Links 10/5/19

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1085 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we’re doing this fundraiser and what we’ve accomplished in the last year, and our current goal, burnout prevention.

Monty Python’s 50th Anniversary Celebrated With ‘Extremely Silly’ Event Reuters

Ancient Greek Scroll’s Hidden Contents Revealed Through Infrared Imaging NPR (Kevin W)


Subway, shops shut in Hong Kong after latest chaos Asia Times

The Indian Government Is Trying to Erase the Citizenship of Millions. Climate Change Might Get There First VICE (resilc)


Boris Johnson pins his hopes on Hungary veto for Brexit delay Telegraph. Notes that the Government said in court that it would comply with the Benn Act, yet Johnson tweeted after that, “no delay.” If this is his plan, it’s long odds. Even BrexitCentral isn’t buying it:

Back in March there was talk of Theresa May’s request for an extension being thwarted by Italy or even Poland but it all came to nothing. This time the Prime Minister actually wants to leave but it’s hard to see the EU Commission accepting this. However much Viktor Orbán hates the non-elected executive, it remains true that Hungary is a huge beneficiary of EU funds.

EU rejects weekend talks on Britain’s Brexit proposals The Times. Not news since it was already reported that the Commission rejected “tunneling” as in intense negotiations. But the UK press wants to play this as if it were an additional rebuff.

Germany says any Brexit deal must prevent a hard Irish border Reuters

Peace in Ireland is precious. Brexit has made us forget that Guardian

The revenge of the elites Thomas Fazi. On the Italian elections.

AMLO Wants Pemex to Save Mexico’s Oil Industry, Weakening Energy Reform Foreign Policy. UserFriendly: “Poor baby oil companies.”


Saudi Arabia Recognizes Its Weakness and Is Ready to Talk to the Iranian Foe Haaretz (David L)

The Iraqi people are in revolt – pushing the post-Saddam Hussein settlement to the brink of collapse Independent (resilc)

Arab countries must address water security or risk instability Al Jazeera (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Nobody’s Century: Deglobalization and its Discontents Consortiumnews (UserFriendly)

Whistleblower accuses largest US military shipbuilder of putting ‘American lives at risk’ by falsifying tests on submarine stealth coating Task and Purpose (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

1 big thing: Trump doesn’t have an alternative to Medicare for All Axios

US Customs Officer Harasses Defense One Journalist at Dulles Airport Defence One (Kevin W)

Trump Set To Unveil Plan To Boost Biofuels OilPrice (resilc)

The real reason for Trump’s meltdowns MarketWatch (resilc)

The President* Is a Blight, But Watch What the Conservative Movement’s Up to Behind Him Esquire (resilc)

Trump to Require Applicants for Immigrant Visas to Show Proof of Health Coverage Wall Street Journal


Ukraine Text Messages: Diplomats Sought Biden Probe for Trump Bloomberg (furzy)

Ignore the hype — this is not an impeachment inquiry The Hill (flora)

The Evidence Collected So Far in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry New York Times (furzy)

Schiff cleans up after saying committee had no contact with whistleblower – CNN. Notice the less than clear headline?

Trump Wants to Be Impeached. So Do It Now. Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine (resilc)

Will Impeachment Cost Democrats the White House? Vanity Fair


Trump 2020 to Air Biden-Ukraine Conspiracy Ads In Iowa New York Magazine. UserFriendly: “Trump wants Warren. She loses to him in head to heads.”

Iranian Hackers Target Trump Campaign as Threats to 2020 Mount New York Times (furzy). Foreign hackers threatening our democracy is the 21st century version of foreigners tying to poison our precious bodily fluids.

Sanders released from hospital after doctors say he had heart attack The Hill

Warren campaign fires senior staffer for ‘inappropriate behavior’ Politico

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Billy Hallowell: Amber Guyger’s murder trial ended with an amazing act of forgiveness Fox News. UserFriendly: “Needless to say black twitter was not thrilled with the judge (who was also black).”

Police State Watch

UserFriendly: “Wow, love how the cop deiceds to land two in the kid’s back several seconds after he drops the stick. I bet he was really afraid for his life.”

Why remaking heavy industry is a crucial part of any Green New Deal The Week (UserFriendly)

Cars with high-tech safety systems are still really bad at not running people over The Verge. Dan K:

See AAA Report AUTOMATIC EMERGENCY BRAKING WITH PEDESTRIAN DETECTION. Thorough and interesting, or long and tedious, depending on reader expectation. Discussion of methodology and results begins in earnest around page s 18-20 and subsequent, worth a look.

Elon Musk reportedly hired a convicted felon with a shady past to investigate the British diver he once called a ‘pedo’ Business Insider (Kevin W)

PayPal withdraws from Facebook’s libra cryptocurrency CNBC. We predicted that Facebook’s Thursday meeting in DC, where per the Journal, FB “summoned” the members of its vaporware Libra Association, would not go well. “Summoned” is the wrong word to use with big corporations with big brand names with whom you have nothing even vaguely resembling a legal agreement.

PayPal Unfriends Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency (Kevin W)

Facebook says Trump can lie in his Facebook ads PopularInfo (Dan K)

Class Warfare

The Seven-Year Auto Loan: America’s Middle Class Can’t Afford Their Cars Wall Street Journal. From earlier this week, still germane.

Sacklers reaped up to $13 billion from OxyContin maker, U.S. states say Reuters

60 Amazon Workers Walked Out Over Warehouse Working Conditions Vice

Mental Health Crisis Is Hitting the Engineering Sector Hard Interesting Engineering (resilc). Does not give overall figures, but still striking.

Pharmaceutical Companies Are Luring Mexicans Across the U.S. Border to Donate Blood Plasma ProPublica

A Plurality of Registered Voters Support Forgiving Medical Debt Data for Progress (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour. We have been remiss! All these years and never a coral reef as an antidote! From Nature via Ian P: “Symbiotic algae provide coral with nutrients and oxygen, and their bright colours.”

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Jesper

    The impeachment…
    Would it be ok to investigate possible corruption if Biden was not a presidential candidate?
    Would there be an investigation for possible corruption if Biden was not a presidential candidate?

    The actions of the Bidens were known for a long time, therefore it might be that the actions were/are legal. If Trump was about to say that this impeachment is a battle part of the war between him and the swamp then some might see it as an accurate description.
    Ethics are personal, the actions of the Bidens are unethical to me and should be made illegal. If there were to be a debate about whether or not it should become illegal then I suppose there is the chance/risk that it might expand to include not only foreign companies but also include the possibility of princelings (princesselings?) hired in domestic companies.

    Nobody wants to defend the ethics of the actions of the Bidens? If so then that might indicate something…. Bush pushed the: Either you are with us or you are against us. Will there be a push to make people in the swamp to publicly declare their opinions on the actions on the Bidens? (I doubt it, but interesting times…)

    1. Robert McGregor

      Joe Biden is a nice guy, and he tried to stop Obama from the Afghanistan surge, but he is such “dead meat” for 2020:
      1) The Las Vegas oddsmakers have favored Warren for over five weeks:
      2) Compare the enthusiasm and numbers of the other leading contenders’ rallies: Look at the Bernie Sanders ad above; Warren’s rallies have the enthusiasm. Also still, Trump’s.
      3) If anything there is less enthusiasm now for Biden than there was for Hillary at this time in the 2016 campaign.
      4) The current fatal one-two punch, is that he cannot explain away Hunter’s high-income foreign jobs. They may have been technically legal, but appear as entitled nepotistic corruption all the same. Andhe cannot respond harshly to Trump like Trump would and does respond to attackers. Any other Dem candidate would be better at responding to Trump, including Marianne Williams.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Joe Biden is NOT a “nice guy,” except according to his publicists. “An apology from Joe Biden would be nice for his drug war sins,” . And he did his bit to load a trillion or so of student debt onto the shoulders of a couple of generations (with help from Hillary and others, of course.) And we are encouraged to treat the recurring complaints of women who he has man-handled as ‘just a bunch of misunderstandings.’

        Of course, arguing about who among the tiny set of people being offered by the Establishment for the position of Emperoro is sufficiently “presidential” is a fool’s game, played again and again…

        1. Ping

          It’s disgusting the way he trots out his son Beau dying- for sympathy like losing a family member is unique and somehow this elevates him for favorable consideration.

          Regarding health care, he recently started a reply by saying “I’ve made alot of use of the health care system” again referencing his son’s terminal cancer implying he expert with the common struggles of health care when no doubt his family has Cadillac plans easily affordable to them and he has no idea how the average person struggles with the un-affordable “Affordable Care Act” or inaccessable other scenarios.

    2. Titus

      Jesper, not sure what you mean by ‘ethics are personal’ ,please, but I beg to differ. Ethics in general are rather arbitrary, in the entirety. Meaning this, ethics like those of MDs and lawyers set out codes of conduct that are simply based on what they the MDs and lawyers say how they should act, than this is all pretty self referential. Morality on the other hand, if you have the gene (Stanford tested 365K people over 50 years and only 10% think/act in a deliberate moral sense, as in any given situation did the issue of ‘is this good or bad arise in their reactions to a stimulus’).

      Ok given all this as Bidens are lawyers I believe they acted unethically (I’m a lawyer and a reverend). As a human I believe they acted immorally. As did Trump, in the use of power authorized but misapplied, thus an abuse. I seek justice for those that have none so that there might be healing. I am a lefty and always have been. So shoot me. But, Trump was given power on becoming president. He may exercise it, but not of his behalf. My idea of morality in life is it’s better to burn out then fade away. Trump can’t plead to other countries to benefit himself, it must always be our country. Don’t care about the past, care about right now. Ya Trump always makes things worse. Is Biden going to allow things to get better. Nope. Making things better is where we’re at. Least we forget George Washington hung more than a few people that annoyed him.

    3. ObjectiveFunction

      Very interesting thoughts, cheers. It just occurred to me that the Senate could readily censure Biden in retaliation for the House ramrodding a Trump impeachment. Empty political posturing for the goose….

      Oh, and no Joe Biden is NOT a nice human being. He’s a bully and full of himself after decades of being sucked up to. Not unusual in DC

  2. R Zarate

    The Bernie ad was fantastic, it showed some real creative thinking in exposing so much of the trash the MSM propergates for their masters

    1. mpalomar

      Really effective take down of the cosmetically constructed plastic talking heads phony portrayal of Sanders

      1. anothermichael

        Yeah, because putting all your political trust into an 80-year-old with a bad ticker is a winning formula. Double down. LOL.

        1. Krystyn Walentka

          I guess the fact so many people are still supporting “an 80-year-old with a bad ticker” says something about how much better of a person/candidate he is, yeah?

          1. Chip the Cup

            Sander’s Eagle Score gives him at least an 18 percent mortality rate for the next vascular procedure. Here on out, every year, Sanders has a one in ten chance of needing a heart transplant, a coronary bypass, or dying before either can be performed. Should Sanders undergo intervention, there is a one in four chance he will return to the hospital with complications within 30 days, a place from which he will return home only in a terminal hospice scenario. All outcomes will be adverse to some degree. You don’t beat this condition, you minimize the damage subsequent to the upcoming vascular accident, good faith or not.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Making shit up is against our written Site policies. Eagle scores are used for risk of death DURING surgery.

              I did a search on Eagle Scores as a longevity predictor and found squat.

              More specifically, a paper on new models for predicting longevity of people with vascular risk made ZERO mention of Eagle Scores. The academics would be required to include it in the obligatory section on the existing literature/practices and would have been expected to discuss any method in wide or meaningful use to show their method was better. They said nada re Eagle Scores.


              Better trolls, please.

            2. Harry

              I assume you mean the Bayesian probability of a cardiovascular event. My doctor tells me with my cholesterol score and other inputs, I have a 13% chance of a cardiovascular event. I am 53.

              You just never asked the other candidates.

            3. Anon

              I guess when chipping at the cup everything looks like an Eagle.

              I was putting along nicely in life when a anomalous EKG sent me to Cardiologist for tests. Starting with stress EKG’s and then nuclear tests, nothing but quizzical looks from the Doc. A second Doc decided on an angiogram (relatively invasive, but definitive). ” Holy Sh*t “, he exclaimed, and scheduled a CABG intervention. Two weeks from Monday will be 10th anniversary. Bernie’s situation is not certain death, even decline.

              As for the probability of returning to a hospital after surgical intervention, that is as much related to the (un)skill of certain doctors and hospitals than it is the patient. While Bernie dodged a bullet, many more men AND women are in a similar precarious position and don’t know it—because their medical insurance won’t cover the kind of medical testing/observation that would reveal it!

              Universal health care will save lives. Maybe yours.

              1. LyonNightroad

                Except preventive angioplasty borders on a scam and is a huge cash cow for hospitals… 5 year survival with preventive agioplasty is almost no better than just taking medicine…

        2. Pat

          Give me a younger supposedly healthier option who unequivocally supports Medicare for All/single payer and Social Security, and has similar domestic policies.

          Oh wait, you can’t, because most of the crowded Democratic Presidential field is filled with corporate LOTE weasels, epitomized by that corrupt old and clearly decrepit Biden and young bull shit artist Buttigieg and the newest smartest girl in the room Warren. Options to Sanders are coming up, but three decades of DLC leadership has left a large void in the middle.

            1. katiebird

              That’s what I think too. And several other issues too.

              And add me to those who loved that ad. I hope it’s not just for the Internet & that he runs runs it everywhere.

            2. JTMcPhee

              And speaking as a retired nurse, as a disabled Vietnam vet getting some of my health care, and most importantly medications, from the VA where the copay is $8 for a 90-day supply of just about every med in the pharmacopoeia, and as a card-carrying Medicare-plus-AARP-Supplement socialist,

              Anyone who is not in favor of going to a full-on national health service is either deluded or speaking for the thieves and scammers who run privatized health care in the US of A.

              (I do note a couple of things: VA care in some areas is way better than what one gets via even Medicare, which after all just pays private doctors and clinics and hospitals (that the sufferer or family has to locate and try to get treated by) those fees for service. Costs to disabled veterans are close to zero (other than the disabilities their “service” to the Empire entailed), though here is a listing of what veterans in various “priority groups” have to pay: Even for veterans, thanks to “conservative” policy choices, it’s complicated. And dont get me started on “complexity” and institutional cruelty in the US military’s “workers comp program” known as the VA Disability Program…

              In some locales and some disciplines, notably mental health though that is getting better, the VA fell way short, but that was a result of “policy choices’ by the same people who are now full-court-pressing the privatization of VA health care via “Community Care” initiatives and other scams. I’ve worked in private-sector hospital and clinical settings and been a patient too many times in private – “not for profit” included”- hospitals and the Bay Pines VA hospital down here. There is really no significant difference in the quality, or lack thereof, of care provided in the small sampling I have, VA versus private, though private is quickly getting a whole lot worse as conglomeration and crapification take their toll. The operative business model, of course, is “more and more work from fewer and fewer people for less and less money under more and more micromanagement and metrics-ization, with ever-lower quality and ever-more cruelty and vanishing accountability.” Or something like that, what did I miss?

              There’s all the confusion noted in content here about just what ‘Medicare for All” might mean. And of course there’s all the slick-Willie types hoping to coattail into office onto some bastardization of the simple and direct notion of “free at the point of service, all needs covered from prenatal to nursing home to hospice, vision, dental, podiatry, etc.” with one obscurant formulation or another. Too bad that for some reason, all the oxygen in this Great Race so far has been sucked up by TrumpTrumpRussiaRussiaImpeachmentNOW. The nuts and bolts of a functioning system are just waiting for someone to assemble them and put them to work. And no, it’s not easy, there are too many working parts. But “single payer” is at least the glimmer of a skeleton that the muscles and nerves of a healthy system can be added to.

            3. Lambert Strether

              > precisely, if you support single payer healthcare Bernie is the only candidate.

              The 45,000 deaths annually from lack of health care count, too. So there are multiple risks to consider.

        3. mpalomar

          You entirely missed the point of the ad regarding the medias framing of Bernie Sanders. A hit job by a large segment of the so called objective MSM. Any thoughts on that?

    2. The Rev Kev

      This is devastating this ad on another level. Back in 2016 the media went all in on Hillary and were so disconnected with average Americans, that they were completely blindsided on Election Night. It is obvious that the media is again determined to shank Bernie but with this ad, he is showing once again the total disconnect with the media and average Americans. There is no way that they can attack him on this ad without sounding like yet more of those pundits. And it is inoculating so many people/voters about listening to and believing the media.

      1. Dan

        Questions and implied answers are how to get a Democratic donkey to understand. Works for Republicans too.

        “How will we pay for Bernie’s free socialistic health care?”

        “Same way we pay for bombing foreign countries that are no threat to us or handing money to their citizens.”

        “He will have to raise taxes to pay for free healthcare”

        “Last year, how much did you spend on health insurance premiums, out of network doctors, co-pays, fees, deductibles, pharmaceuticals, health aides, and the interest on credit cards to pay for all that? That is what you will save.”

