Links 10/26/19

Migrating Russian eagles run up huge data roaming charges BBC (resilc)

Lawmaker Kills Repair Bill Because ‘Cellphones Are Throwaways’ Vice

Soil in the Arctic Is Now Releasing More Carbon Dioxide Than 189 Countries Global Citizen (David L)

MIT engineers devise system that removes carbon dioxide from the air CNET (David L)

Trying to Plant a Trillion Trees Won’t Solve Anything Wired (David L)

Glacial Rivers Absorb Carbon Faster Than Rainforests, Scientists Find Guardian

Earth’s rocks can absorb a shocking amount of carbon: here’s how National Geographic (David L)

Common healthcare algorithm biased, reduces care for black patients by more than half, study finds Becker Hospital Review. Lambert featured a different write-up of this study yesterday. Eileen Appelbaum: “Great, easy-to-understand example of how bias gets into algorithms.”

Why Terminator: Dark Fate is sending a shudder through AI labs BBC

Greta Thunberg Meets Our Malthusian Reality American Conservative (resilc)

Dementia: New Alzheimer’s drug ‘could slow rate at which disease progresses’ BBC

Man Kept Getting Drunk Without Drinking. Docs Found Brewer’s Yeast In His Guts ars technica

Brexit?

How Brexit Will End New Yorker

Jeremy Corbyn ‘taken prisoner by chief whip to stop him caving in to Boris Johnson’s snap election demands’ Evening Standard (furzy). Confirms what a mess Labour is.

Trouble in Paradise: Chile’s Inequality Explodes New York Times

Harvard and TIAA’s farmland grab in Brazil goes up in smoke Farm Land Grab (Ignacio)

The streets of Barcelona OffGuardian (JTM)

New Cold War

How Climate Change Will Help China And Russia Wage Hybrid War Defense One (resilc)

Syraqistan

Dozens killed as fierce anti-government protests sweep Iraq Al Jazeera (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Joe Rogan Experience #1368 – Edward Snowden YouTube Lambert featured yesterday in Link but re-running to add BC’s comment:

He makes an interesting point about the “Deep State” that has been my experience too in that the IC is not a homogeneous family, rather a series of competing interests of career bureaucrats whose authorities outlast Presidential administrations. Human nature drives the rivalry between agencies that all wish each to portray themselves as the Country’s premier go-to, can-do, agency. Their foremost priority is to protect their agencies, their power and secrecy, and their personal careers. They come together when there is a mutual threat to those priorities or an opportunity to further fortify them. When conspiratorial behaviors occur, it is typically not some grand plan as much as (the more reactionary) protection of interest.

Republican campaign put beacons on lawn signs to track phones, company says Mashable (David L)

Microsoft wins $10 billion JEDI defense cloud contract, beating Amazon CNBC. BC: “‘Alexa, play ‘Cry Me A River’”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Abusive North American Companies Pay Off Latin American Police to Harass Critics Foreign Policy in Focus (resilc)

How Autocracy Comes to America: Big Tech and National Security Matt Stoller

Security Researcher Gets Access To Thousands of Automatic Pet Feeders By Xiaomi Habr. Translation here.

As Secret Pentagon Spending Rises, Defense Firms Cash in Defense One (resilc)

Trump Transition

Why isn’t Trump serious about fixing NAFTA? Lori Wallach, Sister Simone Campbell, The Hill

Judge grants Democrats access to unredacted Mueller report – as it happened Guardian (furzy)

This President* Will Burn Everything Down Rather Than Surrender Power Esquire

Impeachment

How a Veteran Reporter Worked with Giuliani’s Associates to Launch the Ukraine Conspiracy ProPublica (UserFriendly)

Frank Rich: Republican Impeachment Panic Sets In New York Magazine

Health Care

Make no mistake: Medicare for All would cut taxes for most Americans Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, Guardian (resilc)

2020

The DNC Versus Democracy CounterPunch (resilc)

Meet the deep-pocketed Biden Bros: lobbyists for arms dealers, for-profit health-care, Azerbaijani oligarchs, Comcast Boing Boing (resilc)

‘A Prophet’: The Zeal of Bernie Sanders Supporters New York Times. UserFriendly: “‘Will his supporters fall in line?; Kill me.”

The Cannabis Catch-Up: Sanders Plan to Bern It All Down VT.com (resilc)

Eating Their Own: How the Clinton Wing is Retaliating Against Gabbard by Funding Her Opponent Ghion Journal (UserFriendly)

The Bezzle

The Not-Com Bubble Is Popping Atlantic (David L)

Man Sues AT&T, Saying He Lost $1.8 Million In Cryptocurrency With SIM Card Hack ABC

SoftBank-backed start-up Fair to cut 40% of its staff Financial Times (David L)

Our Famously Free Press

Algorithms Will Be ‘Driving the Majority of Facebook News,’ Says Facebook TechCrunch

Facebook includes Breitbart in new ‘high quality’ news tab Guardian (furzy)

BBC Launches Tor Mirror Site To Thwart Media Censorship NPR (David L)

What’s Really Behind the Media’s Deepfake Panic Truthdig (Robert H)

Lithuanians are using software to fight back against fake news Economist

Toyota’s New Mirai Could Run on a Single Cow’s Poop for a Year Car and Driver (David L)

Class Warfare

Education Department official says he will resign and calls for massive student-loan forgiveness: Does he have a good idea? Condemned to DEBT (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “This little flower-pollinating honeymaker is on a Coastal Goldenbush.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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230 comments

  1. John A

    Re Corbyn taken prisoner story in the Evening Standard.
    I have no idea of the veracity of this story, but what I do know is that the ‘editor’ of the Evening Standard is George Gideon Oliver Osborne, who was appointed to the position, having had no journalism experience whatsoever, but happens to have been the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) of the Cameron government and who has had various lucrative ‘jobs’ since leaving parliament in 2017. He was the chief architect of the austerity policies of that government, which was a major contributor to the Brexit victory. In other words, he is about as far politically from Corbyn as possible on the British scene.
    Just saying.

    Reply
      1. UserFriendly

        I’m surprised Obama didn’t cut him in on some of his ill gotten gains. I’m sure the take from a Wall Street speech or sending him water skiing with Richard Branson and a naked super model could have gone a ways towards shutting him up.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Obama’s career was one of moving up and carrying water for the powerful but not really caring what was left behind. I’m not sure he actually has experience directly rewarding these kinds of underlings. He’s helped Rahm, but I feel the association was too close for Obama to risk embarrassment. At the end of the day, Clapper is just a former bureaucrat who doesn’t offer anything. He’s not fabulously wealthy, a real celebrity, and his rolodex is the same as any major reporter.

          Obama is more focused on wrecking a park because he is Obama than any other activity. We are a few years away from Obama demanding recurring roles in acclaimed TV shows. Why can’t he play the Vice President to Robert Redford’s President in HBO’s Watchmen?

          I think Bill liked being at the center of everything, but Obama enjoyed the pageantry advancement brought. The trappings and power of the Presidency obscure it, but Obama though not personally aligned with Bill is very much a creature of the “New Democrats” so he continued it and left nothing behind but the Clintons and a Netflix deal announced two years after the South Park joke about calling Netflix automatically green lit your pilot.

          Reply
            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              North Korea and Iran. He didn’t bring Team Blue to heel on Iran, and from the Iranian obstacles, it was low hanging fruit that didn’t require much effort. Obama improved relations with Iran. Shrub wrecked agreements with North Korea. Obama certainly didn’t bother with it.

              Iranian influence spreading was destined after Iraq was demolished. I mean I guess its not good to have Iranians in Syria, and so that is on Obama. I would suggest not turning course on Iraq and support for “the Surge” and Petreus’ policies in Iraq and then Afghanistan should be blamed on Obama.

              Reply
              1. Plenue

                “I mean I guess its not good to have Iranians in Syria”

                Why? Seems to me it’s entirely the business of those two countries, and has naught to do with us.

                Reply
                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  Its their business, but having troops conducting operations for reasons that were entirely avoidable is always a bad thing. The fault isn’t in Tehran or Syria, but the movement of weapons and soldiers is never good.

                  It will also antagonize countries who have rivaled Iran in the past.

                  Reply
            2. Olga

              Not a fan of O, but pretty sure Ritter is wrong here. O’s touch did not help, but he was just continuing long-standing US policy. Remember Wesley Clark and the ‘seven countries in five years’? Libya was a part of that policy, as were Syria and Iran. The Grand Chessboard (1996) talks about the need to separate Russia and Ukraine, and N korea was a ‘problem’ under Clinton (and likely before). O may be blamed for a lot of things, but the nasty US foreign policy ain’t one of them. Sure, he did very little to improve things, but he did want to survive. (Also, remember his tour in 2009, and the promising speeches (e.g., Egypt) – looks like someone quickly disabused O of any idealism.)

              Reply
              1. pretzelattack

                he was never an idealist. when he told activists “make me” he was being serious. he was all about the promising speeches, never backed up with action. he wore his comfortable shoes while comforting bankers “i’m the only one between you and the pitchforks”–and he is still getting thanked for his service.

                Reply
                1. Olga

                  Re-listen to his 2009 speech in Egypt. It reflected a certain idealism about the possibilities of the US foreign policy. But that was only once; he was never again allowed to say anything similar. And yes, he was mostly just concerned with his own, cushy survival. Nuf said

                  Reply
                  1. pretzelattack

                    cynics can make speeches that sound idealistic. ‘i’ll be wearing my comfortable shoes to march with you” sounds really nice, too, but it did not reflect who he was. his public face was idealistic, his private face was not.

                    “turns out i’m pretty good at killing folks” was a truer reflection, like his persecution of whistleblowers.

                    Reply
                    1. John A

                      Re Obama and his speeches, as a cynic once said about politicians, ‘once you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made’.

          1. Darius

            Follow and retweet Protect Our Parks on Twitter. They’re fighting, not “fighting” as the Democrats do, to keep historic Jackson Park from becoming the Obamaworld theme park for professional managerial class liberals.

