Links 10/9/19

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Yves here. I’m a bit behind schedule but will be all done by 7:30 AM EDT, so refresh your browser a bit later if you get here before that time.

Cows Painted Like Zebras Attract Fewer Flies CNN

Saturn Overtakes Jupiter As Host To Most Moons In Solar System Guardian

Recycling plastic is probably not worth it, according to MIT expert Business Insider (David L)

Hurricane Dorian Was Worthy of a Category 6 Rating Scientific American (resilc)

Carbon Engineering – Taking CO2 Right Out Of The Air To Make Gasoline Forbes (David L)

Comedians are being hired by the hour to help dementia patients. Their goal? ‘A full belly laugh.’ Washington Post


Tracking foreign interference in Hong Kong Asia Times (Kevin W). Takes pains to point out the evidence isn’t conclusive.

Sanctioned Crude? China Ship-To-Ship Oil Imports Leap Higher In September OilPrice (resilc)

Official Reforms and India’s Real Economy, Pt. 1 and Official Reforms and India’s Real Economy, Pt. 2 Triple Crisis


Brexit: Deal essentially impossible, No 10 source says after PM-Merkel call BBC

Brexit is a journey without end for Britain Martin Wolf, Financial Times

Revealed: the EU’s point-by-point rejection of Johnson’s Brexit plan Guardian. From yesterday, and linked to in a Richard North post that Lambert featured, but important for its detail.

New Cold War


The US military used more bombs and missiles in Afghanistan last month than it has since 2010 Task & Purpose (resilc)

Iraq Protests: Death Toll Soars as Militias Target Protesters Counterpunch

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Beware the digital Stasi in your pocket Financial Times (David L). Gee, ya think?

Court rules FBI’s Surveillance Violated Americans’ Rights The Hill

Remember the FBI’s promise it wasn’t abusing the NSA’s data on US citizens? Well, guess what… The Register (Dr. Kevin)

Twitter Took Phone Numbers for Security and Used Them for Advertising Vice

Tetris challenge: emergency services worldwide go flat-out in viral meme Guardian. BC:

This is article is a little old because I just heard about this. I think this is a bad idea. My Defense background really concerns me that this could potentially be an “Information Operation” by an unknown party to trick first responders around the globe into revealing what specific equipment they have (typically referred as “kit”), which would reveal the extent of capabilities they have (or don’t). A nefarious actor could use this information to tailor an attack designed to exceed their limits to respond to maximize effect, or pick the softest targets.

Imperial Collapse Watch

UN Warns It May Default on Salaries by November in a Cash Crisis Bloomberg

Why democracy is crumbling in the West Al Jazeera (resilc)

Trump Transition

US restricts visas for Chinese officials over internment of Muslim minorities Guardian (Kevin W)

Betsy DeVos Could Face Jail After Judge Rules She Violated 2018 Order on Student Loans Newsweek

‘Tell the truth … for a change’: ex-President Carter’s advice to Trump Reuters

Trump, Minneapolis Mayor Fight Over Who Should Pay for Trump’s Rally Rolling Stone (resilc)


Trump fires back on impeachment The Hill

READ: White House letter to House Democrats CNN (Kevin W). Important. But would have been better to have stopped with the due process points under the first header. The argument about turning over an election is silly and undermines some solid scores earlier in the letter.

Whistleblower had ‘professional’ tie to 2020 Democratic candidate Washington Examiner

Hunter Biden’s web of interests Financial Times

Ukraine Continued: How a Crucial Witness Escaped New York Review of Books. Resilc: “USA USA could care less. People are worried about their co-pays.”

The New Yorker’s Partisan Attempt to Refute Its Claim of Partisan Disinformation Consortiumnews (UserFriendly)

Health Care

The Plot Against Medicare for All New Republic (UserFriendly)

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders struggle to explain Medicare-for-all impact on the middle class. Washington Post. UserFriendly: “Just shoot me. The tax is fixed, if it costs more it goes on the deficit.”


WaPo Goes After Warren With a Posse of Centrist Sources FAIR (UserFriendly, furzy)

Adviser to Consumer Agency Had a Role in Lending New York Times, UserFriendly: “Warren’s revolving door.”

Sanders offers campaign finance plan Washington Post

Bernie Sanders Is Spoiling for a Fight With the DNC Jacobin (chuck4)

Bernie Sanders’ daughter-in-law, a native of Burgettstown, dies at 46 after cancer diagnosis Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. UserFriendly: “:-( Awful. When it rains it pours.”

California faces historic power outage due to fire danger Associated Press (David L)

Japanese owners of plant at heart of US Cancer Town refuse to meet activists Guardian (resilc)

J&J Hit With $8 Billion Jury Award Over Antipsychotic Drug Wall Street Journal

Marketing Expert Scott Galloway on WeWork and Adam Neumann New York Magazine

Elon Musk Wants You To Know The ‘Pedo Guy’ Thing Has Been Very Hard On Elon Musk – Jalopnik. Kevin W: “The article itself is loaded with many images of the deposition of Musk in court.”

Did Ethiopian Airlines tamper with Boeing 737 Max maintenance records? Former chief engineer alleges airline accessed files a day after crash. Chicago Tribune (Robert M). Paging Moe Tkacik….

Meet America’s newest military giant: Amazon MIT Technology Review (resilc)

MMT Theory Could Be Winning In Washington, Worrying Economists – Bloomberg (furzy). How about “Worrying the economics mainstream that didn’t see the crisis coming, didn’t think there was anything wrong with sharply rising inequality until it hurt groaf and led to (horrors) populists being elected all around the world, can’t be bothered to think much about climate change, and didn’t foresee that QE was an asset bubble blower that helped banks at the expense of savers and real economy investment (witness stock buybacks). Those economists?

Class Warfare

These 3 Policy Failures Are Killing the American Dream New York Magazine (UserFriendly)

Americans’ Views of ‘Socialism’ and ‘Capitalism’ In Their Own Words Pew Research Center (resilc)

ABC: Melbourne’s outer migrant suburbs a “modern slum nightmare” MacroBusiness

This CAT is a Dangerous Dog RealClearPolicy. UserFriendly: “Boo Hooo!!! I want the right to have my billions slosh around and ruin people’s lives on a whim!!” Moi: “Do these people not realize their broker is required to track the basis of every security they own?”

Against the Pundits’ Class Nation (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (Nature via Ian P):

Happy World Octopus Day! This beauty is the wonderpus octopus (Wunderpus photogenicus). Octo-fans should also check out Heidi the day octopus (Octopus cyanea) changing colour as it sleeps. Then go 1,600 metres deep with a probably-as-yet-unknown-to-science cirroteuthid octopus that billows so soothingly it looks like it’s in slow motion. (Reinhard Dirscherl/Getty)

And a bonus from Kevin W. I must confess I enjoy birds with a sense of humor.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. timbers

    Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders struggle to explain Medicare-for-all impact on the middle class. Washington Post. UserFriendly: “Just shoot me. The tax is fixed, if it costs more it goes on the deficit.”

    Keep it simple:

    “For every $1 we spend giving MediCareForAll to every single person in the U.S., we save about $2.”

    Period. Full stop.

    Let the policy “wonks” parse the details. The voters don’t care about the details.

    1. Carla

      “For every $1 we spend giving MediCareForAll to every single person in the U.S., we save about $2.”

      As a single-payer activist and advocate since 1998, that sounds about right to me!

    2. Jack Parsons

      “Every car we sell has a $2500 health care tax built into the price. That will disappear. We will export cars again.”

  2. David

    I was going to link to David Edgerton’s excellent short piece in the Guardian on Brexit, that’s mentioned in the tweet above. Edgerton, who’s a highly respected historian of modern Britain, especially the economic dimension, supplies, I think, the answer to a question that’s been puzzling a number of us since the beginning. Why are the Tories, the party of the City, of business and industry, so keen on Brexit, which will damage their traditional paymasters? As Edgerton notes, it’s because that link has now effectively been broken: “Today much of the capital in Britain is not British and not linked to the Conservative party.”
    Worth reading the whole thing.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, David.

      Me, too, with regard to posting the link. I was also planning to ask Anonymous2, Harry and you, all former civil servants, to comment.

      The weakening of the link between British capital and the Tories began in or accelerated from the 1980s. There was criticism of Thatcher by the likes of the late Michael Edwards of British Leyland, especially about the emerging petrocurrency, and Hector Laing of United Biscuits, Arnold Weinstock of GEC and Mark Grenfell.

      Much of the party’s funding comes from overseas, not just business, but think tanks, too, often neo con as well as neo liberal. That mirrors the preponderance of foreign firms in the FTSE 100 and the global 1%’s need for the City’s network of tax havens, often current and former colonies, and ability to water down, if not, sabotage EU measures to rein them in.

      Last week, I joked that Kemal Johnson would be blackballed from certain clubs, hunts and shoots (sporting estates). In the old days, the Tory squirearchy and City gents would have sorted out matters behind closed doors in Belgravia or on remote grouse moors up north, avoided embarrassing HM and testing the boundaries of the constitution. That is no longer the case. The Notting Hill and Chipping Norton set is a deracinated, if not Anglo-American* elite, has no sense of paternalism (despite now calling itself one nation Tory) and is more concerned with optics than substance.

      *This also explains why so many senior Bank of England officials, beginning with Carnage, are from overseas and why some of the candidates to succeed Carnage are foreign. Carnage was first approached for the Bank of England post at his brother in law’s Cornbury estate in Oxfordshire. Lord Rotherwick is an heir to Jardine Matheson and related to David Cameron, who lives nearby.

