Links 9/23/19

Cat coaxed from Upper West Side tree after five-day saga NY Post

Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Billy Pilgrim’ Turns 50 American Conservative

Thomas Cook travel chaos: firm’s collapse leaves 150,000 stranded abroad – live updates Guardian

NHS hospitals get ‘vintage makeover’ to help dementia patients, including 1950s tearooms and seaside beach huts Evening Standard. The Rev Kev: “I wonder if they got the idea for this from the German comedy film “Goodbye Lenin?”

Black Agenda Report’s 13thAnniversary: An Evening of Information and Inspiration for Liberation, and a Tribute to Co-Founder Bruce Dixon Black Agenda Report

World Health Organisation Says Tanzania Is Withholding Info On Suspected Ebola Cases Gizmodo (The Rev Kev)

New York City has big plans—and $20 billion—to save itself from climate change MIT Technology Review

When smog travels from South Asia to the United States Mongabay

Waste Watch

Fairphone 3, a more ethical, reliable and sustainable phone, is released TreeHugger Too bad you can’t buy one in the US.

California legislature wraps session with unprecedented recycling action Waste Dive

Corporate America Has Found a Way to Turn a Profit Off Being Green Bloomberg

l’affaire Epstein

President Reif addresses ties between MIT and Epstein at faculty meeting The Tech

Harvard Office of the General Counsel to Review Epstein Donations Harvard Crimson

Damning evidence on Prince Andrew could be in Russian hands: MI6 NY Post (The Rev Kev)

Brexit

Brexit: Unison to vote for ‘back remain now’ motion at Labour conference in blow to Corbyn – live news Guardian

737 MAX

Indonesia to Fault 737 MAX Design, U.S. Oversight in Lion Air Crash Report WSJ

India

175 lakh Indians now live abroad even as the number of migrants into the country drops Scroll

A peek into the Indian Railways’ blueprint to roll out private trains Economic Times

At Houston Rally, Modi, Trump Talk Terror, Economy, and Bat for Each Other Politically The Wire

China?

Anti-government protesters rampage through Hong Kong as police struggle to keep up SCMP

Syraqistan

US emphasizes diplomacy in standoff with Iran Agence France-Presse

The drone attacks in Saudi Arabia have changed the nature of global warfare Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Iran accuses foreign forces of raising Gulf ‘insecurity’ Agence France-Presse

As Netanyahu’s power in the Middle East wanes, Trump has to find his own way to deal with Iran Independent. Robert Fisk

WHY DIDN’T IRAQ RETALIATE AGAINST ISRAEL? PART 2 Elijah J. Magnier (chuck l)

Arab parties throw support behind Gantz as they seek to block Netanyahu WaPo (The Rev Kev)

Egypt: Protests and clashes enter second day BBC

Class Warfare

American “economic refugees” are increasingly retiring abroad CBS

A week in, these GM strikers are worried but determined: ‘This is America’ USA Today

Labour members call to ‘redistribute’ private schools’ assets BBC

Organised labour has returned FT

WaPo No Longer Discloses Its Owner’s Uber Investment FAIR

New York Fed rejects Wall St criticism of response to repo turmoil FT
2020

Sanders Unveils Plan to Wipe Out All Medical Debt in US, Declaring, ‘The Very Concept Should Not Exist’ Common Dreams

Elizabeth Warren leads Register’s Iowa Poll for the first time, besting Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders Des Moines Register

Ukraine and Whistle-Blower Issues Emerge as Major Flashpoints in Presidential Race NYT

Biden: I “Have Never Spoken To My Son About His Overseas Business Dealings” Jonathan Turley

Democrats in Disarray

Doomed, delusional, divided and corrupt: How the Democratic Party became a haunted house Salon (The Rev Kev)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Refuses to Be ‘Gaslit’ by The New York Times TruthDig

Pence’s eight-car motorcade ruffles feathers on Michigan’s Mackinac Island, where cars are banned The Hill (The Rev Kev)

Trump Transition

U.S. trade regulators approve some Apple tariff exemptions amid broader reprieve Reuters

Trump Threatens to Veto First Ever Congressional Action on “Forever Chemicals” TruthOut

Court Blocks California’s Attempt To Ensure Ballot Transparency Above the Law. Fine example of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Trump’s War on California and the Climate New Yorker

Trump says he discussed Biden in call with Ukrainian president Reuters

Giuliani charges ‘this town protects Joe Biden’ Politico

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See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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188 comments

    1. Pavel

      I worked briefly in a psychogeriatric unit in a London hospital around 1990 and I shall never forget a scene I witnessed on the ward.

      Twenty or so aged and demented patients of both sexes were sitting more or less lifelessly in chairs which were in a semicircle around a television set, which was playing daytime TV rubbish of some kind.

      A nurse — bless her! — came in and turned off the telly and put a record on the gramophone and it played old music from the 50’s or 60’s. Like a miracle, many if not most of the patients’ faces lit up, with smiles and movements to the rhythm and even some humming along. The contrast between the affects during the TV time and music time was astonishing to say the least. Music is amazing!

      Sadly that was the exception, and most of the time on the wards the TV was left on continually whilst the patients were left to vegetate away, lost in the stupor of the cocktail of medications most of them were on.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Music appears to occupy its own space in the brain and memory, and often comes through when nothing else will. I’ve seen the effect – a woman lost in dementia who could hardly speak but could sing “Happy Birthday;” and my wife saw another woman in a dementia ward who could nonetheless play gorgeous music on the piano and cause other patients to gather around.

        Such places should be well aware of the effect and use it; your example is a very simple but excellent one.

        Reply
      2. Harry

        The anti-psychotics those with Lewy Bodies are on are necessary for them and those caring for them. Not all old men are as frail as one might imagine. My father is prescribed those drugs and they utterly stupefy him, but I think he is better off like that than in his unmediated state, suffering the nightmares, fits and the anger.

        Intermittently he returns to us, and I was much comforted during one visit when I asked him what he thought about the home and whether he was happy. Guilt is a terrible thing for the loved ones of those suffering dementia. He was sufficiently present to reassure me, although I cant help but think that when he is “back” he might also be sufficiently in his own mind to lie for the benefit of his loved ones.

        Of course, nursing homes vary, and staff costs are high. I have no doubt that over-medication happens as all the incentives point in that direction.

        Reply
  1. scott 2

    Considering the nearly constant calls for Pence’s death on social media, the need for armored cars on Mackinac Island is perhaps justified.

    Reply
    1. EoH

      Have you ever been to Mackinac? The visible security appeared to be overdone, but it made a great anti-environmentalist statement.

      Reply
  2. Quanka

    Cockburn, reflecting on the likelihood of US Generals and Defense Contractors changing course as result of the recent drone attacks: The Japanese, soon after they had demonstrated at Pearl Harbour the vulnerability of battleships, commissioned the world’s largest battleship, the Yamato, which fired its guns only once and was sunk in 1945 by US torpedo aircraft and bombers operating from aircraft carriers.

    I see an F-45 million in our future.

    Reply
    1. Bill Smith

      The Yamato was laid down in 1937 and launched in 1940. It was commissioned in December 18, 1941, 11 days after Pearl Harbor. I’m not sure what the point in regard to the Yamato was, except in hindsight. It would be quite some time after Pearl Harbor before it was realized the era of the battleship was really over. The battles of the Coral Sea and Midway would be months later.

      I also believe that the Yamato fired it’s guns more than once as it functioned as a escort a number of times. The point about firing its guns only once might apply to the main battery?

      The F-35 has deployed it’s weapons in combat more than once already. I can’t say if anyone was shooting back though.

      But the point about the drones is well taken, however, at this point drones have a long way to go if the opponent is willing to take certain actions that would make it much harder to the drones to operate. (In a contested environment.)

      I see that the US is attempting to pull the GPS waypoints off the memory chips of the drones that they managed to recover. This has been done before.

      Reply
      1. Jeotsu

        As I understand it, the design ethic of the Yamato was based o the Panama Canal. That is, all US Navy warships had their dimensions limited by the locks on the Canal.

        The Yamato had a significantly greater beam. At carried significantly larger guns, and very heavy armour.

        The IJN knew a fight was coming against the Americans, and nobody yet knew *”nobody” in a large, institution sense) that air power would be so dominant. Yamato and its sister ships were designed to be able to stand in line of battle against a superior number of lighter American battleships, and carry the day.

        Then the world changed.

        Militaries hav always fought wars with a large fraction of antiquated gear. That is more and more true now that construction costs and times have gotten so great.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          The “Yamato” had two sister ships. One was the “Musashi” which was sunk in 1944 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. By then the Japanese had gotten the word as the third ship of this class – the “Shinano” – was converted into an aircraft carrier after the disaster at Midway but was sunk by a US submarine in 1944.

