Links 1/27/2020

Rediscovering the Lost Power of Reading Aloud Literary Hub

Teens are all obsessed with social media? Not so much. MIT Technology Review

Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna among 9 dead in helicopter crash; feds search for cause LA Times

Writers and scientists celebrate UK’s 67 most endangered birds Guardian

People on Probation and Parole Are Being Denied Perfectly Legal Medical Weed Marshall Project

The Next Big Development Challenge Project Syndicate


Turkey’s Erdogan: No military solution to the conflict in Libya Al Jazeera

No, Iran Won’t Have A Nuclear Bomb ‘In A Matter Of Months’ American Conservative. Scott Ritter.

Iraqi security forces kill protester, rockets hit U.S. embassy Reuters

Iranian Passenger Plane Crash-Lands in Southwest Bloomberg

Americans Need to Hear More From Iranians, Here’s Where to Start Counterpunch. And I might add to this short list: Ramita Navai’s City of Lies.

California finds widespread water contamination of ‘forever chemicals’ LA Times

When Historic Preservation Hurts Cities NYT

Auschwitz’s harrowing history Deutsche Welle

Why Tunis Could Be the New Rome BBC


Why Wuhan Is at the Center of the Viral Outbreak Bloomberg

China’s coronavirus outbreak reminds me of the Irish polio epidemic I survived Independent Patrick Cockburn

Escaping the Coronavirus in Wuhan Der Spiegel


Something Far Deadlier Than The Wuhan Virus Lurks Near You Kaiser Health News


Kolkata: Thousands form 11-km human chain to protest against citizenship law and NRC Scroll

Who Said the American Model of Fighting Terror is Best for India? The Wire

What’s behind India’s new-found animosity towards Amazon? SCMP

Govt looks past airlines for Air India sale Livemint

Moving a Capital City to the Jungle Bloomberg

Global Groundwater Is Threatened by Unsustainable Practices Amid Climate Crisis TruthOut


Jerri-Lynn here. I know many readers are inherently sceptical of Warren. But Stoller’s idea seems to me to be a good one. Readers?

Why everyone is underestimating the odds of a brokered convention The Week

Inside The Field Offices Of The Iowa Caucuses FiveThirtyEight

It’s Good That Joe Rogan Endorsed Bernie. Now We Have to Organize. Jacobin


Commentary: Making Small Towns and Rural Areas Part of the Solution Daily Yonder

Buttigieg takes his case to Fox News before Iowa Politico

The Establishment Doesn’t Fear Trump, And It Doesn’t Fear Bernie. It Fears You. Caitlin Johnstone

Migrant Watch

Rape, abuse and violence: Female migrants’ journey to Libya Al Jazeera

Salvini’s League loses bid to topple Italy govt in regional vote Agence France-Presse

Our Famously Free Press

NY Times admits it sends stories to US government for approval before publication The Grayzone

Julian Assange

Assange Extradition Hearings Scheduled as Assault on Press Freedom Spreads Consortium News


Trump Tied Ukraine Aid to Inquiries He Sought, Bolton Book Says NYT

Bolton lawyer slams ‘corrupted’ White House review process after book leak The Hill

Class Warfare

As Angola Accuses Billionaire Isabel Dos Santos Of Fraud, Her Empire Begins To Unravel Forbes


Amazon employees launch mass defiance of company communications policy in support of colleagues Amazon WaPo

Tesla News: CEO Elon Musk Responds To Environmental Concerns Surrounding New German Factory International Business Times

Trump Transition

Florida sits on $900M in aid while storm victims wait Politico. Why is it so difficult to get aid to those who need it?

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Is the consumer genetics fad over? MIT Technology Review Let’s hope so.

Antidote du Jour (RB)

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.:

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  1. Clive

    Re: “Salvini’s League loses bid to topple Italy govt in regional vote”

    From my viewpoint, the situation in Italy is looking like a mirror (slightly distorted, but still a valid) image of what happened in the UK. The populist party (UKIP, in the case of the UK) nibbled away, systematically and persistently, at the mainstream. It’s not so much the rise of populism which is noteworthy; that’s going on everywhere you look. No, the striking and dispiriting similarity is that while it might have been headed off, potentially had either the centre-left or the centre-right appreciated the groundswell they were facing, instead, they responded just as the mainstream media is doing now with what happened over the weekend in Italy.

