milling about trying to be a part of it.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        That Base borders a very well-off area of the Capitol which is the sort of people that have been backing Greedo and who came out there in support. But by definition, this is exactly the same sort of people who will not risk getting themselves killed on his behalf so will not go all in. Those soldiers on that base are likely made up of people from the less well-off areas of the country and can guess what their lives would be like if Greedo wins power. Good thing that they were never called out. The police and security services seem to be handling things fine right now which is driving people like Bolton to distraction. Trump should fire him before the situation gets worse – for Trump politically which is all he really cares about. People will not be happy if gas prices start to skyrocket because of all these adventures with Iran and Venezuala.

        Reply
    4. vidimi

      i am really worried about venezuela. the US is nothing if not persistent, and the opposition is not going away on its own. i fear an escalation coming.

      Reply
  8. Joe Well

    Are Mars colonization discussions a form of agnotology? It is a prima facie absurd idea, since some kind of artificial gravity would be required which would be an engineering and logistical nightmare. If Earth suffered nuclear winter, it would still be more inhabitable than Mars just for that reason.

    Reply
      1. Anthony K Wikrent

        What’s so crazy about getting us off the rock? Especially since we’re burning it to a crisp? Getting off this rock increases the chances of survival for humanity as a species.

        And is there a better way to push forward scientific and technological knowledge? Economics as taught the past century has been so dismal, no one understands that the most important economic activity humanity engages in is the creation of new scientific and technological knowledge. Without such new knowledge, humanity inevitably bumps up against and is culled by the environmental limits Jared Diamond described in Collapse.

        The real crazy is the continued acceptance of the British empire’s bloody Malthusianism.

        Reply
        1. aletheia33

          if humanity as an intelligent species destroys its own habitat, why should it survive?
          i’ve become unable to think of any good reasons these days.

          Reply
          1. Old Jake

            There is no “should” in this universe, only “is.” If, under extreme pressure of having irretrievably altered it’s environment beyond recognition, a species manages to adapt and survive, then it has done so, no ought or should involved.

            NB I see concepts like “should” as applicable primarily in human relationships. What happens to those left behind after this rapture Buzz thinks will happen should be our primary concern.

            Reply
            1. aletheia3

              old jake, thank you and i agree re: the universe.
              i almost rewrote that should. i SHOULD have known that a sharp NC commenter would seize on it.
              i did not mean to express what i think should or should not happen but to question the very thinking-in-terms-of-“should” that you too question here.

              i did mean simply: why would it necessarily be better in anyone’s mind to go all out for preserving ourselves as a species in the quite plausible scenario where we actually have destroyed our own habitat?

              i meant: why do people think it best to (think humanity should) try to “survive at any cost”, as yves points out below is idiotic (i.e., that the human species persevering on mars is a fantasy)?

              since (what i maybe SHOULD have said) at some point the human species may have to accept that what “is”–its own rendering of its environment uninhabitable for itself and the impossibility of making it habitable or of being able to inhabit some other world–has defeated it.

              and who is even talking about how the human species will face that? maybe the science fiction writers.

              adding: in 1805 a proto-sci fi writer published what may have been the first work of the “dying earth subgenre”. not properly translated into english until 2003. it is well worth a read.

              “Le Dernier Homme (English: The Last Man) is a French science fantasy novel in the form of a prose poem. Written by Jean-Baptiste Cousin de Grainville and published in 1805, it was the first story of modern speculative fiction to depict the end of the world. . . . Considered a seminal early work of science fantasy, specifically of the dying earth subgenre, it has been described by Gary K. Wolfe as “A crucial document in the early history… of what became science fiction”.

              Reply
        2. human

          the most important economic activity humanity engages in is the creation of new scientific and technological knowledge.

          Why does this need to be an “economic activity?” What ever happened to knowledge for knowledges’ sake?

          Reply
        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          Because once we are in the position (I’m an optimist) to leave this rock. It makes more sense to simply develop asteroids and shape them into spinning habitats. Those “rare earth materials” aren’t so rare outside of space. Mars is a curiosity, but it has nothing to offer beyond scientific research of a more anthropological bent.

          Though Mars doesn’t have oceans, leaving more open for mining purposes, fixing Mars gravity seems a bit complicated when we have practical ideas for creating artificial gravity. The whole travel to Mars to distracts from the goal which is to end mining on Earth and even energy production. In theory, we won’t even have solar panels on the Earth. They just take up space.

          Reply
            1. ambrit

              Europa??!! You’re all wet. The magnetic field of Jupiter is so strong there… (How do you think all that cosmic ice became liquid in the first place? Tidal flexing?)

              Reply
              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Jupiter? Don’t you mean Lucifer?

                ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS—EXCEPT EUROPA
                ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE.

                Reply
        4. vidimi

          the crazy thing is that people think it’s easier to make mars livable than to conserve planet earth

          Reply
          1. aletheia33

            thank you vidimi.
            i see an analogy (or more than that) to addiction here:
            hubris + greed + fantasy (not to mention other intoxicants) = escape,
            i.e.., emotional shutdown.

            when one craves/needs this escape,
            i.e., has this dependency,*
            the temporary shutting out of reality on a regular basis
            actually does appear to one to be a truly easier way to live
            than the recognition of and action on the reality of responsibility as inescapable.
            (the latter being an option one has probably never really considered.)

            attempting to permanently escape into emotional shutdown,
            IOW to achieve continuous intoxication/uninterrupted oblivion,
            is a common late-stage behavior.
            and it is always easy to find plenty of company for the ride.

            ——————————–
            *for whatever reason one has it–
            the psychic reasons are mysterious even to the most informed, ptsd seems to be a factor in many cases, though certainly not all, as can unemployment, impoverishment, homelessness, mental illness, etc.; and the wealthy are not spared this type of craving/need either)

            Reply
        5. Mo's Bike Shop

          Reclaim the Sahara. Colonize Antarctica. Do something useful with the Outback. Any of those will develop the ‘terraforming’ techniques we would need to not die immediately on Mars. And development would not be impeded by the $10k per kilogram overhead on equipment that Space imposes.

          I say this tongue-in-cheek because I feel there’s a ‘once you’ve accepted one impossible idea’ dynamic to these discussions. Have humans ever conducted a six year expedition anywhere with absolutely no backup support?

          Does Mars have anything we could remotely call ‘soil’? The Red Planet has kind of missed out on 4 billion years of plate tectonics, subduction, vulcanism, and glaciers. Is the plan to start a colony based on monoculture hydroponics?

          And just to be mean, are we absolutely sure that Mars isn’t crawling with prions?