          Reply
      2. Oregoncharles

        “This has been done before.”
        Yes, by the Iranians. Some years ago now, they spoofed the controls of a US drone and landed it. I assume it was a reverse-engineering gold mine, and might be the source of much of the technology that just hit SA.

        It isn’t like they’re stupid.

        Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      Cockburns general point is correct, but his examples are all wrong. Yamato was commissioned well before Pearl Harbour (and it was the Japanese sinking of the HMS Prince of Wales with torpedo planes, which really heralded the end of the battleship, not the Battle of Taranto). Anyway, Yamato was designed for a specific tactical purpose – a close in battle in one of the island chains with US battleships. It may well have been very good at that if the US had been foolish enough to do what the Japanese had wanted – send an unprotected fleet to challenge them up close. By mid-war the Japanese knew Yamato was scrap metal, that’s why they converted the third ship of the class to an aircraft carrier.

      The better example is the old style biplane. By the late 1930’s they were considered outdated and only able to operate where there was no aerial opposition. But the venerable British Fairey Swordfish proved surprisingly successful, especially against the Bismark. They found this was because such simple aircraft proved much harder to track by radar and almost impossible to shoot down with conventional anti-aircraft fire as shrapnel simply went right through them. The Soviets likewise used old biplanes as night time ground attackers with significant success.

      This is why when planning the invasion of Japan, US military planners thought that the biggest threat to a landing was not Zeros or Zekes, but the old simple biplanes used for training pilots. It was realised that these would be very hard to detect with fire control radars, they could fly at night as they were so slow and easy to control, and they didn’t even set off proximity fuses on anti-aircraft shells. They calculated that these could cause far more damage to invading amphibian ships at night if used as kamikaze planes as they could easily slip past picket ships, especially if there was a moon out to help pilots. The Japanese had about 2,000 of them and could have wrecked havoc if they were used right, there was almost no known defence. Whether the Japanese realised this was the big worry of the US Navy isn’t known so far as I know.

      Thankfully of course, they never got to find this out in reality. But it does seem that the prediction back in 1945 that very simple aircraft still had the ability to bypass sophisticated defenses designed for more sophisticated attackers was forgotten. The modern suicide drone is really an update of a biplane kamikaze.

      Reply
      1. flora

        adding: those simple biplanes were also used for low altitude aerial reconnaissance and real-time spotting for artillery shelling . The spotter biplane pilot radioed to base where the artillery shells were landing in relation to the target; landing too far south or north and by how far, etc. Artillery then adjusted the firing trajectory based on radio reports. Very useful for spotting and shelling enemy fixed gun emplacements without air cover. US used those old style biplanes for spotting and reconnaissance in WWII against both Germany’s and Japan’s military.

        Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Bi-planes…

        Low tech beats high tech.

        It’s like 0G fooling 5G, as the world rushes into the latter.

        I think there ought to be a law or theory named after this. The First Law of Luddites, or something like that.

        Reply
      3. Martin Cohen

        I read a SF story many years ago, probably in Analog, about a modern jet fighter that somehow was sent back to WW I. When they tried to use it against the planes of that era, aside from the difficulty of getting usable fuel, the radar could not detect then and the missiles could not lock on to the planes.

        The way that was finally found was to fly past the enemy planes at supersonic speed and let the shock wave destroy them.

        Reply
    3. Plenue

      He’s wrong about the Yamato. She was built between 1937 and 1940. The way he says she was commissioned implies that they requested her construction after Pearl Harbor. She was already completed by that point, they just hadn’t formally integrated her into the fleet yet. Once she was she spent most of the war hiding in secure ports, to the point that she was known in the fleet as an easy posting, ‘Hotel Yamato’. Her sister ship was converted mid-construction into a carrier.

      Reply
    4. barrisj

      US continues to commission super-carriers and integrate them into “carrier battle groups”, assuming that there will be Midway-style sea battles in the future, or that these behemoths can steam near “enemy” (sic) coastal installations relatively unmolested. Perhaps only the US Navy or the JCS actually believe that, but latest generation Chinese and Iranian land-to-sea low-flying (hypersonic?) cruise missiles would take the lot out, and deposit the hulks on the seabeds quick-smart. Hard to admit that yellow and brown peoples can stymie “the greatest military force in history”, whatevah.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Ukraine is looking ever smarter for selling their one behemoth to China, via, I think, a businessman in Macao.

        Reply
      2. Oregoncharles

        So the sign of oncoming war with Iran will be US ships moving OUT of the Persian Gulf, and to a safe distance. Otherwise, they’re sitting ducks.

        Reply
        1. barrisj

          The point is, IF US battlewagons move in close, AND launch aircraft, or missiles, or commence shelling of coastal defenses, THEN cruise-missile countermeasures enacted, and it’s ballgame.

          Reply
      3. Plenue

        I kind of suspect the odds were always stacked in favor of cruise missiles, even before they were hypersonic and when CIWS and AEGIS were most effective. Even if we assume a million dollars a missile, an enemy could send a hundred (or five hundred, or a thousand, etc) at once to simply saturate an enemy fleet and still come out ahead in terms of money expended. China or Iran could easily do this. This is exactly the scenario that happened in the Millenium Challenge 2002 war games. The only reason this never happened is because the US hasn’t gotten into a real war with a remotely capable opponent.

        Once we get to hypersonic missiles, the counter measures that previously could be overwhelmed won’t work in the first place. There’d be literally no time to target and fire a counter missile, leaving only the CIWS gatling gun, which would still only have a handful of seconds to try and destroy to hypersonic weapon once it entered range. If the enemy fires multiple hypersonic missiles at once (and they’d kind of be stupid not to) now your gatling firepower has to split its attention. And if your enemy is doing fancy electronic tricks like fake duplicates and jamming, now your guns might not even be firing at a real target.

        Eventually the balance would shift back; armor vs weapon is a never ending arms race. But it won’t happen overnight, and it’s a sign of underlying rot that it even got to this point. It really isn’t comparable to the coming of the aircraft carrier, because there governments put considerable effort and expense into them from early on. It was apparent from the start that the idea had legs and R&D was put into it even while the consensus remained that battleships were the lynchpin. Whereas the US seems to have completely dropped the ball on hypersonic weapons (and probably missile technology in general, and also radar). They seem to be in panic mode right now.

        Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      What has long been difficult for many of us to square is how China and the Ukraine searched the world over for the best possible person to handle almost $2 billion and they just happened to come up with the son of the Vice President of the United States, a world leader who happened to be coming to their countries with massive trade and aid plans. Hunter Biden was that much of an intellectual and finance genius from Asia to Europe and beyond?

      Even serendipity is “meritocratic.” You just can’t get away from it.

      BTW, the picture of biden at the top of the piece is reason enough not to vote for him IMNSHO.

      Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Andrew O’Hehir in Salon may believe him

      President Trump tried to arm-twist the president of Ukraine into digging up (or perhaps inventing) damaging information on Joe Biden

      Like most of his cohorts O’Hehir doesn’t seem to be aware of things not covered in the NYT or he’d know all about Biden’s shady dealings in Ukraine. The rest of his piece is a condemnation of the Dems for being weak and ineffectual with surprisingly little suggestion that their real flaw is that they have been suborned by the big money which controls them. The partisan wars are just kabuki theater–the smoke, the mirrors.

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        msnbs is busy reframing the narrative as one in which biden wanted the Ukrainian prosecutor fired so he could be replaced with a more serious one. Lotta corruption in Ukraine, apparently, and this investigator was not up to the task in biden’s opinion.

        This “take” was “confirmed” on morning joe by richard haas, cfr honcho who was sitting next to biden as he recounted this episode of streetwise, steely cleverness, so it must be true. The video was shown.

        PS. Does anyone even know what the “whisleblower’s” issue actually IS, who it is or what was said?

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          ZH site this morning says Ukrainians familiar with the conversation have said there was no offered quid pro quo or extraordinary pressure. The story also said the “whistleblower” is relating what he/she heard about the conversation and had not heard it him/herself.

          Makes you wonder why anyone is listening to the President’s private communication on the phone and if they were why that is considered public knowledge.

          Of course if a candidate’s enlisting foreign countries to interfere with an American election is a crime then the ultimate example would be Reagan’s promises to the Iranians for that hostage non-release before the 1980 vote. Then there’s NIxon’s meddling in the LBJ/North Vietnam peace talks. Both of those incidents were kept deep dark secrets in the days before phone calls were considered fair game.

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith

            The Washington Examiner, likely based on other sources, said on Friday that the whistleblower hadn’t heard the call, so this isn’t new news, but not surprisingly, is not being well disseminated.

            Reply
    3. Stormcrow

      Good article. This could spell the end for Uncle Joe. A consummation devoutly to be wished.
      US political warfare explodes over Trump and Ukraine
      https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/09/23/ukra-s23.html

      There is no question that Hunter Biden sought to cash in on his father’s political prominence during the Obama-Biden administration by serving as a go-between for business deals in China, Ukraine and other countries. Such corruption is standard practice in capitalist politics, emulated by Trump on an even greater scale as his family rakes in millions from foreign governments—and the US military as well—through the Trump Organization’s network of hotels and resorts around the world.