      The Church of England also ceased to be the Tory party at prayer, a function occupied by the BBC now that it is led by neoliberals Nick Gibb (blue Tory) and James Purnell (red Tory) and employs so many former Tory student activists (e.g. Andrew Neil, Laura (von) Kuenssberg and Nick Robinson). That further weakened the links with the provinces where the blue rinse reign supreme, which explains why so many gay Tories have or had to bring a fake girlfriend to selection panels for safe seats.

      1. larry

        Thanks, Col, for a brilliantly informative comment. I prefer your comment to Edgerton, honestly.

      2. John A

        I would also argue that the entire raison d’etre of the Tory Party is, and always has been, purely to remain in power. What they do in power is mostly immaterial as long as they keep ‘socialists and other undesirables etc.,’ out. The biggest threat to keeping this power is Farage and the snakeskin oil Brexiters of UKIP and their new party that were eroding Tory support. The entire referendum was to disarm Farage. (Although, TBH, even if Remain had won by 90-10, Farage would never give up.)
        Now the Tories are stuck with delivering Brexit if they are to neutralise Farage and stay in power even if it means going against their natural allies in the City.

      3. Harry

        My stab at an answer. I agree with the good Colonel. The Tories are a coalition party. Less of a coalition than Labour but all parties are coalitions of diverse interests.

        Golf-club Tories in the provinces have been disenfranchised from their relatively elevated position in British society. The increase in metropolitan real estate prices by passed them. The influence of the City eclipsed them. They have become peripheral to British political life. When Mandy wants to curry favor with money, he know goes to a Russian Yacht of the coast of Montenegro, or the Caribbean home of Epstein, or the Hamptons.

        The new technocracy is anathema to the old Squirearchy.

        This was always a revolt based on their loss of privilege. Kick Johny foreigner out and allow our domestic gentry to return to their position of privilege. Of course the fact that this is impossible doesnt occur to them.

        There is no way back to Eden. No way to be able to afford London property. No way to be able to afford grand public school fees. No way to ease Oxbridge entry for their kids and grandkids.

        I sympathize, I really do. But they arent the only bunch of dispossessed pinning after a gilded past. The British working class do too.

        Hence the power of the revolt against our apparent European overlords.

        And now Mo El Erian is Master of Queens Cantab. Will it never end! Was bad enough with Amartya Sen in Trinity.

        For what little thats worth.

        1. Harry

          Worth adding something which I think is perfectly illustrative.

          Bank of England Governors.

          Sir Robin Leigh Permberton – a country squire with a farm in Kent I believe

          Eddie George – a hard smoking Dulwich resident, with kids in the Alleyn school

          Mark Carney – a cosmopolitan Canadian beaucrat who spent time at GS and then took the BoE job. If it doesnt go to Haldane next then it tells you a lot about the world.

          Globalization in practice.

          Nice chap Andy H. Hard not to like him.

            1. vlade

              Col S. may chime here, but I think that King (the previous governor) actually wanted the job to go to Haldane, but Osborne was, let’s just say, not really interested by the idea.

              1. Colonel Smithers

                Thank you, Vlade.

                Firstly, I hope the family and you are ok. I must write.

                Yes, that is correct about Osborne, who also lives near Cornbury.

                From what one hears, Haldane is barely in contention. All very sad.

      4. The Rev Kev

        Is there any chance that Northern Ireland could be declared a “special economic zone” whose regulations would mirror those of the EU with a border in the Irish Sea to deal with any trade going to and from the rest of the UK? EU regulations would have to Trump any other laws for this to work but this way there are no borders in Ireland itself while the UK retains nominal control of Northern Ireland.

        1. ambrit

          I’m wondering which splinter faction will assume the mantle and “responsibilities” of the old IRA. I can see a Unionist Militia undertaking a bombing campaign aimed at both London and Dublin.
          The end game here looks to be a complete devolution of both Ireland and the UK. Apart from the North, does Ireland have any distinctive sub-regions? Distinct enough, I mean, as to function as quasi independent states?
          From this side of “The Pond,” the Isles are beginning to look like something from the post Roman Empire period.
          In a related sense, such a dynamic must scare the brie out of the EU.

          1. makedoanmend

            “Apart from the North, does Ireland have any distinctive sub-regions? Distinct enough, I mean, as to function as quasi independent states?”

            No. The Republic of Ireland, independent for over 100 years, is not an amalgam of separate identities. It is its own very coherent nation with a plethora of cultural facits that bind its peoples at mutiple levels – including its large and varied immigrant population. It has diversity aplenty but this does not imply that it is about to disintegrate. And, of course, it is a member in good standing of Europe’s largest trading bloc from which it receives benefits and has forged alliances to create closer economic and cultural ties across Europe.

            Your surmise about the Republic’s future is very – to say least – on the outer realms of possibility. Possibly you may be think that Republicans are about to attack across Ireland or something? However, during the 35+ years of the “troubles” the Provisionals largely kept their “activities” out of the Republic – and nobody North, South or further afield ever believed that the Provos had any intention trying to dislodge the Irish government. (The Irish army would have quickly made mince meat of them.)

            The Irish Republic is stable as any country can be. We’ll take a large economic hit for sure. We just took a huge hit in 2008 of our own making and the nation survived just fine. The current hit, which has already begun, will not be blamed on the government this time.

            Ireland, it should be noted, also maintained it separate identify as a nation despite invasions from the Vikings onwards, ethnic cleaning, persistent economic depravation, and one of the largest per capita famines in history. Ireland has changed and we’ll continue to change but, underneath it all, the Irish are just the Irish. Even the good people that have come from Nigeria and further afield quickly identify and blend within the inherent culture on many levels. Otherwise, Ireland is just another Western middling middle-class country and economy. Nothing special.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              Yes I agree – Ireland (as in, the Republic) is surprisingly stable – there is absolute unanimity from the establishment right straight through to Sinn Fein and the hard left (such as it exists) that Brexit should not be allowed interfere with the core of the country or with Irelands EU/Euro membership. The worst case scenario is loyalist bombs in Dublin (I’m old enough to remember the early 1970’s bombs and I pass the spot where a group of kids were blown up every day). But even that wouldn’t fundamentally undermine the country. The blowback if it happens will hit the UK much harder.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            The IRA splinter groups are very weak and fragmented and simply don’t have the technological background of the ‘old’ IRA which pioneered the use of electronics in insurgency type tactics. It’s widely believed they are well infiltrated not just by the Irish and British security forces, but also by the Republican movement itself, which has no interest in allowing them take the initiative. It can’t be ruled out, however, that a significant amount of mainstream Republicans would join them, but that’s unlikely – the Sinn Fein leadership is entirely now dedicated to political methods.

            Even the most lunatic of the republican fragmented groups would have no interest in taking on the security forces in the Republic – this would be highly unpopular among potential supporters in border areas. They would target British attempts at border infrastructure. They may well attack them in unexpected places, for example at the ferry ports at Belfast.

            The unknown quantity is of course British Intelligence, which has long run loyalist death squads and other terrorist groups, and possibly have influence with some smaller Republican fringe groups. They carried out false flag terrorist attacks in the past, I wouldn’t rule them out in the gutter.

            1. xkeyscored

              Excellent analysis as usual, PK.
              That said, this from An Phoblacht (~ Sinn Fein) in no way advocates violence or bombing, but might encourage those so inclined, or at least align with their thinking.

              Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald has said any hardening of the border, or custom checks on the island of Ireland are completely unacceptable
              Sinn Féin have been adamant that any imposition of custom checks is completely unacceptable.
              The party finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty this week described such checks as “political vandalism” which grossly undermines the Good Friday Agreement. The Donegal TD then went on to insist his party will not allow custom checks to be forced upon Irish citizens because of the intransigence of right-wing Brexiteers within the Tory party supported by the DUP.

              1. makedoanmend

                I would suspect that the actual border stoppings will encourage dissatisfication far more than McDonald’s or Doherty’s assertions.

                Neither of them nor Sinn Fein have the least ability to stop the installation of a hard border and everybody in Ireland knows it (including themselves). These words are supposed to be some sort of sop to the nationalist and/or Republican community of the six counties that somebody, somewhere understands their concerns, and acknowledges their concerns while nobody else does.

                I also suspect little succour will be taken from those words by the general population of the six counties, and certainly not by those who have a different agenda.

                Those who are intent upon non-political actions will not be heeding Sinn Fein, nor will they require encouragement by Sinn Fein or anyone else. These people stopped listening to Sinn Fein long ago, and they will take the way Sinn Fein have been thoroughly sidelinded by the Tories and intently insulted by the DUP during negotiations over restoration of the assembly as a signal that Sinn Fein’s approach does not work.

                I suspect their initial campaign, should it materialise, will quickly fizzle out. The underlying malaise will fester though. The rough-shod way the Tories and their various allies choose to ignore the nationalist community writ large and their virtual destruction of the GFA will resonate for a long time to come in the six counties.

                1. xkeyscored

                  I didn’t mean to assign any great or particular importance to Sinn Fein, more to suggest that while some kind of hard border cannot be stopped, it will probably prove highly problematic.
                  But yes, actual border stoppings will encourage dissatisfaction far more than McDonald’s or Doherty’s assertions.

            2. David

              There is nobody now in the higher echelons of the British security establishment with significant experience from the days of the Troubles, and the technical and intelligence capacities that existed then are long gone, and would take many years to rebuild. Domestic intelligence is now focused almost entirely on jihadism, and the Army no longer has the manpower or the capabilities to go back to a COIN role in the Province. None of this is to say that the government won’t find itself confronted with violent action from one side or the other, but they would be completely, hopelessly, unprepared were that to happen.

              1. xkeyscored

                I’d say that any border infrastructure will almost certainly be attacked by someone or other, and if police or troops are sent to protect it, the situation will escalate.

