Links 11/24/19

BREAKING NEWS: Michigan passes law ending cages for hens; first Midwestern state to do so A Humane World

Cryptoqueen: How this woman scammed the world, then vanished BBC. Former McKinsey consultant takes the punters for $4 billion with “OneCoin” cryptocurrency scheme. “The total worth of the cryptocurrency market has fallen to $139.7 billion – a staggering 80-percent-plus downswing compared to a $819 billion market cap in January 2018.” So 4 / 139.7 = 0.02863278453829635 or 2.9%. That’s impressive. As Yves has always said: Crypocurrencies are “prosecution futures” (2017). And, of course, Companies House! See our own RIchard Smith here (also 2017).

Private equity comes under fire in Washington FT. A week after the hearing? For a decidedly less rosy take, see Yves’ contemporaneous reporting here.

Data Enrichment, People Data Labs and Another 622M Email Addresses Troy Hunt

Driverless car groups look past the engineering challenge FT. I’ll bet they do.

Amazon files lawsuit contesting Pentagon’s $10 billion cloud contract to Microsoft Reuters (Re Silc).

Former PG&E employee says he was fired after wildfire safety complaints San Francisco Chronicle

A Solar ‘Breakthrough’ Won’t Solve Cement’s Carbon Problem Wired. But it would ameliorate them.

Burger King is running out of zesty sauce because of climate change TreeHugger (Re Silc).

Ecommerce sites’ mobile templates hide information that shoppers use to save money Boing Boing

Why Lifesaving Drugs May Be Missing on Your Next Flight NYT. “Citing chronic drug shortages, however, the Federal Aviation Administration has granted airlines exemptions that permit passenger planes to fly without a complete medical kit if the airlines say they cannot replenish the drugs.”


UK’s Johnson pitches ‘Christmas present’ Brexit push in manifesto Daily Mail

The End of the United Kingdom May Be Nearing Bloomberg

Do Not Despair of This Election Craig Murray

How the Leader of the OAS Became a Right-Wing Hawk—And Paved the Way for Bolivia’s Coup In These Times

Imposing Control Through Fire and Blood (interview) Álvaro García Linera, Tribune


Despite threats, Iraq’s medical volunteers keep protests alive Al Jazeera

Turkey Cracks Down on Cyanide Sale After Mass Killings, Suicides Bloomberg. In this country, we prescribe oxycontin for deaths of despair, not cyanide!


How Hindu Nationalism Came to Rule Jacobin

Intimations of an Ending Arundhati Roy, Caravan

Joyous scenes as Bougainville independence vote starts Japan Times

Halal certification bodies clear up confusion over Christmas greetings on food Jakarta Post

Game of Thrones in Malaysia The Interpeter

Where the Carbon Flows: Singapore’s Emissions in a Global Context New Naratif


Hong Kong District Council election: Polls open amid high security, as protesters vow to win at ballot box Hong Kong Free Press. From the piece, ballots are hand-marked. I am not sure that they are hand-counted in public. From this image, it looks like it.

Factbox: What Hong Kong voters say about district council elections Reuters

Hong Kong’s piano man changes his tune to protest anthem Reuters

* * *

Defecting Chinese spy offers information trove to Australian government The Age but China says alleged spy in Australia is a fraudster FT

Donald Trump’s America Can’t Fight Xi Jinping’s China James Palmer, Foreign Policy

In South Korea, Chinese and Korean students are clashing over Hong Kong protests SCMP


A Split Decision From Congress Will Leave Voters With Final Say on Trump NYT. Quelle horreur….

A snapshot from Wisconsin highlights Democrats’ challenges on impeachment WaPo

Here is What the Horowitz Report Should Conclude Larry Johnson, Sic Semper Tyrannis

The First Glimpse into Horowitz’s FISA-Abuse Report Andrew McCarthy, National Review

John Bolton announces his next move will be Pac amid calls to testify Guardian. Perhaps Bolton considers the House beneath him.

Impeachment bombshell: Col. Mustard testimony puts Trump in the library with candlestick Duffel Blog (JT McPhee).


Fighting Words Ryan Grim, The Intercept. “Warren is not just glomming onto a movement, but hoping to reorient it from a broad force of resistance to Trump into a fighting force for economic justice.”

Pennsylvania To Spend $3M To Study Possible Link Between Fracking And Spike In Childhood Cancer KDKA

Evers signs bill making it a felony to trespass on pipelines WAOW. A Democrat.

Floods could be leaking pollution from Superfund sites in Charleston area. Post and Courier

Our Famously Free Press

The death knell for local newspapers? It’s perilously close. Margaret Sullivan, WaPo

Health Care

Ralph Nader: American Seniors Are Being Duped Truthdig. Medicare Advantage, a Bush-era neoliberal infestation, supported by Democrats, now a new line of defense against #MedicareForAll, via loss aversion.

Sports Desk

How NBA executive Jeff David stole $13 million from the Sacramento Kings ESPN

Class Warfare

How America’s Elites Lost Their Grip Time

When a deep red town’s only grocery closed, city hall opened its own store. Just don’t call it ‘socialism.’ WaPo

LA Has More Vacant Homes Than Homeless People, Report Finds LAist (JB4049).

Attacks on scholars worldwide raise concern Nature

Modern Monetary Theory: A Tool for the Global South? (interview) Fadhel Kaboub, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung

Antidote du jour (via):

“A herd of elephants marched 12 hours to the house of Lawrence Anthony after he died – the man who saved them. They stayed there silent for two days. Exactly one year after his death, to the day, the herd marched to his house again.”

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Olga

    Imposing Control Through Fire and Blood (interview) Álvaro García Linera, Tribune

    A must-read to start understanding what happened in Bolivia.
    When all else fails – bribe the army. Worked in Iran in 1953, still works.
    The only consolation may be that this will turn into a giant “lesson learned” for future progressives.

    And the elephant story is great. We jut aren’t smart enough to know the animal kingdom.

    1. Joe Well

      I doubt it will be a “lesson learned” for US progressives. So many are intent on antagonizing the police and the military just for the sake of it, when you need at least one to achieve or thwart any coup or revolution, especially when you have the intelligence services 100% against you.

      I’m not just talking about campus leftists or keyboard warriors, but DSA types. And they want to talk about working class solidarity without mentioning that the police are generally viewed as occupying a space between the working class and the middle class, exactly what DSA-style leftists usually want to be.

        1. DFTBS

          I don’t think Alvaro Linares meant that the existing structures of coercion and capitalist state oppression have to be included in the revolution. Rather, that in order for the progressive/Left/socialist/revolutionary movement to consolidate its achievements it can’t shy away from the necessities of force.

          The difference between the resilience of the Venezuelan Chavista model vs. The speed with which Evo and the MAS were shown the door was what Chavez called “la union civico-militar”. He saw the FANB as the cornerstone of the revolution and reorganized the Venezuelan armed forces to defend the gains of the revolution.

          Where the Bolvian military sold itself for 30 pieces of silver; the Venezuelans respond to dollar offers like the sailors of Kronstadt did to their Tsarits officers. With the exception that they respect the rule of law and so Juan Guaido is not under arrest.

          Linares seems to understand that the Latin pink tide was perhaps foolish in placing its hopes in Yankee sponsored democracy. We shall see what happens in 2020 with Argentina, will the Fernandez-Kirchner government be allowed to take power.

          From Central America, down to Colombia and the length of the old Inca empire and across the jungle to Brazil; the colonies of the EEUU are in revolt. Hopefully the people of the region find the liberation that’s eluded them outside of Havana or Caracas for the past 500 years.

          1. jsn

            The Basij in Iran exist for the same reason.

            Like them or not revolutions or revolutionary change persists where the violence of what’s being overthrown is understood and planned for.

        2. Doug SJ

          Bassmule: Does that number mean something? How many were suicide by cop? How many were people with warrants for significant jail time? How many were idiots who think it’s a good idea to challenge police after being pulled over somewhere dark at 3am? Im the last person to be a likely victim of police violence, but you know what happens if I get pulled over? Yes sirs start falling out of my mouth like it’s boot camp. Because, duh… more of these knuckle heads are being created everytime someone paints police ad the enemy. “Resist” right? Btw, have you seen the new movie being advertised right now about the black bonnie and clyde who become folk heroes after killing a cop. Get ready for that 810 to jump up.

            1. Lost in OR

              Nice response. Well, maybe not so nice. Let’s just start with a minimum level of respect. Doug does have the right to be wrong, doesn’t he. And you’re more likely to get respect when you show respect.

              Yes, the constitution has been trashed and cops have been militarized. And they are the coercive blunt force of the 10% and status quo.

              They are also the last-course solution for all the social issues we refuse to deal with. Mental health, homelessness, poverty, the unemployed, drugs, and on and on. It’s all been dumped in their lap. Perhaps if we addressed these issues forthrightly that death-count would go down.

              If you mistake respect for boot-licking, best of luck to ya.

              1. bob

                You’re serious? Any numbers presented don’t mean anything. They’re not respectful.

                Keep presenting yourself as ‘reasonable’. See how far that passive-agressive nonsense gets you.

                “They are also the last-course solution for all the social issues we refuse to deal with.”

                They are not a solution, unless you consider dead people a solution. That’s not reasonable.

                1. LifelongLib

                  They may not be solutions, but it’s still true that cops (and sometimes docs) end up stuck with the problems that the rest of us won’t or can’t deal with…

                2. WheresOurTeddy

                  there are 2 kinds of cops:
                  there are dirty cops and there are the cops that don’t turn them in.

                  they deserve the same amount of respect they show the public, which is usually none.

              2. scarn

                Doug argued explicitly that people die because they don’t comply, and that this is their fault. That sort of Fascist dismissal of police murder deserves absolutely no respect. It’s utterly despicable. I’d agree that police shouldn’t be dealing with anything on your list. That still doesn’t justify a single police murder.

                I know the difference between respect and boot-licking. I’ve been arrested many times, done jail time, paid thousands of dollars in fines, had police point guns at me twice, stared down lines of riot police, been pepper sprayed, tied up, beaten across my upper arms to the point that I couldn’t move my left arm more than 30 degrees for months – all for exercising my constitutional right to protest, or for “tresspassing”, or for attempting to interfere in police mis-deeds, or for protesting prison conditions. Believe me, I know exactly what cops are like, and what their job description is, and who they serve.

                1. Doug SJ

                  Haha. Thank you for putting a face on my point. You self describe as the type of person most people expect the police to deal with. That you find yourself innocently in the crosshairs of police on the regular should have clued you into the fact that you’re doing it wrong a long time ago. On the other hand, perhaps you are a warrior for peace and its your destiny to become a martyr for the cause, in which case I thank you for your sacrifice.

                  1. bob

                    You are a fascist. That’s all you have to say. Obey authority or die. Those are the two choices in your hell world.

                  2. scarn

                    Uh, all of that happened at political protests, or once while handing out supplies to homeless people. “Innocence” for fascists is a category defined by the acceptance of oppression, so in that sense no I’m proudly guilty.

                  3. WheresOurTeddy

                    if someone calls you a fascist and your response starts with “haha”, you need to evolve. a lot.

                2. martell

                  Correct me if I am wrong, but this comment looks to be in violation of site policy. The second sentence, the one about “Fascist dismissal,” is a textbook example of an ad hominem. It’s a case of hominem abusive, to be precise.

                  It would have been better to dispute the claim about non-compliance with counterexamples or challenge the claim as unsupported by evidence.

                  1. scarn

                    Why is it the big brain logic sticklers always come out in defense of right wing positions, and rarely understand their own terms, hmm?

