Links 12/14/19

Triple play: Two Harbors man fills three community needs in one long day MPR News. Chuck L: “A snapshot small town life for some.”

Octopus and eagle square off at Canadian farm BBC

Tony Brooker, Pioneer of Computer Programming, Dies at 94 New York Times (David L)

Heat your House with a Mechanical Windmill Low Tech (Robert H)

Humans Accidentally Made a Space Cocoon For Ourselves Out of Radio Waves Vice. Dan K:

Video seems a little too “feel good”-y to me. What happens if we suddenly turn off the VLF tracking? Technologically created conditions are inherently unstable in the long term… we could be pushing away and eventually thinning our Van Allen shield.

Miniature Brains Recently Sent Out Brain Waves for the First Time Smithsonian (David L)

Here’s why many CRISPR/Cas9 experiments could be wrong – and how to fix them Massive Science (David L)

Can a New Diagnosis Help Prevent Suicide? Undark (UserFriendly). Important.

China?

Doubts Surface on $50 Billion in China Farm Buys Touted by Trump Bloomberg

Stock Markets Failed To Rally On China Trade Deal, Here’s Why Forbes

Brexit (and Election Post Mortem)

Resolution Craig Murray

Election result: Boris Johnson won because Remainers ‘f***** it up, Dominic Cummings says Independent

Anti-politics & the last gasp of British Labourism Left Flank (SOMK)

EU leaders acknowledge Brexit now inevitable Politico. Note EU again plans to control the shape of the table:

“We have to discuss the precise approach to these negotiations,” Rutte said, while refusing to comment on whether the Netherlands would back a German proposal for a less ambitious “Step 1” trade agreement that could be upgraded at a later stage.

Syraqistan

In Wag the Dog Move, Indicted Israeli PM Netanyahu Moves to Annex 25% of Palestinian West Bank Juan Cole (resilc)

Saudi Arabia ends gender segregation in restaurants BBC (furzy)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Ring says it will introduce new security features after hackers broke into a camera in an 8-year-old’s bedroom, where they could watch and talk to the child Business Insider (Kevin W). How reassuring.

A.I. Is Making it Easier to Kill (You). Here’s How. New York Times, YouTube (David L)

Behind the One-Way Mirror: A Deep Dive Into the Technology of Corporate Surveillance Electronic Frontier Foundation (David L)

Trump Transition

Supreme Court to Decide Cases on Access to Trump’s Financial Records Wall Street Journal (see Bloomberg version here). I would think there’d be an argument that the Congressional subpoenas were overly broad and extend into time frames that can’t/don’t have anything to do with his office. But that would be a fallback position.

Trump is the natural consequence of our anti-democracy decade Robert Reich, Guardian

Kansas Kills Kris Kobach’s National Voter Purge System Truthout (Dan K)

When a Reform Prosecutor Stands Up to the Death Penalty Intercept. UserFriendly: “Zero guardrails for prosecutorial misconduct.”

Impeachment

The impeachment articles are a major retreat for Democrats Washington Post (furzy)

Vulnerable Democrats swing behind impeachment push The Hill

The Eight Counts of Impeachment That Trump Deserves New York Times (furzy)

Impeachment obliterates tinges of comity in House The Hill

2020. FWIW, #DropOutBloomberg now tops the “trending” list at Twitter in the US:

Trump shocks black voters — by trying to get their votes Politico (UserFriendly)

Democratic candidates threaten to boycott presidential debate over labor dispute NBC

Panel: New EXPLOSIVE Hunter report is bad news for Joe Biden Rising

The “Bernie Blackout” Could Help Sanders Win Intercept

New poll finds Sanders surging to within 7 points of Biden in South Carolina The Hill (resilc)

Bernie Sanders’s $150B plan to make the internet a utility: HOW IT WORKS Business Insider (furzy)

The Viral Mike Bloomberg Dance Video Is Actually Part Of A Comedy Bit BuzzFeed (UserFriendly)

Democrats in Disarray

Take Back Our Party: Restoring the Democratic Legacy American Prospect (resilc)

America’s Two-Headed One Party System Caitlin Johnstone. In this section because the Dems find it more difficult to ‘splain
their allegiance to big money/big corps than the GOP.

Our Famously Free Press

Vicious Cycles: Theses on a philosophy of news Harpers (JMM)

Forget The Hype, Aramco Shares May be Valued At Zero Next Year OilPrice (resilc)

PG&E’s future is in doubt after Newsom rejects bankruptcy plan Los Angeles Times

Charting the World’s Major Stock Markets on the Same Scale (1990-2019) Visual Capitalist (furzy)

Class Warfare

Student Loan Debt: Unsafe In Any Amount Popular Resistance (UserFriendly). Important.

Michelle Obama Defending George W. Bush Is a Lesson in Class Solidarity Teen Vogue (UserFriendly)

How Hollywood Subtly Reinforces Wage Slavery American Conservative (UserFriendly)

Bloomberg Just Bought CityLab—and Put Half Its Reporters Out of a Job Mother Jones (Dan K)

Antidote du jour (crittermom):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

160 comments

  1. Clive

    Re: Nicholas Guyatt Tweet (about the U.K. election and Labour’s doorstep performance in the campaign)

    Luke Pagarani, a canvasser for Labour gives a from-the-gut verbatim on how Labour’s messaging was received and, more importantly, what the people he spoke to were like (how they said it, in other words, not just what they said).

    Well worth a read through the whole thing.

    An eloquent description of the problem. But then we turn, inevitably to solutions. To say we land on the big snake is to pretty up the predicament no end:

    There seems like a huge opportunity there for the left to make inroads with younger non-graduates in towns but how do we reach them? Organising and social media I guess? 21/21

    Organising and social media? Organising and bloody social eff’ing media?

    My head is literally in my hands. For Labour Party members such as I, where do you even start with this? And this is from activists and supporters. Trying, now, to compose myself a little… politics, for the initiated, begins with policies. Yes, there is a political push-me-pull-me. You can, in certain circumstances lead your core voters and also floaters into new, different and sometimes unexpected policy directions. But only up to a point. You also have to respond to what they are demanding of your programmatic approach to government.

    Reply
    1. BillK

      Corbyn had an impossible job to do. His northern Labour working class support had voted Leave and the London Labour left wing support had voted Remain. Corbyn tried to not upset either half of his support and fell through the abyss between them.
      Cummings (Boris manager) explains bluntly exactly what the Tories did and why Labour lost so badly.
      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/election-results-brexit-dominic-cummings-remain-vote-leave-boris-johnson-tory-a9245186.html

      Reply
      1. Clive

        Yes, Cummings is today’s required reading for U.K. residents. To amplify:

        Mr Cummings said: “After the shock of the referendum, MPs and journalists should have taken a deep breath and had a lot of self-reflection of why they misunderstood what was going on in the country, but instead a lot of people just doubled down on their own ideas and f***** it up even more.

        “That’s why something like this happens against expectations.

        “All these better than average educated Remainer campaigner types who have waved around for eight weeks, for the last four months and didn’t understand what was going on and didn’t understand they were driving everyone mad.

        Mr Cummings added: “Hopefully now they’ll learn because it’s not good for the country, the whole dynamic, to carry on.

        “MPs need to reflect, the media needs to reflect, and they need to realise that the conversations they have in London are a million miles away from reality.”

        For US readers, there are also significant lessons to draw from this. However good you might think your, say, progressive ideas are on healthcare, the environment, the international order reshaping and that kind of good stuff, if the base you’re hoping to rely on isn’t with you all the way on your policies on, taking a few things, immigration, welfare, pride in your nation, education standards and identity you are, to put it bluntly, stuffed.

        Falling back, as the cohort in U.K. Labour did, into despising your natural base because of these questions, is likely to have the same not-especially encouraging outcome.

        Reply
        1. paul

          That’s how it’s working in ‘North Britain©’ as lovingly remembered by gordon brown on desert island discs.

          It strangely has not gained the brand pull of its real name

          He ruminated on how much his father, the master of the kirk, who had supported Israel in their troubled times, and that he had liberated kosovo, yet was deaf to his own country, would not speak his home country’s name.

          Reply
          1. Clive

            It’s been interesting watching the Guardian tie itself in logical knots today about Scottish independence. Of course, the Guardian doesn’t give a fig about Scotland and nationhood. It thinks nationalism is something nasty you have to scrape off your shoe.

            But it does, as only the Guardian can, suddenly start evangelising about it, if it’s a stick to beat the Conservatives with. I suppose, in their eyes, it’s just another identity politics outlet, so it’s semi-safe ground.

            Previously, this had the desired effect on U.K. politics and the political establishments. Theresa May, for example, would have fretted and fussed about how it could be triangulated.

            To Johnson, though, he isn’t remotely bothered. If he has to “lose” Scotland (I love the language employed around this; put in the same terms as “I’ve lost one of my favourite socks…”) to gain, or hold on to something else he perceives of higher value, then so be it.

            They really don’t understand him. Or his politics. It beggars belief that supposedly adept politicians (and a know-it-all media) think they can defeat something they patently don’t understand.