    The BBC’s coverage is in much the same fashion. To paraphrase, “don’t worry self-styled liberal-progressives, it’s all okay, the League didn’t win, so nothing to see here, move on, the centre will hold, we’ll fight populism with our tried-and-trusted third-way’ing internationalist centrism”.

    But of course, while Salvini’s coalition didn’t win it — like UKIP always did — added another 5-10% to its vote share in each election. And, again, like UKIP, the League’s politicians are pretty hopeless when looked at objectively — Salvini needed, if I understand the numbers correctly, a 20+% swing to take Emilia-Romagna. This was in the “unlikley” to “highly unlikely” range. So Salvini set himself up, needlessly, for failure. A savvier political operator would have said “we’ll give the Democratic party (PD) the fight of their lives”. Which, if he’d done so, he’d now be able to say he did. So rather than his 10% swing looking like a good result, its lets the centre-left off the hook.

    However, all the League will need to do next time is to achieve a much more do-able 7% swing. This is exactly what happened in the UK — centrist parties put their heads in the sand, each election result where UKIP got another 5 or 10% was viewed as a centrist victory rather than a centrist slide into defeat and there was no centrist policy response to the populists.

    Perhaps, of course, this really does signify the topping out of the right in Italy. They’ve gone as far as they’re going to get, but it’ll be thus far and no further. Perhaps.

    I hope so. Italy is not just any old EU Member State. It is a founder member. For anti-EU sentiment to sweep up the country into actually considering seriously withdrawal from the Euro or active resistance to the Commission would be seismic. It would risk that much-talked-about but hardly-credible (at the moment) of things, the unravelling of the EU. This would be a globally systemic shock of immense proportions. And needs to be avoided at all costs. Sadly, the authoritarian progressives seem happy to simply shrug and think nothing more than oh, good, that’s another bullet dodged, we’ve dodged them before and we’ll always dodge them again, without even really having to try.

    Being dangerously complacent, in other words.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Clive.

      A hook to Brexit, if I may.

      The below is from comments in today’s Guardian politics live blog:

      PoucaMcFeilimidh: “I made this point earlier but it’s worth reiterating:

      A lot of people, unfortunately, in Westminster, and in Britain, don’t understand Ireland, or know much about Ireland. And that’s one thing that we actually find hard to understand because if you grow up in Ireland, you know, we speak English as our first language, most of us do anyway. We watch the BBC, we watch Graham Norton, we watch your television, your news. We really understand a lot about Britain.

      One of the things they do not grasp, and Laura Kuenssberg demonstrated this on Radio 4’s Today this morning – is that Fine Gael, Varadkar’s party, is the most anglophilic of the Irish political parties, in fact historically it has been mocked for that anglophilia. The Irish Labour Party is also not particularly anglophobic.

      If Varadkar loses the election that almost certainly means a Fianna Fáil led government – and Fianna Fáil is traditionally hostile to British interests, or at least unsympathetic. Fianna Fáil represents the side that in 1921 fought a civil war because it saw the Anglo Irish Treat as too pro-British. It was formed from the post independence IRA. Cumman na Gael, which became Fine Gael was the party that support the 1921 treaty. Moreover, it is hard to see Fine Gael going into a coalition with Sinn Féin – but the same doesn’t apply to Fianna Fáil which was a splinter from Sinn Féin in the early 1930s.

      It is also worth remembering that if Varadkar loses and steps down as leader of Fine Gael, his probably replacement is Simon Coveney – who ran Ireland’s negotiations as foreign minister. Moreover, the crucial aspect of Irish diplomatic influence is the Irish department of Foreign Affairs, known (for its HQ) as Iveagh House – which today is a much more professional foreign service than the UK Foreign Office on which it was modelled.

      So any idea that the the Irish General Election represents any possibility fo the UK’s negotiation position improving, or the Irish softening their line is utterly delusional and reflects the fact that people in Westminster and indeed the British media “don’t understand Ireland, or know much about Ireland,” indeed that they are astonishingly ignorant.

      Inter alia its also foolish to think Varadkar is not a considerable intellect – he was a law student at Trinity Dublin – he won “schol” as its known which means he was at the very top of his class in Ireland’s most competitive university and he transferred from Law to Medicine. He’s a very very bright guy. Moreover, to get into university in Ireland, especially a top course, requires virtual fluency in three languages – so Coveney, Varadkar, etc. probably speak at least French fluently, if not German too (as do most senior Irish officials.) Consider the diplomatic advantages ages that offers.”