                    Since you are unable to unwrap the implicit argument in the first two sentences of my comment and above, I’ll be a bit more explicit. Cops kill a lot of people. Cops hurt a lot of people. Cops create human suffering as officers of the state. Doug says that victims don’t matter because they either suicided on purpose (no evidence), or because noncompliance with police instructions is obviously going to lead to state violence, and everyone knows that. He states this as though it is a simple fact of human existence, and not a contingent social relation invented by the civilization we inhabit. It is, in fact, a moral good – innocence is compliance with the authority of the state, and if state violence finds you, then you deserve it. Good people like him are compliant, and only fools or underserving criminals challenge the authority of the state. Leaving aside all evidence to the contrary (and he certainly provides none), just deductively that is not valid or true. But it is fascist down to the bone. Why? Because of class relations. The cops are the troops of capitalism, busy about its enforcement. If you are going to argue (badly) that violent enforcement of capitalist class relations is a moral good, and that those class relations are “just how things are”, and that non-compliance with the officers of those class relations deserves death….I mean you gotta another label?

                    I can’t believe I even have to say this stuff on a left leaning site, tbh.

                    1. Lost in OR

                      Scarn, do us all a favor and use people’s actual words with quotes when you quote them. Otherwise, it’s just you.

                      The trajectory of bad energy in this discussion is amazing. Nobody has suggested that cops have an open season on citizens or protesters or blacks or anybody.

                      They (cops) are not a single entity. Don’t paint them all with the same brush.

                      If it’s me you’re accusing of being right wing you might be right. My usual claim is that “I’m so far left I’m right” so I don’t know. Get over the right wing/left wing mindset. Life (like this “left leaning site, tbh”) is way more complicated than that.

                      Take a chill pill, man. And have a better day.

                    2. bob

                      We’ve got to understand the cops. We need to hear from both sides.

                      This is blue lives matter BS. The vast majority of cops are not heros. More than anytime in my many decades on this earth you have people worshipping cops. They have their own fascist flag. White, blue and black.


                      What’s the energy of that?

                      Cops keep killing unarmed and innocent people. Lots of them. Rather than demanding some sort of accountability and change, we really need to listen to the cops. Understand them.

                      No we don’t. This is not a both sides issue. One of these sides has much more power and is doing the killing.

                  2. bob

                    I really like this stuck in here. Perfect. Calling the cops.

                    Correct me if I am wrong, but what you’re really trying to do here is to speak to the manager, no?

                    Calling someone who worships cops a fascist is not an ad hominem. It’s in the definition of the word fascist.

              3. richard

                The idea that we have an unmatched rate of police murder because too many people are dumbasses deserves all the acid scarn can dump on it.

            2. Doug SJ

              Welcome to the real world… sometimes “bootlicking” is unpleasant but necessary. You know, like when someone has a gun and it’s unclear if they are having a bad day…

                1. Doug SJ

                  Wow. Ok. All I know is getting warnings from police for doing 90mph on the highway had always seemed like a smart move. There is a difference between being respectful to someone doing their job and “bootlicking”. But then you may just be that angry guy who turns a parking ticket into a felony resisting arrest. Different strokes I guess.

                    1. Doug SJ

                      Hmmm. That’s not really what I’m saying. Common courtesy is a hallmark of civilized society. Didn’t think this was controversial but apparently you find the concept to be degrading in some way. Many other people agree with you and I think most would agree civility is in short supply these days. That being said, my overriding point is that perhaps some of the hatred for police is being amplified by media, etc. Creating an environment of us vs them. My suggestion is to demand accountability from those who abuse the public trust to the limits of the law AND acknowledge and appreciate the vast majority of police who do a very difficult job. These things are not mutually exclusive. Now me and my dog (who ironically IS a fascist) are going for a walk. Have a good day!

                  1. Hamford

                    Do you think that males of darker complexion can drive at 90 mph, knowing that after displaying “common courtesy” and exchanging some nice-eties with the troopers, they will be let off with: at worst a 25 over citation and at best a mere warning.

                    No, I believe their range of outcomes is at best a 25 over citation and at worst bleeding to death in the driver seat a la Philando Castille (a compliant driver).

                    1. WheresOurTeddy

                      he belies his idiocy and privilege by implying people are all treated the same by police, which is often a tragic assumption to have if you’re not white and male like Doug. what a tool.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                No, and no. Police are not “some person having a bad day”, they are an embodiment of the rules of our society and the way we are supposed to treat each other. They must not be afforded any leeway and deference to “have a bad day”.

                The longer we accept the erosion of justice on so many fronts the less chance we have of preserving any idea of a civil society. I for one will not be licking any boots, those boots should be licking me in gratitude for the very limited and proscribed right I bestow on them to maintain order.

                1. Jeotsu

                  And we need police that obey the law. When police are above the law, they are separate from the populace and the contempt will grow.

                  I’m very pleased that in NZ if a police car is caught by a speed camera they check the records to see if the officer was responded to an emergency call. If they weren’t they get the ticket. This means that on the motorways and side streets the police drive the speed limit.

                  I know many laws are stupid, ill-conceived, or have been deliberately written for the suppression of certain unpopular chunks of society. But for people to have any respect for the law then it must be applied broadly and fairly. This doesn’t happen in the US on large and small scales.

                  Declaring that the populace must be meek and compliant, when the sam does not apply to those with power (either from their badge or from the size of their bank account) does not make for a stable and happy society in the long term.

                2. Oh

                  Well said! I’m really sick of the cops killing innocent unarmed civilians. When they have high powered weapons they need to exercise restraint and not be cowboys.

          1. kiwi

            Right about now, if I was a police officer in New York or Los Angeles, I would be looking elsewhere for work. Other cities would be better environments for police officers.

            1. Oregoncharles

              some other cities have much better-managed and more law-abiding police depts. Yes, they would be better places to work, if you aren’t addicted to untrammeled power.

          2. marym

            Not that warrants or not saying sir are grounds for killing people, but how many were unarmed, running away, not committing a crime, hands in the air, unclothed, answering the door in their own homes, not doing anything wrong in a home police went to in error, killed by police called to help with a mental crisis, cooperating politely, begging cops not to shoot?

              1. marym

                Didn’t find any simple presentation of statistics, but here’s the results of a few minutes of searching.

                Individual examples of cops killing unarmed or other versions of non-threatening people are easy to find, though not statistics (Link to example). Such instances of shooting and killing are reported frequently year after year. Though that doesn’t constitute a comparative statistic, it is, imo, undeniable that it’s an on-going problem.

                Some general reporting focuses on racial/ethnic disparities, an important discussion, but doesn’t (at least at a quick look) facilitate understanding overall numbers (Link to example).

                On the mental health front, it may be that statistics aren’t well maintained. Here’s a general discussion (Link), but one of the links (Link) is to a post that calls for better information.

                A difficulty if one is interested in cop accountability is that it can take years before it’s known whether a cop was charged, tried, or convicted (Link to example).

                To your question about suicide-by-cop, the LA Times link above links to a study for which “Cases that police described as suicides were excluded, as were those involving a vehicle collision or accident such as an overdose or a fall.” but from the description of the sources used of the study it sounds as though it’s not a readily available statistic.

            1. Doug SJ

              The reality is we ask police to be there in places that are difficult to say the least. For the best of them. Most really do want to help the residents who have to deal with crime everyday. But to do that they are in opposition to others in the community. There are no easy answers. But this assault on cops provides a cover for people to treat them as the enemy. More disrespect equal more confrontation equals worse outcomes. The real issue is bad cops need to be rooted out and the infamous blue line destroyed forever. The greatest failure of police is their covering for the bad officers.

              1. bob

                The Royal We.

                You really like the sandwich approach. Keep stuffing the red meat between the platitudes, the cops love that!

                “There are no easy answers. But this assault on cops provides a cover for people to treat them as the enemy. More disrespect equal more confrontation equals worse outcomes”

                Let that stand by itself. WE might be able to dismiss you easier.

                  1. JBird4049

                    On police homicides or violence, it is difficult to get anything like accurate statistics. Until after Ferguson, when it was discovered by reporters, that half of police homicides went unreported to the FBI, did several organizations like the Washington Post, or the Guardian‘s series The Counted On average, 15% of fatal shootings by police are of completely unarmed people. So please understand that my figures are necessarily rough…

                    Many of those counted as “armed” had a walking stick, pocket knife pocketed, a handgun holstered or in the drawer and not in the hand, and so on. Note, with the exception of some ad hoc blogger type aggregator sites, none of this includes those choked, beaten or tasered to death.

                    As far as I can see, at least 150 people die, while being arrested, from asphyxiation from choking or being dogpiled to death (piles of police on victim, tasering, or beatings.

                    Also, none of this counts the three or more times of those injured. Even when someone is shot, there is at least a 2/3 chance that they will live. Also the broken bones or comas are not counted anywhere that I can find.

                    Also, none of the large numbers of suspicious “deaths” in jails awaiting trial or serving time for misdemeanors. Too many are much like Jeffrey Epstein, or of diabetics, heart attack victims, or those needing medications who do not get help. Sometimes for days. The very occasional death by thirst has happened.

                    Finally, gun homicides are very roughly 10,000 per a year. Since police homicides by gun is also very roughly 1,000 per a year, that means the police commit 10% or some of gun homicides.
                    Many of these victims were guilty of ‘contempt of cop” or just in the wrong place and made the cop “afraid for their life.” It is rather disturbing to keep seeing videos of someone being violently assaulted, or even shot, at a stop for speeding and the like.

                    Finally, finally(?), one of the first things you have beaten into your head learning how to shot is to >>notice what is behind the target<<. A bullet just does not stop just because you missed. No it does not. It is easy to see video, never mind read reports, of one to many police just panic firing 13-15 round magazines, and sometimes reloading again and again, because "reasons." So in an urban area, a police officer might easily send off 10-30 pieces of lead just blindly into, and past, buildings, cars, people, dogs, or into the thin air because were afraid for their life. Metal that can go through something and just keep going until it hits something else. Just WTF are they teaching police officers?

                1. WheresOurTeddy

                  low-level enforcers for The Oligarchy designed to keep you in your place

                  I wonder if Doug has ever heard the word “Oligarchy”. He certainly doesn’t know what it means.

      1. scarn

        Cops in the USA are the defenders of capital, property rights, and the status quo. It’s quite literally their job to oppose working class interests. They are the foot soldiers of class oppression. Their mafia-like unions work hand in glove with corrupt local elites to ensure that crimes committed by police go unseen and/or unpunished. They do tend to earn above median wages, and they usually are provided with pensions. That doesn’t make them “middle class” (which is an inane category in any case), but it does mean that their politics are already bought and paid for. People fear interacting with cops for a reason. Obviously, individual police differ from each other, and departments vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. There are good cops, and there are bad cops, and there are kind cops and rude cops, etc. As a group, they function as I describe.

        A working class revolutionary movement does not need the police as currently constituted to win, and should not expect anything from them except opposition. We would need to go through them or around them. Once in a position where it’s possible, we would need to clean house. Policing requires complete reform if it is going to be made to serve the people of this country instead of capitalist elites. They need to be demilitarized, there need to be national standards for interactions with the public, for mental and physical fitness, where possible domestic abusers need to be removed from departments, they need to be paid better and work less so that there is less interest in corruption, and the culture needs to be rebuilt from the bottom up. A primary issue is that police see themselves as heroic victims in a struggle against working class (and too often racialized) lawlessness instead of servants of the people, and that must change.

        1. kiwi

          Well, maybe where you live, the police will resign en masse and you can live with the resultant chaos and criminality.

          Already in California, where smaller crimes have been decriminalized, there is video of people walking into stores, taking what they want, and walking out without paying (a shoe store, so not food).

          Is that the kind of world you want?

          1. teacup

            Police in NYC a while back protested, things got better… //
            Maybe address systemic inequality and people won’t need to steal. Eric Garner’s crime was selling ‘loosies’.

            1. kiwi

              I’m sure that those guys just really, really, really needed those shoes.

              I can’t believe posters here are justifying criminality.

              Is this snark?

          2. Milton

            What’s the difference between regular folk going into a store and taking what they want vs. the elite working the system and taking what they want? I can tell you – elite theft harms me more than small job heists down the street.

            1. bob

              You’re speaking of fairness. That has NO PLACE in a discussion about justice!
              Killing the candybar thief is the only way forward!