        “His plan will bankrupt small businesses”

        “So does paying employee health plans and buying workman’s compensation insurance to cover huge medical charges. Without those small business crushing expenses, they can pay you more and keep more profits.”

        Few commentators mention the interest on credit cards or workman’s compensation as yet another argument for M4A.

        1. scarn

          I’ve been calling people for the Sanders campaign all week. The main topic of conversation has been Sanders’s health and then after that, can m4a really work (basically everyone wants it but people are skeptical that anything good can ever actually happen). I was hitting all your points, but hadn’t thought of credit card debt. I’ll add that to the mix. Thanks!

      2. inode_buddha

        I was laughing my bum off at the whole spectacle whilst crying bitter tears for my country. Reason why is because I recall a certain Karl Rove going through a similar meltdown on live TV not too long ago, in similar circumstances. Turnabout is fair play, as they say.

    3. Pelham

      This is the only political ad in my 66 years that has caused me to weep. I love this man. On my knees, I pray for him and our country.

        1. ambrit

          Well. well, well. And what exactly of any use did eight years of Obama worship get we ‘underclass’ cohorts? The point being that the Obama con was so over the top that “regular” people have started to pay attention to the “priors” of all these neoliberal stalking horses. Bernie is a known by his actions. He also talks a good game. Talk the talk added to walk the walk equals a superior candidate, even in a quality candidate heavy election cycle, which this is not.
          As for your quip; “Bring on the ‘DNC stole my nomination’ defense.” Hah! That’s known as lowering expectations, as in, “See, we predicted this,” even while guilty as sin of doing exactly what is being alleged.
          How are you going to spin ‘Hillary as the Unity Candidate’ to the disbelieving masses of both ‘deplorables’ and real ‘progressives?’ Resurrect the concept of ‘Divine Intervention?’
          Oh, the smugness. It burns!

          1. flora

            what?… a lived recognition to real life isn’t dull … those in richestan who don’t get it haven’t suffered it , I guess…. and lucky them.

      1. richard

        watch this one
        orfalea’s 2016 ad for sanders that he just did on his own
        the campaign never used it, is my understanding
        weeping is what they want to leave us with, but it does feel right to do it

    4. ambrit

      This is genius level work on several fronts. I did notice that several of the “talking heads” being skewered spoke in terms of being ‘spokespeople’ for the Democrat Party.
      The feeling I get from this is that Sanders made note of the fact that Trump ran a successful “hostile takeover bid” against the Establishment Republican Party.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Excellent point. I think that structurally the Democrats will be harder to take over, because of the more diffuse structure of their party permits a sort of defense in depth. They are less amenable to depapitation than the Republicans. Still, a salutary reminder.

          1. Off The Street

            There are papitations that get publicity, readily idenfiable by slogans like socialized medicine or subsidized anything. They aren’t hidden from view and the press acknowledges them.

            Then there are those other papitations, accessible only with a wink and a nod from the select few politicians like Biden, Feinstein and a bi-partisan chamber of others. They make bank with their kin, and burden their constituents with a worsening world. That is a perverse tragedy of the commons, DC-style.

            The Ukraine and similar investigations could result in publicity to bring publicity, even notoriety and perhaps a conviction or two. That would start to move Congress and others toward credibility and to nudge their approval rating north out of the teens.

            1. ambrit

              Then there is, I think you might have implied this, ‘socialism for the rich.’ That would be the, “tragedy of the enclosed commons.”

        1. notabanker

          Ultimately, my feeling is they will not be taken over, but fully exposed for what they are to a large enough percentage of the population to actually matter. Sanders will be somewhat of a political martyr rather than an actual leader. There is just no way he will be allowed to become the nominee, and the loser mafia is incapable of truly covert skullduggery.

          The visibility and popular support this time around is so much greater than the HRC 2016 fiasco. The lengths they will have to go to ultimately destroy his candidacy will be so outrageous that it will be a huge factor in turning the tide against US political establishment, including the government. YMMV.

          1. anothermichael

            The visibility and popular support this time around is so much greater than the HRC 2016 fiasco.

            Reality check: He’s having trouble staying in double digits.

            The lengths they will have to go to ultimately destroy his candidacy will be so outrageous that it will be a huge factor in turning the tide against US political establishment,

            He destroyed himself when he endorsed his opponent who stood for ideas that were 180 degrees from what he campaigned on. He proved he was merely a sheepdog for the Democrats. That’s why he won’t come anywhere near getting as many delegates as he did in 2016. He is a fraud.

            1. dcrane

              Disagree especially on the last point, because Sanders had promised from the beginning to do exactly that – to support the ultimate Democrat nominee, his argument being that defeating Trump was essential. Had he not supported Hillary, people would say he destroyed himself by breaking his promise.

              Also, on the support this time vs the last, one must keep in mind that there are more “alternative” candidates to choose from at the moment. If, right now, we could choose only between Biden and Sanders, I think his support would be greater than in 2015-16.

            2. ambrit

              Oh my. Insincere argumentation here.
              First, the poll numbers are suspect, to say the least. Methodology is the basic measure, no pun intended, of the worth of a poll. Most of these polls fall short of omniscience.
              Second, he pledged to support the eventual Democrat Party nominee when he signed on to run as a Democrat in 2015, or so. So, his endorsing the ‘Wicked Witch of Little Rock’, [see Baum, “Politics in Oz”] was a matter of honour. Now, I don’t know about you, but the idea of Honour as an actual force in politics is refreshing. Otherwise, we end up with, neo-liberalism, the Third Way, and all the other illegitimate byblows of the Democratic Leadership Council.
              I’ll stick with my “fraud,” thank you very much.

              1. JTMcPhee

                Has anyone run the numbers to see how Clinton would have done had Bernie NOT publicly supported her against Trump? All that crap about ‘winning the popular vote” might just vanish into mist…

                But of course that is not what happened, all just alternate-universe what-if, of course.

                I think it would be a good idea for the rest of the world to insist that the US presidential and congressional elections be proctored by ‘international monitors.” My view as a person who grew up in Chicago, and got to see how machine (including the good old “voting machines” used and fiddled with back in the day before “electronic voting” centralized the corruption.) the old voting machines: And of course then there’s the new:

                With over 2,000 customers across the world ElectionSource is a leader in the election industry; providing turnkey election services, support and products. Our experienced staff has over 100 years of combined experience in conducting elections. Our service and support is second to none.

                ElectionSource recognizes the incredible responsibility and dedication our clients have in conducting fair and secure elections. Our role in providing services to our clients is held at the very highest standards. We take pride in working with our clients in servicing their election needs.

                Sauce for the geese targeted for such hypocritical demands and impositions by our neoliberal-neocons, sauce for their own gander…

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  Sanders agreed as a condition of running as a Democrat that he’d endorse the winner. As Gaius wrote back in the day, he was polling only 1%. Gaius was alone in pointing out that candidates who had polled that low at the start of primary campaigning had been able to win and he further described why Sanders could do way better than anticipated.

                  We already provided links to show that Sanders was clearly begrudging in his Clinton support. He endorsed her late and did little campaigning for her.

                  And the evidence accordingly contradicts your assertion. Sanders voters going for Trump was key to Trump winning in swing states. If Sanders’ endorsement had had any meaning to his base, they would not have flipped to Trump. They knew he was going through the motions.


                  And that’s before allowing for Sanders voters staying home. I have direct reports from quite a few who did that too.

                  1. dcrane

                    I wouldn’t mind a re-post of one of those links supposedly showing that Sanders didn’t campaign for Clinton much. This contradicts my admittedly vague impressions from other sources over the past few years.

                    And in what sense was a mid-July endorsement “late”? The primaries ran through June and the convention was in July.

                    Some of us Sanders people didn’t stay home or vote Trump of course; we went 3rd party. You are correct that Sanders’ endorsement of Clinton meant little to some of us, but that had little to do with any sense of his sincerity. I actually think he meant it when he said he wanted Trump to be beaten. It was simply the case that Clinton’s campaign contradicted too many of the key values that made Sanders’ candidacy important to us.

              2. tegnost

                Second, he pledged to support the eventual Democrat Party nominee when he signed on to run as a Democrat in 2015, or so. So, his endorsing the ‘Wicked Witch of Little Rock’, [see Baum, “Politics in Oz”] was a matter of honour.

                yep, that just makes him honest.

                1. ambrit

                  It is a sad commentary that Sander’s “honesty” is an issue at all. It, honesty, should be the default condition of all public politicians. Unlike today, where corruption is the initial assumption.
                  I laugh when I say, “You cannot be too cynical about today’s politics,: but I really am “crying inside.” Else, why would I make such a big deal about it?

            3. Yves Smith Post author

              Polling is in a crisis. Pollsters can reach only 6% of the public, and it’s people with landlines. They are older and more affluent. Having a landline gives you points on your credit score.

              So the polls are a guess at best and grossly undersample Sanders’ base: the young (who would never have gotten a landline) and moderate-low income voters.

              That does not mean Sanders will win, but that his popularly is likely to be significantly understated in polls, and the polls have such low and unrepresentative samples, it is not at all clear that the conventional methods of compensating are adequate.

              1. bob

                This was a great example of how bad polls are these days-


                Perez Williams leads Balter 45-32 percent among likely Democratic voters, with 23 percent undecided, only two weeks before the June 26 election, the poll found.

                Balter won by double digits.


                Before the primary, the national dems plowed a lot of time and effort into Perez. The local dem party pick was Balter.


                They like to lose and to spend lots of money while they’re doing it.

                1. Kurt Sperry

                  They don’t as much spend it as move it from one pocket to the other. The consultant class that gets paid those hundreds of millions *is* the DNC base. Win or lose, they win. Nice work if you can get it.

            1. notabanker

              Shiny new e-ballot boxes all over Ohio….must be bought before 2020….what could possibly go wrong?

    5. Krystyn Walentka

      Yes, great video. As a past semi-profesional photographer and photography teacher, I will tell you what i told my students; Contrast is one of the most effective ways to communicate emotion.

      Matt Orfalea knows his stuff. Showing him beaming a smile while the MSM says “He doe snot actually smile that much”…there is your contrast. It is one thing to say it, a whole other thing to see it.

      And showing the atrocities of capitalism, cherry on top for sure.

      1. David B Harrison

        Maybe we should target the MSM with every form of protest possible for they seem to have the most power to stop positive change(at the behest of their masters).

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        …and running against Congress too. Bernie saying he’d go to Kentucky to hold rallies against McConnell and support primary opponents for crappy centrist democrats are FDR moves and I dig it

    6. xkeyscored

      The Bernie ad was indeed fantastic, and the use of contrast excellent as noted above.
      But I noticed nothing about US imperialism and its endless wars on wherever and whatever. These may not be big issues within the USA; outsiders would probably see them as paramount.

      1. ambrit

        Pragmatic politics. “Furriners” don’t get to vote in American elections. (Influence campaigns on social media do not, repeat, do not count.)

        1. xkeyscored

          Sure, but I wonder if the wars will remain off or low down his agenda if he becomes president. Gabbard’s still the only one I know of who’s been solidly and unwaveringly against them from the start.

          1. ambrit

            Sad to admit, but my cynical side wonders how much of the governmental policy is set by leaders and how much through institutional inertia. FDR had to fight continuously to get even a watered down version of a ‘progressive’ agenda accomplished.

            1. JTMcPhee

              “Inertia” is the property of resisting change. “Momentum” is mass times velocity, the “quantity of motion.” I’d say there’s 14 trillion and counting (at about a trillion or two a year, not including veterans outyear costs and “reconstruction” rackets) Fun Units of mass, moving at an accelerating velocity, impelling the Imperial train we are all riding off the cliff. The MIC clearly has Big Mo. And yes, “policy,” that catchall cachepot of a word that hides so much but makes its users seem so “with it,” is driven that way.

              1. ambrit

                This reminds me of the Russian and American rocket programs after WW-2 ended. America swooped in and snatched up most of the “big brains” who escaped, en masse, from Peenemunde. The Russians got there and gathered up all the second echelon “brains” and the builder class workers. The Russians beat America into space and to a series of space milestones. Inertia does not have to mean entropy.

          2. Phenix

            She volunteered for the wars. She is antiwar NOW because of her experience BUT Gabbard is still pro-GWOT.

            1. xkeyscored

              I think she might be very weakly pro-GWOT, mainly as in she hasn’t formally condemned it. But she’s been very clearly and consistently pro bringing home the troops and getting out of the endless wars. She often says they’ve done nothing for national security, and a lot against it, which I take as a tacit, coded way of wanting out of the war of terror too. Maybe she thinks 9/11 is still too sore a spot in the US for her to come out as anti-GWOT, much as some think Bernie doesn’t say a lot about imperialism and the wars as it’s not an issue the voters care about?
              She ain’t perfect, but she sure looks to me like one of the best choices around. Most seem utterly appalling in their various ways.

              1. richard

                She’s certainly not perfect, and meaning no disrespect, but “maybe she thinks” is the kind of reasoning we vote slaves our encouraged to make an the absence of concrete proposals that might help us. post obama, i am thoroughly sick of trying to read tea leaves for signs of hope.
                She is my second choice after bernie, but she has nowhere near his credibility and public record, so it’s not like it would be close to the same thing.

                1. Carey

                  Gabbard makes the right sounds, for now, against
                  our elites’ perma-wars. For at least making the right
                  sounds, I thank her.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Iranian Hackers Target Trump Campaign as Threats to 2020 Mount”

    I refuse to believe it until I see it on the Rachel Maddow Show!

    1. Hillarous

      Hillarous! Sounds like setting up the stage for another hilarious set of accusations why the democrats didnt win this time, just like Hillary.

      1. ambrit

        This could also be some far seeing apparatchik setting up a “legend” with which to discredit a Sanders win in 2020. That sets the stage for an actual coup, if needed.

  4. mpalomar

    regarding ancient Greek scrolls
    The Guardian had a story two days ago about new techniques allowing the reading of the charred scrolls at Julius Caesar’s father in laws digs suggesting that some may be from, ” Greek philosophy around Epicureanism.” Exciting as Epicurus’ rare surviving work suggests a possibly more enlightened vision of human society differing from Plato’s elitist views.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i love this sort of thing.
      it’s why i endeavored to teach myself to read greek(i’m better at reading latin—due to lucking on to a latin lexicon at a library sale($2))

      i’ve been waiting for most of my life for someone to find actual writings of Diogenes.(and a whole lot more…so much is lost)

      1. xkeyscored

        I’d love to hear someone throw a scathing Latin or ancient Greek quote at Boris Johnson (who likes to flaunt his classical education), then watch him flounder, unable to decide if it’s a compliment or condemnation.

      2. ambrit

        I personally want to know what works are hidden away in the Monastic Libraries in Spain. They answer to nobody, that lot.

          1. ambrit

            Fascinating how much the human race has not changed over the millennia.
            And, Diamond? As in Diamond Sutra? I would not be surprised.
            Be well and happy.

              1. ambrit

                Syd Barrett. Too fast to live, too young to die. (He died in 2009.)
                Play “Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” at sunrise for the full effect.
                My Dad read ‘Wind in the Willows’ to me as a tiddler, so i self-associate with ‘the Piper.’

        1. inode_buddha

          ZOMG (illuminated)

          I had forgotten about that from my Art History education…. thank you for that!

          1. ambrit

            Yes, don’t forget to add bits of gold leaf and fun little surprise creatures!
            It being Spain, I would not be surprised to see lots of tiny, leering Arabic Djinns and Afreets peering out of unexpected places on the page.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Large parts of Pompeii and Herculaneum have yet to be excavated so who know if there may be libraries of scrolls still waiting to be discovered. I am hoping that works by Claudius may be discovered one day.

        1. ambrit

          Ah my. Another Holy Grail that. The lexicon and grammer of Etruscan! (With elephants or not?)
          With my luck, I’d start to translate a Latin copy of Abdul Alhazred’s moldy tome, “Al Azif.” Half way through, I would be unable to stop and thus meet the fate prescribed for those who thirst for “hidden knowledge.”

        2. Wukchumni

          You walk about 1/2 a mile through the modern city of Ercolano to get to the ramp that takes you down to excavated Herculaneum, which Ercolano is on top of. In the scheme of things, a much smaller amount of Herculaneum has been unearthed than Pompeii. Make sure you go to the museum in Naples to get a glimpse @ the antiquities from both sites. One of my favorites is the gladiator outfits that were found in the ‘locker room’ below the Pompeii amphitheater. The helmets bear a lot of resemblance to modern day American football helmets.

          I always reckoned Pompeii was Beverly Hills, and Herculaneum Malibu.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Biggest shock I got at Herculaneum was seeing that the actual wood had survived and that had been covered in glass or plastic to protect it further. Wish I could go back there.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          depends on a whole lot of variables, i’m afraid…not least of which is gas money.
          austin is just not a place we go regularly.
          we’re in san antone every three weeks or so…usually just for the day.
          and i wouldn’t be averse to hosting out here, depending on y’all’s discretionary income,lol.(we have hotels out here…with indoor plumbing and everything)( and mom’s house has bedspace for an additional 4, if they don’t mind close quarters(2 double beds)).

          all that said,with enough notice, i could prolly make it to austin for a day…weekends are better for us.
          i’ll attempt to send Yves my #(since that’s how i roll)

          1. Martine

            Fingers crossed!