      A Treasury official friend, just back in London after some time at the UK mission to the EU and like me the son of Mauritian immigrants, reports morale plumbing new depths as Dominic Cummings gets to work. The last half decade, beginning with the Tory victory of 2015 and the triumphalism of George Osborne’s “catamites”, have been unbearable, one reason for going to Brussels for a few years.

      Further to Brexit, there are big races at Leopardstown this week-end. The horse racing and breeding industry is relieved that third country quarantine rules won’t kick in yet. I will report from Newmarket and France late next month.

      One hopes the NC regulars, especially from Ireland, weigh in.

      1. Clive

        Yes, on the one hand I can foresee little, if any incentive on either the EU’s part of the UK’s part to have any serious attempt at coming up with an FTA (of any substance). Varadkar gave a eloquent walk-through of exactly what impediments there are to this and why neither the EU or the UK have and real wish (or room to manoeuvre) to remove them.

        On the other hand, it is election time in the Republic. And it is 11 months to go (and they will be long, long months) of the negotiation. I am prompted to recall that Johnson’s Deal was wrapped up in the last couple of weeks of his time in office and rocket-docketed through the various layers of EU bureaucracy and decision-making, with compromises on both sides (customs and regulatory border in the Irish Sea (but with it only being a pop-up border for goods circulating in the UK market) made by the UK, consent provisions for removal of the backstop made by the EU). If the past is any guide to the future, that is more likely to be the case in the run up to the end of the transition period. The next intervening 10 months being filled with nothing more than governmental posturing and Twitter noise.

      2. SOMK

        That comment vastly over eggs the “intelligence” of Varadkar et al (I seriously doubt any of them would have done so well in education if they grew up on housing estates) certainly you don’t need a foreign language to get into university in Ireland (it’s a points system), though most Irish’s people would study a foreign language (English doesn’t count) for their school leaving exam. Under Fine Gael Ireland accelerated the selling off of NAMA assets at a rate of knots to vulture funds (in trances of billions, with developers only able to raise at most 300 million this means huge chunks of land and housing are being simply sat on by foreign billionaires), with funds buying up entire housing estates. An interesting tweet from Paddy Cosgrave (well-known in Ireland for running the web summit) came out over the weekend where he posted a WhatsApp message from someone working for one of those hedge funds who claimed that Varadkar Coveney and co were “overawed” by the etonians working for the funds and had the will pulled over their eyes.

        Just because an adult can beat a child at chess doesn’t make them Kasparov.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I don’t know what Kuenssberg said on Radio 4, but if she suggested that the election would soften Irelands approach, like John Snow, she knows nothing.

        I don’t think Varadkar studied Law – he is a highly qualified physician (although I’ve heard whispers from my medical relations that there was something of a sigh of relief in his hospital when he left to follow politics) and is certainly not stupid, although I suspect his intelligence is narrow rather than broad. Coveney, however, is very smart – I know people who worked with him prior to his current role who would not be sympathetic to Fine Gael who described him as diligent, a good listener, in command of his brief, and refreshingly non-ideological in his approach to problems. Apart from the general observation that he is something of a charisma black hole, I’ve heard nothing but praise for him by people I know who have had direct or indirect dealings with him. He is the real iron in Varadkars spine (Varadkar is a notorious ditherer).

        The leader of Fianna Fail (Micheal Martin) is intelligent too and is a good strategic thinker, he’s had a hard job getting his party back to a position where it can get into government, but he’s done as well as anyone could expect. He is unusual as a party leader who is significantly more to the left than most of his own party (most of which is rural based and generally reactionary).

        But as the poster the Col. quotes says, Fine Gael has always been the most anglophile of the main Irish parties along with Labour and by far the least sympathetic to Irish nationalists in Northern Ireland. It was something of a shock to them to find themselves having little choice but to be the champions of NI nationalists and the target of such ire from the British media.

        But both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail will both be well aware that the current government’s hard line stance on Brexit has proven very popular with the electorate (although in truth, they had no choice but to take that stance). Neither can, nor will shift from it. The die has been entirely cast – Ireland long ago threw in its lot unambiguously with Brussels. The only question is how they would react to pressure for a border poll or a ‘please help us’ plea from across the water in the SNP. FF would be ideologically much more open to both than FG.