          Reply
        6. Yves Smith

          Do you seriously think people will be healthy and able to reproduce or even remotely sane on a planet with different gravity, no magnetic fields, nothing green to look at, completely different light, where they wont’t have food with the micronutirients we eat all the time, and where they have to live underground all the time? I think anyone subjected to that would kill themselves or someone else in <3 years.

          Reply
          1. bronco

            In his mars stories in the known space books , Larry Niven explored a lot of these ideas in the early 1970’s. In one they decided to send an all male group to mars and that went badly leading to the death of everyone there

            Reply
          2. lordkoos

            Exactly. For anything beyond some kind of temporary outpost, colonizing Mars is a total non-starter and a fantasy.

            Reply
        7. Summer

          “the most important economic activity humanity engages in is the creation of new scientific and technological knowledge”

          Fine. But we’ll need all that knowledge for things like keeping drinking water clean in the midst of all the other economic activity.

          But if we are doing I SciFi wish list, I vote for “teleportation” (ala “The Fly”).

          Then you just beam people up to Mars
          and you have something useful right here on this planet where most will continue to live until they die.

          Reply
        8. Lepton1

          “What’s so crazy about getting us off the rock? Especially since we’re burning it to a crisp? Getting off this rock increases the chances of survival for humanity as a species.”

          There are too many things wrong with this to list up. It’s fantastically expensive to get to Mars. When you get there it is a dangerous place. You need to build up extensive infrastructure just to survive. That infrastructure will mostly be underground to protect against cosmic rays. It is vastly easier and cheaper to fix our problems here.

          There is no such thing as artificial gravity. You could use a large centrifuge to produce an equivalent acceleration. More expense.

          Reply
    1. allan

      Actually, the gravity isn’t so bad, at about 1/6 of Earth’s.
      The killer is the “air” pressure, which is about 1/160 of Earth’s,
      roughly equivalent to what it is at 100,000 ft above sea level here.
      Hence [spoiler alert] the final scene of Total Recall.

      Reply
      1. Jim A.

        I’ve said it before, We’ll colonize Mars when Antarctica becomes too crowded. After all, we have an entire continent that is FAR more hospitable (breathable air, warmer, plenty of water) and almost inconceivably easier to get to which we are hardly using. It would be MUCH easier to make an Antarctic colony (or, indeed a colony on the ice floes of the Arctic) self sustaining than one on Mars.

        Talks about colonizing Mars usually start with (mumble mumble cheap access to orbit), progress through resource utilization (not really spelled out, but it isn’t the crazy part) and then through (somehow get big enough to be self sustaining) . In such a hostile environment, where any failure can mean death, it is VERY difficult to figure out how to make something self sustaining. (Wait ,we need to replace the chip on the environmental monitoring system, and it takes two years to ship one from Earth)

        Reply
      2. BondsOfSteel

        Mars is also constantly losing what small atmosphere is has too. The magnetic field is too weak to protect it against solar wind (or radiation). Venus is a better planet to colonize.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If you could cool it down some. And put some oxygen in the air. And give it some water. And solve the sulfuric acid rain problem.

          Reply
      3. Conal Tuohy

        Mars surface gravity is just a little over a third of ours. Perhaps you’re thinking of the moon? Whether that field strength is compatible with human flourishing is an open question, but it’s certainly plausible. The lack of a suitable atmosphere and magnetosphere and soil (toxic dust everywhere!) might be more of a problem.

        Personally I think humans should try to terraform Mars, but there much bigger fish to fry here on Earth, for the foreseeable future.

        Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Maybe the better goal would be to put together a proper orbital transit point. One where materials could be launched from Earth and assembled into spaceships in orbit. People would be living there in spinning compartments to give artificial gravity so that they could live in space longer without the detrimental effects of zero g. From such an orbital point, any assembled spacecraft could go anywhere in the system, including Mars.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Once you get an orbital transport in place, you pretty much open up space mining. Only biota would leave the Earth then.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          As was pointed out to me over on SST by someone, without a radically more efficient and speedy means of in system transport, space mining is going to be a long term and lonely enterprise. Think years per bulk cargo voyage. Something very much like the old “Days of Sail.”

          Reply
      2. False Solace

        Agreed. Mars is a dead end. Bottom of a gravity well with no energy resources to get you out once you’re in. What we need are staging areas at the L4 or L5 Lagrange Points. Solar energy collection and asteroid mining will follow, all much better suited to space than Earth. Messy, dirty mining and extraction needs to be moved off-planet ASAP so the healing can begin.

        Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Will it be whichever corporation gets to Mars first owns it (assuming there are no native Martians there already)?

      Or will it be whichever nation?

      Perhaps the United Nations willl own Mars.

      Ownership question first, then we will find out who gets to exploit or colonize it.

      Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Kentucky Provides a Lesson in How Not to Run a Pension Fund”

    Not to put too fine a point on it but was it really necessary for the California State University to spend all that time examining a Pension Fund in Kentucky that is about 2,000 miles away? Was there not another Pension Fund worth investigating a bit closer to home?

    Reply
    1. Brian (another one they call)

      Morning Rev; It may be that CalPers is looking at ways to further loot their fund as the pension fund of Kentucky is suggested to have done for its members. Kentucky is more opaque than California, so it seems likely they are looking for the tricks required for obfuscation. I hope this is sarc but I seriously doubt it.

      Reply
    2. prx

      Kentucky (and Illinois and New Jersey) are the most dire public pension situations in the nation; it’s worth studying them because they will almost definitely fail. Kentucky is something like 20-30% funded on an “accounting basis,” which could be as low as single-digit funded if looked at economically (which of course the states don’t do because it would require contributing more money or cutting benefits).

      Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      There’s this one place you can get cell reception @ Arizona hot springs-just off the Colorado River, but nobody really knows and if somebody asks-I know nothing, so about 50 of us camping overnight there on Saturday were all held to our own devices, as in talking to one another.

      Here’s the 18 rung metal ladder you ascend to get to the trio of hot springs above after having walked through a labyrinth of a narrow slot canyon for a few hundred yards. For some reason they were way warm this go round, around 107, 109 & 111 degrees, the latter a no-go for me.

      https://www.nps.gov/lake/planyourvisit/hikeazhot.htm

      Reply
  10. cnchal

    > Chase: Maybe if you skipped that Dunkin on April 22nd you‘d be able to afford your RX meds. That’s how that works right

    Chase: Maybe if you skipped that Dunkin on April 22nd you wouldn’t need the meds today and have money for something else. That’s how that works.