                1. PlutoniumKun

                  I’m pretty sure mainstream Sinn Fein would see it as a political necessity to be at the forefront of opposing border infrastructure, but they’d use ‘non-violent’ means such as sit-ins and blockades, as well as physically destroying barriers at night (this was widespread during the Troubles). They have a balancing act to achieve – they want to keep their core supporters happy that they are still a radical republican movement, but they are also aware that they need to stay within the bounds of ‘respectable opinion’ if they are not to lose out in the elections coming up in the Republic.

          3. Jack Parsons

            The tale of the tape is that Papists outbreed Prots in the North. It marches slowly towards reunification.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          That was very much the purpose of the original Irish Sea border proposal, and the Irish government is still working on it as a Plan B, in the hope that a desperate BoJo would grab it and claim credit for his brilliant idea (while ditching the DUP). But it seems all too late for it now.

      5. Jerry B

        ===The Notting Hill and Chipping Norton set is a deracinated, if not Anglo-American* elite, has no sense of paternalism (despite now calling itself one nation Tory) and is more concerned with optics than substance===

        Thanks Col. While I thought Edgerton’s article was okay, the above sentence says more than in one sentence than the whole article. Also the “Notting Hill and Chipping Norton set” can describe similar groups in the US and other countries.

      6. David

        Thanks Colonel. I saw the start of this in the early 80s, itself a product of the grassroots militant takeover of the Tory Party during the 1970s by the shock troops of the estate agent and second-hand car salesman class. This had already started to affect the new intake of Tory MPs (remember, Heath was a grammar school boy, the party was changing anyway) even before Thatcher’s accidental coronation, and the purges of the Tory Party that followed. Although the old guard still dominated the Cabinet numerically in 1979 (famously, two-thirds of the Cabinet did not know what a mortgage was), they were not in positions of real power. It’s often forgotten how critical British Industry (it existed then) was of the early 80s policy of high interest rates and a strong pound, to “choke off inflation”” as it was argued. Interest rates at 17% and a £ at $2.40 pretty much finished off British industry over the next few years. The next thing, of course, was the deregulation of the City in 1985, which had the predictable and widely predicted effect that much of it passed into foreign hands.
        The Thatcherite Tory Party increasingly represented the extractive, rather than the productive side of the economy, rent-seeking rather than wealth creation, with a focus on quick earnings and quick profits irrespective of the long term. Now, the long term has arrived. It was the same in the public sector where every year for decades, under Labour as well as the Tories, “efficiency savings” meant fewer staff doing more, even if everybody knew the laws of gravity could not be suspended indefinitely. In the 80s, when I was involved in such issues, I used to joke that the government’s policy was “short-term cost savings at any price”. I’m not so sure it was a joke now. It’s therefore fitting that there’s a Tory government of an almost caricatural nature in power as the the whole system begins to disintegrate. The grandees of the UK have stayed with the Tory Party, and always will, because they have nowhere else to go. But they don’t control it any more, they just try to benefit where they can.
        You can also view this moment more widely as the culmination of the struggle between the productive forces of the economy and the extractive, rentier forces, that has been going on really since the seventeenth century. A hundred years ago, most people would have said that the productive forces were winning. Even as late as the 60s, Britain was a major industrial power, with a string of technological inventions to its credit, and with shipbuilding, manufacturing, aerospace and electronics technologies. All that’s gone now, and the extractive forces have finally won, selling each other, no doubt, disaster recovery options for want of anything else to sell.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Thanks David – and to Col. Smithers, for your wonderfully illuminating posts – far better than most published in the general media.

          The wholesale destruction of the UK manufacturing base from the 1980’s onwards is something that never ceased to amaze me. I can only conclude that it was motivated as much by a form of class hatred as much as any type of economic logic. Of course, it succeeded to an extent in the short term, as finance boomed in the 1990’s and 2000’s, making up for some of the devastation. I’m writing this from South Korea, one of those countries that happily took up the baton from the anglosphere’s insistence that actually making things had no relevance in the modern world. Even without prompting, local people here express their amazement at what is happening to Britain (and they are surprisingly well informed).

          We are truly seeing several decades worth of hubris and ideological obsession coming home to roost. Future historians will have a field day arguing about the tangle of economic, psychological, sociological and political issues that led to such a staggering act of national self harm by supposedly one of the most stable countries on earth.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I’d just add, btw, that unusually for the Guardian, the btl discussion after that article is just as good as the article itself, some very intelligent and heartfelt comments to be found.

            1. Olga

              Maybe we need to revise the statement “revolution eats its own children” to “capitalism will always eat its own children”? One question I’d have from yours and D’s comments – and they all make sense to me – is “was this an inevitable and inescapable development, stemming from the internal logic of capitalism” or could this de-industrialization have been avoided?
              Considering that a similar process took place in the US, maybe – once globalisation started to rule the waves – there’s just no escape?

              1. David

                Well, that’s a huge subject, and I doubt if there is, or ever will be, a consensus. For what it’s worth, here are a few things I think are true, though they don’t necessarily add up to a complete thesis. PK will certainly also have something to say.
                It is in the nature of capitalism to seek the greatest short-term returns wherever it can. Thus, it will identify, exploit, gut, and throw away, human and natural resources until it has used them up, if it is not restrained. It will go wherever labour and raw materials are cheapest, and sell for the highest price it can get. For much of modern history, though, capitalism has been restrained. First, this was through traditional pre-capitalist social and political pressures, and the influence of Christianity, especially its Nonconformist version, on individuals who were themselves often public figures close to their communities. Capitalism was also restrained to some extent by inherited economic policies of high taxation, trade barriers and internal regulation.
                So it was obvious that, uncontrolled, pure capitalism could do a lot of damage, the more so as communications improved and genuinely global businesses started to become feasible. And countries that released controls were likely to be most at risk, as we found in the UK in the 70s and after.
                Was the decline of the UK inevitable then? I don’t think so, or at least not to the same extent. Other European countries retained their industrial base for considerably longer, and if that had been a priority of any kind, the situation in the UK could have been a lot better. But for various reasons we have discussed, the government never really cared, and even seems actively to have sought the end of manufacturing in the UK.
                There were several structural issues that made the UK less likely to survive anyway. There was no shortage of scientific and engineering talent: the British were notoriously good at inventing things that were commercialised elsewhere. The problems were firstly in manufacturing, where companies were not willing to spend the money required to modernise factories and train staff in new methods, and second in the lamentable quality of industrial management, made up of people, it was said at the time, who couldn’t get a job anywhere else. In the shipbuilding industry, for example, UK manufacturers held out against the transition from riveting to welding until it was too late, because they didn’t want to make the investment. So quality was generally awful, and when the Japanese arrived in the 70s with their high-quality cars and home electronics, British industries just crumbled away. (Incidentally, the Japanese obsession with quality means that they are still leaders in this area. Your local electronics shop will still sell many Japanese brands, even if one or two of the Koreans (eg Samsung) have made inroads, largely by copying Sony.) So long as parts of UK industry were nationalised, the situation might have been recoverable, but privatisation was essentially a death sentence.

              2. PlutoniumKun

                I can’t add much to Davids reply – its a huge subject. FWIW I don’t think that the process is inevitable in capitalism – but it may be in the Anglo worlds version of capitalism, where financialization seems to be the rope that strangles traditional business (to mix up Lenin’s metaphor). The Germans and other capitalist varieties seem determined to keep manufacturing central to what they do. Even little Switzerland seems able to keep a strong manufacturing base free of the tentacles of its huge banking system. Smaller, later developing countries always have an advantage in that they can see where the vanguard went wrong – I think that countries from the heartlands of Europe to Asia are looking closely at what is happening – for one, no other countries that I’m aware of are as cavalier as the UK and US with allowing their national champion companies to waste away or get bought up.

              3. vlade

                Trotskyi, Tukhachevsky and Kirov (to name a few examples that most could recognise) would really disagree.

          2. Harry

            I think the argument was that it would require constant public subsidy to compete in these spaces. Which was and is true. The problem was that ideologically, overt public subsidy was not consistent with free markets as understood by Keith Josephs. Instead we preferred implicit public subsidy of finance. Sadly the bill was presented in 2008. Now I ask, is explicit subsity such a bad idea? Is industrial policy such a bad idea?

            Yes there was some class hatred involved in the process. That hatred made it easier to destroy the miners. However the hatred wasnt the cause – the cause was the desire for power for a new breed of financiers who saw their chance to get rich. Greed not hate.

            The key thing about this type of hate is that its so banal. The hate is expressed in indifference to the lives of these other people. So it doesnt matter that the new benefits structure will put an unprecedented number of mothers on the game. They shouldnt have had some many kids.

            Ah well. I cant stop it. I can vote against it but I cant stop it. So I had better get on with making some money as I watch it happening.

            1. Plutoniumkun

              The thing is, I don’t think it was a lack of subsidy that hit UK manufacturing worse. Policy was actively hostile – in particular in allowing Sterling to rise so high for so long. And then there was the refusal to interfere as companies like ICI were dismembered. With hindsight it was active vandalism and looting, not neglect that did most damage.

          3. David

            I don’t know whether there’s a simple answer, but class hatred is certainly part (don’t forget manufacturing industry was associated with the working class, trades unions etc, and destroying manufacturing industry was a good way of destroying the working class). But manufacturing in Britain never really achieved the social status it achieved elsewhere, and never attracted the best and the brightest into it: there was an element of social snobbery as well. In effect, the UK was perhaps the only country in Europe where the dominance of traditional patterns of rentier income (land, property, investments) survived and even increased during the twentieth century. The same forces had been struggling ever since the industrial revolution to prevent the emergence of a scientifically and technically literate class that would ultimately displace them, and it has to be said that they won.
            Interesting that you are in Korea. I remember being there, oh, twenty-five years ago with a group of British industrialists, one of whom was giving a company presentation. As he proudly explained how many factories they were closing and how many people they were firing, I could see the Koreans beginning to panic, and calculate quickly how many years it would be before the company they were being asked to work with disappeared altogether.