      There is evident nervousness in the Biden campaign about the implications of the renewed media focus on Biden’s son, who has long been viewed as one of the candidate’s principal vulnerabilities.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Bold-faced lies

        Sloppy Joe never spoke to his son about these dealings.

        I…just…can’t…even.

        You would think that Team Dem would be anxious to offer a reality-based alternative to the presidency of a reality-show TV huckster.

        No. It appears they will simply adopt his strategy.

        Reply
      2. Cockeysville Armadillo

        “emulated by Trump on an even greater scale as his family rakes in millions”

        Nah.

        Billions > millions

        Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        Yeah, I admit to not following this latest stupidity that closely, but how is it even an issue that Trump “interfered” when Biden is on the record publicly bragging about having a Ukrainian prosecutor fired who was investigating his son’s business dealings at the time?!?!?

        https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/436816-joe-bidens-2020-ukrainian-nightmare-a-closed-probe-is-revived

        If Biden interfered with a foreign government on his son’s behalf, wouldn’t Trump merely be setting things straight by asking them to reopen the investigation?

        Reply
        1. Anon

          From my reading, Joe B. was simply one of many who made a public plea to have the Ukrainian official removed. Doesn’t mean Joe knows nuthin’ about corruption. It simply means it was a public plea. Evidently, Trump’s request/demand was intended to be “secret”.

          I find most politicians (even local one’s) to be less than scrupulous. Trump is off the chart with sleeze and disease. Our system of government has failed.

          Reply
    4. Alex morfesis

      Biden: not speaking doesn’t mean not communicating….we use pencils and write it all in the deep woods after a long walk, then we burn the notes and then drop the ashes in some aqua regia for good luck…

      But as to speaking…. Nah….
      someone might hear us….

      Reply
    5. ewmayer

      Actually, Biden’s statement may very well be true – an example of a nifty attempt at deflection, because its truth is immaterial. The 2 points which *are* material and which are not in dispute:

      [1] Biden’s son used his family name and connections to get himself a financial sweetheart deal in Ukraine, one which a top Ukrainian prosecutor had begun to look into because of its prima-facie-evidence-of-corruption nature;

      [2] Papa Joe used the threat of withholding a large USgov aid payment to arm-twist the Ukrainian government into firing said prosecutor, publicly bragged about it to the CFR, and said his boss Obama was both aware of said arm-twisting and on board with it.

      All of that could very well have happened without papa Joe talking to his son about his overseas business dealings.

      Prediction: as with Russiagate, this latest “*this*will finally allow us to #impeach” stunt by the Dems and their MSM shills will prove to be a spectacular own-goal.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        It appears you didn’t read the piece. That’s a violation of house rules. I do not like chiding valued regulars, but we don’t play favorites either. Please be more careful.

        Turley makes clear why that claim is not credible. Biden Sr. and Jr. rode together on Air Force II for Biden Jr. to chinch his China deal. The elephant in the room is how Biden Sr could possibly have decided to give Jr. a lift without some discussion as to why.

        Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      You must be mistaken. Wuk has mentioned his interest in coinage but I don’t know if that applies to bills as well.

      Reply
    2. ewmayer

      Da Billsss face the mighty Pats next weekend – as they say in boxing, someone’s 0 has got to go!

      Meanwhile, the NFL’s ugly-uniform champs the Browns (I grew up in NE Ohio, hence the resulting masochism) have a lot of buzz and played the defending-NFC-champ Rams more or less on equal terms last night, but couldn’t quite get it done at the end and stand at 1-2. And face the always-tough Ravens next week.

      Reply
  3. Matthew G. Saroff

    Re: the Fairphone.

    I also contacted them about plans for a rugged/water resistant model, and they currently have no plans for one, which is a pity.

    Finding a rugged phone with a removable battery is tough these days.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      True – I’ve got a phone which passes the rugged and waterproof checks with flying colours but removing and replacing the battery would be a pretty involved job and likely to be quite a bit of trouble. Battery capacity is great at least.

      I wonder if there’s any chance of an open source phone OS coming out which has a chance of taking a decent chunk of market share. Choosing between Apple and Google is no real choice at all.

      Reply
  4. EoH

    Joe Biden’s categorical statements – “I did not discuss….” – will add to his undoing. There are always exceptions: a good politician allows for them, he doesn’t needlessly paint himself into corners.

    Biden seems to have no idea what dirty tricks are coming for the Democratic nominee. This from a guy whose years in the White House came after John Kerry’s chances were swift-boated away from him. That’s going to seem like old home week before we’re through with 2020.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Biden’s political history amounts to winning a Democratic held seat in 1972 and holding onto the seat while carrying water for corporate interests. He emasculates the GOP and is close enough to glad hand ever committee sycophant to avoid a challenge.

      Joe didn’t bring a single state into the win column in 2008. His pieces of legislation were GOP wet dreams, not good policies he brought people onboard with.

      Until he can run as Obama’s BFF, his moment in the sun was when he was pretending to be Neil Kinnock.

      Kerry didn’t lose because he was swift boated. He lost because he did asinine things like hire Donna Brazille and ran on “reporting for duty” and “a stronger America.” The Republicans that were supposed to get hot and bothered by that garbage were always going to vote for a guy who wore a costume.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Plus Joe’s corruption is widespread. It’s not just Ukraine. Grayzone had an article that really took him down.

        And the same could have been said about Hillary while the media mostly ignored the Clintons’ grifting. The web did not ignore it and that accounted for some of the vehemence against her that allowed Trump to win. The irony is that many Dems see Biden as the uncontroversial candidate when he may be the most controversial candidate. Contra O’Hehir in Salon, it’s not a politeness gap that separates the parties but a knowledge gap. The Repubs know their candidates are for the rich and the elites and they approve. The Dems’ candidates are also for the rich and the elites while the Dem pundits pretend that they are not. Corruption is bipartisan. The real reason Nancy won’t impeach is that it would open the can of worms on everyone.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The real reason Nancy won’t impeach is that it would open the can of worms on everyone.

          I’m convinced we are very close to having someone like David Brooks putting out a column which amounts to “if you think Biden is corrupt, that means we are all corrupt and would have to put us all in jail” and then proceed to describe shady transactions as if they were perfectly innocent.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            And – in our Grand New Republic of Lies and Liars – no-thing would happen. People have not really digested what life in the Post-Justice Era will be like.

            I’m reminded of Italy, there the people know in their very bones that each and every politician and party and political act is completely and totally and utterly corrupt. Been that way since people wore togas.

            There was a time when gullible and fresh-faced and open-hearted Americans could believe that the man (or woman) on the podium was actually working for them. That he/she could be trusted not to completely sell them down the river for their own vanity or for a small pile of filthy lucre.

            Seems that time is now only visible in the rear-view mirror.

            Reply
          2. notabanker

            then proceed to describe shady transactions as if they were perfectly innocent.

            You mean like hiring Hunter Biden for his vastly superior expertise in running eastern european fossil fuel companies?

            Too late, NYT and NPR were all over it today on the interwebs and FM radio. It all seems to make perfect sense to them.

            Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        . . . ” He emasculates the GOP . . .

        ” emasculates” . . . “emasculates” . . . hmmm . . . . .

        Are you sure the word you wanted is “emasculates”? Did you perhaps mean to mean “emulates”?

        Reply
    2. Geo

      The fact that the establishment claims Biden is “the most electable” is either hilarious for how ignorant of his electoral history and record it is, or depressing that it may be the truth. If this is the best the Dem establishment has to offer they should all just give up because the whole lot of them are pathetic.

      And they wonder why “he’s not a real Democrat” doesn’t dissuade Sanders supporters? Maybe because that’s one of his best attributes?

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        What were HRC’s greatest strengths? Misplaced nostalgia and tokenism. The younger establishment types don’t have the Iraq War on their resumes, but they don’t have either of these assets and Obama just happened.

        In many ways, she was the best candidate for the DC courtier class. AOC is a natural talent, but part of her shine comes from being removed from the Democratic Party Elite until she actually she won the nomination and by default the seat for Congress. She didn’t come up in the usual way which is starting out as a self funder, recruited because “is well liked by local Republicans.” When she says X, she has nothing in her record of supporting hideous policies. The dullard Kennedy challenging Markey can’t say he’s pro-environment because of his record or his investments. When you look at the young Democrats who just can’t get any traction, its a bunch of establishment clods who might have made something of themselves if Obama didn’t exist. His voice made his word salad more entertaining than others (I mentioned to a friend the other day Obama’s story about adopting “yes we can”; that’s a good bit. He does a good job telling it). Biden is really the best candidate Establishment Team Blue types have.