            I’d come out to y’all if others are interested. New Braunfels way, is it?

      4. Drake

        How much does Latin change over the last 2500 years? I mean, if you start studying Latin do you typically get immersed in Julius Caesar Latin, Late Roman Empire Latin, medieval church Latin? I’m assuming there are differences? Are they significant?

        I’m a fan of language-learning apps and websites. Memrise has entries for Latin and classical Greek, and I think Duolingo just recently added Latin. Clozemaster has Latin but apparently only modern Greek. I’m pretty well maxed out on French, Spanish, German, and Polish but I was wondering what learning a classical language might be like.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          aside from being obsessed with dinosaurs at 4 years old(first exposure to latin and greek roots), my latin comes from naptime when the boys were little. i translated Cicero, word for word, using the latin lexicon(a one way dictionary, with latin words and english definitions(and historical examples). i wanted to learn enough to pick through original texts.
          i still have major issues with grammar and declensions,and even gender, etc…but i can get the gist of just about anything i read in latin(and italian, spanish, portuguese,catalan, etc—an unlooked for side effect)
          Yes,there are dialects, and a periodicisation…it changes over time.
          same with greek.
          i reckon that’s the business of full time scholars, etc.
          my limited knowledge of Koine does little in helping with modern greek…but i also haven’t tried all that hard with it(during the greek/eu showdown a few years ago)
          but for my purposes, what i’ve managed will suffice(in one of houston’s museums, they had a copy of the rosetta stone…me and a stranger/student guy spent 45 minutes translating the greek portion for a small crowd. good enough greek for me,lol)

          spare time/utter boredom helps in these endeavors. we didn’t have tv at all at that time.
          my experience of the world is richer because of it.

          1. ambrit

            Please excuse the utterly avernal pun, but, would that be Counterfeit Koine, or Koine of the Realm? Which leads to a curious dispute over the legitimacy of a Marxist interpretation of the Parable that ends with; “Render unto Caesar….” (Well, the Rabbi was preaching theocratic communism after all.)

        2. lyman alpha blob

          Latin has changed a lot in 2500 hundred years – it’s now Portuguese, French, Spanish and Italian. And even the ancient works have different dialects and degrees of difficulty.

          I’m more familiar with Greek. A modern Greek reading the ancient would be similar to a contemporary English speaker picking up Shakespeare for the first time – you’d get the gist but it would be difficult to understand every word without some help. And again different degrees of difficulty – Polybius for example is considered very hard to read in the original, even by the ancients.

          One fascinating thing about these ancient languages is how bits and pieces of them persist, even while the majority changes. I would consider Cretan modern Greek a different dialect than mainland modern Greek and on Crete today you can still hear some people speak using the ancient tongue for certain words. Modern Greek for chicken is “kotopoulo” but I’ve heard Cretans use “ornithos” instead – where we get the English word ornithology. To say you made a mistake in modern Greek is ‘kano lathos’ but a friend of mine would say ‘lanthanomai’ instead which is the ancient Greek way to say it. And even when Cretans use the same modern words as the mainland Greeks they often use a different pronunciation. Not an expert linguist here by any means and not fluent in modern Greek either, but it may be more difficult for a mainland Greek to understand a Cretan today than it is for an American English speaker to understand an Australian.

    2. John W

      These are the same set of scrolls that this article describes. It is thought that Caesar’s father-in-law owned the Villa de Papyri at Herculaneum. The Getty in LA has replicated this Villa. Caesar’s father-in-law worked as the patron for Philodemus, the Epicurean philosopher. The father-in-law had seemingly transferred an Epicurean library from Rome’s conquest of Greece to provide incentives for Philodemus to gather his philosophical students and friends to the villa. Philosophy and the arts provided patronage, as it still does. The Getty replicates the colonial dynamics of the original Villa de Papyri.

      1. John k

        Went there today, two great exhibitions going on, one just thru this month. Beautiful place, perfect weather right now. Saw video of some scrolls they’re working on… look like charcoal briquettes. Amazing they’re able to read them.
        Hope they continue progressing… easy to dream of great finds.
        My favorite piece is the victorious youth, a miraculous find.

    1. Oregoncharles

      More seriously: those who know would need more information, like your operating system and browser. Some of the privacy browser settings interfere, I gather, so tha t might be the first thing to check. But I’m the wrong person to answer this.

  5. Steve H.

    > Nobody’s Century: Deglobalization and its Discontents

    Thanks for the chew toy. “Ambassador Chas W. Freeman chairs Projects International, Inc.” Took a look at Projects International, Inc. “Venture Creation” with relationships with the likes of Raytheon & Boeing, “to generate extraordinary investment outcomes.” Lotsa “technology transfer” with partners in energy, civil engineering, healthcare management. See the Morningstar discussion yesterday for the incentives.

    Given the content of the article, this project struck me as particularly curious:

    “Facilitated strategic Brazilian-Chinese strategic partnership for offshore oil and gas inititative.”

    1. ambrit

      Brazilian offshore gas and oil is pretty big. It also goes on quite far offshore. I worked with a young man five or six years ago who went back to college for a year in his spare time, night classes, hah!, to learn enough Portuguese to get a job on one of those offshore platforms.
      Oil ans gas is the UN of world business.

  6. cnchal


    From page 17

    All straight line testing was conducted on a dry asphalt surface free of visible moisture. The surface was straight and flat, free of potholes and other irregularities that could cause undesired variations in the trajectory of the test vehicle. The testing area consisted of a four lane roadway divided down the
    middle by a solid white line. Inner lanes were marked by the solid white line on the medial side and a dashed white line on the lateral side. Outer lanes were bounded by a curb on the lateral side and a
    dashed white line on the medial side. The width of each lane was 12 feet. One side of the roadway was
    bounded by a solid wall with a height of approximately 15 feet. To eliminate the possibility of sensor
    interference, the two lanes closest to this wall were not utilized for any testing activities.

    The implication is that in actual street driving situations these systems are 100% ineffective. The definition of crapification. We are the guinea pigs.

    These were cars that were tested. In the current fad of the cool people driving street locomotives, my advice is, don’t get in their way. Their oblivious driving style will kill you.

    1. Carolinian

      The report isn’t kind to self drive but please note it also says pedestrian fatalities are having a big upswing and those victims are being run over by human drivers.

      So you can’t complain about one system failure while ignoring the other. Car automation has the potential to save many lives rather than take them, but trying to shoehorn it into an existing infrastructure may prove too hard. It may only be practical as a complete system, roads included.

      1. cnchal

        > . . . pedestrian fatalities are having a big upswing . . .

        True. The greater the ratio of street locomotives to cars, the greater the number of pedestrian fatalities. The type of vehicle that hits a pedestrian is the variable. Add the automatic emergency braking system to that and we get even moar carnage as drivers rely on technology that doesn’t work on streets we share.

        1. Carolinian

          I doubt the pedestrian problem is because drivers are relying more on auto braking. Where I live they don’t even stop for stop signs. I’d chalk it up to bad drivers plus lower traffic enforcement (my brother says cops are now afraid of being shot if they pull people over). We’ve had several high profile pedestrian incidents including a beloved and elderly school crossing guard run down while on the job.

          1. pretzelattack

            these days an increasing numbers of drivers (where i live) seem to regard stoplights as a incentive to speed through the intersection.

      2. Robert Valiant

        Exactly – railroads work great and trains rarely (comparatively) run over people. Let’s rip up the asphalt and concrete and lay rail!

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          the demise of us rail is an own goal of staggering proportions.
          all to sell more oil and cars and tires.
          …and likely with a social agenda, too….hyperindividualisation, personalisation of risk,encouraging you to plug in to the debt system(towing, impoundment, insurance, etc), public=bad.
          on this last, i’ve noticed, in texas at least, that most of the public transportation systems are seemingly purposefully clunky and hard to use.
          this observation is from mostly 20 years ago….san antonio bus service appears to have improved, per my roaming around there in the last year.
          light rail in texas, especially, is almost unusable…in houston, dfw, austin…at least if you’re the Help.
          i remember clearly working on Sixth Street in Austin(25 years ago)…few long term parking options…meters run for 2 hours, and boss frowns on taking a 30 minute break to hike to feed the meter…and yet the buses stopped running an hour before the kitchen staff gets off work. i was the kitchen manager, and since everyone either walked or took the bus, we went to great extremes to hurry the hell up at closing…only to have a herd of entitled frat boys come in 10 minutes before the kitchen closed,lol.
          in which case, all of us walked home.
          i’ve still got warrants out for unpaid parking.
          if all this ain’t class warfare, i don’t know what is.

          1. Robert Valiant

            Well said – I couldn’t agree more. I lived in Seattle 25 years ago when they were beginning construction of their new light rail system (still far from complete today). Hardly anybody I knew at the time was even aware that there was “light rail” everywhere in the Puget Sound around the turn of the previous century – all ripped out for cars and highways.

        2. Carolinian

          Uh, trains run over people all the time. Sometimes it happens at road crossings and we’ve had a couple of incidents where people were killed while walking on the tracks. If a train does detect an object ahead, by whatever means, it takes much longer to stop.

          Automation can improve safety but they are rolling a rock uphill when attempting to do so using the loosey goosey US road system. In NYC pedestrians just walk out into the street in throngs and dare someone to hit them. In the short term self drive is much more practical on freeways and it’s already happening.

          1. Big River Bandido

            Trains only hit people in a basically useless rail system where tracks have at-grade crossings with auto traffic. Federal law limits trains operating under those conditions to 55MPH — slower than car traffic. As a practical matter, that forces the average speed of the train even lower.

            This is the “rail system” that exists in almost every locale in the United States. The only exception I can think of is a 50 or 60-mile stretch between Boston and Kingston, RI, where the tracks have their own, uninterrupted ROW with no auto crossings, and the trains can open up to 125MPH for a short run. You can cover about 60 miles in 45 minutes, and watch as you fly by cars stuck in traffic. With a *real* train system like that, the design of the ROW eliminates pedestrian fatalities, as it’s impossible to get onto the tracks.

            As soon as you hit the Connecticut border, you’re back riding 20th-century carriages on a 19th-century system.

      3. Lambert Strether

        > pedestrian fatalities are having a big upswing and those victims are being run over by human drivers.

        Do we know why? Cell phones? Poorly maintained infrastructure, e.g. signage? More drunk driving?

        1. ambrit

          Here’s an idea. Reclassify driving while texting or cell phoning as “Digitally Impaired Driving.” Make the penalties the same as traditional “Driving Under the Influence.”

          1. Dan

            You Sir, are a creative genius.

            Municipalities will rush to embrace this as a revenue enhancer.
            Big Tech will spend billions lobbying against it.

            Guess who controls the streets?

            1. ambrit

              Ah, but, he who controls the heads controls the streets they traverse!
              My idea of an image to depict ‘official’ revenue streams is “communal zero g golden showers.”

          2. Steve H.

            “Pedestrian deaths were up 35 percent last year, compared to a decade ago, thanks to the rise of heavy SUVs, population growth in regions that do not prioritize walking and distracted driving, a new report shows.”

            So cells are part of it, but not the main thing.

            “Pedestrian fatalities involving SUVs have increased 50 percent in the last five years. That’s compared with 30 percent for sedans, GHSA reports.

            A raft of recent research shows that SUVs present special risks to pedestrians. A National Highway Transportation Safety Administration study showed they are 2.5 to 3 times as likely to kill a pedestrian than a car. And the effect is worse for children. They also lengthen the stopping distance and increase blind spots, making collisions more likely in the first place.”


            1. ambrit

              I will testify to the prevalence of “distracted driving” around our one horse college town.
              When the colleges, yes, plural, are in session, the population here increases by a third, from roughly 45,000 to 60,000 persons. Street congestion shoots up, and most of the added drivers are young and new to the game.
              Hilarity ensues, from a safe distance of course.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          “Poorly maintained infrastructure, e.g. signage?

          or ubiquitous construction.
          there’s no way to get out of san antone without running miles of construction gauntlet.
          and a lot of it sure feels like fly by night amateurs…somebody’s cousin’s construction company, etc
          job creation, texas style= lets repave this year old road so it looks like we’re doing something(and to use up last year’s budget so next year’s budget doesn’t shrink)

        3. cnchal

          > Do we know why? Yes.

          > Cars with high-tech safety systems are still really bad at not running people over The Verge

          America’s favorite motor vehicle type is also the most deadly. The number of pedestrians killed in crashes involving SUVs has skyrocketed by 81 percent in the last decade, according to a report released in 2018 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

          This is mostly because of the way SUVs are designed: larger bodies and higher carriage mean pedestrians are more likely to suffer deadly blows to the torso. And higher clearance means victims are more likely to get trapped underneath a speeding SUV instead of pushed onto the hood or off to the side. Speed is also a factor because SUVs have more horsepower than a typical sedan. A recent investigation by USA Today and the Detroit Free Press found that the growing popularity of SUVs accounts for the alarming rise in pedestrian deaths.

          Street locomotives now have cow catcher designs for grills. Have a look at the new Chevy Blazer. Lots of SUVs weigh three tons. Why do people buy them? I’m told it makes them feel safe in the street wars.

          1. Carey

            … and their designers, for perhaps interesting reasons,
            are making them *look* more aggressive with each
            iteration (especially the headlamp and grille area,
            as mentioned above).

            “let’s you and him..”

          2. davidgmillsatty

            All you have to do is look at the data on the website of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Unfortunately SUV’s have much lower personal injury claims and medical claims, which are indicative of injuries within the automobile.

          3. JBird4049

            SUVs are just pickup trucks repurposed as passenger cars. Since making a truck is cheaper than making a sedan in part because a passenger car has been designed to be safer which cost more money, the car companies took a truck chassis, slapped a car body on top and called it a sport utility vehicle. Charge the customer more than you would for a car or pickup because it is better somehow and see profit.

            Because it is bigger and rides higher, it is safer for the driver, but it is more dangerous for anyone else.

        4. witters

          It seems, for Carolinian, as with the 737max, the technology is not to be faulted until the human’s subject to the consequences of that technology are signalled out for the primary blame.

      4. BobW

        I was crossing at a crosswalk with the “walk” sign, nearly hit by a left-turner who then cussed me out for being in his way. It really is safer to cross in the middle of a block, although illegal.

          1. Off The Street

            More Gothamness: You must be from Philly. If you step off the curb here, you’re in play.

            I’m not from Philly, but did have to jump out of the way of a van swerving to target me in a SoHo crosswalk. The passenger looked on gleefully, as if to communicate Welcome to the big city.

      5. Brooklin Bridge

        […] a complete system, roads included.

        Automated self scrambling pedestrians as well?

  7. CH

    Came across that article for seven-year auto loans on the Reddit economic forums. According to all the posters there:

    1.) People were just buying far too expensive cars for what they could afford.
    2.) There is no problem with working people’s incomes; it’s just due to “poor personal choices”.
    3.) Cars last longer than ever before thanks to technology, so what’s the problem?
    4.) Longer loan times just mean that more people can afford cars.

    Wasn’t one of the common factors for failing civilizations the insularity of the elites?

    1. TheMog

      I’ve seen 2) touted in other places as well as part of this discussion. It seems to be the typical dog whistle response – everything is due to “poor personal choices”, because if it wasn’t we may actually have to have a conversation about stagnating wages[1], health insurance inflation that’s eating into people’s disposable income, the lack of alternative transport options etc etc.

      The other part that is also often ignored is that depreciation on used vehicles is also much less recently due to middle-class people not being able or willing to purchase a new car, and thus an increase in demand for used cars.

      [1] Of course people’s wages aren’t increasing because they’re all a bunch of millenial slackers that only want to have experiences and can’t be bothered to work. And yes, I speak fluent sarcasm.
      Funnily enough most of the millennials I know seem to be working (and hustling) harder than most Gen Xers at the same points in their lives.

    2. dearieme

      Since some new cars come with seven year guarantees it’s not bonkers to buy one of those with a seven year loan. What is almost always bonkers is to buy a brand new car at all. And buying any car with a loan might be a habit to avoid.

      We bought our previous car at 18 months old; it lasted nearly twenty years. Our current one we bought at ten years old.

    3. Doug SJ

      Call me old fashioned but I agree with their analysis. I’m always shocked how nice cars are that lower income people buy. I don’t think I’ve ever been in an uber as crappy as my cars tend to be. I’m almost 50 and and almost nobody I knew drove a new car until their mid 20s when finances had turned positive. Now it seems the most marginally employed buy loaded versions of whatever car with all of the latest doo-dads. Seems like more of an entitlement mentality than the simple math of reliable transportation.