    Reply
    1. aletheia33

      thank you!
      however a dunkin could just be a coffee. cream and sugar maybe will cost you your health earlier but the coffee itself is not going to. just sayin’.

      also–some people are virtually forced into way too many dunkins by excessive work hours and no time to get home to eat a healthy meal, even if someone at home can fix it for you. cops being a prime example. single moms with 2 jobs i would think, the same. why “accountability” healthcare programs are a dangerous “innovation”. plus, i’ll bet you $100 that eating healthy really does cost more, no time to provide backup evidence other than my own budget, N=1.

      not to mention sugar is highly addictive, and dunkins are not accidentally so.
      so on reflection i am not amused.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        What is the Chase ad department trying to accomplish? Do they think there is a pool of Ben Shapiros out there looking for a new bank?

        It even says, “you don’t need a cab.” Younger people who are the ones most likely to be in the market for new banks use Uber and Lyft because the rides are subsidized and are cheaper.

        Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think they are very good suggestions.

            Walking three blocks, from time to time, can be good for one”s health as well as for the planet’s well-being.

            So is eating at home more often, regardless of income/wage stagnation.

            Reply
            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              They are good suggestions if they needed to be made, but the problem is the dishonest nature of why people aren’t saving more.

              Millenials who aren’t saving enough aren’t doing so because they are taking cabs to go three blocks. Its an absurd point to make. Its representative of the problems with wealth inequality.

              Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Coming from a bank, people link them to wage stagnation.

                That the ideas, of themselves, are good for the planet or one’s own health is overlooked, being secondary issues (the impression given here, with the response tweet).

                Reply
            2. aletheia33

              thank you MLTPB.
              if you think an impoverished single mom necessarily has time (and/or energy) to “walk 3 blocks from time to time” or “eat at home more often” you are living in a different universe from her.

              it’s about the industrialization and now the neoliberalization of time as money.
              the robbing of time from people for living their lives– exercising, food preparing, meeting up with the family in the park, reading, voting, discussing current affairs, sleeping, teaching one’s children how to live, all these ingredients and more of human well-being.

              the necessity for non-work time to keep humans even able to keep working was figured out over a century ago, it’s just been conveniently erased from our collective memory today.

              the robbing of time for self-care and child care from parents, especially mothers, has never been recognized but remains a huge problem for humanity.

              MLTPB surely you’re already cogizant of all this. i must be misunderstanding your comment.

              Reply
      2. jrs

        who is the target market though, the down and out often don’t have bank accounts (the “unbanked”), they aren’t the Chase target market for any ad unless Chase decides to try to get them “banked”. So the target market may have some disposable income.

        The chronically outraged, if one is so outraged by an ad like that, they should already be banking at a credit union because there are much stronger arguments for doing so than an annoying ad.

        Reply
    2. jrs

      oh geez, and noone even talks about time poverty. Noone, maybe including AOC.

      I mean yes there is financial poverty and real economic precarity and it’s a HUGE problem but at least one can sometimes mention it.

      But to talk about how stressed for time people are, even the middle class, so they don’t always have energy to prepare the food in the fridge. verboten. but this rat race is near killing us all (if everything else doesn’t get us first)

      Reply
      1. aletheia33

        thank you jrs, my sentiments exactly as posted above before seeing this from you.
        it’s taboo to overtly insist that rest, sleep, recreation, time with one’s children and family are, essentially, human rights just like socialized medicine and education.

        doctors know very well that stress destroys people’s lives and kills them young but somehow few of them feel called to join the fight for fair labor practices, socialized child care, affordable healthy food, and so on.

        and the so-called work ethic (ethical since when? it’s just workaholism, desperation, and/or chasing the dollar) prevents the rest of us from insisting on (what we so idiotically refuse to consider) our due.

        USA is not just an overextended empire, it is an exhausted one. and exhaustion feeds delusion.

        Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        The time-poor should “eat better”. But they don’t have time to “eat better”. Clearly, if the time-poor, especially the money-poor time-poor “ate better”, they might have better health so as to need less of the “health-care” they are prevented from getting by enforced lack-of-time and lack-of-money. But how are they to “eat better” when “eating better” takes time and money which they don’t have? How to square that vicious circle?

        And square it someone should, because it won’t square itself and the time-poor money-poor can’t square it themselves. So then, who? And how? Perhaps the DSA should study all the literature which exists on time-cheap and money-cheap nutri-food and how to make it and eat it . . . and then experiment with sending action teams/ teaching teams to offer this information to those among the time-poor money-poor who aren’t too defeatized and drained to be able to respond.

        Reply
    3. Glen

      Chase: Maybe if you didn’t give your money to a bunch of crooks like Chase, you wouldn’t be so broke.

      Reply
      1. crittermom

        Yes.

        It’s not just Chase spouting such sh*t, however.

        I received this from my ‘small’ bank in the ‘monthly newsletter’.

        “Did you know nearly 46 percent of consumers indicated that they could not pay for an emergency expense of $400? Building up your saving account will prepare you for those unexpected expenses so you won’t have to skip other bills or borrow money.”
        *growl*

        Savings account? Ha!

        Yes. We customers are quite aware of those figures.
        I, for one, have been living them for 7 years now since ‘losing’ my home to Chase.
        (I personally hate the term ‘losing’. I know exactly where my home on 40+ acres was/is)

        It’s the new norm to blame the victim for their plight.

        I’ve currently run out of wood for more guillotines but my pitchfork is sharpened…

        Reply
  11. dearieme

    Venezuela: by golly your Deep State really is dim, isn’t it? Or wicked.

    If ever a country stuck out as an example of the folly of socialism, it’s Venezuela. So instead of leaving it strictly alone so that the point is undeniable, your brilliant Powers That Be decided to turn it into a story of ordinary US aggressive gangsterism.

    Did the slow motion coup against Trump succeed, in the sense of bullying him to give in to these thugs?

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Could be dim and wicked. Trump probably figured that if he changed him some regime the NYT and WaPo would finally like him. And indeed on this topic the MSM not to mention all those European governments (??) have been more than willing to go along.

      Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Carolinian, for highlighting the inglorious collaboration of European governments.

        There’s a view that after Brexit, the EU27 will chart a less neoliberal and neocon course. Having worked in and with Brussels for many years, I doubt it. The EU27 are happy to hide behind the “butcher’s apron”, but profit from the blood, sweat, tears and treasure shed by poor Brits and Americans who often have little choice, but to join the military. Like Anglophone South Africans vis a vis Afrikaners, the EU27 have the luxury of tut tutting around the corner.

        You can understand why in Mauritius, where my family comes from, we laugh at French military pretensions. A bigger proportion of Mauritians, including relatives, were decorated by France for fighting Nazi Germany than French from the Metropole.

        Reply
      2. polecat

        No. This is a blatant resource grab … the supposed scourge of socialism is just an excuse for D.C. and it’s ring cities to lay waste to ‘hostiles’ to aquire moar ‘unobtainium’ !

        “Venezuela .. That’s some mean bush !”

        Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Every time Trump authorised a bombing run or a rocket attack against the Syrian Arab Republic, the Washington Post and other MSM establishment spokesmouths wrote and talked about how Trump finally did something “Presidential”.

        So he was conditioned to learn what “Presidential” was. And if he is an insecure person, he would want the approval of those Deep Establishment figures he pretends to disdain and despise.

        Reply
    2. Brian (another one they call)

      I like the “folly of socialism” part. Venezuela loves Chavez and Maduro. They have both raised the standard of living far higher than it ever was and tried to remove colonial rule by forces outside of Venezuela. This they do against the rest of the world that want the black and gooey that they appear to be sitting on. The world has told V that the gooey is not theirs, much to their surprise.
      To many, socialism is just a mechanism to prevent oligarchic domination of every aspect of life. When the word is used as a pejorative without a definition of its meaning, it sows confusion. We are simple humans. We often use one word to express our discontent when its meaning has a myriad of meanings to different people.
      perhaps the rule of law is in fact socialism? What is wrong with protecting the people you are supposed to protect? We certainly don’t have any protection against the greed in this country. Crimes against the people are ignored and crime involving the looting of every person for the sake of GDP are institutionalized and at the same time, denied.
      Socialism; Clean water, health care, uncontaminated food, social justice. Sounds demanding and greedy of us peasants. (tried an earlier post but I think it was eaten by mozilla)

      Reply
      1. aletheia33

        but wait but, …
        it’s not the nearly impossible task of training ourselves to behave in ways that are more “humane”, it’s only the creation of new technology and knowledge that will enable the survival of the human species!

        plus inventing new stuff is so much more fun, easy, and interesting than investigating and considering ways the strong can be taught to welcome the responsibilities of meeting the needs of the vulnerable.
        that endeavor is truthfully really be just too hard.
        actually impossible.
        given that we’re only humans, after all.
        /s

        Reply
        1. rd

          Does governmental incompetence mean we should overthrow Theresa May’s government in the UK?

          And if corruption and authoritarianism is unacceptable to the US, then virtually all of the government coups we have supported over the past 70 years should have been overthrown by the US instead of waiting for the population to rise up. The Shah of Iran would have been a good one not to have installed in power.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Didn’t Spring Texan exactly say he/she does NOT support Boltonism or Regime Changing Venezuela? So Spring Texan is not the proper target of your question.

            Spring Texan is merely noting that Chavez and Maduro have themselves brought certain problems to Venezuela with their Bolivarnism. That observation is either true or false. If it is true, fanboi squee-worship of various Socialist Heroes and Champions won’t magically make it false.

            That said, Venezuela is not my problem and not my responsibility, and I have no interest in changing the Regime there. As to the oil, the Prime Directive of Leave It In The Ground should apply to Venezuela as much as to everyone else.

            Reply
            1. Spring Texan

              Thanks, drumlin. You said it better than I could. And good point on “Leave It In the Ground” too (though it beats oil sands).

              Reply
    3. Pat

      Name one country where regime change encouraged or outright forced by America has made that country a better place to live for its citizens, especially those at the bottom of the ladder?

      I realize you are advocating that America let things take their course in Venezuela, but does that include removing all the “economic regime change encouragements” I doubt it, because it is very likely that would mean Venezuela would no longer be an example of the folly of socialism.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        Well I recently heard a defense of Chile and Pinnochet as making things better in Chile, in the long run, after sufficient people were murdered of course.

        Perhaps, but I slowly (as fast as I can!) backed away from that argument, because if someone’s “centrist” argument consists of the need for mass executions plus torture by the government uh … You say you want a counter-revolution …

        but if socialism (and much more radical than anything even proposed by anyone in the U.S.) is actually widely popular with most of the people … killing and terrorizing people to wash out any stain of it might end up the policy. Ok sanctions are eventually going to kill people as well.

        Reply
        1. Pat

          I think that might be the new talking point. My research indicates that it took several decades and a shake up of the entire system at the end of Pinochet. Signed off by him, but not enacted that the changes that have allowed Chile to recover while more capitalist than socialism seem to have little to do with America.

          If correct, not only does that ignore the deeply disturbing history of Pinochet, it ignores that it was a rejection of his leadership.

          Reply
          1. Grant

            Where would the Chilean economy be without its nationalized copper sector and its land reform? Where would it have been if Pinochet didn’t do a radical about face himself (at least initially) when the economy imploded in the early 80’s? The idea that its pension system is pointed to as a model to follow is amazing to me. Even Pinera a decade or so ago acknowledged how bad the system is and pointed to some needed changes.

            Reply
      2. Grant

        “I doubt it, because it is very likely that would mean Venezuela would no longer be an example of the folly of socialism.”

        It isn’t and this is a weird way to frame the situation in Venezuela. I mean, I don’t know how you could define Venezuela as socialist, even at the height of Chavez’s time in office, that doesn’t result with lots of very successful and well run economies being defined as socialist. It would seem that most of the countries that have developed in modern times would have to be defined as “socialist”. I also don’t know what you mean by the “follies of socialism”. Explain. I think it works great on a bumper sticker or whatever, but doesn’t help much when having discussions on complex issues.

        Reply
        1. False Solace

          Don’t worry about it, dearieme also defines the UK Labour Party, Lib Dems, and Tories as socialist, so it’s used more as a snarl word than a meaningful label….

          Reply
    4. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you. You appear obsessed with the follies, real or imagined, of socialism. Perhaps, some reading is necessary over the forthcoming public holidays / long week-ends.

      Reply
    5. urblintz

      Churchhill might have been a rabid anti-communist but apparently he had a soft spot for socialism. who knew?

      “Winston Churchill raged against communism during the Bolsheviks’ bloody 1917 Russian Revolution. He urged Britain to fight “against the foul baboonery of Bolshevism.”

      Churchill did not show similar contempt, however, for other forms of socialism. He added his weight to scales tipped towards equality. He ferociously fought on the side of democratic socialism that distributed political power to the masses…

      He corrected politicians who branded all varieties of socialism as evil…

      After the Great War (1914-18), Churchill criticized armament racketeers who immensely profited from selling weapons. He rejected unregulated capitalism that trampled laborers’ rights. Churchill advanced domestic programs for reducing 16-hour work days to a humane 40-hour week…

      Early in his work in Parliament, Churchill’s political platform sounded like the “democratic socialism” that Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez espouse.

