Links 7/12/19

Taiwanese Leopard Considered Extinct, Spotted For The First Time Since 1983 (Furzy Mouse). Surely the leopard was spotted the whole time?

The Invasion of Giant Pythons Threatening Florida Smithsonian

Insects feel chronic pain after injury

The climate change policy with the most potential is the most neglected Vox

As Fresh Water Grows Scarcer, It Could Become a Good Investment NYT

Iowa Crops Look Like Food — But No One’s Eating Heated

«We want to change the course of history,» says Northern Sea Route operator The Barents Observer


Will Boris Johnson’s bluster over a no-deal Brexit collide with reality? FT. By Betteridge’s Law, no.

Beer, Boris and Brexit (interview) Politico

NHS fees: ‘Couple couldn’t take baby’s body home’ BBC

Contaminated blood inquiry: Twins with HIV ‘treated like lab rats’ BBC (KW).

Amazon in NHS deal to give patients medical tips The Times

How Europe smothered the radical Left Unherd


How U.S. Tech Giants Are Helping to Build China’s Surveillance State The Intercept. Ugly.

Walmart’s Supplier Says Chinese Factories in ‘Desperate’ State Bloomberg Billionaire Richard Liu’s Arrest is Forcing China to Have New Conversations Radii

China’s maritime expansion reflects a curious mix of ambition and paranoia The Economist

* * *

US calls off speech by former Hong Kong envoy amid fear of derailing trade talks South China Morning Post. Probably a good thing for the protesters, in terms of optics.

More clashes break out at ‘Lennon Walls’ in HK Asia Times (gallery).

Commentary: The noose on Hong Kong is tightening. Channel News Asia

Hong Kong investors spooked by protests eye London property Evening Standard

Japanese revisionists’ meddling backfires Journal of Critical Asian Studies


Steelmakers Plan for Water Crisis Bloomberg

Room to improve sustainable agricultural practices in India Harvard School of Public Health


Iran Keeps Calm While U.S. And Britain Continue Their Provocations Moon of Alabama

Turkey vows to keep drilling off Cyprus despite EU warnings Agence France Presse

Trump Transition

In killing citizenship question, Trump adopts Census Bureau’s preferred solution to a thorny problem Science

U.S. House of Representatives Creates Requirement That There Be Some Basis for Any Foreign Bases World Beyond War

The Revelations of WikiLeaks: No. 4—The Haunting Case of a Belgian Child Killer and How WikiLeaks Helped Crack It Consortium News (UserFriendly). The Marc Dutroux case presents some interesting parallels to Epstein’s.

Jeffrey Epstein

Deutcshe Bank only cut ties with Jeffrey Epstein a few MONTHS AGO after an extensive relationship, lending him money and providing trading services, despite being warned he was a ‘reputational risk’ because he was such a lucrative client Daily Mail

“A Lot of Friends in Every Industry”: How Did Jeffrey Epstein Charm Hollywood? Vanity Fair (Re Silc).

Charities say they never got the donations Jeffrey Epstein claims he made NBC (Furzy Mouse).

The comeback state of 2019: Kansas economy rebounds from tax-cutting disaster CNBC (Furzy Mouse).

Democrats in Disarray

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggests dissolving Department Homeland Security CBS.

Ocasio-Cortez: Democrats have become ‘party of hemming and hawing’ The Hill. Where’s the lie?

Drugmakers braced for opioid crisis reckoning FT

She could have gone to prison. Here’s the path she took instead. Bangor Daily News

Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing 737 programme head retires as Max stays grounded FT. Totally routine, move along, move along, there’s no story here.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

It turns out that Juggalo makeup blocks facial recognition technology Consequences of Sound. Collective action problem, though.

Imperial Collapse Watch

A Majority of Military Veterans Think the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq Were a Mistake Mother Jones

Annual Polling Confirms Sustained Public Confidence in U.S. Intelligence Lawfare

Good New Idea LRB. UBI.

Class Warfare

The world’s super wealthy just collectively lost $US2 trillion – and Trump’s trade war is to blame Business Insider (KW). Just let me grab my violin, here… Damn. It’s so small I can’t find it!

What is it and why do we need one? Asia Floor Wage. Any Open Borders advocate should also support this. Otherwise, they’re supporting labor arbitrage.

Many College Students Are Too Poor to Eat The Atlantic

Debt Relief and Slow Recovery: A Decade after Lehman NBER. “Regional variation in the extent and speed of recovery is strongly related to frictions affecting the pass-through of lower interest rates and debt relief to households including mortgage contract rigidity, refinancing constraints, and the organizational capacity of intermediaries to conduct loan renegotiations.”

Finding the Future in Radical Rural America Matt Stoller, Boston Review. “The problem is not capitalism; it is our markets. Markets that Obama screwed up.”

Antidote du jour (EM):

EM writes: “My nephew Leo’s beloved cat Rufus died a couple months ago of old age, Leo really misses him and is clearly on the lookout for another kitteh to shower with love. This was from a recent hike with his brother and their Mom (my sister) on a European visit – first pic is “Mom, can we take him home?”, second is a close-up of the handsome (but clearly locally owned and operated) furry fellow.

Bonus antidote:

Tell me it’s not a great country!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Links on by .

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.


  1. PlutoniumKun

    Taiwanese Leopard Considered Extinct, Spotted For The First Time Since 1983

    This is fantastic news. It seems amazing that an animal this big could hide in such a densely populated country as Taiwan, but the uplands are incredibly dense jungle, very steep grades and very difficult terrain. The country was nearly deforested in the 1960’s during its high growth phase, but thankfully this never got to the higher levels – much of the centre of the island is well over 2,000 metres, with few roads (which regularly wash out during the typhoon season). The jungle rapidly extended down to the sea again (on the eastern coast at least) once industry realised it was cheaper to deforest Indonesia and Malaysia.

    To add to this, the Taiwanese have only recently discovered the joys of exploring the emptier parts of their own country. The contrast between the extreme high density and intensity of land use on the western and northern plains and the almost entirely empty eastern side is striking. I could well believe a shy cat could hide for decades there, even from indigenous hunters. Lets hope the population recovers, although there is always a danger of course that it has hit a genetic bottleneck.

    1. dearieme

      How many times a year do I see a story of flora or fauna that have turned out not to be extinct after all?

      Maybe half-a-dozen times? More?

      Does anyone keep a record?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Fifteen, to be precise, although that figure could vary according to who declared it extinct and whether its considered a species. The Formosan Cloud Leopard probably doesn’t count as most taxonomists would consider it a sub-species, not a true species, but that’s an argument for the lumpers and splitters.

        1. Off The Street

          We’ll soon find out that the leopard eats shoots and leaves, before coming back.

        2. Lee

          IIRC, the clouded leopard is the most of ancestral extant feline species. I saw it on PBS so it must be true.

