Links 7/28/19

Wanna get rid of an iguana? On second thought, don’t just ‘shoot them up,’ Florida says Miami Herald

Two are arrested after man dressed as clown sparked mass brawl on P&O cruise liner when guests at black tie gala took offence at his fancy dress and chairs and plates were thrown following all-day ‘patriotic party’ Daily Mail)

Customers Sue Over California Wildfire Liability Law Climated  Liability News

In a World With More and Intense Heat-Waves, a Review of What Heat Does to Us The Wire

Think the heatwave was bad? Climate already hitting key tipping points Reuters

‘Bravo!’ ‘Great News!’: Cheers as European Investment Bank Unveils Proposal to Stop Funding Fossil Fuel Projects Common Dreams

Can This Ancient Greek Medicine Cure Humanity? NYT (David L)

Sports Desk

Bernal set to become first Colombian Tour de France victor France 24. And what a great tour it was! I was one of 10 million spectators who caught a first-hand glimpse of the peloton speeding by, during the first part of last Sunday’s stage (stage 15).

Fortnite World Cup kicks off with $30m at stake Guardian (The Rev Kev)

Waste Watch

Why do we drink so much bottled water? TreeHugger

Lawmakers propose sweeping national plastic waste legislation Waste Dive

It’s the second dirtiest thing in the world — and you’re wearing it AlterNet (JZ)

Waste Only: How the Plastic Industry is Fighting to Keep Polluting the World Intercept (UserFriendly)

Class Warfare

Trump Antitrust: Going After Big Tech or Covering for Corruption? Big by Matt Stoller

The Shadow Bosses of the Gig Economy Jacobin

Should the Rich Be Allowed to Buy the Best Genes? Airmail News


How Democrats Are Shorting White Voters for 2020 American Conservative

Trump campaign sees political advantage in a divisive appeal to working-class white voters WaPo (The Rev Kev)

Democrats in Disarray

Spare Me the Purity Racket NYT. MoDo hits back.


Modern Monetary Theory Goes Global Bloomberg (furzy)

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Your Arrest Was Dismissed. But It’s Still In A Police Database. Marshall Project

Imperial Collapse Watch

Five Forms of Retreat Benjamin Studebaker

New Cold War

The Real Reason The Propagandists Have Been Promoting Russia Hysteria Caitlin Johnstone (The Rev Kev)


The Two Jacobs London Review of Books

The Ham of Fate NYRB

When Boris Johnson asked me why the lane next to Calcutta Collectorate smelled of urine The Print

Brexit, Britain and the Permanent Crisis in the Gulf Counterpunch Patrick Cockburn

The Rev Kev:


PEPE ESCOBAR: US and Iran Stuck on Negotiation Ground Zero Consortium News

Libya’s Grim Civil War Escalates Der Spiegel. Thanks Obama!


Flood Relief: India Gathers Satellite Imagery from Several Space Agencies The Wire

Controversial electoral bonds are not only opaque, they come at a cost to the Indian taxpayer Scroll

How the realty sector is being plagued by severe cash crunch Economic Times

Will the Supreme Court Set a Precedent in the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal? The Wire


US, China tilting towards conflict on Taiwan Asia Times (The Rev Kev)

Chaotic scenes as Hong Kong protesters march onto roads, unsure of where to go SCMP

Explainer: The Yuen Long mob attacks and Hong Kong’s triads – why do some consider the New Territories ‘lawless’? Hong Kong Free Press

Hong Kong braces for new rally after fresh riot police clashes AFP

l’affaire Epstein

Judge signs protective order over materials feds to turn over to jailed financier Jeffrey Epstein ABC

Trump Transition

Trump’s Secretary of Labor Pick Is Reliably Anti-Labor Capital & Main

Trump uncorks French wine threat in digital tax retaliation France 24

Barack Obama shares op-ed criticizing President Trump’s ‘poisoning of our democracy’ San Fran Chronicle

Noam Chomsky: To Make the US a Democracy, the Constitution Itself Must Change TruthOut

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


    1. a different chris

      It said I would get $125 so we’ll see. Did you actually try it? It seemed pretty straightforward.

      And… if it costs the (family bloggers) even a fraction of that to have some poor sucker try to simply reduce/reject my claim, it’s all good.

      1. sammie

        I tried it… but there was a catch. One could either get a check for $125 or opt for credit monitoring services. The catch is that to get the money, one has to certify that one already has credit monitoring. So it looks like – no CM, no money. What happens if one does not want CM at all? Nice trick.

        1. pete

          Dont you end up agreeing to the settlement as well. I dont understand these thing very well but I was always under the impression that a private party could also sue. If you take the cash Im certain that you would be unable to.

        2. TroyMcClure

          I believe if you want to ask for more than 10 hours compensation for cleaning up your credit score you have to show you have credit monitoring. To get the base pay out PLUS repayment for fewer than 10 hours wasted ( I spent 3 hours on the phone with citibank) then you don’t have to prove you have credit monitoring. That was my reading of the language.

    2. Clive

      What are you trying to achieve here? Any regulatory or civil court mandated consumer redress system never operates on a blank check basis. There has to — to ensure that justice is served for all parties — be an assessment of losses incurred. The awards made, if any, must go through some evaluation process.

      Ocasio-Cortez made it clear by retweeting the original Tweet that $125 is the likely maximum (“I may have…”). Whatever you’re entitled to is “free money” as far as you’re concerned. The claim process is reportedly easy (I’m not a US resident so I can’t test it, I’ll need to wait for the U.K. version once a settlement is agreed here) so there is absolutely nothing to lose and the tax on time is minor-sounding.

      Encouraging people to not make a claim is playing right into Equifax’s avaricious hands. Is that a good aim? Ocasio-Cortez gave the consumer redress scheme some oxygen of publicity. The more people who apply, the more painful the lesson is for Equifax. I can’t for the life of me understand what it could be thought she did wrong there.

      1. marieann

        Last year in Canada some grocery stores were found to be price fixing regarding bread. Everyone could receive $25 in compensation. Of course my husband and I applied, got our money and donated it the food bank. I will admit here that we make our own bread and seldom buy it.

        I was amazed at the number of folk I know who couldn’t be bothered to apply…too much trouble. People are so weird

        1. jsn

          These things are a tax on time for people under economic stress.

          Neoliberalism relies on stretching people too thin to be able to afford the time for collective action.

          Sympathy and help rather than opprobrium is the only way to draw the downtrodden into progressive action.

      2. Arizona Slim

        I made a claim. And I’m looking forward to receiving my check. Take that, Equifax!

        1. Laughingsong

          I did too. With regard to proving one was affected, that wasn’t necessary on my part, in that I entered my last name and a fraction of my ssn, and the site then said I was affected. I didn’t claim the time or money it took to freeze my credit even though it may have netted me another few bucks. The only proof I could provide was the unlock codes and I didn’t feel like looking them up

        2. Aumua

          I made one too, so if all the rest of you reading could please not make a claim now, that would be great. Thanks!

        3. neo-realist

          I did too, but don’t qualify for the $ since I never requested the credit monitoring service.

      3. Chaco

        Clive-Spot on. Make the basterds bleed a little. As to the Credit Monitoring-if you have a credit card you probably have CM. Apply for it.

    3. Otis B Driftwood

      Thanks for that link. And more, thanks to NC for letting me know about this. I wasn’t aware of it until this morning. Too busy living life ;)

      So, the actual amount they pay out to individuals depends on how many people file for the cash; once it reaches 240K it starts to decrease.

      AOC did follow that tweet with another one stating the free credit monitoring might be a better option.

      Also, if you can document your time spent dealing with a breach, you can claim more $$. I didn’t so I settled for the free credit monitoring.

    4. WheresOurTeddy

      You can claim up to 10 hours of lost time with no documentation, or up to 20 hours of lost time with documentation, and can be compensated up to $20,000 if you were victimized due to the breach – again with documentation.

      Took me less than 5 minutes. AOC has done more for me today than me actual rep has in my whole life.

      1. elissa3

        Excellent note WheresOurTeddy! That’s the route that I took. You have to click through to get to the “time spent” page. I actually have email records of the breach, (including notifying friends and family), which dated from my reading an article in Wolf Street on what to do. I billed them for my time spent on researching and initiating a “security freeze” in September, 2017. 10 hours. Crossing my fingers, but it will be delicious to get paid for the time I spent undoing the f***-up of one of these financial “service” companies.

        1. Donna

          I just clicked on the Equifax link and provided my last name and last 6 digits of my social. It came back with the information that I had not been affected. Hey, if that’s true that is actually an excellent result. Lucky me.