            Reply
            1. David

              I couldn’t bear to read the Guardian today, but I can probably reconstruct from first principles the kind of thing you mean. I think you’re on to a larger point here, though. Johnson doesn’t care. He doesn’t give a familyblog. About anything. And, with his majority, there’s no reason even to pretend to. May and Cameron did at least feel obliged to nod on occasions to the London progressive agenda. Johnson clearly is not going to even try.
              It’s striking that, when late in the game the Guardian suddenly realised that they had to stop bashing Corbyn and have a go at Johnson instead, the best they could come up with was he shouldn’t be elected because “racism” because”misogony” because “islamophobia” and other celebrated North-West London preoccupations. Their heads are going to explode when Johnson gets going. The Clown might unwittingly be the agent of purification that the labour Party has so long needed.

              Reply
                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Clive in your OP you said politics, for the initiated, begins with policies.

                  I’m not so sure.

                  Maybe “politics begins with perceptions” is better.

                  Reply
              1. ObjectiveFunction

                Except for perusing NC, I haven’t followed Brexit or the election closely (my Dad emigrated in 1952), so chastise me if the following is either Captain Obvious, or off base….

                1. Isn’t the ‘evidence’ for antisemitism pretty much all rooted in Labour’s, and Corbyn’s, past support for Palestinian rights in the face of long oppression, which is by definition anti-Israeli?

                And no doubt some of that solidarity rhetoric goes (not unreasonably) beyond criticizing specific acts of Israel, to criticizing the settlers’ programme, and thence the founding Zionist philosophy in general. Which readily bleeds across into critiquing certain founding principles of the Jewish state, and by extension, criticizing Jewry in general? (i.e. antisemitism)

                (I find it unlikely there’s some sinister den (can’t say cabal) of old school European paleos within the Labour movement ranting about ‘die Plutokraten und Bolshewisten’. More likely, some too clever by half Labour activists (can’t say zealots) occasionally recycle some of that older rhetoric without checking on its sinister origin. Thus furnishing ‘proof’ of their bigotry, Q.E.D.)

                2. If the above is indeed the case, would that explain why Corbyn didn’t aggressively disown the smears? Also, in the back of his mind, he might also have been hoping (vainly) that sticking to his human rights principles would earn him votes from British Muslims and PoC (e.g. Labour’s own Coalition of the Ascendant?).

                3. And if that is true in turn, it would be yet another clotheared progressive bet on the power of IdPol. Or the West Wing style suasive power of ‘virtue’, if I repurpose the brilliant recent observation of comrade DJRichard in these fine pages:

                Trump [BoJo] understood that the enemy was a “virtuous” enemy, one that sold outcomes as being ‘virtuous’, e.g. the virtue of free trade leading to natural winners and losers…. If you’re going to take on the ‘virtuous’ class, you’re going to have to adopt some other mantle: clown, cult of personality, an iconoclast, SOB, what have you.

                The Tories ‘enemy’, in this particular case, being the ‘virtue’ of immigration.

                4. And as far as I can tell, that is at the core of what Brexit is about: consternation among the UK 80% classes of unaccountable Eurocrats flinging wide the gates. And the antisemitism chestnut becomes a respectable dog whistle for ‘Labour shipping in more bleedin’ (umm, well my Edwardian era granny used a nasty word that can go to the grave with her).

                6. And opinion polls won’t warn you of any of that, because voters are now conditioned to deny being anti-immigrant, so as not to be denounced as awful racist skinheads. Ergo, the ‘Shy Tory’ effect strikes again.

                Again, apols if this is all teaching (racist) grandma to suck eggs.

                Reply
            2. David

              If it doesn’t make it out of moderation, just be aware that I’ve posted a comment supporting what you say and going a bit further.

              Reply
        2. Carolinian

          million miles away from reality

          There’s a lot of that going around. Perhaps both there and here the so-called left leadership needs to get out more.

          Reply
          1. Ted

            But they do get out more …right into the islands of affluence and media propaganda that defines their reality on a daily basis, where they encounter people who are just like them and never not like them (except for the vibrant colors of the multiculti that gives their lives such diverse and interesting flavor, but without material consequence). … sigh … I find myself returning to Marx’s German Ideology more often these days than in the past. …

            Reply
        3. New Wafer Army

          Clive, thanks for your great comments today. You’re on fire and understandably fired up. You’re encapsulating many of our thoughts, I imagine. As the kids say, I know that feel bro. Keep it coming!

          Reply
          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            Agreed NFA.

            I think that social media played a role if only a small one through what I discovered by spying on certain people including members of my extended family, which revealed a situation which I imagine likely occurred all over Britain.

            The Remainers in my friend collection were indeed very annoying in their self righteousness while they spent most of their time in smug cliques that resembled echo chambers where they exchanged likes for often fatuous statements.

            There was absolutely no consideration of anyone else’s position & the EU became like some sort of sacred cow. The leavers were as fundamentalist in their own more pugilistic way but without the Identity politics & constant chattering.

            I watched some of the Remainer London demo last night which appeared to me to be a pointless exercise in screechy cognitive dissonance – btw, thanks to the excellent coverage here I went from sitting on the fence while not pretending I was an expert on the consequences of Brexit to being against Brexit.

            Reply
            1. a different chris

              >while they spent most of their time in smug cliques that resembled echo chambers

              But… if you are sure of something, and you are sure you are going to lose it… isn’t grouping with the other losers just what people do in that situation? It is really hard to console somebody without pointing out the good side of their mistakes, it’s impossible when you actually agree with their actions (or in this case beliefs) wholeheartedly.

              Give people a break. “Life sucks and then you die,” is my wife’s favorite saying.

              It’s now a country run by Boris Johnston for chrissake. That seems a fair reason for group hugs to me.

              Shorter me: They are supporting each other in a terrifying situation. The optics they give off aren’t what you want, too bad. Said optics are probably a defense shield against “consolation” from “reasonable” people like you, which they need to be away from at the moment.

              PS: and I *am* a Brexit supporter, but only because I hate the increasing size of the worlds Blobs and maybe more to the point I’m gutlessly on the other side of an ocean…

              Reply
              1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

                I understand what you are saying & many of these people I have a lot of affection for. The group hugs thing has been going on since the Brexit vote which I understand especially as some are in much more of a precarious position than they realize.

                What annoys me is that they look down on others who disagree with them & use the ready made stereotypical responses in what appears to me to be a version of groupthink – stupid, moron, racist etc. this is IMO almost the equivalent of the behaviour of those they despise.

                At least half of them come from working class backgrounds but pretend otherwise because their work does not involve manual labour or getting their hands dirty & I know for a fact that in relation to the EU they know little more than those they despise – like the Trans thing it’s good & that’s all one needs to know with no attempt at all at any significant exploration of the issues.

                I’m fine with them supporting themselves if in a rather sheep pen sort of way, but when most of that includes the simplistic vilification of the other side rather than presenting cogent arguments in a persuasive manner, then IMO it is counter productive & could well build up resentment in the notoriously bloody minded that one day may could result in blowback if not to them but others, particularly if the Right continues to tighten it’s grip.

                I understand the Right & expect them to behave in a certain way which they consistently have. I guess I am just horrified at the IMO very foolish response from those who I believed were much better than that.

                Reply
              2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

                Here’s Pie summing up the idiocy of the reactions of those to the possibility & finally the reality after many a dead unicorn of that which they feared most.

                For the US IMO the Liberals have been similar in their reaction to the Trump phenomenon which personally i believe is equally idiotic.

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0nIhL4v6bY

                Reply
        4. Darius

          Is it true that Corbyn wouldn’t dump the Remainers because he was afraid of accusations of Stalinism while Johnson had no qualms about dumping Tory Remainers? It seems I’m learning Corbyn lacked a certain ruthlessness as do a lot of liberals, and some leftists.

          Reply
          1. Mel

            “ruthlessness”
            Yeah. It made me think of the article yesterday(?) (the day before(?)) about Bernie’s early tenure as mayor — not taking no for an answer, and getting around obstructions. If we’re going to take an example from somebody …

            Reply
            1. JTMcPhee

              I wonder which wins in a Donnybrook — ruthless, or relentless? I recall that Bezos, the very model of modern success, almost named the thing he has conjured up “Relentless” rather than “Amazon. https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-was-almost-named-relentless-2014-2

              Maybe it’s a problem of our species: people who are at all empathetic and nice and want to do good and make life better for everyone lack the necessary viciousness to bring the “better” they hope for. No such problem for the Dimons and Obamas and African dictators and the like. The unspoken motto of the Big Law Firm I once worked for: “Eat what you kill.”

              I wonder whether the best us mopes can hope for is an LBJ? Who nonetheless, in exchange for that Great Society legislation, amped up the whole MIC-security state thing and the colonial wars… Guns or butter. Emphasize “or.” But the people who live for the guns have no problem opening fire on supplicants seeking butter. See history of “labor Unrest” (some ruthlessness on both sides, ended by cooptation) and stuff like the Bonus Marchers.

              Always brings to mind the Ghana Wilson cartoon I first saw in Playboy when I was in Vietnam: A filthy, troglodyte soldier, all geared up with the accouterments of combat, standing in the foreground, behind him a blasted landscape with demolished city, gripping his assault rifle and fighting knife, looking up with amazed eyes from beneath the rim of his steel helmet, saying, “I think I won!”

              Reply
              1. Anon

                …for those interested in the cartoon: it’s Gahan. (Many at the time thought the signature on his cartoons was Graham.) He just recently died.