      1. Carolinian

        Perhaps they figure that if the car dealer is crazy enough to give them a loan they can’t afford then why not take it. They may be a lot less concerned about the repo man and credit scores etc than higher income people.

        Many have said that the liar loan industry has simply switched from houses to cars.

        1. Doug SJ

          Agreed. Priorities have changed greatly and I think people willingly make these choices even understanding the consequences. Housing was another parallel story to the car story in my yout. We moved into a new construction neighborhood in 1977. All the homes were comparable. $100k. My neighbor to the left was a Dr with a successful private practice. On the right was a handyman who worked maintaining hvac systems and such. Just like there was no social pressure for us to impress with a fancy car, our parents felt no pressure to move to the “right” neighborhood. All us kids lived the same experience together as friends. How things have changed. I won’t comment on how not right my current “right” neighborhood feels now.

      2. kiwi

        I think a lot of them are leasing.

        I would like a new car (not that I can afford one), but I just don’t want all of the digital junk on them. Just more stuff to go wrong……yes, I have become a troglodyte.

        1. petal

          Meh, wouldn’t call you a troglodyte. More like realistic and wise. More digital junk->more things to go wrong->more stress and inconvenience, and more money out the window to fix things that aren’t really necessary in a vehicle. There is nothing wrong with wanting a simple, basic car that gets you from A to B. I drive a ’98 and worry about the day I am forced into getting a newer car because, like you, I don’t want all of those digital things. It’s asking for problems, and I don’t need or want all of that fancy stuff. Quite happy with my radio buttons, cassette/CD player, and traditional keys. I do wish it had old school crank windows, though.

          1. ambrit

            I really wish for the old triangular wind vent windows in the front door. Set those two vanes to shift wind towards the driver, and passenger if there, and set the a/c on fifty, miles an hour that is. Dad’s old Chevy II had two wind vents that could reduce the cars speed when opened fully.

      3. RMO

        DougSJ: You can’t drive a really “crappy car” if you drive for Uber – they give you the privilege of earning under minimum wage from them unless your car is less than ten years old, is a four door, can legally carry five people, doesn’t have a salvage title, AND passes their own company inspection. A run down appearance or interior will also likely bring the driver poor ratings and a drop in income and ridership.

        Sadly, I just saw my first “Hey Vancouver! Wanna drive for Uber/Lyft?” ad. I was hoping the whole industry would implode before it impacted my own city at least but it wasn’t to be.

        1. kareninca

          The only time I’ve used Uber/Lyft was in eastern CT due to a family health emergency. I took four different rides. All four cars were beaters; they were really dilapidated; they looked worse than my 19 y.o. Honda Civic. I have read that you can’t use a crappy looking car if you are an Uber/Lyft driver, but that has not been my limited experience. This actually made me happy since I figured that it might therefore pencil out for them.

    4. RMO

      CH: In the comments on articles on this subject (on sites such as Jalopnik etc.) there’s also a general lack of thought about what everyone “living within their means” and buying used cars or the smallest, least expensive cars could do to the commenters income – on Jalopnik a fair number of the commenters work in the automotive industry in some way from sales to engineering to working at a suppliers plant. It never seems to occur to them that if it weren’t for the people taking on long term, onerous loans for cars their own jobs might disappear.

      I have noticed over the last couple of years a substantial increase in awareness that decades of stagnant or declining real income are the real problem.

  8. QuarterBack

    Re the MarketWatch “Unhinged” article and it’s sentence “But 50 years of doing whatever you want and not having to explain any of it is apparently hard to shake.” The same could be said about US foreign policy.

    1. Summer

      Exactly. Trump is a product of that world view, he’s not creating it. He’s the unmasked face of it.

      1. QuarterBack

        Ditto, and that is exactly why he evokes so much hatred. Sometimes looking into that mirror can be pretty painful.

      1. xkeyscored

        I thought the machine that goes ‘Ping’ from The Meaning of Life more relevant to Naked Capitalism and this age of financial chicanery – “We lease this back from the company we sold it to, and in that way it comes out of the monthly current budget, and not the capital account” (all in a hospital delivery room complete with woman in labour, for those unfamiliar with these masterpieces).
        But The Rev Kev’s clip is less downlifting (and the audio’s better)!

        1. Dan

          Could you explain the advantage of that leasing scheme?
          Why one account is better than another?
          Yup, I never took an accounting class.

          1. xkeyscored

            More money for the rentier class, i guess. But then I’ve never got how assets – eg my knowledge and literacy? – are also liabilities. Yup, no accounting classes for me either.

    1. David

      Two comments on the same day about how things were different fifty years ago may strike you as one too many, but it’s worth pointing out the MP’s satire was, like all satire, deeply linked to the circumstances of the time. Indeed, I’d argue that you can judge an epoch by the nature of the satire it produces. In the late 60s, there was no mass unemployment or poverty, the public sector largely worked, university was free (they paid you to go there), there were no extremes of wealth and poverty (the marginal income tax rate was over 90% at one point) and you could walk into almost any public building at will. So satire was very largely about the class system, the Establishment, and, a bit later, the endless feuding leftist groups mocked in the Life of Brian. Quite quickly thereafter, with the advent of Thatcher and the return of mass unemployment and poverty, satire lost the rather genial, mocking tone of the Pythons, and developed a tone of rage and desperation which it has retained ever since.

      1. Still laughing?

        Really interesting remark, David.
        I used to love Simpsons but then discovered South Park. For some reason, nowadays SP is more spot on with its fundamental cynisism and over-the-top stupidity in terms of individual and crowd-behaviour than Simpsons. Simpsons degenerated into Homer just being stupidier and scream more but without the great philosophical one-liners he used to have up until season 10-13 somewhere. Simpsons though have s fundamental positive belief in the family, at least, as a fundamental unity and most likely in society since it was as at the time I watched it more ironic than sarcastic. SP is sarcastic to the bone and no values left. Just like neoliberalism. Nothing is sacred nothing can not be turned into turd.
        I guess that it what is happening during 20 years.

      2. RMO

        David: Interesting take. Looking at the work of a UK comic who came along after the Pythons, Alexi Sayle I would say you are dead on. He’s still surreal and absurd but also certainly has that rage and desperation thing going on.

  9. notabanker

    Car prices are insane. $100K+ for a Caddy? Thomas Tusser would be proud. On the flipside, you can buy 1-2-3 year old high end “luxury brand” sedans with less than 24K miles for low $20’s by the fist fulls.

    How to turn $100K into $20K in less than 5 years, buy a car, your neighbors will be so jealous.

      1. xkeyscored

        I’ve never had a car, nor the misfortune to have lived in the USA, where I gather life is next to impossible without one.

        1. JBird4049

          Misfortune? Ouch that hurts! ;-)

          There are a few metro areas it is doable while living inside them like the cities of San Francisco and New York. Then there is the rest of the country.Something which even many Americans do not realize is just how large the country is. Too often the Blue metropolis dwellers do not even have a clue about how usually crowed it is where they live and the Red rural dweller do not realize just how empty theirs is. At least in comparison. Add the wealth and political power afforded the Blue areas as against the relative poverty and lack of political power of the Red areas. The populations are roughly equal, but their environments are of different countries.

          That is one of the reasons for the conflict over public transportation, guns, and others. Someone like me who lives in San Francisco whinges on the need for public transportation because it would be nice not driving for hours during the “rush hour” (rush hour, hah!), for someone in Northernmost California or the large fringe Red bowl surrounding the coastal Blue, will look around and think wtf? Pay taxes for public transportation, and not even trains which they might be able to use or repaving the freeways and roads? No. Same with guns. If one is literal hours away from the nearest police officer, or sheriff, or hunts occasionally for food, and everyone they know has guns, or at least been well exposed to them, so they are nothing unusual or frightening, the antigun movement is hysteria as well as impractical.

          But back to transportation. A large reason that Ford’s Model T was so popular is that the United States is so very large. You could go to church and come back in the same morning, or drive to and from the nearest town in one day.

          In California, if I was driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I would leave in the morning at 9 AM and depending on traffic, and how much I wanted to risk a ticket, get there around 5ish. Usually earlier. Maybe later. This is very roughly 350 miles, or 2/3 of California an admittedly very long state. There are fifty states, some of which have vast nearly empty landscape after the depopulation caused by the destruction and consolidation of the family farm, and later the deindustrialization that caused the destruction of all the many, many industries and their factories throughout the United States. It also makes putting (back) in any kind of public transportation, like trains, difficult. Whereas early in the 20th and into perhaps the 60s, the population has become too dispersed to take advantage of it. It took decades to happen, and if we ever reverse it, it will take decades again.

          It is depressing to drive though towns know how your family and others like them created them, but which are now nearly ghost towns, fading away its the sprinkling of human detritus spreading outward around most of whole states. However, there is not enough housing with overcrowding where there are jobs, and not enough jobs where and emptiness where there is housing. So the typical neoliberal non solution of getting everyone to move is extremely impractical.

          This is especially true after the general destruction of public transportation during the early and mid 20th century. The counties of the Bay Area had a number of ferries, even a commuter train running via the Bay Bridge, buses, trolleys and a network of trains crisscrossing them and the bay itself. Los Angeles had an extensive trolley system. However, the more people moved into California the more they threw it all away. So whereas my grandparents had access to an extensive system that reduced a need for a car, my parents and I, not so much.

          1. scarn

            I spent half of today climbing over Mojave volcanoes and mining bits of trilobite fossils out of the hills, and the other half of it driving old route 66 in order to get out there and back home. We drove through ghost towns and clambered over the tailings of a ghost industry. You don’t meet many people out there, but you do see a great many trains pulling freight. It seems we still use trains in this enormous, confused nation, but mostly to move commodities and rarely to move people.

            My city had a light rail system back when most of this area was farms and oil derricks. After the oil was gone and ww2 was over, my county turned into a defense contractor industrial center. They built suburbs and freeways, and literally dumped the old electric rail cars into the ocean to try to form an artificial reef. I think it’s really weird that post war industrialization actually led to less dense modes of transportation here, but it absolutely did. Your analysis is spot on.

    1. Craig H.

      Most people with new upper market cars like BMW are not buying them. They are on lease. Which is even a worse deal but the guideline seems to be how large are the monthly payments. My neighbor has a new lexus and I thought it looked really swell and I googled the lease payment. 550.

      Not that swell.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        And how much was “due at signing?” $4000?

        I did some research when my daughter was in the market for a car. There’s a lot more to “leasing” than just a monthly payment.

        One of the more interesting recommendations was getting “gap” insurance, which I had never heard of, in addition to regular auto insurance. Since a lease is pretty much just taking financial responsibility for the depreciation / underwater valuation that happens when you first buy a new car, if the car were to be totaled during the lease period, the insurance payout would not cover the remainder of the lease for which the lessee would still be responsible. “Gap” insurance is meant to cover the extra money owed.

        This is the same insurance that people who roll previous loan balances which a trade-in is too low-value to retire into new car loans, are encouraged to take for the same reason.

        I also knew a woman who claimed to “drive” a late model Lexus. The car sat in the garage for 10 months while she continued to make the exorbitant lease payments because she couldn’t afford the charges for exceeding the allowed mileage limits specified in the lease.

        The whole thing is such an incredible racket.

        1. anon in so cal

          My husband is old school and used to say, “if you can’t afford to pay the full price of a car, upfront, you can’t afford the car.” He also held that it was wiser to purchase a used car, not a new car (which depreciates the second it’s driven off the lot). I slowly disabused him of these beliefs. The last three vehicles I’ve had were purchased new, fully paid upfront. I racked up huge mileage totals for the first two. In hindsight, I think it’s nuts to pay upfront for a car.

          Now we are each leasing a new car. In my case, the vehicle comes in three versions, two of which can only be leased. The version I’m driving, which can be leased or purchased, comes with just over $10,000 in federal and state rebates. If one leases, these are immediately deducted from the MSRP. I was able to lease the vehicle at approximately 13,000 under MSRP. I used Leasehacker and relied on an online forum where posters shared info on best dealers, etc. for that specific make and model. As this is a relatively new model without an established record, I absolutely did not want to purchase the vehicle. I am leasing it for zero due at signing, 20K miles per year, 315 per month total. I could have leased it for 280 a month for 12K miles but I have a long commute to work. I only needed gap insurance for a few months. Because the manufacturer only fully covers the car through 45K miles, I had to purchase a separate maintenance contract to cover the vehicle if it exceeds 45K. Using forum tips, I was able to get one from a dealer in the midwest at low cost.

          Overall, I had to make a lot of calls to dealers around the area, and the process was tedious, but I will never purchase a car again.

          Separately, I learned the best way to sell a used car is through Vroom or Carvana. They both pay way more than Car Max.

          1. Craig H.

            How many pages of documents did you have to sign off on along the way that you had to hit the zoom key on your computer three times to even get readable print?

            After I do that I usually find I have to read it two times to figure out what they are saying that they want me to agree to. Zooming and re-reading goes up with the square of the price tag and if I never have to buy a car again that would be great. The last time I bought a car I paid cash and I still had to sign an eight page document. It was five pages when the salesman handed it to me and I insisted he print it over again in a readable font.

            I just now tried to google image search for a picture I once saw of Al Gore with 15 Encyclopedia Britannica size stacks of government codes that he insisted he was going to do away with. I couldn’t find it. I swear this is relevant!

          2. inode_buddha

            I have to admit I agree with your husband more and more, the older I get… two reasons why:

            1) Compounding Interest. Look at how much that thing is actually costing you. Better to not finance it at all, particularly since Depreciation, which is Number Two.

            2) Depreciation… let some other sop take that loss, because that’s all it is — loss. And if you financed it, you’ll pay extra for the privilege of losing even more.

            I don’t have any easy answers because inflation is killing me, in my wage bracket. Gone are the days when I could get an old chevy for $200 in the local paper and drive it for a few years.

            1. ambrit

              Yes. Even the older motorcycles here are up above a grand. Gone are the days of a “dollar a cc.”

    2. RMO

      notabanker: Because I just happen to have a 1973 Automobile Quarterly that has entries on all the US car models for sale that year that includes the MSRP I can tell you that the cheapest Cadillac in 1973 (Sedan De Ville) was about $39,000 in 2019 dollars and the most expensive (Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham – at $7,637 is was $100 more than even the land yacht par excellence: the Eldorado convertible with its 500 cubic inch engine!) was equivalent to $46,000 today.

      1. notabanker

        And a Ford union assembler made $4.50 an hour, the average US salary was $12,050 a year in 1973. Today, $47,060. So the price of a caddy has gone up 1,300% while wages have increased 390%.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        AQ was the best. I had to go to the UC Berkeley library to read it, it was expensive. I was like 12 years old, my mother was going to school there, and each one was like a bound jewel. They even let me (or anyone else I suppose) in the stacks which were a surreal world of multistory scaffolds and shelving lit only by 4 Watt bulbs. That was special, like the internet before the internet, everything there if you could find it, or just surf the titles by Dewey Number. Be a great movie location if it even exists anymore.

  10. xkeyscored

    Saudi Arabia Recognizes Its Weakness and Is Ready to Talk to the Iranian Foe

    Or, Mohammed bin Salman Desperately Seeks Recent Enemies’ Support in Last Ditch Attempt to Save his Skin

    (and still refuses to believe ignorant infidel skirt-wearing Houthi tribesmen could attack the mighty Aramco – “The urgency of the September 25 visit, 10 days after the attack on Saudi oil facilities, was apparently linked to reports that the missiles and drones were fired from a base of the Revolutionary Guards or a Shi’ite militia in Iraq.”)

    1. VietnamVet

      Thanks, this is the first confirmation to my gut feeling that Shiite militias in Iraq assisted the Houthis attack. The USA is in a very bad situation occupying Iraq and Eastern Syria. The US cannot admit that Iraqis attacked Saudi Arabia. Plus, we have a President who has “50 years of doing whatever you want and not having to explain any of it is apparently hard to shake.” An attack on Iran will crash the global economy and the thousands of enlistees/contractors in Middle East regional bases are expendable. Vulnerable to missile and UAV attack. Yet, doing nothing is very dangerous too. Last night NBC got on its high horse about the Chinese Communist’s treatment of Muslim Uighurs. Yet without a bit of irony NBC has covered the thousands of ISIS warriors and families held in decrepit concentration camps in Eastern Syria stating they are the reason for keeping US troops there. Iraqis are rioting. Even without the US attacking Iran, the Shiite militias in the Levant could reignite their fight against western foreigners occupying their land.

      The swamp is so divorced from reality. They are intent on destroying nation states. They cannot return Eastern Syria to Damascus control and let the Syrian National Government deal with Sunni Jihadist veterans. Instead oligarchs make money by intentionally putting American soldiers in harms way.