    5. jrs

      I like her spirit there though, truly radical. Yes get all the free money you can from the corporations, it was all stolen from the flesh of working people anyway, I mean I know the Equifax scandal of course, but in general as well.

    6. TimmyB

      The $125 is only available to those who previously purchased credit monitoring. If you have NOT previously purchased credit card monitoring, your recovery in this class action lawsuit is limited to receiving the free credit monitoring service.

      AOC’s post is misleading to say the least. The great majority of class members will NOT get $125.

      1. Laughingsong

        I saw nothing like that on the site and it was fairly straightforward. They did not ask me if I had monitoring, they only asked for my last name and part of my SSN. Then they said my data had been affected by the breach. After that they asked whether I wanted the check or free monitoring. Nothing about monitoring being a requirement.

        But I do have free monitoring, I do it myself.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          +1 to Launginsong’s comment – I saw no such stipulation and never purchased monitoring myself.

          They’re sending me a never-expires card with the money on it. Will report back whatever I get and the amount.

        2. Yves Smith

          See above, the official settlement site does say if you are applying online (Section 1 claim) you have to get or have credit monitoring. Are you sure your went to the settlement site?

          You can submit other types of claims but they make that more of a hassle.

        1. Yves Smith

          Sorry, not true. Try filing out the form. You get this page for “Section 1” claims:

          Credit Monitoring: Free Service or Cash Payment

          You may be eligible to receive free credit monitoring or up to $125 if you already have credit monitoring.

          You can receive free, three-bureau credit monitoring at all three national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Experian will provide this service for at least 4 years. You can also enroll in free, single-bureau credit monitoring of your Equifax credit file, provided by Equifax, for up to 6 years after the Experian service ends.

          Or, if you have credit monitoring services that you will keep for at least 6 months, you can request a cash payment of $125.

          Please select either Option 1 or Option 2 below, but not both.

          Option 1, Credit Monitoring: I want to receive free, three-bureau credit monitoring.
          Option 2, Cash Payment: I want a cash payment of $125. I certify that I have credit monitoring and will have it for at least 6 months from today.
          You can skip to the next section by clicking NEXT.

          The only way to get $ if you don’t have credit monitoring is to claim you wasted time as a result of the data breach. You can’t file that type of claim electronically, at least per the settlement site.

          However, you may have it through your credit card already…..this site does not define what “credit monitoring” is or specify that it is provided only by the major credit bureaus. The lack of a definition makes them vulnerable, IMHO. If you have any Citi Select cards, for instance, these are the services provided:

          Included with Select Citi® Cards

          If your personal information has been stolen to commit fraud or theft, Citi can help.

          As a Citi customer, you can automatically use the free services of Citi® Identity Theft Solutions, even if the fraud occurred on a card from another company. Our team of Identity Theft Solutions specialists will provide personal support and assistance through the process of re-establishing your credit. And you won’t be held liable for unauthorized charges made on your Citi card.

          Here’s what a Citi® Identity Theft Solution Specialist will do for you:

          Work with you to contact the TransUnion credit bureau to review your credit report and apply an extended Fraud Alert to your credit file (which will be transmitted electronically to the other two major credit reporting agencies).
          Monitor your TransUnion credit bureau report until your case is closed.
          Advise you on how to complete a police report and other government forms that may be required.
          Help you identify any other compromised accounts and assist you in contacting those creditors.
          Keep in touch with you about the status of your case until it is closed.
          Provide you with a step-by-step guide to assist you in the process. This guide, and other forms, can also be downloaded at the Useful Links section below.

          Citi explicitly says they help with non-Citi cards and get you TransUnion info when you need it and they monitor TransUnion after any fraud.

          Citi Select = a subset of the Citicards where you pay a fee to get frequent flier miles. I would assume all their fee-paying cards include this bennie but I didn’t check. And I would assume competitor provide similar bennies on fee-paying cards.

          Calling Clive…

          Of course, you can file a Section 2 claim which is more of a nuisance.

      2. TroyMcClure

        This is false. I posted the terms above in another comment. I also applied last week and it took less than 10 minutes.

    7. ambrit

      We tried the site, being about normally avaricious, and it told us that we didn’t qualify. No explanations. Just a quick “no.”
      The opacity of this is par for the course I’m surmising.
      Like ‘Laughingsong’ above, we self check our credit. Why pay for something when it becomes yet another ‘questionable’ financial outlay from an already strained resource?
      As it is, our credit history is quite sparse. More like a “credit anecdote.”
      Oh well, just another example of the ‘ringfenced’ nature of the economy.

      1. BobW

        I got a funny look from a prospective landlord because, at that time, I had no credit history at all. Had a job, checking & savings, just never borrowed. “Neither a borrower nor a lender be…” unless you want to live in the modern world.

        1. ambrit

          The dreaded ‘knock knock’ off effect.
          “Knock, knock.”
          “Who’s there?”
          “Who would you like to be here?”
          At least you aren’t dealing with legitimate ‘shadow banking’ loan sharks, where the knock off effect is comprised of literal knocks.
          As a lifetime poor fellow once told me, “The rich man cheats you on paper.”

          1. richard

            i didn’t mean a knock-knock joke in that sense
            i just meant simple and short
            as i fear and avoid banks, lifetime renter, one student loan i paid off
            sorry i was misleading with that double entendre, or whatever :)

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Thanks! Fixed a pesky rogue formatting command that was blocking the proper link.

      1. sammie

        And it is well worth a read…. if you have strong tummy, that is. Looks like someone really, really wants a military confrontation, consequences be damned.

  1. Dan

    Barack Obama shares op-ed criticizing President Trump’s ‘poisoning of our democracy’

    The same Barack Hussein Obama who first signed this?

    (Sections 1021 and 1022) that authorize the indefinite military detention, without charge or trial, of any person labeled a “belligerent”―including an American citizen.

    “These NDAA provisions (which have been re-approved by Congress and signed by President Obama every year since 2012) override habeas corpus―the essence of our justice system. Habeas corpus is the vital legal procedure that prevents the government from detaining you indefinitely without showing just cause. When you challenge your detention by filing a writ of habeas corpus, you must be promptly brought before a judge or into court, where lawful grounds must be shown for your detention or you must be released.”

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      His legacy will be setting the table for the most divisive and degrading President in the history of our nation.

      Way to go, President “Hope and Change”!

      1. Carolinian

        But, but he was scandal free according to Michelle.

        Meanwhile Dowd puts her cards on the table by suggesting “purity” is just an “act” which is certainly true of her and her employers. She has a history of hating the right people for the wrong reasons and rather than admit that Mueller is a doddering tool she keeps the focus on the need to expel Trump and his vulgarity–impeachment being bad tactics for the desired goal. Trump is making the elites look bad, or, in the words of Sally Quinn re Bill Clinton, “he came in and trashed the place and it’s not his place” [it’s our place]. At this point a little purity would be a refreshing change starting with Pelosi and moving on to the press corps, many of whom have been around, like, forever.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          One imagines millions of Lybians, Yemenis, Sudanese, Syrians, Mexicans, Haitians, and Hondurans rolling their eyes in unison…if they weren’t too busy trying to avoid being killed by Sam or one of his proxies.

          Starvation is the same as bombing. Sanctions are acts of war.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      Just FYI, you undermine your potential support among people who might otherwise agree with you that the NDAA was and is bad when you feel the need to say Obama’s middle name to let us know how put off by it you are.

    3. Alfred

      It’s important to parse Mr. Obama’s phrase, “poisoning our democracy.” He did not say, “poisoning democracy.” So “our democracy” is obviously not “democracy.” For many (perhaps most) Americans, “our democracy” is experienced as “their democracy” — though few, admittedly, seem to be conscious of the difference. Unquestionably, Mr. Obama’s democracy is not mine. His choice of verb is also interesting, as “poisoning” does not always kill; it often only maims. In certain quarters, or for certain political purposes, a maimed or crippled democracy may be preferred to a dead one.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          A dog whistle is a dog whistle is a dog whistle. The only people i’ve ever heard use his whole name when referring to him are racists who want you to understand he’s an “other” and not one of us “real” Americans. Your intent is irrelevant and your excuse is beyond weak. I am no fan of Obama but like with Hillary, I wish the detractions would stick to one of the hundreds and hundreds of legitimate things to castigate him for, rather than his middle name.

          I hope you don’t do that in mixed company in person, because your self-perception and the perception of you by people that hear you say it are likely to be radically different things.

          1. Dan

            That’s a personal attack. Try to limit yourself to issues and ideas, not what you perceive are the motivations of non-politicians and your fellow American citizens who enjoy the same First Amendment rights you do to express ideas you disagree with, or for which you fantasize the motivations.