      In a March 7, 1908 letter published in the Nation magazine, Churchill listed a socialist agenda of government-sponsored programs. “These included labour exchanges, licensing bills to ‘counter the excessive consumption of strong drink’, wages … in certain ‘notoriously sweated industries’, technical colleges, railway nationalization, public works to fight unemployment, (‘to urge forward the social march’), all to be paid for by a tax on dividends.” (Churchill: Walking with Destiny, pp.116-117)…”

      https://www.vaildaily.com/opinion/van-ens-anti-communist-winston-churchill-supported-socialism-column/

      Reply
      1. aletheia33

        let us not forget that the nazis in germany were “national socialists”.
        and that their gov’t did provide, especially initially, some socialistic reliefs to a desperate population.
        they were at a level of desperation that was worse (i think) than that in the USA today.
        these reliefs bought an allegiance otherwise probably unobtainable.

        i base this statement partly on the report of a friend of an account given to her by her mother, who was an ordinary young woman living in germany at the time and, along with many others, naively welcomed these reliefs.

        Reply
    6. Grant

      “If ever a country stuck out as an example of the folly of socialism, it’s Venezuela.”

      Explain, if you could. Venezuela’s problems far pre-date Chavez. It was the home of the region’s first “IMF riots” in the late 80’s, multiple coups in the early 90’s, by the mid-90’s most households were in extreme poverty and inflation was actually higher in that period than it was when Chavez was in power. There are plenty of countries that are far more socialist than Venezuela that are perfectly fine, and the collapse in oil and the lack of economic diversification is nothing new. In decades past, the country went from being incredibly poor in the early 20th century to being a middle income developing country as the 20th century went on by the state getting more and more of the oil revenues. It did spend more on social services in the 1970’s, as oil revenues increased (just as it did under Chavez), and it did try to use some of the money to diversify the economy, just like under Chavez, but it failed. That is not at all unique for developing countries, especially major oil producers.

      Venezuela had problems under Chavez to be sure, but it also did a lot well. The hyperinflation happened after he died, and it along with the country’s economic struggles grew as the economic war intensified. The US has been central to its struggles, especially in recent years, and it has been massively undermining the country since the election of Chavez though the NED, the CIA, USAID, the International Republican Institute, the Atlas Network, etc.

      Colombia is the US’s biggest alley in the region. It also happens to have one of the worst human rights records in the hemisphere. Could you imagine what shape it would be in if, instead of getting all of the support it has gotten from the US, that it was under attack like Venezuela has been? CIA net migration shows that many people are fleeing Colombia, and millions were living in Venezuela until a few years ago, fleeing largely right wing paramilitary violence and land grabs.

      Venezuela certainly has problems, and I am not too hot on Maduro myself, but I think that the US has treated it like every other (at least nominally) left wing country, especially in the region. It cannot be allowed to succeed, it cannot be allowed to challenge the power of the US, and so it has been under attack for a few decades now.

      Reply
    7. Efmo

      I wonder if Venezuela ‘s “socialism” might have worked better if it hadn’t been the target of U.S. covert and overt interference for what seems like ages, now.

      Reply
  12. John Beech

    Kentucky Provides a Lesson in How Not to Run a Pension Fund California State University Emeritus & Retired Faculty & Staff Association

    Perp walk time! Legislators who participated in this? Arrest them, charge them with malfeasance, and make them walk the walk of shame. Will the charges stick? Will any do time? Probably not. But meanwhile, post the video where everybody can see. YouTube will do. And begin taking names and calling out the pols who aren’t doing their jobs. After all, if I don’t do my job I get fired. If I steal from the till, I get fired – and – go to jail. We the people aren’t being protected. Need to be.

    Reply
  13. Steve Roberts

    re: Venezuela

    How long does Bolton have? He was the point man on this, it failed, it makes Trump look weak and blundering. I have to believe Bolton isn’t long for the job at this point.

    Reply
    1. vidimi

      i really hope you are right. i don’t think there’s anyone more disgusting on the planet alive today than john bolton. mike pompeo comes close.

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      What if Pelosi is quietly blackmailing Trump to make Trump keep Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams in position and in power until the bitter end? What if Pelosi has told Trump that the moment he fires any one of these three Establishment Figures . . . . that Impeachment will immediately be put On The Table?

      Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Nikki Haley joins Boeing board”

    Rumored to be eventually put in charge of either public relations or aircraft software management.

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Oh snap! South Carolina! That is where Boeing has that major aircraft assembly plant for the 737 MAXs. Boeing moved there because it was a State hostile to unions. I wonder if Haley did Boeing a favour or two when she was Governor and this is Boeing’s way of paying her back?

        Reply
        1. allan

          “for the 737 MAXs”

          No. The MAX are assembled mainly in Renton, but recently, in order to compete in the China market, they are also coming out of a CCAC facility in China.

          The SC facility currently assembles the 787.

          Reply
      2. Carolinian

        We here in SC were extremely glad to get rid of her. Apologies to the rest of the nation for passing along our problem. She has a powerful patron in Adelson and this, along with payback for the Charleston plant, undoubtedly got her a board seat.

        And BTW re “union-busting South Carolina”–care to name some states or politicians these days who are pro union beyond rhetorically? It’s not a long list.

        Reply
        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Carolinian. Not just the rest of the USA, but the rest of the world is owed an apology for your export of Randhawa :-). BTW, we have many similar in the UK, mainly Tories, vide Priti Patel and Deutsche Bankster Sajid Javid, our minister for law and order. Don’t laugh.

          Reply
    1. polecat

      What a double kiss-of-muerte Boeing has ‘acquired’.

      Do their share-holders also own stock in the Onion ??

      Reply
    2. ewmayer

      Nikki takes the reins of the swdev effort, starts by promoting some new inspirational slogans, like “null pointers need not be dull pointers!”

      Reply
  15. JBird4049

    The New ‘Infrastructure Deal’ Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things New York magazine re Silc: “all the shit wont hit the fan until the next recession. then we’re going demo socialist.”

    Well, I think the recession will hit very soon now, so…

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Whether the recession — which I fear will be one whopper of a recession — will hit soon or not doesn’t change another problem with the ‘infrastructure deal’ that went without mention in the link. The link seems obsessed with partisan politics. Partisan politics has become very boring. You need at least two parties for any real fun with partisan politics.

      So … ignoring Republican dedication to entrenching plutocracy [and ignoring Democrat dedication to entrenching plutocracy — different players] … dismissing Democrat unwillingness to govern strategically [maybe their strategy is not to govern] … and finding money through discovering MMT … does nothing to address the high degree of corruption and inefficiency in the US infrastructure construction and repair industries. We could end-up with a lot of high-cost collapsible bridges to nowhere with forever-tolls to slow and tax traffic.