                Reply
              2. The Rev Kev

                That cartoon reminds me of another one from the same time period. It shows a nuclear wasteland where you can see the remnants of a city. Standing in the middle of it is this guy holding a portable TV in one hand and its power cord in the other, trying to find somewhere he can plug it into.

                Reply
            1. voteforno6

              Bernie did fine here…in the great scheme of things, this isn’t the hill to die on. The real test, I think, will come if (when, hopefully) he’s President, and has to stare down some preening generals over a change in policy.

              Reply
              1. JohnnyGL

                I hope you’re right, but this was an opportunity to show some loyalty to a longtime ally and bernie did a rapid 180 on his endorsement.

                If bernie wants to engender real loyalty, he needs to SHOW loyalty to those who’ve been loyal to him.

                This was an opportunity to talk about how it’s ok to 1) make mistakes and be forgiven and 2) to pick a very winnable fight with the media.

                For a guy who’s getting blacked out…it’s a real missed opportunity.

                Reply
                1. dcrane

                  This is not the first example….there was also that kid who edited a great support video, whom they dropped like a hot potato after some of his past work in college was resurfaced and (I think) badly misrepresented. Can’t remember his name. I’m worried that if Bernie’s campaign is too sensitive to criticisms like these they’ll be tied up in knots in no time.

                  Reply
                  1. JohnnyGL

                    It’s Matt Orfalea. You’re quite right, he is very talented.

                    Who else is going to be deemed ‘expendable’? Killer Mike is a rapper. Plenty of controversial stuff to work with. Bernie’s campaign had better be prepared to take a stand and defend it at some point.

                    Corbyn tried to give ground on the anti-semitism stuff, to no avail. The smear merchants never stop.

                    That is an underrated lesson of Trump. Never apologize unless you absolutely have to apologize. Then, immediately pivot back to the attack.

                    Reply
                    1. The Rev Kev

                      And Tulsi Gabbard went to the wall for him but he has not done the same for her. As much as I like his policies, Sanders is getting a reputation for abandoning the people that support him.
                      It could be him or it could be his advisors. It is not a good look and makes important people who are thinking about throwing their support behind him think twice now.

                    2. John k

                      A pres, or pres hopeful, doesn’t, or shouldn’t, have friends, certainly not any with obligations attached.
                      I support Bernie bc of his policies, not bc he’s loyal to me. There are plenty of reasons people will remain loyal to him if he might be pres.
                      Tulsi wants less war. Who better than Bernie? She will help him in whatever way is useful to him.
                      Uyger is an embarrassment to Bernie. Most People will overlook attacks not grounded in fact… There is no need to give his many msm enemies actual grounds for attacking him.

            2. a different chris

              Wait a second, Cenk requested to not be endorsed. How does this reflect on Bernie? Was he supposed to say “hey I’m endorsing you anyway, so there!”.

              Lordy.

              Reply
        5. Ignacio

          I found the series of tweets by Luka Pagarani illuminating. My intuition is that if you do something similar in Madrid outskirts the results wouldn’t be very much different. My anecdotical experience is in line with his findings. And that explains strong VOX support in a belt of municipalities around Madrid in last general elections.

          It was very interesting to see the voting split according to age though I miss a comparison with other elections or other countries to check if the current split is explained by the usual age-related conversion to conservatism (I call it “natural”) or if in these elections the split was much more pronounced indicating that the Labour should cultivate the younger generations to win in the future.

          Reply
          1. Louis Fyne

            His tweets..up to a point. I’m a bit skeptical that literally EVERYone over 50 in Milton Keynes is an angry bigot per his anecdote. Original tweeter could just be a smug jerk. Just saying.

            How would you feel if you were a 65 y.o. committed Democrat and an ardent 25 y.o. Trump activist, who wouldn’t concede any point, knocked at your door?

            Reply
          2. hunkerdown

            “If you’re a rightist at the age of 25, you have no heart. If you’re a leftist at the age of 45, you have no property.”

            Reply
        6. Anon

          Look, US presidential voting is very different than the UK. The Electoral College puts a foot on the scale of democratic selection. The diversity of voter interests in the US makes the two-party system (uni-polar, actually) unworkable.

          Some voters may like the pro-labor stance of a candidate, but dislike the candidates stance on healthcare, splitting voting support in the electorate. Other voters have singular interests (Leave, Border Walls, class status fear, etc) and gladly support candidates who mollify their fears, but encourage policy that is long-term detrimental. Do the folks who voted for Boris (or Trump) really think their “guy” is going to improve their situation? (They do but they are likely wrong.) This is the conundrum of politics and democracy.

          Reply
          1. a different chris

            >Do the folks who voted for Boris

            Again, maybe I’m wrong, but don’t the only people who vote for Boris are the ones in his constituency?

            So people vote for their local Tory and quite possibly some of those voters think “man I hope they have the sense to not elect Boris but it’s better than Labor”.

            Reply
        7. dcrane

          Mr Cummings said: “After the shock of the referendum, MPs and journalists should have taken a deep breath and had a lot of self-reflection of why they misunderstood what was going on in the country, but instead a lot of people just doubled down on their own ideas and f***** it up even more.

          Change “the referendum” to “Trump’s election” and this could easily be a quote about the US establishment media and Democratic Party.

          Reply
        8. hunkerdown

          Are you implying, sir, that it’s okay for a party to not have an opinion on something, to not embody a totalizing ideology and micromanage it into manifestation? Why, it’s almost as if you’re claiming that political parties are not a substitute for churches or workplaces. Horror! ;)

          Reply
        9. JBird4049

          For US readers, there are also significant lessons to draw from this. However good you might think your, say, progressive ideas are on healthcare, the environment, the international order reshaping and that kind of good stuff, if the base you’re hoping to rely on isn’t with you all the way on your policies on, taking a few things, immigration, welfare, pride in your nation, education standards and identity you are, to put it bluntly, stuffed.

          The goal of the American political and economic elites is to maintain their cushy occupations that come from immiserating the population by using the control gained by dividing and ruling. Identity Politics is part of it, be it of the old fashion white supremacist and jingoistic variety or the newer victimology in which all whites are “privileged” and carry the American Original Sin of racism.

          Noticed how conveniently it splits the population into the Democratic and Republican bases of Useful Idiots as well as detracting from the actual perpetrators of the economic rapine of the United States (and the United States’ rapine of the Earth). I could easily argue that the ideology of Neoliberalism was created as a means to do just that.

          The various suggestions of gun rights/control, right to life/pro-choice, the War on Some Drugs, student “loans,” the Forever Wars, and the Police State are all about creating separation into groups of the people, creating conflict and ignorance, ignoring and perpetuating the root causes, chaining people to debt and prison and not to actually solve anything. It does increase the power and wealth of the elites though.

          A big problem of this strategy of “you and him fight” is that the fight can eventually smash the walls and then pull the roof down.

          Reply
          1. Carey

            Good comment. Regarding your last sentence: I think the scoundrel Few do recognize that, but figure IBG/YBG.

            “mercifully short.”

            Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      Labour’s red wall isn’t in the North, it’s around Islington and the M25 (London Beltway).

      I wouldn’t be surprised if France is more familiar to a random London Labour tweeter than Blackpool (Atlantic City = the US version of Blackpool).

      (No offence, just saying)

      Reply
    3. generic

      I don’t see what your complaint here is. He explicitly states that those people he talks about here are quite positve to existing policy once they learn about it. He is not talking about the people that bought into the Antisemetism smear, where he has no suggestion.

      Reply
      1. Clive

        Yes, they really are very positive about existing policies. And why wouldn’t they be? They’re great policies.

        Unfortunately that list of policies doesn’t extend to the one they really cared about — their dealbreaker — Brexit.

        The manifesto didn’t extend to Brexit because a faction in Labour’s NEC (mis-) leadership (and, it has to be said, a fair few members) insisted that their pet internationalism virtue signalling totem pole couldn’t be chopped down.

        It was an either/or trade-off. The well-intentioned person who tweeted still — still — couldn’t quite bring themselves to acknowledge this grisly political reality.

        I do understand the conundrum. Compromising on your principles is never easy. But this is what gets progressives every single flippin’ time: we’d, all too often, rather sacrifice power for our chosen causes célèbres.

        Reply
        1. generic

          I just object to the characterisation of Luke’s last few Tweets. Because his shimmer of hope observation is explicitly that unengeaged working class people living below 35 and living in towns are reachable with existing policies and don’t strongly care about Brexit.

          And the voting block he describes as:

          With such voters, already retired or coming towards the end of their careers, talk of what we can build together leaves them sceptical and uncomprehending. It seems more zero sum to them. 15/
          We have salvaged a small horde from the imperial wreck and only those whose fealty is proven can claim their share. I have absolutely no idea how we can appeal to such people. The idea of taxing the rich didn’t seem persuasive as these people just think it is impossible. 16/

          is adjacent to but not the same as the pro-Brexit faction.

          To move away from Luke’s points and go back to Brexit: Evidently the position on Brexit was the tactically wrong one and the communication was worse. But for the Labour leadership I see it less as a question of principle, after all, old Labour was never in love with the EU, but a dilemma of balancing the interests of party members and activists with older northern voters. It is also not clear to me that keeping the old position of soft Brexit was an option either.