            Would it be OK if if people called you a “Commie?” when they disagreed with you?
            Of course it’s not.

            1. Riverboat Grambler

              Uh, no, the phenomenon of people saying Obama’s scary foreign middle name as a dog-whistle has definitely been a thing since he first ran for POTUS. It’s perfectly fair to point this it out to your fellow citizens precisely because of the “free speech” thing you’re currently using as a rhetorical cudgel.

              Why would you make a point of saying his middle name unless for the connection to scary foreigner names? Is there some other Barack Obama we could be confused with?

              Not an Obama fan either but ya, that’s a dogwhistle

              1. Dan

                “Franklin Delano Roosevelt”

                “Richard Milhous Nixon”

                “James Earl Carter”

                “Donald John Trump”

                Keep talking, Grambler, kneejerk reflexive speech makes it so easy for Trump to get re-elected without even campaigning.

                1. Wombat

                  Don’t you mean to say “… makes it so easy for Donald John Trump to get reelected.” I don’t understand who you are referring to unless you use their middle name.

                  1. richard

                    Wombat Woodrow Nelson, you stop teasing Dan for name crimes and come in for dinner!
                    sorry, i guess that might get moderated out
                    I have played word police myself before
                    not too long ago on this very site
                    and it was not my proudest moment
                    I feel better when we challenge premises rather than calling out vocabulary
                    i know the two are not totally distinct
                    my 2 cents

                    1. Dan

                      Some moms have a whistle they blow, a bell they ring, or a high pitched word they use to summon the young ‘uns to dinner.

                      Often, it’s just calling down the basement stairs to the progressive pit of projected pejorative pronouns next to the furnace.

                      Pax Vobiscum.

            1. ambrit

              This is what ‘idpol’ politics looks like. I’m straddling the fence here. (Those fence baluster points are a pain in the a–e!) Yes, using that retiring politico’s “foreign” sounding middle name is a dog whistle. Also, the entire exercise in name naming is a distraction from more serious pursuits. Thus, the essential purpose of ‘idpol’ is achieved; misdirection.
              One can engage in this without being consciously aware of it.

              1. tegnost

                adding the third name draws attention too itself, it’s meant to elicit a response…imo best to leave that sort of thing out and focus on the policy…same with religion…

                1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                  Whats wrong with saying Barack Hussein Obama? We say all the Presidents full names dont we?

                  1. ambrit

                    The members of the “Cult of Obama” contend that the inclusion of the ex-President’s middle name is an attempt to link him with “furriners,” rag heads, sand n—–s, and the like. (All pejoratives by the way.)
                    Indeed, I do remember this tactic being used by Conservative Talk Radio years ago.
                    So, as much as I like some good old yellow journalism with my Bernays Sauce, it does qualify as a ‘dog whistle.’
                    As for the Hussein part; the Military Industrial Propaganda Cadres have demonized those of Arabic association quite comprehensively.
                    Guilt by association is the name of that game. Which is a shame since we have more than enough reasons to demonize him today.

    4. Glen

      Obama was a horrible President. He was elected to fix our country instead of “family blog” it into oblivion.

      History will not treat him kindly, a legacy of vast lost opportunity, treachery, and stupidity all rolled into one.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If Obama read this comment, he would keep a straight public face, no doubt.

        But on the inside, he would be laughing and saying: ” Its all about the tubmans, baby”.

    5. Procopius

      What, you’ve forgotten “the threat matrix” and “terrorist tuesdays?” When the President and some anonymous bean counters (almost certainly including the loathsome John Brennan, salesman for torturing prisoners) got together in the Oval Office and decided which people, including American citizens, to kill this week? Based on secret accusations. with no independent input or due process of law, giving the victims no chance to dispute the accusations. I wonder if Trump has been doing that, too. Probably not, he’s not as diligent or hard wokring as Obama. Some President in the future is going to use that precedent to kill people inside the United States (and for all we know Obama has done that), and then it will become a routine political maneuver.

  2. Morgan Everett

    That Studebaker article is weird. I usually see that kind of “but will that fix the problem?” argument regarding climate change from conservatives.

    1. Eclair

      Yes, well, Studebaker has done some interesting writing, so I will refrain from calling him out as an entitled little twit who could probably benefit from a season spent gutting fish on an Alaskan fishing boat or a night job cleaning toilets at Morgan Stanley headquarters, instead of massaging his keyboard to produce the kind of discursive writing he disdains.

      Since I have refrained, I will take issue with his statement that individual behaviors cannot combat climate change. Yes they can. Taken as a whole, because society does exist. And accepted as a necessary first step to realizing what behaviors are part of the problem. So that concerted political action can be taken.

      And what’s wrong with ‘shaming’ as a means to change behavior? It’s a technique that has worked for centuries in many cultures. The cultures that considered it shameful for one person to amass possessions without distributing them to the others in his community. The cultures that considered it shameful for leaders to think only of themselves and not of the welfare of every person under their care. The cultures that considered it shameful to wantonly destroy the natural world, to blow up mountains, to dump poisons into the waters, to massacre acres of thousand-year-old forests simply to make money.

      Well, now I feel better. I am going to eat my vegan lunch and then bicycle to my yoga class. With my little reusable cloth bags so I can stop at the coop and fill them with organic beans and raisins.

      1. DJG

        Eclair: This Studebaker article seems to one in a spate of articles declaring that individual behavior has nothing to do with climate change. So let’s change society wholesale–as if that is going to happen next week. So we are then justified in becoming quiescent, hoping that the continuing crisis of monotheism will save us–first the Mueller Report will save us, and next the Book of Revelations will, I s’pose. (I think that he gives Plotinus more credit than Plotinus deserves, considering that Christianity was busy at that time contracting the public space and looting temples.)

        Even though, of course, Americans are the number-one makers of messes in the world, and Americans might benefit from some internal brakes on their behaviors (thrift, probity, precautionary principle–and other non-groovy virtues).

        This is one of the reasons why the daily news aggregation and, especially, the original posts here at Naked Capitalism are so important. What matters is to act. Americans are much too good at endless, rather mindless dithering. I’ll just wait to be the change I want to see in the world! Hand me a water bottle.

        The effectiveness of personal behavior and of recycling has been borne out to me often lately. Chicago is littered with disposables, and every Monday, Clark Street in my neighborhood is awash in paper napkins, restaurant “boxes,” water bottles, and Starbucks plastic cups. This destruction-by-disposables was highlighted when I went to Rome in March: In the last few years, the use of “usa e getta” disposables in Rome has gone through the proverbial roof. They are now everywhere, and the garbage crisis is a crisis caused the sheer amount of space this junk takes up.

        And I will walk to yoga class this afternoon because I don’t even want to engage a vehicle. Ha!

        1. Antifa

          The point of the Studebaker article is what it points to — our failure as a species to act in our collective interest. How we individually retreat from such action is not the point, it’s illustration.

          We humans wouldn’t know how to begin to act together as a species interested in its own survival. We’re not ants, or honeybees. It’s Alexander versus the Gordian Knot; it’s David versus Goliath. How to do the very thing we can’t do?

          Meanwhile, another 24 hours goes by, and huge damage under the banner of business as usual gets stacked on top of huge damage.

          An alien observer watching from orbit might say, “This is their make or break moment. Fifty quatloons says they never really try. Who’s taking?”

          My dog is in this fight, so I’ve got to bet my quatloons against the house — but how does our species act in concert, all over the world?

          1. Morgan Everett

            The article presents a false dichotomy between those who try to achieve what little they can do personally, and those who are looking for the big picture solution that can only come through collective action (while essentially accusing those who try to do something in their personal lives of acting in bad faith i.e. virtue signalling). I suspect that those who are willing to take some inconvenience or cost in their personal lives to mitigate climate change are those most likely to support large scale collective action, not those who denigrate the worthiness of individual action because it’s not a silver bullet.

            1. Antifa

              It’s not a false dichotomy; it’s the world as it is — 7/8ths of humans are so trapped in economic business as usual that we can’t even think of worrying about climate, biodiversity loss, or acting against the system that traps us here.

              No matter the actions or words of the 1/8th who not only have time and leisure to endlessly discuss how one might best solve the problem, and how one might best view the problem. This is micturition in the face of a hurricane.

              The 7/8ths of going to hell in a handbasket are taking the 1/8ths of us along for the ride, if we don’t actually cut this Gordian Knot.

              1. ambrit

                Your last allusion brings to mind the distinct possibility of an autocrat coming along to enforce some sort of solution. That assumes that Nature, (lending it a false sense of independent existence, such as displayed in the Citizens United ruling,) does not unilaterally act and smash us all to our knees soon.