        The next government will certainly be a coalition, the only question is who the constituents will be and who will lead. Its looking unlikely that FG will get enough to put together a government – they are looking most likely to fall below 40 seats (80 are needed to form a government). Most likely FF will win around 50-60 seats, and will therefore need around 30 to make up a government, which will be very difficult without Sinn Fein, although both main parties have pledged not to work with SF, just as they’ve pledged not to work with each other – although with the possibility of power, anything could potentially happen.

        So the best guess is that the next government will be FF, in a coalition with the Greens and whatever is left of Labour and a random selection of smaller parties. Both the Greens and Labour might be more generally pro British than FF, but both will loath doing anything that makes Bojo look good, so they will most likely leave all Brexit matters to FF, in other words to their leader, Martin. He will be looking to the longer term health of his party, which means he will do his best to work as a champion of the northern Ireland nationalists, something Varadkar was always a little uncomfortable about. Politically, if he is seen as more amenable to London than Varadkar was, he would be slaughtered by his own party.

        This is a longwinded way of saying that very little will change after the election.

    2. DJG

      Clive: The coverage in English that I have seen basically tries to fit Italian conditions into the usual Anglo-American bipartisan consensus.

      You write:

      A savvier political operator would have said “we’ll give the Democratic party (PD) the fight of their lives”. Which, if he’d done so, he’d now be able to say he did. So rather than his 10% swing looking like a good result, its lets the centre-left off the hook.

      In fact, the election in Emilia-Romagna has been referred to more than once in the Italian press as the Battle of Stalingrad. The demonstrations led by the Sardines were places where people kept pointing out what is at stake. As the results came in, the Sardines and others have not been all that polite to Salvini and the right–they keep telling Salvini to go away. Yet like Hillary and Bill Clinton, in Italian politics it has become harder to get anyone to retire. Even Berlusconi, fan of the Bush family, is still around. This is the Anglo-American influence on Italian politics.

      The lesson of Emilia-Romagna is how much turnout matters. The turnout was about double of the the last regional election. Meanwhile, in Calabria, turnout was low and the center-right (as the Italians call it) won. I am reminded of U.S. politics, in which the U.S. South keeps voting for people who won’t solve problems, who want to maintain the feudal hangover, and who deliberately limit the size of the electorate.

      All in all, though, Italy isn’t on the verge of an exit. Anti-EU sentiment isn’t all that strong. The Lega’s problem is that, having discriminated against fellow Italians, let alone immigrants, and having played the social media game Trump-style, it has bumped against the “conservatism” of Italian civil society.

      The big story hidden in the results is the collapse of the Five Stars in both regions. I’m not sure where these results point.

      1. Clive

        Yes, I’d agree — I think Italy has just been through a “UK in 2017” episode. Recall that (then) Prime Minister May started off tacking to the right, with a hard-ish Brexit and a very small-state manifesto. The public rebelled and denied her a majority and signalled, as well as signals can be sent in our political systems, that there was an inherent small-c conservatism in society and — as baseline — a fundamental mistrust of radicals, be they on the left- or right- of the political spectrum.

        This seemed to stabilise the political dynamic and gave a good impression of reasserting an inherent cultural norm of centrism. But rather than use the opportunity presented by popular sentiment’s automatic stabilisation instincts, the authoritarian liberals — quite mistakenly — thought they’d been offered carte blanche to trot out all their old favourite hobby horses and merrily ride them over a lot of seething disquiet with the status quo and resentment at the notion that nothing could ever change because it was all too complicated, so you’ll just have to put up with it all.

        That is the fork-in-the-road which Italy is currently at.

        Which way it will go is anyone’s guess. Perhaps the centre-left will heed its near-miss and look at the populist’s agenda and appreciate it will need to embrace some of it because, after all, it is drinking in last-chance saloon. Perhaps it will go, like the UK left and Liberal Democrats did, and, totally mistakenly, believe it has been given an unconditional licence to merely pick up where it left off in, say 2005.

        Based on reaction to the Emilia-Romagna result, it appears to be intent on the latter. Big mistake, in my humble opinion.

    3. Ignacio

      I missed this and commented below, very much in the same line that complacency shouldn’t be in the menu. El Pais did not fall in complacency in their analysis.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “NY Times admits it sends stories to US government for approval before publication”

    Hello, New York Times. Hello Main Stream Media. North Korea called and said that they want their Ministry of Information back.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Grayzone overplayed its hand again, not a good look.

      The headline says NYT sends stories for “approval”, but the hot scoop comes from a NYT tweet saying that they “described” the story to the gov’t before publication. In my journalism days, we would often tell authorities about a story before publication, but this did not mean we needed approval; it was more like “this is the story we’re going with, but you’re welcome to add any info you think relevant and we might print it”. “Describing” the story certainly fits that modus operandi.

      That said, the NYT obviously has an utterly sordid history of supine stenography, and GZ’s Ben Norton is right to point toJames Risen, whose most famous episode saw the Grey Lady sitting on the warrantless wiretapping story at the behest of the Bush regime. But still, Grayzone is doing its credibility zero favours by overselling its evidence.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thanks for that intput, and good to see you back posting here.

        You are right that many outlets like Greyzone don’t do us any favours when they overstate arguments or look for ‘gotchas’. There is plenty of real evidence of the rot in the media without making stuff up or exaggerating.

      2. GramSci

        I’m usually down with Rabid Gandhi, but the Grayzone is getting roughed up by thugs. I think I’ll send GZ some money.

  3. russell1200

    Jerri-Lynn: That seems like an idea that might have worked some time ago. But Warren seems to be trying to pickup the Biden-Clinton identifiers, and a discussion of bankruptcy is probably too close to an attack on them as well – seeing as Biden is associated with them.

    What is so strange is how she seems to be channeling Clinton’s pity-me persona. Given that it is one of Clinton’s most annoying memes, you would think she would have stay as far away from it as possible. But I doubt she is aware that it is even distinctive as it is such a central part of the NYT world view that she seems to be part of.

    1. Off The Street

      In case there is any shred of sympathy, or even tolerance, for HRC, consider the following that has been circulating about her questions regarding The Loss.

      I’m still trying to figure out how I lost the 2016 election.  
      I thought we had the thing bought and paid for!
      Was it Wikileaks?
      Was it Podesta’s Emails? 
      Was it Comey?
      Was it having a sexual predator as a husband?
      Was it Huma Abedin’s sexual predator husband Anthony Weiner?
      Was it because the Clinton Foundation ripped off Haiti?
      Was it subpoena violations?
      Was it the congressional testimony lies?
      Was it the corrupt Clinton Foundation?
      Was it the Benghazi fiasco?
      Was it pay for play with Uranium One while I was Secretary of State?
      Was it being recorded laughing when
      I got a child rapist off when I was an attorney?
      Was it the Travel Gate scandal?
      Was it the Whitewater scandal?
      Was it the Cattle Gate scandal?
      Was it the Trooper-Gate scandal?
                      – OR –  
      Was it the $15 million for Chelsea’s apartment bought with Clinton Foundation money?
      Or my husband’s interference with Loretta Lynch and the investigation?
      Or when I happily accepted the stolen debate questions given to me by CNN?
      Or my own secret server in my house and my disdain for classified information?
      Or deleting 30,000 emails after I was told not to?  
      Or having my cell phones and computers destroyed with hammers and Bleach-bit?  
      Was it the Seth Rich murder?
      Was it the Vince Foster murder?
      Was it the Gennifer Flowers assault and settlement?  
      Was it the $800,000 Paula Jones settlement?
      Was it calling half the United States deplorable?  
      Was it my underhanded treatment of Bernie Sanders?
      Was it Bill’s impeachment?
      Was it the lie I told about being under sniper fire in Bosnia?
      Was it the $10 million I received for the pardon of Marc Rich?
      Or the $6 BILLION lost while I was in charge of the State Dept.?
      Or was it because I’m perceived as a hateful, lying, power-hungry,
      overly ambitious, greedy, and nasty person?
      Gee, I just can’t seem to put my finger on it!

      1. Monty

        You forgot:
        ‘we came we saw he died’
        wretched health
        those weird glasses
        collapsing and getting bundled into a van.
        The secret doctor standing by with diazapan injector.
        Syria no fly zones
        friendship with Kissinger
        friendship with Epstein
        friendship with Weinstein
        and many, many more.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Yet the local kid busted with a couple ounces of devil-weed is doing 6 months in the county lockup.

          What a country!

          1. Mel

            To be fair, she would have plea-bargained for four years of public service (well, “public” service.) If she’d only got the chance.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      Warren 2020 will live forever as a cautionary tale about why you never go full Third Way.

      That Des Moines Register endorsement really moved the needle.