        Reply
    3. Grant

      I am not conspiratorial, but I fully believe that one of his biggest motivations for running is to take away support from Bernie, which he is. If he is determined to play a role in that, I don’t think he will drop out even if it is clear he will not win and even if it is clear that he is doing damage to himself and his party. If he can deny Bernie at least some support, he plays an important role, and other individuals, the DNC, the media can chip in too. He is obviously opposed to Bernie and all that he supports, and Bernie would almost certainly get a bump if he dropped out. So, I don’t think he will. If he is limping along, he will bow out at the brokered convention, get a pat on the back and will start collecting all of that sweet speaking cash. If he utterly tanks though, the benefit might be too small relative to the reward to be worth it.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Gee, does that mean Biden will be excoriated like Ralph Nader for “splitting the vote and throwing the election [that essentially meaningless if very expensive nothing] to the Hated Repubs?

        As others have noted, “”electability” is code for “preferred by the superdelegates.”

        Reply
      2. Whoamolly

        One symptom of age related cognitive impairment is being completely ignorant of one’s own limitations.

        The average 75 year old driver believes they are an excellent driver, as good as ever. Study after study shows that this is not true. Mr Biden may truly believe he is going to ‘ beat Trump like a drum.’

        Reply
      3. David Mills

        It looks pretty clear that Biden is in the race to kneecap Sanders. Wouldn’t logic dictate a reversal, the Sanders campaign (or a surrogate) could publically call for Biden to withdraw due to this incident.

        Warren can’t beat Trump. Sanders beat Trump in polling in Texas. This is a race for second place (VP).

        Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    “Trump Threatens to Veto First Ever Congressional Action on “Forever Chemicals” ”

    It never occurred to me till now but I do believe that there is a path for corporations, particularly chemical corporations, to make untold billions of dollars here. OK, so we have tens of thousands of chemical compounds in the environment, most of which have never been tested for their effect on humans and the natural world. We do know about a lot of chemicals at the moment that is doing massive damage, right? So, how about paying these corporations to develop techniques, enzymes, etc. to break down these dangerous chemicals in the environment into something that is not so dangerous. They would have to be thoroughly tested so that they do not make the problem worse but the profit motive might appeal to them.

    Reply
    1. Kevin

      I hear you, however, providing “clean-up” might mean they admit their “products” need “cleaning up”. Part of the joie de vivre of being an American Corporation these days is never having to say your sorry….

      Reply
    2. jef

      Rev – Your comment is the perfect illustration of how we got into the mess we are in.

      “Technological fix is the idea that all problems can find solutions in better and new technologies.”

      “It has been observed that many technologies, although invented and developed to solve certain perceived problems, often create other problems in the process…”

      The first rule of holes – Stop Digging!

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I know exactly what you are saying and normally I would agree with it. However (and you knew that there was going to be a however) we are way, way past the point where we can simply sit back and wait for these toxic chemicals to break down by themselves through natural processes. Losing three billion birds alone over the past coupla decades is a sign of how deep we are into it. So. First solution is to stop pumping more of these chemicals into the environment. Second is to work out how the hell to deal with all that is there. I can see no other solution.

        Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            Most Superfund “remedial actions” consist of “bury it somewhere else” or “cap it and build a golf course over it. There have been stabs at “bioremediation” as described here, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioremediation, and engineered constructs like “slurry walls” that only retard the slow spread of contaminated groundwater and only work in specific terrain and subsoil conditions. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent through the federal and state and “responsible party” (sic, to “responsible”) response actions at “uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.” A lot of contractors have gotten dirty rich off the process, and not a very large mass of industrial chemicals even at these generally fairly concentrated locations has been reduced, by various kinds of expensive interventions, as a continuing threat to health and the environment. Stuff like “thermal desorption,” using CO2-generating heat to “desorb” certain amenable chemicals from the soil matrix, so they can be sucked into a vacuum-cleaner system to be bound to activated carbon which then has to be disposed of in a “secure landfill,” an oxymoron if ever there was one, or incinerated (leading to CO2 generation and often unintended byproducts of combustion as bad or worse than what went in.)

            The effing genie is out of the bottle, folks, and as with carbon combustion, that reaction that produces the energy that fuels our “civilization,” all the incentives and drivers are in the direction of more, more, more for short-term profit, with all the massive externalities that derive from how such profits are calculated.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Alas, I cannot deny your logic. Dioxin alone is an almost existential chemical threat to life in some regions of America.
              For the continued existence of a technological civilization here on the earth, a sophisticated water purification system needs to be worked out. Maybe in the future we’ll all have to drink our recycled bodily liquids with some Tang for flavour.

              Reply
  6. Larry Taylor

    “175 lakh Indians now live abroad even as the number of migrants into the country drops”

    ‘Huh?’ you might be asking. ‘What is a lakh Indian?’

    For the benefit of the uninitiated … ‘lakh’ is an Indian unit of counting, equal to 100,000; thus, 175 lakh is 17,500,000. Another Indian measure you might see is ‘crore’. One crore is 100 lakhs, i.e., 10,000,000

    Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “US emphasizes diplomacy in standoff with Iran”

    It seems that the Russians have a saying that if you don’t deal with Sergey Lavrov (the Foreign Minister) then you will have to deal with Sergey Shoygu (the Defence Minister). Washington seems to use the opposite approach in that whether you are talking about a foreign opponent, a natural disaster or whatever, you call on the Pentagon first. Pompeo even went on Fox News Sunday and declared that it is the “world’s responsibility” to unite into a global coalition and confront Iran, declaring the Iranians the “evil force in the region.” Nobody is buying it.
    After the past twenty years of continuous wars, there will be no Coalition of the Willing 2.0 this time around and nobody is signing up for an attack on Iran, even if it was possible. Note that this is their version of diplomacy instead of sitting down as equals and negotiating an agreement. Trump is looking for an out that won’t make him look like the loser. If he was smart, he would reinstate the deal in exchange for closer supervision of all nuclear facilities but if he thinks that Iran will fulfill the wish list that the neocons have put together to box them up and disarm them, it just won’t happen. Should get interesting at the UN when they all get together.

    Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Certainly we do, we can use the go-to standard of American diplomacy these days: fling radio-controlled bombs at them from a great distance.

        Will that do anything, besides incinerating a bunch of civilians and schools and hospitals? Of course not.

        But recall the abiding raison d’etre for our colossal military machine: the flow of Benjamins to offshore billionaire MIC shareholders. “The Military” and “The U.S. Economy” are now one and the same thing…so it’s #Winning with a capital W.

        Reply
        1. barrisj

          Big difference: Iran, the Houthis, Hezb’ollah et al can hit back hard at US installations, Saudi and UAE infrastructure, the lot, and the Pentagon understands this elementary fact. This is not about bombing wedding parties, pistachio nut harvesters, rural housing, etc., it’s trying to play tit-for-tat with opponents who have more tat than your tit, and you recognize that, so you “do” diplomacy.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Bring it. The Benjamins to be made rebuilding the Sixth Fleet (after it says hello to Davy Jones in his locker) would be hee-yuge. Imagine the inventory rebuild $$$ after the next 10-100-1000 Raptor drones are exploded (is that a great business model or what: pick the taxpayer’s pocket to build super-complicated multi-million $ robots that are completely destroyed the first time they’re used! No planned obsolescence necessary).

            And recall that the leading lights (Pompeo, Pence) are eagerly awaiting The Rapture.

            So best get to the Conflagration of The Vanities as soon as possible. But before that there are some serious pockets still to be picked, you wouldn’t want your patron billionaires to be Left Behind

            Reply
            1. notabanker

              I’d put nothing past these dopes, but that would be the end of NATO. It would be the Trump and Boris show. I’d love to see the MNC’s try to make quarterly earnings without access to Asia, Europe, China and Russia. This ain’t 1940 anymore.

              Reply
  8. Jerry B

    ===American “economic refugees” are increasingly retiring abroad===

    Yves has mentioned many times in comments that “moving/relocating” to another country is very difficult and expensive. Many countries have extremely rigorous immigration/expat procedures and requirements. Some appear, like Ecuador mentioned above, to offer easy expat/retiree refugee opportunities, but it is also not that simple.

    On a few occasions my wife and I looked into some of the “easier” countries to expat/relocate to from the US and again not so simple. Yes if you have some retirement savings available to help with the transition then that lessens the stress. But I have looked into Ecuador(and others) a few times and for the fortunate few it might be a great place to retire but many people are not so fortunate.

    Reply
    1. Whoamolly

      One option to moving abroad is a little house in US flyover country. For example a town in Northern California, Oregon or Washington where Lumber or Fishing industry has collapsed and houses are cheap.

      Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        I remember in northern Iowa back in 2008 I passed up on a run-down farmhouse on 20 acres for $28K. The annual taxes were only $500. To this day I am still kicking myself for not doing it.

        Reply
        1. foghorn longhorn

          Another concern when retiring abroad, especially if your race makes you stick out like a sore thumb, is that when SHTF the locals will be coming for your stuff first.
          See comment below

          Reply
      2. Whoamolly

        My wife and I are considering a trip up the coastal road from Northern California to British Columbia. If we decide to make the drive I will post house prices and short reviews of the small towns along the way as possible retirement destinations.

        Reply
        1. RMO

          A couple of years back when my wife and I traveled from the Vancouver area to Madras Oregon for the eclipse we took a diversion through the back roads off of the I5 on our way south. There were a lot of little towns and unincorporated areas that looked like they would be quite nice to live in for someone who doesn’t need to be close to a workplace. And as long as you like living in the countryside.

          I certainly have no plans to move to the US but we do have some potential spots picked out here in BC for retirement. Assuming of course that by the time we are ready to retire the whole world hasn’t descended into some dystopian hellscape that makes the latest Mad Max movie look like a utopia in comparison.

          Reply
      3. Jason Boxman

        The concern is the devastation of medical facilities in much of flyover country, and at retirement age you’re potentially going to be a more frequent user of health services.

        Reply
      4. barrisj

        Poor counties have an impoverished infrastructure, decaying tax base, and only the rudiments of medical care accessibility…this senior prefers staying where land rates are high, but the quality of health care options is outstanding.

        Reply
        1. polecat

          What are these outstanding ‘health care options’ of which you speaketh ?? I see none in my horizon .. even with our little run-down lumbertown posessing our local version of an expanding Medical Industrial Complex.

          Sucks to be me, I guess …

          Reply
          1. barrisj

            North Puget Sound, the city of Bellingham, WA…large hospital, multiple specialized-medicine practices, comprehensive cardio and cancer treatment centers…what’s not to like?

            Reply
        2. Liberal Mole

          We moved/retired to a coastal town along California’s central coast. We wanted sea air, a public golf course, and good medical services. The house prices here are reasonable in comparison to other coastal areas south of the Bay Area; meaning in CA terms, you can get a livable 3 BR for $700,000 that doesn’t require $200,000+ in renovations. However, in searching for doctors, we find the number of specialists is very limited, and that Medicare considers the area (which houses the giant UC Cal Poly campus) farm country and reimburses Doctors the lowest amount – thereby discouraging the doctors already here and any new ones from moving to the area.

          Reply
          1. Anon

            Native Californian and CalPoly grad, here. I know the Central Coast well (and can probably guess your location). Surprised to learn that doctors are not attracted to SLO. (My local physician, down the coast, wishes he lived there.) As you mentioned the housing can be relatively reasonable and beautiful state parks and beaches abound. The University has excellent musical, drama and sport venues and there are some good local wineries to visit.

            You’re probably golfing with some of my University friends.

            Reply
          2. Carey

            There could be worse places to ride out what’s coming, for sure. I wish that the misbegotten Diablo Canyon nuke was not so close, though.

            Reply
      5. VietnamVet

        I visited Walla Walla, WA and Roseburg, OR and looked them over since both have VA Hospitals. OK for small towns but they are located in 21st century rural America. 2008 crashed my housing equity. I stayed put and retired with 40 years’ worth of crap and sons to avoid the stress of moving. I am well aware I’m getting too old to drive. My Ex wants us to move back to Oregon. Maybe when I finally become hitched to a wheelchair and have no choice.

        Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      For those considering making the move overseas, do not forget that you must not owe Uncle Sam any money whatsoever. I think that there is an actual law that explicitly states that. There have been cases of people being literally yanked off a plane because it was found that they owed back taxes.

      Reply
    3. Anon

      There’s an NC commentor that is an expat living in Uruguay. Maybe s(he will chime in on this topic.

      Learning to live in another culture can take some effort, but if there is Internet access and the climate is right the lifestyle can be fortuitous. Spending your last dime dodging bullets from angry white guys can be enervating here in the US.

      Reply
  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Doomed, delusional, divided and corrupt: How the Democratic Party became a haunted house Salon (The Rev Kev)

    While Sanders appears unlikely to win the 2020 nomination, his second campaign is still remarkable for its diversity, its ideological clarity and its grassroots, working-class support, something no other candidate comes close to matching.

    ——

    This is a long-term institutional crisis that no presidential candidate and no articles of impeachment can address, especially not within a degraded pseudo-democratic system in which most voters literally do not count, thanks to extensive gerrymandering and the Electoral College.

    That a candidate like Bernie Sanders cannot win the nomination in the democrat party is not the fault of “gerrymandering” or the Electoral College. This is only about democrats.

    It’s also not particularly “long-term”–it’s directly traceable to the clinton / dlc decision to go where the money is, and the addiction to the personal power and profit that that decision almost instantly provided.

    O’Hehir got a couple of things right, though. It is a degraded pseudo-democratic system, and voters literally DON’T count.

    Reply
        1. marym

          If you have some minimal confidence that validly cast ballots will be counted and reported accurately, and want your vote to be visible as a protest find out what your state requires.

          Then consider voting for a third party candidate who is on the ballot, one who has met the state requirements to be on the ballot as an independent, or one who has met the state requirements as a write-in.

          An individual can run as an independent. Independent presidential candidates typically must petition each state to have their names printed on the general election ballot.

          Although a write-in candidate is not entitled to ballot placement, he or she may still be required to file paperwork in order to have his or her votes tallied (or to be eligible to serve should the candidate be elected). A total of 33 states require a write-in presidential candidate to file some paperwork in advance of an election. In nine states, write-in voting for presidential candidates is not permitted. The remaining states do not require presidential write-in candidates to file special paperwork before the election.

          https://ballotpedia.org/Ballot_access_for_presidential_candidates

          Reply
          1. Copeland

            I just went to ballotpedia.org to find out:

            What are the 33 states?

            What are the nine states?

            What are the remaining states?

            Nope…or at least I was unable to find that data.

            Reply
            1. marym

              Here’s a post from nbccnews with some specific state requirements in 2016, which then links to what it calls a “useful rundown” – same ballotpedia link! Maybe ballotpedia had the info but then deleted for some reason?? It’s best to check requirements with the state board of elections.

              Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think it possible that if Sanders is nominated, the D’s run a third party challenger.

        “A good defensive system must have many redundancies, many hurdles.”

        Reply
        1. AC

          Or Bernie could run as an independent. This is his last chance. I know, four more years of Trump. But by then neo-liberalism may be ripe for a progressive.

          Reply
      1. Whoamolly

        Re: Why not write in Bernie?

        Tulsi says stop the wars and regime changes. I am a vet and fiercely agree with her.

        (Reluctantly climbs off soapbox)

        Reply
    1. Grant

      “This is only about democrats. It’s also not particularly “long-term”–it’s directly traceable to the clinton / dlc decision to go where the money is, and the addiction to the personal power and profit that that decision almost instantly provided.”

      I agree that it is only about Democrats. What I would say is that the voters in that party are just as much of a problem. The far right has a political party in this country, the upper middle class professionals have a party. There is no party of the left, no labor-based, working class party. Those upper middle class people will waive their privileged fingers in the faces of those below them economically if their rotten candidates lose. It is beyond them to consider people not as privileged as them when voting, when crafting policies and they don’t really care that the economic policies their candidates have supported, domestically and abroad, are a big reason why we have Trump, why democracies the world over are crumbling and why we have a full blown environmental crisis. And I think the notion of re-forming the Democratic Party is delusional. It really isn’t an easier thing, a smaller project, than creating a viable third party.

      Bernie can certainly win, given all that has been thrown at him and all they have done to prop up others (Warren recently too), he is doing amazingly well. We need radical changes in order to deal with our largest problems, especially the environmental crisis, and he is the only one who gets that. But, I think that those running that party would rather it burn to the ground than hand it over to him and democratize that party. So, I think they will go to the hilt, no matter how bad the optics, to derail him. They feel as if the left has nowhere to go, and that while they might turn lots of people off, no party on the left will emerge to challenge them, so what do they are? Even if Trump wins, those running that party will still have their access to wealth, their lobbying gig awaiting them, their space in some hack think tank or paper to write unreadable drivel. I am itching to fight these people, and there is only one person willing to. The fact that Bernie is considered such an outlier in our system shows how lost and collectively stupid we are. If we were sane and if our democracy worked, he would be the norm, and Pelosi would be a punchline. Our own Theresa May.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        “There is no party of the left, no labor-based, working class party. ”
        As written, this is untrue. There is the Green Party, which is pro-labor but not “labor-based,” because the unions have always kept us at arm’s length; and there is the Working Families Party, which is union-based but usually operates as an auxiliary to the Democrats. Please be careful to at least qualify such statements: I hate “viable,” which is really just a cop-out (any party is just as viable as people make it), but “major” or “mass” will do. Positioned to be a contender, is what you mean.

        In fact, the unions are the main reason there is no “viable” left-wing party in this country, both because they’re addicted to the Democrats and also because they abdicated from the political role they play in many other countries. And ultimately, that is one reason, among many, that they’ve shrunk to the point of almost inconsequential. It would be almost as true to say we don’t even have a labor movement in this country, and much of the responsibility goes to the remnant movement we have. Mistakes were made.

        Reply
        1. Carey

          Is is possible that the unions have been neutralized (neutered?) by external forces?
          I had one chance to become a union member, in the mid-late 70s, which was
          dashed by Prop 13 here in CA. Events could have gone so differently..

          Sander et al have it right.

          Reply
    2. Anon

      And the quote does not imply that the EC is the reason Sanders cannot get elected. It states that he is unlikely to win the Democats nominating process. (For reasons known but unsaid: he is an Independent and the Democrats aren’t likely to allow him the nomination.)

      The EC and state gerrymandering of Congressional districts allow votes to be counted (in some cases); those two election mechanisms simply don’t allow all votes to count equally and provide proportional representation.

      Reply
      1. Whoamolly

        I worked in tech industry for 30 years. Vividly remember hourly rates for Tech writers plummeting after Clintonista regime dumped thousands of cheap Indian STEM workers into Silicon Valley.

        I also remember US workers losing their houses.

        Reply
        1. Jason Boxman

          Unfortunately technical documentation is frequently an afterthought. No product doesn’t ship because it lacks docs; it’s typically not considered part of “done”.

          I’m fortunate in that I landed a job where technical documentation is valued and a critical part of our execution strategy.

          It’s challenging to find full time technical writing work; my previous engagements were all contract with all the disadvantages inherent in that type of work.

          Reply
          1. Whoamolly

            Yes. Got to scramble and also build network of true believers who want you. My specialty was getting good stuff out fast in desperate situations.

            Reply
          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Those of us who have run major offshore IT projects know what INDIA stands for:

            I‘ll Never Do It Again

            Lovely people and very talented coders, but I have a theory that the problem stems from the propensity to seek and invent additional complexity. There are more than 1 million Hindu deities and I believe they’re only completely at home mentally and psychically when things are apprehendable only as a super-complex interplay of only partially-explainable or predictable inputs. So instead of the Western drive to simplify (System A says X then System B delivers Y) that is critical to get good software built, there seem to be endless discussions of and provisions for extremely unlikely edge cases.

            Reply
            1. deplorado

              Silicon Valley is becoming dominated by Indians at any engineering level.

              The culture they bring to the workplace is in my experience, to put it bluntly, awful. I’ve been working solidly for a decade with practically an all-Indian team and know it intimately. There are wonderful individuals and technically talented engineers who also feel very hurt by this culture and some of them have complained to me in private about “Desi” culture. But in the workplace no one speaks up, about anything. Because if they do, not good things will happen to them careerwise.

              Communication is absurdly inefficient, meetings never start and especially never end on time, by a very long shot. Promises are made and corners are cut, and you can never get all the information you need. Writing clear emails or keeping a meeting on topic is beyond the capabilities or caring of even senior director management. These are not poorly paid IT sweatshop workers, these are senior engineers with advanced degrees and patents making 180k+ and well above in the middle of the Valley, paying million dollar mortgages and sending their kids to private school (the kids that grow up in the US seem to have the mentality of regular US kids and do not seem to exhibit the same culture and have been a pleasure to work with in my experience).

              I was told once by a senior Indian engineer with management ambitions that he believed bosses have to behave in a dominating way towards their reports, and he indicated that this was common sense and it was the only way things can be and should be. This seemed to enable him as well to take the sh*t well and nurse hopes for promotion. Bosses have two modes toward their report: clique mode (surround yourself literally with schoolmates) and total domination, exclusion and micromanaging mode. The amount of blatant tactless sycophancy is staggering, as well as the amount of overpromising and exaggeration, and of course finger pointing when things go wrong. Which they do go very often, for obvious reasons.

              Working past midnight and on the weekend is expected and accepted and never objected to with your boss. Going through waves of slacking, screwing up and catching up in fever mode is a regular occurrence.

              Pushing a problem onto someone else back and forth is most of what managers do all day, followed then by whipping teams into meeting an absurd deadline, which people accept, squirming. Quality is constantly paid tremendous and grating lip service, but is the last thing on the priority list of daily life as most of what you do is check boxes to make sure you cannot be blamed.

              I could go on and on.

              On the recently infrequent occasions that I have to work with American born and bred engineers (and have worked with them a lot in the past), the difference in style and culture is like a night and day, and an utter physical relief in daily life.

              10 years ago, the group I work with was about 50% Indian, out of about 60 engineers. There were a few Vietnamese, many Chinese, a few West and East Europeans, a couple Turks, a couple North Africans and a few Americans. Today, a handful of Chinese and less than a handful of non-Indians are left. 2 Americans left (who happen to be wonderful to work with).

              It sucks, and it sucks for everyone.

              Reply
        2. Jeremy Grimm

          I remember whole neighborhoods of engineers and technicians emptying and going into foreclosure after putting a man on the moon in the 1970s. I remember putting all my stuff in the back of a truck and moving from job to job chasing projects and pay during the Reagan years. In the ripening of times, I remember rates falling, job cycles shorten, deadlines squeeze, and micromanagement practices consume work efforts until projects moved in showy progress in the Gantt charts while moving at a crawl where the rubber met the road. I remember becoming ‘redundant’ — insufficiently fungible — a couple of years before I could start my Social Security Retirement. Shortly before that I remember reading some of the “Gathering Storm” study reports from the National Academies Press (NAP) touting STEM and bemoaning the need for more STEM graduates.

          When my children came of age the costs for sending them to college had sky-rocketed — after all the long years I paid taxes in the place where I settled to raise them fully expecting they could attend State Colleges or State Universities for a reasonable cost and earn enough at a part-time job to move out of the house to live on their own while attending college — with a little help from mom and dad. But those days were dying years ago — about the same time Neil Armstrong made his one step.

          I remember a different country. This is become a strange land to me.

          Reply
          1. Whoamolly

            Same here. Was lucky to have weird combination of skills and experience that allowed me to jump easily between different tech fields and stay busy. Also helped that I look 15 years younger than true age. As soon as I “looked” over 50 contracts slowly dried up.

            Reply
          2. Whoamolly

            Yes. I don’t know this country. Things Much harder for my kids. Getting through college and getting a start involved years of living at home, working scut jobs, and crashing financially a couple times. And they *did everything right*.

            As Jimmy Dore says “Your country is just NOT that in to you.”
            https://jimmydorecomedy.com/read-jimmys-book/

            Reply
          3. polecat

            We’re All strangers in a strange land now, it seems ..

            What has become of our wise elder ones ?? If it means choosing the likes of woke-broke Joe … then I guess I’ll have no choice but to remain only an egg, never to hatch out towards my potential !

            Reply
        3. Anonymous

          +1 :(

          Lost a brother-in-law to tech writer death of despair. In early 80s, he was the first tech writer I ever met. But, come the 90s, after being shed from series of tech jobs over 10 years, he was out of the industry. Tried contracting but couldn’t manage that. (The banks were generous with plenty credit though. ) He lost his own house, went bankrupt, and had (painful for all) split with my sister. Valet parking at Native American gambling casino was his last job. Went to sleep after chasing cars all night and never woke up, 62.

          Neither he, nor his loving family, were flexible enough

          Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A death blow to US STEM graduates?

      If that is the case, free college tuition for a STEM degree just means enticing someone to waste four years.

      One way to get around it would be to offer free college tuition for non-STEM degrees, and non-Fracking degrees

      Reply
      1. Whoamolly

        Ireland said, “free college through PhD” when they were attempting to bring in high tech companies. It worked.

        India says free college to the smartest (need fact check on this) when they set out to take US jobs. They are succeeding too.

        Bernie is the only politician who says free college to US citizens. We did it in the 70s and it worked fine. No reason we can’t do it again.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I hope we can do it.

          In case we can’t, in case we have a death blow here, then, only then, it would waste those students 4 years.

          But I hope we can do it. I hope this is not the case.

          Reply
          1. Whoamolly

            It’s far worse than wasting 4 years.

            It’s creating 1,000,000 potential entrepreneurs who would like to take their skills back to India.

            It’s evisceration of the education system that would create 1,000,000 US engineers and programmers.

            It’s telling every bright kid “you are a chump to learn to code”.

            Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I thought that would need explanation.

          A non-fracking degree is one that doesn’t certify the holder to be competent for a critically essential job in the fracking field. An accounting degree would not be one. It’s a general degree that can be useful in many fields.

          Reply
    2. smoker

      The lack of bipartisan discussion (across all significant communication venues, online and off) regarding uncapped and minimally capped visa immigration replacing citizen employment- which is gutting and impoverishing many long term resident citizens – is reprehensible.