  11. David

    On Brexit and NI. As the Grauniad story says, it does partly depend on how old you are. I’m old enough to remember the black and white BBC coverage of the Army going into the Bogside in 1969, and for some reason the voice of a woman saying “thank God the Army’s here.” I also remember standing dumbstruck in front of the (colour) TV at University a few years later watching the coverage of the Old Bailey bombings. Since I went on to work in government, and to work with people who had been there in various capacities, I suppose I was more attuned than average to the nature of the problem, but even so if you asked me to summarise what happened in the 90s, and what the GFA actually says, I’d have a hard time remembering.
    I think this is fairly standard. For most people, simply trying to understand the roots of the conflict was difficult enough, and in general they didn’t care that much anyway. There was a pervasive “plague on both their houses” attitude which is, quite honestly, understandable to some extent. The major political players were without exception unattractive personalities, and indeed the Loyalists were probably worse: my parents, for all their identikit lower middle-class Tory attitudes, couldn’t abide Paisley, and turned the sound on the TV down whenever he appeared. Without clear “good” and “bad” guys, and with the Army caught in the middle, and with endless unsuccessful peace efforts, most English people devoutly hoped someone would drop a stray nuclear warhead on the province and get it over with. No, I’m not exaggerating.
    Which is why, in the end, nobody in England is that exercised about a return to violence. “If they want to go back to killing each other” runs the argument “let them do so. It’s not our problem.” It would have been much more effective to have shown photos of bomb attacks carried out on the mainland, and to have asked if British soldiers were to be sent to die there again. But nobody thought of that. Which is a shame because it’s a very good argument, not least since today’s Army is only half its former size, and couldn’t even begin to take on the same kind of operational commitment that was necessary even in the less violent years of the Troubles.

    1. Monty

      Brexit has further illustrated what has long been knowable by looking at UK tabloid newspaper circulation figures. England has a great many selfish, spiteful and painfully ignorant people among it’s electorate. No wonder they covet a special relationship with USA. Birds of a feather!

    2. xkeyscored

      for some reason the voice of a woman saying “thank God the Army’s here.”
      As I understood it, many nationalists were hoping the Brits would protect them from the loyalist police and gangs. When they instead protected the Royal Ulster Constabulary on their raids in nationalist areas, the Provisional IRA arose, saying they’d do the job.

      most English people devoutly hoped someone would drop a stray nuclear warhead on the province and get it over with. No, I’m not exaggerating.
      You’re not exaggerating one iota. I heard it regularly from my own father, among others.

      1. David

        The Labour government sent the troops in because they didn’t trust the Royal Ulster Constabulary, a protestant dominated force linked to the Ulster Unionist Party, which, among other things, acted as part of the Conservative Party at the time. They feared that there would be direct clashes between the RUC and the IRA, which had opportunistically taken advantage of the situation, and was also considered by many to be their only defence against the RUC. So the idea was a classic interposition force. There’s a huge debate about how the the British blundered into the conflict with the nationalists, and how far the IRA deliberately engineered it, but it’s probably a bit of both. The point is that the RUC was the Law, and the alternative to not supporting them would have been no Law at all, which was probably worse.

        1. xkeyscored

          ’71 is a 2014 British historical thriller film written by Gregory Burke and directed by Yann Demange. Set in Northern Ireland, it stars Jack O’Connell, Sean Harris, David Wilmot, Richard Dormer, Paul Anderson and Charlie Murphy, and tells the story of a British soldier who becomes separated from his unit during a riot in Belfast at the height of the Troubles in 1971. (Wikipedia)
          And I’d give it 10/10, a rare accolade from me. Action, acting, plot and insight. Definitely worth a watch. (And nobody comes out as saints, re your ‘how the the British blundered into the conflict with the nationalists, and how far the IRA deliberately engineered it, but it’s probably a bit of both.’)

    3. makedoanmend

      The RUC was the law – the law of a sectarian state (just like an aparthied state) – the law of gerrymandering as government policy – the law of denying one person one vote at local level – the law of blatant job, housing and systemic financial discrimination. The law that tooled up one section of the community with 100,000+ guns whilst leaving the other section defenseless. It’s no happenstance of historical syncronicity that the Irish civil rights association followed upon the civil rights movement in the United States.

      The “thankfulness” for the british troops was very localised to the areas where the worst deprevations of the RUC establishment had unleased their vengence against the taigues in 1969. Afterall, the largest refugee movement in Europe since WWII had just occurred in 1969 as many catholics fled south after pogroms by the forces of law and order. Distrust was as much the order of the day as anything else – widespread and justifiable distrust. Within months the natives became very aware that the new forces of law and order had a bias that just happened to enhance the viewpoints of then extant forces of law and order. The bias was confirmed as internmanent occurred, followed by the the massacres in Ballymurphy and the Bogside by those very soldiers. (Keeping the natives in order just like they did in Keyna as one officer on the news reported after Bloody Sunday.)

      It’s also somewhat jarring how many English nationalists now portay IRA both as thoroughly inept when convenient but brilliant master minds who duped the innocents when convenient.

      As well as a elision of the English securostate’s deep immersion in the six counties past and present, there seems to be a persistent a combination of studied apathy coupled with a coy non-understanding of the native of all hues. And as Brexit has shown, a complete desire to forget that several hundred thousand Irish nationalists reside in the six counties.

      It is fairly easy to recognise that the British have a different perspective of Ireland than the those of the natives (many who have first hand experience of the so-called forces of law). However, it also has to be recognised that the six counties was sponsored as a sectarian state by the force of the UK, and today once again has brought to bear the same combination of attitudes that threatens the very nature of the peace process and the truce upon which it is based.

      Such is life. We’ll just get on with it. Whitewash would be better employed a base for the Free Derry Wall.

    4. ObjectiveFunction

      Just curious, is a material proportion of the NI population today non Irish (i.e. immigrants or kids of immigrants), with no dog in the sectarian quarrels of yore?

      A loose analogue: Immigrant communities in Montreal voted heavily to keep Quebec in Canada during the 1990s referendum (albeit their vote alone wasn’t decisive, contrary to popular belief among the nationalists)

  12. xkeyscored

    Arab countries must address water security or risk instability

    And this region, I forget which countries exactly, is forecast to experience deadly droughts and heatwaves annually, if not year round, “by the midpoint of the century. Combined with prolonged heat waves, decades-long megadroughts, and windblown desert dust, these environmental conditions would be intolerable for humans, forcing many to migrate. By 2050, summer temperatures in parts of the Middle East and North Africa would stay above 86ºF (30ºC) at night. During the day, temperatures during the hot seasons are predicted to rise to 114ºF (46ºC). By the end of the century, midday temperatures would reach 122ºF (50ºC). By comparison, the average maximum summer temperature in Eastern California’s Death Valley is 115ºF (46ºC).

    Desalinate that, anyone?

    1. JBird4049

      American police, not always, but often have an extremely loose definition of “armed.” Having access to something that might be used as a weapon, like a walking stick or golf club, a pocket knife, a chef’s knife, even IIRC a rolling pin in hand, a car even if they are using it to walk, carve wood, or cook, or driving away at the time can make one dangerous and in need of shooting. Sometimes when described as armed with a gun, the gun was not in the hand, but in the glovebox, drawer, holster, or somewhere in the car or home. So they had *access* to a weapon, which by the common police definition they were actually armed. Rather like having access to health care instead of actual healthcare. So you must have healthcare. In a few cases the police only knew about it is because the victim told them where it was stored and pointed at the spot. I had to reread those stories. Apparently, they were very afraid and the person could have been reaching towards the weapon, so… Despite the expansive definition of being armed more than 10% of the people killed by police are officially determined to be not armed. They just made the police afraid for their lives.

      It varies yearly, but going just by shootings, and not those caused by beatings, tasers, and K9s just under one thousand people are killed and just over a hundred of them are considered unarmed. The total number is roughly eleven hundred annually and none of this covers the injured, which would double the numbers at least. So a minimum of two thousand shot for being thought armed with around 250 being completely unarmed. Considering the definition of armed, I would think closer to four or five hundred as unarmed really.

      In fairness, not nearly every police officer or police department is like that, but it is hard to know if you are dealing with a dangerous jumpy paranoiac armed with a gun or a reasonable person before hand.

  13. The Rev Kev

    Re Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talking about that young woman wanting to have people eat babies. I have been stuck on a definition today. So veal is calf meat which is young cattle, lamb is young sheep – so what is the young version of Soylent Green then?

    1. David J.

      That women’s intervention/disruption was a crass and poorly executed attempt to evoke Swift’s “Modest Proposal.” It was kind of sad. But it’s also sad that the vast majority of people don’t make that connection, especially in light of the fact that the Swift essay is standard reading in high school.

  14. Watt4Bob

    I found this video on the Spiked site while reading about the “revenge of the elites“.

    Please note: all links are to the same video, I so want you to watch it.

    It’s a wonderful companion piece to go with the incredible Bernie ad, and the most reasonable discussion of the reality underlying what’s been called the populist revolt.

    I would say this video, and the Bernie ad are today’s Must Watch.

    I’ll add that as I watched the Bernie vid, my wife, who overheard the audio, commented, referring to the negative comments aimed at Bernie, the she heard that sort of thing coming out of the mouths of her academic friends, many of whom I would describe as idenity- politics silo dwellers.

    I live in an environment where professing any impulse to understand and empathize with the pain felt by Trump supporters is met with a reflexive anger or incredulous stares.

    I fear the inevitable consequences of ‘the resistance’ is more Trump instead of less, but if, somehow, ‘the resistance‘ is ‘successful‘, a return to the status-quo is a sad and disgusting set-back and an invitation to greater unrest rooted in the continuing successes of ‘divide and conquer‘.

    We are going to need the help of Trump’s supporters if we are to regain control over our futures, the only leader I think understands that fact is Bernie Sanders.

    1. jrs

      Being poor and white is readily sympathetic, maybe not to a few out of touch people who don’t know such exists, but … Economic struggle in America is readily sympathetic.

      Being poor and white AND having inflicted the never ending horror show on us that is Trump (including the terror this act has inflicted on minority communities) is a hard one to sympathize with, even given the sad fact that Dems generally range from bad to merely inadequate. So at best they were taken in by a con man (Trump), well it’s sympathetic in that we all make errors in judgement (although that guys reputation as a selfish @hole preceded him by miles). But wow is that an incredibly costly one!

      1. Watt4Bob

        It is quite possible to argue that it was far more the behavior of Obama and the DNC that “inflicted the never ending horror show on us that is Trump” than the “errors of judgement on the part of poor whites.

        I’d be far more interested in your thoughts if there was any evidence that you’ve watched the video I linked to, as it makes clear that many of Trumps supporters made entirely defensible, and rational choices regarding they’re voting decisions.

        And BTW, many Trump voters had voted for Obama twice.

          1. Watt4Bob

            Yes, and I am forever in debt* to NC for my understanding of “What Happened” because the MSM is still spewing the disinformation that has been so effective at deflecting the blame for landing us in Trumpland.

            *I intend to make good on that debt.

          2. Steve H.

            I’m recollecting a post correlating the flips with high foreclosure rates.

            Having a hard time tracking that, though. This figure comes up, but it’s pre GFC.

            Blast from the past, for fun:

            (Huh, from flipping houses to flipping counties…)

      2. rowlf

        You’re missing the bigger point. The media was telling everyone not to vote for Trump. Most people don’t like being told what to do by smug affluent urban people so when many voters had their chance to flip the media people the bird they did. Now the media people have hurt feelings. Screw’em. They cheerleaded war crimes.

        When good jobs are lost and you have a lot of veterans around your community that realize they were involved with killing a lot of people for no patriotic reason how do you think people will vote when offered a crappy choice of more-of-the-same-selective-application-of-laws Clinton or don’t-vote-for-that-cad-and-bounder Trump? How do you win over large parts of the population that knows that all the brown stuff covering everything isn’t chocolate like they are being told?

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      “I live in an environment where professing any impulse to understand and empathize with the pain felt by Trump supporters is met with a reflexive anger or incredulous stares.”
      i noticed this in “liberal”-ish social media starting around 2014.
      i live…and have always lived…cheek by jowell with deplorables, and while i’ve harbored a sort of feeling of exhaustion, and a lot of resentment, towards them for most of my life, i’ve been a mature enough humanist to know that their lenses are not necessarily their own.
      they were made, not born, that way….increasingly so in the last 40-50 years.
      so i would council compassion,understanding and forbearance in our dealings with them…and suggest tactics and strategies for engagement(which mostly relied entirely on talking to them as fellow humans,and only while they were separated from their herd)
      beginning in ’14, and going into overdrive in ’15, lib/progs began to resist and then challenge this philosophy…until the Kill Them All Thread on alternet caused me to disengage from lib/prog social media completely.
      in the worst irony, the Team Blue and Wokeistan people have made what most think of as the Liberal side of the aisle into exactly what the worst RWNJ’s have been yelling that they were for decades: totalitarian liars who want to take our stuff and force us to be just like them.
      in my produce aisle and feestore encounters with teabillies, i can’t wear a D on my sleeve….the D Team is entirely illegitimate and beyond repair.
      AOC, while i like her, has already been effectively smeared by RW media…so i don’t go there either.
      but Bernie…and especially ideas like New New Deal…are at a level above the two party system, inversely proportional to how comfortable my interlocutor is. ie: the lower down the totem pole a given “right winger” is, the more it is that they aren’t really a right winger at all, in their heart of hearts…it’s just the team they’ve been bred to.
      exceptions exist—there are still dyed in the wool racists and hypernationalists and superpatriots in the lower orders—but these are increasingly exceptions…at least according to my fieldwork.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i’ve got (most of)it on a hard drive, and have tried to extract it into some shareable form…but, Luddism,lol.(that computer was cobbled together with string and bandaides to begin with)
          it was me vs a self professed Progressive in upstate new york, a married gay white dude who was over the moon for clintonism.
          based on searching out his profiles, i gleaned that he was rather well to do(some kind of exec at a healthcare co)
          started when he started saying that “all republicans” were irredeemable, and i challenged this assertion.
          I admit that i goaded him, although calmly, and in the socratic manner…like “so are you saying that there’s no chance of sharing the country with people who don’t see the world as you do?”him:”yes…they are beyond redemption” me:” so what do we do? would camps, or reservations be a possible solution?” him: no, because they would invade our spaces and kill us” me: so are you saying that the only answer is a preemptive attack on them, round them up and kill them off? this hardly sounds progressive…” him: “yes, it’s the only way. kill them all”>
          that’s the gist, but it went on for pages.
          much of my comments were about my fieldwork…talking to teabillies, living among them for decades, etc
          in between comments, i searched his comment history, and on other platforms…and he was Team Blue through and through…Dems= goodness and light, R’s= evil and darkness.
          i believe he was well meaning(!)…he really wants a better world…but the way it presented was scary.
          and he had support from just about all the usual hillarybots/anti-bernie people that hung out there.
          this was early 2017
          i was beyond shocked during the entire 2 day exchange.
          afterwards, i was so discouraged that i abandoned news and socmed entirely, “went into the (secular) monastery, and shut the gate”.
          it was the same hopelessness i felt during that 7 year virtual slog through the righty web…until i realised that a person’s online persona did not gell 1 to 1 with their real life.(small town enabled me to stalk locals i know well online and compare online vs meatspace..something i’ve never seen replicated in social science)

          1. JBird4049

            I have come across a few times on the internet of people saying that being poor, or hungry, or homeless is less important because of racism, or perhaps that merely being white makes ones suffering less, or maybe not, important because white privilege makes it so for some reason.

            When I mention that I am white, and poor, and have been hungry and have become almost homeless as well as having see homeless children and their families who are white, they circle back to white privilege. Again. As if it was a talisman. It is like an unconscious belief in inherited guilt of the blood. Even alluding to White Nationalism and Nazism with their perverted ideas does not appear make sense to them.

            I never dispute racism or privilege, but I always mention that telling someone that they are somehow privilege when they or their families are homeless might not be a good idea. Then I mention it might be good to improve everyone’s lives especially as poverty does not discriminate, and to not look at identity.

            If I do not accept the centrality of first racism, and then sexism and homophobia, or any other isms, but accept their existence and the need to fight them, it does not make sense to them, I think. Even when I use the increasing numbers of homeless children and their families as a verbal mallet, I get back confoundment.

            One could label me an American nationalist, or white, or poor, or whatever, but that is not what I am. I think being human is what I am and believes that one should notices and think about the sufferings of human beings which is important; to meet others who think the color of my skin, my supposed racial identity, makes my life less important in a strange echo of White Nationalism. But it seems to be a thing to try to merge, or maybe pervert, American identity or nationalism into White Nationalism. To say that I am an American and that all Americans matter opens me to be smeared as some kind of bigot. More, to merge class with worth and worth as a human being with color siloing Americans into nice disposal and controllable bits. Us against them. The good against the disposables.

            Somehow I don’t think this is what MLK was thinking of when he mention the content of one’s character and not the color of their skin or when starting his Poor People’s Campaign. Of course, that is when he got shot. Changing to poverty and from racism in emphasis.

          2. Lambert Strether

            Do you have the URL were all this took place?