        2. Jeff W

          This Studebaker article seems to one in a spate of articles declaring that individual behavior has nothing to do with climate change. So let’s change society wholesale–as if that is going to happen next week. So we are then justified in becoming quiescent…

          I read Studebaker’s post as saying something quite different: individual actions are insufficient to bring about meaningful effects with regard to climate change. (He cites a graduate student in agricultural economics to the effect that “the things most people talk about related to climate change (flying, meat consumption, private cars) create 20% of the emissions in Finland.”)

          But he says, more importantly, we need to focus on the poorer countries because “the rich states themselves don’t account for a large enough percentage of emissions”—we have to ensure that the poorer countries do so as well. (He says more explicitly elsewhere that “reductions from rich states are cancelled out by the growing emissions of developing countries.”) So dealing effectively with climate change isn’t really a domestic issue but more an international one where some “revision” to create an environment in which the nation states, rich and poor, keep their agreements, is necessary.

          So the aim of Studebaker‘s piece is not to create quiescence (although that might be an unfortunate effect), it’s to get people to distinguish between what he calls the “pretend politics” of individual lifestyle choices and “the real thing,” which involves “looking for politicians who understand this [the need for that revision] and frame their climate strategy around the international arena.”

    2. jrs

      I don’t know what to make of him. I mean his critique of the DSA was so off base (and criticism is fine, but that particular criticism that the DSA of all organizations likes to sits around and philosophize just almost could not be more wrong). That’s what commenting on NC is for :) But the DSA may do a little of that, mostly just to build involvement I think, but is about as action oriented as one could get.

      Anyway the point of shaming, well individual action is not enough but the shaming might be aimed not entirely at that but at a larger point. It might be: is infinite growth economics sustainable? If not then we may as well admit the reality that a lot of what we take for granted (like maybe plane travel) will have to go. And to get people to accept that. And that might be the point. There was an article on counterpunch recently (“Ecological limits and the working class”) about some people apparently arguing for infinite growth socialism. And it’s just like, ok so they probably aren’t a movement, but there are people who have gone so far left that they want to dismantle the capitalist system (and I do get it) but they still believe in the capitalist fairy tale of infinite growth? Someone shaming for plane travel or composting everything maybe at least understands that that is unlikely to work.

      That effort needs to be international and driven by the U.S. to the degree possible, hmm that may be becoming mainsteam in those thinking about the issue but of course none of the best thinking about things ever trickles down into mass culture. I think it’s becoming consensus because Jay Inslee’s white papers written with advisors, for instance, have detailed proposals for such (“global climate mobilization”), so some mainstream people (those advising) are connecting some dots. Doesn’t mean I’m optimistic. The intellectual state of things may not be as bad as all that, but in terms of action rather than thinking, we obviously aren’t where we need to be.

    3. Dan

      Notice the way he slips Jordan Peterson in there as being part of the “useless self-help movement.”

      Peterson is a professor of philosophy who opposes political correctness and would disagree with Studebaker.

      It’s a cheap shot. The analogy would be labeling anyone who fights against racism or fascism as being “part of the useless self help movement”.

        1. Dan

          I Stand corrected.

          “Dr. Jordan B Peterson is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto”

      1. richard

        little defensive about Jordan Peterson there?
        okay, Studebaker nowhere uses the phrase “useless self-help movement” or even implies that the movement is “useless”. He puts it on a list of 5 “retreats” that solve individual problems without contributing to “resolving the political problems of our age.”
        I think characterizing Peterson as a self-help or self-improvement writer is not so far off. Maybe even charitable.
        His latest book was titled 12 Rules for Life, was it not? And isn’t a big part of his supposed appeal that he counsels young men adrift in that sea of political correctness, too feminized, etc
        Your last analogy is very silly; i reject your premise that opposing “political correctness” is at all like opposing racism or fascism. For one thing, the struggles against racism and fascism have mostly taken place in the form of popular movements – the “struggles against political correctness” have mostly taken place among university faculty, lousy comedians, and politicians with an ear for loud, stupid arguments that burn up all the oxygen in a room.

      2. Massinissa

        Peterson has written a book called 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote for Chaos

        It is LITERALLY A SELF HELP BOOK. Its even advertised as a self help book, and wikipedia lists it as a self help book. Fine, maybe not all of his books are self help books (He has written two books, the other is anthropology), but at least one book is, so its fair game to call him a self help author. Especially considering of his two published books, his self help book is more popular.

    4. flora

      Today there are a large number of people who have been demoralised by our political system.

      Yes, that’s true. It demoralizes me to tell my politicians what is important to me – over and over – and have them act like they didn’t hear a word. Or that I must be wrong, or ignorant, or deplorable, or that ‘r’ word.

      I think Studebaker’s point about the fall of the Roman Empire (everyone has a theory) was the Roman leadership failed to restore order (respect for the central authority by the citizens and outer territories) because it failed to grapple with what was real and before them. I think that was Studebaker’s point. (It was hard to tell.) The bubble-thinking by the Roman leadership disconnect filtered down through the citizenry, a sort of intellectual trickle-down.

      If he’s making a comparison to the Dem estab now he needs to make it head-on, I think. If the Dem leaders want to restore order in the party they could start by accepting Clinton ran a remarkably bad campaign; stop fantasizing about reasons she lost; and start addressing the real economic issues important on Main Street. They still deny that reality; they are still intellectually in their own thought-bubbles (apparently there are 5 types).

      Studebaker sort of hints at this but immediately deflects away from making a point about the Dem leadership he is not professionally encouraged or personally prepared to make. So he charges the general populace with retreats from engaging with reality. Which seem perilously close to blaming the victim, in the circumstance.

      He goes on to say something I agree with:
      These performances of concern are just disguised forms of retreat. If we can’t tell the difference between pretend politics and the real thing, we won’t make any progress, no matter how loudly we call people names.

      It’s odd: If Studebaker ever attended a rally for, or listened to Sanders or Warren or Gabbard or Gravel speak, and saw the size of the crowds they draw, he would know not everyone in the Dem party is in retreat from reality. I’d say the majority of all voters, not just Dem, can very well tell the difference between pretend politics and the real thing.

      Studebaker seems unwilling to finish his own thought.

  3. diptherio

    First, let me be clear that I’m not trying to discourage anyone from signing up for the Equifax settlement, but I find it interesting that nobody seems to be mentioning that according to the settlement website, you must “certify that I have credit monitoring and will have it for at least 6 months from today.” in order to receive the cash payout. If you don’t have credit monitoring services already, they want to give you that instead.

    Now, I would really like that $125, but I don’t have credit monitoring services and I don’t really feel comfortable claiming that I do in order to receive that cash, especially given that you have to mark this check box before submitting that states, “I affirm under the laws of the United States that the information I have supplied in this claim form and any copies of documents that I am sending to support my claim are true and correct to the best of my knowledge.”

    Let me reiterate that I’m not saying don’t go to the website and claim whatever you can get (up to $500, if my math is correct, if you spent time and/or money dealing with the breach) but it does seem to me that a lot of us would have to come up with a creative definition of “credit monitoring services” in order to file for the cash payment, rather than just getting 6 months of free credit monitoring.

    Am I missing something, or what?

    1. Arizona Slim

      I have a hard freeze on my credit. Had to put one on after I was burglarized and had my identity stolen during the winter of 2017-18.

      So, no need for credit monitoring here. The freeze takes care of that.

      1. Ping

        I have no idea why everyone doesn’t just freeze their credit with the 3 bureaus. It can be temporarily lifted if needing a credit check but how often do you need to (should you) do major spending or transition requiring such.

    2. diptherio

      Ok, so AOC does mention this: “Okay everyone UPDATE on Equifax: for most people the better deal is 10 years of free credit monitoring.”

      But still no mention of the “your only eligible for cash if you’re already paying someone to monitor your credit” aspect of the website language. That just bothers me…

    3. Oh

      Equifax is trying to take this opportunity to farm additional data from you. I have no use for these credit bureaus. Most of their credit data is garbage, just like D&B.

      1. Dan

        You mean like they want you to enter your name and the last four digits of your SS to geolocate you?

        Use your public library’s wifi for things like that.

        1. ambrit

          Last six digits of your Social Security number. That’s about all the identification any competent surveillance system would need. To throw ‘them’ off of the scent is futile. There has to be some way of verifying identity when anything of value is transferred.
          This is beginning to be a good argument for all cash living.

    4. Montanamaven

      I actually have credit monitoring services. I will have to go back and look thru my folder on them and see what I did after the breech. I think what I did was go to the service and put some kind of hold on my info. But I’m not in Montana right now. Once I go back and I can find it, I’ll let you know what happened. I am eligible, but I need to prove that i spent time doing something. I find that a bit rich.

