Links 5/8/19

The Meditation on Waterloo Bridge at XR Campfire Convention (MR: “Video that gives a taste of the scene on Waterloo Bridge just before mass arrests on Easter Saturday, with coments by a few supporters. XR seem able to generate a remarkably nonviolent, even gentle, standing of ground. In the context of the relatively nonviolent UK policing, of course”).

Where Our New World Begins Harpers. I actually bought the print version to read this.

Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Remain Large: An Update Based on Country-Level Estimates (PDF) IMF Working Paper

Will climate change destroy democracy? The Week

The Useful Discomfort of Critical Climate Social Science Social Science Research Council. Jargon-heavy but useful examples.

Lyft reports slowing growth and heavy loss in quarter FT

As Uber gears up for IPO, many Indian drivers talk of shattered dreams Reuters

Brexit

Backbench Tory MPs hopeful of rule change to oust Theresa May Guardian

Regulator urges post-Brexit deal for City of London FT

EU Elections Explainer: A battle for the heart of Europe CGTN

Venezuela

Pushed to act, U.S. to send military hospital ship toward Venezuela McClatchy

US State Department publishes, then deletes sadistic Venezuela hit list boasting of economic ruin The Gray Zone Project

Venezuela to prosecute lawmakers who backed uprising France24

EU-backed group says it is ready to send political mission to Venezuela Reuters

The Great Gambia Heist OCCRP

Syraqistan

Trump’s Iran Policy Is Becoming Dangerous Foreign Policy

Iran threatens uranium enrichment if world powers do not keep promises: Rouhani Reuters

Iran’s Master Plan To Beat U.S. Sanctions OilPrice.com

Cyprus gas discoveries spark US-Russian gamesmanship Deutsche Welle

Syria – Russian And Syrian Airforce Prepare The Ground For An Attack On Idlib Province Moon of Alabama

Marvel’s “War on Terror: No Endgame in Sight” loses $5.6 trillion in first 18 years Duffel Blog

China

Donald Trump’s crackdown on Chinese investment in US sparks huge shift into venture capital South China Morning Post

How did China move up the global value chains? VoxDev

Robot utopia:

 

The Hermit Culture Living On in China’s Misty Mountains Sixth Tone

India

Why West Bengal Won’t Compensate BJP for Hindi Heartland Losses The Wire. The horse-race in India.

The Ups and Downs of India’s Digital Transformation BHR

Why Punjab needs to revisit land reforms and hike farm subsidies Down to Earth

Indonesia’s Election: The Rise of Political Islam Asia Sentinel

Indonesia’s elections in the periphery: a view from Maluku New Mandala. From April, still germane.

RussiaGate

Close readings of the Mueller Report:

An Indictment in All But Name NYRB (Bernalkid) vs. The FBI’s Trump-Russia Investigation Was Formally Opened on False Pretenses Andrew McCarthy, National Review

FBI director tells Congress he has no evidence of ‘spying’ on Trump campaign WaPo vs. How US and Foreign Intel Agencies Interfered in a US Election Larry Johnson, Consortium News.

Trump Transition

Decade in the Red: Trump Tax Figures Show Over $1 Billion in Business Losses NYT. “While The Times did not obtain the president’s actual tax returns, it received the information contained in the returns from someone who had legal access to it. The Times was then able to find matching results in the I.R.S. information on top earners.” Sounds like the actual practice of journalism. Like something Assange would do, especially how the information was “received.”

Trump taps Mark Morgan, former Obama Border Patrol chief, to head ICE LA Times. Lol.

Trump squeezes Dems with border demands Politico

2020

Impeachment options dominate US Democrats’ strategy FT

‘They Underestimate Me at Their Own Peril’: Sanders Says GOP Will Regret Hoping for His Nomination in 2020 Common Dreams. He means the Republicans.

Boeing

Boeing’s CEO faces questions about his own future amid 737 MAX crisis Seattle Times. Finally. Looks like strategy ate culture. This is a must-read.

April 2019 Letter Richard Aboulafia (aviation analyst). More on Boeing culture.

Health Care

A ‘Caravan’ of Americans Is Crossing the Canadian Border to Get Affordable Medical Care Newsweek

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Sandra Bland, It Turns Out, Filmed Traffic Stop Arrest Herself NYT

Guillotine Watch

Students who owe lunch money in Rhode Island will only get jelly sandwiches until debt is paid NBC

Class Warfare

Uber, Lyft Drivers Plan Nationwide Strike. But How Revved Up Are They In D.C.? WAMU

How I Watched Driving For Ridehail Companies Turn From Dream Job To A Joke Hustle By Design (DK).

The Digitalization of Day Labor as Gig Work On Labor

How much can we afford to forget, if we train machines to remember? Aeon

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

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

135 comments

  1. Doggrotter

    Antidote du Jour. A snow creature judging by the big feet, there was a similar one a few days ago but I didn’t see any comment with the name.

    Reply
      1. crittermom

        Adorable photo!
        I did a little research and it is indeed a clouded leopard cub, taken at the Nashville Zoo.

        That quizzical expression mirrors mine, I believe, when I read NC in the morning and think, “The govt did what?

        Reply
  2. bassmule

    Re: Caravan of Americans–

    Canadian premier asks, “Why are we having all these people from sh!thole countries come here?”

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Trump to deploy the National Guard to the US-Canadian border to stop Americans from leaving the country.

      Reply
          1. wilroncanada

            Can’t find the reference right now, but more Mexicans have been leaving the US than arriving for a few years. Other Central Americans are a different story, and I’m not sure, donning my tin hat, that at least some of it hasn’t been staged. In addition, the creation of failed states by the US has created the problem in the first place. It’s all about imperialism.

            Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              I don’t know about the Central American countries other than Guatemala, but I have read that Global Heating-related drought is brute-force driving people out of Guatemala.

              Canada helps cause that drought by insisting on selling the Alberta Tar Sands tar which helps to cause the Global Heating. So Canada can be proud of its perhaps-smaller but still-very-real role in producing the failing ecosystems which lead to failing states.

              Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        Wukchumni
        You could have gone back a few more years to the Rour Lads:
        Standing on the corner,
        Watching all the aliens go by.
        Great tenor final note!

        Or later, The Guess Who
        American diabetic
        Come and save your fees.

        Reply
    2. Robert McGregor

      The Canadian Premier says, “We don’t want those people. They come from a country with crappy health care, and huge inequality. Many of them are very poor, and not even vaccinated for Measles. Their president is a buffoon and near-dictator . . . No, we cannot take in people from shithole country like that.

      Reply
  3. zagonostra

    >EU-backed group says it is ready to send political mission to Venezuela Reuters

    Link points to erroneous article.

    Reply
  4. Wukchumni

    Where Our New World Begins Harpers
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Egan’s book on the Dust Bowl-“The Worst Hard Time” was very illuminating as far as rapid climate change was concerned. When you read the travails of those living in the very thick of it, you almost wonder why entire populations didn’t empty out amid what should have been future Potemkinvilles, void of human life?

    My mom grew up on the farm in a little town in Alberta called Okotoks-about a dozen miles south of Calgary, and I asked her about dust storms emanating from the Dust Bowl and she told me they happened whenever the wind shifted north, and the worst one she can remember was nearly whiteout conditions and a group of about 10 Indians passing by on horseback asked if they could shelter there, and her father told them they could stay in the barn overnight or until the aerial show overhead had passed.

    In the book “Ten Lost Years” by Barry Broadfoot (he went all over Canada circa 1970 in search of personal oral histories of the Great Depression-and the stories and sagas he came up with fill 1 to 5 page vignettes in a style similar to Studs Terkel, the difference being that Broadfoot came up with much better tales of whoa & woe, highly recommended!) there is a recollection of a Canadian merchant seaman in port in the UK, when dirt from the Dust Bowl lightly covered the vessel he was on, ye gads.

    That the topsoil was being redistributed across a wide swath was obvious, our flavor of climate change is more insidious in that the playing fields where change is manifesting itself the most (Alaska, Greenland & the far north) are largely unpopulated, and its difficult to care about a 20-30 degree variance from normal temps elsewhere, when it doesn’t relate to you.

    In a way, we know everything about the bringer of our destruction, very much unlike the French from 1785 to around 1795, who had no idea that a Icelandic volcano naked Laki erupting in 1783-84 was the reason for a decade of iffy harvests, resulting in the price of bread going up to 50% more than the daily salary for an average Frenchman, fomenting revolution.

    What sort of climate change activity would it take to foment change here?

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      My last car trip west I was trapped in a Biblical level dust storm near Las Cruces that must have been what the Dust Bowlers experienced. Visibility was like the thick fogs we have back east but a fog made out of dirt.

      As for the Harper’s article, I’m a lot less impressed with AOC than the author. The first New Deal came at a time when socialism was an active (and threatening to the capitalists) alternative and populism and US government activism a strongly rooted movement in this country. FDR was trying to be like TR in that respect. The earlier Roosevelt single handedly created our current National Forest system with the wave of a hand.

      We, on the other hand, are at the TINA “end of history” and it may be the end of us unless our strongly entrenched and mostly in agreement with each other elites are defeated. The foot soldiers for doing so seem more interested in “safe spaces.”:

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I agree with you regarding AOC, she came in acting like she owned the place, and was shown her place in a requiem for a heavy wait, which we don’t time for.

        As the foibles of the current resident fail to impress in ineptitude for the limbo stick is firmly affixed on ground level, one is more impressed by the efforts of the Roosevelts, we were lucky to have them as leaders.

        Reply
        1. Cal2

          She has stated that she is following the house leadership on Syria and foreign wars.

          Looks like color-coordinated controlled opposition.

          The Netflix “documentary” on her is a real tearjerker and is amazingly slick. Let’s see, a professional camera crew follows her around before she is ever elected? Yeah, right.

          Reply
          1. Aumua

            My how quickly we turn on someone. On a veritable dime is our support withdrawn. To opine online don’t take much time. It carries no consequences and changes few minds.

            Reply
              1. Cal2

                Turn?

                Except for her alleged support for Medicare for All, I think her policy positions are counterproductive and she’s a Manchurhattan Candidate.

                sd, Tune from “It’s Now Or Never” would fit that.

                Reply
              2. Aumua

                Yeah that’s fair enough I suppose. I certainly don’t take AOC or any politician to be some kinda perfect savior, but hey! I know genuine when I see it, and I’m still glad to see her youthful outlook and energy at work in the halls of congress. She’s almost single handedly dragged the conversation to the left on more than one front, so I give her some credit. Go Alexandria! Forget the naysayers.

                Reply
            1. sd

              Whether intended or not, that’s a lovely poem.

              My how quickly!
              We turn on someone,
              On a veritable dime,
              Is our support withdrawn.
              To opine online
              Don’t take much time
              It carries no consequences.
              And changes few minds.

              Reply
            2. John

              I am amused by how AOC and the GND triggers certain sensitive types…dare I use the term snowflake?
              The GND is the continuation of a process interrupted by WW2 that needs to get back on track.

              Reply
      2. Geo

        Curious why you would compare AOC to FDR? You do know one is a first year congress person and the other was a multi-term President, right? What sort of impact are we to have expected of AOC at the six month mark in her first term as a junior congressperson?

        Or, am I misunderstanding the comparison?

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          We are talking about the Harper’s article up in Links. He’s the one invoking FDR while praising the “green new deal.”