            > it was the same hopelessness i felt during that 7 year virtual slog through the righty web…until i realised that a person’s online persona did not gell 1 to 1 with their real life.(small town enabled me to stalk locals i know well online and compare online vs meatspace..something i’ve never seen replicated in social science)

            That’s an amazing result.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              that’s on yet another inaccessible hard drive.
              the field study virtually embedded in the american right ended when i got my hip, 2013.
              i had intended to write a book about it, then got sidetracked into autobiography….a drunken rabbithole of forgotten emotions and ptsd…
              soon after that, i found the 4 foot rattler in my library in the house in town, and determined to build a house and move back out here…so i was suddenly out in the world…hardware store, especially…after years of pain induced isolation.
              so there i was, among the very people i had been studying online during those years of suffering and boredom.
              i soon realised that being face to face and making smalltalk while trying to see an indication of the online craziness in their eyes just wouldn’t do.
              amygdala couldn’t deal with it.
              so i put on the Veil of Ignorance, and determined to accept them as they were.(“i know that i know nothing”)
              and that’s when i started the stalking(in the interest of Science!).
              turns out, they’re just people….with the whole panoply of inconsistencies and hangups and mortal terror and self delusions and multiple masks.
              a subset of these masks was their online persona…and it was entirely tribal….due to a felt need, largely unconscious, to Belong(bowling alone).
              there were also church masks, and other Being Out In Public Masks, and masks for drunk around a campfire(the most productive for socratic probing)
              much of the stalking online is on harddrives, saved facebook threads and whatnot.
              but the meatspace fieldwork is not….i was too busy with building the house
              one of these days, perhaps, i’ll endeavor to write it all up.
              i’m exhausted just thinking about it, lol.
              I’m also in a different place. all of this was, ultimately, for me…to satisfy my own curiosity and to ameliorate a desperate need to understand what i had always perceived as a hostile tribe i found myself stuck with and bewildered by.
              (similarly to the hamhanded biological survey i did of the Llano River,prior to the 6 year forced retirement, when my bones started hurting…which was the root of the idea for all this. i wanted to Know(Audeamus))

      1. xkeyscored

        talking to them as fellow humans,and only while they were separated from their herd
        I’ve often found that, separated from their herd, deplorables, degenerates, and undesirables (among whom I’ve often lived, if not been counted) can be quite reasonable and perceptive. They often see The Matrix for the life-denying scam it is, and spot bullsh!t a mile away, unlike many liberals who think everything must be basically OK because they’re doing OK, and spout the bullsh!t that allows them their position in the upper layers of the sh!theap.

    3. xkeyscored

      Haven’t watched the video yet – at 28 minutes it’d chew up my meager monthly home internet ration.
      But I agree entirely with your sentiments. Casting Trump supporters, or their equivalents elsewhere, as demons more or less means we’re condemned to fighting them forever. When they’re largely disaffected for very understandable and often absolutely correct reasons, like knowing they’re being systematically ripped off by crooked self-serving elites who spout nothing but garbage.

      1. Watt4Bob

        Not to mention that the “crooked self-serving elites” would like nothing more than that we be “condemned to fighting them forever“, that is their most cherished wish to which end they never stop working.

    4. marym

      Not a criticism of the Spiked video contents, which I haven’t watched yet, but a general comment that I find the word “populist” to be inappropriate as a description of the politics of the currently Trump-aligned white working class. In the US the populace is all of us. The Trump-aligned white working class is an identity group. Their politics should be subject to the same level of critique on matters of class, equality, and the quest for universal material benefits as those of any other identity politics silo dwellers.

      1. Watt4Bob

        I have no argument with your broad point, (although I find “white working class” a bit narrow) but I believe that working class Trump supporter’s politics should be subject to the same level of ernest, honest consideration that has been given to the identity politics of the silo dwellers who support the offerings of the DNC.

        And that would require watching the video, and then, hopefully, commenting on your impressions.

        1. marym

          I watched it.

          Only recognized Salena Zito (Link, Link) among those speaking for, but possibly not of, the working class. Maybe some of them have more credibility. In any case, yes, people’s towns and livelihoods and lives have been devastated by the elites. I can’t speak for the UK/Brexit, but they’re are correct that Obama didn’t serve them and Clinton wouldn’t have. Now maybe they’ll see that Trump hasn’t and won’t.

          In the meantime I stand by my comment. In the US the populace is all of us. Trump isn’t a populist leader. He hates most demographic groups in this country. He’s clear about it in words and actions. It’s nice that one of the actual working class people in the video has bi-racial family whom he loves. However, to the extent that Trump followers don’t reject Trump’s bigotry, they’re not a populist movement, no matter how legitimate their economic grievances. They’re still justified in rejecting condescending, hypocritical, counterproductive descriptors and policy failures from the DNC and its followers, but they and elites who make videos and write books about them need to find another word.

          1. Anon

            I watched, too. I tend to agree with you.

            Much of the complaints of the people in the video gravitate to local economic issues. The fisherman wants out of the EU ostensibly so he can go back to over-fishing his favorite spots. Never mind that the next generation of fisherman will have nothing to fish. The trade will be kaput!

            The gym owner in Erie, PA laments the loss of population and construction growth. Well, few field workers need gym time (their bodies get destroyed by the work) and without local desk jobs (knowledge workers) his fitness business is likely to stall.

            In both of these examples it is clear the attachment to local (tribal?) congregation is primary. Unfortunately, times change. It is difficult to maintain status and income in a modern world of change. That is why a more caring (socialist) government would attempt to provide for re-training, re-imagining, or flat out subsidize many vulnerable communities to ease their transition.

            Resolving these issues are not easy. Especially when we vote for “Hope & Change” and “MAGA” without seeing any tangible results. The more things change the more they stay the same.

          2. Lambert Strether

            I think populist leaders claim to represent the entire populace, but it’s not clear to me how many people really believe that, including the leaders and the followers (see the Tories constantly invocating “the people” while at the same time Remainers call for “a people’s vote,” when in fact the British population is so seriously divided the political class as a whole can’t come up with a resolution.

            IMNHO, populist is a pejorative and not a serious tool for analysis. As above, political actors who invoke “the people” are always trying to read some fraction out of legitimate participation in political discoure, no matter the side. You will remember Clinton’s “deplorables,” Romney’s 47%, and Obama’s “bitter”/”cling to.” One also remembers the liberal Democrats calling for Trump voters’ deaths after 2016. It’s the same mentality.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              what, then, is the basis for Civilisation?
              my grandparents had the Depression and WW2…engendering a sense of solidarity and shared fate that I felt acutely in my time with them…but that is absent, today.
              9-11…and the 08 economic mess…had the potential to reveal clearly what was important to all of us…it was right there, in front of us.
              but, looking back, after all that study, it’s as close to obvious as you can get that the Machine engineered the opposite…pushing buttons that had always been there(and that had begun to wear away(an organic , exposure based, receding of the racism, etc of even my youth—which is a phenomenon that Team Blue refuses to contemplate)).
              the Meatspace Fieldwork…especially that of the last year, in hospitals…indicates clearly that underneath the enforced tribal divisions, the shared journey…the commonality…is still there, under the surface…in spite of the button pushing.
              family, belonging, purpose, eudaimonia…and an ability to at least forget all the bad sh*t in the world at times and feel like it’ll be alright.
              every person i’ve chewed the fat with over the last year…from doctors and cleaning ladies, to honduran or somali immigrants, from evangelicals to cafeteria muslims, to homeless veterans on the street corner…everyone longs for that.
              an FDR who could somehow get beyond the gatekeepers and present a believable case for that would win, hands down, in any election.
              the withering of the Humanities, this past 50 years, is no accident.

            2. Watt4Bob

              IIRC ‘populism’ as historically experienced has not been a ‘pure’, “We the People” thing, and that because there is usually a demagogue ready to jump in and start pointing towards an ‘other’, a scapegoat, as a way of grabbing hold of the reigns so to speak.

              I think the term carries with it connotation, that of a visceral emotional surge on the part of a group, which is often beset by those who would co-opt their anger, often for purposes of self-aggrandizing political mischief.

              IMO, the connotations attached to this particular term may surpass the denotation as a proper way to understand its meaning.

              This co-optation happens so predictably that I thinks it’s unrealistic, and probably a categorical mistake to expect a universal, “We the People” manifestation of populism.

              All this as opposed to a “Movement“, such as is being encouraged by Bernie Sanders. (“We, not me.”)

              Sanders is not a demagogue, he is not taking advantage of peoples grievances to promote his personal stature, or profit, he is earnestly attempting to lead the way, through political action, to a better future for all of us.

              It is possible to tell the difference between a movement of ‘We the People’, and a populist outbreak, the former embraces all, and the latter inevitably finds a real, or imagined scapegoat to blame for their problems, usually with the ‘help’ of a demagogue.

              1. Lambert Strether

                > I think the term carries with it connotation, that of a visceral emotional surge on the part of a group, which is often beset by those who would co-opt their anger, often for purposes of self-aggrandizing political mischief.

                It’s a pejorative from the political class, because the implication is always that anger is not legitimate.

      2. xkeyscored

        Someone please explain to me!
        I’m forever hearing politicians and the like in the US going on about the middle class, and very rarely about the working class.
        Is this because the terms are synonymous there? Or because they’re not interested in the working class, only the polite and subservient middle class who allegedly make a country great? Or what?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          like so many other words and concepts(liberal, conservative,lol) “middle class” enjoys a contingent definition…depends on what you’re using it for. it may be largely mythical, today.
          “working class” seems like it’s always predicated with some racial modifier…”white working class”, “black working class”…because the underlying rootcode says that we’re a classless society, and that any consideration of class is equal to “class warfare”, and is thus impolite, if not treasonous.
          my definition? if you have to work for a living, no matter what that involves, lest you lose your home, etc…you’re “working class”.(nowadays, i lump this in more or less with “precariat”, which used to be known as “lower middle class”, or even “poor”)
          if you take a vacation every year without screwing up your household finances for 6 moths or more, you’re middle class.(once, i would have put this last into “upper middle”. this is my dad: no worries about healthcare or rent, and can run off to france or belize if he wants to)
          i’ve been poor/precariat/working class since i was 16. we’re barely into lower middle class, now, with the raise they gave teachers this year–on paper, at least…but we’re still broke after 2 weeks(paid once a month)

          1. Watt4Bob

            I was talking to my parents best friend a couple years ago, a retired Chicago fire-fighter, about all things current, just before the elections.

            He’s was long acknowledged by our family to be about the farthest right wing conservative around, and so, to a politically correct liberal, one of the deplorable.

            It got around to minimum wage, and I couldn’t believe my ears, he said, very emphatically as was his style;

            “Anybody that shows up for working a full time 40 hour a week job should be making $20 an hour.”

            It was at that moment that I decided there is hope, these people get it, and we should be working together because our complaints are actually the same as theirs.

            1. xkeyscored

              I’ve heard almost exactly the same thing from two separate English football hooligans (hardcore), one of whom – not very bright – was quite attracted to the British Movement, a UK neonazi party, and the like.
              Indeed, these people get it, and we should be working together because our complaints are actually the same as theirs.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                it’s very difficult, but try to avoid all the terrorwords, and see how that changes the responses.
                i don’t say “minimum wage”…because that’s a pavlovian trigger that sets them off into faux newts land and associated talking points. you’ve already lost them.
                instead, the longer “if people work full time, they shouldn’t be poor”, gets almost 100% approval and agreement.
                the former is poisoned by hyperpartisan confusion and unthought.
                of course, the terrorwords are legion…by design…
                and it’s very hard to talk at any length about politico-economic things without inadvertently uttering one or two and thereby derailing whatever progress you were making.
                as i’ve said many times, i’ve never been a christian, but social gospel language works with these folks…and you can at least approach understanding with that, where a more scientific(sic) economic jargon…let alone marxist lingo…would get you nothing but brietbart defensive talking points.
                “one marches with the army one has”, and all…you hafta go to these folks where they are…not where you want them to be. so many of the team blue people i’ve encountered online(i know few lib/progs in real life) can’t countenance using Jesus Speak to talk about our civilisational problems.
                it’s like they want the run of the mill rural texan to first become woke, neoliberal cheerleaders for the wto before they’ll even think about talking to them. That’s a sure recipe for failure.

                1. xkeyscored

                  My thoughts exactly, except Jesus Speak doesn’t wash with many in the UK, definitely not with those two casuals I mentioned.

                2. The Rev Kev

                  Maybe the way to approach it is be using that old saying ‘a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work’ which was once the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The labour movement here in Oz also used it. You could turn it around and say ‘a fair day’s work for a fair day’s wage’ and it still works.

                  1. Synapsid

                    Rev Kev,

                    I’d go with Amfotas’ suggestion: If people work full time they shouldn’t be poor.

                    That’s at the personal level, and sounds less like someone making a speech and using the general kind of phrasing. “Fair wage”, sure, that’s right, fair’s fair. “Not be poor”, though–that’s talking about people. “Yeah, like me.”

                    1. The Rev Kev

                      My idea with that slogan was that when in an argument with people about paying fair wages, it makes the oppo being in the position of arguing against a fair day’s work. You tie fair work and fair wages as a package deal which even conservatives can get aboard with.

          2. xkeyscored

            always predicated with some racial modifier…”white working class”, “black working class”

            Yes, I think that’s what I’m always hearing out of the USA.
            But your definition is almost identical to mine (as is your position, except I get paid twice a month!).

          3. flora

            because the underlying rootcode says that we’re a classless society,

            Yes. The economic/classless society in the US once existed in some form based on the economic opportunities available. Being being born into a particular economic class in the US did not determine the economic class one would live in as an adult. Hense, the idea the US was a classless society in the old European aristocratic sense. Back before the rise of the neoliberals in politics, the opportunities for economic/class mobility (now referred to in the press as ‘social mobility’) in the US used to be much much larger.*

            As the economic opportunities shrank and economic class rigidity increased* the term ‘class’ also changed meaning in political talk from ‘economic’ to ‘identity’. Now the terms ‘middle class’ and ‘working class’ refer less (if at all) to economics than to a presumed personal identity based on some presumed outlook/education/job/aspiration.

            Once upon a time it was obvious that being a middle class blue-collar worker wasn’t a contradiction. But that was before politicians decided talking identity politics was better suited to their neoliberal aims that talking economic politics. imo.


            1. flora

              Also: in the current neolib, identity politics era, the term “white” or “black” or “latino” modifier added to “working class” is a signal that it’s the racial identity and not the job or the economics that matter to the speaker.

              e.g. ‘ working class’ = deplorables, but ‘black working class’ = exploited workers, not like those deplorables. (No talk about raising wages or improving working conditions you’ll notice.)

              1. Lambert Strether

                The idpol crowd are even more disigenuous than that. Generally, “white working class” and “black” are juxtaposed so as to suggest that they are mutually exclusive terms, when in fact the working class is far more “diverse” than the professionals that comprise the Democrat base — which is why Sanders base is far more “diverse” than Warren’s, for example — with farther down the income scale, as Sanders voters are, being a proxy for “working class.”

            2. flora

              Also: in the current neolib, identity politics era, the term “white” or “black” or “latino” modifier added to “working class” is a signal that it’s the racial identity and not the job or the economics that matter to the speaker.

        2. Massinissa

          In America, everyone is told they’re ‘middle class’, no matter how rich or poor you are. Here, if you’re not ‘middle class’, you’re probably either homeless or a billionaire. Almost nobody self-identifies as working class, unfortunately.

          ‘Working class’ is usually defined with a racial modifier, and is usually a way of referring to ‘THOSE people’.

    5. notabanker

      16 minutes in:
      ‘I drive down the road I count 25 Trump signs, 2 for Gary Johnson and 2 for Hillary, and one of them is Hillary for Prison. Then I turn on the news and Hillary is leading in the polls. No way. Fake news.’

      And yet here we are in Oct 2019, it’s Harris, no it’s Buttigeig now, no it’s Biden now, no it’s Warren now…

      It’s like deja vu all over again.
      BTW, I drove from mid-Ohio to Toronto in fall 2016. I can tell you first hand the comments above were 100% accurate for hundreds of miles through 3 states. That road he drove down wasn’t a half mile in Deplorableville, Kentuckyginia.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        3 minutes in(+-) is the meat of the nut, referring to britain/eu, but just as applicable to usa:…the eu is anti-democratic, so there’s questions of sovereignty…people have no control over the rules that govern them.and the people who make the rules are distant, disconnected and unaccountable/out of reach(paraphrasing)

        i hear variations on this theme from just about every fence post i’ve talked to in the last 2 years…once we get past the performative partisan tropes.
        it’s also the main reason that the biggest cohort in the usa is people who don’t vote, and/or pay no mind to politics.
        “They” don’t care what we think or if we live or die, so why bother?
        “populism” isn’t a dirty word, and should really be a neutral term. for all the haranguing about democracy and it’s decline, for the 10% to disparage populism out of hand is silly.

    6. Tom

      Thanks for the link.