          Reply
          1. Clive

            Yes, they are potentially reachable.

            But not if your key policy on the defining issue of an election hasn’t already sent hordes of them, like the figure on Edvard Munch‘s famous picture “The Scream”, running away from you in despair. “Don’t strongly care” isn’t the same as “don’t care at all”.

            The easiest way to win people over is to avoid needlessly driving them away from you in the first place.

            Reply
            1. flora

              Watching some of the Remain TV ads on youtube from here in the US, it was startling how similar they were to Hillary’s campaign ads: same demographic/economic class speakers, same sales pitch, same class target audience.

              Reading through the long thread from the canvasser is exactly like reading long threads from Dem canvassers who just can’t understand why voters aren’t flocking to the Dem party, given the alternative is the GOP and Trump. ( UK Liberals and the US Dems seem like one party separated by a common lanquage – to misquote G.B. Shaw.) Everything you write about the Liberals can be written about the Dems with equal relevance. The Blairites, the Clintonites, the economics and which economic class is represented by the party, the party condescension toward the working class and anyone not on board with neoliberalism. (And they wonder why condescension combined with 30 years of their failing – for most people -economics policies isn’t a vote winner.)

              Reply
              1. a different chris

                >The Blairites, the Clintonites, the economics and which economic class is represented by the party

                Sadly and I am willing to place my disgust for those clowns up against anybody else’s, they won a *lot* of elections. They were useless toffs but they knew how to win.

                So where does that leave us?

                Reply
                1. flora

                  The US 3rd Way, neoliberal Dem estab has constructed a closed insidious formula:

                  1. You can not implement progressive policies unless you win.

                  2. You can’t win unless you get lots of money from the big money entities. (Wall St., billionaires, ‘the donors’) That’s the 3rd Way/DLC/DNC argument. (They seem agitated Bloomberg would try to buy the nomination outright. I don’t know why, he’s following their rules.)

                  3. When you take money from ‘the donors’ it’s practically guaranteed you won’t implement progressive policies if you win. All that money is meant to buy you off. It pays well personally, too. (How many self-described Dem progressive candidates/politicians real hope is for being bought off?) See our last 2 US Dem presidents.

                  *
                  Step 2 must be broken. Sanders’ campaign is a template for breaking the financial middlemen hold on progressive candidates, imo. It doesn’t require new campaign finance laws. (The Citizens United decision turned campaign finance rules into a wild west.) imo.

                  Reply
      2. Otis B Driftwood

        So what is the real point here for those of us in the U.S.? A progressive economic platform resonates with working people. Full stop.

        And still it took less than the time it takes to brew a cuppa for donut Twitter rise up en masse to point to the UK result as a warning what will happen if the democrats nominate Sanders. Already weaponized, to use the current tired cliche.

        Oh, and charges of antisemitism against Sanders, as vile and incredible as that seems, have already begun. I will not post links.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Luckily the United States does not have a Chief Rabbi or else you would have the spectacle of one calling Sanders antisemitic just before the November elections. Oh well, I guess that Sander’s enemies will have to use AIPAC instead.

          Reply
        2. The Historian

          I think it is important to look back at the Trump campaign and remember all the slurs that the Democrats tried to use to attack him: misogyny, racism, etc. None of them worked because Trump had connected with the anger and fear of the electorate. It seems to me that slurs like anti-Semitism only work on those candidates that the electorate has not deeply attached itself to.

          I don’t think Bernie supporters should worry that much about name-calling, rather they should spend more of their efforts reaching out to the emotions of the voters.

          Reply
          1. T

            As noted contemporary intellectual Cushbomb has noted, don’t tell me about predicting elections!!! Two words: President Trump!!!! [Edited to exclude flying spittle and noises similar to a moose either in rut or having an aneurism.)

            He has a point. Three people cautiously suggested Trump might win. Everyone else – certainly me – thought that, especially given everything’s she’d already gotten away with, HRC would win.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              In the immortal words of Lena Lamont, “People! I ain’t people!….” I am Legion.
              Being a Cassandra is no fun. Just look at the fate of the original Cassandra. No matter how strongly she clung to her idol and belief, she was defiled. Abused within the Temple itself no less. Give the ancient Greeks their due. They certainly knew what they were writing about.

              Reply
              1. Pausanias

                If “what the Greeks were writing about” is to be believed, it is very much *not* the case that Cassandra was “defiled. Abused within the Temple itself.” As you would learn from Aeschylos, even after the sack of Troy her royal status was recognized and Agammemnon made her his Queen (only, of course, to be murdered with him as Clytaemnestra and Aegisthos took revenge for the murders of Thyestes’s children and Iphigenaia). The real story, hidden within it, is about the Olympian God Apollo, a supposed sympathizer of the Trojan cause, who, angered by the prophetess-princess’s refusal to bear his child, cursed the Trojan people by condemning them to disbelieve the truths she was to communicate to them.

                Reply
            2. flora

              Re-imagine this experiment with two Capuchin monkeys demonstrating an innate sense of fairness as follows: Hillary and the Dem estab handing out the neoliberal treats to their supporters for the last 30 years. Imagine the rocks are votes. The working class, the economic bottom 80% get a worse treat for voting for the party than the upper 20%, and especially the upper 1% – the donors.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KSryJXDpZo

              Reply
          2. D. Fuller

            None of them worked because Trump had connected with the anger and fear of the electorate.

            None of the attacks worked for The Clinton Campaign because Hillary had Bill Clinton, who had rape allegations against (with the attendant RW conspiracy theories). Hillary wasn’t only carrying her own baggage, also Bill’s – The Republican Wet Dream of the 1990’s with Crime, Drugs, Welfare “Reforms”, NAFTA “lifts all boats” and Financial De-Regulation along with Republicans in Congress (who welcomed Bill’s Centrist Right views while impeaching him).

            Trump is a master of personal attacks. Democrats chose to attack Trump where he is strongest. Trump is style and flash, over substance. His base – many of them – simply do not care what he does as long as he defeats Democrats. They perceive Trump as the strong man they have always desired. Despite the fact that Trump is a bully who can only appear to be strong when surrounded by his supporters.

            Talking to Trump supporters across quite a few States, many of them have said, “I don’t care what he does as long as he defeats Democrats.”

            Reply
          3. D. Fuller

            Also wanted to reply, but wasn’t fast enough with the edit, that you are – of course – correct.

            Trump was more believable as a working class champion, than Hillary Clinton ever could portray herself as. More of that baggage she has, along with Bill’s (NAFTA, etc).

            Reply
        3. Louis Fyne

          The UK Left reaped what it sowed when it sowed culture-identity politics, instead of the old class-identity politics. Instead of viewing themselves as working class voters first, many see themselves as native White Britons first. (In my opinion)

          The US left pivoted to culture wars identity politics too, post Reagan-Clinton.

          Jury is still out whether 2016 was a fluke or if Boris 2019 presages Trump 2020. And given how the DC-NYC ‘intelligensia’ are even more tone-deaf than their UK counterparts, 2020 election night might be a wild one

          Reply
          1. D. Fuller

            The Right has Christian Identity Politics – The Moral Majority, Contract with America, etc.

            Centrists Democrats were late to the game with their version of identity Politics.

            “Russia!Russia!Russia!” was more of Centrist Democrats in Congress and elsewhere using the Republican Playbook – Whitewater Chapter (and possibly The Benghazi Chapter also) to go on a fishing expedition.

            Reply
            1. skippy

              It is curious how the right constantly plays the victim game having been the original moral identity political party. Which is made even more curious because they have been dominate in setting up the laws and economics which has created much of this mess.

              Reply
              1. inode_buddha

                Yep. If you really want to make a right-win-nutjob spit and sputter, point out how their policies have directly caused the social/moral decay they rail against.

                Reply
        1. Carey

          Post-election Neil Clark: https://www.rt.com/op-ed/475891-corbyn-general-election-destroyed/

          Jeremy Corbyn was never in a stronger position than on the morning of the day after the general election of June 2017. Against all the odds and punditocracy predictions, he had taken Labour to the brink of a stunning victory. The 40 percent of the vote Labour attained in that election represented the biggest increase in the share of the popular vote the party had achieved in over 70 years. But fatally, Corbyn didn’t take the tide at the flood. He should have used the moment to move swiftly and decisively against his ‘centrist’ enemies in the party who had done so much to undermine him. Instead, he held out an olive branch to them. They repaid his magnanimity by plotting the downfall which came to a head so spectacularly this week.

          It’s often said that “the Right does this-or-that-and-wins”, implying that the left (whatever that word might mean, these days) can or should do the same, and would get similar,
          positive results. I do not think so. If there is an answer for the many, it involves deep,
          person-to-person, face-to-face organizing, in my opinion. “social media™” will not be
          part of the solution, except peripherally.

          Reply
    4. Nancy Boyd

      How one conceives of the problem shapes how one conceive of the solution.

      If one conceives of the problem as being steeped in identity politics, then the solution lies with more identity politics, and identity politics is conducted over social media.

      The solution, obviously, is to get all Blue Labourites, now Red Tories, onto Twitter and Tumblr and they’ll understand that if they don’t get with the programme and check all their privileges, they’ll be cancelled.