          4. c_heale

            I’m also in South Korea, and Koreans here have expressed their astonishment with Brexit to me too, especially about the fact the Scotland might leave the UK. I don’t think the UK will remain stable for much longer as Brexit continues.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              An NC cell in Seoul? :-). I’m on my way soon on my bike to cycle down the centre to Busan – I can’t fool myself that I’m getting any great insights into another culture, but I find the country fascinating so far.

              BTW, what’s your take on the demonstrations here? I found myself in the middle of what I’d estimate to be about 30,000 mostly elderly demonstrators in the heart of the city – all protesting against the government. They seem to be supporters of the former PM – the young receptionist in my guesthouse said dismissively ‘they were all paid to show up’. They definitely had the feel of rural rubes up for the day to the big city, it was the politest demonstration I’ve even seen. They all had identikit flags and banners, with a few stray pro-Trump posters. Someone even had a chihuahua decorated with S.Korean and US flags.

        2. vlade

          I would argue that cause of the the death of the British industry wasn’t really Thatcher. She was undoubtedly someone who helped it to its grave, but the IMO the process already started before Thatcher.

          British car industry was being run down (British Leyland) by its less-than-competent management since erly 1960s IMO.
          Aerospace was (with some exceptions) being done for in 1960s too (basically, after 1960s its only BAE + Airbus left, both on strategic state support)

          Electronics stuff was on and off.Sinclair and Armstrad did something in 1980s, but were unable to cope (unlike Acorn that was the parent and brain-child of the now super-successful ARM. Incidentally, Apple was involved there too!)
          Marconi and ICI was merged-to-death – these I’d definitely chalk up to Thatcher’s dereg.

          I’d say that the pattern that is now running a lot of the US companies to the ground started actually in the UK from mid 1960s and was a weird mix of complacency, incompetence and financialisation, but it almost all cases IMO driven fundamentally by the management’s egoes.

          1. Procopius

            The US started about the same time, although it wasn’t recognized. A good description is The Reckoning, by David Halberstom, which describes how the Japanese developed an auto industry that could compete with Detroit. When Ford completely reorganized its accounting system to accommodate Robert S. McNamara, who left after two months, the die was cast.

      7. xkeyscored

        Thank you, Colonel.
        “The weakening of the link between British capital and the Tories began in or accelerated from the 1980s. ” – I always thought Thatcher’s 1979 abolition of exchange/capital/currency controls was greatly overlooked at the time. Glad to hear confirmation from someone with what looks like a fair degree of understanding and insider knowledge.

      8. Anonymous 2

        Thank you Colonel for the excellent comment and the implied compliment. I am afraid I have been very busy the last two days so have not had time to put together the sort of considered response that the subject warrants. I think the discussion generated has been excellent however and you will not be surprised to know that I think both David and Harry make a great deal of sense.

    2. russell1200

      I think he completely misses the point.

      The people I know who want Brexit are people like…truck drivers.

      Brexit is a fight against open borders that allow the capitalists to arbitrage labor as they see fit.

      So of course the “capitalists” are not in favor of it. It is the working class people.

      The anti-Brexit crowd, I guess having decided that calling the Brexiters racist anti-immigrants doesn’t work so they come up with this ridiculous argument. It reminds me of how the Democrats are always so bewildered that the American working class votes against their own best interests: as if the neocon, identity politics crowd ever did any thing for the working class.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        That is not correct. Clive’s solidly middle-class Tory mother-in-law, who by virtue of her assets is the high end of middle class, is firmly pro-Brexit. Look at how the Tory party members effectively required the PM candidates to stump for a crash out, the hardest of hard Brexit. And at the high end, like Farage’s wealthy backers, there is a cohort that believes it can profit handsomely from the chaos.

        1. xkeyscored

          there is a cohort that believes it can profit handsomely from the chaos.
          My feelings exactly, but do you or any readers have concrete information on this? What are their personal plans for self-enrichment, and are they likely to succeed in profiting from the chaos?

      2. vlade

        Because the arbitration of the borders will stop with the EU exit.

        So the 200k+/year of non-EU migrants (and even more of undocumented illegal migrants, most of them from Commonwealth countries) will stop (the non-EU migration was _always_ higher than the EU migraton, FYI).

        As it did under May, when she did zilch about the migrants she could have done something about.

        Oh, and India has already said (and China quietly implied) that cost of any FTA will be more work visas to the Indians/Chinese.

        Oh, and the truck drivers-for-Brexit may find themselves to be shortly out of work, as the haulage companies find themselves unable to do much business in the EU so having a bit of a surplus of drivers (the number of licenses allocated to the UK as the third country to be able to truck in the EU is a very small fraction – about 5% – of the lorries that the UK companies use for business in the EU now, and the permits disallow within-country deliveries, a critical part of having a high fleet utilisation).

      3. PlutoniumKun

        This is simply not backed up by the many poll analyses. Yes, quite a few working class people voted for Brexit, but the overwhelming base of the vote was in England, in suburban Tory areas, among mostly older and traditional voters. This is a revolt of the Telegraph/Express reading classes, anyone who thinks this reflects some sort of working class response to neoliberalism is fooling themselves.

    3. Jerry B

      Thanks David. In reading Edgerton’s article I was reminded of Susan Strange’s work and books Casino Capitalism, States and Markets, The Retreat of the State, and Mad Money.

      There were others before her like C.Wright Mills the Power Elite and since like Quinn Slobodain’s Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism.

      But when I read Strange’s Retreat of the State it was very sobering and wiped away any remaining naïveté I may have had about how the world and big business/corporations work. As Colonel mentions in his comment, any sense of decorum or paternalism is gone and to the globalists (individuals and corporations) the world has become one big Monopoly board game.

      1. Petter

        Reading this truly informative thread, I’m reminded of Adam Curtis’s documentary from 1999 _The Mayfair Set: Four Stories about the Rise of Business and the Decline of Political Power_, which covers some of the topics you all are discussing. It’s been years since I watched it but am wondering if any of you watched it, and if you did, in retrospect, how accurate do you think it was in chronicling the decline of British industry? I found the documentary jaw dropping at the time.
        Reflecting a bit on all of this, a Bertolt Brecht comes to mind – Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      Indeed, it goes to some extent to describe what has been one of the great mysteries to me – the silence of the Tory business class on Brexit.

      1. larry

        Akin to the silence of the lambs? For this, see Warum schweigen die Lämmer? by Rainer Mausfeld, which is an attack on neoliberalism embedded in a theory of why it won out. Effectively, those that could have resisted did little or nothing until the groupthink was complete. Neoliberalism trashes everything it touches, even profit in the end.

        1. Jerry B

          Thanks Larry.

          In googling Rainer Mausfeld, there is some of his work in English, but I have not found an English version of the Warum schweigen die Lämmer? book. What I did come across on Mausfeld’s Wikipedia page was a translated in English transcript of a lecture he gave with the same title.

  3. Nik

    “Why democracy is crumbling in the West Al Jazeera (resilc)”

    Oh, give me a break.

    The whole “Populist anger is entirely caused by the public’s stupidity and willingness to be conned by Trump and Johnson, and intelligent, honest, serious people in power everywhere are helpless against it!” schtick makes me just as sick as Elon’s victimized whining.

    1. Synoia

      Are stage managed elections representative in any way?

      Rigging elections is rigging elections. It matters not how they are rigged (even when biased to incumbents, or a controlled 2 party system).

    2. flora

      And, as pointed out in David Edgerton’s Guardian article, global billionaires and global capital find ways to fund national campaigns in many countries. They own huge economic interests in many countries. Global capital ‘floats above geography’. If they fund the parties (under the table, of course) in countries they are disconnected from, that can’t be good for democracy. In a sense, it’s like having an absentee landlord control local politics, imo.

    3. xkeyscored

      And, as for “For example, in Kenya, during the 2010 referendum on adopting a new constitution, many people openly admitted that they did not bother reading the document,” many an important Act/Bill (eg. US Patriot Act) has been presented and voted through within hours in recent times.
      “With little knowledge of constitutionalism and little time to get clued in, voters were opting to take their cue from him [Raila Odinga].” Seems to me it’s not just average Kenyan voters, but voters in the UK Parliament and US Congress who happily take their cue from their trusted leaders.

  4. GramSci

    Tetris challenge:

    A nefarious actor could use this information to tailor an attack designed to exceed their limits to respond to maximize effect, or pick the softest targets

    Nefarious actor, as in an advertising campaign to get first responders caught up in a game of Keep up with the Joneses?

  5. Howard Beale IV

    DeVos facing jail? Not likely to happen:

    In a written order issued Tuesday, Kim wrote the court would consider if “a finding of contempt, or monetary sanctions, or both are warranted.” Her order does not mention jail time.

    Contempt of court can end in fines or jail time, but people usually obey the court’s rule before that. It’s hard to see DeVos doing otherwise.

    In fact, the judge has already given DeVos an out. In her Tuesday ruling, Kim asked both the Education Department and the former Corinthian students to submit responses to the possibility of a contempt order. She also asked them to give some ideas of how the department could “remedy” its illegal collection of student loan payments from the former students and ensure it didn’t happen again.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Still, it would be an interesting encounter. I can see it now. A coupla beat cops with a sergeant in charge are in the reception area of the Department of Education to serve an arrest warrant for DeVos. The sergeant explains to the receptionist and the security guards that unless they make way for them, the next people through the front doors will be a SWAT team whose first act would be to arrest anybody in their way with obstruction of justice charges. And that the next move would be theirs.