      For grins — I propose a lower-cost remedy for some of our infrastructure degradation. Reduce the weight limits on the loads trucks are allowed to carry on Federal highways, and actually enforce the limits. Although it might cost some fuel efficiency, I would also outlaw trucks pulling double and triple trailers. That would make a little more work for truck drivers, contribute to highway safety, and might shift some freight back to rail transport. The old NAFTA agreements used to plan for having drivers from Canada and Mexico pulling loads. While I’m dreaming I would nix any remnants of that idea and make US citizenship a requirement for driving an 18-wheeler on Federal highways. I would also make driving skill the determinant of who can drive a truck and back down the ‘literacy-test’ aspects of the written exam for truck-driver licensing.

      Maybe someone might take a closer look at some of the Macadam and highway concrete formulations and building techniques. When I last visited Germany I recall their Autobahns were remarkably free of the potholes we enjoy in the US. If I am accurate in my assessment of German roads –are they just keeping up on repairs better? or are they using better Macadam and concrete? or both?

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        What we really should have are a repeat of the Pecora Hearings on Wall Street and the Truman Commission on war profiteering. Congress is the single most powerful branch of the Federal government at least in theory. For much of American history it was the 800lb gorilla especially in peacetime.

        But only our elected congresscritters refusing to govern, we are always at war, which gives the President more power. Doing anything can make them vulnerable to losing their seat or at least getting the required bribes donations from the Elites. Even doing investigations is verboten because uncomfortable political and financial truths might be exposed. So nearly unlimited subpoena powers, the ability to override both the Supreme Court and the President as well a jailing quite literally anyone that they choose. It is not unlimited but it is terrifying. But nah we got Speaker Pelosi, Senator Schumer, Senator Mcconnell, and Representative Grassley all doing political Kabuki to maintain a facade of a working Congress.

        People here and elsewhere have wondered about the ineffective, even factually empty actions of our political class. To perhaps over simplify, in the past, people went into politics to do things with the power, but now people get into politics to get things with the power. Getting wealthy or a lucrative sinecure post politics are the primary reason and not the fine perks of office as it had been. This being true why do anything that might stop the gravy train? Even if you don’t win office you can get a well paying job funded by all those donations.

        Reply
    2. False Solace

      That’s a bit optimistic considering how many countries went full on fascist during the 30s, another memorable period of economic distress. But if some flavor of democratic socialism is on the menu this time, that would indeed be good news.

      Reply
    1. aletheia33

      thank you allan. propublica is investigating the turbotax issue, so this clueless denial won’t hold up.

      adding, that chase tweet will be right alongside that turbotax case study.
      no critique could make it more clear to the public (or even reach a wider public?) than chase’s own selves have done here, the depth of the banksters’ self-delusion as to the harm they are doing to the majority of us along with the depth of their contempt for us.
      not that one should expect criminals to voluntarily admit to or take responsibility for their crimes,
      or not to justify them by means of contempt, even in the act.

      like classic abusers, some of the banksters seem to believe their own lie that they care about and even that they are helping the people they abuse. (see: child molesters; british empire.)
      they may feel justified in relishing their “earnings”, as their psyches persuade them that they have in fact “earned” them, denying them full awareness of their cruelty.
      they are well and truly mad.
      they need to be put away where they cannot harm others.

      on the bright side, with everything going so downhill so rapidly these days, the black humor is getting more and better.

      Reply
  16. Brindle

    2020….Biden

    An interesting thread here on Biden’s staff intimidating journalists at an Iowa event. Sounds like hints of an out of touch and arrogant campaign. Click on link for more incidents.

    —“A reporter approached Joe Biden to ask a question and a member of his staff told the reporter to leave, and when the reporter explained that they were just doing their job, the staffer said she was too. The staffer then took a photo of the reporter.”—

    https://twitter.com/marcusdipaola/status/1123743037631467523

    Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        An overlooked aspect of HRC was how she was treated. With the coronation process, she wasn’t hounded by reporters the way other candidates will be, and I think a generation of Democratic courtiers have been corrupted by the HRC campaigns for President. When Biden isn’t being shown the proper deference, they are going to react in poor ways because they don’t know better or the bad ones haven’t been filtered out.

        Reply
        1. Svante Arrhenius

          Used to make folks ask, why a wealthy political party would repeat the exact same strong-armed, obdurate stuff that lost them an unLOSEable election, and handed the Congress, Judiciary, law enforcement, intelligence and military over to a ravening MadMax character? Oh, that’s right; what we read on Podesta’s e-mails was a Russian plot!

          Hey, you don’t think Robby, Debbie, John & David…

          NAH…

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Much of it is gerrymandering. Pelosi said a glass of water could win AOC’s district in a general election, but Flint, Michigan water can clearly win in San Francisco. As Pelosi and her ilk gain seniority, their people take off and seize organizations. The chaff doesn’t get separated from the wheat.

            Reply
            1. Pat

              Funny how little the various ways of suppressing voters is talked about by our “leaders”. While Nancy disses AOC she expects people to forget that the voters poured out her selected glass of water. That is the only reason she even alludes to it.

              If the right to vote was enforced as a real right, Clinton might have won. Gore might have won. But we have Russia and half hearted moves on the Electoral College.

              Reply
              1. JBird4049

                The noise on the Electoral College is just another Russia!Russia!Russia! albeit a more legitimate concern. Its function is to ensure that that political weaker states do not swamped by the stronger states and to prevent a tyranny of the majority. Otherwise the six New England states could be politically overpowered or ignored for the single large state of California or Texas.

                The focus on the College also allows the Clintonistas to ignore the reality that the areas that gave the winning electoral votes to Trump were the same areas that voted for Obama and were basically ignored by Clinton. Not only did she not do any campaigning beyond some quickie visits, her organization took all the funds from the local county level organizations and ignored the repeated efforts by them to get Clinton to visit.

                Of course, if the concerns and votes of all Americans meant anything, Clinton would be President because she would not have been running a coronation but an actual campaign.

                Reply
                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  Yeah, I’m not sure California or Texas would be the problem. They are both diverse. The original problem would be tobacco plantations setting all government policies. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe were from the same Commonwealth where tobacco was a big deal.

                  In the modern U.S., this is more or less absurd. The electoral college isn’t protecting us from Silicon Valley after all.

                  Reply
            2. Svante Arrhenius

              Well, the DCCC sure “chaff’d” the pretty damn great, obviously VERY electable Democratic candidates in Pennsylvania, just as the DNC stamped out both young & old Black, Latina, LGBT BernieBro delegates, while stomping down down-ticket contenders in the Rust Belt.

              Reply
          2. Oh

            The Dimrats believe that it’s not whether you win or lose it’s how much you collect during the electioneering.

            Reply
            1. Svante Arrhenius

              Trump didn’t HAVE to invade Venezuela. The Yuppie morons are so brainwashed, they’re watching idiotic Senate hearings, totally ignoring the same Democrat jackals stealing enhanced Medicare for All from folks watching family, friends & coworkers sicken, lose everything or die unnecessarily, to line 1% pockets and fatten 10% liberal yuppies’ portfolios? Same as it ever was?