      I’m sure a lack of social media presence is exactly why Labour voters misunderstood 23-year old Labour candidate Sophie Wilson in Rother Valley when she canceled a local grooming-gang victim, calling her “trash” for not understanding how empowering it was for the underage girls of Rother Valley to become sex-workers. I’m sure it was quite racist of the locals to hope their daughters had better options for empowerment. Tumblr and Twitter will set them right.

      It was Owen Jones who laughingly tweeted agreement that women should suck …. well, this a family blog. But apparently women in their knees in service of socialism is a Labour activist value.

      Amongst women, a tweet that shot round the world.

      Silly old me, I remember when socialism was about CLASS, not identity.

      Reply
    5. bun

      They want the patronage of the powerful, not to challenge their power

      That line in the thread stuck out for me. Speaks of total capitulation to their circumstances, too beaten to fight back.

      Like has been said on NC many times, relentless negative propaganda works.

      sadly correct it seems

      Reply
  2. Henry Moon Pie

    Re: radio waves, miniature brains and CRISPR–

    Maybe what the world needs, and fast, is a required course in humility for our professionals from lawyers to scientists to economists. We could start with Ursula K. Le Guin’s English version of chapter 29 of the Tao te Ching:

    NOT DOING

    Those who think to win the world
    by doing something to it,
    I see them come to grief.
    For the world is a sacred object.
    Nothing is to be done to it.
    To do anything to it is to damage it.
    To seize it is to lose it.

    Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        This, this, this. I think we can recast ambition as just another cynical, dishonest virtue signal, if enough of us set ourselves to it.

        Reply
        1. Carey

          >I think we can recast ambition as just another cynical, dishonest virtue signal, if enough of us set ourselves to it.

          This will become steadily more evident, I think, as the oh-so-clever clusterf**ks further
          manifest themselves.

          Reply
  3. Party on

    The borrowing and spending binge by Canadian households, businesses, and governments (all levels) continues unabated. Growing the debt in the economy significantly faster than the economy itself grows seems to have developed into a way of life in Canada.

    At the end of September, 2019 the total debt outstanding in Canada (bottom line of the Statistics Canada credit market summary data table) was $8.565 trillion. At the end of September, 2018 the total debt outstanding was $8.174 trillion. In the 1 year period from the end of September, 2018 to the end of September, 2019 it increased by $391.3 billion. This is an increase of 4.8%.

    https://owecanada.blogspot.com/2019/12/canadian-total-household-business-and.html

    Reply
    1. JEHR

      Not all debt is the same. Federal debt is not the same as the total of private debt. Individual households are probably reacting to the stagnation in wages. Inequality may be a factor also.

      Reply
  4. paul

    Reminds me of a chat I had with a local labour councillor who shared with me her (adult!) son’s opinion after Cameron’s majority re-election:

    “Things are going to have to get a lot worse before they get better”

    It was a moment of clarifying stupidity I am forever grateful for.

    Afterwards, being dumbfounded at the time, I mused, with ‘l’espirit d’escalier’, if it would take another two depressions punctuated by world wars to recreate the NHS.

    Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    “In Wag the Dog Move, Indicted Israeli PM Netanyahu Moves to Annex 25% of Palestinian West Bank”

    In this, Netanyahu’s desire to expand Israel is no different from most other Israeli politicians. After all, due to the “Settler’s” insatiable demands, Israel is always in need of Lebensraum but Netanyahu has promised that after taking this part of the Palestinian West Bank, that this will be Israel’s last territorial demand.

    Reply
      1. Tom Doak

        Someone should really pounce on that as setting the start of negotiations for a Palestinian state.

        Unfortunately, there are currently no world actors interested in making that happen.

        Reply
  6. timbers

    A.I. Is Making it Easier to Kill (You). Here’s How. New York Times, YouTube (David L)

    Nice, but beware the propaganda deeply entrenched in this video…..

    The good news take-a-way is America is the good guy and will have nothing to do with the Bad Guy part of A.I. technology. The first few minutes of this youtube showing how A.I. can be used in a bad way to kill people feature only Russian equipment and soldiers. America doesn’t enter the narrative until it shows eye candle Hollywood American films about early A.L. like Terminator and then later to the American civil war about a noble American who studied how to make war technology more human and less deadly.

    And this:

    “As all good stories this one starts at a Russian arms fair…”

    I stopped a half way through.

    I learned America is using A.I.for good things and Russia is trying to figure out how to use it to kill innocent people.

    Reply
    1. Summer

      Just like 1952…
      That’s decades of the legacy of the PMC involved in the Cold War. People have built careers from it and it’s so hard to say goob-bye to yesterday.

      Reply
    2. Pookah Harvey

      The article mentions Stuart Russell’s short 7 minute movie “Slaughterbot“. If you haven’t seen it I recommend that you do. It’s an eye opener from one of the leading researchers in AI.

      Reply
  7. cnchal

    Two words, political and economy, describe the system.

    One could further describe this system by using the largest font possible for political and the smallest possible font for economy.

    > Forget The Hype, Aramco Shares May be Valued At Zero Next Year OilPrice (resilc)

    The actual killer blow for Aramco is on the cards from the renewed impetus to finally get U.S. President Donald Trump to sign the ‘No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels’ (NOPEC) Bill, as examined in depth in my new book on the oil markets. This Bill has a broad mandate, making it illegal to artificially cap oil (and gas) production or to set prices.
    – – – – –
    Conversely, once the Bill is enacted, if Aramco did abide by the anti-trust regulations then Saudi would have to give up its role at the head of OPEC, which clearly it would not wish to do. In addition to all of this, the NOPEC Bill immediately removes all sovereign immunity that presently exists in U.S. courts for OPEC as a group and for its individual member states – including, Saudi Arabia. According to legal sources in Washington familiar with the legislation and spoken to by OilPrice.com last week, this would open up Saudi’s US$1 trillion or so of assets in the U.S. to be seized in lawsuits. . . .

    Eclownomists can throw their calculators in the garbage, and it would make no difference.

    I wonder why this zeal for anti trust enforcement is missing from sick care? Blame the POLITICAL economy.

    Reply
  8. paul

    Craig Murray’s thoughts are, as usual, 98% spot on.
    The SNP’s defence spokesman’s (we have no army, and only close enemies) idea of an extension of the FOI franchise is typical of the problems.

    Independence first and foremost, only then we can make decisions, rather than vapid wendy house dreams of becoming a ‘growed up’ country or party that our betters can indulge.

    Reply
    1. paul

      Though I have to say that the SNP’s ‘rope a dope’ tactics this election were exemplary.
      They left the ‘no to independence’ message ring from the hollow vessels of the unionists.

      Their interim (its hard to tell) leader staked everything on ‘no to indyref2’.

      No policy, no justification, just no.

      His hearing aid dropped out after the result,but nothing to worry about, he’ll just listen to BBC scotland on one of those ear phone things from now on.

      Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Doubts Surface on $50 Billion in China Farm Buys Touted by Trump”

    If I was China, I would give in during negotiations as far as agricultural imports are concerned but refuse to open up China’s economic system to please Wall Street or rip up the ongoing industrial policy. The reasoning is simple. Importing things like soybeans and hogs ads little to the US economy except money and sooner or later those imports become local recyclable sewerage.
    On the other hand, if they started to import more high tech items or industrial gear, that would actually help underpin American industrial capacity and keep employed Americans that have the skills to turn out such products. And that would only strengthen a self-declared enemy of China.

    Reply
    1. TroyIA

      You pretty much nailed what I expect China’s game plan to be going forward. This deal is mainly a play for time for China to rebuild its domestic hog herd that has been decimated by African Swine Fever.

      The latest numbers show that China’s hog herd has declined by 40% and prices are up 110%. A rise in price that much is simply unsustainable for Chinese consumers.

      I predict that China will take a split approach to rebuilding their hog herd. China will have to take pigs that would normally be sent to slaughter and save them as breeding sows. These pigs that would have been slaughtered will need to be replaced. Into this shortage steps American pork. But wait, China has banned the importation of pork that has been fed ractopamine since 2002.

      China owned Smithfield hasn’t allowed ractopamine in its pork and in October Tyson and JBS USA banned the use of ractopamine as well. So as the Chinese tariffs on U.S. pork come off next year the ractopamine free hogs will come to market. China will fill its pork shortage by buying U.S. pork and prices will substantially rise for American consumers.

      Although ASF has been found in Eastern Europe it hasn’t been as devastating as its been in Asia. China will rebuild its herd based on European and American industrial pork production. They will take the knowledge of industrial practices from Smithfield Foods and transfer them to China.

      They will then feed this new industrial herd with American corn and soybeans which will drive down the price around the globe. As markets around the globe are hurt by low prices expect to see China make investments in the coming years to secure corn and soybeans outside of the U.S. (see Smithfield Foods and Syngenta to see how they will accomplish this)

      Once they have secured reliable non-American sources for feed and have an industrial scale hog herd based on the best American livestock farming operations they will be food secure and can tell the U.S. to go pound sand.

      Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Now that Bernie’s set him adrift, would he be a Uygur refugee?

      I think it’ll be increasingly hard going forward to find young adults contemplating political careers, as all the skeletons of anything you ever did publicly on the internet come to the surface, and it doesn’t matter what your defense might be, the public wibunal will have the final say.