      The NYT and the newspaper industry as a whole is less influential than the former 3rd (4th?) male lead on “Newsradio”. Think about that for a moment.

        1. Carey

          The Tim Kaine VP pick is one reason I still wonder if She was required to take
          a dive16. She could’ve easily won with a Sherrod Brown type VP, and with no loss to her corporate backers.. maybe they felt that they could allow the people no toehold at all, but a Brown-type would’ve been pretty weak tea
          in exchange for the expected Prezidential lucre.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Media analysts will have to eventually take a harder look at the Des Moines Register (Gannett).

        Dig through their mast and look at who’s doing their political reporting. With the exception of a couple of male reporters double-tasked with covering candidates (Bernie for one), all the political reporters are female [in the most neoliberal Clintonian sense]. These reporters have been very prominent on Twitter, and they almost exclusively tweet about which Not Bernie is currently leading in the Iowa Poll (Selzer). They’re Obradovich hires and she was brought in by David Yepsen who has now been elevated to the ranks of senior distinguished journalists/analysts (think Tim Russert).

        The Register can’t control Selzer, but they do tell her when to poll, and this cycle the Iowa Poll did phone calls over weekends (not standard practice by any means) and most of the weekends chosen had major (to Iowans) sports events. Then, predictably, the Register favored candidate would then rise in the polls for a week or so before crashing back to earth forcing the DMR to pick another candidate to favor.

        The joke among Iowa activists (for at least 40 years now) has been that DMR endorsements are a curse. In rural states there will be one dominant newspaper, and it’s invariably in the largest city/capitol. And invariably activists in both parties statewide hate that newspaper (and the city it’s in).

        Which is why Bernie has been almost entirely under the radar in Iowa. At one point he claimed 20,000 volunteers in Iowa (and social media insisted it was even more than that). That’s unique in the history of the caucuses, and it’s exactly how to approach a caucus state. Caucus winners lower their voices when talking about politics; the media-favored poseurs raise their voices wanting to be overheard. That’s politics: whisper secrets but shout out the agitprop. [538 didn’t include Bernie field offices in their last op-ed analysis because Bernie’s folks wouldn’t let them in (standard practice, in REAL campaign HQ there will be stuff on the walls you don’t want in the newspapers).]

        1. flora

          Thanks for this info about the Des Moines Register.

          I listened online to last night’s Sioux City Sanders’ rally. AOC mentioned the Iowa field volunteers and that more caucus sites have been added in formerly ignored neighborhoods.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Beyond being the only non-robber baron or would be robber baron In the Obama administration, she has one election in Massachusetts to her credit against a Republican who only held the seat because of Martha Coakley. Obama out polled Jack Ryan In a tough race to win before the divorce details broke. Bill had a plan for at least his personality to win in Arkansas and win convincingly, and he did it without a famous last name (Gore).

      In areas she doesn’t pay attention, she has a habit of simply repeating the “experts.” It took her three tries to say something remotely correct (not completely heinous anyway) about the Iranian assassination. The first two tries were basically out of the Morning Joe teleprompter. It’s only natural she has little electoral experience in a real race, and she relies on “experts.” Questioning the 2016 Clinton brain trust probably wouldn’t occur to her.

      Even then we should not forget her republican status. The best summation of non movement conservative Republicans is “I’ve got mine to hell with everyone else.” This doesn’t apply to not simply spending but how they interact and view the world. Learning about the abstract or unknown would simply not occur to these sorts.

      As far as elections, Booker, O’Rourke, Harris, Gillibrand, etc all seemed to not have much of a plan beyond showing up and expecting to be President. They didn’t show up with a cohesive vision, policy ideas, aND reasonable estimations about how to make those reality. There were no critiques of Obama, who was nothing but excuses. Even Biden does that. His excuse is dumb, but he does it. She’s not terribly different from these clods. She’s better on a few things and has a better reputation.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Being reelected isn’t an accomplishment. Not being reelected almost always involve gross incompetence or scandal. The only race she had to deal with was a joke too. Again it was election in what only Coakley could eff up

      1. Yves Smith

        She was never a member of the Obama Administration.

        She was hired as a consultant to start up the CFPB. I wrote at length at the time that this looked like a ploy to hobble her as a political figure, since there was nothing in her history to suggest she’d do well at the task. “Harvard Egghead Can’t Manage Her Way Out of a Paper Box” were the hoped-for headlines.