      1. Procopius

        Minor quibble: the charge would be “resisting arrest.” SWAT teams and cops in general do not do obstruction of justice arrests. I suppose they might tack that on as an after thought.

  6. QuarterBack

    Re “Stasi in your pocket “, there are those who defend mass surveillance with the question “if this technology was around earlier, could it have prevented 9-11?”. I would suggest asking “if this technology was around earlier, would it have prevented the Declaration of Independence?”. Not as academic now, watch Hong Kong to find out.

    1. dearieme

      Nothing could have prevented 9-11 if the US had still depended on the FBI and CIA being competent.

      (And that’s assuming that their performance was merely a matter of incompetence. Who knows?)

        1. JohnnyGL

          Ha! I love all the caveats like, “baseless accusation”.

          Curiously, no one ever wanted to interview Bob Graham after he repeatedly screamed “Saudi Arabian government did 9/11!” to anyone who’d listen. Only Paul Jay of the Real News actually sat down and discussed with him.

        2. dearieme

          I’ve read Clarke’s book on this business. Its merits were impaired by his determination to absolve Slick Willie’s administration from all blame. That was absurd: the nature of time lags in human affairs mean that most blame (within the US “Executive”) must attach to Clinton, since Bozo Bush had been in office for only a figurative five minutes.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The collective hallucination is that the vigilant guardians of our safety would have prevented 9/11 if only they could have.

        But ask just two simple questions and down the rabbit hole you will go:

        1. Where is the plane that hit the Pentagon?
        2. Where is the plane that crashed in the Pennsylvania field?

        Simple questions with absolutely hideous answers.

    2. David

      I think it’s generally accepted that mass surveillance is pretty useless at predicting things before they happen, and often just encourages unrealistic expectations. For example, the attack in the Paris Prefecture last week could not have been predicted even if the text messages of hundreds of thousands of police officers and civilian employees had been monitored in real time for years unless you knew what was going to happen, in which case you wouldn’t need the surveillance. On the other hand, exploitation of the attacker’s phone will probably produce a lot of further leads.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        My godfather was a CIA agent abroad in the 60’s and into the 70’s and said they suffered from information overload then. His general opinion was anything outside the President’s purview only reached the relevant actors (the White House Chief of Staff) when it legitimately hit the Washington Post. Then of course, every desk was bucking for attention, so everything becomes an emergency.

  7. Carolinian

    Re impeachment–the local paper says homeboy Trey Gowdy to be Trump’s impeachment outside counsel. Since leaving the House he has been a private lawyer for a Columbia, SC law firm.

  8. Harry

    Ethiopian air story.

    Wow. Who would have thought an airline might look at its maintenance records a day after a crash? Weird. Indeed anyone might have been curious. Including Mr. Yeshanew.

    I am also amused by the “Yonas Yeshanew, who resigned this summer and is seeking asylum in the U.S., said that while it is unclear what, if anything, in the records was altered”

    Do you think that anyone at Boeing might be able to help with his asylum claim? Certainly after alleged government corruption in Ethiopia he can credibly allege a fear of retribution back home.

    1. Carolinian

      And he produced an FAA audit from three years ago that found, among dozens of other problems, that nearly all of the 82 mechanics, inspectors and supervisors whose files were reviewed lacked the minimum requirements for doing their jobs.

      Ya know it’s possible airlines may have their own issues without everything being a Boeing plot. American carriers have also been criticized for their maintenance practices and for outsourcing airliner maintenance to non union Central American locations. Pilot training has been an issue for American carriers including a well known regional carrier crash near Buffalo.

      1. vlade

        Pilot training and maintenance has become horrible, across the world. EA captain was a captain for less than two years, and the FO was barely out of training, not a combination that you’d want to run unless the captain was an exceptionally skilled one.

        BUT that is absolutely zero excuse for Boeing. If I remember it correctly, Boeing is required to make sure that anywhere it sells it planes the pilots training and maintenance are up to scratch. So it there were problems with both at EA, it was up to Boeing not to sell them anything. Except, you know, that would actually cost them lost sales…

      2. Harry

        Its true. But its also true that Boeing would be well advised to hire PRs to help in the coming lawsuits. And its also true that two of Boeing’s new planes dropped out of the sky in rapid succession. There is no earthly reason why both cant be true. That Ethiopian Airways skimped on its maintenance. And that Boeing made some patently unsafe planes that suffered from a shareholder value problem.

        The Buffalo crash is a good example cos it was a stall. But the Ethopian crash was not a stall. It was the planes MCAS system forcing the nose of the plane down repeatedly and erroneously cos of a faulty sensor.

        Did the Indonesians skimp on their maintenance too?

        Anyways, I dont mean to be combative. I just cant help but be a little skeptical in the circumstances. Isnt Boeing headquartered in Chicago these days?

        1. Carolinian

          The much discussed NYT Magazine piece speculates that the defective AOA sensor on the Indonesian plane may have been a part with bogus certification out of Miami, FL supplier. It had just been replaced. This is yet another problem in that airliner parts are very expensive and counterfeits therefore tempting.

          All of which is to say that of course Boeing is trying to bolster its legal position but that also applies to the two airlines who could likewise face some liability.

          1. Harry

            Quite! A fine point. But being the utter cynic I am, I suspect Boeing would be quicker to the draw when it comes to hiring PR than Ethiopian Airways.

            Ashamed to say I have been pondering shorting Boeing on the “cockroach” theory for a while. Still havnt pulled the trigger.

          2. Ranger Rick

            I wonder how many people have made the Airframe connection. Every time I hear about the investigation another passage comes to mind.

  9. Eclair

    RE: California Faces Historic Power Outage Due to Fire Danger.
    Umm …. does not the MSM use ‘power outages’ as a marker for failing, dictatorial, socialist, undemocratic, etc., regimes? I recall articles about Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Iraq, where electrical outages were deplored and declared to be the fault of a corrupt and inept government. Could it be …..? Nah.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Are you sure that Pacific Gas and Electric Company does not run a side business in supplying flashlights, batteries, propane tanks for barbecues, generators and lanterns?

    2. JTee

      I believe this is all in preparation to soften up the rate payers for some good old-fashioned rate hikes. After a few tens of millions do without power for hours/days at a time, especially during inconvenient periods, then these same rate payers will be screaming “uncle”, and graciously accept the need to dig deep into their pockets. Or possibly just some doublely good “public investment” aka government handouts to PG&E for unforeseen, indeed, unforeseeable, modernization of their infrastructure. One is reminded of the shutting down of power generating plants during peak summer heat for “routine” maintainance during the Enron reign in the early 2000s.

      1. heresy101

        The rate increases are already happening. PG&E and SCE are asking for a 16% profit rate because of the fire costs. A rate increase of about 5% this year and another 5% next year have already or will soon be approved by the PUC. The current average rate is $0.20/kWh; it won’t be long before it reaches $0.30/kWh.

        PG&E is the second most evil corporation in this country; only bested by Monsanto/Bayer! To become even more evil, there is a fight among
        Wall Street parasites to take PG&E out of bankruptcy with the vulture capitalist Paul Singer leading the drift to the darker side.

        The only way Californians can have safe, reliable, and affordable electricity it to condemn and buy out PG&E and make it into municipal electric companies like SMUD.

        1. cnchal

          > PG&E is the second most evil corporation in this country; only bested by Monsanto/Bayer!

          I disagree. It is Amazon by miles and miles and miles.

          1. Steve H.

            Exploring the metrics a bit:

            Union Carbide: Bhopal disaster: exposed a half-million people to methyl isocyanate; over 2k immediate death, nearly 20k direct mortality. Thousands blinded. Teratogenic DNA damage to survivors causing severe poor development to male offspring for following generations.

            Despite Obama’s undercutting habeas corpus, and bailing out the banks at the expense of the middle class and 100x the cost, Bush Jr told lies that cost over a million dead.

            How much suffering would the ISDS have caused? Complex path dynamics make metrics fuzzy. I submit primary and secondary mortality are hard numbers with enough secondary suffering to form the core of estimates of evil. (See 9/11)

    3. ewmayer

      Note re. the outages – I live in Marin but near sea level, our power stayed on last night. Apparently the power outage last night was only in selected high-wind (ridgetop, mainly) areas of the various counties, not including us lowlanders.

      But yes, there is more than a bit of corporate welfare at work here – all those years of slashed tree-trimming and other maintenance budgets were thoroughly privatized, now that the multiple resulting disasters have driven the Looting Operation into bankruptcy the make-up-for-lost-time costs are being thoroughly socialized amongst us ratepayer-deplorables.

    4. Procopius

      Iraq? Didn’t the U.S. Army hold a party there in 2003 which trashed their power grid? I seem to recall that was one of the things L. Paul Bremer was trying to sell off and nobody wanted to take on the problems of repairing it. If fact I kind of think one reason for the current riots protests there is because they still don’t have reliable electricity

  10. s.n.

    Jeddah station fire: why were people on the roof?

    …The roof covering consisted of fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) panels which burned fiercely and emitted huge clouds of black smoke. One question this raises is why a station supposedly built according to the highest and most modern standards had been fitted with a flammable roof…

    …A more mundane theory suggested by several posts in Arabic on Twitter is that the fire was started accidentally by maintenance workers. According to one of these tweets welding work was being carried out on the station ceiling and the alarm system had been turned off (presumably to avoid a false alarm triggered by the welding). . ….