      Reply
    2. richard

      Thanks for the link.
      I thought this was dore at his best, kicking sanders hard from the left on McCarthyism, and sanders weaker than s*&^$ responses to it. I hold no brief for Uygur, but it’s truly pathetic that so-called political leaders would allow such weak tea to influence them.

      Reply
      1. Geo

        Reminds me of Obama throwing his pastor, Shirley Sherrod, and Van Jones all under the bus the moment any criticism arose.

        That said, Cenk isn’t worth the headache. I respect what he’s built with TYT and Justice Democrats, and his fighting spirit, but he’s got even more enemies in the establishment than even Bernie does. Plus, on his show I feel his his talking over everyone, including cohosts, to be obnoxious. Would love to see him elected so we have both an Alan Grayson type fighter in Congress again, and a TYT that can emerge from under his domineering shadow.

        Reply
    3. polecat

      Wasn’t this in regard to a positively bestial remark uttered by Cenk ? If true, I’d drop him like hot goat too. Assuming his comments were true, WTH was Uygur thinking !! Sanders has enough of an uphill battle as it is .. he doesn’t need that burning tire around his neck !

      Reply
      1. John k

        Yes. Obligations, if they exist in the political arena, would certainly obligate Cenk to not embarrass nernie, certainly not within a day of receiving the endorsement.
        More like biting the hand…
        Dore is wrong.

        Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “How Hollywood Subtly Reinforces Wage Slavery”

    I’m not so sure that it is subtle. Hollywood would rather make a movie about fantasy “heroes” or fantasy universes than what people see in their everyday lives. Sure, you might get an “Office Space”(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsLUidiYm0w) movie but that was done as a comedy. Certainly you will never, ever see a re-make of such films as “The Grapes of Wrath”, “The Lost Weekend” or “Gentleman’s Agreement”. Those films are so old now that they are all black-and-white films.

    There is a good film waiting to be made about a normal middle class family who lose their home due to sudden medical bills. Eventually after running out of friends and family members, they resort to living in a van in an Amazon parking lot where the husband works at a Amazon fulfillment center while the wife has to try Uber work as technology has eliminated her former job as a journalist. The son has to leave college as there is no money to support his studies so he goes from studying physics to working in a McDonalds as well as working the gig economy.
    But you will never see Hollywood making a film like this. Too many people would leave the movie theaters with too many questions. Safer to make a film about the adventures of “Spandex Man”.

    Reply
    1. John A

      The new Ken Loach film ‘Sorry we missed you’ has a guy who lost the chance to buy his house due to a bank finance scandal (Northern Rock) who resorts to being a zero contract amazon type delivery driver with a wife who is a zero contract home help, whose job is made more difficult by having to sell the family car she needs for work, so he can buy a van on a finance plan, a son who is coming off the rails seeing there is no hope for the future… But I imagine that kind of film wouldnt get distributed in the US.

      Reply
      1. Geo

        “But I imagine that kind of film wouldnt get distributed in the US.“

        As was posted here the other day, Sundance is premiering a doc about Hillary and another from the Obama’s new production company. The last doc of any substance to get a theatrical release of some reach was Ava DuVerney’s “13th”.

        I miss the days of seeing docs by Robert Greenwald, Eugene Jarecki, Alex Gibney and others in theaters.

        That said, I just stumbled across this amazing website with a vast plethora of great docs, news clips, interviews and more on important issues:
        https://www.thedossier.info/index.htm

        Lots of stuff from the early 2000’s with the lead up to our ongoing wars which I’ve been watching. Makes the current Trump scandals seem like playground hijinks and good to refresh my aging memory on how insane that time was.

        Reply
    2. Geo

      One of my all time favorites from that era is Splendor In The Grass. Another, though more recent, is Dog Day Afternoon. Both huge influences on me as a filmmaker.

      I made one about those issues (and our wars) but it’s as far from a Hollywood film as is possible. The whole budget was just my personal savings (and debt). One lingering frustration was how the LA Times review said it was dated due to its economic message since the crash of ‘08 was long past – as if the situation for most had improved much. Maybe if my film had come out during the Trump years instead of Obama years they’d have been more willing to see that?

      The movie homepage:
      http://www.fraymovie.com

      LA Times review:
      https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-fray-movie-review-story.html

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        The preview on your film doesn’t look bad at all. Congratulations on making this film. I do have a soft spot for films like this as in reading history, I often wondered what it would have been like for troops returning from the Punic Wars, the US Civil war, etc. If you ever get the time, there is a good book called “The Road Back” by Erich Maria Remarque as a sequel to “All Quiet on the Western Front” that is worth reading.

        Reply
    1. charger01

      The first Jewish antisemitism presidential candidate? I doubt that narrative can walk and chew gum at the same time. MSM will use something else- too old, policies are too crazy, not electable/alienates the fictional moderates.

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      The difference here is that Sanders and Corbyn look to be different personality types. Sanders has worked and survived in an American City Government milieu. Then he steps up in class, all the while ‘learning the ropes,’ so to speak. How Corbyn rose to his position of prominence, I know not. Were the warning signs of his later missteps ‘hidden in plain sight?’
      I feel that Sanders is going to strike back hard at this example of character smearing. He is Jewish, after all. this anti-semitism is an attack on one of his core personal qualities. The attackers are plain and simple political opportunists. Sanders can take both the high road of pitying compassion for the toads attacking him, and delegate the low road of war to the knife against the plague of demons he faces to “underlings.”
      Politics in all it’s glory.

      Reply
    3. Partyless poster

      I think the antisemetism thing is getting a bit overplayed, sort of crying wolf style, it just keeps getting more and more ridiculous like recently Trump saying Jewish real estate moguls were “killers”. Jewish lefty groups say its antisemetic but the people at the event applauded and he was there to cater to them, he has given Israel everything it ever wanted but he’s still anti Semitic.
      So I think calling an actual Jew anti Semitic would just make the term even more meaningless than it is now.

      Reply
      1. Geo

        Doesn’t mean they aren’t going to try. Neocon magazine Commentary also has a piece accusing Sanders of antisemitism:
        https://www.commentarymagazine.com/politics-ideas/liberals-democrats/bernie-sanders-has-a-big-jeremy-corbyn-problem/

        The Jewish publications Tablet and Forward had similar pieces a few weeks ago:
        https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/294580/bernie-sanders-anti-semitism-manifesto
        https://forward.com/opinion/434666/bernie-sanders-is-blind-to-the-anti-semitism-on-his-own-side/?gamp

        and don’t forget the Politico cover with Sanders:
        https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/politico-magazine-accused-of-anti-semitism-over-bernie-sanders-illustration-1.7287808

        How long before this trickles up to Fox News, then MSNBC and CNN? Now that an executive order defines Jewish identity as a nation (Israel) any criticism of Israel can and will be argued as a criticism of Jewish people.

        Will it work? You seem to be more optimistic about the critical thinking of voters and the integrity of our media than I am.

        Personally, I think Sanders should just own this reality and start using the Puff Daddy song “All About the Benjamins” in his campaign rallies.

        Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    Heat your House with a Mechanical Windmill Low Tech
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    What an interesting article…

    Chicago Aermotor windmills are the dominant brand you see here. most over a century old and still working.

    Just on the other side of Lake Kaweah on Hwy 198 heading towards Visalia, is a classic circa 1900 cooling tower about 10 feet away from a house of the same vintage. The tower is approx 10×10 and about 20 feet high, and the way it worked I was told, heat would rise naturally in the tower while cooling in the opposite direction, and there is 5 foot deep hole in the bottom of the tower and a connected airway from the bottom of it to the house would introduce the cool air into the home, pioneer a/c.

    I’ve seen hundreds of old homes like this with cooling towers in the Central Valley.

    Reply
    1. Anon

      The article is interesting, but the technology is from the 1970’s.

      There was extensive innovation being developed by individuals (Steve Baer, etc.) that were responding to the “oil crisis” of 1973. Baer developed a passive home design that used thermal mass (water containers) in his New Mexico home to gain solar heat in the daytime and have it transferred back to the living space in the nightime. (All done without mechanical intervention.) In the late 70’s I worked on a unique residential project that used Baers’ ZomeWorks building/passive solar techniques. (If you have GoogleEarth, you can see an areal view of the structure at Lat: 34°32’37.65″N ; Lon: 120°14’4.99″W . It is in among the dark green oak trees scattered through the yellow ranch grass.)

      Today, modern phase-change materials perform the same function as water tubes, but can be incorporated into the interior walls of a living space—transferring heat gained in the day to the night. These modern alternative techniques can be observed at the Solar Decathlon sponsored by the US Dept. of Energy.

      All of this 1970’s exploration of photovoltaics and energy conserving passive solar design came up against the headwind of Ronald Reagan in 1981. (He removed the PV panels from the WH and Dept. of Energy funding of conservation innovation was squeezed.) Imagine if global warming had been taken seriously then!

      Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      And I assumed those were built-in water reservoirs – which they are, of course. Combine with a windmill to pump in cool underground water, and there you are.