          Reply
          1. Anon

            FDR is not Teddy and AOC does not pretend to be either.

            The article describes the environmental destruction of the 1930’s and subsequent New Deal aimed at get people working on projects that were important to national advancement. Then describes our current employment/environmental condition and how there are parallels between then and now. And how we should not be afraid of a Green New Deal, since it would be a tangible effort at ameliorating out current environmental distress, and put people to work doing things that will advance the nation. And we’ve been there before! (AOC is not the only GND messenger.)

            Tell me about your plan when you win a Congressional election.

            Reply
      3. zer0

        So, let me get this straight: you hate AOC because she cant push change in a political system of 2 parties where both parties cater to the billionaire establishment?
        I would think most of America would cheer for any anti-establishment figure.
        But of course, I forgot how practically every American is indoctrinated into this two-party BS.

        Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        i gather the blast zone would end, more or less, at the Cascades. That would leave Ecotopia badly damaged but pretty much independent.

        I was intrigued to see, I think here, that some engineers at NASA seconded my idea of using geothermal generation to cool the top of the magma chamber and potentially fend off a major eruption.

        Unfortunately, this would involve industrializing Yellowstone, at least the periphery. But it would also power most of N. America.

        Reply
    2. Lona

      As I recall, ‘The Worst Hard Time’ put a lot of the blame on government policies which supported the price of wheat, which encouraged growing it on marginal land that easily degraded – it seems like today’s ethanol subsidies are doing the same thing, but with corn.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I don’t remember any government price controls, it was more of post WW1 Europe needing wheat that drove up prices.

        The home flipper of the era, would’ve been what they termed ‘suitcase farmers’, who showed up in a town to grow bushels of wheat on somebody else’s land, hoping for tidy profits. before skedaddling elsewhere.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          I think it was the depression of 1920-21. Agricultural prices DID NOT recover and the low prices incentivized farmers to plant everywhere they could. Bear in mind, too, that the original inhabitants regularly set fires so trees would not form into forest. When the invaders moved in they cut down the few remaining, for lumber. One of the ways the dust bowl was ended was by encouraging farmers to plant trees as windbreaks. Of course the giant agribusinesses have cut them all down again to make it easier to plow enormous tracts.

          Reply
          1. Heraclitus

            Two towns in SC, Marion and Mullins, within an hour of Myrtle Beach, have many warehouses dating from, I would guess, 1920. I think this is when the agricultural economy peaked out. People were thinking the commodity boom was going to go on forever.

            Reply
      2. polecat

        Marginal land = The otherwise sustainable Prairie !! ..which was torn up in large part by the actions of fly-by-night absentee land speculators looking to make quick bank .. as a consequence of the government ag policies you mentioned above.

        Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      The movie “Interstellar” had several vignettes of life during the Dust Bowl. I thought it did a good job portraying a dust storm and its after effects. It matched the descriptions I heard from my grandparents who lived in Texas and later in New Mexico during the Dust Bowl days. My grandma, and my mother still put cups and glasses face down in their cabinet. [I believe cups and glasses had been kept face up by tradition to “hold in their luck”.] From what I saw scanning the web, West Texas currently sees a fair number of dust storms, and the yellow dust in China and Korea has been getting worse. These days the yellow dust includes some especially nasty industrial particulates.

      Reply
      1. amfortas the hippie

        during la niña years we get the occasional dust storms here on the eastern edge of west texas. not very pleasant, and mild compared to those back then. dust gets in everywhere

        Reply
    4. Jeremy Grimm

      “What sort of climate change activity would it take to foment change here?”
      In answer to your question — any sort of climate change that could be manipulated into actions which can be monetized and lead to more profits would foment change here, at least change on the part of those who matter. I don’t believe there is anything the public can do that would foment any change in anything unless that change further benefited those who matter. All the Green New Deal hoopla won’t stop subsidies to the Petroleum Cartels or to the Agribusiness Cartels working like the Orcs in “Lord of the Rings” building a new tomorrow. It won’t bring our troops home. I almost doubt it could even build a working mass-transit.

      Reply
  5. Frenchguy

    Re: Harpers. I actually bought the print version to read this.

    This is actually a public service announcement for readers in Paris and I hope Yves will forgive this piece of advertising. The American Library in Paris has not only a deep book selection but it gets you also online access to Hapers/NYRB/New Yorker/New Scientist/The Economist/NYmag… It is a private library but the monthly fee is very low.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      That looks really interesting, I must admit that’s new to me. I’ve been looking for ways to get legitimate access to a good selection of audio and e-books and magazines that doesn’t involve enriching Amazon or Apple or Google. It looks ideal.

      Anyone know of other such resources?

      Reply
      1. Neil Carey

        Plenty of eMagazines to read on-line from your local library and I used to read the IT and some foreign papers on-line a few years ago. Membership has been free for the last couple of years. My local branch is in Waterford.

        Reply
      2. Anon

        Take a course at your local community college and then use your new student ID to get all manner of online reading material through the Main Library. In California it’s a treasure trove of newspapers, magazines, and scholarly research. (Physical Current Periodical stacks are disappearing.)

        Reply
  6. Krystyn Walentka

    Re: The Hermit Culture Living On in China’s Misty Mountains

    “We might have access to less information now that we live in the mountains, but such information isn’t so important to us as Taoists.”

    Wonderful.

    Also, leaving the stupidity for a reclusive life follows a long tradition that dates back to the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove.

    Great article and glad to see my worldview becoming slightly more common. I have twice escaped like these people, but did not have the companionship because America. It would be easier to set up a Christian hermitage I guess. It is hard for people to really get Daoism here.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      An image of Taoists is the pursuit of immortality via alchemy.