            2. kiwi

              Down the street?

              You think that none of the theft or petty crimes will affect you? Do you think that you will never be a victim of those crimes? Do you like the idea of living in a mob-run neighborhood and being forced to pay criminals to leave you alone?

              1. bob

                Because it’s either A) we let cops keep killing unarmed, innocent people, or B) we get ruled by gangs.

                The whole premise of that false dichotomy stinks of racism.

          3. scarn

            I live in California, and I haven’t noticed a candy bar theft crime wave. Is that what they are scaring you with on facebook now, lol? You want to know the origin of “OK Boomer?” Hilarious nonsense like that.

            No clue what you are on about police resigning en masse. They want their feed trough, and will do what they are told. I want the people telling them what to do to serve the people, and stop serving the rich.

          4. richard

            “the police will resign en masse”
            so the racist, classist guys walking around with guns
            and close to zero legal accountability
            will suddenly decide to put it all down, badges and all, and walk away
            from your lips to glob’s ear say i
            (btw, when i say glob, i reference the diety in the adventure time mythos. It/her/we//he/they is entirely unrelated to lambert’s blob, to my knowledge)

        2. Doug SJ

          Police in my experience patrol rough neighborhoods dealing the problems that the neighbors scream at them to DO SOMETHING about. They aren’t there to perpetrate some conspiracy. Residents scream at city council, city council screams at mayor, mayor screams at police chief then you have an “opressive” police presence. What’s your better solution?

            1. Doug SJ

              LOL. I’ve lived in east Baltimore. You’re suggesting abolishing the police en masse. Or perhaps just policing the 7 white people who live there? Guess what, killing some black people might happen in a black neighborhood where the murder rate is approaching epidemic proportions. The 95% of people who live there who aren’t criminals would disapprove of your solution.

              1. bob

                Now your putting words in my mouth.

                Respect, bro.

                “The 95% of people who live there who aren’t criminals would disapprove of your solution.”

                95% of people in a black neighborhood want black people dead. You got anything to back that up, other than racism?

          1. scarn

            Cops do that. They also terrorize, brutalize, engage in criminal activity themselves, arbitrarily harm, and enforce the rules of capitalism. My solution is in my second paragraph in the comment above.

            Stop excusing police misconduct. It doesn’t matter if the job is hard (hard compared to what?). It doesn’t matter if the job is dangerous (though it’s about as dangerous statistically as framing houses). It doesn’t matter that cops sometimes help people or stop other violence (because that’s simply expected). None of that provides reasonable expectation of needing to worry if the cop who just pulled you over might kill you just because he’s having an off day at work. That entire social relationship is absurd, unnecessary, can be fixed, and is absolutely unacceptable. Arguing otherwise is arguing for a hyper violent authoritarian status quo with special pleading for the front line shock troops of the whole disgusting thing.

          2. Plenue

            How about addressing the underlying factors that a. lead to more crime, and b. disproportionately punish minorities for the same amount and types of crimes as whites?

            Your ‘solution’ is a hammer. The only debate you care about is how much or how little to bring that hammer down. We’ve been belligerent for decades. It. Doesn’t. Work.

            1. JBird4049

              As harsh a critic as I am of the legal system, I think is is more than “police bad” or “thieves bad.”

              A good book to start with is Ghettoside, by Jill Leovy. In addition to the bad training and increasing militarization of the police, not to mention the corruption, they are asked to solve problems using their hammer, so all problems become a nail. Also, when the police “over police and under serve” a community, the residents start to get mad at the police for their heavy handedness. The police get shoved en masse into a community and are told to do something. Solve the crime caused by decades of ills Even decent, well trained police kinda have to go “huh? How?”

              American police already have had a centuries long habit of brutality, especially in the South. Add stop and frisk, random (illegal) searches, drug and gun task forces that often start becoming drug dealers and gun dealers themselves after seeing the stacks and stacks of cash, lack of punishments for those searches, beatings, murder, and the often rampant “testilying”(perjury) in many police departments, and you start to get massive contempt of cop in the overpoliced communities.

              Black communities and poor white communities have the same dynamic. Crime happens. Do something. Something is done. The laws for the police are effectively rescinded. The police go seriously overboard and face no punishment. Reformers, especially police reformers, get punished for trying to bring back the rule of law. Rinse and repeat.

              The dislike, contempt, the hatred, and the fear just flows both ways with the police becoming an occupying army, not the police. No one will “snitch” to “them.” That can make crime worse because of the Leviathan’s police cannot punish the thieves, rapists, and murderers, the public will do it themselves, which is why a heavy police presence often does not cause a decrease in murder.

              Historically, it was only when the state was trusted enough to punish the thieves, rapists, and murders that the violence especially murders, really went down.

              If calling the police over some loud noise is likely go get someone beaten would you call them? If you know some dealer is just trying to pay his mother’s rent, would you call the police if that meant a real chance of the person being beaten or killed? Or if you or someone you know was rudely stopped, (stripped) searched in public on the off chance that you might be carrying something, whatever something was, would you call the police? The very police who have the local leadership screaming at them “to do something?”

              Or do you grab that club or that gun and have a little chat with that big, mean fellow bothering the old lady down the street?

              Rinse and repeat.

              1. Oh

                The judges are for the most part in cahoots with the brutal police. Add to this the corruption of the prosecutor’s office which recommends “training schools” for offenses in exchange for plea bargains providing lesser sentences. And how about the prison syndicates (many of them privately run) that look for more entrants for their own benefit. All this has to be brought to a screeching halt and only activism by the majority of the citizens will do it.

              2. ChiGal in Carolina

                Late to NC today and wow this place doesn’t usually jump off like this. Lots of ad homs above.

                Thank you for this comment, returning calm and clarity to the waters of our shared oasis.

        3. JAMES GRAHAM

          “Cops in the USA are the defenders of capital, property rights, and the status quo.”

          Thank you!

          For starting your comment with those words thus saving me from reading further.

    2. Carolinian

      A canny interview

      What happened is that the traditional middle classes saw themselves as being “invaded” by popular and indigenous layers who now had university education and savings, and now had greater capital of various kinds to take on public posts. This traditional middle class was paralysed precisely because new middle classes from popular backgrounds were emerging. And it crystallised around ever more conservative positions.

      In other words the ten percent start to take on the concerns of the one percent against the ninety percent. Sounds like here. He says that only overwhelming popular support can push through reform against the powerful forces opposing it. 47 percent in an election isn’t enough. To get a New Deal you need not just FDR but also an electoral landslide.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Why Lifesaving Drugs May Be Missing on Your Next Flight”

    Something missing in this article. It starts by saying that the cause is due to chronic drug shortages and then goes on to talk about the effects on airlines. It never goes back and explain the shortage itself. Is this a chronic drug shortage for the world or just countries like the US? What is the main cause of it? As most drugs and drug ingredients come from China, does it mean that the shortage is a problem set in China?
    If the shortage is not in every country and these airlines fly around the world, perhaps these airlines could pick up the needed drugs from unaffected countries. They could probably get a waiver to bring these drugs into the country as a Federal agency would be loath to refuse if a passenger died mid-flight because of their stubbornness. After all, we are not talking about quantities that would need a cargo plane to transport.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      apparently old-ish news…which is in itself pretty remarkable…since we’re talking about things like IV Bags and baking soda, and a bunch of boring, workhorse meds that are older than i am.
      from this article, and all the rest i perused fro 3 pages of google, it looks like this arises from shoehorning Mr Market into healthcare.
      i guess Duty to Care isn’t a requirement for Big Pharma…unless they can make sufficient returns.

      and of course, there’s lots of opacity, here,lol.
      wife’s chemo drug costs a damned fortune…we’d never get anywhere near it with what’s in our pocket. But isn’t that supposed to be a “signal” for the industry to make more?
      similarly, the hydrocodone i need to get through an ordinary day went from $12/month to $40….which is a lot like my ancient, decrepit trailer house in the woods appreciating 10,000% over 20 years.(it’s an old medication, after all…any sunk research costs should have been recouped long ago)
      (from what i can tell, medicaid…or insurance…would pay less.)

      all of this looks to me like a golden opportunity to rejigger the entire edifice of making medicines. why are the precursors made in china?
      do we not know how anymore? or is it profit uber alles?
      (it’s the latter)
      if giant, multinational corporations who fail to pay taxes can’t handle the job, then it’s time to nationalise them.
      let the ceo’s and shareholders eat cake.

      1. Lee

        I am not a doctor nor to I play one on TV, but I do have personal experience with long term chronic pain.

        For some years I was prescribed time release Oxycontin. Then my insurance coverage changed and it became much more expensive. I asked the doctor if there were a less expensive option and was prescribed morphine. It worked just fine at a fraction of the cost. From this experience I concluded that Oxycontin was a scam in which my doctor was complicit until the drug became unaffordable.

        I don’t know what the cause of your pain is but for me it turned out to be the result of spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis. Or so the doctors thought for some years. As it turns out, I do have those conditions but the pain was being amplified by another condition, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a principal symptom of which is now believed to be a chronic inflammation of the central nervous system caused in in some individuals by an immune system over reaction to the presence of a virus that is carried by and harmless to most people. Once I weaned of morphine over an eight month period, My CFS doctor prescribed low-dose Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist that paradoxically works to reduce pain in cases such as mine by up-regulating natural endorphin production. It has reduced my pain by at least 90%, which is manageable without other pain meds.

        Also, for sciatic pain, this, as recommended by Arizona Slim, worked for me:

        I don’t know if any of this pertains to your situation and that it may or may not prove helpful. In any event, I wish you and your wife well.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Thanks for reposting the link Arizona Slim recommended.
          I went to watch and had to wait through a few minutes of commercials. I know I can skip the ads but I am curious how bad things might get after youtube’s new rules go into effect on 10 December. The other day I was watching a youtube video and a half-hour infomercial was jammed in the middle of the video I had been watching. At that point I closed down the youtube window and did other things. I think youtube might shortly begin smothering their golden goose.

          1. Arizona Slim

            Slim here. And, yes, I agree with Jeremy on how annoying those YouTube videos have gotten. I’m to the point where I mute the sound or leave the room.

            Hey, didn’t people start doing those things with TV commercials?

            And, Lee, I hope to meet you face-to-face someday. I am still free of that sciatic pain.

            Also, the pain in the sacroilial area and in my leg. That turned out to be psychosomatic. Dealt with that one via reading books by Drs. John Sarno and Howard Schubiner. Go-to book by Sarno is Healing Back Pain. For Schubiner, it’s Unlearn Your Pain.

            Now, if everyone will excuse me, I’m going to go do something that I was unable to do at this time last year. I need to do some exterior paint touch-up on the Arizona Slim Ranch House.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          all mine is derived from being run off the road while trying to pass a carload of drunk rednecks 30 or so years ago. hit a sweetgum at about 80 mph. both the tree and i survived…albeit in a broken, crooked state.
          severed my hip, made my ankle into gravel, jammed my knees and conked my noggin(stitches through my eyelid, where eyelashes grow the wrong way ever since)
          then muscling through the pain in order to work and play and work some more. so back pain…because you cant lift with yer knees when your legs are messed up,lol.
          so my doctor calls it arthritis…but i call it hurting from my jaw down.
          fibromyalgia, too…set off by weather and some medications…because it’s the only thing me and Doc have found that fits(no test for that…was considered mythical not so long ago)
          i’d consider trying the naltrexone method if i had better access to healthcare.I’ve read about it. Hyperalgia is a real thing…where one’s pain receptors, etc get stuck in the on position, wherein opioids can actually do more harm than good.
          as it stands,i don’t think i’m there…and i’m cash only at the doctor… so norco and weed will have to do. hard enough to obtain those.
          i take periodic drug holidays…i’m due for one. last one was 2 years ago…which reset the receptors so the hydrocodone continues to work(more or less), so i don’t have to move up the ladder to oxycodone—which makes me itch like crazy…i’ve had a jar of those for 6 years, and only take them when i’m out of the regular and having a bad pain day.
          i wouldn’t wish chronic pain on my worst enemy…it’s invisible, for the most part, and therefore prone to being misdiagnosed by random strangers as “laziness”.

          1. Lee

            Naltrexone is an inexpensive generic. The low dose version, about 1/10 of what is generally prescribed, I have to get it from a compound pharmacy and it costs around a dollar a day. But given the that the cause for your pain is such grievous injury, it might not do the job. Low dose medication of various kinds for various conditions is currently being studied and recommended.

            Is bigger better? An argument for very low starting doses

            Here’s an article on low dose Naltrexone from Stanford.

            Low Dose Naltrexone for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia

      2. Pespi

        Amfortas, The DEA restricted manufacturing amounts for scheduled drugs even further and drug makers pretended this meant there was a shortage and jacked prices up, never intending to lower them when the shortage ended, as far as I can tell.

    2. Tom Doak

      I went for a typhoid shot this year before traveling to Africa, and had to sign a waiver because the US approved vaccine had “a supply shortage,” and they were substituting a vaccine used in Europe that did not have FDA approval.

      The doctor explained that actually, I was being given a newer version of the same drug, made by the same company, that had many less reported side effects. But FDA approval is so costly, and demand for typhoid vaccine in America so low, that it didn’t make sense to submit the new drug. Instead, the company just stopped making the old drug, and applied for a waiver to use the new one “temporarily”, because of “supply shortages”. And have been doing so for four years now.

      I doubt they are giving typhoid vaccinations on aircraft, but perhaps this is another version of the same game? Or more likely the airlines are cutting costs and have found a pro-business FAA bureaucrat who will rubber stamp a waiver.

      1. Ignacio

        FDA approval is so costly

        Isn’t it by design? (as an entry barrier, not for pure medical reasons but to grant an economical barrier)

        1. JBird4049

          Like the DEA’s whacked limits on the production of pain medications? It turns out that the Drug Enforcement Agency set quotas on the manufacturing or importation of many pain meds because reasons.

          So they have at times put overly restricted limits on necessary pain medications putting many people into agony while allowing the rampant overproduction of OxyContin for years. They say that they have their reasons, but the Sackler family’s largesse was very large. I have not yet read of any good reasons why pain meds required by hospitals and doctors were denied while pharmacies in Nowhereville got oxy by the truckload. So IIRC while the DEA is not as dysfunctional or corrupt as the ATF…

    3. dearieme

      There are currently drug shortages in much of Europe. Never mind, it can all be blamed on Trump, or Boris, or …. Russia!

    4. Tomonthebeach

      This is just more Trumpy deregulation pretending to be triggered by a shortage. One might hope that this problem affects Airforce 1.

    1. BobW

      Aging out of those who would remember? (I had just turned twelve myself.) Reduced relevance now? I did not even notice the date this year. Perhaps the first time that happened.

      1. ambrit

        I too remember that day. This could be a sign that the Age is turning. The old ‘Progresive’ ethos has died, or, more accurately, been done away with by malevolent actors.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        JFK’s primary significance was an expansion of “white” and belonging to a generation that seized roles in American life after World War II. The youngest person to vote for JFK outside of Kentucky and Georgia (where it looks like they could vote at 18) is 77.

        Then there are the unpleasant aspects of Kennedy. Did his accomplishments outweigh his negatives? Or are the accomplishments of the Era particularly linked to Kennedy or would they have been done regardless? After all, the NASA administrator had a 10 year moon landing proposal Kennedy dismissed until Sputnik. Civil Rights was a people powered movement and the hallmark legislation was passed well after Kennedy was dead. It’s the Eisenhower tax rate not the Kennedy rates we pine for. Agent Orange and Vietnam don’t look so good. The missile gap non sense almost started World War III.

        Even then JFK’s rhetoric indicates more of an “equality of opportunity” belief versus a belief in “equality of condition”. Realistically why would Kennedy remain relevant today? Promises he was about to do something really good in the midst of what looked like a long election season. After all, he was in Dallas for a campaign event, our new, young President at outer new young city Dallas.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Say what you will, when it came to the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy made sure that it did not end in WW3 and the planet going into a nuclear winter. In spite of the Pentagon trying to push him into invading Cuba, which unknown to anybody had scores of tactical nuclear missiles, he worked for a negotiated solution to the situation which succeeded.
          Maybe because he was a combat vet and knew the real cost of war or because he was influenced by the book he read – “The Guns of August” – he did the right thing. Think of all the Presidents that have been in power since him and how many would have done the same.

          1. The Historian

            He was willing to go against the military and all of his political advisors to do the right thing. I don’t think there has been a President since that hasn’t made politics the key part of his decisions.

            1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

              I am 62 & the event that triggers the memory of where I was on that day is 9/11. I had heard from others at my then place of work some vague news about planes crashing into the towers, & arrived home to an audience around the TV just in time to watch one of the towers collapsing.

              It felt surreal in a sense as on the way in I had picked up my 9 month old Grandaughter, who as I held her & the spectacle unfolded started into one of her delicious & beautiful giggles.

          2. dearieme

            On the other hand he was the idiot who had installed first strike ballistic missiles in Turkey thereby provoking the USSR in the first place.

            1. JTee

              This is an important part of the Cuban missile crisis equation that is almost never mentioned. I only learned of it a couple of years ago.

            2. The Historian

              Actually the initial government to government agreement to put those missiles in Turkey happened in 1959. I don’t think you can lay all the blame at JFK’s feet.


              In October 1959, the location of the third and final Jupiter MRBM squadron was settled when a government-to-government agreement was signed with Turkey. The U.S. and Turkey concluded an agreement to deploy one Jupiter squadron on NATO’s southern flank.

                1. The Historian

                  So you are willing to give Ike a pass on all these things, even though the planning for the missiles in Turkey AND the planning for the Bay of Pigs began in his administration?

                  JFK’s fault was that he should have stopped them – but he didn’t.

                  Don’t get me wrong, JFK did a lot of bad things, but he still gets my admiration for resolving the US – Cuba missile crisis in the way that he did.

                  1. jsn

                    On these subjects, everyone should read “The Devil’s Chessboard”, Talbot’s biography of Alan Dulles.

                    Truman thought the Dulles brothers had committed treason in the run up to the war when as private lawyers they worked out intellectual property sharing between the cross held US and European industrial and chemical giants. By the time he got into office, Truman didn’t think he, as President, had the power to take on the Dulles brothers.

                    Kennedy did, buy then John Dulles was dead, but Alan, having sabotaged Ike’s openings to the USSR, rolled over JFK too, in all the essential ways. Truman didn’t have the power to stop the OSS, by Kennedy’s time the lies and deceit had been institutionalized in the CIA. Kennedy did what he thought he could and it wasn’t enough, Douglas’ “JFK” and the Unspeakable” documents this with primary sources.

                    What’s been declassified in the last 20 years is pretty interesting and would have made huge splash in the old media environment, but now corporate media really is an arm of the CIA: look at who the broadcast.

          3. NotTimothyGeithner

            This was a good thing but shouldn’t have ever happened without a mindlessly aggressive foreign policy and campaign promise. As we move away from emotional attachment and the Kennedy mystique, this part of the final assessment.

            Why should a 25 year old care about a long dead politician represented today by an inbred clod who is anti-marijuana legalization?

            1. richard

              +1 well said
              kennedy was and is so over eulogized imo
              brother too, the whole dmn lot
              always glossed over with bobby is what a red baiting nutjob he was in the 50s
              liberals especially like to claim that the bobby who showed up for a few months in 68’ and swung left during a political campaign was the “real bobby”.
              same sort of selective/confirmation bias thinking with his brother, over and over again
              oh well

          4. Mike

            Details of the “deal” Kennedy made with Khrushchev regarding missiles in Turkey as quid-pro-quo for Cuban missile removal, plus his reduction of “Russia-Russia, Cuba-Cuba” talk during the following year seems to have influenced some researchers to say it was only the CIA, whose existence, as it was, was threatened by JFK, that arranged the murder. So many forces were capable with Secret Service/FBI/CIA/Mafia cooperation a must. He and his brother had offended and played with all of them. What we should have learned from the total amount of secrecy gleaned from that one event is that all following events followed a similar, now recognized as tragic, pattern.

          5. ex-PFC Chuck

            Few people know how close-run a thing the Cuban Missile Crisis was because of events well down the chain of commands of both the USA and the USSR. If either of these had gone the other way most and it’s likely all of humanity, not to mention untold thousands of other species, would not have survived the consequent nuclear winter. See Daniel Ellsberg’s The Doomsday Machine.
            As an aside to NTG, the commenter whose comment you are commenting on, your math is off by approximately 3 years. I was too young to vote in 1960 by a bit over a week, and I just turned 80.

            1. RMO

              Vasili Arkhipov… one of a number of people who prevented World War III from breaking out. I was terrified by the Cold War when it was happening and the discovery of how many times the apocalypse was only averted by such narrow margins and chance is enough to give me retroactive insomnia back in time to my childhood. I’m also completely dismayed by the fact that there’s a group of people who want to restart the Cold War… and they seem to be succeeding.

        2. mpalomar

          “Did his accomplishments outweigh his negatives? Or are the accomplishments of the Era particularly linked to Kennedy or would they have been done regardless?”

          Yes the questions remain. Perhaps Kennedy’s administration was a pivot point and might be better judged as incomplete and incalculable because of the uncertainties. Because of Kafkaesque state secrets and a burgeoning security state the confusion over the 1000 days persists and that may be the ultimate legacy; all led to the re-invention of cynicism and the recurring death of naive innocence for those who were young at the time.

          The Eisenhower tax rates were really the FDR depression era WWII rates. Eisenhower warned against the MICC but also promoted it along with the US imperial project that accompanied the unnecessary, premeditated, deep state, intelligence community, Cold War against US former WWII Soviet allies.

          It does seem possible if not probable that JFK was making a policy U turn after being set up for a regime change agenda by the CIA/state department Cold War, global adventurists. A new round of political violence and assassination began and the ascendancy and consolidation of the intelligence community.

          There were also the stories of LSD use in the White House and perhaps expanding minds along with other tumescent organs more commonly associated with the JFK years.

          1. deplorado

            JFK was for M4A. I saw a speech where he eloquently makes the case somewhere on Twitter days ago.

            Having such a president is an accomplishment to this nation that we should most desperately hope to match, from where we stand today.

            1. Big River Bandido

              Help me. Don’t confuse one pretty speech with actual support. We have plenty of recent Presidents who make pretty speeches and do the opposite after they take the i don’t even need to mention names.

              And even if he supported it (highly unlikely given the opposition of the AMA), he’d never have been able to get it through Congress. His entire legislative program was moribund at the time of his assassination.

        3. Carolinian

          Then there’s that whole Dark Side of Camelot. Very seamy.

          There’s a good movie called Jackie about the assassination and its aftermath and how Kennedy’s long suffering wife worked to create the myth. Kennedy had a personal life that these days would cast him into the outer darkness should #me too care to dwell on it. One can debate whether this had anything to do with his conduct as president but if nothing else it shows that the 60s Kennedy cult was in some ways as delusional as what’s going on now.

          And while he did stop a nuclear exchange he also helped to provoke the crisis with his anti-Castro policies.

          1. Butch In Waukegan

            The Dark Side of Camelot by Seymour Hersh was published in the late ’90s. Hersh’s rigorous research did not, in the long run, tarnish JFK’s memory. On a personal level Kennedy’s conduct was worse that Trumps.

        4. JohnnyGL

          I’m with you that he’s definitely overrated in a lot of aspects.

          In ‘untold history of the united states’ Oliver Stone and the Professor Kuznick make the case that Kennedy was about to undergo a major turn on Cold War policy.

          I found that aspect of the series a little unconvincing.

          But, then again, very powerful people thought he was worth killing. Why?