      Reply
  12. djrichard

    Anti-politics & the last gasp of British Labourism Left Flank (SOMK)

    Good diagnosis. Kind of like trying to win the vote of Native Americans once they’ve already been consigned to the Indian Reservations. Not only are marketing gimmicks not going to work anymore, even institutional appeals are not going to work anymore – the old institutions are gone. Presumably the author (Tad Tietze) would argue that the future is for anti-politics. From the title of the article as well the title of his forthcoming book, “The Great Derangement: Political Crisis and the Rise of Anti-Politics”.

    In that context, he seems to position Boris’s win as an exception: not anti-politics, rather a campaign of a more conventional sort. But it’s seeds were still in anti-political impulse – the Brexit vote while democratic were still anti-politics, i.e. a finger to the establishment.

    If I had to hazard a guess, I would imagine the theme of his book will be that to rescue politics from the anti-politics, it will be necessary to rescue the people from the consigned equivalent of Indian Reservations. To foster institutions that people participate in (have a positive stake in) and through that participate in politics.

    Reply
  13. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Student Loan Debt: Unsafe In Any Amount Popular Resistance (UserFriendly). Important.

    In order to avoid default, Howard entered the federal Income Based Repayment program. He is currently in year 3 of a 25-year repayment plan with monthly payments of $300. But those payments don’t touch the principal, which means any shortfall in monthly interest liability results in increasing the principal by that amount.

    Daily interest on Howard’s loans total $70, monthly interest would be $2,100 ($70 times 30 days). By paying $300 per month, $1,800 ($2,100 less $300) of monthly interest is not being paid, so at the end of the year, the total unpaid interest is added back to the principal. In Howard’s case, it amounts to over $21K. That is just for the current year. Each year Howard must recertify his eligibility to be in the program. Failure to annually recertify can mean termination. Additionally, the following year, when Howard begins repayment in year 4, he is doing so with increased principal balances by $21K (and thus increased daily interest to meet).

    The Income-Based Repayment program is a circuitous scheme intended to keep borrowers out of default (and thus the US from explaining rocketing default rates) without reducing principal balances.

    Every time I read one of these stories, I am amazed anew at what a shithole of exploitation this country has become.

    In what universe is paying $300 per month only to have the loan balance increase by $21,000 in a year considered “repayment,” and what does “a 25-year repayment plan” even MEAN under those conditions?

    There’s no way this student lending catastrophe is not deliberate. Parents need to pull their heads out of their asses and refuse to let their kids participate until things change.

    Reply
  14. NancyBoyd

    href=”https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/14/labour-meltdown-decades-govern-votes”>

    “…While the party bigwigs threw their weight about, the mines and the manufacturers, the steel and the shipbuilding were snuffed out. With them went the culture of Labourism: the bolshy union stewards, the self-organised societies, most of the local newspapers. Practically any institution that might incubate a working-class provincial political identity was bulldozed.

    “In North East Derbyshire last month, I saw up close what was left: warehouses and care work. Bullying bosses, zero-hours contracts, poverty pay and social security top-ups. Smartphones to tell you whether you have a shift that morning, and Facebook to give you the news, or some dishonest fragment of it. Across the UK, mines were turned into museums, factories swapped for call centres, meaningful local government swapped for development quangos.

    “And what was Labour’s response? Tony Blair and Gordon Brown pretended some new skills-based economy lay around the corner and parachuted their own chosen people into these safe seats. Thinktankers, union HQ bureaucrats, ex-student politicians: all found careers and weekend homes for themselves.

    “David Miliband swung from the Institute for Public Policy Research to Blair’s office to MP for South Shields, – which, as a longstanding Labour parliamentarian told me yesterday morning, “he couldn’t even find on a map”. Last week Miliband claimed on Twitter: “The biggest Labour challenge is not the angst of the middle class … it is the disbelief of the working class.” This tribune of the Tyneside proletariat now works 3,000 miles away at a New York-based charity that in 2017 reportedly paid him £680,000.

    “What did such smooth-cheeked careerists offer their constituents? Head pats about the “white working class” and their “legitimate concerns”. Never mind that the working class might also be brown….”

    Reply
  15. DanP66

    The Guardian has gone nuts. It is turning into another Huff Post but worse.

    It used to be interesting and have different perspectives on things with good analysis. Now it is just more MSM propagandizing for a a liberal perspective.

    Reply
    1. John A

      The Guardian has been demonising Corbyn for years, throwing every bit of mud and worse they could, and clearly most of it has stuck.
      Now, they are like the dog that has trashed the house when the owner was out, with a butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth look when the owner returned, hoping 2+2 would not make 4. All that remains is for the Guardian to say Russia kept Corbyn as leader of the Labour party.

      Reply
      1. RMO

        The Guardian also has to say that the Tory win was due to pernicious Russian meddling as well as saying that Corbyn getting the leadership of Labor was due to the same malign Russians in order to really say it all. It would actually be more logical than any of the other Russian meddling/hacking stories that get repeated endlessly in the media – Putin is supposed to be bent on damaging the EU and destroying the trust in our treasured democratic institutions is he not? Considering that I wrote that as pure sarcasm it puts into perspective how nuts the RussiaRussiaRussia parrots are…

        Reply
    2. Stormcrow

      Pretty good analysis in Monthly Review. Brexit was the defining factor.

      “As soon as the scale of Labour’s shattering defeat began to emerge last night, pundits began to push the line that this was not just about Brexit but about Jeremy Corbyn, and more broadly the Labour Party’s significant shift towards socialism under his leadership. No election is just about one issue — but the evidence backs up the argument strongly made by Labour MPs like Ian Lavery and Richard Burgon that Brexit was the defining factor.”

      https://mronline.org/2019/12/13/making-sense-of-a-shattering-defeat/?fbclid=IwAR3nAA-edUWsr6GksQooCpgRXEXDKyNuAX5SXS9ahwnioGcpubjlpQlR9KY

      Reply
  16. petal

    Hey guys, the other day there was an article about forests in the Carolinas(and a European country) being cut down to supply the wood pellet industry. I can’t find it to save my life. If someone is familiar with it could you post it for me? Many thanks!

    Reply
  17. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Eight Counts of Impeachment That Trump Deserves

    Huh, still nothing about fomenting coups to overthrow democratically elected leaders of sovereign nations – just more nonsense relating to obstructing investigations that never should have held in the first place and generally acting untoward.

    Quelle surprise.

    We are ruled by clowns.

    Reply
  18. Craig H.

    > Charting the World’s Major Stock Markets on the Same Scale (1990-2019) Visual Capitalist

    Who was that guy who said “whatever it is that you measure, that is what you are going to get”?

    (these are gorgeous graphics, btw)

    Reply
    1. cnchal

      Note, the S&P500 price rise coincides with when QE1 started. That’s why I call it the stawk market. I give it no respect and view it as another Wall Street fraud.

      Reply
  19. smoker

    Hope things are going better on the Bank nastiness with your mom, Yves. The Adult Public Services stunt was venal, there should be jail terms for that.

    Reply
  20. Daryl

    > Michelle Obama Defending George W. Bush Is a Lesson in Class Solidarity Teen Vogue (UserFriendly)

    It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it.

    – George Carlin.

    Reply
  21. Summer

    Just ran across this on Huffpo:
    The Company Behind America’s Scariest School Shooter Drills
    “The ALICE Training Institute wants teachers and students to confront gunmen. There’s little evidence its approach works.”

    Because here’s the kicker:
    “Behind many of the drills is the ALICE Training Institute, the largest for-profit private provider of active-shooting training in the United States. ALICE operates through a “train the trainer” model — anyone can get ALICE certification after two days of in-person training and online testing…”

    Really think about what it means that this is “a thing.”

    Reply
    1. Geo

      Imagining grade school kids being trained like they’re landing on the beaches of Normandy as a profitable business model is truly peak America in 2019. Surreal, cynical, abhorrent, and deeply depressing.

      Reply
  22. The Rev Kev

    Crittermom, that is one great looking image that you took for today’s Antidote du jour. This is what our ancestors must have seen often that painted those caves mentioned in Yesterday’s Links.

    Reply
  23. Summer

    RE: “Resolution” Craig Murray

    Good luck with that, Scotland. Understand everything said about Tory austerity. But if Scotland goes off the pound for currency, it has to go to the Euro and the Eurozone is full of austerity.
    If that zebra has changed its stripes, lemme know…

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Mark Blyth was making the point once that the Scottish have a half decent welfare system but that if they went under the wing of the EU, it would be exposed to the tender mercies of German austerity. You can see this on the following 4-minute video but the whole clip is worth watching, especially in the light of those UK elections-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwK0jeJ8wxg

      Reply
      1. Summer

        That pretty much sums up the globalization race to the bottom…the global trade deals for pauperization (the race to see who can get the closest thing to slave labor and think of a fancy rebranded name for such an economy).

        Reply
      1. makedoanmend

        Hiya Paul, just though I’d put my thoughts under your reply for convenience. Keep up the good fight.

        There are several issues involved in here.

        1) The EU was not created by force. It was created by agreement, consent and treaties. It is a very legalistic entity.

        Hyperbole alert: The UK left and no EU tanks rolled into London to stop them.

        Had the UK wanted to leave in 2016 all they had to do was envoke Article 50 (treaty agreed clause) and leave. They would have just done so without any trading agreement with their biggest trading partner.