      > I live in an environment where professing any impulse to understand and empathize with the pain felt by Trump supporters is met with a reflexive anger or incredulous stares.

      I know some people like that. It’s amazing how illiberal some liberals can be.

      1. Gumbo

        Several years back I had the jarring epiphany that liberal is not a synonym for open minded. Now I see it widely.

  15. jhallc

    That age old question of whether the customer drives the market or the market drives the customer.
    In this case I think it’s a little of both. Ford is happy to push 50k pickups out the door if people will buy them. They used to be a basic work truck, bench seat, no AC, etc.. Now they are like driving in your living room and with the extended cabs, a family hauler. The marketing people work hard to make sure you believe you really need the extras. Also, they really push the longer loans as they make for smaller payments and presumably give the biggest fee to the dealership. My daughter just bought her first new car at 27 and they really wanted her to take the 72 or 84 month loan as part of the sales pitch. That old “we can get you into this car for a low $$$ a month” sounds great. Once she realized that the extra interest she would pay over the life of the loan was huge, she went with a 4 yr. loan term that still fit within her budget.

    1. Carolinian

      It is said that car companies now make their profit from the financing rather than the car itself.

      1. Off The Street

        You really need that undercoating, and the insurance for the upholstery, and the extended warranty, and the super-duper alarm system and whatever else we can load on. Those may be available elsewhere cheaper but just sign here, initial here and get intoxicated on that new car smell.

        Dealers want a shark on the Finance Desk.

  16. David Carl Grimes

    Regarding the Sacklers funneling money out of Purdue Pharma into the Sackler Family. Does this constitute fraudulent conveyance given that they are thinking of declaring bankruptcy? Any lawyers out there?

  17. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    Fazi’s article on the state of Italy is a one stop go to for anyone interested in how Democracy is increasingly becoming a sham in the EU.

    M5S will stay on it’s perch for the time being as a dead parrot & I also wonder where their voters will eventually end up.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Ha, while possibly Salvini is having a break while biding his time on the shores of somewhere like Lake Maggiore.

        1. ambrit

          Does Salvini’s name really mean what it looks like it does?
          And, Lake Maggiore, as in, he can hop in the scull and scurry on up to Locarno and a safe exile?
          “What you want is…..a chase!”

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            You have lost me there as to his name Mr. Ambrit but as you say he would be ideally positioned to do a runner, or alternatively perhaps a crossing of the Rubicon.

            1. ambrit

              Sorry dear heart. I vaguely connected ‘Salvani’ with “salvi”, one who saves???
              And yes to the runner. Do we know what Zurich bank he deals with?

    1. BillC

      Having lived for the last nine years in Emilia, the part of Italy that was for decades its most reliably leftist region, I second Eustache’s enthusiastic endorsement of the Fazi piece. Today’s PD is an excellent imitation of its US namesake, the so-called Democratic party: dominated by a credentialed class focused on political correctness (especially “Europeanism”), subservient to the economic elite, and consequently committed to the active exclusion of any policy that might effectively reverse 40 years of decline of the working class. By aligning itself with the PD, the Five Star movement has utterly abandoned its outsider credentials; as Fazi notes, the principal — nay, only — draw for its voters.

      As a real journalist, Fazi sticks to a comprehensive, balanced recounting of history and gives a good overview of the current situation. He responsibly avoids speculating in detail on what’s likely to follow.

      Most folks I hear think that by next March or April, the current coalition will disintegrate for one reason or another and, despite its efforts to the contrary, the elite will not be able to avoid new Parliamentary elections. Like Edwin Edwards, unless the League’s Matteo Salvini is caught in bed with a dead girl or live boy, he will be Italy’s next prime minister, and then Brussels will finally encounter serious pushback from a major economic player, indebted though it may be. It is hard for me not to see shadows of 1930s German politics materializing from such a development.

      Be interested to hear about this from regular commenter DLG, whose analysis of Italian politics is deeper and more subtle than mine.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Coincidentally yesterday evening I watched Visconti’s ” The Leopard ” which unlike the first time of around 40 years ago I actually understood. I would add that period as a precursor to the one you mention which resulted in only about 2% of the Italian population being able to vote & the subsequent rise of Mussolini in the 20’s.

        As Lampedusa stated through the prince : “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.”

        Even Bismarck understood that you have to give the people some hope. likely well before the rise of Ordoliberalism.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      The Fazi piece is excellent. Not only is it extremely difficult to get this sort of clear-eyed big picture appraisal of the current Italian political situation in English, it is almost as difficult to find in the Italian press. I’ve been in Italy a lot recently and scanning the local Italian language media, the big players like RAI, Mediaset, and La Repubblica have all failed to see that big picture with the chilling clarity in Fazi’s piece here. The swift abandonment of its (admittedly rather ideologically confused) populist roots for supine neoliberal surrender by the M5S has culminated in them unilaterally surrendering control of the policy levers to its much smaller PD coalition partner. It has kept them in the ruling government, but it has also left them on the periphery of policy formulation and political action.

      I guess in the end it hardly matters as long as the rules are set from Brussels and the ECB that constrain whomever wins elections to obediantly following whichever direction their reins are tugged from the North.

      If you cannot really govern, then the next best thing I suppose is to get a nice paycheck as a reliable neoliberal tool, and governing in any independent way is systematically impossible in any case. Lie back and enjoy it school of political philosophy.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Saudi Arabia Recognizes Its Weakness and Is Ready to Talk to the Iranian Foe”

    Lots to unpack in that article. Iraq may be negotiating with Saudi Arabia to strengthen its influence but I am sure that the Iraqi people know full well who was supporting and financing ISIS when it devastated Iraq not long ago. I find too those reports that the missiles and drones that attacked Saudi Arabia’s refinery were fired from a base of Shi’ite militia in Iraq very dodgy. These same forces were attacked by aircraft recently and the Iraqis are saying that they were done by Israeli aircraft which used a US base in US-occupied Syria to stage through at. But nobody in this region seems keen on releasing radar records so who can tell?
    The US has said that they have no problem with any deal involving Yemen, Syria and Iraq but I find that a bit disingenuous. I note that the six conditions set by Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir to negotiate include “ending Iran’s involvement in the affairs of other countries; stopping support for terrorist organizations; abandoning the policy of destruction and sowing conflict; and freezing the plan to develop nuclear weapons and the ballistic-missile program.” If nobody recognizes these conditions, they are the exact same conditions that Trump has set for Iran to do before any sanctions are lifted.
    Maybe the Iranians could up the pressure on Saudi Arabia in a non-violent way. Remember the playing cards that US troops were issued at the beginning of the Iraq invasion that had all the faces of government people that they wanted arresting on it? The Iranians could do the same but have the photos of all the bigwigs of the Saudi government, including the Royal Family – or do I repeat myself? Would you believe that American troops are still being issued these playing deck of cards? But this time for Iranian and Russian weapons systems-

    1. xkeyscored

      the Iraqis are saying that they were done by Israeli aircraft
      Debkafile, Sept. 22, had this:

      The Iraqi Shiite PMU militia forces moving in on Iraq’s Saudi and Jordanian frontiers were attacked on Sunday by unidentified warplanes, the Hizballah-linked Mayadeen reports. DEBKAfile’s military sources: The unacknowledged aerial operation aims to put a stop to the Iranian proxy PMU’s takeover of Iraq’s borders with northern Saudi Arabia and southern and central Jordan.

      Being, supposedly, (linked to) Israeli military intelligence, they won’t say it was Israel unless it’s official (rare), but stating the aim is often their way of saying “Yeah, we dunnit, but ya can’t prove it, can ya?”

  19. Summer


    “Given citizen disenchantment with democratic dysfunction, democracy advocates are at a clear disadvantage in making the case against non-democratic systems. It does not help that many democratic governments have deviated from their own constitutional traditions and entered various stages of constitutional crisis.”

    Actually, it would be great to have some “democratic dysfunction” for a change. People will continue to wallow in the gutters of myth as long as they don’t recognize all of this is centuries of oligarchic dysfunction.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      paraphrasing Gandhi:
      “what do you think of the democratic world system?”
      G:” I think it would be a good idea”.
      when i see cable news and network(“local”) news…mostly at moms, when i’m cooking, or just walking through…my eyes hurt from the rolling.
      talking heads taking it as fact that we’re a democracy/republic, that our vote counts, that “we want to hear from you”, and that the “Liberal World Order”…since WW2… was a golden age of peace and love and rational governance.
      such assumptions are wall to wall in teeveeland, and it’s getting harder and harder to provide a competing narrative framework, even with relatively smart and “well informed” people.
      lebdems have a visceral, unthinking reaction(like to a bee sting) to the word “trump”.
      and the binary, manicheanism is difficult to overcome. If I list Biden’s “achievements”(war, incarceration, corruption,poverty), that’s “supporting trump”,lol.

      1. Summer

        The continuing narrative around the Post-WWII order is mind-boggling.
        It should not be surprising that as more countries got on their feet after devastating world wars or centuries of colonialism that the people in those countries would assert or attempt to assert their sovereignty. The establishment’s discombobulation over it contradicts all the cheerleading about “diversity.”

    2. xkeyscored

      Actually, it would be great to have some “democratic dysfunction” for a change.

      Be careful what you wish for. Full-blown Nazism is simmering just below the surface in Europe, if not America – but I gather it’s much the same there, ‘good guys’ in Charlottesville chanting “Jews will never replace us” etc. If that lot kick their way into power, we’ll feel nostalgic for our current woes and myths.

    3. Summer

      And this:
      “No country wants to be forced to choose between the United States and its actual or potential international rivals. The goal of most countries is to keep the bidding open. But as technology and standards diverge in a world divided by contention between great powers, it will become progressively harder for smaller economies to avoid deciding with which techno-realm they should align themselves. Each will embody its own set of interdependent economies, a dominant scientific educational system and language, and evolving standards that differentiate it from others.

      If, as may be expected, countries opt for the zone in which their access to technology is least impeded by political posturing and export and travel controls, the realm in which China is preeminent could end up significantly larger than the American one. It is entirely possible that, within such “techno-realms,” Chinese and other tongues will increasingly compete effectively with English as the dominant language of science. That, in itself, would have a significant impact on world affairs.”

      I can’t really lament the lack of a monoculture for control freaks… on any sides of the oceans.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        re: chinese as lingua franca: the show “Firefly” featured this quietly, in the background…all the cuss words were chinese, and the implication was that china had been the major facilitator of space colonisation, after earth that was became uninhabitable.
        if more people could place themselves in History, we’d be more immune to the mindf^^k.
        there was a time when “english” was the babble of barbarians, after all…and another time, when “mongolian*” was spoken over most of eurasia as the language of state.
        (*can’t remember offhand what Kublai, et al spoke, but you get the drift)

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I don’t know about Chinese as a lingua franca. The four tones of Mandarin are very difficult for speakers of non-tonal languages. I assume Mandarin, not Cantonese or Hakka or one of the other dialects. A guidebook I read about Hong Kong strongly recommended NOT making an attempt at Cantonese. Some Chinese homophones: “Top 9 Funniest Chinese Homophones”, []. Every time I watch the movie Serenity or one of the Firefly episodes I wonder what some of the Chinese sounds like to a Chinese speaker.

          Another problem with Chinese as a lingua franca is its writing system — although I believe Chinese is somewhat less crazy than Japanese writing. In a different way the writing system is possibly advantageous for maintaining a continuity of knowledge through time. Any language that bases its writing system on word pronunciation has to contend with language drift in pronunciation over time. I suspect the meaning of ideograms drift less rapidly than the pronunciations of spoken words. I also suspect use of ideograms probably makes it easier to grasp the symbols in mathematical representations.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Moving even further off topic: Suppose you were developing a writing system intended to be something a person could read in the future — say 10,000 years in the future. Or design a language intelligent aliens might read. This problem often comes up in science fiction writing. Without a Rosetta stone how could we read some ancient languages? How many words and meanings, even abstract meanings derive from a perception about the animals or plants of our world? How could these meanings be conveyed to aliens? One standard answer attempts to build a translation guide using concepts from mathematics — but I wonder whether that approach could yield more than a very limited guide to a language.

          2. xkeyscored

            – Any language that bases its writing system on word pronunciation has to contend with language drift in pronunciation over time. I suspect the meaning of ideograms drift less rapidly than the pronunciations of spoken words.

            Yes, you could be right. Might Beowulf be more easily intelligible to an untrained modern reader had it been written in ideograms?

            1. JBird4049

              Being a pedantic layman here.

              It is not just sounds and their meanings that change. Old English is very different from Modern English. Its system of word ending makes me reminds me of Latin, so does to a much lesser extent its sentence structure.

              I am not so sure that having had ideograms would have make it easier. It might have made it harder to understand because a native english speaker would be trying to cram their understanding of the relatively simple modern to the more complicated old as much of the original syntax has been dropped or rearranged to simplify ease of learning for each new wave of invaders and immigrants. It is somewhat like American and British English. Both are supposed to the same language, but it is hard to know what you don’t know until boom.

              It reminds me of the differences of Modern Spanish and its ancestral Latin, but the differences there are much less than between Old and Modern English. Knowing latin helps with spanish. While with English understanding what an individual noun of say cyng/cying and king would help, understanding two sentence saying the same thing? It ain’t going to work.

          3. Steve H.

            > Every time I watch the movie Serenity or one of the Firefly episodes I wonder what some of the Chinese sounds like to a Chinese speaker.

            It’s pretty much acknowledged that in terms of veracity, not so much.

            But then English 500 years ago would be really hard for us to understand today. For that matter, Yorkshire and southern Alabama left me smiling politely and nodding dumbly.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              I conjectured that ideograms drifted less rapidly than spoken languages. I based this conjecture on an observation I read in a now forgotten source that relatively ancient Chinese poetry and stories could still be read with almost the same ease as their modern equivalents. If this is so there are several reasons why that might be. Fewer hands write in the much more schooled and rule-based structure of written media. Powerful conservative forces control the drift of written language. Consider for example the difficulties that face efforts to simplify English spelling, or the military government mandates required to codify newspaper Kanji in Japan or central government efforts to standardize the way characters are stroked in Chinese, or the royal invention of Hangul, or the impacts of the King James Bible on English writing and the invention of dictionaries.

              I believe speech is a much freer medium than the written word. I believe it drifts much more rapidly than writing because less effort is spent in trying to control its patterns and far more people have a part in shaping it through their tendency to slur words, deliberately mispronounce them for effect or to make puns, or the way they combine words to construct new words and ideas and of course new patterns of speech which may less or more easily slip from a lazy tongue. A written form based on word pronunciation grows and changes with the spoken word — though at a slower rate. I believe a written form based on concepts or ideas tends to remain the same even as the pronunciation of the words for those concepts or ideas change.

              However, ideograms — like words — are often combined to construct new ideas and new concepts. New concepts and meanings become attached to ideograms through the common contexts where the ideograms are used or through the influence of particularly power writings. The way ideograms are written also drifts with their meanings as people work to make them more attractive in calligraphy or simpler to write or easier to read. I believe these forces of drift are slower moving. I also believe the drift patterns affect changes in the ideograms such that the ideograms tend to remain visually similar. I believe the human ear is less able to discern to find similarities between sound patterns as they drift and the drift tends to preserve less of the original patterns of the word than ideograms do of their stroke patterns.

              As I understand logograms they are one-to-one word to image, and both refer to a physical object in the external world. The physical object may disappear from the world but as long as it remains — the meaning of the logogram and word in that usage remain the same. A logogramic dictionary could serve as one way to preserve at least some of the meanings for a written language — a Rosetta stone for future readers. I wonder though at the limitations of a language based on names for physical objects and their properties, and verbs become a problem. A reader across time or an alien reader would need to infer the syntax of a language from constructs of logograms. Maybe sentence diagrams could serve as an aid. Logograms could also provide a means for tying word meanings across different languages. I have seen several logogram dictionaries for languages I was interested in that I now regret not acquiring when I saw them.

              One further thought — without a spoken language, a phonetic writing system would appear as sets of completely abstract ideograms. I believe most ideograms began life as logograms. They might be easier to remember and work with.

              I like your implicit suggest that a logogram dictionary might be a way to preserve the meanings in our writings for a distant further or an alien race discovering our remains. But far enough distant in time and many of the physical objects in the reference could be lost. Imagine finding logograms from a verdant life filled world at a time that world has become a barren world of drifting sands like Mars or worse like Venus. Deciphering the images in the logogram dictionary would pose some interesting problems.

    4. Robert McGregor

      “Actually, it would be great to have some “democratic dysfunction” for a change. People will continue to wallow in the gutters of myth as long as they don’t recognize all of this is centuries of oligarchic dysfunction.”

      No, the oligarchy is functioning perfectly. As Lambert says, “Everything is going according to plan.” It’s democracy that’s not functioning.