          1. neo-realist

            Re the major turn on Cold War policy, according to the James Douglass book, JFK, in his last months in office, conducted back channel talks with Castro in an effort, presumably, at long term normalization of relations with Cuba. With the security state hostility toward Cuba and anything considered left and communist, it was probably the only way he could do it.

            On top of that, Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress program focused on creating and sustaining democratic processes and economic development for the 99% in Latin America to prevent them from being seduced by communist revolution, which was certainly better than the usual policy of turning those countries into receptacles for multi-national corporate exploitation for resource extraction w/ brutal dictatorships and impoverished masses; which, in turn, made them ripe for communist revolution.

            1. JTMcPhee

              I believe Kennedy was president while the depredations documented in “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” were quite active.

              All I can say is that our misbegotten species has so far been very, very, undeservedly lucky on very many occasions where but for the righteous actions of one or a couple of persons low in the chain of command, the Bigwigs could have pulled the MAD trigger.

              1. neo-realist

                Arguably not so much a party to the depredations as one fighting an uphill battle against those powers that be perpetuating those depredations with initiatives that didn’t get enough time to take hold.

        5. roadrider

          Well it looks as if once again I will have to educate you about the facts of John F. Kennedy’s presidency. Apparently you’re a slow learner or you simply refuse to accept information that contradicts your biased view of Kennedy.

          Did Kennedy “dismiss” a moon landing proposal “until after Sputnik? Please cite a source for this. Sputnik was launched in 1957. NASA wasn’t formed until 1958. Kennedy was a Senator at that time. How could a NASA administrator have a moon landing proposal before Sputnik when NASA did not even exist at that time? And how could have Kennedy “dismiss” it since he wasn’t the President then? Its true that Kennedy was concerned about the cost of the moon landing program but without his leadership would it have become a reality in the time frame that it did? Sure it probably would have happened eventually but Kennedy’s DID inspire the effort that was successful and its not like we’ve done anything like it since then.

          Kennedy did a lot more for civil rights than he gets credit for.

          If you’re really interested in the facts here’s a 4-part series of articles by a guy who, unlike you, has actually studied Kennedy’s presidency and understands how JFK and RFK did quite a bit for civil rights and the bill that LBJ passed was a Kennedy initiative. Yes, the people movement was more important than anything any politician did but to imply that Kennedy did nothing of note is simply wrong:

          As I’ve pointed out to you on more than one occasion you’re way off base about Kennedy and Vietnam and Agent Orange. US involvement in the Vietnam began immediately after WW II with our support for the French anti-colonialist effort. Kennedy actually visited Vietnam in the 1950s and was convinced by diplomat Edmund Gullion (who became one of his most trusted advisers) that not only would the French effort be futile but if we pursued the same course we would end up failing as well. Kennedy did increase the number of advisers and did pursue a counter-insurgency strategy but its important to note that he consistently refused to escalate the conflict by introducing combat troops despite almost constant pressure from within his own administration to say nothing of the military and intelligence communities. He had previously refused the same with respect to Laos which at the beginning of his presidency was a bigger issue than Vietnam.

          And its now been established beyond intelligent argument that Kennedy had established a plan to withdraw all US military personnel from Vietnam by the end of 1965 (assuming his re-election of course). Lyndon Johnson reversed this policy after Kennedy’s assassination and was the one responsible for contriving the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the resulting massive escalation of US military involvement in Vietnam:

          As far as Agent Orange goes, its true that it was first introduced into Vietnam during Kennedy’s administration but only a very small, carefully targeted scale that was, again, massively escalated in magnitude and scope during the LBJ administration. Until 1962 Kennedy required his personal approval for each individual spray run when he turned over responsibility to the military. Its also important to note that the toxic effects of Agent Orange were poorly understood until the late sixties and early seventies, well after Kennedy’s death. I don’t think this was Kennedy’s finest moment or his best decision but since he planned to pull out of Vietnam the massive escalation of use that occurred under Johnson would not have happened.

          I don’t expect any of this information to change your closed mind or dispel your bias against Kennedy but I hope others that are influenced by you will take note.

          1. Janie

            Thank you for this comment. Stanley Karnow’s book, Vietnam: a History, is still the go-to, I believe. He’s quite thorough about the aftermath of WWII. Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie is also very good.

    2. katiebird

      And today is the anniversary of Oswald’s death. I was 9 years old and wandered out of the kitchen with a piece of bacon to look at the TV (which had been on all weekend.)

      They were escorting Oswald through a crowded area and The Shots! I started screaming ( I was 9! And witnessed a murder) My parents (in the kitchen still) thought I had lost the story and was upset about Kennedy. It made so little sense. It still doesn’t. Make sense

      That murder was endlessly replayed too. What a terrible time.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I too watched this on live TV at about the same age and it definitely shaped my budding world view.

        I think those debating the JFK legacy above need to watch Ken Burns’ The Roosevelts to find the civic and people-minded reformer champions and warriors they wish that JFK was. It’s really required viewing and puts the midgets and charlatans and poseurs we have in politics today to absolute shame.

        1. mpalomar

          Of course JFK was no FDR, to turn a borrowed phrase from the dog awful Lloyd Benson. Though if Kennedy had the 14-15 years FDR had instead of a scant 3 maybe a different appraisal? FDR evolved over his life from comfortably off old money to a new Dealer and traitor to his class.

          What opened FDR’s eyes to the mass suffering resulting from the depression may have been his experience with polio. Kennedy was afflicted with Addison’s disease and of course the back problem from WWII, he may have evolved into something other than the green senator still learning the ropes when he was bushwhacked by Dulles.

      2. Janie

        I saw it too, as a young adult. It was the first time I began to reflect on the likelihood of accidents and coincidences. Now, with Epstein’s death, I see that cascade of unfortunate events and think maybe Occam was into something.

    3. Lunker Walleye

      Thank you, Olga. Kennedy engendered such great hope in me with his “vigor” and focus on young people. He was a positive influence and a patriarchal figure. I was just shy of 13 when they killed JFK. The author’s memories are like mine. We were released from school early and my two best friends and I were riveted by TV coverage at my friend’s home. Late in the day, my mother phoned to tell me to come home because my father was quite ill. A week later my dad was dead, too.

    4. John

      Nor were the deaths by assassination of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley, also momentous, noted.
      You want really disgraceful? We sucked the meaning out of Lincoln’s birthday for a three-day weekend with extra shopping.

      1. Janie

        John: What you wrote. Another disgrace is twisting of Armistice Day, a day of reflection, into a celebration. I hate being wished “happy veterans day”.

    5. JohnnyGL

      I actually visited the Kennedy Museum recently for the first time on a kind of spur-of-the-moment decision after some other plans fell through.

      They had a small exhibit (including some hand-written notes) about how he green-lit the coup in S. Vietnam and later regretting doing so. It’s hard to parse if it was just regret for helping get Ngo Dinh Diem killed when he felt some loyalty to him, or if he realized that it might have been a bigger strategic blunder that sent the country into chaos and meant it would be nearly ungovernable (I recall there was a string of repeated coups and failed coup attempts) until it was conquered/liberated by the armies of North Vietnam.

      The Diem assassination sort of fascinates me, in a way, because I’m not clear if it’s a real turning point which altered the course of the war or not.

      It certainly shows the US preference for knocking off governments that aren’t to its liking. And it’s a clear demonstration of the pitfalls of using such a tactic.

      Has any other president 1) viewed themselves as having such a responsibility and 2) regretted it at all, in a public fashion?

      Do Obama or HRC regret Honduras in 2009? I don’t think either does. Certainly, there’s no courage to do so publicly.

      I suspect we’ll get no regrets from Trump over Bolivia.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        and i like LBJ, except for that whole vietnam thing.
        and jefferson, in spite of the owning people thing.
        and jimmy carter…except for a whole bunch of things,ol.
        but looking at presidential history in my lifetime(1969-present), it seems that they get harder and harder to forgive for their shortcomings.
        obama is the only recent occupant that i gave the benefit of the doubt, however briefly.
        i don’t think it’s a coincidence that this has happened along side the multidecade coup that began on 11-22-’63.
        and remember, it was in response to the widespread disbelief in the warren commission’s pronouncements that the cia’s “conspiracy theory” efforts began.

        the post-assasination distrust of officialdom has done nothing but grow…muddled and morphed by the addition of tons of bullshit.
        an almost 60 year, slow motion crisis of legitimacy, and here we are.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and these kinds of reminiscences…”where were you…” on 1-22? 9-11? etc…makes me think of my own(out of many. i’ve led a strange life, and have bumped into weirdness often).
          on the day that tim mcvieg blew up the OKC federal building, at 7:45-8:30 am, i was in the austin federal building looking for the small bidness admin(at the urging of my dad, who still believes in all that sort of thing). the bottom floor contained a welfare office, and was thronged with women with their kids in tow. The rest of the building was utterly empty…i passed by offices for fbi, dea, cia, and on and on…all inexplicably closed.
          it felt pretty creepy, being there all alone.
          so i gave up and left.
          walking across the empty parking lot to my car, several blocks away(parking in austin sucks when you’re broke), as soon as i stepped on the sidewalk, every cop, fire truck and ambulance(and swat team) in austin came roaring up to the building.
          my spidey sense roared, and i got the hell out of there.
          didn’t find out what had happened until later…but note that the cavalry arrived 30 minutes before the events in Oklahoma.

          from Havana Harbor to today, things are rarely what they tell us they are.

          (and! a friend of a friend was an emt at OKC at that time…and they were on the periphery and had little to do(weren’t allowed to approach), so they chucked a bunch of debris from the disaster into the ambulance…which is how i have a chunk of that building in my Library)

      2. Susan the Other

        Did you read Ellen Hammer’s book on the Diem bros? IIRC, Diem and his brother were working behind the scenes to unite Vietnam and end the excuse for the US military to even be there. We were there for compromised reasons at best. One was the UK, the other was France and at least another was China. Not to mention flat-out looting. But what else is new? We had already taken the turn for imperialism under Eisenhower. JFK never knew how serious a turn it was. And of course, new evidence emerges still. The one I read this a.m. was about an emergency room nurse who confirmed that the mortal wound JFK suffered was a direct gunshot to the front of his head, exiting at the rear of his skull, blowing a huge hole where his brain had been. Assassination is very serious business. It’s interesting to see us at the end of our rope now; the world is only slightly improved for all our paternalism; and there is now a stronger faction that wants to get us out of all our misadventures. It’s hard to tell who has the power at this point. Witness our ongoing fiasco.

        1. Susan the Other

          Some very skillful propaganda was at work afterward. One big question everyone was “encouraged” to ask was “Who stole Kennedy’s Brain?” Well… nobody did because his brain was blown to bits. Bits of red herring.

          1. neo-realist

            JFK’s brain was stored in the national archives and stolen from it. Obviously, it was far from an intact state, but there was enough to store away.

    6. Craig H.

      The murder of Kennedy crosses my computer screen daily.

      The best take I heard recently was George Knapp interviewing Tom DeLonge and he got goofy Tom to say maybe the guys who killed Kennedy knew what they were doing and it could have been a good move and who are we to say?

      That is not verbatim but the gist.

      Since it’s all top secret we cannot prove him wrong! It’s quite the Panglossian view.

  3. xkeyscored

    A Solar ‘Breakthrough’ Won’t Solve Cement’s Carbon Problem
    A highly misleading article. The European project it refers to uses solar energy to heat limestone and drive off carbon dioxide.
    Heliogen, so far as I can make out, reacts the CO2 with cerium dioxide, producing syngas.
    When the temperature hits 1,500° C, it opens up something of a holy grail: direct, thermochemical generation of liquid fuels that can substitute for any hydrocarbon fuel.
    Huh? Let me explain, as this is a relatively new engineering development, being perfected by Swedish researchers as we speak. It goes like this: a new, state-of-the-art material called ceria (CeO2) is heated to about 1,500° C, at which point it releases a pure stream of oxygen. Then, at about 1,000° C, water and carbon dioxide are introduced. The ceria wants its oxygen back, so it breaks the water and carbon dioxide up into hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and oxygen, and absorbs the oxygen. What’s left is a mix of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, otherwise known as “syngas.”
    Basically, you start with H2O + CO2 and you end up with a mix of H + CO. As it happens, every hydrocarbon (fossil) fuel in the world, from kerosene to gasoline, from boat fuel to jet fuel, is built around some combination of H and CO, which means synfuel can be refined into any fuel, for any purpose.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thats really interesting and exciting news – I’d wondered what had happened with CSP, it seemed to have fallen out of sight after the dramatic drop in PV costs. It always seemed to me that CSP had the most potential for industrial use, not electricity generation, not to mention its potential for scaling up as there are no obvious ‘bottlenecks’ in manufacturing CSP plants rapidly and at scale. It could potentially be a boon for places like North Africa, which has plenty of sunshine and raw materials. Australia too.

      1. xkeyscored

        Cerium appears to be the most abundant and easiest to extract of the rare earth metals (which aren’t rare as such, just not found in concentrated form).

      2. xkeyscored

        There was a ‘bottleneck’ in CSP: the mirrors were not only curved, but individually curved, making their production and replacement expensive and technically challenging.
        Heliogen relies on computing power to co-ordinate the movement of smaller, flat mirrors, and computing power is getting cheaper by the year.

      3. xkeyscored

        reacts the CO2 with cerium dioxide
        That was rather sloppily worded. I should have said the Heliogen process uses, or proposes to use, cerium dioxide to react CO2 and water. The cerium isn’t used up.
        I found a couple of papers relating to this, which I haven’t waded through yet:

        Gas Switching Reforming (GSR) for syngas production with integrated CO2 capture using iron-based oxygen carriers

        Combined Ceria Reduction and Methane Reforming in a Solar-Driven Particle-Transport Reactor

  4. The Rev Kev

    “The End of the United Kingdom May Be Nearing”

    When you get right down to it, there is nothing in the title ‘The United Kingdom’ that says that England has to be part of it. Could it be that as it eventually shakes out, that England itself will be forced out of the Union by Scotland, Ireland and Wales and so the United Kingdom WILL stay with the European Union but that it will only be England that leaves?

    1. Tom Doak

      But isn’t Elizabeth first and foremost the Queen of England? And wouldn’t a U.K. without England be a Kingdom without a monarch?

      1. ambrit

        Thus, an Island Republic. However, isn’t there a Scottish ‘Pretender’ to the Throne? Hmmm…. Then, there is always the French Pretender, if we want to go back to Plantagenet times.

        1. divadab

          The Stuart “Pretender” to the throne has a more legitimate claim than the Germans from Hanover currently infesting Windsor Palace. His ancestor was disqualified in favor of George I due to his Catholicism.

          A Stuart king restored to the Scottish throne? After Brexit and Scots independence all bets are off and all things possible. Many of my ancestors died and the family was dispersed to the colonies (to their long-term benefit, I might add) in the battles against the English and their Scots traitors to restore Prince Charles Stuart (Bonny Prince Charlie, so named by the highlanders because of his beauty and silk stockings) to the throne.

          Scots Wayhay!

        2. JacobiteInTraining

          Pretender? PRETENDER???

          *harumphs quietly*

          Franz, Duke of Bavaria, is doing an excellent job playing coy about it all, but I’m certain that’s just for show until he can gather the requisite volunteers, ships, and equipment….

          1. ambrit

            Yay! We could soon see a “War of the English Succession!”
            I’m sure that Ignacio and his brethren would gladly join in to restore Catherine of Aragon’s line’s claim to the Palace of Westminster.

        1. xkeyscored

          She might still view herself as rightful ruler of North America, and reside there in one of Epstein’s mansions.

      2. dearieme

        But isn’t Elizabeth first and foremost the Queen of England?

        Good God no. There hasn’t been a King or Queen of England since 1707. (Though from 1707 – 1801 there was a K or Q of Great Britain and a K or Q of Ireland.)

        And she’s Queen of her United Kingdom because an Act of Parliament decreed that after the death of Queen Anne the British monarchy would pass to the nearest protestant Stewarts/Stuarts which turned out to be the House of Hanover. And also because her Uncle Edward was a poltroon.

        1. The Rev Kev

          You don’t want to go too deep into the history of the Royal family. There was one future king born while the father-king was overseas fighting some campaign and he had certainly been gone longer than nine months.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Sorry but cannot remember now but it came up because a descendant of what have should have been the true line was some old bloke living here in Oz.

    2. dearieme

      there is nothing in the title ‘The United Kingdom’ that says that England has to be part of it

      Except that the full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Great Britain consists of Scotland plus England & Wales.

      A lawyer might argue that it doesn’t say the United Kingdom of all of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and therefore it could mean the United Kingdom of sundry parts of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. But then most lawyers would be the better for a hanging.

    3. bob

      There is no UK, or england, or whatever. These aren’t the droids you are looking for. It’s a completely vaporous concept. Start to interrogate it’s awesomeness in any way and it disappears completely, along with any responsibility for its centuries of crimes against humanity.

      The City of London isn’t part of england, or the UK. England doesn’t exist except as a football team. The royals don’t really control anything, except for everything, including parliment.. The queen is the defender of the faith, but any suggestion that It is a theocracy is just a bridge too far. The hereditary lords and the lords spiritual agree.

      “But its the basis for modern democracy!”

      Yes, yes it is, isn’t it.

  5. grayslady

    As a worthwhile counterpoint to Ryan Grim’s embarrassing Warren hagiography (remember the quote from Warren’s staffer who said “we thought we could just staple ourselves to Bernie Sanders on healthcare” and not have to discuss specifics on the campaign trail?) I recommend today’s article in The Guardian by Nathan Robinson. Unfortunately, Anand’s article–which is worth a read if only for his recollection of a conversation with Jamie Dimon–also credits Warren as a “progressive” equal to Sanders. Bernie has changed the conversation; Warren has changed her political party.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      and from the sidebar of that (at least well written,lol) Grim article:

      FTA:”AT: I think we have to be skeptical of the polls, we’ve all learned that since 2016, but I think these numbers are so overwhelming. What they show us is there’s broad majoritarian support for progressive social policy. This is what the people most want. And we’ve entered a phase where that is sort of undeniable, if you look at the numbers. But as you just pointed out, there is a whole establishment, centrist Democrat, corporate establishment that absolutely is opposed to the will of the majority. So I think that’s how we have to think about this. Right now, it’s commonly said, we’re in a moment of democratic crisis.

      And that conversation has been framed around populism, warnings about unruly people we can’t trust. But I think for me, the problem is actually that we’re living in the age of minoritarian politics, minoritarian control. You see that very strongly with the GOP and the fact that they want a politics of hierarchy, basically a return to aristocracy, right? They’re willing to gerrymander and disenfranchise voters — they absolutely don’t want people to go out and vote. But we see it with the Democrats as well, right? We see that they want to tell their constituencies, sorry, you can’t have these things that are not only popular, but actually pretty commonplace in other industrial democracies.”

      and the Anand article was pretty good, in spite of it’s prostration to the Warren as Revolutionary shibboleth.
      I mean, it’s in time magazine….and sounds like a watered down version of me, that i put on at thanksgiving in order to move the familial overton window without causing a familial pavlovian reaction that ends with me exiled to the barn.
      something fundamental has sprung a leak, even if the mandarins fail to recognise it.

    2. flora

      Thank you. I couldn’t read past the first few paragraphs. Warren is still trying to decide who she is and what her campaign is about this late in the election cycle? This reminds me of Al Gore hiring Naomi Wolf as a wardrobe adviser ( earth tones) for his 2000 pres campaign. There are some things I expect a candidate to know at the outset: who she is and the reason for her campaign.

      1. Mike

        Isn’t it obvious that the term “progressive” has now been co-opted by contenders for the DP Turkey Shoot just to muddy the works? It’s too easy to lie here, “progressives”. The shame is that the Left has no media of size and stand enough to counter this farce. Warren already distanced herself from Sanders by aligning with the rest of the party on Venezuela and Bolivia. She is waffling on her domestic program so that no clear policy will be standing by election time. Foreign policy, the President’s bailiwick, is foreign to her like pollen to allergics. She freezes upon confrontation. Yet, the myth of her continues. If she wins the primary, she”ll be “Pocahontas’d” to death.

        Hillary with a wonkier establishment mind – what a winner.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          Re: cooptation of “progressive” by those who are not.
          one of our largest hills to climb is the theft of the language.
          out here, i use “liberal” because these folks are small c conservative, and gop or gop adjacent for the last 25 years, and the nuance that we’re familiar with escapes them.
          sometimes, in more sophisticated/educated company…or with my sons’ buddies…i get to use words like “libertarian socialist”…to confused looks…and eventual questions…so it’s an opportunity to hold forth.

          1. Hepativore

            I know that it is a term more often used by the political right, but I have always liked the term “limosine liberal” to describe the people in the Clintonite/Third Way mold.

            It perfectly describes the sneering smugness of the “woke” crowd as they congratulate themselves on how socially open-minded they are. Yet they do not hesitate to heap scorn upon the desperate and destitute who make less than six figures a year, particularly in rural areas.

      1. divadab

        @dearieme – “squaw” is a pejorative, and is highly offensive to native people. Please don’t use it again. “Pocahontas” works just fine.

        I had someone tell me at a party that ELizabeth Warren had “proven” her native ancestry with the dna test. SO everything’s cleared up in that department, according to her.

        But the dna test revealed: “While the vast majority of the individual’s ancestry is European, the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor in the individual’s pedigree, likely in the range of 6-10 generations ago”

        I’ve got more neanderthal blood (and so do most non-African people) than Warren has native american blood. She’s a liar, and a bad one.

        1. pasha

          it is not uncommon for native sooners to claim a native american ancestor. after all, oklahoma was the endpoint of the “trail of tears,” the forced relocation of native americans in the southern states. nearly half of oklahoma counties are named after the eastern tribes that were resettled. i have no idea if the stories of my parents and grandparents ancestry that i grew up with are true, but they are part of who i am.

  6. Ed

    “Pennsylvania To Spend $3M To Study Possible Link Between Fracking And Spike In Childhood Cancer KDKA”

    I’m curious about this and the article said nothing about it. Did the PA legislature appropriate the $3 million and if not, how can Wolf spend it? The PA legislature has been GOP controlled since, I think, the Civil War and the GOP is very much the brass and muck party.

      1. Big Tap

        I am Pennsylvanian too in Montgomery County outside of Philadelphia. Always got a laugh when Pennsylvania is described as a Blue State. The Assembly (legislature) has always like you said been Republican. The governor can be either party as well as the senators. We are tied with the lowest minimum wage in the country. Blue State my butt.

  7. Pelham

    Re the elephants: If I could talk to just one other species, it would be elephants. Given such evidence of their intelligence, perhaps researchers somewhere should begin a serious and intense effort to establish some kind of high level communication with these wonderful creatures. I’d pitch in a few dollars to fund it.

    1. human

      We communicate with animals regularly. Think your pet asking for food or to go out. Not to mention research with the Great Apes, dolphins and such. For the most part, it is just glossed over, as in this article, and seriously considered by few. Much as the upper classes actively ignore the lower classes.

      1. Carolinian

        Atlanta used to have a vet office called Dogs Are People Too. And that’s right! They are wolves who have evolved to please us and thereby get food but if you watch how dogs interact with each other it’s amazing how like us they are.

    2. Susan the Other

      We need large reserves to save the elephants. It would be a good idea to have as many as possible. We have one that I know of here in the US. Other countries besides those which are the natural habitat for elephants could pitch in. I’m thinking Siberia – if the elephants can adapt to survive the cold. Alaska, Canada. All places with wide open spaces. Why aren’t there elephants in the Brazilian Jungle. The Amazon. What about Australia’s Outback?

    3. JEHR

      There’s a wonderful backstory about Lawrence Anthony and how he saved the elephants. Elephants communicate with each other so, of course, when the nearest elephant heard the news of Anthony’s death, they would have communicated it to the next nearest elephants until all had the news. Why do we always think that we are the smartest of all creatures? We are NOT! Elephants do talk to each other and the sounds are wonderful to hear.

    4. Lee

      I have observed what could reasonably be interpreted as mourning behaviors in both elk and crows.

      In the first instance a band of elk remained in close proximity of one of their number that had been killed by wolves. When a wolf came to feed on the carcass the elk would stand alert and charge the wolves but then retreat to a safe distance when challenged. This went on over a four day period.

      In the latter instance my son stopped to pick up a dead crow from the middle of a city street. The flock, which had been gathered in the trees and power lines above, followed his pickup for blocks and then roosted round the burial site in our yard for the rest of the day.

    5. ChiGal in Carolina

      It is the very social nature of their intelligence that strikes me: they have a profound capacity for empathy.

      I suppose this makes sense since having no natural predators they don’t need to scan for threats as much as other mammals and their neural circuitry is less geared to fight or flight.

  8. The Historian

    Re: How America’s Elites Lost Their Grip

    No the Elites have not lost their grip. Just because a few billionaires are currently hand-wringing does not mean that anything in their collective behavior will change.

    The first thing that came to my mind after reading that article was Rudyard Kipling’s “The Law of the Jungle”:

    Now this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky;
    And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
    As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back —
    For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”

    The Elite will never break from their pack. The theory of Social Darwinism was created for them to justify what they, the Elite, have been doing all through history.

    If the Elite did want to change their image, though, the first thing they should do is duck-tape Jamie Dimon’s mouth.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I think the takeaway isn’t so much that the elites have lost their grip, as that those below them are loudly questioning why they deserve such a grip in the first place.

    2. Eclair

      Thank you, Historian. I do love me some Rudyard Kipling, especially Stalky & Co. But consider that wolves were completely eradicated from some US states by the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Deemed a ‘menace’ to cattle and sheep (never mind your small children), cash bounties for wolf pelts were established by state and local legislatures. Hey, bounties were a successful part of the earlier drive to eradicate Indigenous peoples. It is only within recent decades that efforts have been made to re-introduce wolves into certain areas; killing off ALL the top predators throws the entire eco-system out of whack.

      I am not sure what lessons can be learned here. Hunting billionaire pelts with rifles is distasteful and would only lead to more physical violence. But, a rather punitive and progressive tax system could work to thin out the Pack. (Would be especially socially beneficial if the Jeffrey Epsteins of the world, and the Pack they control and run with, could be radically thinned out.)

      1. The Historian

        I must say your comment made me smile for a moment, but no, I don’t want to see billionaire pelts, not even Epstein’s, hanging over a fence any more than I do real wolf pelts.

        I was only referring to the how the Elites think people behave in their contorted worldview, i.e., the Social Darwinian law of their jungle.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          there’s still a bounty on coyotes where i live.
          $300 or so for a female, last i looked.

          as for richpeople hides…it might come to that…but i’d settle for the reintroduction of stocks and pillories in the high finance districts.
          bring your own rotten fruit.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I actually think Andrew Yang’s approach is much better, instead of “punishing” the beneficiaries of bad policy (tax dodging tech and Wall St monopolists) with a wealth tax, change policy to get at the source of their excess skimmings before those proceeds hit their personal bank accounts in the first place.

        So: you own your data. When FB or Google or Twitter or Microsoft want to make some money from it they owe you a small dividend.

        When JP Morgan wants to use free money from the N. Y. Fed to buy back JPM shares that are then only offered to Jamie Dimon and a dozen of his close mates, the tax code says “Um, no”.

        Much better optics, you don’t even have to frame it as class war or as going after American entrepreneurial capitalism.

        (For the record I also believe we urgently need class war too on all fronts).

    3. Vegetius

      The Overton window is moving both right and left, depending on the demographic. Western liberalism is in retreat across the planet.

      The elites have lost their grip on the narrative. This is clear. And they know that the danger to them comes not from the left – not in the west, at any rate – but from the nationalist right.

      If the actually existing left was filled with people like those here at NC, that would be one thing. But that is not the case. And the elite have no problem with the social atomization or cultural deconstruction pushed by the useful idiots of the so-called Woke Left, because it makes globalization and the flow of unregulated labor and capital that much harder to resist.

      What terrifies our rulers is a nationalist movement that is culturally conservative and economically populist.

      Such a nationalist movement exists, and is growing, despite near-full spectrum opposition from every political actor on the scene. The debacle that has been the recent TPUSA college tour is one small sign of this. Another is that fact that right-libertarianism has collapsed among the young, while MMT is being discussed and debated by rightwingers in obscure (and sometimes not so obscure) youtube streams and facebook groups.

      This is why the mass deplatformings of the past few years have, so far as I know, always been directed against the nationalist right and never the pseudo- or neo-Marxist left.

      1. Daryl

        No need to “deplatform” the left since it has already been slowly underway since that FDR guy ran amok.

    4. RMO

      This stuck out for me in that article when it was in the process of seemingly trying to point out the US two-tiered justice system:

      “Normal that people in the street-level marijuana business go to prison while people in the business of selling ads to Russian intelligence go on magazine covers.”

      Geez… they’ve gotta cram that stuff in everywhere, don’t they?

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Donald Trump’s America Can’t Fight Xi Jinping’s China”: ‘China hawks pinned too many hopes on a deeply flawed administration.’

    When Trump said: “I’m also standing with President Xi. He’s a friend of mine”, I thought for a moment that he has been listening too much to Bernie Sanders. A bit stupid those China Hawks blaming a deeply flawed administration when the real problem is a deeply flawed US economy. And the reason that it is a deeply flawed economy is because people like the China hawks and the people that they come from are the ones that have been ransacking the country for the past coupla decades and getting wealthy out of it. If America still had a solid economy and a rugged industrial policy, then it could shake off whatever China could throw at it. And Donald trump would have never had a shot at the Presidency either. Now it is more problematical.

  10. djrichard

    Enacting a UBI that pays $10,000 to every US adult would distribute about $2.5 trillion in benefits each year. That’s roughly 75% of the federal government’s 2018 revenues. To fund a UBI program of this size, Congress would need to pass massive tax increases or spending cuts.

    Another program defeated by math (i.e. pay go policy). Perhaps maybe Yang can be the one that will step up to the plate, to push the overton window that the deficit doesn’t matter. Sanders would seem to have a bigger stake in this, but apparently seems to see it as a 3rdish rail of politics and won’t go there. Look forward to seeing the pay go facade that Sanders ultimately stitches together to sell his programs.

    1. ewmayer

      UBI is flawed on so many levels – so even the wealthy get their checks, and the corporation-runners get to use it as an excuse to underpay their workers even more than presently. Contrast with Jobs Guarantee – you could make everyone eligible for that irrespective of current income, but nobody’s gonna trade a C-suite job for WPA-style living-wage work, so the $ automatically go to those who really need them. And huge amounts of accumulated deferred-public-area-maintenance work suddenly start getting tackled. Plus, there’s this old-fashioned “dignity of work” notion – people working together on meaningful projects, history’s greatest despair antidote.

      1. Hamford

        +1, And a JG will be a de facto lifting of the minimum wage.

        Furthermore, JG will give workers the ability to leave bad work situations that hold their healthcare hostage.

        UBI does none of that. JG all the way!

      2. djrichard

        I’m sure Businessinsider already has an article written up on the Job Guarantee program, “The math is clear: Job Guarantee is a terrible idea”.

  11. JohnnyGL

    Re: MMT and developing countries –

    “We heard the director of monetary policy today from the Central Bank recognizing exactly what I described this morning, namely the huge imports of cereals, wheat, and what she described as “weaknesses in attracting foreign direct investment”. So they do recognize the structural issues, but they insist on this inflation targeting, knowing for a fact that there’s nothing you can do by raising interest rates—independently or not independently of the government.”

    Doesn’t that really sum up the problem with economics and central banking today!?!?!

    1. JohnnyGL

      The article goes on to discuss the supply chain of the olive oil industry. I’d like to think I’m part of the solution to Tunisia’s balance of payments problem as I’ve bought Tunisian olive oil for no other reason than it had a cool looking Carthaginian-style horse on it and celebrated that they’ve been growing olives for a couple thousand years. :)

      1. JohnnyGL

        This part is great…MMT scholars that are looking at and understanding real world business and (channeling my inner-Matt Stoller) they see POWER relations!

        “The related problem is that because they dominate the global supply chain, Spanish and Italian companies collectively have five years’ worth of global olive oil supply. We could completely stop olive oil production in Tunisia and the rest of the world for five years, and they could supply global demand. It’s a strategic reserve. Which means, as a small farmer in Tunisia, how do you negotiate? They actually come and buy your supply a year in advance, before you produce it. They set the price, and they pay you in advance. And what do you have to say as a small farmer? They say “take it or leave it”, and if you don’t take the deal they’re not going buy from you, and what do they tell you? “Good luck selling it!” This is the power structure that we’re talking about at the global level. The olive oil industry looks like a huge success story, but it’s still at the bottom of the food chain globally, and it’s still at the mercy of the Italian and Spanish companies. This is not just a Tunisian problem—it applies to all farmers across the African continent.”

  12. ChrisAtRU


    Wow … I’m fond of lampooning crypto and its true believers, but this was as sad as it was fascinating. The horrid nexus of Crypto/MLM/Ponzi/Pump-and-Dump with a dose of anonymous-shell-company to boot.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I found the whole scam an interesting blend of the old with the new. Old in that people got suckered into this as it was Dutch tulips all over again. But the new twist was what she did with her money. I would imagine that her time with McKinsey was well spent and all that money went to the same place that wealthy people’s money goes. Think the “Treasure Islands” and the Panama Papers for a start.
      You start law-enforcement going after all that money and where it is and who knows what else might turn up – stuff that a lot of wealthy people do not want publicized. So she might just get a pass for all this stolen wealth as it was only little people’s money. That was where Bernie Madoff made his big mistake – he took wealthy people’s money as well. After all, does it stand to reason that all the law enforcement organizations of the entire planet cannot find this woman?

      1. RMO

        I was also impressed by the way the author clearly defined the actual nature of money right at the start of the article – and that was only there as part of the description of how cryptocurrency is supposed to work.

  13. Joey

    Re: NBA exec
    Worth a read for the depiction of hubris. Getting wealthy apparently makes people believe they’re geniuses. File David with Shkreli and Musk, except the latter hasn’t quite arrived at Waterloo.

  14. Lee

    LA Has More Vacant Homes Than Homeless People, Report Finds LAist (JB4049).

    During my misspent youth in the ’70s we learned at the feet of some older folks who had been radical activists during the Great Depression. They used to regale us with tales of direct action in their time. One was the mass occupation of vacant structures in Chicago, with the buildings being improved and maintained by the many unemployed construction workers. Thus inspired, our collective was active in resistance in the street, to the SF International Hotel evictions and demolition. Perhaps it’s time for a new iteration of the Occupy movement.

  15. Bernalkid

    Let’s see, waterfront superfund site, floods with high tides , but we won’t study it so there is no evidence it is leaking. Eyed for residential development. So floods, poisonous, may be leaking–kaching–houses. This elite is criminal.

    1. Lee

      Private sector elites in collusion with state and local governments are building and selling quicksand futures in my area. Referring to the map linked below, the high earthquake hazard areas in red includes landfills that are subject to liquefaction and are currently either already built out or are currently being built upon. This development frenzy is being justified by the housing crisis.

      The map below show the risk of sea level inundation risk for the same area:

      Yes, the elites are criminal.

  16. Summer

    Well, Bloomberg has made it official.
    In an odd way, in a match-up against Trump, he has the potential to put the elite on blast as much as Sanders.
    In a different way, if faced with Bloomberg, Trump supporters and other Republicans will be reminded of just how divided they really are….
    Trump would have to convince the billionnaire class that he’s much better for them than confirmed billionnaire Bloomberg and try to work his “white working class” schtick. Fun times if it happens!! Bloomberg should remind Trump how much richer he is than Trump in a daily dose of psy ops.

    Not an endorsement in any way, only a musing.

      1. Summer

        The MSM can’t resist a billionaire and anything that registers on any type of electronic monitor can capture people’s attention. And he’s not like the Starbucks billionaire talking about running who never won a public office. We will see.

        But 5% would be the general election turnout of a Trump vs Bloomberg. Farcical turnout worth a popcorn moment…and quite the wake up call.

        1. Summer

          “But 5% would be the general election turnout of a Trump vs Bloomberg. Farcical turnout worth a popcorn moment…and quite the wake up call.”

          It could be a well-deserved 1% turnout…

      2. Yves Smith

        I agree. He’ll take Biden votes, but only in the blue coastal cities, and Mayo Pete’s, and any Beto voters looking for somewhere to go, but who else? His stop and frisk policies (plus other disses to the poors and relative poors, like being late to clean the streets in Queens after snowstorms) will make him toxic to blacks and likely many Hispanics. Just wait for the oppo to get going….although the Rs will probably hold it back to see how much china he breaks in the Dem party.

        1. Pat

          Spent part of evening eavesdropping on UES “liberals” hoping his apologies will endear him to minorities who misunderstand him. THEY are voting for him. Mind you these are intelligent informed people listening to lecturers who cage their answers regarding Bloomberg’s chances, and harp on Russia without question. (I am still trying to figure out how anyone can hear that Russia and their interference broke NATO and not get that the scary story is desperate and not adding up.)

          I think it is iffy if Bloomberg can get enough voters to qualify for delegates in NY, any other state forget it.

  17. elissa3

    Re: How America’s Elites Lost Their Grip

    Just the simple fact that this appeared in TIME is quite remarkable. Disregarding the Russia nonsense, the writer touches nearly all the bases. That this kind of essay has reached the mainstream media could mean that some of the “elite” are actually considering opening the valve on the pressure cooker. How much so remains to be seen.

    1. John k

      Or maybe this article and others that mention Bernie in neutral ways anticipate a Bernie pres.
      IMO the polls are heavily skewed… doesn’t seem possible for m4a to be so pop while the person that would deliver is not. Pollsters call landlines, 75% of over 65 have such, whereas only 36% of under 40 do. And only 6% of those called respond, likely further favoring geezers like me.
      And we saw a record young participate in 2018, an off year… clearly takes way more effort to go to stadium to listen to Bernie’s stump speech than going to local poll. I retain high hopes.

    2. Summer

      “the “elite” are actually considering opening the valve on the pressure cooker…”

      Yeah, to add some seasoning.

      They’ve been doubling down since 1789 (just taking a date that is close the beginning of alot of the terms and frame of reference for the modern political narraritive and divides.).

  18. smoker

    Re: Turkey Cracks Down on Cyanide Sale After Mass Killings, Suicides

    The suicides follow more than a year of economic tumult after a currency crisis dragged the nation into its first recession in a decade.

    Interesting that the suicides are all noted as emanating from bleak austerity, no mention anywhere of Mental Illness™; but when a piece is written regarding US suicides the articles are always focused on Mental Illness™, and may not bring up the ever increasing impoverishment and homelessness of US citizens at all.

    1. smoker

      Another interesting thing about that piece is the lack of a 1-800-suicide hotline number at the bottom of the piece; again, unlike all pieces on US suicide, which always include one.

      It’s pretty clear, if one can no longer afford to live a bearable life, that 1-800 number cannot address that issue, and may even end up adding yet another unaffordable debt – a stay at a hospital and prescribed meds that one couldn’t afford even if they actually needed them – versus say a livable wage job and affordable housing.

  19. Tomonthebeach

    Jacobin Hindu Nationalism Article.

    A point made in this interesting article likely escaped notice by many readers. Sarkar mentioned the Raj policy of divide and rule as the foundation for current Hindu right intolerance . Not only does this describe the current mess in India, but it should remind people why there is an antagonistic Pakistan. Even more worthy of pointing out, is that this British policy is responsible for the US 19-year Foreverwar in the Middle East.

    After WW-I proved oil indispensable, the UK BP and US Standard Oil interests led to carving up Middle East borders to ensure a religious minority in each country – divide and rule. After WW-II, this policy was restored. What the US has been doing all this time is trying to enforce a very cynical and cruel policy – divide and rule.

  20. richard

    something called word genius snuck into my email today and sent me a “word of the day” to improve my vocabulary
    the word was “meritocracy”
    with a smiling picture of a happy boardroom and then the definition with this example:
    “our company is a meritoctacy that rewards people based on performance, and their contribution to the blah blah”
    i am not even a little joking
    this does not sound the least little bit weird or spookish
    to send me this is the most normal thing in the world
    and that’s why i share it with you now

    1. Lost in OR

      Yes, thank you.
      We will see true change when pensions of the 10% $h*t the bed. The death knell of “living the dream “.
      And sooner better than later.

  21. ewmayer

    When a deep red town’s only grocery closed, city hall opened its own store. Just don’t call it ‘socialism.’ WaPo — The various definitions of ‘socialism’ vary so widely that it is indeed a fraught word for such an initiative. Luckily we have a perfectly fine alternate word which can serve, one lacking both the ambiguity and historical/political baggage: communitarianism. (Which however would likely be smear-twisted into ‘communism’ by demagogues of various stripes should it ever threaten to come into widespread popular usage as descriptor and practice.)

  22. allan

    University to Students on Medicaid: Buy Private Coverage, or Drop Out [NYT]

    Emily and Kullen Langston were enrolling in classes for the winter semester at Brigham Young University-Idaho when they hit an unexpected roadblock.
    The school, like many others, requires all students to have health coverage. But this month, the university made an unusual announcement: It would no longer accept Medicaid.
    Ms. Langston, 20, enrolled in the free government insurance program last year after becoming pregnant with the couple’s daughter, who is now 4 months old. Mr. Langston, 22, was planning to sign up for Medicaid in January, when it is set to expand in the state.
    To remain in school, they would have to buy private coverage. The cheapest option available is the university’s student health plan, which does not comply with the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections and would require the Langstons to pay a $3,125 annual premium. …

    The decision on the eastern Idaho campus has confused and angered students. The change is set to go into effect on Jan. 1, the same day Idaho will expand Medicaid coverage to about 70,000 low-income residents, including college students.
    In an email last week to its 19,000 students in Idaho, the university appeared to tie its decision to the Medicaid expansion. It’s not clear how many students currently have Medicaid coverage, but the state projects that about 2,400 more people in Mason County, where the school is, would enroll with the expansion….

    The policy change is likely to push more students into a health plan administered by Deseret Mutual Benefits Administration, which, like the university, is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    That plan limits annual benefits and doesn’t cover birth control — provisions that would violate the Affordable Care Act, but for a little-noticed Obama-era exemption for universities
    that fund their own health plans. …

    The Idaho campus is the only Brigham Young site that will no longer accept Medicaid as a substitute for the student health plan, a decision that university officials would not explain. The school’s Utah and Hawaii campuses allow students with Medicaid to waive private coverage. …

    In announcing its new stance on Medicaid, Brigham Young University-Idaho cited a worry about overwhelming local health care providers. The local hospital, however, said it had no such concerns and had not raised the issue with the university. …

    Poor Idaho, so far from God, so close to Utah.

  23. Plenue

    >Halal certification bodies clear up confusion over Christmas greetings on food Jakarta Post

    This type of hyper-anal legalese is where religion really breaks my brain. Not only does The Creator® care about incredibly petty things, but He’s apparently so bad at communication that hordes of ‘scholars’ are needed to suss out lots of minutiae of the laws.

    Was it Airplane! that had the joke about offering a passenger twelve volumes on Jewish Law as reading material for the flight?

  24. barefoot charley

    My favorite headline so far today, from WSJ:

    Bernie Sanders’s Loyal Voters Could Keep Him in Race for Months

    The nerve of those oafs! And who does Bernie Sanders think he is, anyway?

  25. Summer

    So the scum of the earth health insurance companies are increasing premiums/deductibles again and the mediocrities of corporate human resources have the nerve to spin it as only “paying for those that can’t afford insurance.”
    It’s also subsidizing the VPs and CEOs who can afford these sky high prices but by keeping workers in the pools with them they get bargain basement prices for their salaries. Nobody bothers to look at the scum sucking system that way.

  26. Carey

    Caitlin Johnstone- ‘Bitter, Joyless Told-You-Sos: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix’:

    “2021: President Warren orders airstrikes on Damascus
    Fox News: Warren is weak for not sending in ground troops
    MSNBC: This is a great historical moment for women around the world
    The Young Turks: Medicare for All is coming any minute now you guys..”

  27. John Hacker

    Sooooo. This is another way the “it’s not my job” works. NoGo drugs become Go Fly with the approval of the government. Lawyers happily taking a consulting fee then tell grieving family “Oh we can’t sue the government…

  28. The Rev Kev

    “Defecting Chinese spy offers information trove to Australian government”

    Another part of the anti-China propaganda campaign. Are the Chinese spying on Australia? Only if they are doing their job. But so are the Israelis, French, Americans, British and god knows who else. And we on them. This story was pushed on 60 Minutes which I note in Australia has very friendly relations with our local spooks. This was the same program that pushed the Putin-shot-down-the-airliner-plane-over-Ukraine story. You see all the statements and stories in Australia against China and it seems that Australia has promised to be the stalking horse against China. Reckless and stupid.
    Does this sound too sympathetic to China? It isn’t. For decades now the Coalition party has been pushing the anti-Muslim idea to help them stay in power, no matter the consequences. They were made ‘the other’. When that was fizzling out they tried an anti-African push which nobody believed in and lost power. After getting back they signed on to the anti-Russian campaign which is harder than it looks as Australia has little to do with Russians. And now they are telling me that we should sign up for an anti-Chinese campaign even though there are 1.2 million of them living here. Well the hell with that. Having a bunch of reckless neocons telling me which people to hate this time around which by coincidence serves an elites political and financial interests? Nope – not this little black duck. Our Labour party is as feckless as your Democrats but the Coalition party is really getting beyond redemption with this crap.

    1. Synoia

      And what have the Chinese discovered?

      1. Australia has beaches, some topless, and many with sharks.
      2. Aussies (in Sydney) drink VB, not Fosters.
      3. The Aussies sell much ore to China

      and so on…

  29. Danny

    “Evers signs bill making it a felony to trespass on pipelines”

    What’s needed are binary protests:
    Protestor One rips down “Pipline-no protesting signs = simple vandalism.

    Protestor Two trespasses. No signs, no knowledge, no intent.

    1. Hamford

      Haha, suddenly RICO, long forgotten when dealing with elite crimes, would quickly be used in full force against these tag teams.

  30. Chauncey Gardiner

    Arundhati Roy’s article about developments in India, Indian Prime Minister Modi’s policies and background, his BJP political party, the current situation in Kashmir, class and religious divisions and related violence, and environmental degradation there was very informative for me. Provided some balance to the current administration’s organized show of U.S. support for Modi we recently saw televised from Houston.

    1. JBird4049

      $950 just for the flipping shirt. An excellent examples of an over abundance of money, ignorance, and bad taste. I guess the rich really are different from everyone else.

  31. Expat2uruguay

    It is now midnight in Uruguay and the voting has closed. Earlier it looked like the center-right party (Blancos or Naciónal) was going to beat out the left Coalition (Frente Amplio). But now it’s too close to call. Things are a bit tense right now on the television and in the campaign headquarters, but most people have already gone to sleep thinking that the center-right party won the election…

    1. RMO

      If they keep that lunatic at high levels of the government or (shudder) elect her party leader I’m going back to voting Green. The last two elections are the only ones that have occurred during my voting life where it was even a possibility that my riding would elect anyone but a Conservative so I never had to do a lesser of two evils calculation until a redistricting changed things. My riding went Liberal during the first of those two elections and then back to Conservative in the most recent.

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