    2. Lee

      The cougar comeback in California is such that some of their ranges now include densely populated suburban and even urban areas. I’d probably have better luck seeing one within a 20 minute drive from my metropolitan area town than in a national park.

      The Florida panther experienced a x\severe genetic bottleneck, likely reduced to six individuals, with attendant adverse effects. Conservationists have with some success addressed this by introducing animals from other cougar populations.

      There is evidence that cheetahs experienced a genetic bottleneck some 10 thousand years ago. This lack of genetic diversity continues to have adverse health consequences such as immune system deficiencies.

      1. anon in so cal

        Los Angeles county desperately needs some wildlife crossings to provide endangered mountain lions and other species a larger range.

        “….state Fish and Game Commission has said that six isolated and genetically distinct cougar clans from Santa Cruz to the U.S.-Mexico border comprise a subpopulation that is threatened.

        Recent scientific studies suggest there’s an almost 1 in 4 chance that mountain lions could become extinct in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountains within 50 years.”

        1. Lee

          Corridors are certainly better than introducing genetically diverse individuals from other areas. Animals become intimately familiar with their home territories and when they are suddenly transported to landscapes with which they are unfamiliar, their prospects for survival are generally poor.

          This was a major concern in the Yellowstone wolf reintroduction and effective steps were taken to insure their success. These included finding wolves that lived in similar environments and that specialized in hunting wapiti, which in Yellowstone were destructively overabundant.

        1. bruce

          In light of what happened, “Nittany Lions” has some very dark associations and resonances, enough to make a casual reader recoil at his monitor upon seeing it. I would have rebranded the entire institution from the ground up.

          1. ambrit

            Vaughn Bode’s “Sunpot” was built in those swamps. A connection? Maybe more to the point, some of “The Call of Cthulhu” is set in those swamps. No matter what, there’re some bizarre goings on south of Westwego.

            1. Laughingsong

              OMG another Bode fan! I still have my Sunpot, The Man, Cheech, Cobalt 60, et. al.

              1. ambrit

                Ah. Another kindred, though twisted spirit. I knew a young ‘cat’ who lived near Coliseum Square in New Orleans who was an inker for some commercial comic strips and had a pretty good collection of original Bode panels. He turned me onto that man’s work. I loved “Junkwaffel”. If that is an original ‘Sunpot,’ hold on to it with both organic manipulators! It’s worth real money.
                I wonder where my underground comics collection went? I know that Katrina didn’t get it. Hmmm….
                As for the Sunpot swamp axis, well, the Michoud Assembly Facility is sited in the swamps just east of New Orleans. That’s where the external fuel tanks for the Space Shuttles were made. Is there something that NASA isn’t telling us? Could the dreaded Black Knight satellite really be the hulk of the Sunpot?
                Alas for my poor deluded self! I just read a revue of Sunpot, which states that the swamp involved is in Georgia, and the craft was built on the Moon! Blast! And other, less salubrious terms.
                Read Sunpot revue:
                Into the Ozone Space Cadets!

                1. Laughingsong

                  Of the comix I got 3 cheech wizards, 4 junkwaffels, and books I have sunpot, the man, but having trouble finding my cobalt 60 :-(. I also have a cheech collection book, and deadbone. I have a few other comix, but I really really wish I had Air Pirates, those are hugely valuable

            2. bruce

              Then there are the CHUDs (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers). You don’t see them very often due to the “Underground” part. Friend of mine was out on a deer hunt. He shot a deer from about 80 yards out, but before he could get to it, a CHUD came out of the ground and took his deer away. He was not happy about this.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Good New Idea LRB. UBI.

    Nice overview, and a good reminder that UBI isn’t ‘one’ idea, but a whole series of proposals, many of which are not necessarily incompatible with other ideas, including a comprehensive welfare system and a Jobs Guarantee.

    Unfortunately, one idea has been pretty much written out of history (its not mentioned in the article). I first came across the idea of UBI in the 1980’s from reading a somewhat marginalised and often derided economist called Raymond Crotty. He was strongly influenced by Henry George and proposed a UBI based entirely on a land tax set at a rate similar to existing rental rates – a tax at that level would of course essentially bring the market value of land down to close to zero.

    I would just add one point in favour of UBI, often ignored, but I think politically crucial. In my view the only type of income redistribution which is politically sustainable in the long term is one which is universal – in other words, everyone gets something. Focusing on the ‘poor’ may be morally justified, but schemes like this inevitably get attacked and destroyed in the next political cycle. An example is Child Benefit in Ireland – a flat benefit paid directly to mothers of children, on a per child basis. The rich get as much as the poor. In economic terms its probably inefficient, but its a benefit which even right wing politicians have found impossible to attack or get rid of – simply because so many of their supporters like the monthly cheque. The same of course applies to the NHS (just as popular with well off British people as the poor) and free University as applies in most of Europe. This is one reason why the right fights things like Medicare for All – they know full well that once its in position, it would almost be impossible to (legitimately) dismantle.

    1. marieann

      With the Canadian child benefit, much of it got taxed away from higher wage earners.

      I can say it really came in handy for us when I was home with my kids.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      I don’t understand how and why the progressive left is so opposed to UBI. I suppose because it is, fundamentally a kind of neo-anarchist idea. If you give people sufficient funds to stave of living in constant fear of homelessness then maybe people will pursue more creative endeavors. I believe that when you empower human beings some will go off and get high but there is no better high than helping others as science shows us–I trust people and don’t believe working for bosses is the best way to live as, it appears, most of the so-called left seems to prefer.

      1. Yves Smith


        The reason progressives are opposed is the idea originated with Silicon Valley squillionaires who have been pretty explicit that they want to be able to have people work in their incubators free to them. This is no different than WalMart sucking off the public tit by having its employees paid so little that they have to get food stamps and Medicaid.

        In addition, even if you believe in MMT, the cost of an adequate income would be inflationary. So the other part of the scheme is for this to be a flat payment that would be used as an excuse to eliminate all Federal welfare/social support payments.

        In other words, if you think this idea is meant to benefit ordinary people people, you are smoking something strong.

        1. Chris Cosmos

          I like smoking but why don’t you mention the virtues of UBI–they do exist. First, less bureaucracy; second freedom to create your own life; and third, more politically appealing to a wider range of people. I don’t see any chance that that even Bernie could run through Congress a truly good Green New Deal type of legislation, not with Pelosi as Speaker and it would never get through the Senate even if the DP took over for obvious reasons. As for putting down a policy because it is supported by Silicon Valley, I think you are a little off. In fact, Yang recommends going after them, if you read his policy statements or listen to his interviews.

          1. Yves Smith

            Stop making stuff up.

            You don’t have “freedom to create your own life” with a stipend that is less than a living wage, particularly one that replaces a social safety net and thus on average leaves no one better off and probably will leave people on average less well off.