      That is not the same as the Taoism of Laozi and Zhuangzi, the later wrote about celebrating when (if I recall correctly) his wife passed away, because c’est la vie, or que sera sera.

      (And we find the same in Bali, where people traditionally sing and dance at funerals.)

      The Chinese word for immortals is, from Google Translate, 仙, which has two radicals – one for person (the left one, 人, ), and one for mountain (the right one, 山).

      Thus, an immortal is a person who dwells up in misty mountains.

      Knowing the climiate in East Asia, it’s not hard to understand why – hot and humid in general, but cooler in higher elevations.

      In the book, The Tao of Zen, the Seven Bamboo Sages were mentioned as forerunners of practitioners of Chan (when transmitted to Japan, the same Chinese character, or Kanji, was prounounced Zen, in Japanese). They lived around the time of Wei and Jin dynasties. By then, to become immortal via alchemy had become the preoccupation of Taoists, though not those sages, perhaps.

      Retreat…Retire…mountains.

      The great Tang poet, musician, painter and politician, Wang Wei, once retired to Zhongnan mountains just south of the capital, when not serving the central government in Xian. That, I think, started the tradition of fainting retirement, in order to make a political comeback, and was called (again, if I recall correctly), treading the Zhongnan Path.

      The tradition could be alive and well today.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I’m only following in the footsteps of those who lived here for thousands of years, in that when the hundred days of hundred degrees comes starting in July, they hightailed it up to the higher climes, less than a mile from where our cabin is.

        Usually it’ll be 103 on Hwy 198 when we make the turn, and when we get there it’s in the mid 70’s, ah nirvana.

        Reply
  7. Wukchumni

    A friend calls Saline Valley hot springs in Death Valley NP:

    “AirBnB” as in a 3 day stay there, you are bound to see a few dozen low overflights of fighter jets going through their paces, i.e. an air show, and the other B’s are bats & burros, local residents that fly over your heads whilst soaking, and visit your camp looking to make off with something in the wee hours when your guard is down. The lowest pass last trip was an F 18 a little over 100 feet overhead @ 500 mph. I can still see the rear dual exhausts in a hue of orange crush soda-in circles of fire, in my mind.

    It’s cheap thrills, really all I get out of my tax contribution to everlasting war and the MIC in particular, sad isn’t it?

    This location in the story below is a much easier get than driving 52 miles on a dirt and crushed lava road to Saline…

    The fighter jet was flying low over the desert valley when it banked and dove into a ravine. Between the ancient walls, it rumbled like a giant marble careening around a wooden floor. The noise, a stark contrast with the quietude of the desert, is part of the lure for the military veterans, aviation enthusiasts and photographers who gather at the top of “Star Wars Canyon” on the western edge of Death Valley National Park.

    But what they really come for is to catch a glimpse of mechanical birds tearing the sky apart — and the U.S. Air Force and Navy pilots who maneuver them like fictional X-Wing Starfighters.

    https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-col1-star-wars-fighter-jets-20190507-htmlstory.html

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      My thought on reading this was: any $80 million airplane caracasses or used ejection seats littering the canyon? Good to know that our tax dollars are allowing fighter jockeys to play Luke Skywalker.

      That said, when I was a kid our family would go to Myrtle Beach and the F-100s from the nearby Air Guard base (now the Myrtle Beach airport) would roar low level over the beach with afterburners alight. We thought this was extremely cool.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        It’s rare to have a day with no flyovers of our vaunted air force in Death Valley, and you know what’s funny?

        All of the countries we’ve gone to war against since 9/11, have had little or nothing to counter us up in the air…

        Reply
          1. Procopius

            Especially supersonic stealth fighters that only carry 138 rounds for their cannon and air to air missiles with a range of 150 miles. I guess they can attach iron bombs, at the cost or ruining the stealth, but the Taliban don’t have radar anyway, so it’s OK. Of course the planes are only going to be available about 30% of the time, but surely those grunts can wait a couple of days for the maintenance to be finished. As long as it’s not raining. But pilots say they’re great fun to fly. When they’re available to fly, that is.

            Reply
  8. allan

    Barr’s top aide has seen the Russia probe like few in Trump’s world [Politico]

    Brian Rabbitt has seen the Russia investigations through from start to finish — from several sides.

    At the beginning, Rabbitt was in the White House, helping the new administration navigate congressional probes into Moscow interference in the 2016 presidential election. At the end, Rabbitt was at the Justice Department as chief of staff to Robert Mueller’s boss, Attorney General William Barr, as Barr determined how to describe the special counsel’s investigation to the public. In between, Rabbitt prepped Barr for Mueller questions during his Senate confirmation. …

    The Departed for ugly people.

    Reply
    1. integer

      The Ds should subpoena him to appear before Congress. If nothing else it will give Marcy Wheeler something to write about.

      Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Where Our New World Begins Harpers.”

    That article mentioned a storm that blew up in May of 1934 and eventually went across to the East Coast but that underplayed it. Hugh Bennett, known as the father of soil conservation, was giving testimony in Washington DC to a reluctant Congress and timed it perfectly. I will quote from a page talking about this-

    “As Bennett was finishing his remarks, the storm that he had been told was moving east descended on Washington. When the sky went dark outside the windows of the hearing, one member of the committee reportedly noted,

    “It is getting dark. Perhaps a rainstorm is brewing.”

    “Perhaps it is dust,” Another ventured.

    “I think you are correct,” Bennett agreed. “It does look like dust.”

    The group gathered at a window. The dust storm for which Hugh Bennett had been waiting rolled in like a vast steel-town pall, thick and repulsive. The skies took on a copper color. The sun went into hiding. The air became heavy with grit. Government’s most spectacular showman had laid the stage well.”

    Article at https://weta.org/tv/program/dust-bowl/perfectstorm

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I’m saddened by not being able to go to the soiree to hear about the news of the world @ the Fabulous Forum in the City of Angles with one of those cheap $2 ‘get in’ seats, which i’ve sat in on occasion back when the venue was most Angelenos only foray into South Central. (and really only on the northern outskirts)

      Saw my first rock concert there in 1978 with Freddie Mercury prancing around the stage in a harlequin outfit, from one of those ‘get in’ seats. I think it set me back $15.

      Is music as important to a 16 year old now, as it was then?

      Reply
      1. petal

        I will be working so I won’t go(not that I could stand her anyway). Traffic to get home will probably be a mess, though.
        Sadly, I don’t get the feeling music is as important, at least to the youngsters of that age group that I come into contact with.
        Btw, I enjoy your stories, travel vignettes, and sense of humour!

        Reply
      2. neo-realist

        I suspect music just as important to the present younger folk, however, their method of enjoyment is more of a solitary pleasure than it was for us older folks. Back in the day, we listened to music outdoors on cassette/radio players without earphones. In the present day, the youth uses earbuds.

        They also still go to the big outdoor music festivals like we did, albeit with higher ticket prices and more corporate advertising.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          ya. my boys’ and their buddies regard me as some weird antique for still having a “stereo”(and a “turntable”,lol) and speakers in the trees.
          music listening for them is much more a private affair…and when they share the experience, it’s through the iphone speakers…or those little colored barrel speaker things that somehow connect to them.
          so no more neighbors calling the cops over the blaring music at 3am, i suppose.

          Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Just to be pedantic about it, it would not be scheisshole but Scheißloch which I have heard used.

      Reply
    2. Doggrotter

      Perhaps Steve Bell should leave the Guardian. His cartoons don’t seem to reflect the Guardians position anymore.

      Reply
  10. remmer

    Caravan of Americans . . .

    It’s not just insulin. A relative of mine needs eye drops for glaucoma that he can’t afford at American prices. But he is able to get it from Canada at less than half the price.

    Reply
    1. Randy G

      Remmer — Just like your relative, I have glaucoma and have been forced to buy from Canadian pharmacies in order to make them remotely affordable. I’m actually taking three different medications now (two in combination, fortunately).
      When I initially went to buy the medications at a Raley’s, I was stunned when they demanded $70 for the first and $250 for the second — this is a couple of month’s supply — not a lifetime prescription! (When I passed on the second, I recall the woman at the pharmacy looking at me with a kind of contempt.)
      I was able to find them for about a third of that price by ordering online from Canada.
      An interesting note: the U.S. pharmaceutical industry has evidently cowed VISA and MASTERCARD into blocking Americans from using these cards to buy medications from Canada. So very, very thoughtful and decent of them.
      I am able to use American Express and digital checks, etc. — for the moment anyway.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        One perk of being up over, used to be that you could easily buy 222 aspirin laced with codeine to the strength of 1/3rd of a prescription model of the same pill here in the states.

        My sister gets bad migraine headaches, and they were the cat’s meow. The way it used to work, was you went up to the pharmacist and asked for a bottle of 222’s and they would say “name brand or generic, and how many pills would you like?” and 1,000 pills later and maybe $75 CDN you were good to go.

        They’ve put the screws to this though i’ve heard…

        Reply
        1. marieann

          We can still buy 222’s here as far as I know.

          I also buy Robaxicet with Codeine, I get the generic brand

          Reply
        2. marieann

          You can still buy 222’s here as far as I know.
          I also buy Robaxicet with codeine, I buy the generic brand

          Reply
      2. beth

        I have a similar situation in that I have to buy what is sterilized petroleum jelly prices at $14 for 10 grams for my eyes. Could you share the pharmacy you used? I am too far from a border to drive out of the country.
        Thanks.

        Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “US State Department publishes, then deletes sadistic Venezuela hit list boasting of economic ruin”

    That is quite a good article here by Anya Parampil. I came across an interview between her and Jimmy Dore today by coincidence. Currently she is embedded with the crowd defending the Venezuelan Embassy against Greedo’s mob which has help from the US Secret Service. That is totally against international law of course but Trump is no different from Obama here-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUq7ZWTzNxM

    Reply
    1. barrisj

      Indeed, as their coverage set off the entire media scrutiny of, (1) design failures of the MCAS system, and (2) the culture prevailing at Boeing that fostered the compromises necessary to certify the 737 MAX, and that led directly to the two catastrophic crashes, which have been well-documented by civil-aviation reporting in the press and on specialized blogs. Being a ST subscriber, we get “hot-off-the-press” stories, thence posted at NC and elsewhere.

      Reply
  12. Wukchumni

    Students who owe lunch money in Rhode Island will only get jelly sandwiches until debt is paid NBC
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The rule is, in a financial jam tomorrow and in a jam yesterday – but never out of jam today.

    Say, if the Guaido thing doesn’t work out down under, can we use him as a heavy to lean on students in arrears in RI?

    Reply
    1. integer

      Without support from the U.S. military, Guaido is toast, certainly in a bit of a jam. He’s more of a milk toast kind of (random) guy anyway.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        Up until now, Maduro and the rest of the government seem content to treat the “opposition” as a harmless nuisance. At least at last report Guaido was still walking around free. I did see a headline somewhere that the Venezuelan cabinet or whatever their equivalent is was considering bringing charges against government officials who participated in the failed coup. Guess they decided against it, eh?

        Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Re the Students who owe lunch money – maybe the administrators in that school district have been reading their bible and when they saw the part about ‘suffer little children’ took it as an instruction.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        And a jam sandwich sans peanut butter?

        That’s not right, although your alt-a spread is probably Vegemite, which luckily hasn’t caught on here.

        Reply
    3. Geo

      If only these kids were getting jam they may receive some nutrition but instead it is jelly – merely sugar and flavor. Probably on heavily refined white bread with no nutritional value as well.

      They are receiving placebo meals, not real food.

      Reply
      1. mistah charley, ph.d.

        it also includes ‘sun butter’ which is like peanut butter except made from sunflower seeds – peanuts being a potential source of death from allergies, but apparently sunflower seeds are notm

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          Years ago in the fair foothills of a southeastern AZ city, as I was working at a privileged elementary school in the distinct school district in the “best area” of the metropolis I witnessed a little girl, who had no lunch or account, being offered a white bread sandwich with jelly and what looked like corn syruped laced peanut butter. She told me, when I asked why she reused it, with rueful eyes that she hated those sandwiches. Cruelty and snobbery knows no bounds in much of the upper class world,; when I asked about the girl’s circumstances, I was told by a teacher on lunch room “duty” that well ,you know, she is one of those new apartment people’s kids. They move to our excellent district to take advantage of our wonderful schools. She said this with a snicker. Knowing it would be useless, and be a backlash on the child if I said anything, I turned on my heel and walked away. When I talked to the principal about it, she sighed and just said : We appreciate your concern. Have a nice evening.

          Reply
  13. Eclair

    Re: Robot Utopia.
    This is bad on so many levels, the first one being so privileged that we call room service at night for a friggin plastic bottle of water, in what I assume is a pretty nice hotel in a city with drinkable water that comes out when you turn the faucet.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      No robot could possibly tick a box that proves i’m a human, so I feel safe from incursion here on just the other side of nowhere.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Would it biometrically scan your face to make sure that the water is being delivered to the right guest?

      Reply
    3. Geo

      I had a job years ago doing room service and was made to feel less than human often by both customers and management. It makes sense that they would use robots for this position. I’m curious what the robot’s protocol is for “romantic” propositions from lonely hotel guests?

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        “I’m curious what the robot’s protocol is for “romantic” propositions from lonely hotel guests?”

        That needs a different model robot — I’ll follow Frank Zappa’s recommendation and suggest the XOJ-37 Nuclear Powered Pan-Sexual Roto-Plooker. You just have to be careful and not get too wildly abandoned with it, because destroying it carries a stiff legal sanction.

        Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “EU-backed group says it is ready to send political mission to Venezuela”

    I wonder what would be the point behind that? International observers refused to go to the last election in Venezuela, including from the EU, so that they could not be put in a position where they would have to admit the elections were legit. So all this trouble has been long ago planned. If they try to hold another election and their boy Greedo does not win, would they recognize that election either? I wonder what the EU has been promised for their support of Trump? Cheaper oil? Some nice juicy contracts? If I were them, I would not send my people to be observers there in an election or Pompeo or Bolton might arrange an “incident” involving them. Considering that Greedo’s ground troops have been know to burn to death captured government supporters (I saw a film showing this) I would be lurky about sending in EU observers.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      I like the Greedo take on his name. I’ve been reading it as Giardia for months now.

      Giardia, a parasite, is an organism that feeds off of another to survive. Once a person or animal has been infected with Giardia, the parasite lives in the intestines and is passed in feces (poop). Once outside the body, Giardia can sometimes survive for weeks or months. Giardia can be found within every region of the U.S. and around the world.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        How about we popularize the usage of the ‘Giardian’ .. as a replacement for the ‘Grauniad’ ??
        Much more descriptive of a ‘loosing’ concern ..

        Reply
  15. PeakBS

    For people unfamiliar with how Tesla seems to be THE poster child for:

    – regulatory capture
    – Wall Street excesses
    – negative consequences of ZIRP/NIRP
    – Sili-con Valley excess “make it til you can’t fake it”

    This is a good thread to start if you’re unfamiliar:

    1/ With the recent release of the judge’s ruling allowing the shareholder lawsuit against $TSLA on the SolarCity deal to proceed, we are now able to piece together the history of this deal in a way that was not possible before. https://t.co/pdOw5KUQo7— TeslaCharts (@TeslaCharts) June 15, 2018

    Reply
  16. Brindle

    2020 Biden & Neoliberalism

    Biden sides with the bosses–no surprise, Understaffing is a hallmak of neoliberalism. Reducing staff and expecting the remaining workers to “increase productivity” is a basic tactic to funnel the money from saved labor costs to the CEO and stockholders. It results in stressful work conditions and diminished quality of care.
    Maybe Biden’s campaign along the the devoted MSM can continue to hide the fact that Biden is no friend to workers—we’ll see.

    —“The National Union of Healthcare Workers plans to hold an informational picket line outside a Biden fundraiser slated for Wednesday in Los Angeles, according to Sal Rosselli, the union’s president. The fundraiser is to be held at the home of a director of the Kaiser Foundation, which operates hospitals as a subsidiary of Kaiser Permanente.

    NUHW is locked in a bitter, yearslong fight with Kaiser over mental health staffing levels in the health care provider’s California facilities. Therapists waged a statewide five-day strike in December, and a one-day work stoppage in Pasadena last month.”—

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/union-plans-picket-of-joe-biden-fundraiser-hosted-by-kaiser-board-member_n_5cd1c051e4b04e275d510425?ncid=engmodushpmg00000003

    Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      In addition to the weirdly racist point that implies that black mothers aren’t talking to their infants enough, Biden is actually inadvertently making an argument for reparations! :)

      But it gets better. You don’t have to go that far back.

      Here’s Biden the other day in Iowa saying he went to ‘literally the hood’ as part of a program to teach coding to poor black people.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtbWcFcMkWw

      I actually wanted Niko to let the clip run a little longer, because I want to hear the outcome. Did software developers rush in to hire these newly trained coders? I suspect that’s NOT how the story ended. I bet it ends with, “Hey we taught them some stuff. Aren’t we awesome for doing that? Now, let’s declare victory, pack up and leave.”

      “We can/should teach/retrain them to code software” should be seen in the same vein as “I can teach you how to get rich flipping houses with no money down and no experience”.

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1ukGmVFr4k

        Biden hits just keep coming: “Make America Moral Again”

        Resident fellow lefties who are feeling angst at the polls!!! You WANT this opponent!!!

        We all want elections that are clarifying, not full of confusion and distraction as we usually get from team dem. This is our chance!

        Reply
        1. neo-realist

          You want this opponent in an environment where corporate media doesn’t manufacture consent. You want this opponent with an electorate that pays attention to issues and policy and is not seduced by image and Madison Ave one liners, e.g., Morning in America, Hope and Change, Make America Great Again. And, you want this opponent with a Democratic Party that isn’t bought and paid for by the elites and doesn’t cut progressives off at the knees.

          I know, I’m asking for far too much.

          Reply
      2. Geo

        “Now, let’s declare victory, pack up and leave.”

        That’s been the Democratic Party platform with the black community for decades. The underrated political satire film Bulworth had a brilliant scene parodying this:

        Black Woman: Are you sayin’ the Democratic Party don’t care about the African-American community?

        Sen. Jay Billington Bulworth : Isn’t that OBVIOUS? You got half your kids are out of work and the other half are in jail. Do you see ANY Democrat doing anything about it? Certainly not me! So what’re you gonna do, vote Republican? Come on! Come on, you’re not gonna vote Republican!”

        https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118798/characters/nm0000886

        Reply
        1. Cal2

          And, many Democrats are in favor of importing an endless ant-line of low wage labor from Latin America to take whatever entry level jobs there might be for black youth at the same time they create”Job Creation” programs.

          Reply
  17. flora

    Outsourcing and deregulation: I thought I’d seen the worst, but this tops all, imo.

    Shorter: DoJ outsources criminal investigation to the the target of the investigation. “Hey, use guys. Look around and see if yas did anyting wrong. Tell us if ya did sometin dat ain’t jake. ”

    If you needed more proof that the United States is heading in the direction of a dystopian authoritarian state, it arrived last Thursday, May 2, when the Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York wrote a decision finding that the U.S. Justice Department had outsourced a criminal investigation to the target of the investigation – Deutsche Bank – and Deutsche Bank’s outside law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

    http://wallstreetonparade.com/2019/05/judge-issues-scathing-rebuke-of-doj-and-law-firm-paul-weiss/

    This is defacto deregulation of finance.

    Reply
  18. Craig H.

    > Boeing’s CEO faces questions about his own future amid 737 MAX crisis

    you and your team should forfeit your compensation and should resign forthwith

    1. resignation is a possibility;

    2. forfeited compensation ain’t gonna happen. If he goes down, then the parachute he gets will be one not to be read about if you have a weak stomach.

    Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well . . . it would certainly be out of the question if HolderBama were still President.

        Reply
  19. Wukchumni

    One chore that springs eternal is weed whacking, and in this land of little rain after April, we’re in for around another angry inch worth over the next 4-5 days-including thunder(holds outstretched arm with clenched fist in Zeus’s general direction\), which will cause me to have to re-whack everything.

    If this pesky little nothingburger of a storm had shown up in May of 2015 in the worst part of the long drought instead, they would’ve called it a May Miracle, but it’s more of make work gig for me.

    Reply
    1. c_heale

      Why not use your hands and pull up, dig up the weeds. Just cutting off the top won’t kill them.

      Reply
    2. newcatty

      Hmmm…One man’s work gig could be another man’s grateful miracle for more water for his garden in the May time. Here in our small, Northern AZ city we just got a visit from Zeus, too. He rumbled and the lightening flashed right over our heads. Then the accompanying rain turned to hail. Spouse measured a little over an inch of water in our rain gauge. Our driveway and wooded hills look like a snow covered landscape, but it’s all hail. Frosted world. Flash flood warnings. For what the wacky.

      Reply
  20. Geo

    Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Remain Large: An Update Based on Country-Level Estimates (PDF) IMF Working Paper

    I’m searching around for a lay-person’s version of this. If any other readers have a link to one (especially with easy to understand charts because the ones within this PDF are unintelligible to those like myself who aren’t well informed) I would greatly appreciate it.

    Just had a discussion yesterday with someone complaining about the drain on our economy by immigrants and “cheats” (poor people gaming welfare). Tried to explain to them that I don’t care about poor people gaming the system when the rich game it without any protest. They didn’t believe me. Would love to share a version of this with them in a form they might actually understand.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  21. barefoot charley

    I’m dismayed that the NYRB is becoming as unreadable as the NYT. Its summary of the Mueller report as a biblical, rather than political, authority is worse than useless. Unpersons such as Assange and Murray and Greenwald have told us how Wikileaks got the emails, and VIPS has exploded the official story; as unpersons of course they can’t figure in official explanations–but that was what the NYRB used to be for. Neoliberalism rots from the head.

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      I used to read the NYRB from the seventies until the Early 00’s. It might have been 9/11 that moved that publication into a neoliberal/pro-Empire POV where before then writers like Gore Vidal wrote regularly who were a bit more skeptical of the Imperial Project. At any rate, it is what it is, like the New Yorker of former glory, has gone the way of everyone else.

      Reply
      1. barrisj

        Agree to a point…however, during the Cheney-Bush years, the NYRB ran many articles on torture as practiced by US forces in Iraq, and jailers at Gitmo…Mark Danner was prominently featured in this regard.
        Critics of the neoliberal project are now read largely in the LRB or LeMondeDiplo.

        Reply
  22. John k

    Today’s LATimes letter to Ed complains that centrist means no change, a point that should be repeated.
    A great question for candidates in the coming great dem debates is, ‘how would your policies differ from trumps?
    Should tie centrists in knots since centrists have been voting for his appointees and policies since he was inaugurated. In some cases they’re more to the right… Biden strongly supported the tpp, nafta, etc.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      No change = conservative.

      It makes sense that so many traditional Republicans are more aligned with the Dem Party now days. The current GOP is quite radical and the progressive wing on the Left is pushing for big changes. Only the “centrists” want to protect the status quo and have become the home of true conservatives.

      This is why the dueling sides of the Dem Party are not reconcilable and reforming the party from the inside is such a Herculean task.

      Reply
    2. Carey

      I think the question you pose is a very good one to ask Our Dems. Very good.
      When they say “Stop Trump! Beat Trump!, ask exactly why?

      Reply
  23. Cal2

    The Digitization of Day Labor;

    Combine what you read in that article with this and you can see the future for the poor:

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-07/infurtiating-democrats-trump-plans-redefine-poverty-cutting-americans-welfare

    On food stamps? And you can walk? Sign up with Sports Basement, or Papa John’s as a temp, or you get cut off.

    One way to avoid lots of problems in our society is to carry a clunky old flip phone, that way, unless they are willing to buy one for you, they can’t control you.

    Reply
  24. djrichard

    Marvel’s “War on Terror: No Endgame in Sight” loses $5.6 trillion in first 18 years Duffel

    The last sentence in that was particularly smart.

    Reply
  25. Oregoncharles

    From the conclusion of “Where Our New World Begins:” “No doubt it will be a heavy lift. But there is one, somewhat comforting fact to remember as we face the task ahead of us: we have been here before.”

    No, we haven’t. The Great Depression was nasty, but nothing like this. I have background on this: I heard about it, more than I liked at the time, from my parents. BOTH my grandfathers had businesses that failed in the Depression, one of them a local bank, the other a grocery store. My mother’s family moved to get away from the shame; my father and HIS father worked in a foundry (miraculously still operating) as a result. But they weren’t facing the end of civilization or a nearly uninhabitable planet.

    The article is illuminating on the TVA, a precedent of sorts, but in the end it’s weak tea.

    And while we’re at it, the Real Deal: https://www.gp.org/green_new_deal. Printouts have been going like hotcakes when we table. I also handed one to the Sunrise tabler – don’t think she’d seen it. No, it isn’t the AOC resolution; it’s a twelve-page policy paper with a couple of pages of links.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I agree that the ongoing Climate Chaos is nothing like the Great Depression. I think the comparison trivializes what could be an existential crisis for Humankind and has already snuffed the existence of countless non-human life-forms. Both Green New Deals work too hard at pasting a happy-face over the problems in the present and near future. The supports for our civilization and way of life are running out. There are no happy ‘win-win’ Green magic fixes that might buy us a climate ‘do-over’ or replace the fossil fuel resources which supply the energy keeping our civilization running.

      [Wow! In my opinion — the Green Party needs to hire some better artists for their poster art. It looks like background from an early version of a Zelda game. I lost faith in the Green Party after listening to some of the party speakers at their convention during the last presidential election and after they spent some of their limited funds to recount of votes in Michigan for reasons I couldn’t fathom. Also — I looked around at your link for the 12-page policy paper … the closest I found was 6-pages of the “Full Language” as a webpage at https://www.gp.org/gnd_full%5D

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Print Preview shows 10 and a half pages of text, at least one of links. I thought the version for Jill Stein’s web page was longer, but not sure right now. So I overestimated a little.

        I actually agree with you (and Yves) that it’s overly optimistic. For one thing, as she says, conservation, probably drastic, is the first priority and the biggest win. The GND is a campaign document; the point is that fending off global cooking would, or could, revive the economy, rather than kill it. I don’t think it would be that easy, but the point is correct.

        I take no credit for the artwork – but I’d wager it was done by a volunteer.

        Reply
  26. The Rev Kev

    “Pushed to act, U.S. to send military hospital ship toward Venezuela”

    Won’t matter if it is a US Navy ship. It will still have to pass Customs for clearance to dock. An invitation by Greedo won’t do the trick as nobody in government is listening to him. Venezuelan Customs may want to do a thorough inspection to make sure that the ship is not transporting contraband such as weapons, communications gear, etc. Be interesting if Pompeo just ordered that ship to land without clearance but I don’t see that being possible because Venezuelan tugs would stop them. Of course the Venezuelans could send all those denied treatment because the US and the west is stopping shipment of medicines and treatment to that ship and highlight the contrast. But nobody in the western media would cover that aspect of the story.

    Reply
  27. The Rev Kev

    “Cyprus gas discoveries spark US-Russian gamesmanship”

    This article is centered around Cyprus and its gas reserves but there is more to this than that, There is an article at https://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Middle-East/The-Next-Flashpoint-In-This-Emerging-Energy-Hub.html which includes a map showing the eastern Mediterranean and the companies who have been awarded leases in them. This other article mentions a gas dispute between Israel and Lebanon as the former is trying to redraw the maps to give some offshore gas fields to Israeli control. Pompeo tried to mediate and by that I meant that he tried to order Lebanon to give Israel what it wants but they have refused. Cyprus is just the side show here.
    What will be interesting is that there is apparently gas reserves offshore from Gaza. Years ago I read an Israeli article trying to work out how they can be denied actual cash from sales of this gas. It was suggested a fund be set up under the control of Israel so that they could control what the people in Gaza purchased. My guess would be that anything sold to Gaza would be at inflated prices by ‘favoured’ (by the government) Israeli firms so $500 hammers anyone? This whole region is going to be yet one more flashpoint between Russia and the US until it is eventually tapped out.

    Reply

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