              Reply
      1. aletheia33

        thank you ian. as the comments opine, his speech is both garbled and slurred. some suggest a stroke, some suggest he’s drunk. and someone says he did not speak that way the day before.

        Reply
      2. Lemmy Caution

        That is painful to watch. I don’t know if Biden had an off day or what, but I imagine another 500+ days on the campaign trail is not going to do him any good.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          An acquaintance from one of the “other” campaigns for the 2008 nomination described Biden as being wheeled out on a gurney to the joint events they held. He said Dodd looked like a young man next to Joe.

          Reply
  17. BillK

    Re: Missing cat returns home 475 days –

    Cat finally decides that as house has been rebuilt as new and current accommodation is only ‘OK’ it might as well go back and give family another try at providing a lifestyle suitable for a superior life form.

    Reply
    1. heresy101

      The story about Diamond makes me so happy and so sad at the same time. On New Years Day, Rocky, our dear cat who looks like Diamond with bigger eyes, didn’t come home and we presume the urban coyotes got him. Maybe there is hope.

      I have to find the video of Rocky playing with a mouse and post it to antidotes because I’m sure NC readers will enjoy it.

      Reply
    2. Anon

      I live nearby. The devastation from the debris flow is still apparent one year+ later. Cute story about Diamond and the need for hope. Unfortunately, the relatives of the 22 people dead or missing from the mudslide are probably identifying more with Huguette (the other cat).

      Reply
    1. tegnost

      oriental pratincole…how could you possibly not know that? Seriously though I was thrown off by yesterdays plover so today I just did it the easy way and asked samthebirder

      Reply
  18. Pat

    Can we pick who goes to Mars.first with no return ticket for the test run? If so I am all for it,despite there being far too many stellar candidates. Perhaps there would need to be several test Jamestown and Roanokes on Mars.

    Reply
    1. crittermom

      How ’bout we nominate the Clinton’s for the first flight? (Wouldn’t Hillary be excited she finally won something?)
      Then we’d finally be rid of them!

      Reply
  19. cnchal

    > As US-China deal nears, Beijing relaxes rules for foreign banks and insurers, in concession to Washington SCMP

    The peasants have been punked, again. The trade war started by Trump never was about the deplorables desperation, but they are pawns in the greater war, the objective of which is the extension of Wall Street’s model of fraud and greed into China.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How reliable is SCMP, with the ownership being the Alibaba group of China?

      Is it only about banks and insurers? American ones? Foreign banks would include Russian banks, maybe.

      Is China also makiing concessions on, say, 5G? American technology and military/security interests may want to know if they have been left out, and only banks and insurers benefit.

      It would look worse if the report included relaxing rules on foreign resorts/casinos/hotels in China.

      Reply
    1. Cal2

      sfgate.com is the Chronicle, not the Examiner.

      Have you noticed how the Examiner is turning into a better and higher quality ‘newspaper’ and website than the steaming piece of politicized crap that is the Chronicle?

      For the last few decades the Chronicle has hired underpaid twits from high school newspapers in the Midwest often, to write articles, panders to the local Democratic Machine and has turned into an ad ridden promo for expensive real estate with recycled year old ‘articles’ that sometimes look like software wrote them.

      Here’s an example of the Examiner:
      https://www.sfexaminer.com/photo-galleries/mother-browns-dining-room-helps-bayview-homeless/

      Meanwhile the Chronicle asks trivia questions about ice cream and has sports coverage bleeding into the “news” section. The basketball team is seemingly more important to them than National Healthcare or our soldiers dying in foreign wars.

      As a native San Franciscan, I reject the Chronicle and enjoy my FREE subscription to the Examiner.
      sfexaminer.com

      Reply
      1. Bugs Bunny

        Sorry for the error. My aunt always had the last few days of the Examiner on her cocktail table so to me, it was “the paper”. My grandmother, only a few miles away (about an hour over the pass), read the Sacramento Bee. Go figure.

        Today, neither publication is recognizable to me. Not even newspapers anymore, are they?

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          I believe that the Chronicle still has a very thin print edition. They are still journalistic but nothing like what used to be.

          Reply
  20. Summer

    Re: Health insurance deductibles soar, leaving Americans with unaffordable bills – Los Angeles Times
    https://www.latimes.com/

    “In the last 12 years, annual deductibles in job-based health plans have nearly quadrupled and now average more than $1,300.”

    When was the last time anyone saw a deductible as low as $1,300?
    I can’t remember. And I have never had any chronic disease, procedure, and never been hospitalized. I’ve also received allegedly affordable insurance through employers.

    These are the numbers insurers are reporting to the govt and the govt blindly accepting? Or talk me down and explain where there are deductibles as low as $1,300.

    Reply
    1. Fiery Hunt

      You’re right, can’t say I have any idea when I last heard that low a deductible….maybe Cadillac insurance for some unions?

      My girl’s deductible is $3,500 a year.
      Me? I don’t have insurance.

      #thanksObama/Biden!

      Reply
    2. BobW

      There are deductibles and deductibles. I have US $4,900 medical, $2,000 dental, and $3,820 pharmacy. And then there’s the donut hole.

      Reply
    3. Spring Texan

      I know I’m lucky, but my annual deductible is still $350 for in-network care (and the network is not a narrow one, either). So I assume the existence of non-crapified plans like mine (which insures a huge number of individuals – like 100,000 employees plus dependents) brings down the average. [And since I’m in Texas, definitely not because of unions, sigh.]

      That’s for individual coverage – I’m single. Family annual deductible would be $1,050. Still good.

      My kind of plan used to be normal – now, I’m super-fortunate – but there is pressure on those who run it to change that and make it a narrow network. Hope that doesn’t happen.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        That is what I thought. The last I saw any plan approaching those numbers was while working for a huge multinational.

        But those are not the largest employers of people in this country or globally.

        Reply
      2. Cal2

        “And they want to take medical decisions away from patients and doctors…”
        Standard propaganda line from the insurance company parasite profiteers afraid of M4A.

        Counter that with,
        “Single payer would take decisions away from Insurance Company Death Panels.”

        “How much more would we pay in taxes for Single Payer?”

        “Add up your monthly monthly insurance payments, fees, out of network charges, deductibles, dental, interest charges, late fees and multiply times twelve months. The tax would be way less than that.”

        Reply
      3. Summer

        Also, the huge companies…multinationals…have employees all over the world.

        I’ll bet in countries that have a single payer system. They aren’t having to pay for healthcare for their German, Canadian, French, Australian, etc employees.

        So the higher premiums and deductibles are subsidizing the lower ones.

        Reply
        1. Spring Texan

          My employer is part of a public university system . . . so virtually all the employees are in Texas. But yes, we are lucky and we are not typical and it may downgrade in the future.

          And yes I’d totally trade for M4A (which would also eliminate my job, but that’s OK) – but then I wouldn’t have to worry about everyone else including relatives. It would be a good trade.

          “Skin in the game” sucks — you already have ‘skin in the game’ and too much of it when it’s medical care even if you didn’t have one worry about finances.

          Reply
    4. jrs

      I don’t know, I don’t have employer provided insurance. But I can tell you for ACA/ACA equivalent plans: silver plan deductibles are I think 2k something, and the bronze plans completely ridiculous (5-6k deductables). And yes for ALL of those types of plans the networks are also narrow.

      Reply
  21. Hoosier from the Bloody 8th

    The New ‘Infrastructure Deal’ Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things New York magazine re Silc: “all the shit wont hit the fan until the next recession. then we’re going demo socialist.”

    — Complaint 1: The Republican Members are selfish and they are interested only in their own interests. For example, “Raising taxes on the rich is popular with the typical Republican voter and with the kinds of swing voters Donald Trump will need to win in the Rust Belt next year….If the GOP were a political party devoted to maximizing its vote share — without betraying its voting base — it would see Schumer’s pay-for demand as a wet kiss, not a poison pill. But the GOP is not such a party. Its overriding priority is to concentrate economic power in the hands of its largest shareholders. ”

    –Complaint 2: The Democrats can’t think strategically to achieve political goals. For example when addressing the Dems willingness to pass an infrastructure deal, “This reasoning reflects two of the Democratic Party’s worst pathologies: Its refusal to think critically about the implications of the Republican Party’s extremism, and its members’ myopic refusal to put Team Blue’s interests above their own.”

    So, the writer wants Republicans to quit handing sops over to the rich, so that they can be responsive to actual needs. And the writer wants Democrats to quit being responsive to Americans’ needs, so that they can be cruelly strategic — which will mean they would be basically Republicans now.

    You can’t win with these people.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      From “Washington is dismissing China’s Belt and Road”: “its flagship initiative to coordinate trillions of dollars of infrastructure across Eurasia and the Indian Ocean in a broad effort to recreate the old Silk Roads.

      One nation that was missing from the summit: The U.S.”

      The old Silk Roads did not include the New World – nor other nations now included.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The roads were and are wide, and many could and can travel on them, including people, animals, ideas, smartphones, superbugs, etc.

        Reply
  22. Oregoncharles

    Having had an experience with Chase (my student loan), I wouldn’t dream of doing business with them.

    But at the same time, having lived with extreme parsimony the better part of my life, I have a sneaking sympathy with the “bank account.” In this case, both parties are correct.

    (Having provoked curiosity, I guess I’ll describe that experience: the bill for my final (!) payment seemed anomalous, so I asked for an accounting – which I was entitled to. They sent it to collection!. Discussions with the collections department proved unproductive (grinding teeth), so I sent a letter to the president’s office, accusing collections of blocking my efforts to pay off the loan. this produced at least two copies of my payment history and an explanation – but I doubt it would work now. That was a long time ago. Then they started sending me ads. Not a chance.)

    Reply
  23. ChriaAtRU

    #MayorPeteMeetsHillary

    Jackson.FamilyBlog.Kite

    No doubt learning how to stay on the good side of Putin from her. Politics and power constitute an amazing landscape. To see such abject failure excused and to a fair degree rewarded by allowing those who failed to remain relevant is truly astounding.

    #WhatATimeToBeAlive

    Reply
  24. Cal2

    “Buttigieg meets with Hillary Clinton The Hill”

    “Butt Hill”

    Just too coincidental those words together.
    Smacks of the future of the Democratic Party–unless they nominate Sanders
    (and hopefully he picks Tulsi as V.P.)

    What was the traditional name of a frontier graveyard?
    “Boot Hill”

    Reply
  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Can cheap fashion ever be ethical? Quartz

    —-

    Still picking on people who have no time to go home to eat?

    Cheap fashion? “Living costs have exploded.”

    Thus cheap fashion and coffee not at home* (this second one appears puzzling).

    What about expensive fashion? Is it more or ever ‘ethical?’ Why is the focus not on that?

    *Not even instant coffee. Not time for that…due to work. But time (and money) to go to a cafe?

    Reply
    1. jrs

      if you saved money on coffee maybe you could afford more expensive fashion. Ha, that one might be true, but no guarantee it would be much more ethical.

      What it really is these days is time to sit in a SBUX drive through, wasting fossil fuels going nowhere, just waiting in the line of cars for a coffee. That’s what coffee has devolved to.

      Reply
  26. Alex Morfesis

    But what if as secret ancient alien technologist predicted, the 6.5 million kajangas to get the not so bright child into stanford is a cover to cover the cover…KlownKar Legacy Investigative reporters should perhaps imagine if there are any links behind the links…if you can throw 6.5 million bux at having your kid hang out with the really important people…you can find a much cheaper way to connect your kid to power and money…plenty of non profit enterprises which have charity events…this makes zero sense…if you are smart enough to steal enough money to be able to toss 6.5 whatevers…you can come up with a better plan…

    what if this blow up is to cover up a bigger blow up…not suggesting the at ground level guvmynt investigators are doing the covering, but perhaps they were handed this to cover up the bigger picture and avoid asking deeper questions…

    not buying the 6.5 million…look two layers deeper…common throwing away of money to a certain person or persons…

    in brooklyn, there had been some “high end” furnishings providers who had some dog awful junk sold for about 100 times what any intelligent person would pay…didnt make any sense until someone pointed out how many years they were there and how there never seemed to be anyone in the showroom and they had no useful net presence…you know…just standing around and magically delivering furnishings to folks who recently had stuffed money in their own cash register at their own businesses…

    two layers deep…

    this whole klownKar bribe story is losing momentum in my pea brain…

    or there are some really really (family blogging) “geniuses” on this planet who just fall into and out of money…which is how the game in brooklyn seemed to play out…so there is that again…

    you could rent an entire subcommittee on capital hill for a legislative session with less money…

    there r much cheaper ways 2get2 people u imagine can influence your childs trajectory in life…

    Reply
  27. crittermom

    >”T-shirt recycling is here…”

    Great idea, but…

    I checked out their website.
    I hope the wealthy jump on this wagon.

    The shirts are nothing special, other than the price. $65-$72 for a ‘plain’ T-shirt. A mere tank top is $52.
    I’ll continue to do my part by shopping thrift stores.

    This from the article makes me wonder, however:
    “There are a few unique parts of Recover’s process. One is that Recover separates fibers by color…”

    Tie Dye must be hell for them.

    Reply

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