      The House Vote on H.R. 1044, Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, which the article pertained to: Yeas – 224 Democrats; 140 Republicans; 1 Independent. Of Silicon Valley/Bay Area Reps: Mark DeSaulnier; Anna Eshoo; Barbara Lee; Zoe Lofgren; Ro Khanna; Jimmy Panetta [Yes, Leon’s Son]; Jackie Speier; Eric Swalwell; the onlyone missing is Nancy Pelosi. Her name was ‘oddly’ missing from Yeas, Nays, and Not Voting, though I’m positive she gave it a full throated YEA, behind closed doors. (Re that government clerk.house.gov…Roll Call Web Page, it should be law that each Rep has the State they’re helping destroys’ name next to theirs)

      Am I mistaken that previously – until Obama/Biden – flooding already tech talented areas with foreign visa holders (overwhelmingly male and under 35), despite well qualified existent citizens, was attributed to Republican ugliness. Now, it’s not only bipartisan, but Democrats are the majority in welcoming it into predominantly Blue Governed Techno Meritocracies with criminal amounts of homelessness of long time residents who were once gainfully employed; and why not, the less voting residents in their district (visa workers, predominantly renters, can’t vote), the less they have to be concerned about.

      45 of 53 California House Members Cosponsored H.R. 1044, Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act ; sickening and repugnant, given the ever increasing, seething unsheltered homelessness, poverty and inequality among California’s own decades long residents.

      Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Thanks! One worthy habit to takeaway from DoD writing standards in these times when acronyms multiply like a disease germ.

      Reply
  10. Dan

    California legislature wraps session with unprecedented recycling action Waste Dive

    SB 54,[Ups recycling requirements in California] in a Monday statement. “We’ll be working during the interim and bring this bill back in the coming year.”
    Numerous other advocacy organizations – including CAW, CRRA, NSAC and CalPIRG – have committed to doing the same. Opposition from certain manufacturers, such as Dart Container, can still be anticipated. Yet NSAC’s Sanborn is among those who believes “the patience of the public is up” when it comes to plastic waste issues.”

    Meet the Enemy:
    https://www.dartcontainer.com/home/

    Especially hilarious, their “environmental stewardship” page

    Reply
    1. Rod

      I liked the spokesman that said when that bill SB 54 comes back in January the legislature ” would not be so conciliatory”.
      Overall I was disappointed to see so many proposals deferred or neutered in Democratic and Woke California–because I was looking for something that could be modeled for my State.
      Imo, plastic waste and fracking are married behind the market and that collusion need be exploited before the Public.

      Reply
  11. Blowncue

    Repeating a comment I contributed last night.

    Vacationers at a Tunisian Hotel, Les Orangers, had a rude surprise.

    On the heels of Thomas Cook’s failure, the hotel decided to jump to the head of the creditors’ queue and seize what collateral it had, namely the vacationers.

    Vacationers found themselves subject to armed guards, and a locked gate. Hotel management dismissed buses that had arrived to take vacationers to the airport.

    The hotel told the vacationers that egress would only be available if they paid their bill. Their protestations that they had already paid Thomas Cook fell on deaf ears.

    Someone had the good sense to notify the local British Embassy. Eventually Thomas Cook paid the hotel, which set free the vacationers.

    When it comes to trade receivables, Tunisians don’t play.

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      Thomas Cook has left 600.000 clients without return ticket. The UK has launched a repatriation program.
      For example, 70.000 britons in Spain. Was the major tour operator bringing tourists to Spain.

      It migth be considered the first brexit victim or the pre-brexit victim.

      Reply
    2. Craig H.

      I tried to read the guardian article but did not get into it too deep as it didn’t look like it was going to get around to answering what interested me.

      1. did the Thomas Cook bosses get their parachutes paid?

      2. how many of the looted are career travelers versus people who have one annual vacation which is perhaps the biggest reason why they drudge away 48+ weeks per year?

      The latter I really feel sorry for.

      > Vacationers found themselves subject to armed guards, and a locked gate.

      Aye aye aye aye aye aye aye.

      Reply
    3. polecat

      Well, I guess that leaves retiring to Tunisia out of the works. Time to notch another expatriation nation off the list !
      ‘;]

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        A lot of the ‘preppers’ around here investigate the requirements of retiring to the “People’s Republic of Appalachia.” (An eminently defensible position.)

        Reply
  12. Geo

    I’ve written to my mobile provider (Credo Mobile) numerous times over the years about offering the FairPhone. No luck as it seems the issue is FairPhone’s reluctance to move into the US market. Would be a perfect match for Credo Mobile’s business model as they’re great about ethical and environmental issues.

    It’s not a perfect phone but would love to have an easily reparable and ethical phone. Hopefully one day…

    Reply
  13. Pelham

    Re Indonesia faulting Boeing’s 737 Max: I wonder whether William Langewiesche’s long article in this weekend’s NYT Magazine will change minds.

    I think he makes a pretty good case that there’s little wrong with the Max and the big problem is that developing-world pilots quite literally don’t know how to fly. The gist is that the widely faulted MCAS system really isn’t a big deal at all. It’s basically sound. But pilots need to have the simple sense to switch it off when it does something anomalous with the trim — something that could occur with any autopilot on any airliner and often does.

    Boeing, however, is in a pickle because it can’t criticize the cheapo airlines that churn out thousands of murderously incompetent pilots because Boeing needs to sell planes.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      I don’t think that article went as far as you say. He still criticizes Boeing and their poor engineering decisions. What he does suggest is that the crash might not have happened with different pilots and that may be true. On the other hand Boeing knew the sort of pilots who would be flying their plane and the article even says that in the past they sent a team to China to improve piloting skills because the company views pilots as the last line of defense against accidents (and–perhaps–Boeing’s mistakes). In car accidents one party is most to blame and gets the ticket and that would be Boeing in this case. But the article is saying that there is more to it than the usual narrative–an argument some of us find persuasive.

      Reply
      1. Pelham

        You make good points and in my eagerness, I did go a bit too far. I agree with what you say but I’d also point out that not only Boeing but also Lion Air and similar carriers should bear responsibility for the acquisition of planes that require pilots to have elementary flying skills in addition to a knack for running through checklists.

        What’s especially damning as Langewiesche describes it is the pilots’ tendency to panic. Certainly they weren’t thinking clearly, at least as we can judge from the descriptions. Also, I came away with the impression that a simple switch could have turned off the MCAS for good, making it unnecessary for the pilot or copilot to repeatedly struggle to regain control of the plane. Thus I was left somewhat mystified as to why this simple procedure was neglected — except in the one case in which a more experienced pilot happened to occupy a third seat in the cockpit.

        Anyway, thanks for the informed reply.

        Reply
      1. Carolinian

        How about: it’s not sound and yet it’s not nearly as big a deal as some are claiming it is. That’s what the Times story says. The MCAS would never even have engaged if Boeing hadn’t made the bad decision to tie it to only one angle of attack sensor. Superficial readings of the early press coverage have put forward the mistaken view that the plane would fall out of the sky without it. Whereas Boeing paid MCAS insufficient attention because they thought it would never even come on. The virtue of the NYT story is that it is written by an actual airline pilot–something that isn’t true of almost every other article except for an early one whose author had only flown a tiny Cessna prop plane. The Times author even debunks the notion that the engine position was a fatal flaw by pointing out that all planes with underslung engines nose up on full powered ascent. He says this is not the reason MCAS was added (later confirmed I believe by the Seattle Times).

        Reply
        1. Carey

          “..The virtue of the NYT story is that it is written by an actual airline pilot..”

          Do you have a source for this? What I’ve found so far is that Mr. Langewiesche is
          current in a Cessna 414- a light twin; and have found no record of his being “an
          actual airline pilot”. A correction is welcome.

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            From his article

            In my own flying life, each of the four trim runaways I have experienced has been at most a 10-second problem–eight seconds to be surprised, and two seconds to flip the electric trim off.

            I could be wrong but don’t think Cessna’s have electric trim adjusters the way large airliners and specifically the 737s do. You are right that Wikipedia only lists him as a onetime “professional pilot” so perhaps my assumption based on the above is gilding the lily.

            But FWIW the “737 Pilot” commenter–who seems to have departed NC–said the same thing–that the electric trim is easy to cut off and the airplane to then control as long as the situation hasn’t been allowed to get out of hand. He also said the Ethiopian pilots were traveling too fast. And according to the NYT article they had been informed of the MCAS problem even if it wasn’t in their flight manual. The flight simulator reconstruction cited in the New Republic article was of what would happen if the situation had been allowed to get out of hand.

            Bottom line: the NYT article strikes me as a lot more detailed and credible than the New Republic rehash of previous reporting. Whether Langewiesche is a former large plane pilot or just a pilot that would still put him a leg up on magazine writers who parachute in and specialize in indignation. He’s soft pedaling Boeing’s malfeasance to an extent but certainly not “whitewashing” what they did and has harsh words for the company as a whole. Hearing both sides should not be something any of us have a problem with.

            Reply
            1. Carey

              From your comments, it seems you take the NYT / Langwiesche article ase somehow
              authoritative, and I do not, so we’ll have to agree to disagree. I see- have seen for a while- that author as both a very good writer (a little too good); and, a very slippery apologist for The Way Things Are; the earlier Atlantic piece on the ValuJet crash being
              quite a good reference. Dude should’ve been a defense lawyer. (Oh wait, he is!)

              As for MCAS being “not nearly as big a deal as some are claiming it is”:
              Judging by Boeing’s bulletproof™ stock price, you appear, so far, to be right.
              346 people dead points in a different direction. We will see.

              Reply
              1. Carey

                Adding: airspeed can build **very quickly** if something, like MCAS, is pointing the nose of your plane downward. Out-of-trim situations are not a good thing, and
                more so if uncommanded.

                Reply
              2. Yves Smith

                Moe Tkacik, the author of the recent long New Republic piece, wrote that the Lion Air pilot managed to pull the plane out of an MCAS-induced dive 22 times, and only when he turned the plane over to his co-pilot to try to find in the manual how to stop the nose-dives did the plane go down, 90 seconds later. She points out that the Ethiopian Air pilots DID follow Boeing’s checklist, and kept the plane from crashing only half as long as the Lion Air pilot did.

                She told me that no pilot she interviewed thought the pilots were at fault.

                Reply
                1. Carey

                  >She told me that no pilot she interviewed thought the pilots were at fault.

                  Yes.

                  Wasn’t there a re-enactment done, post-crashes, starting at 10,000 feet AGL, where the pilots, *who knew what was coming*, were barely able to recover the aircraft
                  from MCAS’s actions? To expect either of the doomed flights’ crews to somehow anticipate and recover from these situations seems.. unlikely.

                  Reply
                  1. Carolinian

                    Please check my upstream comment where I said that, yes, Boeing knew that the foreign airlines buying their planes often have less experienced pilots so if they issue a plane that depends on pilot experience to deal with Boeing’s mistakes then it’s on them (Boeing). Nobody is disputing that the MCAS was flawed and badly designed. And in fact that may be an unusual thing about this accident. The cause is quite clearly known.

                    And being known and a software flaw it should also be readily fixed. Where I suspect the early reporting may have been off is the suggestion that the plane is inherently unsafe due to engine position and older design. This came from those original Seattle Times articles and the Times seems to have subsequently walked them back a bit and given an alternate account of how MCAS came to be and how it works. The fate of the 737 Max needs better reporting IMO, and by those more expert in airplanes than “first draft of history” newspaper writers. Perhaps the NYT article is the start of that better reporting and perhaps it is not. But if people are going to shoot it down let them be fellow experts.

                    Reply
            2. RMO

              Many light aircraft – including light twins like the 414 – do indeed have electric trim systems. They allow trim adjustment via a yoke mounted switch which is far more convenient than the manual trim wheels or cranks which are also present. There are some big differences: even in a more complex light aircraft such as a 414 or an Aztec the electrical system is far simpler than a 737 and the breaker that can cut power to the electric trim is easy to locate, trim is nowhere near as essential on a light aircraft as a jet – counteracting runaway trim effects on the elevator is much easier and keeping the aircraft in the correct attitude despite an out of trim situation is much more feasible, the manual trim wheel or crank can be used quite easily to retrim once the runaway electric system is shut down whereas it is quite a struggle get the 737 back in trim manually after a runaway trim situation (even in the older pre-MCAS ships) requiring repeated unloading by pushing on the yoke in order to allow the manual trim to be rolled back and repeating this several times.

              The comparison is something like me equating my hundreds of “dead stick” landings in a sailplane with having an engine failure in something like a Piper Seneca or a Beech Baron and having to set it down safely. They are both engine out landings technically but the latter is in a whole different league to the former in reality.

              In the end it was astonishingly negligent for Boeing to have design process that allowed effective full control travel over the elevator trim to be dependent on a single non-redundant sensor – and they did it in order to be able to sell the aircraft as requiring no additional expensive training.

              Reply
        2. Carey

          ‘What is the Boeing 737 Max Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System?’:

          “..When Boeing set out to develop the 737 Max, engineers had to find a way to fit a much larger and more-fuel efficient engine under the wing of the single-aisle jet’s notoriously low-riding landing gear. By moving the engine slightly forward and higher up and extending the nose landing gear by eight inches, Boeing eked another 14% improvement in fuel consumption out of the continually tweaked airliner.

          That changed, ever so slightly, how the jet handled in certain situations. The relocated engines and their refined nacelle shape1 caused an upward pitching moment — in essence, the Max’s nose was getting nudged skyward. Boeing quietly added a new system “to compensate for some unique aircraft handling characteristics during it’s (sic) Part 25 certification” and help pilots bring the nose down in the event the jet’s angle of attack drifted too high when flying manually, putting the aircraft at risk of stalling, according to a series of questions and answers provided to pilots at Southwest Airlines, the largest 737 Max operator reviewed by The Air Current..”

          https://theaircurrent.com/aviation-safety/what-is-the-boeing-737-max-maneuvering-characteristics-augmentation-system-mcas-jt610/

          Reply
  14. Ignacio

    Trump has made a surprise appereance at the Climate Summit (UN) as a listener only. He stood enough to listen Merkel and Modi’s speeches. Kind of a gesture for Germany and India?

    Reply
  15. meeps

    Pertaining the AOC gaslighting, I don’t see why her support of “less edgy” or not Justice Democrats is necessarily problematic. Colorado Rep Joe Neguse supports Medicare For All, a position Jared Polis, now Gov, never took when he was Rep in my district. M4A was my reason for voting Neguse, who won despite this being an otherwise red district, which makes me wonder if that was the litmus for other voters, too.
    It remains to be seen whether Neguse supports Jayapal’s M4A amidst all the brand-confused versions the Dems are pushing, but if AOC is spending her time bolstering a genuine M4All Democrat I can live with it.

    Reply
  16. GERMO

    Regarding “Egypt: Protests and clashes enter second day BBC” —

    I asked a group of Egyptian co-workers about this last night. They erupted: “It’s fake!” and proceeded to tell me something about Qatar and BBC and Al Jazeera and propaganda. They mentioned that the news was running photos showing masses of protesters that were actually shots of a crowd in the streets following a big soccer game.

    These co-workers have lived here only a few years, have been back home quite recently, and even though they are here mainly because as Christians they don’t want to raise their families over there at the moment they basically support Sisi in a “he’s not that terrible, it was a bad situation to start with” kind of way. They seem credible to me in other words.

    Reading this BBC entry I notice that the movement is being animated by a millionaire and that the number of protesters is a whole whopping 200. Reminds me of the “news” about Venezuela a few months ago.

    Reply
  17. Oregoncharles

    “Doomed, delusional, divided and corrupt: How the Democratic Party became a haunted house ” – Andrew O’Hehir, always an entertaining writer, and very perceptive. But he is also the Executive Editor of Salon, which makes him part of the problem.

    I used to be a regular at Salon. It is little more than a platform for the Democratic Party, even though O’Hehir himself has been highly critical of it all along. I left the site (though I just commented on this piece of Andrew’s, which actually made Gnews, at least for me) over a gross partisan dishonesty that I no longer even remember.

    The article does implicitly make quite a case for the Green Party.

    Reply
  18. Whoamolly

    Re: lousy infrastructure in flyover country

    Lousy infrastructure sounds like just about everywhere in the U.S. these days.

    Maybe instead of ‘flyover country’ a more accurate term is “Workers country”

    Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    “Indonesia to Fault 737 MAX Design, U.S. Oversight in Lion Air Crash Report”

    ‘Canadian aviation regulators have signaled to the FAA that they expect to require pilots to undergo simulator training before they can start flying the MAX, something the FAA is unlikely to mandate.’ Now that could get interesting that. The whole point of the 737 MAX was that no additional training was needed to transition from a regular Boeing 737 but the Canadians are now saying ‘Not so fast’.
    I am sure that all the other foreign aviation authorities are making the same demand. Boeing still seems to be trying to play hard ball in their refusal to give the FAA all of the requested details that they want. Washington may get the FAA to give Boeing a free pass once again but that may end up in a plane that is only allowed to fly in the United States.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      One thing I haven’t seen addressed yet (maybe the EASA will get into it) is what the flight characteristics of the 737MAX are if the MCAS is completely disabled: does the aircraft still meet the standards required by the regulatory authorities without it and was the MCAS implemented entirely to allow Boeing to sell it as handling just like the earlier versions and thus requiring no expensive transition training or are the flight characteristics such that it is absolutely needed (like a stick pusher which is there to prevent dangerous deep stalls)?

      Reply
  20. Anon

    Do you think it will be possible for US air travelers to place an addendum on their flight reservations: “Non-MAX aircraft only”?

    Reply

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