            I suggest you use Google and look at actual UBI proposals, as opposed to your fantasy version. For starters:

            We have to assume, as do almost all of its protagonists, that a basic income could only be implemented in very small amounts. The most generous UBI scheme envisaged in a 2017 study by the Roosevelt Institute falls below the poverty line.


            I could give you a lot more along these lines, but I don’t see the point in investing the effort in someone who is not arguing in good faith. You are simply talking over the issues raised.

  3. Todde

    Didnt we already talk about the Juggalo makeup here?

    Or was that a real life conversation i had with somebody?

    It supposedly works.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Juggalos and Juggalettes are some of the nicest people ive ever met!

      Anybody out there in NC land have a ‘Hatchet Man’ tat?

    2. Big Tap

      Shhh. Why would anyone publicly admit this works? The Juggalo makeup now will be prioritized by the government to make it ineffective hiding your identity. If something is working keep quiet.

      1. Procopius

        i forget where I saw it, but there was a police “test” of facial recognition software that was halted partly because the police did not get permission from people to use the technology on them. I think they just scanned the crowd and sent teams to arrest the individuals tagged by the program. Another reason given was that 80% of the hits were false positives, the people were not the people the program claimed them to be. I’m pretty sure facial recognition is only a little more realistic than self-driving cars.

  4. jeremyharrison

    “Many college students are too poor to eat”.

    It’s so true! Any time I’m on a college campus, it reminds me of famines in Biafra, Bangeladesh, the Sudan…. Students with distended bellies, legs twisted from rickets, arms as skinny as toothpicks. Many are simply falling down, too weakened from malnutrition to walk to class. It’s a national calamity.

    Doctors Without Borders should have this brought to their attention. They’re very good at responding quickly to famines. They’re stretched thin, but I’m sure they’ll do what they can, once they’re made aware of this tragedy.

    Yeah, yeah, that’s snarky – but not as snarky as The Atlantic writing a puff piece for universities who wish to find new, creative ways to extract taxpayer funds from overcharged students so the universities can maintain their bloated administration costs. If students are sincerely malnourished (for financial reasons rather than just being kids who don’t know how to feed themselves so they just eat ramen every day), perhaps universities can lower their tuition costs just a bit, so kids can eat.

    1. Stephen V.

      Don’t think that will happen until student loan spigot of *free money* is turned off. Just sayin’

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


        I gorged my ass off on food and drugs and clothes at LSU with Student Loan Money.

        1. Duck1

          Perhaps if the admins brought in some 5 star chefs they could tenderize them up to be edible.

          1. JBird4049

            So water is wet? Really? I haven’t read the Atlantic article but as one of those college students who sometimes can’t afford food, yeah well, what does the flying Hell does anyone expect especially in high cost areas like the San Francisco Bay Area? Sometimes the mismatch between bills and income just can’t be fixed.

            Be as snarky as you want, but trust me when I say hunger makes studying or writing rather hard. I can manage it for a bit but eventually my brain just stops.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Yes, but the richest country in the world has *much* more important priorities than an educated, trained, and informed populace. Like building electronic rail guns that can incinerate destitute Yemeni grandmothers from space, to name just one important example.

              So suck it up and get with the program, Citizen, we’ve got arms billionaires with offshore bank accounts in desperate need of yet another zero…surely you can subsist on saltines with free butter from the soup section at Applebees for another semester. Everybody has to do their part after all. Freedom Saltines

  5. Polar Donkey

    After reading that wikileak’s story on Belgain pedophile ring, the Epstein stuff, Denny Hastert, Penn State, the Catholic church, and R Kelly, maybe pizzagate doesn’t seem so crazy anymore.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I believe it was Matt Stoller (if this wrongly attributed I apologize) within the last year, but whoever it was said they had heard from reliable sources that the narrative of Pizzagate was basically right but all the details were wrong. Seeing Epstein’s renewed legal troubles, I suspect this might be it.

      1. Isotope_C14


        No doubt the Cocaine Importation Agency’s finest were lead trolls on spreading disinformation regarding Pizzagate, the first couple of days of it were really interesting, and then all of a sudden, crazy connections and spurious non-Wikileaks documents/images were dumped and constantly retweeted.

        No doubt they suckered current Q-Anon followers to retweet the noise to bury the signal.

        Bill Clinton is as covered as teflon as anyone else. I wonder how many trips he really had there…

        1. Harrold

          The hilarious thing is that if Bill Clinton is implicated in the Epstein affair, Ken Star will be defending him and Epstein.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I am certain they all retire after hours together and just laugh their heads off at the crazy fairy tales the plebes still believe about fairness, equity, justice, accountability, and the rule of law.

    2. Cal2

      The Iowa Food link contains an internal contradiction, I believe.
      “genetically engineered seed… is so little a part of the problem that it’s almost not worth mentioning. Even if the seeds were traditional heirloom varieties, wonderful from every possible angle, impossible in this system, things would suck about 1 percent less, because the problems with genetic engineering pale next to those of the general state of industrial agriculture.”
      Genetic engineering is part of industrial agriculture and facilitates and promotes it.

      “The more they produce, the more “inputs” — chemicals, [expensive licensed, one time] seeds, equipment — they must buy. The more they produce, the lower prices go, and everyone in the system benefits except the farmer, who goes along with it, believing there is no other choice.”

      Here’s the “other choice”:
      Organic food sales continue to grow at double digit rates. Meaning at mimimum, they will double every 7 years, or less. (i.e. rule of 72. Divide it by ten, or 11)

      “a new paper from Washington State University researchers David Crowdera and John Reganold finds that organic farming is somewhere between 22 percent and 35 percent more profitable for farmers than conventional….The reason: the higher price farmers get when they sell certified-organic crops. This “premium,” as it’s known, stands at around 30 percent, and stayed roughly equal over the four-decade period, the authors report. They also found that organic farming would retain its profitability edge even if its price advantage dropped significantly: at a premium as low as 5 percent, they found, the two systems are equally profitable.”

      Iowa farmers are stuck on a toxic chemical treadmill, producing stuff that fewer and fewer people want at a lower and lower price. GMOs are not to be lightly excused. Growing a variety of organic on smaller scales could save them.

    3. Oregoncharles

      The Belgian story is really depressing. Dutroux makes Epstein look very mild – far as I know, all of the latter’s victims are still alive.

      But yes, all that is the reason people found pizzagate plausible – those, and Slick Willie’s reputation.

      1. Fíréan

        You don’t know who is dead until you know who is dead, likewise with the living who are victims until their story is known.

        Nearly a year has passed since investigative journalist Jenny Moore, aka Task Force, died after interviewing and revealing an alleged child victim of Bill Clinton :

        Only the information which the media feeds to the public gets the public’s attention, and the majority have very short memories and limited levels of belief. There are more cases than just Dutroux in europe ( incl. Britain ), which get covered up and “forgotten “.
        The Belgium government is not the only major political entity with a base of elites in the little country of Belgium . . . just saying, re. the unperturbable and untouchable.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > But yes, all that is the reason people found pizzagate plausible

        That, and enormous sex scandals in (I must admit, patriarchal) institutions like the Catholic Church, evangelical churches, the BBC, etc. etc. etc. All assaults on the powerless.

    4. Boris Goodenough

      Progressives need to be a lot more skeptical about the demons du jour. The Sandusky case, for instance, is quite likely a fraud, cooked up with bogus “recovered memory” evidence, with the deal sealed by the millions of dollars on tap.

      1. Procopius

        I tend to be skeptical of rehabilitation stories, but I certainly agree that the scourge of the “recovered memories” scam has inflicted incalculable harm on many innocent people. One of the difficulties is that often, in the initial stories, the fact that this method was used is not revealed. It’s always, “Well, I was ashamed to speak out, and I was a little worried about negative reactions to me, too.” I remember the “Rules for Men,” from the ’80s. Or was it the ’70s?
        1. Never smile at a child on the street.
        2. Never hug a child.
        3. Never, ever, enter a girl’s bedroom even if accompanied by her mother, for any reason.
        4. …

  6. The Rev Kev

    “The Invasion of Giant Pythons Threatening Florida”

    So right now these giant pythons are in the Everglades in southern Florida. Joining two problems together, what happens when the seas rise and southern Florida goes under? Do these giant pythons emigrate to the southern States and re-establish themselves there?

    1. Craig H.

      They probably can’t live any further north than alligators. Surely some enterprising journalist has written a piece about the band of geography that global warming will enable the alligators to be invading.

      People of St. Louis look out. The alligators and pythons are coming for your puppies and kittens.

      1. Carolinian

        Wasn’t there some long ago report about a gator in the NYC sewer system? Steam heat.

    2. Carolinian

      That’s a great article. I’ve been told while in Florida that there’s a weather dividing line that makes south Florida more like the tropics and north Florida more like the rest of the South. Here’s hoping our cold winters keep away the pythons.

      1. justsayknow

        Highly recommend this well written piece in the Smithsonian. As to the giant snakes extending their range; I have no doubt they will as alligators are showing up as far north as Memphis.

            1. newcatty

              Ha! When we lived in a southern AZ city right by the river that wasn’t. Just a sand and dirt bed that only briefly filled with water after a “monsoon” or winter rain, we walked its nicely developed trail along the banks of the river. Sometimes we would strike up a brief conversation with tourists we would meet on our walks. I am chagrined to say, when in a silly mood( and the recipients of my bad humor seemed nice) that I would regale them with the legends of the sand trouts that lived in the river bed. They would sometimes come out in the early mornings or on full moon nights. Yes, these were, of course, not really any kind of fish; but strange fishy looking creatures that were never caught but sighted by some people occasionally. I stopped the story telling, when a kid believed me and begged his mom to please come back every morning, and if they were there on a full moon night, then that too.

              1. ambrit

                Oh, kids are so much fun! They are the perfect “Truthsayers.” Out of the mouths of babes and all that.
                The “sand trout” meme is perfect for Arizona.
                I bow down and make praise!

  7. PressGaneyMustDie

    University administrators are most likely a desirable readership demographic if not a large subscriber base for The Atlantic. Don’t bit the hand that feeds you and all that.

  8. William Hunter Duncan

    “As Fresh Water Grows Scarcer, It Could Become a Good Investment NYT”

    (Pathological) incentive to pollute.

    I was thinking as I was picking my black cap raspberries this week, many of which I have to throw out because they are infested with maggots from a new, invasive fruit fly, D. suzuki, which unlike domestic fruit flies, they can cut into the fruit as it ripens and then their larvae eat the fruit from the inside out – Organic has been gaining market share, it would be a perverse incentive for some industrial, corporate food producer to plant this invasive pest, knowing what it would do to the organic fruit industry.

    Those neoliberals at NYT are shameless. Monstrous. Really.

    1. The Rev Kev

      And let us not forget what Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck once said-

      “Water is, of course, the most important raw material we have today in the world. It’s a question of whether we should privatize the normal water supply for the population. And there are two different opinions on the matter. The one opinion, which I think is extreme, is represented by the NGOs, who bang on about declaring water a public right. That means that as a human being you should have a right to water. That’s an extreme solution. The other view says that water is a foodstuff like any other, and like any other foodstuff it should have a market value. Personally, I believe it’s better to give a foodstuff a value so that we’re all aware it has its price, and then that one should take specific measures for the part of the population that has no access to this water, and there are many different possibilities there.”

      Yep. There is neoliberalism right there.

      1. Eduardo

        And privatizing air can’t be far behind.

        Don’t worry, folks that can’t afford air or water will have access. Everyone will have access. With suitable means testing, of course. You wouldn’t want the rich getting free air, now would you?

        All you have to do is prove you do not have sufficient wealth or income to buy your own air or water and an adequate ration to maintain life will be provided. Of course, there will be incentives to earn enough income to buy air and water because you wouldn’t want lazy freeloaders getting free air, now would you?

          1. The Rev Kev

            Why yes he did. A gasp was going to cost a nickle while a sigh was going to cost a dime.

        1. deplorado

          This is what will happen on Mars, of course even more naturally than on Earth.
          It’s an enormous business opportunity that will create many jobs.
          As Lambert says, what’s not to like?

      2. Geo

        Water privatization is the scariest under-reported thing going on. Back when I had my own lil’ blog I ranted about it back in 2011. It truly scares the crap out of me and it’s horrifying how prevalent it is.

        That was soon after the bank collapses and seeing names like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs buying up water rights from financially distressed communities and countries around the world (and here) put the fear of a vengeful god into me.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      “Organic has been gaining market share, it would be a perverse incentive for some industrial, corporate food producer to plant this invasive pest, knowing what it would do to the organic fruit industry. ”

      yah…you and your fruit flies, me and my biblical grasshoppers(3 years running!) that eat everything but grass.
      often as i stand out in the gardens and catch them and pull their heads off(works as well as anything else i’m willing to try), i’ve thought about that Matt Damon CIA movie(Good Shepherd) where they dump locusts from planes to screw up the socialist coffee crop.
      given the documented history of Monsatan alone, I don’t think it’s tinfoily at all.
      first two years, they were concentrated in my valley in the northwest of the county(the traditionally Democratic, Yellow Dog area,btw,lol).
      This year, they’re everywhere…although they thankfully waited til mid june to hatch(march, the last two years)
      good luck with your D. Suzuki.

      1. Oregoncharles

        You got me – at first I thought “Monsatan” was a misspelling. Then I laughed.

        There’s a good biological control for hoppers – Nosema Iocustae. Have you tried it?

        Or, you could eat them, since you’re catching them anyway. People around the world vouch for their edibility, but I can’t personally.

        Hey, you’re the chef. BBQ grasshoppers?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          I’m the only one who likes them cooked the way I do.
          “Fritters”…light tempura dipped in honey.
          the Prep is a PITA.
          pretty much reserved for after-collapse.
          First year, by the time i knew what was happening(ie: Not Normal), it was too late for Nosema Locustae.
          second year, i managed to have some in the big fridge by december.(shelf life sucks with this stuff)
          not nearly enough.
          this year, i had plenty, and was a hawk for Nymphs, starting in February.
          i’ve noticed that they often stick their legs out behind them, and die—-as well as a bunch of them (the easiest to catch?=canidates for Bug Juice) with softer bodies than usual——
          is this evidence of infection—or general ill health?
          is it something i did?
          i don’t know.
          i’ll put in another guinnea house this winter(perhaps pheasants, too…)

            1. Procopius

              Hey, work for Fred the Pheasant Plucker! “Oh, I’m not the Pheasant Plucker, I’m the Pheasant Plucker’s Wife, and I’m only Plucking Pheasants because … ” and my memory fails me there. It’s on YouTube, two or three versions.

  9. pjay

    Re: ‘Annual Polling Confirms Sustained Public Confidence in U.S. Intelligence’ – Lawfare

    Summation of the article (my own paraphrasing): The public still loves us (or at least a majority still like us), even though the despicable Trump regime had the nerve to challenge our anti-Russia warnings and even accused us of spying on them during the 2016 campaign! Proves the public still knows who the good guys are.

    Bio of the lead author: “Steve Slick is a clinical professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and directs the Intelligence Studies Project at the University of Texas at Austin. He was a member of CIA’s clandestine service, and served as a special assistant to President George W. Bush and the NSC’s Senior Director for Intelligence Programs and Reform.”

    For “us” in the first paragraph, perhaps substitute “them.” I do not want to imply that this is anything but a completely objective academic study.

    1. ewmayer

      Between the MSM constantly trotting out suits from the surveillance complex and treating their opinions, disinformation narratives, whatnot as gospel on the one hand, and the sheer number of popular TV shows which are Intel-complex hagiographies, it’s not hard to see how such numbers come about. Propaganda works, especially when it’s this pervasive and designed around the self-flattering shibboleth of America as a Force For Good. Most Americans, despite the clear evidence to the contrary, still *want* to believe that, to “believe in the mission”, and the propaganda is designed to feed into that fervent desire. As evidenced by the fact that the more POTUS resembles the ones in the TV dramatizations, the scarcer public criticism of the administration-spanning Imperial Chaos Project is. All this horrorshow stuff that the GWB-admin instituted post-9/11 was suddenly right and necessary when well-spoken POTUS of color (gosh, he even looks a bit like Dennis Haysbert, dear, and he’s so articulate and gosh-darn reasonabke-sounding!) Obama normalized and expanded it, but is suddenly again outré when done on the boorish Trump’s watch. If I didn’t know better, I’d think the whole process was some kind of scripted pro-wrasslin-style face/heel theater designed to distract the citizenry from the fact that the bombing and regime-changing and refugee-crisis-creating is gonna go on no matter who sits in the Oval Office, and any POTUS with the temerity to try to grab hold of the steering wheel of the Ship of Deep State is gonna get brought to heel right quick by the permanent-staters and their MSM scribes. I can’t help but think of the ouster of Flynn and the ‘inster’ of neocon true believers Boltons and Pompeo in Trump’s natsec inner circle.

      1. pjay

        Well said! I think you are right that most Americans *want* to believe. Those of us who can’t are on the outside looking in, watching the wrasslin match in disbelief.

  10. nippersdad

    It always surprises me that I retain the ability to be shocked by these people.:

    Wasn’t it just yesterday that Lacey Clay was so outraged that AOC would “use the race card” against Pelosi? And here heand others in the Black Misleadership Class (R.I.P. Bruce Dixon) is using the race card against the Justice Democrats, who are largely running people of color in their primaries. The one running against Clay, Cori Bush, is a black woman who will probably enjoy this when she sees it.

    Someone needs to find that “senior Democratic aide” and either wring his neck or thank him for giving the Justice Dems material for their campaigns. Like Sanders, they have all the right enemies.

    1. Grant

      The actual left emerging has taken the cover off these people, and the truth of who they actually are, who funds them and how self-serving they are is ugly. Maybe this stuff works in the same bubble that their donors hand over their bribes, but it does nothing with most others but underscore the need to throw these people out of power.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “The Revelations of WikiLeaks: No. 4—The Haunting Case of a Belgian Child Killer and How WikiLeaks Helped Crack It”

    And this is what happens in an oligarchy though we pretend to call such countries ‘democracies’. Not just Belgium here but a lot of countries. You have a system that tolerates a Harvey Weinstein or a Jeffrey Epstein and sooner or later you end up with a Marc Dutroux. There was a lot of high power protection going on here and you wonder if the clean-up murders were conducted by contacts in the underworld or contacts in the intelligence services. As to who might be involved in high circles, it should be pointed out that there is a lot of political power centered in Belgium. Here is who Wikipedia says is located there-

    Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, and the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country’s capital, Brussels. Belgium is also a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, and WTO, and a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU’s official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      If it is the case that intelligence services were involved, its not unique. The Kincora Boys Home scandal in Northern Ireland (funny how with the British establishment it usually involves boys, not girls) is a long running case in point – one that the British media with one or two honorable exceptions, pointedly ignore.

      1. newcatty

        Another thing to point out in the wake of exposure of wealthy and highly connected men involved in despicable and criminal behaviors with young women, girls and boys is that child sexual abuse ,and abuse of women ,is not confined to the evil and pathological elite class. Of, course, many who behave in this manner, like a parish priest or preacher, may not be wealthy, but they do have powerful positions in their societies. They also benefit from protection in their institutions. Sexual, and physical abuse of children happens in all races, social and economic classes and religious backgrounds of people in this country. It does not only happen in mansions and churches. Children are abused in their homes , schools and social circles every day. Yes, we tolerate the Weinsteins and Epsteins. It is also true we tolerate child abuse and neglect in all its dark corners.

        1. Procopius

          Back about thirty-five years ago there was a wide-spread international set of NGOs who make good livings from stories about pedophile behavior in Asian countries, especially the Philippines, Thailand, and Cambodia. Just as they do today with stories about “human trafficking,” most of the stories were simply lies, or greatly exaggerated. The truth was that there was pretty widespread child sexual abuse, but most of the victims were abused by a member of their family or a close family friend. Same as with rape, still. For some reason those stories have pretty much disappeared, I don’t know why, but I know that in Thailand some effective steps were taken to reduce the public side of it.

  12. Brian (another one they call)

    ah Belgium; I remember Belgium. I landed in Brussels and realized within a few minutes that no sign of happiness or charm existed there. Everyone pretended not to know english. I was lucky. I left for another nation as soon as I could get my feet to the train station. I celebrated when I saw the border. I was not surprised when it became a large part of the neo liberal/fascist tradition so embraced by the peoples of Europe. It didn’t surprise me that a fourth iteration of the germanic ideal would have taken root there.

    1. Irrational

      Erm… I am no Belgium fan, but I think that is rather too harsh a judgment. All places have advantages and disadvantages.

    2. Harrold

      Having spent some time in Belgium, I doubt it will remain a single country, but will split into separate countries: Flanders & Walloon. The people in each seem to despise the others.

  13. epynonymous

    -The NH Mountain Lion ‘Conspiracy- by NPR

    NPR just ran an hour long feature (twice in one day) on “mountain lion spottings in New Hampshire.”

    The first paragraph of the trumped-up report admits that there’s been no evidence of proper mountain lions in New Hampshire since the late 1800’s, but that didn’t stop them from broadcasting fake testimonials that they’re there.

    The state Dept. of Fish and Wildlife has an office that reviews any spottings of mountain lions (again, there aren’t any, but you wouldn’t know that from their *hour long* report.)

    With the cooperation of this fish and wildlife sub-department, the report says that if there are mountain lions, then the department must be covering it up “for some reason.” Also mentioned, declining budgets from smaller hunting and fishing license sales, and the potential to block developments with “mountain lion sightings.”

    Next thing I know, people in real life are claiming to have seen mountain lions. Such reports usually have non-sensical details, such as they “must have weighed 80 to 120 pounds”, when really they weigh more. Besides, how could you weigh a mountain lion at a glance?

    People are so easily manipulated. Remember the “Killer Bees” / “Africanized bees” scare from the 90’s?

  14. William Beyer

    Matt Stoller is the gold standard for insights, and not afraid to note Obama’s many shortfalls. Let us not forget that he also tried to foist Simpson & Bowles on us, and was only prevented from doing so by Repub obstructionists. Irony is alive and well.

    1. notabanktoadie

      is the gold standard

      Surely you don’t mean inherently corrupt and obsolete yet that’s what a Gold Standard is.

      1. flora

        ‘Gold Standard’ refers to monetary systems based on the value of gold; ‘gold standard’, originally referring to the monetary system, now colloquially means the best tool available at the time to compare different measures or things.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      I agree.

      But his whole reform idea of making markets like they used to be in the early 80s is weak tea. FDR saved rich industrialists. Obama saved rich financiers. Its high time workers OWNED the Means of Production and we put a 99% marginal tax rate on those earning 500K or more a year.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Boeing 737 programme head retires as Max stays grounded”: ‘Boeing is currently urging US regulators not to demand that pilots undergo full simulator training on the Max before they are allowed to fly it again, arguing that a computer simulation would be adequate.’

    They still haven’t learned a damn thing, have they? They are still using the Obama doctrine as in, if you have a major problem, you spin it away with PR and impose your own narrative – or try to – against what people are saying.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Boeing 737 programme head retires as Max stays grounded

      Nevertheless, at least the scandal has claimed a victim in management. But Muilenburg has to go. As soon as the Board figures out that’s the fastest route to selling more planes, they’ll defenestrate him.

    1. Geo

      Really hoping they don’t do the usual where a few “bad apples” are “punished” and business as usual goes on.

      This case, more than any other, seems to have the potential to truly drain the swamp of some real monsters. Wish it didn’t take something this scandalous to do it (you’d think our wars for lies or the bank crash would have done it) but would really like to see some accountability for the ruling class.

    2. John k

      Or more likely was pushed.
      Maybe pence told trump the evangelicals were upset, and maybe they were.

      1. Procopius

        Oh, I don’t know. They’re more into the Old Testament than Jesus. Do you remember when Yahweh told Joshua to kill all the men and boys and all the women who were not virgins, but keep the virgins for their own use? Was it the Amalekites? I really should look it up.

  16. Grant

    I feel like the Pelosi/hack corrupt Democrats vs AOC and the other social democrats should be in the class war section. Pelosi is on the same side as the Republicans in that war, so are most Democrats and so are the rich journalists and the media that the giant corporations own. The greatest thing Bernie and people like AOC have done is outing most of those in their party and everyone in control of the party. They hid behind bland slogans and the protective wall the media constructed around them, and we can see them for what they are. They forced them out into the open and they look horrible. I am sure that Pelosi is getting tons of support from those in the bubble, but she and those like her look horrible to everyone else, not that we matter to them.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The bubble was pretty far. Even now, I’ve seen people bemoaning how they were fans of Pelosi and wondering about her age. Pelosi has been an ardent defender of right wing policies for years. I understand people didn’t want to see the first female Speaker as another villain in a long line of villains.

      My gut is Pelosi and other top Dems are so dirty they can’t bring anything against the GOP or other bad actors without implicating themselves. I’m convinced Cheney made sure to incriminate everyone.

      1. nippersdad

        That is my impression as well. I lost all respect for her when she failed to impeach Bush for war crimes and, thereby, made us all complicit in their actions. Tribalism will only get you so far.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Yep. The left brought the Democrats victory in 2006, not only by opposing the Iraq War, but by somehow stiffening the spine of the Democrat leadership to avoid a Grand Bargain with Bush, which enabled them to paint him (correctly) as wanting to gut Social Security.

          So, the Democrats, miraculously, win the House and the Senate in 2006, controlling both houses for the first time since 1994 — I actually broke out some champagne, not being nearly cynical enough — and Pelosi immediately (a) buries a noxious Republic sex scandal in the Ethics Committee* and (b) takes impeachment “off the table,” even though there were ample ground for it. (Bush’s program of warrantless surveillance resulted in numerous felonies, and there was the torture episode at Abu Ghraib plus “extraordinary rendition.” If the executive branch had been cleansed then, we wouldn’t have Trump today. Instead, Obama consolidated and normalized everything Bush did.)

          What I did not understand at the time (and do now, thanks to Down with Tyranny) is that Pelosi and Rahm Emmanuel (later Obama’s chief of staff, then DCCC chair) had stacked the Democrat class of 2006 with Blue Dogs as a firewall against the left. And then we got Obama, who decapitated the left (who for some reason bought into the idea that “in his heart” he was one of them because he was melanin-complected and also, as a professional, properly articulate). Fast forward through the Crash and eight years on non-delivery and you get Trump.

          I’m bringing this up because 2006-2008 and 2018-2020 seem parallel to me, as if Pelosi were rerunning a play out of the playbook. We have taking impeachment off the table. We have moving the Democrat center of gravity right with Blue Dogs. We have, as opposed to preserving Social Security, preserving ObamaCare (with a big assist from Indivisible, etc.). The differences between then and now is the presence of AOC’s squad and the Sanders campaign. Nothing like either existed in 2006. So it is very natural that the liberal Democrat nomenklatura would seek to remove the irritant that they must see as standing in the way of a victory like that of 2008 (“another victory like that and we are undone”).

          NOTE * Mark Foley, the dude who asked a male page “will you measure for me?” among other super-creepy activities.

      2. Grant

        I agree with what you wrote, but we pay more attention to this stuff than the average American, who is working themselves to death just trying to keep themselves going. But, this behavior is so blatant and their conduct is so offputting that I would have to think that it turns off lots of people that otherwise would not be aware of this stuff. Pelosi and those like her do horrible things behind the scenes, the media never calls it out, and now her behavior and mindset is out there for all to see. How does this not harm her, her rotten party and their corruption? It is these very things that lead people to hate the system and politicians like Pelosi. Think abour the fact that this is happening because of a small group on newcomers. That is how fragile their hold on power is, even with all their money and even with the Pravda like media providing cover for them. This is why the DCCC is thowing the kitchen sink at them, they don’t want the group challenging them to grow, it is the same reason they are doing everything they can to undermine Bernie. They are paper tigers and would already be toast if they weren’t propped up by corporate bribes.

        1. pjay

          ‘The View’ Women Back Nancy Pelosi In Feud With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ – Huffington Post

          I guess it’s settled, then.

          1. Geo

            Ha! Just read that piece too. Shocking that a few rich older ladies side with Pelosi. “How dare those kids tell us we haven’t done enough? Don’t they see how rich we are? We’ve done great work!”

        2. Geo

          Agreed. Most don’t pay attention like us political nerds and what little they do is like this Pelosi love fest on The View where AOC is framed as a disrespectful brat.

          It’s partly generational and party economic. The comfortable think the Dems have done dandy. The young and the poor hear defenses like, “You’re on the shoulders of a whole bunch of people who came before you” as an indictment of how little those predecessors have done to make things right.

          It’s true that in terms of social justice there’s been good progress on some fronts (most recently LGBTQ rights) but for bread and butter issues it’s been mostly regression. The comfortable don’t get that and the uninformed only hear partisan squabbling instead of the nuanced explainations we get from NC or other outlets.

          1. a different chris

            Here is why AOC is a force. At the end of the article:

            “”The way that it came to the floor was, like, What’s going on? Who’s saying what? And you’re hearing secondhand about what might be happening, and it kind of unfolds within thirty minutes, and then, before you know it, Congress has voted on $4.6 billion with no accountability to some agency,” she said.”

            What mid-western white farmer conservative wouldn’t be nodding along to that? She is making it clear she is as mad about the system as anybody. Not just the war, not just the way it distributes cash, but the very fundamentals that it operates on. Or mis-fires, as is becoming clearer and clearer.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > “”The way that it came to the floor was, like, What’s going on? Who’s saying what? And you’re hearing secondhand about what might be happening, and it kind of unfolds within thirty minutes, and then, before you know it, Congress has voted on $4.6 billion with no accountability to some agency,” she said.”

              AOC is also saying the floor leadership was awful, unless you view House members as a sort of herd, as opposed to adults to be reasoned with.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I feel like the Pelosi/hack corrupt Democrats vs AOC and the other social democrats should be in the class war section.

      I don’t think AOC’s class politics are clearly enough enough expressed for that (not that navigating the shoals of identity politics to the open water of actual systemic political power is easy).

  17. Robert McGregor

    They still haven’t learned a damn thing, have they? They are still using the Obama doctrine as in, if you have a major problem, you spin it away with PR and impose your own narrative – or try to – against what people are saying.

    This is an example of the “Enlightenment Fallacy.” “Truth Seekers” assume others are seeking truth as well, but sociopathic leaders like Trump and the Boeing executives know their values, and they ain’t Truth! Boeing leaders know the survival of their power and wealth depends on getting the 737 MAX airborne pronto, and they will do whatever they think it takes–risks be damned. If only they can convince the US regulators to accept computer simulation as effective training . . . Boeing will argue the best case it can find. Net social benefit is not their concern–their power and wealth is at stake!

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Plus the ship turned off its AIS Transponder.

      Nothing shady about that, no maam!

  18. Chris Cosmos

    On the popularity of the intel services–this, along with the almost universal worship of the military by the American people, shows me that most citizens want to believe and have no interest in reality. Even a cursory look at the military and the CIA (for one) would show you how corrupt and malign these organizations actually are. But, the American people don’t want to hear any of that they, for the most part, prefer militant ignorance on the one hand and carefully engineered myths from Hollywood on the other hand.

    1. pretzelattack

      i’m just waiting for the nfl to partner with the intel community. they could have cheerleaders in sunglasses chasing people in boris and natasha costumes, to the delight of the roaring crowd. usa!

    2. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

      “Militant Ignorance”

      So apt … one for the files! Thanks.

      Pip pip!

  19. Wukchumni

    The Invasion of Giant Pythons Threatening Florida Smithsonian
    Florida Man
    Knows no constriction
    Tall tails so far merely fiction

    Burma Slave

    1. ewmayer

      Ha – you’re in good form today! Inquiring minds want to know, are the alleged invaders Burmese pythons?

  20. PlutoniumKun

    Japanese revisionists’ meddling backfires Journal of Critical Asian Studies

    A bit niche, but this does confirm one thing I’ve noticed about official Japanese government attempts to promote the country – they are often extremely flat footed and cloth eared. Japan should be a soft power giant, but they never seem to quite get it right, at least not when the government is involved. And it doesn’t help that Abe has as much in common with the far right as the mainstream right – its probably useful for Japan that most outsiders are unaware of just how powerful the nationalistic right is in Japan, and just how nasty it can be. Japans much vaunted pacifism can cover some pretty nasty tendencies.

    While there is a lot of hypocrisy involved when westerners lecture Japan about WWII atrocities, comfort women, etc., there is little doubt that there is a strong element within the Japanese establishment that genuinely doesn’t understand what the fuss is about.

  21. Wukchumni

    I thought I was a made man when on my 12th birthday, there was a Schwinn Sting-Ray waiting for me to mount the banana seat saddle and slide comfortably back on the sissy bars to enable you to be your very own easy rider and pilot the knobby front tire & slick back tire from here to eternity and/or getting my driver’s license, whichever came first. I didn’t ride for a long time.

    And then for 7 years I did the ‘Tour de Burn’ where any old beater will do, as the playa is dead flat and the biggest hazard @ night was 28,000 people on bikes and 8,000 that wished they’d brought one, with no lanes, most everybody lit, battery powered or otherwise, and I never once crashed into anybody, nor had my ride purloined (they ought to kilt bike stealers {an inside BM joke, lotsa kilts} leaving me to have to hoof it.

    I don’t think i’ve rode a mile in the past decade…

    My neighbor and his wife just got done on a ride from Steinbeck country, down to San Diego, across the country via Texas onward to Florida, thence up to Princeton for their son’s graduation, 4550 miles later. Their bicycles had 4 panniers and a bag in front of the tire, the ensemble weighed in @ 100 pounds including ride. They camped about half the time and stayed at motels otherwise.

    All they encountered was kindness spread far and wide on their ride on the blue highways through predominantly red states, and one thing he stressed was how politics was never brought up or mentioned, it being somebody else’s burden to bear, not theirs.

    Just listening to the details of their spoke’n word sojourn lasting 4 months, left me exhausted.

    1. skippy

      Schwinn Sting-Ray, the one with the 3 speed shifter on the frame [????] aka the Eunuch device.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > a Schwinn Sting-Ray waiting for me to mount the banana seat saddle and slide comfortably back on the sissy bars to enable you to be your very own easy rider and pilot the knobby front tire & slick back tire from here to eternity

      I never understood the appeal. How could you get up any speed?

      1. skippy

        Oh you could, but, then one has the drama of more front tire grip when braking …. going super man over the ape hanger handle bars and experiencing the joys of road rash elbows and forearms is a close second to the Eunuch device experience.

        In both cases it was fortuitous that my grandfather was a GP and Surgeon with military experience, and live and practiced nearby.

        Now don’t ask me about the desire to ride 8 miles in AZ summer, too an old dump and hacksaw front forks off old bikes so you could extend the cool factor of ones bike front forks – extension. Then for some completely irrational desire build a ramp on the sidewalk and do jumps … foot and a half maybe … mom – !!!!!!!!

        Its so SNL old school bag of glass, nails, et al ….

      2. Wukchumni

        The Sting-Ray weighed a ton or so it seemed, and was useless going up hills in the 1-speed version I rode.

        It could bomb downhills, but was a farce to be reckoned with otherwise.

        It was all about looks…

  22. Pelham

    Re Finding a Future in Radical Rural America: Stoller defends capitalism but freely admits the Obama administration screwed things up. That’s a good point, but why defend capitalism?

    It wasn’t just the eight years of Obama that turned everyone sour. We’ve been on a steady downward track for 50 years. And I would suggest this is just a matter of industrialized capitalism returning to historic form.

    The quarter century or so after World War Two was fairly decent. But the war was a massive socialist enterprise that followed the socialist policies of the New Deal while the postwar years were also sustained by further socialist policies — the GI Bill, etc. — while capital was globally hemmed in by a competing system, communism, and the non-aligned countries. Thus capitalism was mightily propped up and confined for that brief time.

    And that’s what we — or many of us — can dimly remember. What we don’t remember are all the years leading up to the war, dating from the dawn of industrialized capitalism at the end of the 18th century. And those years, nearly all of them, were brutal with horrid working conditions for the masses caught up in the machinery and precarious circumstances that make today’s growing precarity pale by comparison, driving people in many cases to actually risk and lose their lives mounting opposition to the capitalists.

    So absent that one, highly peculiar and probably never-to-be-duplicated postwar period, capitalism has been a horror.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m not sure that rolling back our system to a time when the seeds of our current predicament were sown is the best idea.

      Moar regulation sounds like a good idea, but where does the pressure for that come from?

      1) The 1% who want to avoid the pitchforks, through self-interest or even noblesse oblige;

      2) The 10% who want to help the 1% avoid the pitchforks (and feather their nests into the bargain, although I grant sometimes their nests are as pretty and elaborate as those of bower birds);

      3) The 90% who are bringing the pitchforks, and who are well-justified in doing so.

      Since the driver is #3, why not start there, as opposed to starting from an idealized past?

  23. Geo

    Privatizing water: Why this hasn’t been blasted from the front page and leading story of every news outlet since it began happening in earnest after the banking collapse is a mystery to me. The same companies that cratered the housing market are buying up our water and yet rarely does anyone seem to pay attention. Thanks for posting this.

    From 2011:
    The most powerful finance companies on the planet are buying up our water supply and as the crisis worsens these will be the companies deciding on prices and availability. Some things are worth more than money. To a moral human being this means it should not be a for-profit commodity. To a corporation, this means it’s worth more than all the money in the world.

  24. Geo

    “A Majority of Military Veterans Think the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq Were a Mistake”

    This is a big reason why the suicide rates for vets is so high. I spent many years getting to know a lot of young vets returning from those wars. Some were homeless, some were doing well with jobs, families, etc. All had serious issues with suicidal thoughts. One who lost his leg during his first tour said to me he’d rather have lost his other leg than do multiple tours like so many others did. That what the experience did to the mind was worse than anything done to the body.

    It’s one thing to suffer that experience and do things that are inhuman when it’s for a noble cause (as all wars are branded by the warmongers) but it’s a whole other thing when they realize the reasons for it were unmerited.

    For anyone interested, I made a movie about it. Not just posting it for shameless self-promotion. I’ve had military psychologists tell me they use it with their patients to help them better understand what they’re going through and the combat veteran community has been the film’s most devoted fan base. According to them it’s the most accurate portrayal of their “returning home” experience of any film out there.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      The Army put me through a Mental Meat Grinder. The endless, meaningless tasks took a heavy toll. The 7 months i spent in Afghanistan as an ATC Equipment Repairer aka FOBbit were bliss compared to garrison at Ft Bliss/El Paso.

      Junior Enlisted Service Members are rype for either Exploitation or Radicalization.

    2. Avalon Sparks

      Hi Geo – just looked at the website for your movie. It looks like it received a lot of awards! I’m impressed and can’t wait to check it out. Cheers!

  25. AndrewJ

    It’s depressing to contrast the articles in today’s links – the first, laying out carbon reduction pathways that start immediately, and then reading of Russia’s plans to ship fossil products via a Northern Sea Route or Turkey’s desire to exploit newly discovered Mediterranean gas fields. It’s difficult to believe that carbon use reduction is in any way realistic. This is human nature, this is who we are, and for every person who’d accept the reduction in “living standards” to get us to a sustainable life on this planet, there’s another that never will or even plans to profit from a burning world. And how do we settle that difference? At the end of a gun? That’s monstrous and inhuman as well.
    A younger me would have supported things like Oregon’s cap-and-trade bill, but now, we’d be just kneecapping ourselves while the other forty-nine states do as little as possible, and even if the whole nation got in on the act – and which will come first, national carbon reduction or the breakup of the United States? – we’d be facing a world with remaining exploitable fossil resources and many neighbors and nations quite willing to exploit them, rising temperatures be damned.
    I can’t see any other response besides individualized, localized adaptation and preparation. Fossil energy will continue to be extracted and burned, the climate will get hotter and hotter, and there’s nothing any of us can do about it.

  26. ewmayer

    o “As Fresh Water Grows Scarcer, It Could Become a Good Investment | NYT” — Wall Street, always working hard to monetize human suffering and create more of it. God’s work™, people!

    o “How U.S. Tech Giants Are Helping to Build China’s Surveillance State | The Intercept” — Hey, why should our esteemed BigData multinationals restrict their data-hoovering expertise to the domestic market? In the TV series Person of Interest the Samaritan AI was after all the creation of just such a public-private partnership.

Comments are closed.