      1. hunkerdown

        Democracy, in the liberal sense, is 10 wolves and 90 sheep voting for which of two wolves gets to lead the wolf pack. The term has been mutilated into the herald of the professional-managerial class and a feel-good virtue signal for everyone else. I don’t consider it particularly useful anymore. Maybe it’s better to use language like “collective rule”.

        1. JBird4049

          There is no need to add more descriptive terms. Having ten wolves fighting over and controlling ninety sheep is an aristocracy devolved into an oligarchy much like how a democracy can devolve into mob rule. It has been like that in many countries in Central and Southern America or in Africa as just like in the American Empire proper, the various American interests in business and government found profit in destroying any democracy it could using the intelligence agencies, the military, and international financial organizations both public and private. Getting an oligarchy or a strongman ruler to do what you want is much easier than in a functional democracy. A strong state with a government that is more concerned with the welfare of its nation is less susceptible to threats of assassinations, coups, or even bribes. In America we went from a semi functional hard to control democracy to a more easier to control oligarchy by an American junta.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      I sense that the author of this link is constructing the platform for a hidden agenda. I feel very unsure about following the author too far along that platform as it feels more and more like a scaffold. [I am too lazy to attempt parsing this article and besides I sense some of the machinery I would need to do that job is missing from the article.]

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. that Big Center Party that the hillary people were trying to jump start in 2016.
        the 2 party circus might be losing it’s luster as a herd management tool.(with both parties less popular than herpes, and less trusted than a random person on youtube)
        better to combine the dem neolibs with the rep neocons and have a pragmatic, technocratic party of the adults in the room(sic)…and relegate both the left and the right into the round file of “extremists”.
        the elite are tired of pretending we’re a democratic republic.
        the only question is how to spin outright neofeudalism without it.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Billy Hallowell: Amber Guyger’s murder trial ended with an amazing act of forgiveness”

    Yeah, all very heart warming this but personally I prefer a judge that always act like a professional. Come to think of it, wasn’t this the same judge that told the jury that they could consider the “Caste Doctrine” defense to let Amber Guyger off? Even though Amber Guyger was in fact in Botham Jean’s Castle?

    1. Watt4Bob

      It’s my understanding that the judge was forced to tell the jury they could consider the “Caste Doctrine” defense so as to preclude the possibility of appeal.

      There is a legal concept called “Mistake of fact”;

      “Mistake of fact” generally refers to a mistaken understanding by someone as to the facts of a situation—the mistake results in the person committing an illegal act. Mistake of fact is a defense to a crime where the mistaken belief, if it were true, would negate a mental state that’s an element of the crime.

      This defense sounds far-fetched to us now, but that doesn’t stop the defense from insisting that Amber Guyger believed she was in her own home, and was thus justified in defending herself under the “Caste Doctrine”.

      If the judge had not instructed the jury that they could ‘consider‘ the “Caste Doctrine”, the defense could, and would argue plausibly, that that was grounds for appeal.

      IOW, the judge was attempting to protect the verdict from possible appeal, and thus was acting in a professional manner.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Ahh, good point that. I can see how that would close down the right of appeal on this factor because it was not offered. Thanks for that clarification.

  21. XXYY

    Cars with high-tech safety systems are still really bad at not running people over – The Verge

    Detecting pedestrians is obviously far beyond the state of the art.

    It seems like one thing carmakers could achieve is tech to prevent cars from rear-ending other cars, which is certainly some fraction of crashes. A big strategy here would be to mandate something on the back of new cars that is extremely distinctive and easy to sense. Even if the tech is not there now, the standards effort could get under way. Turning chain collisions into single car collisions is worthwhile.

    I’m dubious about automatic breaking systems in general since the consequences of false positives is likely to be loss of life. Cars suddenly screeching to a stop for no reason is very likely to cause needless crashes and deaths, so a nearly 100% accuracy rate is required, difficult to achieve with any technology as we have seen.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      As all old motorcyclists* know, ride as if everyone is trying to kill you. Perhaps, pedestrians need to follow the same advice.

      *There are bold motorcyclists and there are old motorcyclists but there are no old bold motorcyclists; exceptions being Giacomo Agostini and Malcolm Smith. And possibly MichaelSF. :).

      1. jo6pac

        I would include John Surtees, 7 times on a bike once in a car. They all rode when the Isle of Man was race and not todays most deadly race against time.

        Then even Mike Haywood bikes and cars.

          1. inode_buddha

            I guess it depends what you consider “old”. JMB is 50, I’m 53 and I don’t have any illusions about competing at that age. I think anyone that manages to keep 2 wheels for 3 decades is doing good. The oldest “everyday” rider I know is 73, cruising around on his fully loaded harley.

            1. ambrit

              Oh, I had a Kawasaki H-1 triple ‘crotch rocket.’ I remember opening it up crossing the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway one night. Suddenly, the front wheel lifts off. I’m steering with body weight distribution. I never even looked down at the speedometer. Once I regained front wheel traction and did not do a dive off the side of the bridge, I puttered home at about sixty. That bike tried to kill me more than once.
              I gave up motorcycles when the first of our children came along. Too much competition for resources.
              It is a family gene thing. My Dad, when I was tiny back in London had a kit Lotus and was part owner of a Vincent racing bike. One of the other syndics was a good motorcycle racer. That scoot was a money maker for all involved.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            Joel was very good, but Roger DeCoster was THE MAN.
            On the American side, Bob ‘The Hurricane’ Hannah rocked it. As an aside his name is a perfect palindrome.

      2. MIchaelSF

        Not me, I have a very low fear threshold, implanted by learning that trying to ride the pace of faster riders was beyond my abilities and resulted in scary moments/capsizing. Old and cautious (and now retired from racing) is more accurate.

        I have friends who are in their mid 70s who still go quite fast in competition, but they seem to ignore that they don’t bounce as well as they used to. I never enjoyed my attempts at bouncing.


  22. anon in so cal

    Russia-expert, Prof Stephen Cohen, on Ukrainegate:

    “….How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine’s torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion, as some of us who opposed that folly back in the 1990s warned would be the case, and not only in Ukraine. The Washington-led attempt to fast-track Ukraine into NATO in 2013–14 resulted in the Maidan crisis, the overthrow of the country’s constitutionally elected president Viktor Yanukovych, and to the still ongoing proxy civil war in Donbass. All those fateful events infused the Trump-Zelensky talk, if only between the lines.

    § Russia shares centuries of substantial civilizational values, language, culture, geography, and intimate family relations with Ukraine. America does not. Why, then, is it routinely asserted in the US political-media establishment that Ukraine is a “vital US national interest” and not a vital zone of Russian national security, as by all geopolitical reckoning it would seem to be? The standard American establishment answer is: because of “Russian aggression against Ukraine.” But the “aggression” cited is Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and support for anti-Kiev fighters in the Donbass civil war, both of which came after, not before, the Maidan crisis, and indeed were a direct result of it. That is, in Moscow’s eyes, it was reacting, not unreasonably, to US-led “aggression.” In any event, as opponents of eastward expansion also warned in the 1990s, NATO has increased no one’s security, only diminished security throughout the region bordering Russia.

    § Which brings us back to the Trump-Zelensky telephone conversation. President Zelensky ran and won overwhelmingly as a peace-with-Moscow candidate, which is why the roughly $400 million in US military aid to Ukraine, authorized by Congress, figured anomalously in the conversation. Trump is being sharply criticized for withholding that aid or threatening to do so, including by Obama partisans. Forgotten, it seems, is that President Obama, despite considerable bipartisan pressure, steadfastly refused to authorize such military assistance to Kiev, presumably because it might escalate the Russian-Ukrainian conflict (and Russia, with its long border with Ukraine, had every escalatory advantage). Instead of baiting Trump on this issue, we should hope he encourages the new peace talks that Zelensky has undertaken in recent days with Moscow, which could end the killing in Donbass. (For this, Zelensky is being threatened by well-armed extreme Ukrainian nationalists, even quasi-fascists. Strong American support for his negotiations with Moscow may not deter them, but it might.)

    § Finally, but not surprisingly, the shadow of Russiagate is now morphing into Ukrainegate. Trump is also being sharply criticized for asking Zelensky to cooperate with Attorney General William Barr’s investigation into the origins of Russiagate, even though the role of Ukrainian-Americans and Ukraine itself in Russiagate allegations against Trump on behalf of Hillary Clinton in 2016 is now well-documented…..

    More, here:

    “Unasked Questions about US-Ukrainian Relations

    Is U.S. national security being trumped by loathing for Trump?

    “— Russia shares centuries of substantial civilizational values, language, culture, geography, and intimate family relations with Ukraine. America does not. Why, then, is it routinely asserted in the US political-media establishment that Ukraine is a “vital US national interest” and not a vital zone of Russian national security, as by all geopolitical reckoning it would seem to be? The standard American establishment answer is—because of “Russian aggression against Ukraine.” But the “aggression” cited is Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and support for anti-Kiev fighters in the Donbass civil war, both of which came after, not before, the Maidan crisis, and indeed were a direct result of it. That is, in Moscow’s eyes, it was reacting, not unreasonably, to US-led “aggression.” In any event, as opponents of eastward expansion also warned in the 1990s, NATO has increased no one’s security, only diminished security throughout the region bordering Russia.

    — Which brings us back to the Trump-Zelensky telephone conversation. President Zelensky ran and won overwhelmingly as a peace-with-Moscow candidate, which is why the roughly $400 million in US military aid to Ukraine, authorized by Congress, figured anomalously in the conversation. Trump is being sharply criticized for withholding that aid or threatening to do so, including by Obama partisans…

    Instead of baiting Trump on this issue, we should hope he encourages the new peace talks that Zelensky has undertaken in recent days with Moscow, which could end the killing in Donbass. (For this, Zelensky is being threatened by well-armed extreme Ukrainian nationalists, even quasi-fascists. Strong American support for his negotiations with Moscow may not deter them, but it might.)….”

    1. Steve H.

      > Strong American support for his negotiations with Moscow

      Obama/Clinton poured billions into the area to destabilize it. Zelensky seems to be acting like a decent human being. If Obama partisans are criticizing withholding military aid, that’s amusing. It’s looking like it’s really a bite at Raytheon and Lockheed, which produce the Javelin missiles expected to be purchased with the aid.

    2. xkeyscored

      Since when did sharing “substantial civilizational values, language, culture, geography, and intimate family relations” have anything to do with countries or regions being declared a “vital US national interest”? (Think Vietnam, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kosovo …)
      But yes, we should indeed hope Trump, and the rest of the US, “encourages the new peace talks that Zelensky has undertaken in recent days with Moscow.” And not just for the sake of Donbass, but for the prospect of peace generally, or at any rate not yet more war.

  23. anon in so cal

    Bernie Sanders’ recent hospitalization and Hillary Clinton’s reaction:

    “Former First Lady and Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton’s reaction to the news that her former Democratic rival had been hospitalised seemed oddly reminiscent of a gesture she made with her hands when Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was brutally beaten and murdered by anti-government militia during the NATO-backed war in Libya in 2011.”

  24. John W

    “Obamacare propelled health insurance stocks to their best decade in history” And the profit boom enjoyed by health insurers came straight from families pockets”

    “If you account for the vast amounts of money we [Americans] are taxed like Europeans and spend on social welfare like Europeans. And in return, we get a system where hospitals regularly sue patients and parents have to worry about getting hit with a several-thousand-dollar surprise medical bill if they decide to take their feverish kids to the ER. We get ripped off.”

    Who knew?

      1. notabanktoadie

        Coons are cool. Their dignity is offended when I throw food in front of them rather than trust them to take it from my fingers.

  25. ChrisPacific

    I missed the World Poetry Day links, but here’s a fragment I’ve always liked in honor of NC fundraising week. It’s by Robin Hyde, and one of the poems in the Wellington Writer’s Walk:

    Yet I think, having used my words as the kings used gold,
    Ere we came by the rustling jest of the paper kings,
    I who am overbold will be steadily bold,
    In the counted tale of things.

    1. flora

      Thanks for this. I read all the poems in yesterday’s links and found myself thinking in poetic meter. I tried to decide my ‘favorite’ poem and found my favorite changed across time and was much tied to whatever my age at the time. So, when I was very young Robert Browning’s “The Year’s at the Spring” was my favorite. Now, in age, Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses’ had a special resonance:

      Though much is taken, much abides; and though
      We are not now that strength which in old days
      Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
      One equal temper of heroic hearts,
      Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
      To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

  26. Kurt Sperry

    This is a nice look into the cracks of the Hell world of comment moderation that might strike a chord with those of us who have toiled at that thankless and non-renumerative task.

    Although this deals with the question of why it is so impossible for large players, even those with great resources, to successfully do that task, it also sheds light on why in the end successful moderation is inevitably a labor intensive, artisanal, and highly skilled job that cannot even be hoped to be addressed through automated processes (AI ha!) or hiring people outside the culture of the commentors being moderated.

    1. dk

      Thanks for the link, good description of how rule-based systems (aka “knowledge-based” for that AI glitz but it’s linear algebra all the way) have small domains and can’t keep up with highly dynamic scenarios.

  27. Susan the other`

    I was impressed to read the link from The Week, Stoss, on the decarbonizing of heavy industry. He has laid it all out and it is believable and, I’d say from sporadic observation, it seems to be on track. I like the common sense in his statement that anything which cannot be decarbonized like cement should be replaced with an alternative material. My first thought was to recycle plastic for previous cement uses. Anyway, this is the first really encouraging article I’ve read that had believable solutions. He also observed that private heavy industry companies (steel mills, etc) which are energy intensive will be paying a lot in capital improvements to switch from fossil fuels to electricity and they will all be reluctant to do so until the federal government gives the assurance that CO2 is out and offers tax breaks and things. You’d never know there was so much rational analysis and planning going on by watching everyday politics. Trump now seems to be trying to distract people from understanding this. Maybe for the sake of a slow and organized transition. I really didn’t believe Trump could be that silly or stupid as to deny climate change and environmental destruction.

  28. Harry Cording

    Comcast’s P.O.S. Xfinity web based email browser has been assigning my morning notification email from Naked Capitalism to the Spam folder.

    I click the “not Spam” button to no avail.
    Previous experience has shown the spam assignment is a hard switch assigned by Comcast that ignores the “Not Spam” command button I click on every day.

    1. Oregoncharles

      IOW, Comcast does not approve of NC. You might want an ISP that doesn’t censor your email.

      I don’t use Opera for a similar reason: I caught them labeling Counterpunch an “attack” site, and they didn’t respond when I called them on it.

      1. Harry Cording

        Another day, another Naked Cap email marked as spam and diverted to the spam folder

        Also yesterday; this San Francisco Chron OpEd on Net Neutrality.

        But notched in the ruling is another outcome. States such as California can adopt their own rules to restrain the same major companies from limiting access and charging extra fees. Net neutrality, meaning equal treatment for all comers, has a flicker of life.

        Sacramento passed a law contesting the original decision in 2017 by the Trump appointed majority on the Federal Communication Commission, but that action was paused while the legal fight continued.

        Further appeals are likely, meaning the dispute isn’t over. There will be more tests on just how far this state can go in setting its own protective rules. Consumers and anyone else tapping a smartphone or laptop keyboard has a stake in this fight.
        But for now California’s stance, developed in a bill by Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat, will remain. As with many other topics ranging from immigration to the environment, this state is going its own way. It shouldn’t let up when it comes to Internet access and open access.

        Because my Comcast spam filtering began after the above cited decision perhaps Comcast has decided to ignore the California exemption???

  29. JC Atwood


    If you could contribute anything but stage 4 smears, and smears by association, you might have something to say worth listening to.

    Consider reading or rereading about stage 4, which Glenn Greenwald reminded us to expect, way back in Jan 2016:

    Perhaps you are at later stages, just trying to disgust people enough to stop discussion between people, people who are tired of listening to internet armies and the establishment melting down, at the prospect of progressive our unsustainable public policies. That just makes more space for kakistocracy and idiot fascists like Trump.

    1. hunkerdown

      I think they’re low-key okay with that, as long as they can still suck up to their Harvard betters and scold the working class. Personally, I’d like to see these people outed, like that Hoarse Whisperer pharma shill featured on MSDNC, and better yet followed around in public by flashily-dressed people with bullhorns like those Portuguese debtors were.

  30. BobW

    In today’s Language Log:

    “There’s some discussion on twitter of what we should call the current American political scandal:
    Gates are over. Let’s return to the classics. The best name for a scandal built on insane conspiracy theories is Crackpot Dome.
    — Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) October 4, 2019

    Other anti-Trump contenders besides #CrackpotDome that have reached the hashtag level include #MoronContra, #QuidProPotus, #ClusterTrump, and #UkraineClownPosse. Sub-hashtag suggestions include GrifterGate, Crime-a-Lago, Ukraine in the Membrane, and The Doofus Affair, among many others.”

    Scandal Titles

  31. Jack Parsons

    It’s a fairly common syndrome in men for heart damage to build slowly, and for the body to route around it slowly. A level of infarction that kills a 50-year-old is often quite survivable by the time he hits 70.

Comments are closed.