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Safety standards in building in Saudi Arabia are a joke – there are videos on YouTube of explosive demolitions of tall buildings taking place within just a few meters of roads with traffic moving well within debris range – and there have been some very serious fires (including ones involving the sort of flammable plastic cladding involved in the recent London disaster). Its entirely credible that a contractor simply used the cheapest roofing possible without any regulator to stop them, a little bakhseesh would have lubricated any problems.

        1. Procopius

          Allah is merciful. Jesus saves. Chthulhu thinks you’d make a tasty sandwich.
          — anonymous, circa 1998

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Why democracy is crumbling in the West” ‘People are increasingly relegating decision-making to the elites and limiting their democratic participation to voting.’

    I have read this article and the gist seems to be that it is all voter’s fault for democracy failing. Ummmm – no! What has actually happened is that elites have seized control of the political levers, side-lined people, and then ignore their wants & needs but only fulfill the wants of the elites themselves. And that the main stream media in these countries have sold out and repeat what the elites what and ignore the people themselves as being unworthy.
    I would go further and state that both Brexit and Trump are the direct result of the desperation of the electorates for democracies to be heard. To go even further, the fights that we are seeing in the US and the UK are really all about fights between different sets of elites with average people struggling to be heard. At core, representative democracy no longer works. At the end of the day you have to ask who exactly they are representing and the answer is typically nobody that you know.

      1. jrs

        It’s called populism when a very vocal minority want something but the majority actually don’t want it.

        1. LifelongLib

          I would have said more or less the opposite — it’s called populism when it’s something that the majority wants but is costly for some well-connected minority e.g. Medicare for All…

    1. a different chris

      >are increasingly relegating decision-making to the elites

      Yeah I remember when Obama called me about the Middle East and I said “Dude just do what you think is best”. Remind me to call Toomey and Casey this afternoon to give them some guidance, I’ve obviously been remiss.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      At core, representative democracy no longer works


      No longer works – meaning it used to work, if not ideally, better than now.

      That answers those want us to believe we can’t criticize totalitarian regimes (because we are not democratic ouselves), even for those of us wanting to get it back to working again.

      And they would have a point, if it has never worked, which is in contrast with the above (it no longer works, now).

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Recall what the ancients, and our Founders, thought about democracy.

        The Founders even set up a system where uneducated farmers and local homesteaders would vote to elect informed smart guys to go to DC and choose the president for them.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Even smart guys (and gals) don’t find things in DC easy to deal with, as we witness lawyers (hired by the also-smart guys and gais whe send to represent us) sort out the messy situation about Trump’s impeachment (or non-impeachment).

          Simpler, and not as messy, would be when some one single person or leader ‘accepts’ a new territory that has voted to leave the country of which it is currently a part, without going through a similarly messy situation (as the one in DC) of having its highest court deciding whether that country’s constitution would allow such a departure outcome or not.

  12. ddt

    Nothing about Turkey starting to shoot up the Kurds in Northern Syria. Went to moon of Alabama yesterday and what I understood the sentiment to be is that the Kurds deserve what’s coming to them for aligning with the US. They truly can do no right (and their only friend is the mountains. Unfortunately Erdogan has them on the flats for easy pickings).

    My understanding is also that a Clinton presidency may have granted them statehood so they’d be a ‘second Israel in the region.’

    What do folks think on this thread? I hope Erdo gets a few sucker punches that at least tone down his regional bullying but seriously doubt it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If you look at a map, not one of their neighbouring countries is friendly to them and the whole project of an independent Kurdish Syria would only be an artificial construct that would need a constant US presence to keep it going. Politicians like Clinton can make all the decrees that they want about granting countries statehood but in the end, it is geography that usually has the last word. It was the same with the Kurds in Iraq who made a power play and grabbed part on Iraqi territory but as soon as conditions allowed, the Iraqis put them back in their box. I know that it sounds cruel but it is the truth.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It will sound snide, but I think “Kurds” are more defined by the existence of a diaspora, not belonging to a more regional power, and perceptions of the nation-state being triumphant as opposed to being “Kurds.” Their religious and political affiliations and languages are diverse. Geography obviously shaped it. As for a diaspora, how many Kurds will simply disappear into other countries as time progresses?

        They are too distant to be overwhelmed and assimilated into the larger cultures, and they are too cut up to form a singular identity capable of competing with the uber-city states operating out of the Baghdad, Damascus, Ankara (Constantinople), or Tehran areas. And they aren’t isolated enough to go full Switzerland. I’m vaguely convinced the EU or the UN need to form vaguely autonomous regions, strongly affiliated to avoid this cycle.

        As for a second Israel, who is going to foot the bill? Zionism was a century long project and probably needed a Holocaust and a fair amount of complicity by the West to take off.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          They originally chose Uganda as the place for New Zion but a terrorist named Moshe Dayan changed that.

          Maybe they can carve a piece of Namibia and the “Kurds” can go there. Otherwise we probably are looking at another 40 Days of Musa Dagh.

            1. Wukchumni

              Why Australia?

              The Kimberley Plan, or Kimberley Scheme, was a failed plan by the Freeland League to resettle Jewish refugees from Europe in northern Australia before and during the Holocaust.

              With rampant anti-Semitism in Europe, the Freeland League for Jewish Territorial Colonization was formed in the United States in July 1935, to search for a potential Jewish homeland and haven. The League was a non-Zionist organisation and was led by Isaac Nachman Steinberg. In late 1938 or early 1939, the pastoral firm of Michael Durack in Australia offered the League about 16,500 square kilometres (6,400 sq mi) in the Kimberley region in Australia,


    2. marym

      Re sentiment: pro-Democrat/anti-Trump twitter comments are going with humanitarian sympathy for the Kurds and anger at Trump for betraying “our allies” and leading to a resurgence of ISIS; but no regrets about the US first having created an alliance to overthrow a country’s government, created the chaos for ISIS to flourish, and let the Kurds do so much of the dying.

      Would appreciate references to good sources to follow for the current situation if anyone has recommendations.

      1. Plenue

        Because most people don’t know any of that stuff. And if you try and bring it up it’s ‘Russian fake news’.

        I use this map most often. It’s frequently updated, and pulls data from pretty much any source, including Twitter accounts of people on the ground (lots of shaky camera footage of Turkish forces on the move, and of air and artillery strikes in Northern Syria the last couple days). This means misinfo can and does get posted, and translation quality is often poor, but usually good enough to understand the point.

        There’s also this map, which is slicker but less frequently updated, and I’m dubious about who runs it:

        There’s also South Front, which is not considered a credible source around here. They’re unapologetically pro-Russian and don’t even pretend at being neutral or objective, but they produce good maps on a regular basis.

      2. Procopius

        I don’t think there’s any prospect of ISIS “resurging.” There’s no telling what the CIA will do, of course, but Saudi Arabia and UAE might have different priorities now. Qatar had already ended their financing and weapons shipments before the blockade against them, and they don’t seem to be likely to ally with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia again in the near future. Of course Turkey might support them, but they don’t really have the resources KSA and UAE did. I might be wrong, of course, but I think the talk of “a resurgence of ISIS” is brought to you by the same people who said if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was brought to New York for trial terrorists would attack and kill us all in our beds.

    3. Massinissa

      We cant just camp our troops there indefinitely. There’s no real way to make a Kurdish state viable. Furthermore, protecting the kurds was not the mission objective for having our troops in the region in the first place.

    4. Plenue

      I find it hard to have any sympathy for either side. Erdogan and his weird neo-Ottoman dreams are a nonstarter, but I find the Kurds and their eagerness to seize lands they have little or no claim to, as well as being US proxies, similarly unsympathetic. It’s not a pleasant sight, watching these two groups fight over what is still part of Syria.

      Practically speaking, the Kurds are screwed. They’re a light infantry force, one that was already heavily mauled in the city fighting against ISIS. They’ll probably do okay against the ‘Free Syrian Army’s Turkish proxies, but they won’t last long against the regular Turkish military. And if they haven’t already, the Arab elements of the ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ will melt away and abandon the Kurds. Their only hope is to work something out with the Syrian government.

  13. pjay

    Re ‘The New Yorker’s Partisan Attempt to Refute Its Claim of Partisan Disinformation’ – Consortiumnews

    I am grateful that Joe Lauria himself chose to answer Jane Mayer’s latest self-immolation. As Lauria points out, Mayer leaves out inconvenient facts and distorts others by linking them to right-wing sources that she knows will be rejected out of hand by “liberal” New Yorker readers. As with her Russiagate articles, the skewing of information and stating questionable assertions as fact is striking.

    Watching journalists like Mayer discredit a career of great work in this way is one of the most depressing aspects of this whole farce.

    1. barrisj

      In a partial defense of Mayer’s thesis, remember that much of the former Hill writer John Solomon’s source for the Bidens articles was the Ukraine ex- prosecutor Viktor Lutsenko, who was being cultivated by Rudy Giuliani all the way back in 2017 for Biden “dirt”. Lutsenko’s allegation to Solomon that former US Ambassador Marie Yovanovich presented him a “do not prosecute” list was later walked back entirely by Lutsenko, and who knows how many other “facts” published by Solomon were tainted? Too much self-dealing and outright fabrication had and continues to go on amongst the various principals here, and we are a long distance removed from the actual truths here, in all their ramifications.

      1. pjay

        Most of the relevant “facts” reported by Solomon have been verified by other sources — including the NY Times. Mayer almost admits this if you read her article *very* closely, but like most of the MSM she explains this away. Lutsenko is not very reliable, but he is not really a crucial source on the main points. Solomon may have been burned by him, but again that does not affect the main issues. Mayer’s “thesis” is basically that Biden’s malfeasance is a “conspiracy theory” created by the right-wing “echo chamber” that has been thoroughly “discredited.” This is absolutely false. I would not be surprised if Giuliani was trying to dig up dirt in the Ukraine; the Democrats certainly were, and were successful. Trump’s conversation with Zelensky may have been unwise, but it was clearly about more than getting dirt on Biden. It was also, and more importantly, about the Ukrainian role in the Russiagate operation. To me, that is an extremely important issue, and a legitimate one.

        We now have the MSM declaring the likes of John Brennan as a valiant hero defending the Republic (see Chuck Todd’s disgusting display on the last Meet the Press). To me, this is scary as hell. Brennan and Clapper were key sources in Mayer’s ridiculous Russiagate articles. Let me state this plainly. In my opinion, Mayer’s recent work suggests that she is either a useful idiot or a witting accomplice to what is essentially a coup attempt by elements of the elite and the intelligence community. I guess this makes me a “conspiracy theorist.”

        As several commenters have been saying lately, I really, really, really hate being put in a position of defending Trump. But as bad as he is, he is *not* the most despicable actor in this increasingly surreal farce.

    1. xkeyscored

      Thanks. I’d only add this.
      From the Forbes article: “But unlike biofuels, CE fuel doesn’t take much land space.” But all the energy it requires would come from somewhere, and even nuclear energy takes up some land, not to mention the land degraded by mining uranium and used for storing the radioactive waste, etc..
      From the Renewable Energy World piece, “the transition away from our current societal dependence on depleting, climate-changing fossil fuels will almost certainly entail a redesign of our economic system so that it no longer depends on constant growth.” Understated, IMGAUW, but more like it.

  14. a different chris

    >California faces historic power outage due to fire danger

    And approx. 3000 outages in PA at the moment. But the problem with wind/solar power is that they are “intermittent”. Um, OK.

    Nobody reasonably expects full power full time. And I can’t remember a single nuke plant maintenance outage that came back up on schedule when I was in the industry. So what is the “reliability” argument about, again?

  15. Seth Miller

    Re: the White House letter

    I have to disagree with Yves on this. The “due process” claim is garbage. Laughable even. There’s no life, liberty or property interest at issue, and Trump is not being “deprived”. The investigation of a potential charge does not trigger any procedural protections. The trial in the Senate, if one should happen, provides all of the process that is due, including the complained-about right to call witnesses, and right to cross-examine. Because those protections will be available, there’s no due process violation.

    The only point the letter effectively makes is that the Dems are treating this one differently than past impeachments, and that the likely reason is politics. The quotes from Nadler are particularly sharp on that point. What the White House doesn’t say, and cannot say, is that going slower, or giving the Repubs subpoena power, or holding a vote before commencing the investigation, would make any difference to the outcome.

    1. voteforno6

      I’m inclined to agree with you. I think the issue here is much more fundamental – does Congress have the right to conduct oversight of the executive branch, particularly the President? Clearly, Trump doesn’t think so.

      There is this perception out there that we have three co-equal branches of government. That is not true. Congress, by design, has more power than the Executive and judiciary. In practice, it has ceded much of its power to the executive over the past several decades. Trump is certainly testing the outer boundaries of just how much of this power has been ceded. As reluctant as Pelosi has been to directly confront Trump over this, I don’t think she has any choice but to take this head-on.

      While I remain skeptical on whether his call to Ukraine’s president is worthy of impeachment (at the very least, it was sleazy), I do think that this refusal to cooperate with the investigation in Congress in any way is grounds for impeachment. Congress has legitimate oversight responsibility over the government, to include the executive, and Trump is clearly denying that they have any right to do so.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Adding detail: If you read the Constitution, it repeatedly phrases restrictions on government as “Congress shall make no law,” and similarly in defining is powers. Overall, the effect is that Congress IS the government – they were used to a parliamentary system, even if they didn’t want to imitate it. The President was to be an administrator, and the court’s power to invalidate laws isn’t in the Constitution.

        As it turns out, Congress didn’t want all that responsibility.

      2. Skip Intro

        Does congress really have oversight power/responsibility for a President’s exercise of foreign policy other than its role in ratifying treaties? What is your basis, if so, for believing this?

    2. Carolinian

      The source of Trump’s argument is probably that Andrew McCarthy article in the Hill that said that Trump will appeal the subpoenas and the courts will likely side with him because they consider precedent even if the Dems say it doesn’t matter. The notion that Trump will not be given any rights during this “grand jury” phase will likely also weigh with the courts says McCarthy, a bigshot lawyer.

      And even if that’s not true the optics are terrible. Why doesn’t Nancy just hold a vote? Whatever the Founders intended it surely wasn’t that politcal factions can wage war via impeachment. If Trump has genuinely committed impeachable offenses then surely some Republicans will be added to the Dem majority.

      1. Procopius

        I believe Nancy doesn’t want to hold a vote because a lot of the Blue Dogs and New Democrats are unreliable. She knows how to count votes, and she doesn’t have 218 yet.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I disagree. She doesn’t want to hold a vote because Trump is valuable both for fundraising and with the quiet part loud it distracts from her own issues as leader, and she has no particular interest in governing.

          With demographics, an impeached but remaining President would demand Pelosi actually pretend she has a job that requires more work than cocktail parties and yelling at the kids to get off the lawn. A failed impeachment process or one that takes them through a nomination is preferable when she can say, “keep the powder dry and eye on the prize,” repeating their process from previous entries.

    3. John k

      Why not call a vote?
      Presumably bc dems would lose a vote if one was held bc purple dems would not support… no doubt this has been checked w secret votes in the caucus. Purple dems often brag in their districts that they support the pres.
      So all they can do is subpoena from committees w majority of blue dems, satisfying base calls to make trump go away by any means, whether deep coup or whatever… and avoid the humiliating possibility that he repeats at the ballot box… we know we can’t trust the deplorables…

      Have to assume tds hysteria grows as the election nears. Meanwhile donors threaten to support trump if warren wins nom, worse if it’s sanders, and dnc loves its donors above all others… gotta push Biden over the line…
      Biden trump is the closest repeat of 2016 possible without herself… wait, what was that definition of insanity? And bear in mind trump is sitting pres…

      1. barrisj

        Have to agree about the “due process” business…impeachment is a political not a legal procedure. And clearly, Trump and his lawyers are calling Pelosi’s bluff here by not only ignoring subpoenas, preventing Administration personnel from appearing before any of the three committees charged with hearings, but also simply stating that they consider the whole exercise illegitimate. Now, for if no other reason than the PR of it all, the House Leadership should call for an impeachment vote of the whole House, and take that (non)argument out of Trump’s hands. Then – and more importantly – use the full authority of Congress to force compliance by any means necessary of witnesses and documents to appear before and delivered to respectively the relevant Committees whence the demands come. The House is on firm constitutional ground for moving the process along…that is, if the Demos are completely serious about going the distance on impeachment hearings. The Cipollone letter is the best and the only strategy Trump can adopt…”see ya in court” puts the onus right back upon Pelosi et al to go long or go home. Whole lot more to play out here.

    1. xkeyscored

      Science Alert:
      Rather than a centralised nervous system such as vertebrates have, two-thirds of an octopus’s neurons are spread throughout its body, distributed between its arms. And now scientists have determined that those neurons can make decisions without input from the brain.
      How Stuff Works:
      It turns out the brain may simply delegate orders, while the arm is responsible for deciding exactly how to execute the order. Essentially this means that the brain can give a quick assignment to the arm and then not have to think about it anymore. Scientists tested this by severing the nerves in the arms from other nerves in the body and brain and then tickling the arms. Amazingly, the arms responded to the tickling just as they would in a healthy octopus.

      1. pretzelattack

        i can’t hardly wait to see grown up cthulhu in jerry’s skybox, happily snacking away.
        cthulhu/little cthulhu 2020.

  16. thump

    re: Carbon Engineering article. Granted I gave it only a quick skim, but my impression is that they are running the chemical reactions from burning in reverse, i.e., instead of combining with oxygen to produce energy and CO2, they take CO2 and energy to make fuel. However, I didn’t see that the article mention what their energy source is, now how energy-efficient it is (EROI).

    1. xkeyscored

      It is basically burning in reverse, and it isn’t energy efficient.
      See the link in Asher Miller’s comment above if you’re interested.
      The removal process is highly energy-intensive, requiring both electricity and fuel. …
      To remove all current emissions—which would be necessary to prevent the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere from continuing to rise—the equivalent of 75 percent of all U.S. electricity consumption in 2017 would be needed. This is just for the fans, and does not count the energy needed for the pumps, motors, and compressors in the system. …
      the pilot plant currently uses fuel (8.8 GJ of natural gas, or 7600 cubic feet, per tonne of CO2), mainly to run the calciner unit that removes CO2 from calcium carbonate. (CBC reporting notes that the process emits a half tonne of CO2 for each tonne captured.) …
      The process might be considered in a situation where a liquid fuel is absolutely necessary (maybe for backup generators in hospitals). But it is certainly not the answer to large-scale substitution of hydrocarbon liquids.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      (Everyone) doing nothing (as in, sitting quitely in a room) would do a great deal in not emitting more carbon* (constrasting with everyone running around sweating exercising, driving, flying, etc).

      *admittedly, not the same as removing carbon, the current top under discussion.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s a big prison – no one has escaped from the planet (yet).

          “You can do a lot to improve the situation by doing nothing.”

  17. Louis

    With respect to articles like the one in New York Magazine, I don’t contest the fact that the costs of housing and healthcare have risen faster than wages, putting a lot o people on the brink.

    Rather, the problem I have with articles like these is that it seems like nearly everyone–from those making minimum-wage to those making 6 figures–regards themselves as “middle-class,” making “middle-class” a fairly meaningless term.