        2) Too many people, including many in the EU, don’t know that every nation is still 100% sovereign within the Union. German government policy can’t affect the taxation and monetary policy of any other country. (Caveat: The Euro is a problem which is distorting the internal market – especially via ex-facto political agreements.) Yet, no German Chancellor can dictate welfare programs in any other country. German, France (for the moment) and indeed the UK (for the moment) still have generous social provisions compared to most other world countries.

        3) This is not to say there are no trade-offs when one joins the union. When it comes to external and internal trade, all members (via decades of agreement) find common standards so that we can facilitate trade among ourselves by creating a so-called level playing field. Ireland can’t sell substandard beef to the UK, for example, right now. There would be penalties for doing so.

        4) Too often the operations and conditions of the EU have been conflated with those of its individual member countries. (This does not happen in the articles written on Naked Capitalism, to be fair. Naked Capitalism is very even handed and brutally honest – kudos.) However, some people project issues onto the EU which should be projected onto individual countries in the EU, and conversely project issues onto individual countries which are better projected onto the EU.

        E.g. The UK had their own sovereign currency and taxation policy. At any time the UK could have reversed austerity. They chose not to do so, not least because neo-liberal ideology demands that the state assists only those with capital and those who can accumulate more. The rest can go hang.

        Also, austerity, it could be argued, was an influential economic factor in Brexit.

        5) As far as people claiming that the EU is some sort of neo-liberal sink hole, Brexit voters just delivered the most radical neo-liberal party in Europe into power for at least the next five years.

        ======0======

        Regarding Scotland, I don’t think the EU really has an appetite currently to deal with any new members. The EU doesn’t want another land border with the UK/England. Also Scotland’s major trading partner will be the UK/England. The interaction and influencing tendancies could have social-economc and therefore political problems that affect optics about the EU. I expect the EU to pursue a very vanilla course in the near to middle time frames.

        Those who expect the EU to be vindictive to the UK (from any particular political point of view) will be disappointed. Neither do I expect the London government to radically depart from standard negotiating stances with relation to the EU market. The now opposing sides will need to play a long term strategy, with neither trusting the other or trying to give any advantage to the other.

        An independent Scotland would be better advised to obtain a Norway type deal; and that would also put paid to Euro issues. Such a deal would also be easier to negotiate and implement as Scotland is already fully aligned with EU trading rules already. Scotland’s fisheries give it negotiating clout. Of course if the London government radically departs from EU market standards in short order, Scotland’s departture becomes that much harder, but not insurmountable.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          Excellent points. I get tired from reading here commentators who should know better repeating tired (and often right wing) speaking points about the EU. The EU is only as neoliberal as its members (i.e. its neoliberal). If the majority of member states were left of centre, the EU would be left of centre. There is absolutely nothing within the workings of the EU that forced the UK into neoliberalism or mass immigration or austerity. They were entirely made in the UK. Blaming the EU for it is simply ridiculous.

          As for Scotland, I think the EU would, for historic reasons, quite like it to be a member, so might – just might – bend the rules and allow it to do an ‘East Germany’ – i.e. join under the auspices of another country (i.e. Ireland). But otherwise it would be a long road, which combined with the undoubted travails independence would call, it would be a 10 years process at least for Scotland to become truly ‘free’ in that sense. I do hope the Scots finally join Ireland in independence, but I don’t think anyone should have any illusions as to how difficult it will be. In my opinion, the great danger for Scotland is that its in effect thrown out of the UK by a Tory government, which would give the Tories huge leverage in their ‘parting’ negotiations – they would no doubt grab as much of the family valuables as they could before cutting the ropes. Scotland must do it on its own terms, and it can only due this in co-operation with the EU.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            If the Conservatives are reverting to a type of English National Party, then perhaps they would see little use for them having Scotland whose votes have to be considered in Parliament. Scotland (and Ireland) have already served their purpose when there was an Empire but are now no longer needed.
            It has been said that “the British Empire was won by the Irish, administered by the Scots and Welsh and the profits went to the English”. In recent years the last line was amended to read “lost by the English.” Point is they see little use having Scotland or Ireland as part of a United Kingdom anymore as they want to Make England Great Again.

            Reply
            1. makedoanmend

              Hello Rev,

              I think people are underestimating the role that English nationalism played in certain sectors of the Brexit campaign. In some ways, I would argue, it was a defining element of that particular sector’s approach to Brexit*. I’ve read in an English newspaper that before the election some 80 Tory members identified themselves as “one nation” Tories.

              Another poster the day before, put it better than I can: saying essentially that English nationalism is intimately tied to having Scotland, etc. as part of their Union whereas belonging to another union (the EU) didn’t suit English nationalism. The…um…contradications I leave for everyone to ponder themselves.

              As an ancedote, a young fella in his early 30s from Dublin who routinely travels to Birmingham for a football match was called a Paddy in the pub he frequents last month. It was the first time heard the term used in his life and it shocked him a bit.

              *I don’t think is was the most influential factor by a long shot, but it was influential in varying degrees. Too many are over-emphasing it and doing quite a bit of pearl clutching. Still, it is a useful political tool.

              Reply
              1. PlutoniumKun

                I’ve heard many anecdotes similar to your friends. The day after the Brexit vote, the daughter of an English friend was telling me that for the first time in her life she and her sister was told ‘now you lot can go home’, while sitting in a train. She’s English with a mediterranean ancestor some way back, so a little darker complexioned that most. She said it was the first time in her life anyone had every said anything like that to her.

                Reply
                  1. makedoanmend

                    Don’t get me wrong Rev,

                    The vast majority of English people find Tommy Robinson nee Yaxley-Lennon aka white-supremicist-with-a-victim complex an abhorrent creature. This includes the vast majority of Tory party members and their electorate.

                    Rather, the strain of English nationalism I’m talking about is much more subtle in its relation to the Scots, etc. It’s a community of equals but one member, being more numerous and economically powerful, is a bit more equal, and hence should naturally lead.

                    I heard one such English nationalist on the radio this year (an enlightenedf fellow no doubt by his own reckoning) who said that only if the UK would have treated Irish better economically then the Irish would love to be British. That the vast majority of Irish don’t want to be and have their own bedrock identity doesn’t register. This could develop into a pernicious streak.

                    Otoh, there is a streak of nationalism that also combines some very unsavoury elements of hatred. But it really is small, and the worst excesses kept out of public discourse as most ordinary, decent punters won’t tolerate it. You’ll find the same dynamic in any country or society on this insignificant marble.

                    Class, now, class is another thing. It defines all relationships in the UK.

                    Reply
          2. makedoanmend

            Hello PK,

            With regard to sovereignty and individual country participation in the EU (and indeed with upcoming trade negotiations), I see that Spain, Ireland and Cyrpus have all obtained direct involvement in the negotiations when issues arise that affect them directly.

            It’s also good that Barnier and the negotiating team are largely staying in situ. I won’t be too sad to see Tusk out of the picture as he’s no longer Council President.

            And nobody will be sad to see the back of Farange and his unmannerly mob. MF will need to get a regular job now! Good riddance to bad rubbish.

            Reply
            1. PlutoniumKun

              I have this horrible feeling that we haven’t seen or heard the last of Farage – especially if Bojo tries to moderate his policies.

              Reply
              1. makedoanmend

                Yeah, but he’ll be an English solution to an English problem created by the English themselves. They made him a celebrity, let’em deal with him.

                Reply
  24. Freddo

    Rrather than Brexit bringing back “control” (whatever that means), Brexit will either shatter the british economy (No deal) or make the UK a colonial dependency of the EU (soft brexit) in which it is a taker of EU dictates with no say in what happens and certainly no veto. The UK will trade on the EU’s terms or not at all. Thus, after Brexit, the EU behemoth will likely have much more control over the UK than it did before. The situation would be hysterical if it wasn’t so sad. I bet the EU were pretty happy to see Boris win. Vassalage beckons.

    Reply
  25. Summer

    RE: “A.I. Is Making it Easier to Kill (You). Here’s How.” New York Times, YouTube

    “…software being designed to make your life easier, clearly has military applications…”

    They have that line of reasoning backwards.
    This is a more accurate description of the relationship between tech and military applications:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwnPgscg0vU/
    Is There a Global War Coming

    It’s early in the first part where the relationship between tech and military applications are discussed.

    Reply
  26. smoker

    Re: Can a New Diagnosis Help Prevent Suicide?

    The comments were great, but.

    Oh my, increasing evidence that much of the recent suicide explosion can be attributed to financial despair, so the American Psychiatric Association’s solution is to yet again outrage Psychiatrists, both in the US and Abroad as they did with DSM 5 [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5], listing grieving for over a very short prescribed time as a PhRMA treatable mental health disorder, just for one example – by declaring suicidality as a condition in its own right in DSM 6?

    Here’s an idea, lets submit the ivory tower DSM authors to permanent homelessness, and see if they don’t have an innate suicidality gene. Anyone, no matter how healthy, can be pushed to the brink of suicide (I’m sure gaslighting someone powerless is particularly effective, let’s ask the CIA). I know I don’t have a suicidality condition™ just because I’d rather off myself than be forced into homelessness with cancer, or working like an insect in a ghastly Amazon Factory in my retirement years.

    Here’s yet another idea, let’s diagnose the Fascist Us Government with Sociopathy against the world and its own residents.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *