Links 7/21/19

Wildfires above the Arctic Circle in Greenland and Alaska Wildfire Today

US cities are losing 36 million trees a year. Here’s why it matters and how you can stop it CNN. I know somebody who just plants them in public spaces.

Why Central Banks Need to Step Up on Global Warming Adam Tooze, Foreign Policy

How Disney became entertainment’s apex predator FT

An onslaught of pills, hundreds of thousands of deaths: Who is accountable? WaPo

Google’s sister company creates smart nappies FT. I’m so old I remember when “The Internet of Sh*t” was just a metaphor.

Brexit

BOJO BOOST Boris Johnson on track for landslide win as 73 per cent of Tory voters back the PM hopeful, survey reveals The Sun

Project fear? The last three years have been more catastrophic than even the most pessimistic Remainer predicted Prospect

China

Hong Kong braces for fresh anti-gov’t march amid increased security measures Agence France Presse

Three arrested over Hong Kong’s ‘largest-ever’ bomb plot on eve of major anti-government protest South China Morning Post. The first one to propose violence is always the cop….

* * *

China caught in crossfire of Tokyo-Seoul chipmaking feud Nikkei Asian Review

China’s Tech Sector Is in Trouble The Diplomat

Beijing strengthens its hold on South China Sea Asia Times

The Continuing Chinese Drag on the Global Economy Council on Foreign Relations

Chinese Money in the U.S. Dries Up as Trade War Drags On NYT

Venezuela

U.S. Plans for Post-Maduro Future With Team to Send to Venezuela Bloomberg

Venezuelan opposition group criticizes talks with Maduro The Hill. At Cato.

A Crisis of Social Reproduction in Venezuela: A Conversation with Alba Carosio Venezuelanalysis. Interesting beyond Venezuela.

‘The Antithesis of Bolsonaro’: A Gay Couple Roils Brazil’s Far Right NYT

Puerto Rico

The pillage of public funds in Puerto Rico going on behind the chat Centro de Periodismo Investigativo

Democrats slam Puerto Rico governor over ‘shameful’ comments, back protesters The Hill. Not sure why there isn’t a full-fledged moral panic about this.

Puerto Rico’s week of massive protests, explained Vox. From the ground:

Syraqistan

Iran says its seizure of British ship a ‘reciprocal’ move ABC

British Airways, Lufthansa suspend flights to Cairo Al Jazeera

Trump Transition

The Blob Lashes Out At Critics of Endless War The American Conservative

Modern money theory and its implementation and challenges: The case of Japan VoxEU. Thread in response by Fullwiler.

Democrats in Disarray

The Democratic Party Is Getting Crushed in Fundraising: “They Need to Get Their Shit Together” VICE News

2020

Joe Biden dominates, but Pete Buttigieg makes inroads with Obama’s elite bundlers CNN. “At least 40 top fundraisers to Obama’s 2012 reelection effort donated to Buttigieg’s campaign during the three-month period, helping to catapult the once little-known mayor to the top financial tier.”

Letter in support of the ‘Stop Wall Street Looting Act of 2019′ Economic Policy Institute

Debate warmup (subtitled, which is handy):

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

My browser, the spy: How extensions slurped up browsing histories from 4M users Ars Technica

Israeli group’s spyware ‘offers keys to Big Tech’s cloud’ FT

A Proposed Response to the Commercial Surveillance Emergency LawFare

Police State Watch

A court ruled it was legal for guards to strip search female inmates and force them to remove their tampons in front of male officers for a ‘training exercise’ Business Insider (KW). Lincoln Correctional Center sounds like a hellhole.

Migration

A Border Patrol Agent Reveals What It’s Really Like to Guard Migrant Children Pro Publica

As The US Debates “Concentration Camps,” These Jews Are Trying To Actually Shut Them Down BuzzFeed (DL).

The Postcolonial Case for Rethinking Borders Dissent

Drone pilots now authorized to telecommute Duffel Blog

Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing Has Friends in High Places, Thanks to Its 737 Crash Czar Bloomberg

The DC-10 Got Over Its Grounding, Why Won’t The 737 MAX? Simple Flying

Guillotine Watch

The lesson from the ruins of Notre Dame: don’t rely on billionaires Guardian

Florida sheriff to investigate Epstein’s work release AP (Re Silc).

Toothless, cousin loving The Scalawag

Class Warfare

New Inequality Numbers Are a Gift to Campaign Sloganeers Bloomberg. “The top decile of America holds almost about 70% of the national wealth — 31% is held by the top 1%, while the rest of the top 10% holds about 39%. And the bottom half’s share? About 1.3%.”

Survival of the Fittest: The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Firm Exit NBER

Nutrition Science Is Broken. This New Egg Study Shows Why. Undark (DL).

The Moon Is Full of Money Nautilus

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

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.

190 comments

  1. Baby Gerald

    A superb set of links to tear into on this lovely Sunday morning. Thanks in particular for the Scalawag article Toothless, Cousin Loving. It’s a real eye-opener and excellent to use in response to fans of work like Hillbilly Elegy to maybe broaden perspectives a bit further.

    And I gotta say, with titles like that CNN article about Buttigieg making ‘inroads’ with ‘Obama’s elite bundlers’ after telling us that free public college and MfA are pipe dream ambitions, any remnant of Mayor Pete’s manufactured charm has worn completely away. Now he’s just saying things to go on record when he need private sector employment.

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Agreed here too. That treatment of the author in class strikes me as much as classism as anything else. And why the surprise that she nominated a book by John Steinbeck? He is one of the great American authors. A properly trained professor should have learned not to judge a book by the cover but such does not seem to be the case here. And this was from a decade ago and it was not some cow college either.
        I read another example of how supposedly educated professors fall into this trap. There was an archaeological dig in England and each year local unemployed farm-workers were used on the dig. Over time some of these workers, through self-study, became very proficient with archaeology. One time a professor, extracting a piece of Roman pottery from a trench, announced it to be Claudian-era pottery. At that moment, a farm worker said in his heavily accented speech “Well, no soor. That ‘un be from the Julian era. You can be seeing that from the markings running along the bottom”. And he was right.

        Reply
      2. Lynne

        To be honest, I enjoyed the read but cringed at this:

        The most populous region of the United States is, contrary to popular belief, not a monolith of barefoot, cis-gendered, hetero white folks.

        Because it perhaps unwittingly revealed how much white, heterosexual, and cis-gendered have become just as pejorative as barefoot in trendy groups.

        Reply
        1. anonymous

          I think you’re missing the authors point–taking that line out of context. These stereotypes are used as door to door political canvassing—insidious, effective, understood without explanation—nationwide. She clearly says how these ideas are transmitted and enforced, upholding class power, not justice.

          —-“Here’s what folks don’t understand when they readily accept these narratives as truth: They give more power to the (mostly) white men who run this state, the very people who fund or write our oppressive laws, ensuring those dudes and their wealthy offspring and cohorts will continue to hold power. Every time a law creeps from our nightmares to their statehouse or every time Alabama lawmakers ignore very real issues of corruption and inequity, folks outside of Alabama.”

          This could apply to what’s going on in New York right now.

          Reply
          1. Lynne

            No, I got the author’s point, but you unsuccessfully sidestepped mine. Indeed, you reinforce my point with your choice of rhetoric.

            Reply
        2. Plenue

          Those groups don’t matter. Heterosexual ‘cis*’ people are the majority, and will remain the majority. White people also remain the majority, at around 60% of the US population. Any group that habitually sneers at ‘the straights’ or ‘the whites’ is a group that has in effect utterly given up on creating real change in the real world. They can be safely ignored.

          *I’m quickly coming to the conclusion that this is an utterly asinine concept, and that ‘non-cis’ people, are, with maybe a few exceptions, victims who have been bamboozled by insular internet circlejerking into thinking that, for example, being a girl who doesn’t like dresses actually means you’re ‘really a boy’, and that you need to get your breasts cut off and start taking testosterone supplements. No, you’re just a girl who doesn’t like dresses.

          Reply
          1. Carey

            I agree with most of what youy say here, but as a method of reducing or eliminating social
            cohesion, the languange mentioned is working quite well; perhaps with a little help from
            high places.

            Reply
          2. Lynne

            I hate the thought of ignoring anyone, but to your second paragraph, Exactly! And similarly, being a boy who likes pink just means you like pink. One of the most pathetic things I’ve ever heard was a woman who prided herself on being woke because she supported her daughter’s choice to transition, and described with satisfaction how much better her outspoken child was treated —
            even by strangers, she stressed — after transitioning, attributing it to people being open-minded. Didn’t seem to matter to her that perhaps it was plain old misogyny and that the strangers were just reacting to an assertive boy rather than a “bossy” girl based on stereotypes pushed by the IDpol crowd.

            Ironically, the most respect for strong women IME has come from old ranchers and farmers, and the most fear of and contempt for them has come from “liberal” East Coasters.

            Reply
            1. Plenue

              I don’t mean to ignore their causes; I support the ones that aren’t insane, and they mostly aren’t insane. Gay marriage for instance isn’t crazy. I’m not their enemy, and I’m going to continue not being their enemy, no matter how much some of them may sneer about me and reject my help.

              What I’m saying though is that there are various advocates who will actively push away people from dominant social groups merely for being from those groups. And in turn these extremists themselves can be ignored, because they don’t much matter for the quest of achieving their goals. Whatever the validity of their underlying grievances, from a purely practical standpoint you aren’t going to get anywhere by rejecting the groups who mostly run society. This is just a retread of the old “I refuse to work with well intentioned white liberals” Malcolm X thinking. It was wrong then, and it’s wrong now.

              On the subject of ‘trans’ children, that’s probably the most horrific aspect of all this madness. Kids don’t know what the hell they are; they’re kids. They go through phases. What’s really happening is that parents are projecting their views onto impressionable minds. Not only are the kids adopting their parents views even when they don’t really think that way themselves, but the parents are unconsciously forcing their kids into a mold.

              And for all their pretenses of being ‘woke’, it’s invariably a mold shaped by consumerism and sexism. Their daughter likes toy trucks? She must really be a boy! Because Tonka marketing has decided trucks are only for boys, and they just blindly accept that logic.

              My experience with MTF transsexuals is that they are almost uniformly obsessed with ‘passing’ as attractive women. It isn’t enough to just be women, they have to be a facsimile of a magazine supermodel. Plucked and toned and made-up, wearing what the trans imagine to be properly feminine clothing, which will either be cutesy anime girl getups, or ridiculous stripper outfits. So it’s men wanting to be women, but only ‘proper’ women, attractive in the eyes of men. I think the people who say it’s all just a autogynephilia fetish come crazy are on to something…

              Trans activism, especially that inflicted on children, is going to have massive blowback. Not push-back from reactionaries but blowback, CIA style. Probably in the form of lots of suicides (in fact this already happens often). There’s going to be so much psychological wreckage left in this things wake.

              Reply
      3. Whoamolly

        Toothless, Cousin Loving is pretty good.

        It’s also a fairly good rant about class in the USA these days. I substituted ‘hillbilly’ for Southern and it still works.

        As someone recently wrote on NC “When someone wants you to look right or left, it’s a way to keep you from looking up.”

        Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Re Scalawag–in truth the South pretty much earned its bad reputation and therefore some of us see no need to get “a chip on our shoulder” (to use a Southernism).

      However the reality is that regionalism is dead even if some Northerners prefer not to get the memo. A Walmart or McDonald’s in South Carolina looks much the same as one in Wisconsin and while we are still electing yahoos like Nikki Haley, they go to work for that yahoo from Queens who likes to visit North Carolina and hang with his peeps. For sure the local yahoo faction still exists and in enough numbers to attend Trump rallies. But they have no real power because the South decided some decades ago that overt racism is bad for business. There’s plenty of the covert kind but that applies everywhere in the US (or just everywhere).

      Reply
      1. Baby Gerald

        This is a great point, Carolinian. Upstate New York, central PA, rural Ohio etc are very much interchangeable depressed economies and populations, usually suffering the same neglect thanks to continual defunding of services across the past half century. Most of these areas would be indistinguishable from rural Alabama.

        The smugnorance exemplified by that professor in the article now seems to reflect more of an urban/rural bias than a North/South one, but is usually based on similar assumptions of both as yokels with low education and motivation, with the added bonus that Southerners can be caricatured as secretly racist embittered secessionists once or twice removed.

        Reply
      2. notabanker

        Not so sure about that. I didn’t see any VW, Nissan, BMW or Hyundai plants north of the Mason Dixon line on my last drive to Texas. I did drive past the closed Lordstown plant a few weeks ago though.

        Reply
  2. dearieme

    Puerto Rico’s government that pretends to serve the interests of its people but instead exploits them, over and over again for profits and power.

    Be fair; the guy is a Democrat.

    Reply
  3. noonespecial

    Re: WaPo’s Pills article

    The WaPo article reads that, “The new formulation of oxycodone was heavily marketed by Purdue as being less likely to become addictive because, the company said, it didn’t give patients such a jolt of a high.”

    Found this in the current issue of Harper’s. “Exit Wounds: A Survival Guide to Pain Management for Returning Veterans and Their Families” by Derek McGinnis, an Iraq War veteran (Purdue sponsored the publishing of this).
    https://harpers.org/archive/2019/08/junk-science/

    The author of the Guide seems to echo industry propaganda:

    “The pain-relieving properties of opioids are unsurpassed; they are today considered the ‘gold standard’ of pain medications, and so are often the main medications used in the treatment of chronic pain. Yet, despite their great benefits, opioids are often underused. For a number of reasons, health care professionals may be afraid to prescribe them, and patients may be afraid to take them. At the core of this wariness is the fear of addiction, so I want to tackle this issue head-on.

    If your body adjusts to a drug or medication, it may become less effective over time. This is called tolerance. This is simply a physiological process that doesn’t occur for all people or with all medications. Many people with persistent pain, for example, don’t develop tolerance and stay on the same dose of opioids for a long time. Physical dependence means that a person will develop symptoms and signs of withdrawal if a drug or medication is suddenly stopped or the dose is lowered too quickly. Withdrawal can be a problem with many medications used on a long-term basis, such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and medicines prescribed to control high blood pressure. Physical dependence is normal. This does not mean you are addicted.”

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Here is an excellent interview on the topic on Fresh Air with Travis Reider, a bioethicist who had direct experience with opioid use for pain management and addiction.
      Motorcycle Crash Shows Bioethicist The Dark Side Of Quitting Opioids Alone
      https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/07/08/738952129/motorcycle-crash-shows-bioethicist-the-dark-side-of-quitting-opioids-alone

      I was on opioids for over a decade for chronic back pain. When a non-opioid alternative became available, I tapered off opioids over an 8 month period. Reider’s view is that very gradual tapering with pharmaceutical support, clonidine in my case for example, is effective but hardly ever medically employed at present, This comports with my own experience.

      Frankly, I have no problem with long term use of opioids for pain management so long as there are no alternatives. I never took them to get high and my dosage did not need to be increased over the extensive period of time I used them. I doubt that I’m unique in the regard. But such stories are not newsworthy. It would be interesting to see data on the cases of the use of the successful opioids as a maintenance drug by those who would otherwise be suffering avoidable pain.

      In my case the alternative medication is low dose Naltrexone, which is off label for my condition, experimental, and its effectiveness is probably limited to certain types of pain caused by central nervous system inflammation.

      Reply
        1. Krystyn Walentka

          That is interesting. I have a friend who is “sober” for 15 years but they smoke pot, drink 4 cups of coffee a day, and vape. I told them that they were still activating the same receptors and to get truly sober they had to stop everything for a long time so the receptors normalize. Glad to see someone looking in this direction.

          Thanks.

          Reply
          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Same here.

            First two and half years i was completely sober but gained 150 lbs and miserable. Smoked weed for two years and felt like i was enjoying life and had intermittent periods of happiness. Last month i finally put down the bong and am completely sober again, exercising regularly without killing myself, and for whatever reason i seem to have a firm grasp on things. Life indeed does get better. Plus i finally know ‘who i am’ and ‘what i believe.’

            Survivors of the Shipwreck Unite!

            Also, F AA :)

            Reply
              1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                Thx!!!

                I must admit that i always steered clear of Heroin n Opiates so in a sense i feel that it was easier to stay sober…

                Reply
          2. Aumua

            Former IV drug user here, including heroin and oxycodone, and I have 9 years clean in NA. Not a very popular position I know, but it did work for me. Stunningly.

            Reply
            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              In rehab i always felt that most people in AA shouldve been in NA but they didnt go to NA meetings due to it being 30 mins longer. Being a stubborn Atheist i could only get past the 1st step, but thank Jove that was enough to put me on the path to recovery.

              Great job on the sobriety and Keep on Keepin on!

              Reply
              1. Aumua

                It can work just as good for atheists. The group is the higher power. We can do together what I can’t do alone. Most of my good friends in NA are atheists, agnostics or like… discordians or something.

                Not to say its for everyone, cause it ain’t.

                Reply
              2. Procopius

                A couple of my friends in AA here in Bangkok stopped going to meetings and started with NA instead. It seemed to work for them. I’m an agnostic, so I was able to get steps two and three. Back in the early days people like me were called three-steppers, and nowadays I get the feeling we are disapproved of, but it worked for me.

                Reply
                1. Aumua

                  Most people just conflate AA and NA, but really they’re different. NA is newer, it’s further removed from the christian roots of AA and it’s generally more evolved and progressive. It’s more inclusive of all (drug) addictions and in my opinion it is superior in many ways.

                  Reply
            2. Janie

              Congratulations to Aumua and JHB. I think those of us who reached maturity long before the street drug and opioid crises can’t know how difficult sobriety is. Hang in there!

              Reply
          3. Procopius

            Well, I’ve been free from alcohol (through AA) for 43 years, I was finally able to quit smoking ten years ago, and I’m now down to about four cups of coffee a day. Thanks for explaining that I’m really not sober, but my life is so much happier since I get free from the alcohol I don’t particularly care.

            Reply
        2. Lee

          Thanks for the most interesting links. I was unaware of the use of Naltrexone in the treatment of alcohol dependence. I know it has been used for opioid abuse as it blocks opioid receptors. Taking it while still dependent on opioids will put one in instant withdrawal. An extremely unpleasant experience. It should be reserved for when one is clean and at danger for relapsing.

          In my case it is an experimental treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic encephalomyelitis. The working theory is that regarding that condition is that it is an auto-immune induced inflammation of the central nervous system as the result of the presence of a common virus that the vast majority people carry and tolerate without symptoms. Naltrexone appears to calm the immune response and inflammation ameliorating the fatigue and associated hypersensitivity to pain. Because it is an opioid antagonist, its analgesic effects may appear paradoxical. However, the body responds to the blocking of opioid receptors by up regulating one’s natural endorphins with a net positive pain relieving effect.

          While my back pain increased and was more immobilizing during the reduction and cessation of morphine use, it was pretty much eliminated after about a month of using low dose (0.15mg/day) Naltrexone. Because I slowly tapered off the morphine, I did not have to deal with severe withdrawal on top of the back pain.

          The fatigue has been abating at a slower rate than has the pain but the severity of crashes from physically overdoing it on good days has been reduced. I’ve had days lately when I have been shoveling and moving wheel barrows full of dirt and doing other house and garden stuff, things which I have only very rarely been able to do for years. I hope the effects persist.

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            I sent your comment to a friend with CFS; she replied that she’s been taking naltrexone for months. Says it helps with everything but the fatigue. She is doing better.

            Used to be a hyper-energetic person, so it’s very sad to see her slowed down so much.

            Reply
            1. Lee

              They’ve added low dose (0.25mg/day) aripiprazole (abilify) to my regimen. I was reluctant at first given it’s full dose use as an anti-psychotic and can have strange side effects. But given the very low dose, I’m giving it a try. Early days yet, we’ll see how it goes. If she’s being treated at the Stanford CFS/ME clinic, they may suggest that for your friend.

              Also, I misstated my Naltrexone dosage: it is in fact 1.5mg/day.

              Reply
      1. Aumua

        It’s no secret that physical tolerance to opiates (and many drugs) generally develops with long term use, and that an increased dose becomes necessary to achieve the same effects. Maybe that did not happen in your case for whatever reason, but it’s certainly not a myth.

        Reply
        1. Lee

          I’m not claiming it is a myth but that it is not necessarily true in all cases. But I do believe at least based on personal experience that opioids can be life enhancing when used judiciously. Simply cutting people off their prescriptions is probably the cause of many opioid overdoses. Whatever the source of their pain, whether socially or physically induced, these people require medical support either to quit or to use as a maintenance drug.

          Reply
          1. 3.14e-9

            In my one experience with an opioid, it made the pain go away very fast, and it also was frighteningly addictive. After suffering an on-the-job back injury in 2009, I was in mind-numbing pain for six months and was becoming suicidally depressed. My doctor wrote me a two-week prescription for hydrocodone, which took away the pain within 24 hours. You bet that I was “euphoric.” Definitely not a high, it was more akin to the feeling of waking up pain-free after a two-day migraine. However, after a week or so, I started noticing that I wanted it more frequently, even though it didn’t feel like the previous dose had worn off yet. When I was down to four or five pills, I realized that the longer I took them, the more addicted I was going to get, so I put them in the back of the medicine cabinet (they came in handy later for migraines).

            Lee, you certainly are correct that everyone’s experience is different. However, there is ample clinical evidence at this point of the dangerous side effects of long-term use of opioids and the lack of efficacy in ongoing pain management. Studies actually have found that long-term use increases depression, which may be one of the reasons why they are so deadly – depression being the most common precursor to suicide. Even the VA has recognized the danger and is reducing its dependence on opioids for long-term pain management.

            I left a longer comment below with some links.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              My experience with opioids is almost the mirror image. I took them for maybe 3 days for some really bad dental pain (losing a clot after having had a wisdom tooth extracted). Not only did they not kill the pain, they made me feel generally terrible. High doses of aspirin and NSAIDs did way more in pain relief (still not much but better). Similar experience with synthetic opioids for agonizing pain after a stem cell treatment (which BTW also made my orthopedic condition worse), did nothing for the pain, but made me feel even worse in other respects.

              I assume a high enough dose would knock me out but anything else is counterproductive.

              Reply
              1. Greg

                That’s the same experience my wife has. Anything opioid or derivative just makes her feel sick. She uses paracetamol and ibuprofen, together if it’s bad. NOS for childbirth and oral surgery ;)

                Reply
              2. 3.14e-9

                I should have added that the hydrocodone worked in the short-term, but since I wasn’t willing to stay on it (my doctor wouldn’t have agreed to it anyway), I don’t know how much it would have helped in the long run. In fact, all of the studies I’ve read so far concluded that opioids are ineffective for long-term pain management, and that the risk of addiction isn’t the only serious side effect. And that’s not even accounting for the many participants who dropped out due to intolerable side effects or lack of pain relief – the two most common complaints.

                I did try gabapentin for three months, which also worked fabulously initially, but eventually it put me in such a fog that I had to discontinue it. The doctor told me that the injury likely would never heal and that I’d have pain for the rest of my life. He was right.

                Reply
                1. Lee

                  Gabapentin caused me to have dark thoughts. I quit it quick. My thoughts are quite dark enough as it is, thank you very much.

                  Reply
              3. ambrit

                Phyllis has the same experience with opioids. They made her nauseous and did little to ease the pain. She is now moving away from the truly horrendous gabapentin (prescribed by the hospice doctor,) and back to a mix of Ibuprofen, turmeric, ginger root and feverfew. The gabapentin began to make her nauseous and perpetually dizzy. Plus, she was sleeping twelve or more hours a day.
                Finding a tolerable level of pain is her goal now.

                Reply
                1. Oregoncharles

                  Feverfew is supposed to prevent migraines, but I didn’t know it controlled other pain. It’s all over the garden, so that’s good to know.

                  I assume she takes it in capsules; it tastes truly awful – straight turmeric isn’t much better, despite being a spice.

                  Reply
                  1. ambrit

                    I don’t even know if the boffins have figured out how feverfew works on migraines. I wish that I had known if it when younger, since I had monthly migraines. It turned out to be related to my hypertension. Deal with that, and the migraines went away. Now as to the periodicity of the migraines… :)>
                    Yes the feverfew is in capsule form. The turmeric we use in cooking a lot, and I bought some empty gelatin capsules and a half kilo bag of powdered turmeric from India. The main side effect for me from loading the capsules for Phyl is the dreaded “Yellow Finger Syndrome!”

                    Reply
              4. Oregoncharles

                That was my mother’s experience with morphine, too: made her miserable and very weepy. A fairly typical perverse effect, which are all too common with neurological drugs.

                When our son was having a bone marrow transplant, morphine worked for him but every single anti-emetic had severe side effects. In the end, they wondered if throwing up all the time helped ward off one of the worst side effects of the transplant, and considered doing a study on it. Maybe it was the root beer.

                Reply
    2. Tomonthebeach

      The Drug Industry — “found it profitable to flood some of the most vulnerable communities in America with billions of painkillers.” In science, we call this asserting causality from a mere correlation.

      Simply put, the correlation between regions of high unemployment (the vulnerable communities in WAPO terminology) and drug presence is very likely due to a welfare system that does not support long-term unemployment, but does compensate workers for job-related disability- back pain being the easiest to claim and hardest to disprove medically.

      In most states, when the unemployment insurance runs out, the only option is disability compensation. “Doctor, it’s my back.” The doctor responds to the complaint with “We’ll do some tests, take some Xrays, and get started on your disability paperwork. In the meantime, let’ start you on some Naproxin.” Concerned that the tests might be negative, during their follow-up examination, the medically naive patient complains: “I am still in agonizing pain.”

      The doctor changes to an opioid while the compensation claim progresses. This is the point at which the Case and Deaton hypothesis finds some support. Depressed from months of unemployment and a seemingly hopeless prospect for future work, the hydrocodone not only relieves any genuine physical pain, but it also assuages psychological pain too. As welfare cannot sustain a household and pay for prescription opioids, economics force the patient to seek less costly alternatives – heroin. At that point, the familiar addiction cycle kicks in.

      Reply
    3. 3.14e-9

      McGinnis’s book was published ten years ago. As far as I can tell, he does not use opioids regularly anymore, but only during acute flare-ups, which is an “acceptable use,” according to physicians against long-term opioid use. Exercise, diet, and mental health are part of his ongoing treatment plan. I also read somewhere that he says it’s too much to expect, following traumatic injuries such as those he suffered, to be completely pain-free. His goal is to get to manageable levels so that he can get on with life.

      FWIW, the VA is less-inclined these days to prescribe opioids long-term for chronic pain, especially given the link between opioid use and suicide, and to recommend psychotherapy for pain management, as well as alternative treatments such as acupuncture, massage, and meditation.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        By his account, that is also how “Amfortas” uses them – for flare-ups. He seems not to be here today, or I wouldn’t answer for him.

        Reply
  4. Krystyn Walentka

    RE “Dolphins play alongside boat off California coast”

    Play? How do we know they are playing? Maybe they are saying “Help us?” or “Look at you stoopid humons who need a boat to be in the water!”

    I am all in favor of a more diverse set of anthropomorphisms….anyone with me?

    Reply
    1. Olga

      Yes, maybe they’re just showing off or saying ‘this is MY water, now pls get out!’ But maybe they’d like the human specimen to join them, who knows. In any case, they are too smart for us.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve had bears show off for me before, one time we spied a mom and 6 month old cub about 100 feet away from us, and mom for some reason decided to go climb to the crown of a 100 foot pine tree another 100 feet away in a display of raw strength, both sets of legs grappling the trunk and in a series of pulling up with the front legs and then doing the same with hind legs, she made it to the top in in like 10 seconds flat. Her cub made it up about halfway before getting cold feet.

        This was in a forest full of trees, so there was no real good reason for her to do it, other than to say “hey pesky humans, can you do this?”

        Reply
          1. Jeotsu

            Basic bear identification… If when trying to escape a bear:

            -you climb a tree, and the bear climbs up and eats you, it was a black bear
            -you climb a tree, and the bear pushes the tree over and eats you, it was a brown bear
            -there are no trees, and the bear eats you, it was a polar bear

            Now you can identify bears!

            Reply
      2. Oregoncharles

        Looked to me like they were traveling in the same general direction. Huge school, if that’s the right term. They are well known to play in bow waves, but most of those were too far away.

        Reply
    2. Kurtismayfield

      They could be trying to warn us of our demise too . We better listen before they all say “So long, and thanks for the fish”.

      Reply
    3. Carolinian

      in favor of a more diverse set of anthropomorphisms

      Maybe they are indulging in Dolphinisms–pretending that we are one of them. Or maybe animals are a lot more like us than we realize. The “anthropomorphism” charge goes back to a period when nobody believed that.

      Reply
    4. LifelongLib

      Several decades ago I was on a research ship in the northwest Hawaiian islands when we encountered a pod of spinner dolphins. When the ship was moving they would approach and swim alongside, leaping through the bow wave. When we stopped they would swim away and wait for us to start moving again. So it appears it was the ship’s motion (not just its presence) that got their attention.

      Reply
  5. dearieme

    Nutrition Science Is Broken. This New Egg Study Shows Why.

    Even that rogue Ancel Keys, the medical scientist who started the great Fat Fraud/Cholesterol Con, dismissed the idea that cholesterol in food could harm your heart. I imagine that his reasoning was that there was no route by which the cholesterol could go straight from your egg to your blood with first being digested in your stomach.

    My rule is to eat a mixed diet, where “mixed” implies not only plenty of fish, but also starches, veg, fruit, and meat. If in doubt it’s starches and sugar that I’ll swerve, not eggs, cheese, bacon, or lamb chops. A mixed diet accords with the little doctors know, and insures you against the large amount they don’t know and the even larger amount, probably, of what they think they know that’s wrong.

    Reply
    1. Krystyn Walentka

      RE: “Nutrition Science Is Broken. This New Egg Study Shows Why.”

      Sigh…they never talk how genetics might affect these large studies and why it is might be a cause of all the noise. Take, for example the gene NPC1L1 which dictates how much cholesterol we absorb through our intestinal lining. What do they find when they look at this gene and its’ effect on heart disease?

      Inactivating Mutations in NPC1L1 and Protection from Coronary Heart Disease

      Naturally occurring mutations that disrupt NPC1L1 function were found to be associated with reduced plasma LDL cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.)

      So people with these gene changes would have no greater risk of heart disease from eating eggs. It is estimated that 25% of Caucasians hold these gene changes. So does eating eggs increase cholesterol? It depends on your genetics (period). Large population studies reveal what is good for the average person, but we are all somewhere on that bell curve. I know I am on the far end genetically, and that helped save my life.

      Reply
    2. Krystyn Walentka

      Sigh…they never talk how genetics might affect these large studies and why it is might be a cause of all the noise. Take, for example the gene NPC1L1 which dictates how much cholesterol we absorb through our intestinal lining. What do they find when they look at this gene and its’ effect on heart disease?

      Inactivating Mutations in NPC1L1 and Protection from Coronary Heart Disease

      Naturally occurring mutations that disrupt NPC1L1 function were found to be associated with reduced plasma LDL cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.)

      So people with these gene changes would have no greater risk of heart disease from eating eggs. It is estimated that 25% of Caucasians hold these gene changes. So does eating eggs increase cholesterol? It depends on your genetics (period). Large population studies reveal what is good for the average person, but we are all somewhere on that bell curve. I know I am on the far end genetically, and that helped save my life.

      Reply
        1. Krystyn Walentka

          Of course I do. :)

          They studied people who were eating their traditional diet, which they have adapted to genetically. To apply the diet of an Okinawan to an Arctic Inuit would probably lead to a shorter life for the Inuit.

          To me what that book probably reveals is that a healthy diet depends on your genetic heritage. However they did not even bother to look at genetics so…

          Reply
          1. TroyMcClure

            Massive, late-stage atherosclerosis has been observed in frozen inuit remains from before they westernized their diets. The inuit in no way adapted to eating such high levels of animal meat laden with saturated fat and cholesterol. They simply died of coronary artery disease like most people posting here will some day. In fact, the only way in which the inuit adapted was by NOT going into ketosis as a result of eating so little carbohydrate. Should tell you just how bad ketosis is for the human body.

            Reply
            1. Harold

              It was a choice of eat what was available and have a shorter lifespan or starve right away. People who ate a lot of salted fish in northern Japan had a high incidence of stroke but at least they were alive.

              Reply
            2. Krystyn Walentka

              Ha, yes, even some Okanawins and Sardinians get heart disease. My point being that finding evidence in a few Inuit does not mean that every Ibuit diet of heart disease.

              You say ” The inuit in no way adapted to eating such high levels of animal meat laden with saturated fat and cholesterol.”

              Science says:

              https://academic.oup.com/cdn/article/3/Supplement_1/nzz037.FS11-02-19/5517759

              Our results suggest the association between traditional diet and erythrocyte FA composition is affected by CPT1A genotype. Further analyses are needed to explore which specific foods drive the interaction.

              https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969718310404

              The findings suggest that polymorphisms in key environmentally responsive genes can influence biomarker levels and/or modify exposure-biomarker associations for contaminants of cinuitoncern to Arctic populations. Consideration of such gene-environment results may help improve the ability to conduct exposure (and ultimately risk) assessments of country foods and Inuit health.

              and my favorite…

              https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S221226721830159X

              A diet featuring high food variety, high fish intake, and low sugar intake was negatively associated with the prevalence of cardiovascular outcomes among Inuit.

              Reply
      1. KidPsych

        There’s too much misinformation about cholesterol effects on heart disease. One of the better studied communities are persons with familial hypercholesterolemia. While one would predict that such persons, who generate many times the typical levels of cholesterol, would merely expire as they age. But they don’t. In fact, it appears that they live longer than more typical persons. The wrinkle exists in the fact that many with FH also carry a mutation that increases clotting factors. Those with the factor tend to die early; those without live longer lives on average. Merely having excess cholesterol is not predictive of heart disease.

        Reply
        1. Krystyn Walentka

          I know you are mistaken about longevity of people with familial hypercholesterolemia because that is what my family has and one is dead and two others had open heart surgery before 50.

          Now if you want to talk LDL particle size….

          Reply
          1. SKM

            that comment is anecdotal – it is not evidence for or against anything – like the heavy smoker friend who died at nearly 90 of nothing smoking related

            Reply
            1. Oregoncharles

              The example proves that there are people – that’s not the only one – who are largely immune to the effects of smoking. It would be useful to know why.

              Krystyn may have offered evidence (n=3) that the clotting factor is important.

              Reply
      2. dearieme

        Large population studies reveal what is good for the average person

        But do they? As the linked article said they tend to depend on what people say they think they remember of what they’d eaten. Even if they had supernaturally good memories the study would only be observational anyway.

        Reply
        1. Krystyn Walentka

          Yes, I agree, if they were PERFECT they would only be good for some mythical average person.

          Reply
  6. Otis B Driftwood

    Regarding ‘Chinese Money Drying up….’, I’ve noticed in my little neck of the woods that homes are now lingering on the market whereas in the not-so-recent past they would be sold almost immediately. Prices here have reached such extremes that I view this as a positive sign.

    And I also appreciate the irony of a Chinese company reviving a paper mill deep in “Trump country” (Paducah, KY), doubtless included in this NYT article as illustrative of the hypocrisy of the MAGA con (and equally doubtless any of the bigots chanting “Send her back” will muster the necessary brain cells to make that connection).

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      This isn’t something new…

      Every house in the neighborhood I grew up in was bought by mainland Chinese over a period of a decade or so, as there is a Buddhist temple about a mile away, a large draw. Her next door neighbor was a Chinese movie star agent of all things, to give you an idea.

      Fast forward back to 2015 and it’s time to sell and make her move to an assisted living place, and we have a meeting with her realtor, and I ask if the domicile is going to end up with the usual suspects, and our realtor say nope.

      At that time thanks to a recent rule change back home, somebody from the PRC could only get $50k out of China and maybe with a little help from family/friends, perhaps you could get $200k, or $300k out combining resources, and that doesn’t buy a lot of L.A. house, nor is there any lending mechanism for overseas buyers to cover the rest, typically.

      He told us his main competition had been a few 1-trick-pony Chinese-American realtors, who had the cultural and language advantage over him, but that was then and this is now-he cackled, and Haoles were the new buyers, and sure enough the house sold to your basic WASP’y couple with 2.4 kids. (one on the way in the oven)

      Reply
      1. Tom Stone

        Wukchumni, It is possible for foreign nationals of to obtain home loans.
        It’s a bit more of a PITA, with more paperwork involved but it is altogether doable.
        And because these loans are collateral based the risk premium for a for a foreign buyer is negligible ( About a quarter point).
        You do need to use a competent loan broker…

        Reply
    2. Cal2

      Excellent!
      This means that residential, and commercial rents, in the San Francisco Bay Area should start going down.

      1. 100,000s of thousands homes sit empty, mostly foreign owned, as owners hope to get their children’s feet in the door of local universities, colleges and junior colleges, with the added bonus of lower “resident” tuition, which helps pay for the house.
      https://sf.curbed.com/2019/3/21/18276227/vacancy-rate-san-jose-san-francisco-lendingtree

      “If we have seven offers for a home here, three of them will be Mainland Chinese buyers with all cash,” Kim Heng, the Chinese-born head of Asian outreach at Deleon Realty, guessed. “We’ve never seen so much money in all the years we’ve been in the real estate business.”
      “Palo Alto, in many ways, is the ideal city for attracting Chinese buyers, due to its strength in three crucial areas: education, investment and immigration possibilities. Palo Alto’s public schools consistently rank among the best in the state, if not the country, and the city borders Stanford University, one of the American universities that is best-known in China…”

      2. This should mean fewer landlords advertising places for rent in Chinese language newspapers, thus effectively excluding non-Chinese potential tenants. Then there’s just plain old racism, as many Chinese landlords refuse to rent to “Gwai-Lo’s”, or round eyes.

      Starting over fifty years ago, following LBJ’s immigration reforms, Chinese surnamed people began buying up property in San Francisco. The city became an outpost of Hong Kong and then mainland China through the 1980s and 1990s. 72% of the privately owned property in the city is owned by people with Chinese surnames.
      What percentage are American citizens versus foreigners is hard to determine.

      Add to this the attraction and sheltering of ‘undocumented’ renters to the city, and the AirB&B microcapitalists hogging apartments and it’s not hard to see why the city has the highest rents in the nation.

      Renters in San Francisco ought to thank Trump for this accidental assistance to them.

      https://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinese-investors-buy-more-us-residential-real-estate-than-any-other-country-but-trumps-trade-war-could-soon-end-that-2019-05-15

      Reply
  7. witters

    A federal court ruled that it was legal for Illinois guards to strip-search female inmates in full view of male correctional officers, male and female cadets, and civilians for a “training exercise.”
    The judges ruled 2-1 after hearing that the women were forced to remove their tampons while guards called them derogatory terms like “dirty b——,” and told them they “smell like death.”
    In his dissenting opinion, Judge John Z. Lee wrote “It is rationales like this – that fall somewhere between legitimate security concerns and unjustified harassment – that suggest the continuing need for the Fourth Amendment even in prisons.”

    Tell me again about The Axis of Evil.

    Reply
    1. mpalomar

      That 2 of three judges found for the Illinois guards is terribly disturbing but not surprising as was the ‘training’ exercise itself. Indeed we don’t have to look far for where the axis of evil lays.

      Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Throughout the process, the female correctional officers and cadets told the women they were “dirty b——,” “f—— disgusting,” “deserve to be in here,” and “smell like death,” according to the federal complaint that was being reviewed by the court.

      As a female, I find it infuriating when women participate in the degradation and abuse of other women in an attempt to be accepted into some macho boy’s club, particularly when the humiliation is as gender-specific as this was. Here’s a hint for the girl guards–all the boys know that you do that tampon thing too. And thanks for the visual.

      How stupid and insecure do you have to be not to understand that when the corrosive system you’re so desperate to be part of turns on you, as it almost certainly will, you’re going to have to swallow it whole. Do these ignorant fools actually believe that this unhinged behavior will gain them the respect of their colleagues?

      And I’ve no idea who the two majority judges are, but the idea that they could conjure up some “legal” justification for this “training exercise” is absolutely beyond belief.

      Reply
      1. anonymous

        From the Hill article to which the piece linked:

        …the circuit court majority, comprised of two Reagan-appointed judges, Frank H. Easterbrook and Daniel A. Marion, ruled that the women’s Fourth Amendment rights to privacy had not been violated by the search because it was conducted through visual means.

        However, District Judge John Z. Lee, who was appointed by former President Obama, argued in his dissenting opinion that the “facts of this case illustrate the ungainliness of the majority’s new rule.”

        https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/453920-court-rules-it-was-legal-for-jail-guards-to-force-female

        Reply
        1. a different chris

          >rights to privacy had not been violated by the search because it was conducted through visual means.

          Wow everytime I shake my head at our medical profession (good discussion about food tolerance being a genetic adaption above) our legal beagles go it one better. The first understanding a small child has about “privacy” is “they can’t see you”.

          But that makes too much sense for supposed adults.

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            The whole point of McConnell preventing confirmation of judges during Obama’s term and rushing a whole shitload through now is to make sure there are plenty of judges like this on the bench for the next thirty years.

            Reply
      2. Cal2

        Simple solution.
        Women guards only in women’s prisons and male guards only in men’s prisons.
        Vocabulary is a different issue.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Possibly counterproductive. There is a supply of male and female sadists available in any population.
          Better solution; reduce the number of crimes that generate prison sentences. Utopian as all H—. But then, aim high.

          Reply
      3. JTMcPhee

        Abu Ghraib. Nazi female camp guards. China’s Red Guard. Evil is gender-neutral.

        And anyone still looking to the “rule of law” to bring about ether times just does not understand how the “legal system” actually works. Operation Greylord lifted one corner of the rug that hides all the real stuff, it was an investigation of judicial corruption by various “investigative agencies” and US attorney people who themselves are vastly corrupt: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Greylord

        Reply
    3. Summer

      I had a college friend that had worked as a guard in a female penitentiary to pay for his schooling (he quit after he was accepted).
      He said the women come on their periods at the same time.

      Reply
      1. dearieme

        That is/was a well known characteristic of life in nunneries: the knowledge long predated McLintock.

        Reply
    4. Whoamolly

      I vote we only allow judges as “examples” in future strip-search training sessions.

      Their names go into a pool, and they are chosen at random, All judges from now on, will be required to serve for one day a month of ‘strip search training’. Forever. No other people are permitted as ‘examples’.

      Reply
  8. dk

    “The first one to propose violence is always the cop….”

    Often perhaps, but not always. Some kinds of profound trauma, especially violence during childhood, can produce this violence-proposing behavior as well. Simply put, the abused may acquire some behaviors from their abusers even while avoiding others. Consider that some such traumatized people try to become cops and often succeed; so some superficial correlation can be expected.

    But this is not a safe rule in the simple form given, doubly so because it can shift attention from real infiltrators and informants. And infiltrators may be unusually generous with exactly these kinds of accusations.

    Peace.

    Reply
    1. Kurt Sperry

      I think it’s a good plan to act as if “The first one to propose violence is always the cop….”, even if one doesn’t believe it is 100% reliable. Is there any downside to taking that route? I don’t see it. In fact I’d propose the second and third etc. to propose violence should also be assumed to be undercover cop infiltrators and sent off as unwelcome as well.

      Reply
      1. dk

        Sending people off as unwelcome for proposing violence (or other conflicting or counter-productive action) is a reasonable and clear policy. It should be sufficient in itself and in practice it is.

        Further suggestion without confirmation is not reasonable and also foolhardy. It generates further bad decision and erodes confidence in leadership, especially when it’s later found to be wrong.

        I’ve seen several otherwise viable and effective groups collapse in exactly this way. In one case, the “leader” who used that accusation to quash dissent turned out to be the only cop.

        Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Iran says its seizure of British ship a ‘reciprocal’ move”

    In the words of Elmer Fudd – “Hey…there’s something awfully screwy going on around here.” That oil tanker – the MT Riah – which the Iranians grabbed last week? Panama says it is revoking that ship’s registration over violation of international rules. They are definitely not happy about the use of “Panamanian flagged ships for illicit activities” and are thus wiping this ship like a dirty rag. That ship’s behaviour was very unusual.
    Man, can you imagine what would happen if an Iranian ship headed direct for the US coastline where San Diego is and turned off their transponders? I sometimes think that we need a new word around here to describe a situation where nothing is at it seems. Maybe we could call it a Skripal-level event. More on this story at-

    https://www.rt.com/news/464670-panama-withdraws-flag-tanker/

    And just for fun, here is a page on this ship from vesseltraker.com-

    https://www.vesseltracker.com/en/Ships/Mt-Riah-8816455.html

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Interesting, but that is not the British-flagged one they just seized. The oddity: why was a tanker flying the British flag in that area not escorted? Was it an intentional sacrifice? Or bald idiocy?

      Reply
      1. Conrad

        The Royal Navy is but a shadow of its former self. It has more admirals than ships these days. The UK couldn’t escort all British tankers even if they wanted to.

        Reply
  10. Charles Leseau

    What is with this Biden dominates stuff? I feel like I’m living in the Twilight Zone. Provincial as it is, I have yet to see or meet any pro Biden person in real life, they are curiously thin online, I’ve seen not a single lawn poster or bumper sticker for him anywhere near here, he did a lousy job in the debates, and everyone seems to think he’s a creep.

    But he’s massively winning? I’m not seeing it, anywhere, and it bothers me.

    Reply
    1. Charles Leseau

      Eh, my bad. It’s saying he’s dominating the elite donors. That makes more sense, but still. I just don’t understand the polling.

      Reply
      1. Lee

        Let us not forget:

        Clinton has 90 percent chance of winning: Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation
        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-poll/clinton-has-90-percent-chance-of-winning-reuters-ipsos-states-of-the-nation-idUSKBN1322J1

        It’s not so much you not understanding the polling as the pollsters not having adapted to the new environment, both technological and psychosocial, in which they are currently operating. Also, as apparatchiks of the self-satisfied establishment, they are probably in a state denial, thus having blind spots, and therefore asking the wrong questions of the wrong people.

        Reply
        1. Charles Leseau

          Right. I guess the difference is that I did indeed see and know and argue with plenty of Hillary supporters in the last election.

          Biden supporters might as well be a secret society to my eyes today. Then again, I did stop reading Guardian and the like after the last election, and I would bet they have a fine stock of Bidenites nowadays.

          Reply
        2. Chris Cosmos

          I’m not sure the problem is not understanding the “new environment” although that may have something to do with it. I believe a better answer is that everything in the media including polling is propaganda for various factions of the oligarchy. One great advantage is that most people even so-called educated people in our society have increasingly short memories. It’s enough to create an impression for this week and then the next week and so on. Polls like the media cannot be trusted as sources of legitimate information–their job is to meet the needs of whoever is paying them at least when it comes to politics. This has not always been the case with pollsters but things changed in the past couple of decades.

          Reply
        3. notabanker

          Or maybe the general populace hasn’t adapted to the new feature-laden electronic voting we will be using in 2020 which will prove Biden’s vast popularity.

          Reply
      2. BigRiver Bandido

        CNN simply excludes voters under 50 from their polls. Easier for Biden to “dominate” that way.

        Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      I wouldn’t worry about it. This is coming to you from the exact same people that back in 2016 said that Hillary Clinton had a 99% chance of winning the Presidency going into the final week of the campaign and that the Clown Candidate would be repudiated by everybody. That last point was a dead certainty as all those reporters asked each other and none of them said that they would vote for Trump so that meant the entire country, right?

      Reply
      1. foghorn longhorn

        And they keep polling the same three numbers connected via land lines to ancient, black model 80 rotary dial phones.
        Then at the end of the day, shrug their shoulders and proclaim, who could have noad.

        Reply
        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I live in Florida, use a “landline” almost exclusively and have been the recipient of a number of these calls.

          These “polls” are all automated–press 1 for this, 2 for that etc. The last choice is always press some number for “Don’t Know” or “Not Sure.”

          They are the equivalent of a “debate” question that begins, “Raise your hand if…..” which is to say that any predictive value is purely accidental.

          Reply
        2. BobW

          Don’t bad-mouth those phones! They work when electric power is off, providing the phone lines are up. Touch Tone phones still work then, too. Cell phones will last until the charge runs down; if power is still off… cue the cricket noises.

          Reply
          1. flora

            Yep. Big storm here last night. Power out in most of town for several hours. Landline phone on copper line worked fine.

            Reply
            1. RMO

              Hey! Black, rotary dial? That’s what my phone is and if they had called me I would have told them Sanders was my preference. My number is a Vancouver area code though so the odds of that happening are quite slim…

              Reply
    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Bidens dominating Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama et al and this is exactly what the DNC want to keep Sanders from winning the Nomination outright. I know a couple Biden supporters at work.

      The 10%s seem to be going for Harris.

      Reply
      1. Charles Leseau

        Aha! Thanks for the explanation. I’m PacNW-Washington coast, so my empirical world is going to be skewed to that demo. Still, there aint jack shaving cream for Biden where I am, but Hillary at least had serious presence. It is eerie.

        I still don’t see a big online Biden presence of note, and I vaguely recall some article months back where his team was trying to keep his public appearances on the light side, which to me hinted at Newspeak for “can’t fill an elementary school gym,” but my skeptical mind can do that kind of thing sometimes.

        Reply
          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            I feel that as long as Biden doesn’t screw up too much he will win the South based on his name recognition alone.

            Thanks, Obama!

            Reply
        1. Whoamolly

          Biden step aside for Hillary in brokered convention has been my prediction for about a year.

          I hope I’m proven wrong.

          Reply
          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Ugh

            That is so depressing, but def plausible.

            Looks like itll be ’68 Chicago Dem Convention all over again!

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              The 2020 Democrat Party National Convention will be in Milwaukee. At an arena that the map attached shows to be right next to an area labelled as the “Haymarket.” The Haymarket??? Where have we seen that name before, hmmm?
              I’m wondering just how repressive the “Rules of Acceptable Protest” will be at that venue. How far away from the Arena will the ‘allowed’ protests be sent? Waukesha?

              Reply
          2. ambrit

            I’m with you on that wish. The trouble is, I have had my more cynical ideations coming true for the last few years.
            Hillary/Michelle 2020
            “Mommies spank!”

            Reply
            1. richard

              ambrit,
              if that ticket ever comes to fruition
              you will have a lot to answer for :<
              you will feel jee ho vah staring down at you in a most unpleasant way
              :)

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                Ah! May the Gods spare me from that!
                It would be, not “He whose NAME cannot be spoken” but the original ISIS, Queen of the Night, etc. etc.
                As my buddy over in the Levant was wont to say; “One Baal is as good as another!” When the Eve/Lilith ticket is unveiled to the ‘chosen’ at Milwaukee, it will be a grand ‘Baal Unmasque!’

                Reply
        2. Charles Leseau

          Maybe the press will have a little coronation ceremony, like Richard II handing his crown to Henry Bolingbroke.

          Reply
      1. Big Tap

        We won’t lose if Biden gets the nomination. Only if he wins the general election. Can’t see Biden beating Trump. Still I feel Hillary Clinton is the superdelegates pick not Biden.

        Reply
  11. Frank

    “Plant 36 million trees annually”
    From a RealClimate post by Stefan Rahmstorf:
    “In recent weeks, a new study by researchers at ETH Zurich has hit the headlines worldwide (Bastin et al. 2019). It is about trees. The researchers asked themselves the question: how much carbon could we store if we planted trees everywhere in the world where the land is not already used for agriculture or cities? Since the leaves of trees extract carbon in the form of carbon dioxide – CO2 – from the air and then release the oxygen – O2 – again, this is a great climate protection measure. The researchers estimated 200 billion tons of carbon could be stored in this way – provided we plant over a trillion trees.

    The media impact of the new study was mainly based on the statement in the ETH press release that planting trees could offset two thirds of the man-made CO2 increase in the atmosphere to date. To be able to largely compensate for the consequences of more than two centuries of industrial development with such a simple and hardly controversial measure – that sounds like a dream! And it was immediately welcomed by those who still dream of climate mitigation that doesn’t hurt anyone.
    Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.”

    And then there’s a walk-through of knowledge and data explaining why he think so,
    The article is here http://tinyurl.com/yyg3pxcx

    Reply
    1. Charger01

      I’m reminded of Tim Egan’s book, the long hard time, where FOR proposed and trial ran an experiment to plant thousands of trees to combat the dust bowl sodbusters and XIT ranch lands that had impacted hundreds of thousands in the depression. Some of those trees still exist, as Thomas Frank found, following his WPA GUIDEBOOK several years ago.
      I think that decarbonizing with radical measures such as energy efficiency measure will go farther than mass plantings.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve done road trips of both California & Nevada utilizing WPA guides, and there’s so much forgotten history within their pages, that it was a delight to discover so much along the way, for they were written in the late 30’s, and as events of the past tend to fade in time and memory, something that happened which was deemed important in 1911, might not have any bearing now, that sort of thing.

        Reply
    2. John

      Planting trees will solve the climate crisis?

      Canada’s forests are now carbon emitters not sinks. As are all the Rocky Mountain states except one now. Montana lost half of it’s forests in 20 years. Germany’s forests are dying.

      Not so simple as planting trees anymore.

      Reply
  12. richard

    re:what it’s really like to guard migrant children
    100 K and retiring at 51 is one thing it’s like apparently
    with some ptsb
    i’d like to care about that part, about your pain, but the kids behind you in the filthy cage are distracting me, sorry
    it’s a job for sadists, like any kind of prison guard, and that’s just the truth
    if you’re in that job and you’re not a sadist, it is going to destroy you emotionally
    it sounds like this guy is going through that, and has made the calculation that it’s worth it
    to him and his family
    what do you even say to that?
    he got a good price for his evil job
    the consequences of that evil will not stay separate from his own children and will permeate them in a thousand ways.
    so it goes

    Reply
    1. cnchal

      > what do you even say to that?

      The more principles you have, the less money you make?

      That is a sad, sad, sad story, for all the victims, including the reader. It has degenerated to what the German population did when Hitler was in power. Ironic that “Concern for Family” is the reason to accept such brutal dictates by superiors. I agree, lots of people being damaged in seen and unseen ways.

      It must really suck though, to sign up for a lifetime as a border guard and have these circumstances to deal with. Even the sadists will be destroyed emotionally under those conditions.

      Reply
    2. Chris

      I don’t know if you’ve met any prison guards, but few of the people I know in that profession are sadists or masochists. I agree that great harm is being done to everyone here and that all the people on the side of CBP who have to deal with this situation will end up taking some of it home with them.

      But there are many, many, many people working in the US today who deal with something that the elite would find intolerable. They deal with it because they have no alternative. In the case of this guard, should he sacrifice his career, his ability to support his family, for the sake of a situation that will not change if he resigns?

      Reply
      1. richard

        i don’t know any prison guards
        i know what our jails are like
        day to day routines that dehumanize and inflict pain for no reason except to inflict pain are sadistic
        and if you perform them every day you are a sadist
        either happy with it or torn up by it
        no answers on what this man might do
        or any worker in the prison industrial complex
        but defending his right to this “career” seems a bit much
        all situations are subject to change
        and as a general rule, no crocodile tears for prison guards ever

        Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Plans for Post-Maduro Future With Team to Send to Venezuela”

    Gee, I wonder if the U.S. also set up a 13-person team for a Post-Castro future back in 1959? If so, they must be all retired by now – or dead of old age. That article said that the team will deploy to Caracas once security allows. That can only mean one thing. That the U.S. will be planning on building another huge Green Zone in Caracas city. They could build it on the site of the Caracas Botanical Garden and annex the Central University of Venezuela next door as it is all central. What is the bet though that Americans will be as safe in Venezuela as downtown Baghdad during the occupation? Time to bring back the MRAPs out of storage.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Zone

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      I wonder if the U.S. also set up a 13-person team for a Post-Castro future back in 1959

      It’s the same team with personnel changes. Miami exiles are driving the Venezuela intervention.

      In my town’s sister city a few miles away there’s an F-86 Sabre jet perched on a pylon in a park. It’s a memorial to a pilot who died during the Bay of Pigs. While the US may be unfriendly to peasant farmers fleeing our Monroe Doctrine interventions we always have space for bitter oligarchs.

      Reply
      1. Plenue

        >Miami exiles are driving the Venezuela intervention.

        Are there any good fictional investigations of this crowd? They seem like a really ugly, retrograde group, and seem to have a lot of influence. But for all the stories set in Miami, none of them ever seem to directly feature this demographic.

        Reply
    2. Cal2

      It would be funny for the Venezuelans to set up a team to “Plan for a Post Trump America”, have them stay at a hotel in D.C. and announce their plans at a press conference.

      Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Boeing Has Friends in High Places, Thanks to Its 737 Crash Czar”

    They can have all the friends they want but at the end of the day it will be up to people to choose for themselves who they will fly with. If people had a choice of an airline like Ryanair that goes with the 737 MAX and another airline that went with another aircraft, I can guess which one they will choose. If that plane ever comes back, it won’t matter if they paint Old Glory along the sides as people just have this aversion for sudden violent death and that is a tough habit to break.

    Reply
  15. Robert McGregor

    “Joe Biden dominates, but Pete Buttigieg makes inroads with Obama’s elite bundlers”

    The donors and the Dem elites may have the “1-2” strategy now of “first Biden, then Buttigieg as backup, maybe Buttigieg as VP. With Buttigieg they could succeed in the same way they succeeded with Obama–have an articulate, attractive, charming candidate who can get elected, but who who doesn’t know shit. So they can tell him what to do just like they told Obama. They are hoping that like with Obama–Buttigieg is an actor, and a pleaser. He wants to show them he can act the role as President, and the Blob will helpfully provide his script.

    Reply
  16. fdr-fan

    Re Bernie and AARP: It’s simple. Old folks are on Medicare and they know it works. I’ve gone through all the various forms of insurance and non-insurance in my life, and it’s crystal clear that Medicare works best. Why shouldn’t it start at birth instead of 65?

    More tax, less payment to insurance companies. France shows that the result is better than zero-sum because doctors don’t have to negotiate a hundred conflicting companies and regulations. Just one. This should be an easy argument, but I still don’t hear anyone using it.

    Reply
    1. David

      I hate to spoil it for you but it’s a (lot more than) one. The State (the “Sécu”) is the sole payer of about 70% of the costs, but through a series of public institutions that you pay into depending on your profession or status. The rest is made up by a series of not-for-profit companies (“mutuelles”) some of which are linked to your profession and others of which are subsidiaries of general insurance companies. Each has different rules about how much of the excess it will refund for what treatment and under what circumstances. The system is so complex that patients seldom really understand why they are charged eg a certain amount for dental or optical care, and the page of calculations the doctor’s administrator gives you needs a degree in mathematics to make sense of. But most of this complexity is hidden from the patient, and most people are happy enough with what they get. In the end, the system essentially meets your costs for important healthcare interventions. But it could be a lot, lot simpler.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, a key point of many European systems is that because they often originated in work based systems, they are often mind bogglingly complicated – but they are regulated such that they are simple (and cheap) for the average citizen. The Dutch system is by some measures considered the finest health system in the world, but I once heard a health economist joke that there were probably fewer than a dozen people who actually understood how it worked. Systems like the French, Dutch and German ones are excellent, but because of their patchwork origins they are unnecessarily complicated and wasteful (but still vastly more efficient than the US system).

        The beauty of Medicare for All is that its an existing system that can be extended. Back in the 1990’s when Taiwan was looking to control costs they simply copied Medicare, and made it universal – and they know have perhaps the most cost effective and most comprehensive system in Asia.

        Reply
        1. Montanamaven

          In T.R.Reid’s “The Healing of America”, he examines many health care systems; France, UK, Canada, Japan, India… In Chapter Ten, he examines Taiwan and Switzerland’s adoption of a national health care system that both did in 1994, the same year the Clinton plan failed. This chapter is an answer to the statement by Ezra Klein that “health care is simpler too big, too complicated and too dangerous to touch.”
          A really interesting thing had happened in the early 1990s. The more liberal party in Taiwan had always advocated for universal coverage and the conservative Nationalists backing the status quo. But unexpectedly, the conservatives changed position and advocated universal coverage and took away the Left’s strongest issue. I think that’s what Trump meant when he wanted to make health care reform a Republican issue and steal it from the Dems. But McConnell like the Republicans in 1994 didn’t do the smart thing.
          Taiwan hired Prof William Hsiao. He had them study several systems, but chose the Canadian model. Private hospitals and doctors with a single, government-run insurance plan to pay them. He broke with the Canadian model in one respect. The health care system was “not funded thru general taxation.; rather, the money people pay to finance the health insurance fund is called a premium. Both employer and employee are required to chip in ,onthly to pay this premium.” Hsiao felt it was important to call it a premium and not a tax. Those who were unable to pay a premium receive interest free loans.
          I wish we could see a copy of this book in every office of every congress critter . That and a direct link to the Physicians for a National Health Care Plan website. These are examples of how to talk about this issue in plain English.

          Reply
          1. dearieme

            That is interesting: has it worked out well for Taiwan?
            How did the Swiss do it?

            “health care is simply too big, too complicated and too dangerous to touch.”

            Anything is too big, too complicated and too dangerous if you put Hillary Clinton in charge of it.

            Reply
      2. SKM

        Ergo, long live the NHS, at least as it was until the sell-off began some years ago. USians please study how the NHS was structured over decades since the war and campaign for a similar system. I`ve worked in it and had family and friends have excellent care over decades – they`re taking it apart, deliberately making it disfunctional, but it still delivers e.g last month a friend with sever ulcerative colitis had major abdominal surgery for the second time – no cost whatsoever and top surgeons looking after her. This is what we take for granted in the UK. Wow!!

        Reply
    2. Bugs Bunny

      Well, unless you’re disabled or incapacitated, we do have to have supplemental mutual insurance in France to get full 100% reimbursement. Though it costs nothing near what insurance costs in the US.

      Reply
    3. softie

      Medicare was a part of FDR’s New Deal in the aftermath of the Great Depression. But it was not the ruling elite’s consciousness that lit the path to the New Deal. Rather it was their desperate last effort and radical top-down reform to save themselves.

      And they promised themselves the concessions they made were not permanent but only temporary, maybe lasting a few decades at most. The neoliberal ideology is by design to undo the New Deal and roll back all concessions. What makes people believe Medicare will last forever? History shows that in order for American labor to get anything, from 8 hour work day to minimal wage, they have to unite and fight tooth and nail. “United we stand, divided we fall.”

      Let me quote Chris Hedges:

      The New Deal, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, saved capitalism. It was put in place because socialists were a strong and serious threat. The oligarchs understood that with the breakdown of capitalism—something I expect we will again witness in our lifetimes—there was a possibility of a socialist revolution. They did not want to lose their wealth and power. Roosevelt, writing to a friend in 1930, said there was “no question in my mind that it is time for the country to become fairly radical for at least one generation. History shows that where this occurs occasionally, nations are saved from revolution.” In other words, Roosevelt went to his fellow oligarchs and said, “Hand over some of your money or you will lose all your money in a revolution.” And they complied. That is how the government created fifteen million jobs, Social Security, unemployment benefits, and public works projects. The capitalists did not do this because the suffering of the masses moved them to pity. They did this because they were scared.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        And they did it to help assure America’s entry into the inevitable war with Germany’s competing economic system that was performing mircacles, compared to Wall Street’s.
        The Civilian Conservation Corps helped toughen up America’s young men, weakened by the malnutrition and population scattering of the Depression, get them used to military discipline and following government orders instead of talking about why they were poor and disenfranchised economically and politically.

        Just amazing how everything came together in wartime. Instant housing built, health plans established, mass transit, hospitals and building built, rural electrification and patriotism!

        Cue the stirring music:
        “God Bless America, Land That I [suddenly] Love…”
        “That’s going to save our asses,
        but only if we win the war….”

        Reply
      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Yuuuuuup.

        This is why ill never identify as an FDR style Democrat. He fn sold us out! Long live Huey P. Long!

        Reply
          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Indeed. I only wish his revenue stream, oil profits, wasnt so destructive to our wetlands :\

            Reply
      3. Harold

        We should watch what people do and not scrutinize their motives, or deep “essential” selves, because everyone is flawed. FDR did many, many good things, both publicly and privately (and he would have done even more if had he been able), and he was beloved by millions, rightly.

        Reply
    4. sleepy

      Seniors also know that complete insurance under medicare costs a minimum of $300/month with a supplement, and M4A does away with all of that: no deductibles, no copays, no premiums, and no need for a private supplement.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        We watched Bernie on the AARP Iowa forum. He was on fire and we felt the Bern’ s sincerity and commitment to the fact that MFA is the way to ensure that we all have healthcare in this country. He also included the need to stop Big Pharma from its exploitation of the American citizens. He emphasized the fact that for many seniors the cost of prescribed drugs is out of sight. In this context he asked, what good is it, if your doctor says that you need to take this drug and you can not afford to pay for it? The argument that people are vulnerable to being given medicine, or unnecessary meds to counteract side effects of medication, is not relevant to the fact that pharmacy corporations are, indeed, predatory in this country. The reality of seniors choosing to cut weekly food intake to pay for their drugs is unconscionable. Bernie also defended Social Security. Like he said, it’s really not about him. It’s about you(us). The Dems want Biden ( we know why) and I hope Bernie is not swindled from being the candidate for the “party” in the general election.

        Reply
        1. softie

          Bernie’s not gonna make it and he’s there to give people an illusion there’s a chance for reforms, because there aren’t a plethora of people demanding/fighting for what they really want. The elite won’t make any concessions unless they have to.

          Reply
    5. Yves Smith

      I hate to tell you, but I am in that so small that it is statistically invisible minority that has a good private policy. It was mediocre in 1987 but due to three decades of worsening of terms, it’s now terrific by American standards….and better than Medicare.

      I dread going on Medicare and having to figure out all the layers of stupid supplemental policies, AND having to be in an HMO or PPO for non-emergency care. I’m now in an indemnity plan with a super low deductible and can see any MD in the world.

      Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      And the British went right ahead and followed Bolton, thinking that there would be no consequences for them. And Spain is really sour with the British as well through this high-handed act. Unbelievable.

      Reply
  17. Craig H.

    > A Proposed Response to the Commercial Surveillance Emergency LawFare

    Khashoggi’s murder was thus intimately tied to unlawful use of spyware technology, as Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, described in her June 2019 report to the Human Rights Council.

    Spies are above the law. This evil is ineradicable and inexhaustible.

    We will wait for a very long time if we want to hear who ordered Acosta to let Epstein walk (twelve hours a day), to cite only the most obvious recent example.

    Reply
    1. ewmayer

      I love how this piece repeatedly natters on about the dangers of surveillance tech in the hands of “authoritarian”, “repressive” and “autocratic” regimes like Saudi Arabia, without noting that in that self-proclaimed Beacon of Democracy and Freedom the U.S., the 4th amendment has been a dead letter since at least 9/11. Lots of “I want a magic flying pony” stuff like “compliance with the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” and “The purchase of surveillance technology by law enforcement in any state must be transparent and subject to public debate” and “[compliance] with fundamental rights under international human rights law and applicable national laws” and “states must fulfill their duty to protect individuals against third-party interference with their fundamental rights”. Uh, it’s not just the nasty authoritarian, repressive and autocratic regimes frequently trotted out by the western MSM as bad actors which violate such principles – most “western democracies”, especially the Five Eyes ones, are busily spying on their own citizens, and the US and its key allies brazenly flout international law every day of the year. How does Lawfare propose to hold the world’s “authoritarian regimes” to account when the world’s “leading democracies” do the same sort of thing, and partner with the same private companies in doing so?

      Reply
  18. Plenue

    >The Postcolonial Case for Rethinking Borders

    Ctrl+F search for both ‘wages’ and ‘jobs’ reveals nothing. Why am I not surprised.

    Reply
  19. XXYY

    The DC-10 Got Over Its Grounding, Why Won’t The 737 MAX? Simple Flying

    Something glossed over in this piece is the cargo door issue in the DC-10, which I believe was responsible for 2 (and almost 3) crashes. This was a legitimate design defect, and not a maintenance problem. It also exposed other design defects, namely that explosive decompression of the cargo bay on this plane caused the “passenger” floor to collapse, severing the hydraulic and control lines to the tail and making the plane uncontrollable. In some ways, this sounds much worse than what’s happening with the 737 now, though I think it was easier to understand the problems and easier to convince people they were fixed.

    One of the things that I think is creeping people out about the 737 is the general organizational and management incompetence at Boeing and the FAA that have come to light. People don’t trust these institutions to give us the straight scoop or have the competence and integrity to fix problems. The general culture of “anything for a buck”, and the pervasive lack consequences for bad or criminal behavior by elites, has corroded the public trust over the last several decades. If Wells-Fargo or Goldman-Sachs says “trust me”, people snicker “yeah, right”. Now, if Boeing says “trust me”, we see much of the same attitude. I don’t think elites and regulators realize how dangerous this is, and how a lack of trust can erode or destroy entire companies or even businesses. Winning back lost trust generally takes more time than a business can survive without it.

    The term “banana republic” was coined to describe countries whose government and business classes (the societal managers) are irredeemably corrupt and cannot possibly be taken seriously by any thinking person. This increasingly fits as a description of the US.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      An important point about the DC-10 cargo door – the THY crash occurred AFTER the defective cargo door latching mechanism had been discovered and a fixed version was designed. The THY DC-10 was on the factory floor being built when the modified design was introduced and the production documents said the new design was installed on the aircraft and had the factory inspectors stamps on them to confirm it… but it hadn’t been. It still had the original design that had caused multiple problems and had failed in flight on American Airlines Flight 96. Fortunately that aircraft was lightly loaded so the decompression didn’t collapse the aft cabin floor and sever multiple flight controls. The THY DC-10 was full up.

      The engine loss accident was caused by faulty engine removal/replacement technique. The real shame there is that another airline was also performing the changes with a forklift and the possibility of damage had been discovered by their maintenance department and the FAA regional office was aware of it, but there was no mechanism to spread the information to all DC-10 operators. The accident also showed a few flawed failure state assumptions in the DC-10 design and resulted in some changes to the aircraft as well as the spread of the information that the engine should be removed first, then the strut instead of both at once via forklift.

      Reply
  20. ewmayer

    Re. The Democratic Party Is Getting Crushed in Fundraising: “They Need to Get Their Shit Together” VICE News — I seem to recall that crushing the other party in fundraising somehow didn’t end up winning the Dimocrats the White House in 2016. Hmmm, maybe there is more to it than that? Like actually admitting that the Imperial Permawarring Kleptocracy is not doing a very good job at providing the generally-regarded-as-universal Western-civilizational basics for the bottom 90% of its citizenry, and presenting a coherent vision for addressing that? Trump may be an oligarch douche-buffoon who failed to deliver most of his promises, but he at least recognized the aforementioned problem and put it front and center in his campaign, at the same time mega-fundraising Hillary was telling the Deplorables that “America is already great”.

    The CNN link just below the VICE News one exhibits the same “fundraising is everything” myopia. Sure, Trump, now that he has the benefit of incumbency, is rasing $ up the wazoo, too, but he remains the deafult anti-establishment protest candidate, and the establishment/MSM relentlessly scandalmongering and RussiaRussiaRussiaing and ImpeachImpeachImpeaching only strengthen him in that role.

    Reply
    1. BigRiver Bandido

      I find the VICE “article” to be reassuring, on so many levels.

      Citing Adam Parkhomenko as a source puts me on notice that the point of the piece is likely BS. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Parkhomenko himself wrote it. There’s also a shoutout to Chris Korge, a Miami attorney and Clinton fundraiser. Continuing the “failing upward” metaphor, the piece takes pains to absolve Tom Perez of any culpability, lauds him for “rebuilding” the party by…hiring 170 new staffers! So now they’re equating “paid staff” with a “party”. (Just curious…how many of those staffers are replacements for Sanders people purged by Perez from “the party” in 2017?) All of this gushy, fake mutual congratulation among such shallow, slimy incompentents reminds me of Clinton’s “No Ceilings” grift.

      It takes VICE several paragraphs, but eventually they succeed in equating “DNC” with “the party”. This is quite a feat of linguistic elasticity, and one cannot even point to a particular word that’s doing a lot of work in that formation, because the connections are so nebulous. But, there it is, and how wonderfully clarifying it is to know the shorthand.

      And last, there’s what you appropriately style the “fundraising is everything myopia”…the equation of “fundraising” with “support” for “the party”. VICE’s problem — and that of its audience — is that there’s a decided dichotomy playing out in the Democrat War. Real voters and big donors are repellent to each other. The voters recognize this dichotomy. I’m not sure yet whether the elites do; certainly their pet publications don’t. Thus far we’ve mostly just seen whining from donors and mindless yammering about “centrism”, “fiscal responsibility”, “pragmatism”, “competition”, and other such nonsense, which indicates to me that the 1980s-style Astroturfers and their digital clones do not recognize how out of touch they really are. And that’s fine, too.

      VICE’s fervent expressions of *concern* put sunshine in my day.

      Reply
    2. Oh

      This faithful Dimrat told me that if Trump wins “it’s all over”. I told him (a Biden worshipper) that if the Dimrats put up Biden to run against Trump, Biden would lose and it’ll be all over (although America’s already done, just need to stick a fork in it).

      Reply
  21. Oregoncharles

    “Toothless, Cousin Loving” Scalawag – about the South and its stereotypes. Especially interesting now Yves is back in Alabama.

    I’ve lived in Oregon over 50 years, but I grew up in southern Indiana, a stone’s throw from for-sure hillbillies. When I went away to school, my accent was imitated as southern. (It comes back when I talk with people from Texas or Oklahoma). That picture of the “Country Store”? – that could perfectly well be Brown County in Indiana, or, for that matter, the Coast Range in Oregon. Nothing like hills to create cultural distance. And on top of that, I’ve been guilty of the stereotype myself, wondering if we’d be better off without the South.

    She saw a lot of Black Lives Matter signs in Portland because the PDX Police are very problematic, with a bad record of killing people and gang membership – though their targets seem to be the mentally ill as much as racial minorities. Black people are indeed relatively few, and their neighborhoods restricted – though some have been greatly gentrified lately.

    And a supplement to the point of the article: the first time the “Bell Curve” controversy over IQ blew up, way back in the 80’s IIRC, in an article in Harper’s, they published a letter in response from a woman from the Appalachians – white, but saying she encountered the same sort of prejudice with a mountain accent. In the South.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      When my brother and I long ago took a car trip through the Pacific Northwest the first thing we noticed on hitting Washington State was that there were no black people. When you grow up in a town that’s fifty percent black you notice that. The demographic difference is perhaps one way the regions are still different and of course played a big part in Faulkner if not Flannery O’Connor.

      But even there the stereotypes fail. My once “apartheid” region seems to have found a racial accommodation that some of the others are now struggling with. I’d contend that television, the internet, the Civil Rights movement and finally, perhaps, air conditioning have ironed out and homogenized the country. Southern Gothic was still a thing when I was in college but now seems rather quaint–making the Scalawag article more of a lookback.

      Reply
      1. Plenue

        Seems like the South varies widely between regions. Some places may really be as bad any anti-Southern stereotype, but then the next county over can be very, very different. And even the worst areas, well, the North has absolutely no ground to stand on when flinging insults: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2018/04/04/we-remember-how-martin-luther-king-jr-revolutionized-the-south-but-we-cant-forget-his-struggles-in-the-north/

        The West Coast especially is absolutely insufferable. They’ll post BLM signs while happily calling the police to run off the numerous homeless that displease them.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Don’t want to pose as some expert on the South. I only know about the parts I’ve lived in. Without a doubt much of, say, Georgia is different from greater Atlanta.

          But I do think the old stereotypes about the region are pretty much over.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Y’all ain’t been round rural Mis’sip much, has ya? Most all those stereotypes has done been appropriated by them there ‘deplorables’ I been hear’n so much bout. Truth be told, it never was bout race really. Jus Ol Massa keepin the pot boilin so’s to keep all those n—–s an white trash down. Times ain’t changed hereabout much; jus put on a new face over the old skull.

            Reply
  22. Harold

    The lesson from the ruins of Notre Dame: don’t rely on billionaires –Guardian

    “Put not thy thy trust in — Billionaires.” — Psalm 146:3 — paraphrased

    Reply
  23. 3.14e-9

    That WaPo thinks the opioid epidemic’s origin and “astonishing” scale “just got a lot clearer” is, as Lambert would say, “wonderfully clarifying.” No mention at all of the FDA. Strange.

    In 2012, a group of healthcare providers urged the FDA to change the labeling requirements on opioids to limit dose and duration. By then, there already were clinical studies of the dangerous side effects of long-term use of opioids, including depression. The link between depression and chronic pain is well-established. The more depressed you are, the more you hurt physically, and the more pain you’re in, the more depressed you get. Depression is the leading precursor of suicide, both in veterans (of which I am one) and in the general population.

    Despite the well-established dangers, FDA said there wasn’t enough evidence and directed manufacturers to conduct their own safety studies. Below is a link to some of the comments they received. The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene specifically mentions misleading marketing by Purdue Pharma (bottom of p.2):
    https://www.regulations.gov/docketBrowser?rpp=25&so=DESC&sb=commentDueDate&po=0&dct=PS&D=FDA-2012-N-0067

    There also have been a host of studies failing to show a correlation between long-term use of opioids and effective pain reduction. Whether or not you become addicted or dependant (and there is a valid distinction there), over time, the drug becomes less and less effective. Purdue Pharma’s aggressive and misleading marketing was on the federal radar as early as 2003, prompting this report from the GAO:
    https://www.gao.gov/assets/250/240884.pdf

    Below is a link to a January 2019 article in the New England Journal of Medicine that attempts to explain the opioid epidemic through supply and demand. IMO, it goes too easy on suppliers, but overall, it presents a thoughtful discussion:
    https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMra1802148

    Reply
  24. Dalepues

    Katherine Webb-Hehn’s favorite novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God is number 31 on Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn’s list of 100 best novels in English since 1900. I believe that list was mentioned here some time back. Also, there is no novel listed for number 45.

    Reply

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