    1. jrs

      Regardless of what income figure it was it would be completely meaningless if not adjusted for location anyway wouldn’t it? Of course household incomes kind of need to be adjusted for family size also. Two income couples will generally pull down more than singles. Of course if they have 6 kids, they’ll also need it.

      Without adjusting for cost of living statements like “everyone–from those making minimum-wage to those making 6 figures–regards themselves as “middle-class” are also meaningless. If the cost of living is high, people making minimum-wage definitely do not regard themselves as middle class, but actually it’s not a living wage ANYWHERE, it’s just less of it some places than others. And some places 6 figures is almost the bare bottom minimum you need to afford “middle class” things like buying a home. So I understand why someone just making the mortgage might see themselves as middle class, they just don’t always realize most people around them will never be able to buy property.

    2. jrs

      And it’s more than “we let our social welfare institutions grow too outdated” as in the article. Sure but we also design bad programs from the get go right here and now.

      The ACA for instance, among it’s other flaws, really sucks to deal with an economy of precarity. Because you try to get coverage (such as it is) but this requires predicting income to predict subsidy, can’t do that with a percarious life, can’t do this with bouts of unemployment etc. It’s designed from the get go, when we know what the modern economy is, not to work with unstable economic situations almost.

  18. 3.14e-9

    Re: Amazon cloud

    everything from criminal records to tax audits. ~ Meet America’s newest military giant: Amazon

    And medical records. The VA migrated veterans’ health records to the Amazon cloud in July. The VA’s new “Community Care” app to share veterans’ records with outside providers also is on the cloud, apparently since January. Last month the VA sent letters to veterans saying that all of their health information would be shared with non-VA providers without their express permission, unless they signed an opt-out form and either mailed or hand-carried it to their VA medical center.

    The VA also migrated to AWS the “MyHealtheVet” web-based app for veterans to refill prescriptions, secure-message their VA providers, and view health records generated by the VA (we still have to fight for months to see records from non-VA providers).

    Veterans who have been protesting the VA’s decision to use their information without their consent are getting push-back, even from other veterans, who insist that it’s just routine sharing of medical information, and by standing in the way, we’re delaying the ability of other veterans to get the care they need, blahblahblah. Well, guess again: Last December, just as everyone was leaving for Christmas vacation, the VA published a notice in the Federal Register about the Community Care app, called HealthShare Referral Manager, with a long list of all the things they could with your VA information that aren’t related to medical treatment. Doing illegal drugs, or just thinking about it? Suspected of a crime? Been accused of illegal discrimination at work? All fair game. Complete list at link below. Public comment period was 30 days, and of course, given the timing, there were no comments.

    None of this was included in the big Mission Act rule that came out in January. I found it only because I’ve been researching the issue on my own. FYI, there’s a lawsuit, which has at least forced the VA to push back the opt-out deadline. Still, I don’t hold out much hope that, once my information is the Amazon cloud, I will have any control over who gets it or what they do with it.

  19. barrisj

    Re: Trump and bombing in Afghanistan…posted the below article several days ago, but I don’t believe it ever got out of moderation:

    Civilian Deaths in U.S. Wars Are Skyrocketing Under Trump. It May Not Be Impeachable, but It’s a Crime.

    Anyone interested in the integrity of American democracy should welcome such accountability. And yet there are even more consequential reasons why Trump should be the object of our moral outrage. Not least among them are his central role in the violent deaths of thousands of innocent people.

    Since his emergence as a political figure, Trump has promised that if he ever attained power, he would use the U.S. military to inflict a massive bloodletting on others, including noncombatants. Unlike other campaign promises, Trump has delivered on this one. Since taking office, he has presided over skyrocketing rates of civilian casualties in America’s many foreign conflicts. Beneath the hue and cry of the impeachment announcement, more people are dying in wars that are being waged as Trump promised, with more brutality than ever.
    Does this matter? Do the extremely violent deaths of innocent people — wedding guests and farmers in distant countries — factor into the moral calculus we use to judge Trump as being fit or unfit for office? The American public seems only dimly interested in the ramped-up killings that have taken place on his watch. The whole thing has become routine. The Jewish historian Raul Hilberg once observed the banality of bureaucratic killing in a different time and place: Germany during the 1940s. “Most bureaucrats composed memoranda, drew up blueprints, talked on the telephone, and participated in conferences,” Hilberg wrote about the society that collectively helped carry out a genocide. “They could destroy a whole people by sitting at their desks.”

    The U.S., for many reasons, is profoundly different from that regime. But Hilberg’s words are still an uncomfortable reminder of how terrible violence can become so ordinary we don’t even notice it, or let it factor into our moral image of ourselves. Even if Trump never shoots anyone directly, he and his administration are responsible for deaths on a scale that screams at us to take notice. If Trump is going to be impeached, don’t fool yourself that what he’s allegedly done to Hunter Biden is the worst crime he committed while in office.

    Trump has turned these wars entirely over to the Pentagon, who respond in a manner that has characterized US military involvement in other countries, which is to say a combination of massive aerial warfare plus the “collateral damage” factor, i.e., one can’t have one without the other. And there is no domestic constituency for “cease-and-desist” of this particular indiscriminate military violence, unfortunately.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      The people who should have been impeached over that were W and Cheney. Don’t see one could impeach Trump over it after letting them off the hook for a myriad of war crimes.

      1. JBird4049

        As well as Obama and probably Biden. But criminally prosecuted for war crimes. There there is Bloody Gina Haspel, Paul Wolfowitz of Arabia, John “Torture is Legal” Yoo, Donald Rumsfeld, maybe Paul Bremer. The list is a long, long list of war criminals, war profiteers, and just corrupt officials spanning two decades and three administrations. As much as I loath the Orange Wonder, he is last person, not the first to be sent to the docks.

  20. Oregoncharles

    “FBI’s Use of Surveillance Database Violated Americans’ Privacy Rights: Court” – goes to WSJ, not The Hill.

  21. xkeyscored

    OMG, you just can’t parody this Brexit stuff.
    I had imagined a comedy skit revolving around toilet paper scarcity.
    Our MPs have got there first!
    Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards … wrote: “To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how long supplies of toilet paper will last in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal?”

  22. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Remember the FBI’s promise it wasn’t abusing the NSA’s data on US citizens? Well, guess what…

    Didn’t the courts use the CATHC-22 argument a few years back that individual citizens didn’t have standing to sue over surveillance because they could prove that they had personally been affected?

    It’s getting harder and harder for Uncle Sugar to make that claim.

  23. Wukchumni

    What’s the longest any city dwellers on here have gone with the power being off for an extended period of time?

    1. Roy G

      NYC Blackout in 2004, 3+ days if I remember correctly. It was a PITA and a hardship, but also kind of fun in a way, as it forced us to disconnect from the grid and connect with the neighbors and the neighborhood.

    2. ambrit

      I would not count us as “City Dwellers” for some time now, but the aftermath of Katrina was the record. I think it was weeks, if not months before power was restored. More if I can find a reliable link on this travesty known as Google.

      1. JBird4049

        PG&E is threatening as much as five days after cutting off power in order to check lines for debris or potential problems. Something that I thought my oversized bill was supposed to cover them doing before problems, wind, and fires happened.

        1. ambrit

          I hope the NCers in the affected regions will take time to ‘secure’ their frozen goods. Usually good for two days. After that, eat it all, quickly.
          The FDA weighs in:
          We ended up eating a lot of MREs and dried and tinned food. I ate the tinned stuff. Phyllis would never touch anything out of a can. Lots of beans and rice and ragouts. Squirrel and or rabbit Jambalaya was good after the fall set in.
          Because of all the people who disappeared but their bodies were not recovered, no one ate crabs for months after the storm. The storm surge also stirred up the sediments at the mouth of the Pearl River and especially the canal serving the Industrial complex nearby. As a result, the local game fish were considered to be contaminated by arsenic and mercury for quite some time after the storm.

  24. Tomonthebeach

    Socialism v Capitalism – PEW

    While reading in the PEW report explanations of why Capitalism trumps Socialism, I could not help but think to myself “This is the simple-minded crap teachers pushed on us in grammar school.” I was in grammar school in the 60s, so I also noted that most of the criticisms of socialism were from people my age or older. That gave the impression that Americans are politically naive and not very learned. Couple with that the fact that Americans rarely if ever travel overseas and it is clear why Socialism retains such a pejorative status in the American lexicon.

    1. jrs

      Traveling overseas would at most get a view of concrete implemented policies. But terms like socialism don’t actually refer to any such concrete thing half of the time. Denmark doesn’t necessarily want to be called socialist for instance. And so you get a bunch of people arguing about unrooted terminology.

      And I’m not sure any implemented policy fully addresses what we need in the face of climate change either, some policies and some countries are definitely better than others in responsive policy of course.

      1. JBird4049

        The reason people don’t want to use terms like socialism is because they have been poisoned by the propaganda of business conservatives while terms like capitalism are lauded, burnish to a bright shine. It is also like the military using the term collateral damage when they murdered innocent civilians.

        Some extremists insist all taxes are thief and building roads is socialism. Even if I was a conservative or a libertarian, it would offend me. So people insist on deliberately smearing or polluting the meaning of words. Twist the words and you change their meanings and the conversation.

        Also, it is not necessary to see how functional democracy with actual public services. Seeing how a small government, oligarchic hellhole up close is instructive. Having an actual education does too. Victorian/Dickensian Great Britain is a good example of libertarianism.

        We still have a long way to fall.

  25. Richard H Caldwell

    “California faces historic power outage extortion attempt due to P.G.&E.’s decades of deferred and ignored maintenance in blatant move to punish ratepayers for legislature daring to hold it accountable for wildfire damage.” Fixed it for ya…

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