      1. Montanamaven

        And I agree that the whole credit monitoring thing is a scam. It was part of some credit card offer years ago, but I’m ending it. Stupid.

    5. jrs

      How much do you need it if your credit has literally been on lockdown since the scandal? Because many people did this. They voluntarily did without the ability to get new credit for years and years and maybe will never unfreeze it, all because of Equifax and their screw up. And yes it’s inconvenient.

    6. Dita

      Equifax security was laughably bad yet i must certify that I have monitoring service, which I do, to qualify for a frankly inadequate settlement. And how do we know Equifax has tightened security?

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Should the Rich Be Allowed to Buy the Best Genes?”

    Yeah, the movie “Gattaca” gave fair warning how this could turn out when those with wealth can choose what their children can be. The race itself was dividing itself up into genetic “winners” with the rest of humanity relegated to an permanent underclass-

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      it’s important that the best among us get to choose whether their children are eloi or morlock

  5. marcyincny

    What a TDF indeed! I’m almost ashamed to admit how much time I’ve spent watching it, what with my first HDTV and an NBC Gold cycling pass that provides start-to-finish coverage with Robbie McEwan and Matt Keenan and replays to ease the withdrawal!!

    I can’t remember how hot it was last Sunday but at least it’s cooler for today’s finish in Paris.

  6. Craig H.

    > It’s the second dirtiest thing in the world — and you’re wearing it

    This is not true. I just got out of the bathtub and right now I am naked.


    When I saw the photo I thought they were going to be writing about cell phones.

  7. sammie

    The Real Reason The Propagandists Have Been Promoting Russia Hysteria Caitlin Johnstone (The Rev Kev)
    Read this last night, and thought truer words were hardly spoken:
    “This marked discrepancy is due to the fact that western mass media outlets serve not a political party, nor even money, but the power structures of the western empire. This is the real reason why Russia hysteria has been mainlined into mainstream consciousness day in and day out for three years. Not for ratings, not to hurt Trump, not to help the Democrats, but because Russia is viewed as a disobedient geopolitical adversary by the US-centralized power alliance. That’s all it’s ever been.”

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      I have a degree in history. I went to public schools and a public university in the United States.
      Had I not been an autodidact, I would not have known until my History 200 level classes about the British, French, and American effort to help the Whites win the Civil War from 1917-1922. Tsarist Russia and the former USSR is my wheelhouse. I am comfortable saying that everything we teach people up until they get into a history program worth a damn with professors who are worth a damn (both numbers dwindling more each year, if the “scholarship” coming out of the US History University Complex is any indication) is Washington-Irving-level fabrication and delusion.

      We straight up invaded them after WW1. Then destroyed them from within after 1991. The Russians should hate Americans more than anyone who isn’t Native American. Then we have the balls to have our Deep State blame its preferred candidate’s loss on the old enemy for :::checks notes:::: meddling in the internal affairs of another nation’s election. Hoo boy. That is some piping hot hypocrisy right there, don’t touch the plate!

      Luckily Americans have a preternatural ability to avoid self-reflection, else they might lament to themselves or their compatriots “Hans, are we the baddies?”

      1. rowlf

        You left out a few US provocations in the Cold War, such as flying bombers (used for aerial photography), balloons, signals intelligence aircraft and reconnaissance aircraft in Soviet airspace. Deploying Jupiter ballistic missiles adjacent to Soviet borders didn’t help calm things down.

        How would the US have responded if these type of activities had occurred to the US?

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I find America’s never-ending demonization of Russia to be very disheartening indeed, I get that our entire economy these days needs lots and lots of war to keep it from collapsing. But it doesn’t need to, JFKs idea was to channel the money and energy into the space race instead of the arms race, and we could channel into greener energy, cleaner and better ag, or even the mundane stuff like trying to boost our own productivity by investing in our infrastructure.

        After all, Russians are 1. European heritage and outlook; 2. white; and 3. Christian. We insisted they dismantle communism, which they did. They actively fight radical Islamic terror.

        As for the latest version of RussiaGate (which I will henceforth refer to as FBIGate), I’ve struggled to understand how The Dems could continuously double and redouble down on an obviously losing hand. My first thought was that there are only two possibilities: either they had to be 1. incredibly stupid, or else 2. victims of a hysterical hallucinatory mania that spun out of control. (I’ll leave aside the obvious subject of MSM and MIC Benjamins for the moment).

        But now I’m leaning toward a third possibility: that they knew from the very beginning that the dog wouldn’t hunt but they flogged it anyway.

        Exculpatory evidence was widely available from the get-go…but the Dems knew they could distract their faithful with 2-3 years of opposition theatre and high drama. They could convince their base they were working hard for them while continuing with business as usual for their corporate crony class constituency, things like voting for $1.48 *trillion* for The Pentagon (how did AOC and Tulsi vote on that?). Magicians and pickpockets do it all the time: it’s called “misdirection”.

        The Dems knew there was “no there there”. But it was a perfect chance for endless big top circus so the theft of bread could continue unabated, unexamined, and unmolested.

  8. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Spare Me the Purity Racket NYT. Modo hits back.

    Not being a devotee, I don’t know if this mess is typical “modo.”

    Near as I can tell her point is that, having spent three years whipping up a deranged political lynch mob, the expensive pump and party set has lost control of the hystericals who are now turning on the organizers, and the organizers want their authority back.

    Spare US the demand that the toothpaste march dutifully back into the tube. You wanted blood and now you’ve got it. Too bad some of it’s yours. Better late than never.

    And then there’s this:

    Hillary Clinton’s campaign focused on what a terrible person Trump is. It turned out that enough voters knew that and didn’t care. They wanted a racist Rottweiler.

    Oh. That deplorable thing again.

    1. Carolinian

      What you said.

      Re racism as the explanation for Trump the Van Buren in TAC is interesting.

      Nothing excuses the at times dangerous behavior of Donald Trump and some of his supporters. Yet declaring all Trump supporters to be racist is far too crude an understanding. Many feel they are under attack by progressives who fail to see their own economic vulnerabilities. Instead of Barack Obama (Columbia ’83, Harvard ’91) talking about hope and change for everyone, they hear today’s Dems dedicating themselves to over-correcting racial wrongs, punishing those in the present for historical sins. Resentment builds as they’re scolded over what little more they have than others.

      Here’s suggesting that everything in America is not about race–the currently popular meme–but about money and even the racism is often about money. For Dowd and her cocktail weenie set this is an “inconvenient truth.”

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Here’s suggesting that everything in America is not about race…..

        I find myself wondering what this country would look like if there was no “racism.”

        Would the finite patch of earth known as the united states magically transform into an infinite font of physical and emotional bounty available to any human who exists here, in infinite numbers and for all eternity?

        Would every chief executive of the nation be as beloved as Santa Claus or St. Francis of Assisi?

        Would the threat of climate destruction or the desperation of economic insecurity evaporate if only total melanin-blindness was achieved?

        Could we make water?

        1. mpalomar

          “Could we make water?”
          Yes, but in separate but equal WCs?
          Racism is the icing on the upside down democracy cake the US has been baking for 200+ years. It used to be more culturally, pathologically virulent and economically integral yet it is still a device wielded to divide and subjugate as you note.

          I don’t think it should be ignored. Reparations has been a hot topic and the answers are hotly debated. It does occur to me that the statute of limitations argument against reparations, i.e slavery ended a century and a half ago ignores the damage done by de facto and de jure racism even rather recently.

          Racism has often left blacks out of the benefits equation of many of the programs meant to benefit the working class. One seemingly undeniable result is black households have a small fraction of the wealth of whites and on average they sustained a far more devastating hit from the 2008 financial crisis.

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

        Lyndon Johnson understood this 60 years ago.

        Race is what they use to divide the lumpenproles from each other, class is how they separate themselves from the lumpenproles. Everyone looking left or right should instead look UP.

    2. David in Santa Cruz

      Dowd: Perugina, Pumps, and Pelosi. Such a steaming pile of New York elite bullshit — so what if daddy was a DC cop?

      Why did Hillary get pilloried? I am convinced her loss was entirely down to the (correct) perception on the part of 74% of the eligible electorate that she was the beneficiary of Elite Impunity. The demand for Equal Protection of Law applies to equal accountability as well, no matter who you nibble your chocolate with. Otherwise, it’s just another metastasis of institutional racism.

      Mueller was clear: Trump attempted to obstruct justice. If the Senate acquits him, that’s on them. This is fundamental fairness, not Puritanism.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Noam Chomsky: To Make the US a Democracy, the Constitution Itself Must Change”

    I don’t think that Chomsky has really thought this through and he should know better in any case. To change the US Constitution would require a Constitutional Convention. Courtesy of the Koch brothers and like minded people, such a Convention would be used to push through a proto-fascist state of affairs in America and they are already trying to get the numbers to call one. To seal their victory, they would probably enshrine it by making sure that there was never another Convention held – ever.
    A better way would just to enforce the laws on the book. Epstein got a sweetheart deal to keep him out of a heavy duty prison but this deal broke the law by not informing the victims. This is being challenged on these grounds which means the deal goes away. If the law had been followed, Epstein would have gone to the slammer all those years ago. Another example. Despite what John Yoo says, torture is illegal in the United States. If that law had been enforced, Gina Haspel would be sitting in Fort Leavenworth right now instead of heading the CIA. It is also against the law to protect a torturer. If this law had been followed Obama would have been sitting in the prison cell next to Gina. The laws are there. They are just not being enforced.

    1. urblintz

      Agreed. Gore Vidal used to make the same point about the dangers of a Constitutional Convention all the time. And it wouldn’t just be right-wingers who could do damage.

    2. Tomonthebeach

      I think RevKev hit the nail squarely on its head. What laws and regulations are being enforced? Any? The EPA is approving continued poisoning of children while driving out its best and brightest (and frustrated) staff. Detroit is being told to ignore emission standards. DOD is now run by the MIC and refuses to conduct an audit. Agriculture is doing nothing to help flooded farms and prevent future ones. As best one can tell, few Trump appointees determined to be guilty of ethical violations (which seems to be most) have been punished with anything more severe than losing a job for which they had a conflict of interest and typically were just totally incompetent to do in the first place….

      1. Donna

        I also find it disingenuous to claim the Republicans especially Mitch McConnell are solely responsible for the vacancies in the court that carried forward from the Obama years.

        We need to remember that Senator Leahy ran the Senate judiciary from 2007 to 2015 during Obama’s tenure. I was in Florida at the time and Leahy allowed Rubio to stop all of Obama’s judicial appointments because of an arcane agreement called the Blue Slip Rule. From Wikipedia: From 2007 to January 3, 2018: The chairman’s blue-slip policy allowed movement on a judicial nominee only if both home-state Senators returned positive blue slips to the committee. If one home-state Senator returned a negative blue slip, no further action would be taken on the nominee.

        Here are the facts (I didn’t copy the link for this. Whoops): And the Blue Slip Rule has “been utilized by both parties. Republicans employed the process to help block or at least slow-crawl Obama judicial nominations. And then Democratic Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy upheld the tradition in the face of some pressure to abandon the Blue Slip process from his own Democratic Party” Needless to say, the Republicans have thrown that rule overboard now that they call the shots.

        Yes, Republicans have done and are planning to do terrible things. But, let’s not forget that Biden was in charge of the hearings that put Clarence Thomas on the bench. Check how many times Chuck Schumer has allowed up or down votes on judicial nominees so Dems could get out of DC early for campaigning back home.

        I know I couldn’t hold a candle to Chomsky’s understanding of all things political but this one gets me. They just did a segment on the Real News also laying all the blame for conservative courts at the feet of the Republicans.

    3. richard

      I thought that headline was misleading; Chomsky discussed the features of our constitution and 2 party system that impede populist changes, and how they are historical features and not bugs. He didn’t make any tactical suggestion about pushing for a constitutional convention (I agree that’s a pretty lousy idea).
      There is no good solution here, I am afraid. Matt Christman of Chapo Trap House has made some very good points on this subject, I’ve found, i.e.:
      1) The constitution of the us, the system of checks and balances that (older) schoolchildren learn about, has no failsafe for “coherent and disciplined” political parties. The writers of that document knew it wouldn’t survive real faction, and warned against it, but parties pretty much immediately popped up anyway.
      2) it has worked “best” as a system for managing consensus among the ruling class, when parties or dominant factions aren’t particularly coherent or disciplined – i.e. the times joe biden likes to dream about, when the 2 parties are more able to collude with each other to screw the people
      3) That time is pretty much done now. The mitch mcconnell faction has learned they can obstruct everything with no cost to them politically, that and the confluence of a hundred other factors have destroyed “comity”.
      4) In other words, the republican party has become the kind of “coherent and disciplined” party that our constitutional system just can’t work with.
      Not the dems of course. I doubt that they ever could become a countervailing force to the modern repubs as a peoples’ party, “coherent and disciplined” in a way that we would want. One party associated with reform and all the things people want is not very stable and would transform into something else in short order. I am sure Dem elites would like to try for a “coherent and disciplined” party along the lines of idpol and russia hate, which of course just highlights the precious (and vicious) bubble they live in.

      1. richard

        ps – I mean to say one reform party in a two-party system is not a stable system. I don’t mean to valorize “stability”, or to devalorize reform (definitely not!), only to suggest that such a creature wouldn’t stick around very long.

    4. Susan the other`

      This was good Chomsky. He writes for the general public. To say that the electoral college is a travesty of democracy is easy to accept now because we have seen in blatant action for the last 20 years. Chomsky eases us into a better frame of mind. But he is also relentless. I would never have survived the Vietnam era had I not had Chomsky. Democracy is getting more possible all the time. Not the least because we are being isolated because of thinkers like Chomsky and others. And part of that is because Chomsky didn’t flame out. He just kept pushing rational thinking and behavior. It’s almost a question of evolution. Because, if Pompeo is a born again evangelist without a cause, we need to be very deliberate. My own opinion is that Pompeo definitely has a cause and it isn’t the Rapture – it is oil. To temper this particular focus is takes somebody like Chomsky. And there are signs of evolution. The Koch Brothers and Georgie Soros have formed an “anti war” think tank. We see how their version of “anti-war” emerges in this ever more complex world of ours. No?

    5. mpalomar

      “I don’t think that Chomsky has really thought this through”
      I suspect he has. Though he points out the failings of the US constitution he doesn’t really suggest a constitutional convention as a possibility in the article. He notes the amendment process is impossible because of the lock money has on statehouses and other aspects of the democratic landscape, etc.

      One wonders though if the process was started how engaged the general public would become and whether their attention could be focused long enough to effect a move toward greater democracy. It is often remarked that when USians are polled on things like medicare for all they often appear more progressive than reflected in the democratic institutions that represent them.

      1. jrs

        What Medicare For All are they polled on? See we would answer, oh it means they support the Sanders or Jayapal bills or something similar (and since all candidates running on MFA have nominally endorsed the Sanders bill this seems a perfectly sensible assumption).

        However, lots and lots of people think Medicare for all includes insurance companies as a central part of it, because Medicare does presently, and they aren’t informed about the bills but just hear “Medicare For All”. Some see this as a weakness of MFA, “but we’ll still have to deal with insurance companies”. No not really. So what are people REALLY for when polled? Darned if I know!

    6. Oh

      I can visualize Haspel and Obama sitting next to each other in Dante’s worst part of hell.

    7. WheresOurTeddy

      what good is a constitutional convention when all the regulatory agencies have been captured and Republicans have nearly 2/3 of the state governments sewn up?

    8. Anon

      RE: Chomsky

      Chomsky believes the Constitution must change because the Electoral College as used during Pres/Vice Pres. elections (ony!)is embeded in it. As he points out, 23% of the electorate can (theoretically), through winner-take-all state voting processes elect a President (and make it appear a landslide). See: 2016. He also suggests that a change is improbable because the small states with this exceptional political power are unlikely to give it up.

      What is more feasible is changing to proportional (to the popular vote) allotment of electoral votes. This would eliminate much of the electoral power of small and “swing states” in presidential elections. It would bring the US closer to a real democracy. It doesn’t make the Dems or Repubs any more responsive to the voters while in office, however.

      The problems of the EC are magnified in the Senate. Here is a legislative body the gives Wyoming and California equal representation for determining members of the Judiciary (a supposed co-equal branch of government). The current Supreme Court is exhibit one in proofing the case that it does NOT reflect the sentiment of the populace (Citizens United) or reflective of the Constitution.

    9. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      I think the US should have a constitutional convention on our 250th Anniversary. First thing we should do is a 2nd Bill of Rights and Decentralize Authority from the MNCs and the 1%.2nd thing is erasing 90% of the Laws.

    10. Ape

      Standard US reply: yes, we know the system is broken, but any fix would be worse than the disease.

      You know, that’s the counsel of despair? That if it’s really that bad that any attempt to approach democracy would cause a failure of the system, that your society is basically frozen and permanently dysfunctional — well, then, you’ve already failed and the discussion is only how long you can eek out survival before a combination of events brings the whole system down.

      Think it through carefully. Consider whether this is not a rationalization, that a deep-seated religious belief in the inviolability of the US Constitution is what really drives this reasoning, rather than really believing that your co-citizens are incapable of reason. Even if you don’t believe it on the surface, it may be an equivalent of the atheist ex-Christian who rationalizes most of Christian theology because in their heart, they can’t step away.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Two are arrested after man dressed as clown sparked mass brawl on P&O cruise liner”

    Hey, clowns are scary! No wonder it sparked a brawl. Why do you think that they re-made a move – ” It” – about a supernatural killer clown? You see this elsewhere. There is a player called 4Earth that dresses as a killer clown and tries to scare streamers on PUBG by standing behind doors as they are opened. Here is an example of his work (note – some swearing)-

    1. shtove

      Would like to get a good insight on this incident. Some reports said it was passengers from Essex, dressed in black tie, during a “patriotic” event. Was the clown a provocation to the participants, or a confirmation of their true nature?

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      a clown in a setting where people are not expecting a clown is as unsettling as a soldier or law enforcement officer in a setting where you don’t expect them to be. it’s jarring and you want the situation to resolve itself as quickly as possible with minimum issue. then again, i unfairly assume people who dress as clowns are either depressed or disturbed so i recognize i have a bias in play, and think police and soldiers should be scarce and lightly armed in the case of police and well-nigh invisible within the united states territory for soldiers, respectively. Still pissed Obama revoked Posse Comitatus but that’s so far in the rearview it seems quaint now.

  11. XXYY

    Some good things here; I confess I am faintly surprised to see anything useful coming out of the Washington legislative process.

    Extended producer responsibility (EPR). As a condition of sale, producers will be required to design, manage and finance end-of-life programs for products and packaging.

    This sounds like cradle-to-cradle thinking, very welcome. The real goal is to have the design cycle include thinking about what will happen when the consumer is “done” with the product or packaging. The traditional answer is “throw it away”. As we are finding out, there is no “away” here on Earth. We are at the bottom of a huge gravity well and everything here is staying here until such time as the sun explodes.

    I’m guessing that this problem will be licked pretty rapidly once people start to focus on it and it becomes a priority.

    Seems like one thing we want to move towards is genuine recycling, where the recycled material is equivalent to (or ideally better) than virgin material, rather than “downcycling”, where the recycled material is inferior and of only limited use and eventually consigned to a landfill. I assume this involves (a) concentrating on material where this is actually possible (aluminum, steel, glass, some plastics), and (b) designing products and containers so that this level of recycling is possible (avoid inks, dyes, and contaminants, use one material throughout etc.).

    Of course another strategy is to design for reusability instead of disposability, and/or design for much longer usable lifetimes. Technically this is not a hard problem, but it goes 100% against the business strategies developed over the last century, which prioritize repeated sales of one-time-use products and deliberate obsolescence via rapidly changing fashions and styles (e.g., clothing, cars, electronics, etc.). As with Medicare for All, the problems here are not technical but fight-to-the-last-breath opposition by rich interests. In many cases these interests would rather see the literal death of the human race itself than any diminution of profits or power, so this is a substantial and perhaps insurmountable problem.

    Single-use plastic bans. The ban would apply to items such as expanded polystyrene, bags, cups, lids, cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, packaging and stirrers. Exceptions will be made for individuals with disabilities until adequate alternatives are developed.

    This seems like a no-brainer. Most of these things were made of non-plastic materials until very recently and/or are easy to substitute with reusable items.

    Plastic is a fantastic material but throwing it away after one use should not be the goal.

  12. DJG

    So he is a drake of the Indian spot-billed duck. Hard not to like those groovy red-orange legs.

    1. Redlife2017

      Jacob Bacharach had a great response to her article:

      “Maureen Dowd is such a deluded snob that she thinks she’s Marie Antoinette when of course she is actually Jeanne de Valois-Saint-Rémy…The Affair of the Feckless”

  13. John Zelnicker

    I know there are a hoard of pundits telling the Democrats how to run a campaign against Donald Trump, many of them anti-Trump Republicans.

    However, Tim Wise is, IMNSHO, someone worth listening to. He was instrumental in the defeat of David Duke back in 1990-91 when Duke ran for the Senate from Louisiana and then for Governor of the state. Trump is just like Duke, hence Duke’s support for the president.

    His basic point is that running a campaign based on policy proposals is never going to work against an opponent who is making emotional appeals to his/her base. This is the well-documented idea that the cognitive can not overcome the emotional. And, it’s what the Republicans have been so good at, especially Trump.

    1. Pat

      That is a nice piece of meaningless goop. It is about policy AND emotion, not just emotion. Trump DID offer policy, policies people wanted, and recognition that the current policies were detrimental to much of the public. And if you remember Clinton’s post primary campaign was largely emotional, as in about disgust, superiority and derision of Trump and people who might vote for him.

      I will also say flat out if Democrats do run on emotion, they are likely to run the same campaign that lost. Oh with fear of Russia added in. Because they are constrained from running on policies that people want by the leadership and consultancy class of the party. Not enough money in it.

      And until the electoral college is abolished winning the states that will fall for that substance free emotional are not enough to win. And looking at both California and my state NY, we do not always know better no matter how bad Kansas got.

      You have to have both the emotion AND the policy attached to it. Even if the policy changes advanced are bull shit. Hope AND Change win it for Obama, but as meaningless as his indicated policies were he did hand wave at them.

      1. flora

        I must say that Kansas in the last 2 elections threw out the farthest right wing state legislators and replaced them with Dems or moderate Republicans who support public K-12 schools and roads and an independent judiciary. The worst , imo, far right candidate did not become governor. A well-known moderate Dem was elected governor. The horrible Brownback tax cut experiment was stopped and a start made on repairing the damage it caused. This was done locally in Kansas – little to no outside national Dem party estab help.

        The Dem estab suddenly says it wants to rebuild the rural states’ Dem parties and win more statehouses. The 10 year census state redistricting is next year. The Dem estab claims it wants to help rural states Dem parties win back statehouses lost over the past 10 years. At the same time, the Dem estab idea that eliminating the electoral college will make a Dem candidate more likely to win the Pres guarantees the rural and Midwestern states’ Dem parties will be even more decimated. It will mean no one will campaign in or care about rural state issues during presidential campaigns.

        If the Dems are interested in rebuilding their once strong Midwestern base (who, remember, voted in Obama and B.Clinton) then abandoning the Midwest during presidential elections by eliminating the electoral college is the exactly wrong strategy. Now, if the Dem estab wants to say outright, “We don’t care about the Midwest and the rural states at all”, that would at least be an honest statement. (And that’s before you get to the basic concept that the US is a federation of states.)

        Hills never campaigned in Michigan even though the state party saw her numbers slipping and begged, *begged* her to come and campaign in the state at least once. But, oh no, she knew better.

        The problem isn’t the Constitution; the problem is politically tone-def candidates running lousy campaigns. One mustn’t say that, though. Better to say russiarussiarussia and bad-electoral-college if you want to stay in the good graces of the current Dem estab. (Those who do not learn from history….)

        1. flora

          adding: To those who are still trying to forget the recent unpleasantness, I’m sorry to bring this up, but it’s important to remember these details ,imo.

          This is about the 2016 Clinton campaign’s claim it was raising money to help rebuild the rural and Midwestern states’ parties.
          From Wapo:

          “Leaked emails show the Democratic National Committee scrambled this spring to conceal the details of a joint fundraising arrangement with Hillary Clinton that funneled money through state Democratic parties.

          “But during the three-month period when the DNC was working to spin the situation, state parties kept less than one half of one percent of the $82 million raised through the arrangement — ….

          “Clinton’s allies have responded publicly by arguing that the fund is raising big money to boost down-ballot Democratic candidates by helping the 40 state parties that are now participating in the fund.

          “But privately, officials at the DNC and on Clinton’s campaign worked to parry questions raised by reporters, as well as Sanders’ since-aborted campaign, about the distribution of the money, according to a cache of hacked emails made public late last week by WikiLeaks. ”

          If the national party estab is going to continue sucking the Midwestern state parties’ funds dry maybe that’s the reason the rural state Dem parties are weaker than they were; it’s not because of the electoral college.

            1. Pat

              Two things.

              The Clinton campaign and the DNC should have faced FEC charges regarding that arrangement as it was intended to circumvent donation limits.

              And losing Michigan wasn’t because of Russian interference either. Clinton lost because she was 1.) A horrible choice and 2.) INCOMPETENT.

              And as a NYer I don’t want the President to only represent Wall Street and Silicone Valley, with a nod to the oil business. Too much of that all ready. Hell, a lot of NYers aren’t represented that way either.

              1. Inode_buddha

                As a working-class NY’er I don’t think I’ve had any representation since Eisenhower.

        2. Pat

          I used Kansas both because of the what’s the matter with Kansas memes AND the recognition what the ideological choices made had not served their interests and changing direction. Something I am not sure NY can or would do.

          And no I am not surprised that there was no help coming from the party.As you indicate saying they don’t care would be more honest.

  14. RMO

    “Can this ancient Greek medicine cure humanity?”

    Let me guess… it’s hemlock, isn’t it?

    1. bruce

      I haven’t read the article yet, but my guess would be sylphium, the long believed to be extinct Cyrene herb. I have to go outside soon and get some work done, so I probably won’t get around to reading the article.

      1. Plenue

        “It’s called mastic, it grows in particular abundance on the Greek island of Chios and its resin — the goo exuded when its bark is gashed — has been reputed for millenniums to have powerful curative properties.”

        1. urblintz

          Indeed, mastic or masticha. It what creates the resin taste in the famous Greek wine, retsina. The Greeks make a chewing gum out of it too.

  15. David Carl Grimes

    Re Trump and Elijah Cummings. I think Trump would have been better off labeling Cummings as part of the black misleadership class who has done nothing for his constituency since the Civil Rights Movement. Trump could also accuse Obama of the same thing. Black wealth plummeted during his Presidency

  16. JBird4049

    Your Arrest Was Dismissed. But It’s Still In A Police Database.

    So the police can arrest you for the crime of being annoying using bogus charges, which then are tossed, perhaps after months of being in jail, but those tossed and ostensibly sealed records can be forever used to profile you; more arrests, more charges, more trials, more algorithmic profiling showing how dangerous you are, which can lead to job and housing loss, along with the denial of benefits.

    Because some cop was having a bad day and then took it out on you. The best part is that the arrests records are often used illegally without any consequences to the police, prosecutor, benefits administrator, and even ICE.

    Tails I win, heads you lose seems to becoming more predominant everyday.

    1. LifelongLib

      I don’t know if it’s generally true in the U S. that information on non-conviction charges is not available to law enforcement or the court system.

      Here in Hawaii conviction information is usually available to the public.

      Non-conviction information that has not been expunged is available to law enforcement, courts, and some other government agencies, but usually not to the public.

      People who have charges that did not result in convictions can request that the charges be expunged (which prevents most entities from viewing them) but this is not automatic. Non-conviction information remains available to law enforcement etc unless it is specifically expunged.

      1. JBird4049

        While police in 12 states are prevented by law from accessing records of arrests that did not result in a conviction, officers in New York and elsewhere can look up such files if they get permission from a court or from record-keeping officials. And in 25 states, police have full access to arrest records, even ones that were dismissed or expunged.

        The problem is that expunged does not mean erased. As a Californian, once I am arrested it stays on my permanent record, which California law enforcement has access to, even when the courts order it expunged. Indeed, not only do some police departments like the NYPD illegally release “expunged” arrest records, the police in a number of states apparently have access to the same records from other states.

        These records have been used by the police and DAs as justification for further arrests, charges, and, they hope, convictions. Why? Well obviously, they have been arrested before, and therefore somehow they are more likely to have “another” committed crime. Even when the previous arrests, charges, and even convictions were in error or at best “enthusiastically” pursued.

        It is similar to the reasoning for civil asset forfeitures especially of cash. Merely the act of having thousands, hundreds, or even some twenties supposedly suggests that they are profits from criminal activities. And how do we know that the people were supposedly suspicious? It takes just the word of one police officer saying that they were suspicious somehow, in someway, which can include those erased, but not really, records of bad arrests. I could truly spend weeks documenting the whole corrupt system but others have done books, articles, and documentaries.

        I am angry because the system can anybody without the money and the support needed can have their lives destroyed on a whim. This includes the bottom 90% of Americans. Yes, a majority of the police are decent people and some areas of the country are mostly okay, but really it is the luck of draw. Life should not be a rigged game of chance.

  17. ewmayer

    “Bernal set to become first Colombian Tour de France victor | France 24” — It was indeed a really exciting tour this year, lots of intrigue, excitement, triumph and tragedy. One annoyance I have – it was noted today that Bernal is the first rider since 1990 to win a Tour without winning a single stage – but Stage 19, the penultimate big-mountain stage on Friday, was ended early due to hail and mudslides making the approach to the final climb impassable, and the stage times taken at the top of the huge climb which preceded it, and from which the leaders were midway done descending when the reast-of-stage cancellation was announced. Bernal had attacked and shattered the elite GC group on that penultimate (as originally planned) climb, so was effectively the stage winner, and took over the race lead based on his time. But oddly, the race directorship decided to not declare a stage winner for Stage 19 – it’s like you get the winner’s time and the time bonus for being first on the (as it proved) final climb, you get the yellow jersey as the new race leader … but you don’t get credit for a stage win. Very weird, that.

    1. ewmayer

      Another interesting factoid – at 22, Bernal was the youngest rider in this year’s Tour, and thus won both the yellow jersey (overall race winner) and white jersey (best young rider, whose definition has been fuzzy over the years but now means basically ‘under 26’) … but if either the final climb of Stage 19 hadn’t been canceled, or if he had exerted himself on the finishing climb of the ensuing Stage 20 and finished just 8 seconds quicker (which would have put him 2nd on the stage), he would also have won the polka-dot “King of the Mountains” jersey awarded to the top climber of the Tour.

      Four riders have won both the white and yellow jersey in the same year: Laurent Fignon in 1983, Jan Ullrich in 1997, Albertor Contador in 2007 and Andy Schleck in 2010 — but none of them won the KOM jersey in the given year, so Bernal was just 8 seconds away from what would have been another historic first.

      However … In 1969, Eddy Merckx won the yellow jersey, the green jersey (best sprinter) and the polka dot jersey, the only man ever to do so in a single Tour de France – and Eddy had just turned 24 that year. And in fact he did also win the white jersey, but it was a “different white jersey”. Wikipedia on the byzantine history:

      From 1968 to 1975, there was a white jersey awarded in the Tour de France to the lead rider in the combination classification (best rider in the overall, points and climbing competitions). In 1975, this classification was removed, and replaced by the young rider classification. Any neo-professional (less than three years professional) competed in this classification, which was calculated using the rankings for the general classification.[1] The leader in the young rider classification wore a white jersey.

      The rules for the young rider classification changed in 1983, when the competition was only open for first-time competitors, but in 1987 it became open for all cyclists less than 26 years of age at 1 January of the year following that tour.[2] From 1989-1999, the white jersey was no longer awarded, although the competition was still calculated. Since 2000, the white jersey has again been awarded, open for all cyclists less than 26 years of age at 1 January of the year following that Tour.

      So based on today’s rules, Eddy would’ve won all 4 jerseys – he remains the GOAT, by any sensible standard.

      None of which history is gonna keep all of Colombia from having a huge national party today. :)

  18. bruce

    I saw the clown fight/cruise ship story when it first broke, and all I can tell you is, even at 64 I would be a formidable combatant in a drunken clown fight and I would advise you mothers to maintain a respectable distance.

  19. The Rev Kev


    ‘The Brexit Party’s double decker bus was found apparently abandoned on a road in Wales, becoming social media’s perfect metaphor for the stalled negotiations and political deadlock plaguing the UK’s EU departure.’

    So they got into a bit of difficulty and so just walked away from the problem. Cameron did it and so will Boris in the end.

  20. Oregoncharles

    From “Five Forms of Retreat:”
    ” This means considerably reorganising the world system, and the United States is the only state in position to make these revisions. Going into 2020, we should be looking for politicians who understand this and frame their climate strategy around the international arena. Climate change is a foreign policy issue.”

    The premise I agree with, but the rest bothers me. For a start, the United States is not “in position to make these revisions.” Attempting to impose them, however virtuous they are, would cause an enormous backlash – besides the reality that the US is in retreat around the world; or in some cases, we wish it was. And what this evokes is mainly the EU, which is actually responsible for some virtuous programs – but also imposes an invalid, destructive form of economics; and is also in retreat, not only in Britain. That is partly because they attempted the impossible (hindsight), and partly because they stopped midway, with an unsustainable, half-assed form of organization.

    Just not standing in the way might be a more constructive approach.

    That said, I’m convinced that “climate change is a foreign policy issue,” if only because it involves the whole world. But I don’t see Studebaker addressing that in this article.

Comments are closed.