            Reply
        2. JTMcPhee

          Let’s not forget that “library” ziggurat that the Egobamas want to be boot-heeled onto prime PUBLIC park land on Chicago’s South Side — Jackson Park, a twin of Central Park. All in violation of the “public trust doctrine,” as explained here in reporting on litigation by Save Our Parks against whatever cutout entity is fronting the “library” (it’s now recast as the Barack Obama Presidential Center, a little more realistic nomenclature, physically and politically): https://www.citylab.com/design/2019/02/obama-presidential-library-chicago-jackson-park-south-side/583093/

          And of course there is a web site put up by the “Center” to note all the highlights of Obama’s “timeline” as Boss of the World: https://www.obamalibrary.gov/timeline#event-/timeline/item/ratification-new-start-treaty It’s interesting to test one’s resistance to memory-holing by paging through the entries (none mention drone attacks or Libya Bankster Bailouts or Other ugly stuff.) you’d think he was just the chief ribbon-cutter, maybe…

          And as with GW Bush, it is OKAY to keep the bad stuff they did front and center, and no, they do not rise to Senior Statesman stature just by the passage of time, and forgetfulness, and the efforts of the Ministry of Truth.

          Reply
    1. WheresOurTeddy

      “It’s frankly disconcerting to be investigated for having done… what we were told to do by the president of the United States.”

      aka

      “I was just following orders”

      Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      From the Frank Rich link on republican “panic”:

      As to what might break the dam, it’s worth recalling the experience of H.R. Haldeman, the Nixon chief of staff who served 18 months in prison for Watergate crimes. In his 1978 memoir, The Ends of Power, he wrote: “The cover-up collapsed because it was doomed from the start. Morally and legally it was the wrong thing to do — so it should have failed. Tactically, too many people knew too much. Too many foolish risks were taken. Too little judgement was used at every stage to evaluate the potential risk vs. the gains. And when the crunch came, too many people decided to save their own skins at whatever cost to the president or anyone else.”

      Too many people texted too much. Too many people leaked too much. Too many people surveilled too much. Too many people believed the “polls” when they said that hillary was a sure thing too much.

      Oh, and too many people thought going on cnn and msnbs and running their mouths 24/7 was a
      bulletproof idea too much.

      Reply
      1. Roy G

        I am really concerned about what is going to happen with the Corporate Dems once the bitter fruits of Russiagate are exposed through the legal system. The setup job against General Flynn is astounding, and now part of the legal record, and it is just the tip of the iceberg, yet Imo there will be many many people who refuse to believe it, because they ‘know’ that somehow Trump manipulated everything. (24/7 MSM propaganda effect). It’s depressing how the rule of law is being subverted by otherwise intelligent people, and painful too, but this is a real conspiracy that needs to be brought into the sunlight for the sake of our country.

        Reply
        1. Stephen V.

          I share your concern. But it seems that the Plan is to “impeach,” then maybe declare a State of Emergency while Pence is tied to a chair in the Bunker in a room full of women –to soften him up–and then shut down all those wasteful, collusion-obscuring Fisa Russia-Russia investigations. I’m not popping any corn yet.

          Reply
        2. Off The Street

          Care for the citizens over the next several months will be a major concern as faith in the justice system has been shaken. Each new revelation reduces that further. At some point all three Article branches will be forced by circumstances to acknowledge their roles and come together publicly to lay out how to return to those for the good of the citizenry.

          That will be possible only with ironclad evidence that is presented in some Monitorside Chats or similar approaches. Otherwise, civil unrest becomes more certain when care for the Republic and all of its citizens is ignored.

          Reply
          1. Danny

            e.g. Felicity Huffman does a mail fraud and tax felony and does something like a week in a country club jail. More people will pay attention to that and adjust their attitude toward the law than all the political shenanigans in D.C.

            Reply
        3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          If the current Dem front runner Biden were to be elected, on Day One the Repubs will start an impeachment proceeding against him using the full Dem playbook. But their Ukraine Impeachment will be much much more substantive. A fabulous gift from the wonderful Dems to the institutional standards of the country.

          Reply
    1. a different chris

      Oh fer christ’s sake.

      What the world economy needs is a variety of different energy types that match the energy requirements of the many devices in place in the world today.

      No, what the world needs is different types of devices that match the energy distribution of the future. And even the “many devices in place” besides I guess refrigerators maybe don’t need powered all the time, you know. And such devices don’t actually know when they are being supplied “live” or from storage backups, so… so I’ve spent enough time on this. Sigh.

      This woman is not smart. I lose IQ points every time I read her, and I wasn’t even going to reply but I thought maybe doing so would re-stimulate the brain cells she put into a coma. I can but hope. She is the epitome of conventional thinking, which got us in the hole we’re in now.

      Reply
      1. Monty

        Her argument that there are extra costs associated with the transmission and decommission of renewable energy vs. fossil fuels seemed a bit weak and unfair. Renewable energy sources don’t require a constant supply of fuel, extracted and then shipped from all around the world. I would imagine that once these “transmission costs”, and the expense of decommissioning or recycling the mining equipment and toxic chemical disposal were all accounted for, then the calculus might well come out better than even for renewables.

        Reply
        1. Oh

          Her analysis is based on too many assumptions and generalizations. I don’t know any power company building a fossil fueled plant that includes transmission line costs. Her inclusion of Bill Gates’ video shows that her analysis is biased. When did Bill Gates become an authority on energy?

          Reply
      2. Olga

        The article is good example of a selective ‘analysis’ that is proposed to fit a preconceived result. Plus, she is an actuary and not an energy expert. So much is going on in the energy world … most of it pointing toward the wider adoption of renewables that her piece reads like something from the last century, and no longer even remotely applicable.
        While some of her points do make sense, the power industry is keenly aware of all of them and is working diligently toward resolution. That is the main point – not some manipulated, knee-jerk opposition to renewables (does anyone have a better choice?). Yes costs are involved, and yes, transition is hard. But what are our choices? Continue with fossil fuels?! (The main reason we could ‘afford’ those is because many costs of such fuels were not factored into the price of energy – including environmental destruction and health effects of pollution.) Her ‘analysis’ is a waste of time.

        Reply
        1. you're soaking in it

          I’m pretty sure that her analysis is reflecting the unsustainability of modern energy use, and not arguing that continuing with fossil fuels is somehow better or possible at all. She is trying to demonstrate that the world will be unable to replace them with renewables, and that wind and solar are not capable of sustaining the current electrical grid without them, both for base load and to replicate themselves.

          If you mean her analysis is a waste of time because she doesn’t present a solution to this issue, I believe her point is that there isn’t one.

          Reply
        2. MichaelSF

          I’m clearly old, because when I read “like something from the last century” I immediately think of the 1800s.

          Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    “What’s Really Behind the Media’s Deepfake Panic”

    Of course there is a lot of panic in how this may play out. The end result may be to get people being suspicious what they see in the media and to be suspicious about what they hear there. Can’t have that. But I began to wonder in what other directions this might go. This article talked about widespread deepfaked videos with Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama. Now, people have noticed the similarities between Zuckerburg and Star Trek’s Data and here is one amateur effort showing it-

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

    But what if deepfaked videos are used to trigger cognitive dissonance in people. Here is a Wikipedia of this phenomena: “In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort experienced by a person who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. This discomfort is triggered by a situation in which a person’s belief clashes with new evidence perceived by the person.”
    As an example, what if you had a film clip of Donald Trump but talking with the melodious tones of Barack Obama talking about American exceptionalism? How would you process that? What if you had film clips of politicians saying words that they have put to paper but never spoke about in public? That could jar a lot of people’s beliefs in them. It can get bad enough when a politician finds old clips of their speeches suddenly posted to the internet what their real beliefs are (cough**Warren**cough). This could get interesting this.

    Reply
        1. Off The Street

          Some enterprising ABC employee, current or former, probably has been thinking about a screenplay or tell-some book, saving the rest for the sequel.

          Reply
          1. Brian (another one they call)

            Showing video unassociated with the story being alleged has been going on as long as we have had video. The only place in the world that it doesn’t sway is in a local market where the viewers know the geography in question.
            has anyone seen the new york times tv ads? They are trying to propose that they are the national truth teller. If a company has to do this, everyone knows why.
            “Everything I say is a lie” and I am lying to you.

            Reply
            1. Monty

              There are companies that provide the news media with video reports which they can use for free. The TV news team get the video and read a script to voice over the footage with local talent/accent. My friend works there and tells me they have at least 1 or 2 videos on every episode of every news show on every channel in the UK.

              So, who pays for the segment to be made? It is the company or think tank that wants you to be influenced by it.

              Reply
    1. Plenue

      Maybe I’m just not paying attention to the right sources, but I’ve seen little to no evidence of a plague of ‘fake news’, as the MSM defines it, Russian or otherwise. All I see is right-wing media being as dumb and corrupt as they’ve always been, and mainstream, liberal news that’s also…well, dumb and corrupt, but in different ways.

      A far, far, far bigger problem is mainstream reporting. When it isn’t being outright deceptive, it’s just (apparently) honestly stupid, presumably because all the reporters are highly-gifted-toddlers with degrees in journalism but no knowledge beyond that. There’s also the phenomenon of actually good reporting being done at ‘alternative’ sites and publications, which, if the mainstream notes them at all, does so only to dismiss them as ‘fake news’. ‘Fake news’ doesn’t seem to be much more than a smear deployed by a corrupt and inept ‘journalistic’ establishment to discredit those who do real reporting.

      And on the topic of Deepfake’s, and I guess this is itself an example of how bad mainstream news is, there’s no such thing. There is no new technology called ‘Deepfaking’. It’s just photoshopping, which has been around for decades. The only thing that’s different is that now there are programs to automate a lot of the tedious work, which makes photoshopping hundreds or thousands of frames of video much easier. Here’s a video of someone doing it to fix up the terrible visual effects in a dated action movie: https://youtu.be/KH1V6CHO1Jk?t=388

      Reply
      1. GF

        “Maybe I’m just not paying attention to the right sources, but I’ve seen little to no evidence of a plague of ‘fake news’, as the MSM defines it, Russian or otherwise. ”

        The key phrase is “as the MSM defines it”. The MSM doesn’t want you to notice that what they are spewing out as real news is actually fake news. So, look over there instead of over here.

        Reply
  3. Baby Gerald

    Re: ‘A Prophet’: The Zeal of Bernie Sanders Supporters

    I saw this headline pop up in my news feed yesterday, with the sub-head that reads: ‘As the candidate returns to the campaign trail, Democratic Party leaders are asking whether his supporters are loyal to the party, or just to him.’

    To which I’d like to tell those ‘party leaders’: go ahead and test us. Their concern clearly stems from the fact that, cheated out of the primary last time, many Sanders supporters stayed home or voted third party (or even Trump). Asking this question of loyalty is just another way of checking to see if they can pull the same trick again this time, but with different results.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      I’m not “loyal” to anybody. This is like asking if I’m “loyal” to my local grocery store. It’s a transactional relationship, that’s all. Give me the politics I want or I’ll go elsewhere.

      Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        Yeah, it’s almost like they’re doing everything possible to not have to admit that policy matters and not IdPol. After all, policy affects *everyone*. Dems will have to be dragged kicking and screaming.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Team Blue doesn’t want to admit they don’t support the Democratic Party branded positions in the eyes of most voters. The inability to pass “progressive legislation” (maybe not every Congress) hasn’t been due to the GOP giving them wedgies but the lack of actual support. They still need to peddle the idea they support universal healthcare to keep “low information voters” which include the local committee types (who may be the most ignorant of all people) or they lose support.

          The support Sanders gets from the young is based on simply the young not being brainwashed or having participated in compromises to “win” elections. The Third Way was marketed as “not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Instead of getting “good”, we had Democrats defending things like DOMA in court and not helping with organizing efforts against those.

          Fraudulent IDpolitics isn’t a tenet of neoliberals. Its just a tool to drone out other noise. I have no doubt Neera Tanden gives a damn about diversity. She cares about making sure her donors don’t have to worry about tax increases.

          Reply
      2. petal

        At the Warren event, while people were waiting in line for the doors to open, staffers were walking up and down the line asking people if they would pledge(or had already) to support the Democrat candidate come presidential election time(whoever that D candidate may be). This did not happen at the Sanders event, or the Biden event. No one worked the line at the Biden event for anything, though.

        Reply
          1. petal

            Yes. And that screams to me they are truly scared they are really going to lose the election against Trump(again), and are not confident in their field/candidate(s). Resorting to a loyalty oath sends a bad message for a few reasons, and it also increases the tribalism that plagues our politics(but I guess that’s the plan, right?). Further down the toilet, friends, because things aren’t bad enough as it is! I think it’s a lousy marketing move as it messages weakness and insecurity, but what do I know. It’s like what are they so afraid of that they are trying to lock(even mentally) people into a generic D candidate, especially at this point so early on?

            Reply
            1. Jen

              I think fear may be the reason why we’re seeing so few campaign signs out. People are looking for a sure thing, and aren’t seeing it.

              In my out and abouts today, I counted one sign for Pete, one for Tulsi, one for Bernie, and one for Harris. By far the largest number of signs that I saw were those opposing a new mega church in town.

              I have started to notice a few more Bernie 2020 bumper stickers here and there.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                In our small half horse town the only campaign signs I am seeing are for “local” races. Things like County Sheriff, State positions, and House of Representative primaries. No Presidential candidates at all.

                Reply
              2. Arizona Slim

                Same here in Tucson. I see a smattering of signs for Warren, Pete, and Beto. And slightly more yard signs and stickers promoting Bernie.

                Compared to the level of enthusiasm during the fall of 2015, this town is a real snooze-fest.

                Reply
                1. you're soaking in it

                  Here in Western PA there are plenty of Trump 2020 signs, some as big as the side of a barn. Started showing up six months ago, too.

                  Reply
      3. Maurice

        To paraphrase Debs (from nearly a century ago); I’d rather vote for what I want and not get it than to vote for what I don’t want and get it anyway.

        Reply
      1. Geo

        It’s hard to be loyal to a partner that is openly flaunting their love affair with Wall Street bankers while scoffing at my puny “pocket change”.

        Reply
    2. WheresOurTeddy

      I switch to (D) for the primary and back to (I) the day after the primary

      The party has earned nothing and deserves nothing. Bernie or Bust.

      Reply
    3. Brian (another one they call)

      I think the media has lost its edge. Sanders supporters don’t have to be loyal. Demanding loyalty is required only when the demandor is doing something wrong. Sanders is the only candidate that has never wavered on his position. His followers don’t care about parties and that scares hell out of the ossified faecum in the ruling class. The independent voter will speak loudly this time. The majority of voters already know this because they have always been lied to by the winners of the past.
      How many states will quickly vote to outlaw 3rd parties on the ballot? How many already have?

      Reply
    4. Utah

      Many did vote third party, but more Bernie supporters voted Clinton in 2016 than Clinton supporters voted Obama in 2008. They’re gaslighting us, imho.
      It’s a fight in my local party, too. They hate us Bernie supporters so much because we don’t have party loyalty and don’t help other candidates, despite the fact that I’m a Bernie supporter and involved in my local party and have phone banked and canvassed for a half-dozen or so candidates. Obviously I don’t exist, though. I don’t expect other Bernie supporters to do this, I do it because it’s the only way to change my deep red state.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Same stuff in FL, which is how the Dems went from a majority of registered voters to a fading minority. True Believers and Ambitious Persons work their way up to the power positions, and the gaslighting and idiotic inertia of “Yellow Dog” Dems keep it moving.

        Of course the candidates they put up are all 10 or 1%ers, and seem not to even want to win the positions. Speak only to their tiny base.

        Reply
    5. JTMcPhee

      The Dem party in FL (and several other states, I hear) continues to demand that acolytes sign “loyalty oaths” with pretty serious language, obliging the signer to follow the party line whatever the crapola might be. Per Article I, Section 6 of the Charter of the Florida Democratic Party:

      Loyalty Oath: Members of the Florida Democratic Party, including Party officers, Party candidates, elected Democratic officials, and members of Party committees, commissions, and clubs, shall execute by written oath or affirmation the loyalty oath in the form included in the Bylaws of the Florida Democratic Party before taking office, or, in the case of a candidate running for the Party’s nomination, at the time of qualifying. Said oath or affirmation may be amended in the same manner as provided for amending the Bylaws of the Florida Democratic Party.

      And the loyalty oath?

      Florida Democratic Party LOYALTY OATH
      County of ___________________, Florida
      I, ____________________________________________, having been duly sworn, say that I am a member of the Democratic Party,
      that I am a qualified elector of _________________________ County, Florida; that during my term of office, I will not support the election of the opponent of any Democratic nominee, I will not oppose the election of any Democratic nominee, nor will I support any non-Democrat against a Democrat in any election other than in judicial races; that I am qualified under the Constitution and Laws of the State of Florida and the Charter and Bylaws of the Florida Democratic Party to hold the office I am seeking, or to which I have been elected; that I have not violated any of the laws of the State of Florida relating to election or the Charter and Bylaws of the Florida Democratic Party.
      ___________________________________
      Print Name
      ___________________________________
      Signature
      OPTION 1. SIGNED BY A NOTARY PUBLIC …

      OPTION 2: SIGNED BY TWO WITNESSES

      https://www.floridadems.org/hifi/files/our-party/party-affairs/FDP_BYLAWS_-_11-01-2015.pdf

      Keep in mind that the Dem and Rep parties are part of the two-party (only) system codified under Florida law, private clubs with state charters that can do what they darned please when it comes to primaries and caucuses and suchlike.

      Not quite as comprehensive as the oaths imposed on the Free Citizens of the Freedom Land during the Truman administration, but still: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_9835 Let’s remember: It Can’t Happen HERE, Now Can It?

      Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        I would sign it and then renege. After all, they aren’t required to actually represent the voters, it’s a private club and they can do whatever they want. Well guess what, so can I. They don’t get to hold every one else to their word while theirs is worthless.

        Reply
    6. RoyG

      There is something quite offputting about Dem leadership and their bien pensant acolytes. It was bad in 2015, and now it’s just nauseating that these failures have the gall to come back at us with the same load of steaming donkey dung.

      ‘Fall in line, or else,’ the Dem motto since 1999, and just look how that has worked out for Them and Us.

      Reply
    7. Jeff W

      Democratic Party leaders are asking whether his supporters are loyal to the party, or just to him.

      Um, doesn’t the party, in theory, at least, work for us? Shouldn’t we be assessing the “Democratic Party leaders” and the party on whether they’re (at all) carrying out policies that we, the voters, want?

      Reply
  4. Steve H.

    > Frank Rich: Republican Impeachment Panic Sets In

    “In 2016, Trump won in part because of his cynical exploitation of a widespread, and bipartisan, rejection of both the Bush and Clinton Establishments. If there’s a groundswell anywhere beyond Wall Street for their return, it’s a better-kept secret than his tax returns.”

    When you’ve lost Frank Rich…

    Only thing is, not naming the Obama administration as Clintons Establishment.

    A side note: a surprisingly strong meme-tide of posts with an ending like this one:

    “The fuzzy orange star in Orion’s Sword isn’t a star; it’s the Orion Nebula, and it’s the only nebula visible from earth with the naked eye. It is so huge that if the distance from the earth to the sun was one inch, the Orion Nebula would be over twelve miles wide and Epstein didn’t kill himself.”

    Often presented as a weekly reminder. I’m guessing Clintons are not so much delusional as desperate; Clinton Foundation donations crashed, and I mean faceplanted, in 2017, and for some reason I’m not finding data for 2018 and 2019.

    Reply
    1. kiwi

      To Frank Rich and Charles Pierce: your side lost, your side lost, your side lost. Get over it.

      Cynical exploitation? How about the electorate was sick of being exploited by the establishments and Trump offered something different. Trump is definitely a disrupter.

      Frank Rich – yet another fool without any historical knowledge of what Trump has talked about for years before he became president.

      Reply
    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Ive been seeing those memes on Reddits Frontpage and r/StupidPol n r/chapotraphouse.

      My cousin in law, at his 4 yr old sons bday, wore a Clintonian themed tshirt with caption:

      “They can’t suicide all of us.”

      I thought it was awesome. We do hate us some neolibs down South.

      Reply
  5. a different chris

    “Current state-of-the-art systems would not even be able to succeed in controlling the body of a mouse,” says Prof Bengio, who cofounded the Canadian AI research company Element AI.

    Boy these people are stupid. Controlling “the body of a mouse” seems to him like an easier problem than that of a human? It’s pretty much the same, dude, except for the fact that mice can climb rough walls and squeeze thru things in a way we can’t imagine. I believe they can also outjump per body length us.

    Do they get these computer scientists from some hermetically sealed chamber?

    Reply
    1. notabanker

      “The idea of relatively dumb AI systems controlling rampant killing machines is terrifying.”

      Unlike, say, an automobile traveling at 75 mph.

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        Unlike a Tesla?

        I believe Real Intelligence (a rare commodity) is needed before using Artificial Intelligence.

        To qualify: I do not mean “Intelligence” in the blob’s use of the word Intelligence. The Blob’s intelligence appears to be mostly Fiction.

        Reply
      2. inode_buddha

        ““The idea of relatively dumb AI systems controlling rampant killing machines is terrifying.”

        Unlike, say, an automobile traveling at 75 mph.”

        Or an airplane travelling at 500 MPH.

        Or a madman with a rifle.

        Reply
    2. Summer

      Apparently, all kinds of BS can be peddled if the masters of capital think it can make them immortal and kill anyone else.

      Reply
    3. washparkhorn

      The AI proponents in the BBC piece regarding the Terminator franchise appear to believe the following statement is comforting: “But the AI community is unsure how quickly machine intelligence will advance during the next five years, let alone the next 10 to 30 years.

      Isn’t that the concern? They do not know how AI will evolve over the next five years, let alone the next 30.

      Isn’t it prudent to plan for the worst?

      Reply
    4. Basil Pesto

      do you realllllly think the body of a mouse is equal in ability and sophistication to that of a human though? I’m not sure a mouse olympiad would have more than 5 or 6 sports. And like, I’ve never seen a mouse do a handstand, for example (a semi-spurious one but still).

      Reply
  6. diptherio

    What’s with all the asterisks in that Esquire article? “This president*” “This administration*” I’m not seeing any explanatory footnotes or anything.

    Also, this sentence made me literally lol: “It was Barr who advised President George H.W. Bush to murder the Iran-Contra investigations by pardoning everyone except Shoeless Joe Jackson on Bush’s way out the door. ” Riiiiight, former DCI Georgie needed Barr to convince him to pardon Oliver and Company…come on, man.

    Reply
      1. A Farmer

        That is the connotation. Mr. Pierce has been using it for a while whenever he refers to Trump. Much like referring to Scott Walker as ” the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage its midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin”

        Reply
          1. inode_buddha

            “Asterisks are the new participation trophy in DC.”

            I noticed how they have a lot in common with the WalMart logo. Everything’s for sale there, too. And it’s also a bunch of crap.

            *

            Reply
      2. Alex morfesis

        Yes sir oh gr8 Lamberto….nailed it….how dare someone use constitutional means to become President….didn’t Trump read the fine(invisible ink) print in the morning constitutional where it sez the 2 party system is in charge and only those with a proper invite get 2…..

        Reply
      3. Plenue

        That’s exactly what he’s doing. It’s just the explanation is only implied. Properly it should be something like:

        “President Trump*…

        *not actually the President because XYZ.”

        Reply
    1. ewmayer

      I think Pierce is in fact trying to impress his liberal TechBro pals by using C/C++ – style syntax here – ‘president’ and ‘administration’ are declared as pointers within a larger ‘government’ class. Now pointers are in effect placeholders to memory locations – the actual data at those locations can be changed, and it seems Pierce is hoping his buds at CIA/FBI/DoD will help the #Resistance do just that. So first the datum pointed to by president gets incremented from ‘Trump’ to the presumably more-deep-state-friendly ‘Pence’, then late in 2020 they can move from mere *president++ baby-steps to changing the values of both *administration and *president, e.g. via

      *administration = D;
      *president = HRClinton;

      which changes will be accompanied by lots of calls to the mediaMessaging method of the enclosing government class, with argument values changed from the current random picks from

      ‘democracy under threat’
      ‘imminent dictatorship’
      ‘Russian puppet administration’
      ‘must be impeached’
      ‘odious norms violators’

      to ones from

      ‘democracy has been restored’
      ‘most experienced president ever’
      ‘president Clinton: we hear you’
      ‘America once again returns to already-greatness’
      ‘president Clinton: genocidal Assad must go’
      ‘president Clinton proposes no-fly zone over all of Russia’
      ‘Chelsea Clinton named U.S. ambassador to Israel’

      Reply
  7. BillK

    Re: This President* Will Burn Everything Down Rather Than Surrender Power.
    Isn’t that exactly why the ignored half of the country voted for Trump? They want Trump to destroy the corruption in Washington. This article reads like the entitled classes fighting back to protect their empires.

    Reply
      1. BillK

        Yea, the Trump training school was your standard business scam. But so far as I know he wasn’t bribing, sorry – lobbying politicians to get favors and laws passed that were lining the pockets of a select few to the detriment of much of the nation.
        Trump is not part of the Washington / military bureaucracy and they really don’t like outsiders interfering.

        Reply
        1. marym

          And now the lobbyists come to him and his administration “to get favors and laws passed [to line] the pockets of a select few to the detriment of much of the nation.”

          Reply
          1. hunkerdown

            Many animals can approach their goals from an indirect route. Most Westerners outside the management class, by contrast, are taught to prefer to keep their eye on the ball and take a direct, brute-force approach. Anything that destroys the “business” of the USA and the careers of its continuity-obsessed bureaucratic lickspittles is a good thing by me. I can’t think of any reason it shouldn’t be.

            Neoliberalism delenda est.

            Reply
      2. dearieme

        Poacher turned gamekeeper – classic method.

        Or, more likely, the public understands simple financial corruption – it’s the deep corruption of the state, the corruption of political power, that concerns them.

        Reply
        1. pricklyone

          Seems like a “distniction without a difference” to me. All of the corruption extant is in service of simple “financial corruption”. Why else would you buy government, except to get preferred treatment when they hand out the money? Or to make your particular scam legal, when it currently illegal.
          It is all the same scam, and it is all about the money in the end.

          Reply
      3. Katniss Everdeen

        As if all the other “candidates,” with the exceptions of Bernie and Tulsi, aren’t corrupt scammers and grifters. And then, of course, there are the clintons:

        For all the hundreds of stories on Trump University, nothing’s been written about the huge payments over 2010-2014 to the potential future first gentleman to serve as “honorary chancellor” of the vast for-profit education firm.

        Nor about the $55 million that Hillary Clinton’s State Department sent the way of groups run by Laureate founder Douglas Becker — who happens to be a major donor to Clinton campaigns and the Clinton Foundation.
        —–
        Perhaps it was all on the up and up — though “honorary” jobs rarely pay $4 million a year, and Bill did quit just before Hillary began her latest presidential run.

        https://nypost.com/2016/06/12/the-clinton-university-scandal/

        Reply
      4. polecat

        “a novel way to go”

        With more pages yet to be ‘turned’ … before the IC Intitiative glue looses it’s Integrity …

        Reply
      5. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        You go with the horse you have as Lambert says.

        As a Jill Stein Voter watching the 2016 elections in real time with my parents, I was giddy when Clinton lost. The Queen of Warmongers is def worse than Trump.

        Reply
        1. inode_buddha

          Stein voter here. Not because I like any of her ideas, but because the choices that were offered (Clinton, Trump) sucked so bad.

          Reply
            1. LifelongLib

              Here in hawaii the libertarians have gotten about twice as many votes as the greens in the last couple elections, so it looks like 3rd party voting actually helps Democrats (assuming most libertarians are basically Republicans…)

              Reply
              1. Oregoncharles

                And the first time I could vote, it was for Pigasus – an actual pig, as opposed to the figurative pigs who’d been nominated. At least he was honest.

                Reply
      6. rowlf

        Maybe choosing a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hall of Famer works better? WrestleMania goes to Washington?

        (I’m thinking a lot of pundits mentally block this part out. Too painful to think about for them. Right up there with most people in the US don’t like them.)

        Reply
    1. Drake

      The Dems keep imagining that they can conduct a costless coup. Have Rachel ham up a few hysterical tirades, let the praetorian guard in the intelligence agencies drum up some anonymous rumors, keep harping on Trump’s scandals, and he’ll have no choice but to face facts and leave office in shame. The fact that he might actually drag them all down with him, and perhaps even without him, doesn’t seem to have occurred to these geniuses.

      This article is little more than a cry for help about the fact that we don’t live in the seventies anymore when apparently the entire Dem leadership and most of the party still does. What gutless cowards.

      Reply
      1. pricklyone

        ” The fact that he might actually drag them all down with him, and perhaps even without him, doesn’t seem to have occurred to these geniuses.”

        That seems like a pretty good result to me…? But it is a tactic with little chance of succeeding, where the stupidity lies…

        Reply
  8. a different chris

    Stupidity #2 of today: “Greta Thunberg Meets Our Malthusian Reality” is… I dunno how to characterize it. Greta is talking about CO2 emissions. He is talking about people breeding, mostly (blah) people. All I can think of is that the naming of Greta is just clickbait. If you search, her name is in the second paragraph and some weird sentence in the end.

    CO2 and the population increase are both problems, and not just two sides but two headed. But this guy is an idiot and not helpful.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      not just “two sides of the same coin” I mean. Ugh. If CO2 wasn’t a problem 10 billion people still would be. And 6 billion people emitting this much CO2 would also be a problem.

      Reply
    2. jsn

      Agreed, but it’s a good look at the soil for ecofascism.

      To the author, the problem is poor people with tiny carbon footprints, not the top 10% if the income distribution that exhaust 80% of the co2 into the atmosphere or the 120 corporations directly responsible for production of the carbon to be burned.

      Population is a huge issue, but as a set of cultural issues, much harder to address humanely than clamping down on carbon producers and consumers, but that would include the author.

      And what is a fantasy about mass extinction? Look around you, it’s real and happening now! Wake up and smell the death already in that air. It was a pretty hateful article but a prototype for what we can expect from the right wing, corporate media.

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        “To the author, the problem is poor people with tiny carbon footprints, not the top 10% if the income distribution that exhaust 80% of the co2 into the atmosphere or the 120 corporations directly responsible for production of the carbon to be burned.” — I think you grossly mischaracterize the article; the author is quite explicit that the problem is not the billions of third-worlders per se, but rather than modern economic-development dogma makes each such poor third-worlder an aspirational western-style uberconsumer:

        “The global desire for the comfort, wealth, and security that the First World’s underclass take to be rights remains unquenched. Indoor plumbing and running water, air conditioning and heating, automobiles, refrigerators, and techno-goodies all have worldwide appeal. How to reconcile—or even move haltingly toward—sustainability given limitless human demands is a tough one, as is maintaining the infrastructure—electricity, gas stations, irrigation, and tax systems—to back up consumption.”

        Also, I dislike the all-too-easy dodge of blaming the megacorps for the world’s problems. Those corporations don’t exist in a vacuum – they are in the business of providing products and services to the aforementioned consumer class. It takes two to tango, as the saying goes. Certainly companies like Amazon go to great pains to encourage overconsumption, but no one is pointing a literal gun to your head and ordering you to click that “puchase” widget.

        Reply
        1. pretzelattack

          auto manufacturers killed streetcars, and tried to kill the science showing the dangers of fossil fuels. it’s not an equal “tango”. they own the politicians.

          Reply
    3. Phacops

      Gotta agree that the headline was clickbait. However, what follows is an important conversation to have.

      While we remain in a world of finite resources and the information from that initial Club of Rome study remains fundamentally accurate, Ehrlich discredited himself with unfounded predictions setting rational discussion of ZPG back significantly. He little imagined how people, increasingly divorced from the natural world, will tolerate the creation of vast national sacrifice areas in order to support growth, burning through resources as well as crippling the not insubstantial services rendered by our environment.

      I think that resource churn and environmental degradion will continue apace because we remain buffered from experiencing the impact of creating a more fragile ecosystem, thinking that the genus Homo is somehow special . . . until externalities, like ocean acidification and global warming, stress systems that are no longer robust because we have hollowed them out.

      It is becoming abundantly clear that technology, without creating additional national sacrifice areas, will not save us from the impacts stemming from economic and population growth. Meanwhile, we refuse to acknowledge that many in our world, who’s lives we have diminished through abusive resource extraction, still want to experience the basic quality of life that we experience.

      As people here have elucidated, we are heading to the Jackpot. The elements that will result in that outcome are many, but resource depleting population growth is a significant driver.

      Reply
    4. kiwi

      Sure, dismiss an article about population explosion because it mentions blah people. Did you bother to take a look at the growth numbers?

      Why is a major driver of overburdening the earth never talked about?

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        I said “and the population increase are both problems”?

        Could you please read like all 5 sentences I wrote before attacking me? Jesus. Fortunately the rest of the replies were really good..

        Reply
        1. kiwi

          I did read the entire comment.

          What stuck out to me was the lack of emphasis on growth of the population.

          And your comment calling the guy an idiot stuck out ot me, too.

          It is frustrating to read about the diminishment of the earth without seeing anything about population growth.

          Reply
    5. RubyDog

      Interesting how we can have different takes on the same thing. I didn’t read the article until I saw this post and got curious. I think it makes a number of excellent points. Not sure why it’s supposed to be a critique of Greta though, all the issues are interconnected anyway. There is no example in nature of exponential growth of anything in a finite system without some sort of crash happening. CO2 emissions and climate change are but symptoms of a larger problem caused by human impacts on the planet, which are myriad and go way beyond climate. Malthus and Ehrlich, et al, may be entirely correct in the their underlying thesis, just wrong about the specific timeline. The exact path of the future is unknowable, and specific predictions that say “x” bad thing will happen by 2035 if we don’t change will always be wrong and provide fodder for those who have a vested interest in no change to the status quo. However, I think it is safe to say we are in for some stormy weather.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        > Not sure why it’s supposed to be a critique of Greta though, all the issues are interconnected anyway.

        Although I didn’t think much of the article overall, I will say it seems like Greta was dropped in by some over-zealous editor and the writer himself may well have rolled his eyes at that. Writers gotta eat, too.

        Reply
          1. Yves Smith Post author

            To be a contrarian, I think there’s a fair point, although it does not seem to be the one being made.

            Personalizing a problem as enormous as climate change isn’t helpful unless the leader has a worked out program and can take people that. The leader model works for outsiders usually when specific demands are made of the current system (Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement) or when a national leader takes the reins in crisis (FDR).

            Reply
          2. Aumua

            I don’t know man. Ever since I checked out this site (at Yves’ suggestion)

            http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/

            especially the sprawling multi part series on Greta, the New Green Deal and Capitalism… I kind of haven’t been able to un-see the stark issues presented there in great cross-referenced detail regarding the notion that we can continue to basically do things the same way we have been without fundamental changes to our way of life and economic system, and yet still solve our collective problems, and even profit from the solutions.

            This medialens article above fails to address any of of issues head on.

            Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Eating Their Own: How the Clinton Wing is Retaliating Against Gabbard by Funding Her Opponent”

    Read this article earlier and saw that Kai Kahele was just another Clinton neoliberal sell-out that was being offered to the people of Hawaii. I did see something though that triggered a thought and that was the foto of Neera Tanden and Kai Kahele together. I suddenly realized that a handy way of mapping the Clinton network would be to simply search out every foto on the net of Neera Tanden. After that was done, you would simply note the people that appear next to her and there is your Clinton network. Using such a techniques would have come up with Kai Kahele next to Tanden which would have told you all that you needed to know about him.

    Reply
    1. Whoamolly

      The ‘Clinton wing is retaliating’ article in the Ghion article is first rate journalism. Good writing, and excellent mapping of how the Clinton machine retaliates.

      I couldn’t figure out why Gabbard said she would not run for re-election, but this article perhaps explains it. Gabbard may have wisely chosen to execute a strategic retreat when faced with a political and financial bulldozer.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        Yeah maybe. But she thumped everybody that tried to face her in Hawaii before and I don’t think there is any real reason she wouldn’t do so again. And she hardly gives the impression of somebody that is afraid of losing.

        I actually support her dropping it though, Rep from Hawaii is about as important as the third string quarterback on the Patriots (do they even have one?). There are other, unelected political positions with more power, sad to say, but would be for the good for once if Ms. Gabbard can utilize them.

        Still again I don’t know, you could well be right.

        Reply
      2. Ted

        I don’t think Tulsi is running away. My guess is she has had enough. Her candidacy for president has exposed just how rotten and hypocritical the ruling machine can be, with its nasty, misogynistic attacks focused on her almost to exclusion of the others who are trotting around running for president. Notice that with her eventual exit, there will be no antiwar candidates running for president and my guess is no antiwar candidates running for congress either. Forever warriors win again.

        Reply
      3. kiwi

        I don’t know. IMO, Hawaii is just too small for Gabbard now.

        People like her can’t be kept down even if they don’t win an election – they go on to be highly influential somewhere outside a political office.

        Reply
      4. Lemmy Caution

        Could also be burnout from Gabbard’s commute, which this article puts a number to:

        “178,784: Miles flown between Washington and Hawaii since her swearing-in on January 3, 2013.”

        The kicker is that this article appeared on May 29, 2014.

        Reply
      5. FluffytheObeseCat

        Kahele appears to be a pretty robust primary challenger, and his run had to have been organized (with locked down funding promises) before Hillary’s daft little ‘outburst’ earlier this week. In context, Madame Secretary’s weird accusation about ‘grooming’ (whether by Republicans or Putin) looks like a public cackle from a witch who already knew she’d won a round against a weaker opponent.

        The entire episode looks like public exultation over a well-executed piece of payback for Gabbard’s 2016 ‘treason’ against the Clinton/DNC wing. It may have a deleterious impact on those who are currently running in the 2020 primaries. Not that most of them are other than obedient to the status quo mind you. But, the respectful avoidance of conflict that characterizes even Warren and Sanders with respect to Clinton, Tanden, and company is…. understandable. In context.

        Reply
        1. Big Tap

          The hypocrisy is rampant here but at long last the truth of the Democrats despising the Left by the vicious coordinated attack of Gabbard is out in the open. It’s gone on most of this year with nary a word from Tom Perez how inappropriate this is. I’m sure he approves as well as Obama of this deliberate smear campaign.

          Isn’t their a DCCC rule mainly targeted at the Left that says you can’t contribute to an opponents campaign against an incompetent Democrat. I’ve saw a tweet earlier this week from Neera Tanden that she would support Gabbard’s opponent while Tulsi was still running next year for Congress. Bet Tandan won’t by blackballed by the party.

          Reply
    2. inode_buddha

      Ultimately, the issue with Clinton is that it’s all about Her.
      (as opposed to, say, what is good for the public)
      As they say, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
      I think we are witnessing that here.

      Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      sort of passive desalination, there, too….not just calcium, but salt left behind on the mats when the seawater evaporates.
      (but what do they do with the leftover mineralised cardboard?)

      having run a big greenhouse(100×30′), i can attest that you could have interior gutters to capture the condensate on the inner side of the greenhouse….much like the survival style clear plastic tents, that capture evaporates from the ground.(i’m also reminded of certain beetles in the southwest african seaside deserts that stick their asses in the air to condensate fog)

      i really dig stuff like this…outside the box.
      like the toyota article on cow poop.
      unmentioned in that article is how to turn poop into methane: digest it.
      I’ve been an evangelist for methane digesters forever,lol…tried to sell the local city/county on the idea when they were busy scrambling for grants for a new “wastewater treatment plant”(which ended up being a prettier, landscaped series of poop ponds)…but it was a bridge too far…no one wants to think about poop(which is why fossil methane is called “natural gas”,lol)
      when i built this house, i wanted a digester instead of a septic system, but didn’t possess the gashandling expertise, and was met with in-credulousness and fear from those who did possess such knowledge.(so settled for low tech(diy) composting toilet, instead)

      Reply
      1. Steve H.

        He talks about an oasis effect downwind of the greenhouses. So a secondary desalination, not directly, but I like your interior gutters – the built examples are somewhat opague, so interior condensation wouldn’t be an issue for selected plants. The key is an order of magnitude less water needed for the plants, due to interior conditions.

        The cardboard, he says you could extract and sell the salt, but that looks like a secondary consideration. They work best next to coastline, I suspect redissolving the salt might make the cardboard reusable. Cardboard can be lo-tech to produce, as opposed to osmotic membranes and whatnot.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          It’s a giant swamp cooler. Coming from humid Indiana, I was blown away that they even work.

          Almost any fiber will work, if the air can pass through it. Uses electricity for the pumps and fans, but a few solar cells would take care of that.

          Reply
      2. jef

        Amf – I spent a few years trying to get a digester built in my area (central willamette). I toured a facility up in Canada that was attached to a slaughter/Meat processing facility that supplied more than all their electricity needs and all the steam and hot water they needed too. Ultimately they started to shut it down alot because the local utility would not take the excess electricity even though it was very consistent.

        I also did some sea water/brackish water experiments in my hoop house with a OSU student and had very interesting results.

        Please shoot me a line as it seems we have common experiences. grin at peak dot org

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          in my case with the city/county, the idea was just too far out of their frame of reference…and they wanted me to take on the task of finding grants and designing the thing…unpaid, of course…which translates into :pats head, “here’s some colors and construction paper…go entertain yerself in the corner”.

          on the one hand, sewers are prolly one of the greatest inventions ever, when it comes to public health(don’t see cholera in the news that much, stateside)….but we’re entering peak fresh water, and it’s acknowledged readily by republicans and dems and all and sundry…and yet we routinely foul 1.5 L of perfectly good water unnecessarily. there are options…even for cities.
          there’s also 100 or so years of being increasingly divorced from our animalhood to contend with(this is why the first fossil gas companies, wanting to sell this waste gas they were just burning off, couldn’t call it “methane”, which everybody at the time was close enough to the farm to know meant “sewer gas”. so they invented the marketing term, “natural gas”.)
          with our 3 feedlots and 2 cattle auctions…right there in town…a digester would be a perfect fit…and could provide power to the other city power hogs, like street lights and water pumps(or the barrio, which has to put up with the flies and smell from those feedlots)

          Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          In our area, the available example is the landfill, which captures most of the gas produced and generates electricity with it. I think they’re underbuilt, though: they can be seen flaring off the excess. Shouldn’t be any.

          Similarly with the sewage treatment plant, which flares off a lot of gas. Something we might want to work on together. I sent you an email – very generous of you to provide it.

          Reply
      3. rtah100

        @Amfortas
        On the topic of new approaches, there is a novel digester start-up in the UK, whose process is of interest to abattoirs because it uses the heat of digestion to convert meat waste into high value fertiliser and into food grade fat and “beef extract” for the catering industry, on an almost completely closed cycle (water etc.).

        https://elementaldigest.com/edible-protein/

        Reply
    2. Synoia

      On the west coast of continents the sea water is cold, and the humidity low, which is the preferred site for Salt Water Greenhouses.

      I believe a sea water pipeline, for the cooling water, in a Ag environment is asking for a Sea Water spill. The Carthaginians found out, in the second Punic war I believe, what too much salt does to arable land.

      Despite that I Believe Australia grows all its Tomatoes in a saltwater Greenhouse.

      Reply
    3. rtah100

      I invested in the Seawater Greenhouse early 20 years ago, when I worked for a UK foundation that did some direct VC investment in garden-shed inventors. We didn’t make any money on SWG. The idea has always been very cool and the EU funded an expensive prototype in the Canaries. The problems then (and I would be now) were:
      – getting down the cost-curve to scale up the business. The big expense in the EU-funded prototype was the metal heat-exchanger, to condense the freshwater atmosphere using the evaporatively-cooled sweater as the refrigerant. The seawater circuit meant it had to be copper or marine-use alloy. We invested in trying to replicate the performance with cheap materials, including plastic.
      – getting scalable customers. The other problem was that, mirroring the product, we only had expensive on-off customers. We had a high-ranking member of a Gulf armed force buy one so he could grow cucumbers on a military island. We had endless discussions with various rulers of sandpits (Morocco, Oman etc.). I think we built one with another gulf state’s university but they were just not that interested in hydroponic market gardening compared to pumping oil and it ended up half-commissioned and rusting in the desert.

      I still love the idea and Charlie was a lovely human. An amusing backstory – he had funded the project himself (apart from the EU grant) from the money he had made developing the Laserscan lighting system (for clubs, taking advice of cheap and long-life lasers and micro electromechanical systems) and then selling it to an industry major.

      Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      OK, I see why you thought that was fun.

      It’s a lecture on costume; the presenter’s costume is itself a study. She’s gone to great lengths to look as dowdy and academic as possible, even though she’s probably quite glamorous in real life – after all, she’s intensely interested in clothes. And very good at snark.

      Reply
    1. kiwi

      I still have my Samsung slider phone from the stone ages. I don’t want to pay $800+ for a new phone, especially one that tracks everything I do.

      (I guess it was manufactured before all of the Samsung products began exploding)

      Reply
      1. petal

        He’s from Derry. I’ll just say I wasn’t surprised. There’s a lot of crazy/interesting out of there. Try looking with your web search engine of choice. It’s like the worst of NH in one town as far as politicians go.

        Reply
    2. ewmayer

      Said lawmaker clearly misses the irony that the headlines also works via the following rearrangement:

      Cellphones Are Throwaways Because Lawmakers Kill Repair Bills

      Reply
  10. Craig H.

    > When conspiratorial behaviors occur, it is typically not some grand plan as much as (the more reactionary) protection of interest.

    All well and good except there’s guys with a License to Kill and they use it. I suppose somebody has to do the dirty work. <—- this is the party line.

    Reply
    1. jef

      The #1 threat to their “interest” that keeps them up at night…. Peace On Earth!

      And please don’t anyone say “well then they can rest easy” as if conflict is a natural everpresent inevitability.

      Reply
  11. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Greta Thunberg Meets Our Malthusian Reality

    While I’m glad someone is pointing out that overpopulation is the biggest problem facing humanity, I’m not so sure I’m glad that conservatives are the ones pushing this narrative. Yes, the populations in non-Western countries are expanding at a much faster rate, but the author completely leaves out the why of it, and it’s hard not to think he has some involuntary culling of the population in mind.

    It’s poverty, regardless of ethnicity, that drives population increase and it’s the west by and large that has reduced the non-western nations to abject poverty. Anyone seem pictures of Afghanistan circa 1950, to name just one example? They were doing quite well for themselves before the west decided to reduce the entire country to a pile of rubble over several decades.

    The only way we’re going to get out of this mess is to reduce the population drastically while at the same time learning to make do with less.

    RE: Trying to Plant a Trillion Trees Won’t Solve Anything

    That article makes the attempt to say what I just mentioned above, but does an extremely poor job of it. It equates planting trees with carbon trading schemes and concludes both have their math wrong, but that’s comparing apples to oranges. I and I’m sure many here have read literally thousands of pages over the years on various carbon trading schemes and I have yet to understand how this will do anything to realistically mitigate climate change. But it will line the pockets of a select few carbon traders because markets solve everything! Planting trees will not solve the problem alone without reducing the population and emissions along with it, but it’s far from useless. The problem is the article only makes some rather weak mewlings about reducing overall emissions and none about the need for population decrease, and the whole thing comes across as just another “Why bother?” piece.

    Reply
    1. kiwi

      RE: Afghanistant – Is Russia “the west?”

      It is not the west’s entire fault that poor countries never developed. After all, the west has not been around that long.

      I read an interesting article that attempted to explain the differences in productivity and advancement between Europe and Africa. One thing the article noted was that Europe (I don’t recall the exact areas cited by the article) was able to husband animals, like horses and cows, that enabled greater productivity, while animals native to Africa, like zebras, couldn’t be domesticated similarly.

      But this was only one article.

      IMO, blaming the west is trite as an explanation for divergences that happened well before the west became an exploitation machine.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Geography is a major issue, but I think you might be confusing Africa with South America. The domesticated pack animals were often too small to turn potential land into arable land, and elkhorn grain is rugged. Corn and potatos as we understand them (even heirloom varieties) are relatively new. The complex agricultural systems in the Americas were prone to collapse due to short term weather, not even what we might call climate.

        Coincidentally, this is another reason why we might not be prone to encountering intelligent life. Not only is it about “us” being potentially advanced, but do aliens have access to the kinds of potential domesticated animals and crops that can last?

        Then of course, many of those countries did develop. Europe shockingly goes from backwater to world colonizers after the collapse of the Silk Road while avoiding certain world crisis events such as the Mongol Horde. The rapid speed of the ships developed due to avoid a Silk Road collapse allowed Europe both to rapidly advance and deploy forces much more rapidly than a random local potentate with no navy.

        Reply
        1. kiwi

          No, I am not confusing the two. Does South America have zebras?

          Not that the information you provide is not interesting in figuring out the question of why some regions advanced and became capable of producing much more than what was consumed while others did not.

          Reply
      2. lyman alpha blob

        Is Russia the west? Good question. I think Russia itself has been struggling with that question for quite some time. And it is debatable exactly what the term means – I was just using it as a convenient shorthand.

        What I was really thinking of here is how things have changed over the last 400-500 years. What is now Central and South America had highly developed civilizations at that time and although I’m not as familiar with African history, my understanding is they weren’t a complete backwater at that time either. The western countries were most definitely responsible to bringing those civilizations down, although they probably couldn’t have done it without a lot of biological help from the pathogens they introduced. Of course it isn’t like the populations of those areas were all living in peace and harmony before the western nations showed up either. They fought among themselves (just like westerners did) long before the west arrived. The west was only too happy to take advantage of the situation.

        History is complicated. If not for certain serendipities that benefited the west, things could have gone a completely different way. Human nature being what it is, I have little doubt that if for example some disease had spread from Africa to Europe and wiped out the European population, Africans would have taken full advantage of that. But that isn’t what happened, and as you noted the west has since become an exploitation machine.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          The double-headed Russian eagle gives an answer to your question. Russia is neither east, nor west – but looks at both. Someone suggested that Russia inherited a lot from the Byzantine empire – so time to learn about this 1000-yr entity (which for some reason isn’t studied much in history classes).

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            There are a couple of major reasons why the Roman Empire disappears from Western histories after the fifth century.

            -One, the presence of Roman roads and aqueducts and morons in charge who can’t replicate those miracles is not something elites would want to share. Obama praises Reagan but not FDR for example.
            -After the schism (not just a religious event but a recognition that the states in Western Europe can function without the dreams of former glory), the Pope or the local Catholic Church established all the universities in Western Europe more or less around Cathedrals. They simply didn’t want to remind people about the other Archbishops as claimed heirs of the Apostles. The Protestants didn’t want to do that either. Potential for reform within a unified Christendom isn’t what the more power hungry elements wanted.

            By the time, pre-1700 history was standardized, the former relationships were forgotten. Even as you move from the fall of Christian domination, the question of the Ottoman Empire has to be raised. Is it arguably the same state? Mehmed II proclaimed himself Caesar and he seemed to have the popular support to pull that off for much of the Roman Empire. I think he was related to the more recent imperial families. This of course raises questions about religion and its place, questions no one wants to ask. Jefferson’s “separation of church and state” is probably the only way out of the trap. I certainly subscribe to this, but I don’t believe forms of toleration or “freedom” where churches take advantage of public organization or resources work.

            Reply
            1. JBird4049

              The idea that white Western (more specifically Northern) European are superior because they colonized, read conquered, the Earth is annoying. As is the idea that the Europeans were the greatest evil on the planet. It was a series of interconnected events done by often bad people from all over. Vileness is rather widespread.

              As noted here earlier, trade between East and West just about ended when:

              The Mongols destroyed most of the civilizations along the Silk Road, including the predecessor states of Russia, which then collapse into several independent hordes that were essentially gigantic crime families of “It’s a nice city/nation/empire you got there. It would be a shame if anything happened to it.” It is also not economically very productive.

              The conquest of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the extortionate taxation, or fees of the replacing Ottoman Empire. The conquest was aided in part by the Catholic Church refusing to back aiding the Byzantines without concessions from them. That and the Fourth Crusade’s sacking of Constantinople.

              The large scale slave raiding and trading of them in Eastern Europe and at times north of Moscow along with the constant warfare between both the various states in the region, and of those states against the Ottoman backed Mongols and others. The scale and time length of this is probably why, although it is not certain, that the word slave comes from the Slavs of Eastern Europe.

              Than add in the Barbary Pirates, very loosely ruled by the Ottoman Empire, based in North Africa, whose frequent raids’ destruction of commerce and depopulation of areas of the Mediterranean also created a economy based on blackmail, theft and slavery.

              The constant warfare, interruption of trade, and skyrocketing prices of what did get through prompted the European states to look for alternate ways to get to the East. This required strongly built ships able to travel long distances and eventually around the world. Add in the cannon in which even merchant ships could carry, forgetting about the more strongly built warships, and you have mobile fortresses. All in the search for wealth by any means possible.

              Which can be seen also in Africa as between the Europeans slave trading in the west, and the Arab slave raiding in the east wore down the various states in Africa and replaced their productive economies to an extractive economy of the stealing and selling of human beings in later African states. Those states got their manufactured goods from the Europeans that they were selling the kidnapped people of other nations for.

              Add in the normally transient weaknesses of other civilizations like the Aztec, the Incas, Mogul Empire, China, which like neighboring and predecessor states would have stopped the Europeans. Even in North America, the devastated natives slowed European expansion for centuries.

              It was often chance, good or bad luck, that determined outcomes.

              If the ending of the Reconquista had not happened in 1492 enabled Columbus to get his financing for his little genocidal expedition.

              Had the Aztecs been just a little bit more perceptive, or their initial victories more thorough, or if even in their earlier debates, had not decided a generation or two earlier to base their rule on human sacrifice paid for by conquest. They had been warlike, but then changed into something far worse. Their subject nations really did not like them. If the initial conquistadors fleet had been sunk in an ill-timed hurricane in 1518. Whole fleets being lost was not uncommon in those days.

              If Incas not just have had a civil war, or if they had also be just a little luckier in the later battles. Or if the intolerant, repressive Aurangzeb not seized control of Mogul Empire in 1659.

              Or the last Ming Emperor not underfunded the army by not adequately taxing the wealthy elites of the time to keep them happy, which allowed the Manchus to conquer most of China in 1644, which changed China. China had a tendency to be static, but just how static would change.

              Each European wave of expansion happened after devastating events. The constant conflict between Europeans encouraged better military technology, the need to just stay afloat while going long distances encouraged better ships. The Europeans and everyone else were sort of on the same level about 1700 when it started to change and the Ottoman, Indian, Japanese, and Chinese all did things to weaken themselves.

              Add in capitalism in its modern form by the Dutch around 1600, which encouraged little things like the British East Indian Company to take over India, and the Dutch East Indian Company to conquer Indonesia for profit using their own company military.

              Reply
              1. kiwi

                Great information.

                “The idea that white Western (more specifically Northern) European are superior because they colonized, read conquered, the Earth is annoying. As is the idea that the Europeans were the greatest evil on the planet.”

                I also get annoyed at people saying that slavery is some sort of unique issue to the US or unique to white people.

                Slavery existed the world over. White people aren’t (weren’t) even a majority of the world’s population. Just by population numbers alone, it would seem that non-whites enslaved non-whites in a much larger proportion that whites enslaved non-whites (and I know these boundaries between races are fuzzy). But I haven’t specifically researched this – so maybe I’m completely off here.

                It’s as if our current crop of people in the US have no knowledge of anything that happened before the US came to be.

                Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          Hard to tell where it came from, but the Black Death did happen in Europe. Ironically, it led to a period of prosperity and innovation – the Renaissance – because there was now a lot more to go around.

          Supposedly, so much ground was fallowed after the Plague that the Earth cooled detectably.

          Reply
      3. Olga

        Ancient – and advanced – civilisations developed long before there was a “west.” The western hordes were just more aggressive, brutal, and exploitative, destroying in the process many cultures and local economies.
        I doubt that Indians, who for several centuries were ruthlessly exploited by the british empire, would refer to that time or effects as ‘trite.’
        Plus, do read Confessions of an Economic Hitman to see how development in many parts of the world was thwarted for the benefit of the west and US (and still is). Or study up about the Crusades or the opium wars or Rhodes or the genocide of natives in the US to get a better handle on these issues.

        Reply
        1. Off The Street

          Debt is the new opium just like it was the old opium. As if anyone needed another reason to decry a private prison system, why incentivize that even more?

          Reply
        2. LifelongLib

          And before the British the Hindus were exploited by the Muslims. And before that the Hindus were exploiting whoever was around when they got there.

          The Turks defeated the Crusaders in less than 200 years, while the Arabs occupied Spain for something like 700.

          A 100 years after the opium wars, China had tossed out the Europeans.

          If it had not been for diseases, the Aztecs would have defeated Cortez. In North America the Native peoples repelled several attempts at European colonization until diseases overcame them too. It sure wasn’t the military prowess of the settlers that did it. Most of them barely knew which end of a gun went where. That battle where the U.S. cavalry fired 30,000 shots and actually hit 30 Indians was fairly typical. SS? More like F Troop.

          Reply
        3. Oh

          It’s true that almost 200 years of occupation and exploitation of India by the British kept them out of the industrial revolution. India was not rich enough to buy technology like Japan and therfore were unable to make technological progress for 40 years after it gained independence. Today, we see that India is able to produce hi tech products as well as participate in satellite lauches and space flight.

          Reply
        4. kiwi

          “western hordes” ….nice.

          I don’t buy the whole “innocent native” narrative.

          It isn’t just the western hordes that were brutal throughout history.

          I would argue that had the non-western populations developed at the rate that the western populations did, they would have eagerly exploited anything they could.

          People are people.

          Reply
      4. Oregoncharles

        The “poor countries” referenced are mostly former Western colonies, with a scattering of former Russian colonies. Since the purpose and effect of empire is theft, a big part of their problem is that they were ripped off. (To Be Fair, imperialism within former colonies is now part of the problem – eg, western New Guinea and E. Timor.)

        Dumping them into a world they were poorly prepared for didn’t help, nor did the spread of Catholicism and Islam in those countries, since both are opposed to contraception or women’s rights. Europe and the US long since figured out how to ignore the Pope; Africa and S. America, not so much.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          Sorry, was not aware that Russia had colonies. Sure you have the right country? (Other than yes, it did participate in some action against China in the 19th cent.).

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            The many non-Russian areas – and now nations – included in the Empire and then the USSR were colonies by almost any definition. (The USSR was really the Russian Empire under another name and ownership.) Some of them are still part of Russia – bloody wars are fought over that, and probably will be again. The Chinese don’t call Tibet or Sinkiang colonies, either, but they are, the result of conquest.

            The US has the same ugly history of conquest, but thanks to the diseases that ran ahead of the armies and colonists, the Native populations are remnants. The various reservations are colonies by the same definition, even though they aren’t called that.

            Reply
  12. DJG

    Off-Guardian: The Streets of Barcelona. This article brings up many issues, and one of the main issues is an underlying discussion of nationalism and patriotism. We tend to have discussions along Anglo-American lines, which consist of Exceptional Nation meets Rule, Britannia. Much of the rest of the world doesn’t experience nationalism the same way, let alone local patriotism, which is often love of the land and affection for one’s “petit pays.”

    The article is perceptive about language politics in Catalunya. I was there about ten years back, and because I was headed to Bruc (on the edge of Barcelona), and because I speak French and Italian, Catalan was simply more practical and much easier for me. (I still cannot understand Castilian at all.)

    In daily life in Bruc (where I was at an arts colony), I used Catalan when headed to “downtown” Bruc. It soon got back to the administrators (the two of them) of the arts foundation that one of the resident writers spoke Catalan. When I went to the post office and asked in Catalan for stamps the postmistress was delighted.

    Likewise, the cafe where I got a rather astonished look for using the word tallat for a certain kind of coffee.

    This human feel of Catalan nationalism isn’t too hard to find–yet few Americans bother to make an effort, being ensconced in their AirBnB bubble. But if one makes the effort, the unrest in Catalunya is easy to explain and understand. (Likewise, some of the events in Euskadi and Scotland.)

    Much of Catalan nationalism involves the language, and Catalan has a very distinguished literature, musical tradition, and cuisine–all of which revolve on the use of Catalan.

    On the way back, and after my two weeks or so in Bruc, I could stumble through a limited conversation. I was carrying a copy of El Periòdic, one of the Catalan newspapers. The young man checking me in noticed it and was visibly delighted. He asked me if I could do the check-in in Catalan. I had memorized the word for “aisle seat,” just in case. I still astonishes me, years later, how much I had pleased him by this simple exchange in Catalan.

    So: The events in Catalunya are deep-seated and not just about economics. And the discussions of nationalism in the Anglo-American world seldom address what the small nations like Euskadi, Scotland, Catalunya, Lithuania (et cetera) mean by “nationalism.”

    Reply
    1. JEHR

      Yes, and Canada has a “national” province called Quebec which just passed a law that doesn’t allow the wearing of religious symbols when working for the Quebec government. The province really thinks of itself a nation and acts like a nation too. Interesting stuff.

      Reply
  13. Will Shetterly

    “Common healthcare algorithm biased, reduces care for black patients by more than half, study finds”

    A fine example of conflating poor people and black people. This algorithm reduces care for poor people. Because poor people are disproportionately black, this article erases the way the algorithm reduces care for poor whites, Hispanics, and Native Americans.

    Reply
  14. Tomonthebeach

    Why Terminator: Dark Fate SHOULD send a shudder through AI labs

    Although this article bemoans Schwartzenegger’s character as overkill that mischaracterizes AI and its potential for harm as needlessly stoking public fears much like Jaws made people more fearful of sharks. The article completely ignores the harm AI is already doing even at this early stage of its evolution. It so far, has just not reached Armageddon-like levels. Not only is AI putting some people out of work, but AI is also making good & bad investment decisions that risk driving the stock market into a black hole with the right conditions. AI is driving cars into pedestrians or just crashing their passengers into things. AI is causing airliners to fall from the sky. I could go on, but I think my point is clear. A little more pearl-clutching about AI is more than justified, and, sharks do eat people.

    Reply
  15. junez

    In an otherwise convincing article on Medicare, Saez and Zucman assert,

    “Take again the case of a secretary earning $50,000 in wage and currently contributing $15,000 through her employer to an insurance company. With universal health insurance, her wage would rise to $65,000 – her full labor compensation.”

    If there is a union, it could negotiate sharing the $15000 with the employer. Otherwise, under current employer-employer relations, the secretary might get no increase. Am I missing something?

    Reply
    1. flora

      … currently contributing $15,000 through her employer to an insurance company.

      Her $15,000 is NOT a ‘contribution to an insurance company‘, it is a fee deducted from her paycheck she must make if she wants insurance. I suppose “contribution’ sounds all ‘free-choice’* and good, whereas the word “tax” sounds coerced and therefore bad. Bottom line is private insurance is costs much more out of her pocket by salary payment deduction.

      *Milton Friedman was a master of using pr language .

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      As mentioned elsewhere, the company will not add that $15,000 to the secretary’s paycheck. The company will redistribute that money to upper management and the investors, (shareholder equity.) The company will have ‘socialized’ an expense and ‘privatized’ the profit.
      Also, where does this hypothetical secretary live and work? I know middle managers who do not make 50K to 65K.

      Reply
      1. Portlander

        Agreed.Left to their own devices corporations would retain the $15,000 and the worker would end up paying $4,000 more in taxes. This will obviously never fly politically.

        For this reason some sort of worker-employer cost/benefit sharing will need to be mandated in M4All legislation. This will ensure employers and workers can support M4All sufficiently to overcome the desperate opposition of the many losers.

        Losers will be insurance companies, armies of workers in these companies and hospital back offices, sponsors of health plans who get lucrative kickbacks (like unions, AARP, etc.), big pharma, all their advertisers, etc. etc. etc. This unneeded overhead probably accounts for 2-3% of the 8% of the healthcare portion of US GDP. One person’s cost savings is another person’s lost job.

        For this reason, M4All legislation will need to address the transition from here to there, including some sort of aid for dislocated health insurance workers.

        This helps explain why the math of M4All is so hard to make explicit and clear. It’s a political minefield.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          All those ‘displaced’ ‘Health Access Workers’ will get what every other ‘displaced’ worker got; vouchers for classes at the local Community College in coding.

          Reply
          1. inode_buddha

            “All those ‘displaced’ ‘Health Access Workers’ will get what every other ‘displaced’ worker got; vouchers for classes at the local Community College in coding.”

            And then when they find out all the coding jobs are going to India, they will turn into progressives. Four years later. Only this time, there won’t be any vouchers.

            Reply
        2. inode_buddha

          *shrug* hey, getting re-trained was good enough for manufacturing workers too, wasn’t it? Of course that was back in the 80’s, but there’s no reason why any other sector couldn’t do it…

          Reply
        3. marym

          The current House and Senate bills contain provisions for displaced workers, as did the predecessor bill HR 676.

          From Title VI of the current House bill:

          TEMPORARY WORKER ASSISTANCE.—

          (A) IN GENERAL.—For up to 5 years following the date on which benefits first become available as described in section 106(a), at least 1 percent of the budget shall be allocated to programs providing assistance to workers who perform functions in the administration of the health insurance system, or related functions within health care institutions or organizations who may be affected by the implementation of this Act and who may experience economic dislocation as a result of the implementation of this Act.

          (B) CLARIFICATION.—Assistance described in subparagraph (A) shall include wage replacement, retirement benefits, job training, and education benefits.

          While the bills don’t contain funding proposals at this time, authors and advocates of M4A bills have never proposed funding by means of workers paying the full private insurance premiums as a tax. These premiums already include private insurance profits, marketing, executive compensation, etc. which wouldn’t even be part of the cost of M4A! Proposed tax increases, such as a progressive tax increase on capital gains and dividends over $250K, would fall most heavily on the wealthiest, with the vast majority of people paying less than they do for premiums now.

          Reply
    3. pricklyone

      If we are just discussing the employee contributions, yes.
      If the employer no longer offers the insurance, the employee contributions stop…
      In that case, her wage is already 65000, she just stops giving up her premium share.
      The employer would probably like to keep their share, though, but that would make it a win for both(?). The 15000 in question was presented as “she contributes 15000”.

      Reply
    4. judy2shoes

      From further up in the article on Medicare:

      “Take a secretary earning $50,000 a year, who has employer-sponsored health insurance at a total cost of $15,000. In reality her labor compensation is $65,000 (that’s what her employer pays in exchange of her work), but the secretary only gets $50,000.”

      I read this as saying that the employer, not the employee, is paying the $15,000 for the employee’s insurance and is not deducting it from her paycheck. Like ambrit above, I too have my doubts as to whether the employer would actually add $15,000 to the employee’s salary in lieu of paying for her health insurance.

      Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        It says *through* the employer, not *from* the employer, so I read it as poorly-worded, possibly on purpose. My experience is that anything that is not explicitly from the employer is ultimately from the employee, or some third party.

        My experience is also that the employer will pocket the difference wherever possible. One example that I have experienced, is working for a nonunion subcontractor on a state government job. The law requires paying the “going rate” which is dictated by the state and the unions. We were lucky to break over $10 an hour with *no* benefits —
        you wouldn’t believe how common this practice is.

        Reply
        1. judy2shoes

          Totally agree it’s poorly worded; I had to go back and reread both of the examples about the secretary to make sense of it. Your “through the employer” example is from junez’ quote, not mine, which states that “In reality her labor compensation is $65,000 (that’s what her employer pays in exchange of her work).” The only way for that to be true is that the employer is forking over $15,000 for her insurance. Like you and ambrit, I doubt the secretary would ever see that money if the employer wasn’t paying it to the insurance company.

          “We were lucky to break over $10 an hour with *no* benefits —
          you wouldn’t believe how common this practice is.”

          Yes, I would, and it makes me sick.

          Reply
      2. Danny

        If we had Medicare For All, and they really wanted her, and some other employer offered her $65,000, they would too.

        “Help Wanted” is the most common sign these days.

        Just call me Danny, too many Dans hereabouts.

        Reply
  16. jef

    Amf – I spent a few years trying to get a digester built in my area (central willamette). I toured a facility up in Canada that was attached to a slaughter/Meat processing facility that supplied more than all their electricity needs and all the steam and hot water they needed too. Ultimately they started to shut it down alot because the local utility would not take the excess electricity even though it was very consistent.

    I also did some sea water/brackish water experiments in my hoop house with a OSU student and had very interesting results.

    Please shoot me a line as it seems we have common experiences. grin at peak dot org

    Reply
  17. ewmayer

    “Why Terminator: Dark Fate is sending a shudder through AI labs | BBC” — LOL, article holds up none other than Facebook as an example of “ethical AI”:

    But we don’t need to look into the future to see AI doing damage. Facial-recognition systems are being used to track and oppress Uighurs in China, bots are being used to manipulate elections, and “deepfake” videos are already out there.

    “AI is already helping us destroy our democracies and corrupt our economies and the rule of law,” according to Joanna Bryson, who leads the Bath Intelligent Systems group, at the University of Bath.

    Thankfully, many of today’s AI researchers are working hard to ensure their systems have a positive impact on people and society, focusing their efforts on areas such as healthcare and climate change.

    Over at Facebook, for example, researchers are trying to work out how to train artificial systems that understand our language, follow instructions, and communicate with us or other systems.

    “Our primary goal is to produce artificial intelligence that is more cooperative, communicative, and transparent about its intentions and plans while helping people in real-world scenarios,” Dr [Edward Grefenstette, a research scientist at Facebook AI Research in London] says.

    Reply
  18. ewmayer

    “Toyota’s New Mirai Could Run on a Single Cow’s Poop for a Year | Car and Driver (David L)” — Not saying it’s not fuel-efficient, but I wonder if the headline writer for this has any clue how much poop an adult cow produces in a year. And hey, call me when Toyota actually invests in large-scale farm-based tech which means that their cars actually *can* run on cow poop, rather than hydrogen produced using conventional means such as electricity. Also, cow poop emits mostly methane, not hydrogen, so there’s a conversion step missing from the rosy PR secnario here.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      The vast majority of hydrogen is produced by steam reforming of natural gas – so it takes fossil fuel and then expends more energy getting the hydrogen from the fossil fuel, often burning fossil fuels to do so. After which it gets distributed to the end user, which typically involves burning more fossil fuel before you finally get to use it in the car. So at the moment it’s actually considerably worse than it would be if the hydrogen was produced with electricity through electrolysis – though at least that method could potentially ultimately be powered by non-CO2 emitting sources. It would still result in substantially more wasted energy both in production and distribution than straight ahead electric would. Using the farm waste to just produce electricity and leave it at that would likely be a whole lot better a use for it. I could see hydrogen having a place where the sort of power density achievable with fossil fuels is necessary such as air travel but for vehicle use it seems that it may be a dead end.

      For some reason there’s a group near where I live (Vancouver area) lobbying to toss the electrified light rail planned to augment the (electric) Skytrain mass transit system and instead build a hydrogen powered train. This is for a system which would have less than 100KM of track in total… I would hazard a guess they could be funded by the companies who would benefit from a hydrogen powered train contract.

      Reply
  19. Tom Stone

    I’m in an evacuation warning zone and I’ll be heading into Sebastopol momentarily.
    I plan to stage from there.
    I have been out and about, all the roads south are bumper to bumper and there are long lines at the gas stations that still have fuel.
    I live NW of town and what’s usually a 20-25 minute drive will likely take an hour and a half.
    Enjoy the show!

    Reply
    1. anon in so cal

      Best wishes to you and everyone up there.

      The fires sound catastrophic with strong santa ana / diablo winds expected to kick up again this evening.

      “More than 87,000 people between Highway 101 and the Pacific Ocean were ordered to evacuate Saturday night as authorities grew increasingly concerned the Kincade fire could burn all the way to the coast.

      The expanded evacuation zone, announced Saturday evening, is the largest mass evacuation in Sonoma Country history.”

      https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10223201-181/kincade-fire-grows-to-more

      Reply
  20. Jessica

    The Pierce article from Esquire surprised me. I thought I remember him as having something of use to say in the past, but this article is just another professional liberal ideolog trying to gain more power for his side by creating more panic about the perfidy of the other side.
    Useful only in a kremlinological sense.

    Reply
    1. rowlf

      Pierce was fun to read before the failed coronation in 2017. He was all in for Clinton like most of the media and never recovered from the loss.

      Reply
  21. Summer

    Re: Microsoft/Pentagon Cloud Contract over Amazon.

    Just a thought: With Amazon already providing services to other security agenicies, someone got a clue that it’s not in the interest of national security to give one company too much power.

    Reply

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