        Instead she did very well and then quite kept pushing to be the first director, which the Obama Administration was never never going to let happen, but fortunately those meanie Republicans were happy to wield the knife.

  4. John Beech

    The Republican Party has basically lost me. Maybe not forever because I still buy into some of the message, but as regards health care, despite the fact I’ll be on SS and Medicare before Sander’s promise affect me, leaving it in the hands of private companies is a mistaken position in my view. Proof? Those taking off patent drugs, tweaking the formula and then raising prices 1000%. And that government won’t negotiate prices is the final bit of evidence. My Republican friends are astonished I’ve switched party registration. This isn’t about Trump, regarding whom I don’t believe he ever got a fair shot and never will, it’s about continued support by both parties of a corrupt health care system.

    1. katiebird

      Even those of us already on Medicare will be greatly helped by Expanded and Improved Medicare for All. Consider the cost of prescriptions, that expense goes away. Dental care, hearing aids, glasses are covered. The time tax goes away, no more arguing with insurance companies or spending time every year double checking insurance plans. Oh, and no need for supplemental plans and finally the cost of Medicare Part whatever will no longer be deducted from Social Security check.

      For people on Medicare expanded Medicare for all means thousands of dollars in our pockets, more actual healthcare, and less stress.

        1. ambrit

          Sorry, but, at least in my benighted State, Home Health is covered by Medicare. In this case, as follow up to a surgery. (It’s still limited, but at least offered.)
          I’m not on Medicare yet, but I dread that time simply because of all the unnecessary complications loaded onto it.

          1. katiebird

            That is so embarrassing! I knew that. My parents got almost constant home health care the last months of their lives. For my mom that was replaced by Hospice, which was also paid by Medicare, the last 8 Months.

            I think I was thinking of long term care, which would require fewer hoops (but who knows)

            Anyway, thanks for pointing that out.

            1. ambrit

              Sorry to harsh the buzz.
              As for Hospice. When Phyllis figured out that amputating the horrible leg might make her life better, which was a really close run race in her mind, she had to drop off of Hospice. That was because, under the Medicare rules, Hospice can only deal with ‘hopeless’ cases. If you decided not to die, you couldn’t be in Hospice. So far, so good. Thus, plain, regular Medicare takes over; which brings back the 80/20 funding split, the co-pays, and other malign influences. Well, it is worth the extra hassle to have a real chance of full recovery from the cancer. No matter what happens, Phyllis is in much better spirits and determined to live the rest of her life her way.
              One’s mental attitude is all.
              Me, I’m suffering from a bit of mental whip sawing. Phyllis laughs at it, and that’s a good thing. She hasn’t laughed so much in the last two years.

              1. Monty

                Sounds like an awful experience ambrit. Through the wringer!

                I am really inspired to hear how she has managed to find the strength to battle on, despite everything you say. It certainly puts my own problems into perspective!

                Best wishes.

                1. ambrit

                  Thanks, but don’t lose sight of the fact that the experiences of others should be spurs to you to get things done related to your own problems. I suffer from a common side effect of depression: inertia. I am constantly having to kick start myself back into action. (As you can guess, I am not an Alpha type personality.)
                  If you take away anything from reading about Phyl’s experience, let it be this: Never give up.
                  We wish you the best. Keep fighting.

      1. flora

        Yes. and about the linked article:
        “Commentary: Making Small Towns and Rural Areas Part of the Solution” – Daily Yonder

        One of the things would really help rural America:
        1. Medicare 4 ALL. That would stabilize rural hospitals and would mean people could continue living and working in rural areas without fear of no medical care available within a 100 mile drive. People could start their own businesses more easily without worrying about how they’d pay for healthcare. Rural hospitals who treat patients often aren’t paid under the current system. Their patients are expected to pay out of their deductable/co-pay. 20 rural hospitals closed in 2019. Again.

        Also, about Medicare 4 ALL, it will mean businesses that offer employees health insurance will no longer have an extra employment cost of about $14,000. per employee per year (Wendell Potter).
        That cost savings for businesses would make made in the USA products much more globally competitive in cost.

        My 2 cents.

        1. Woodchuck

          Not sure about that last bit about employees costing less to companies. Well, direct employee cost, yes probably, but logically there would also be some increased taxes somewhere to make up for the Medicare for all cost, no?

          I’m Canadian and worked in the US for a while, I remember that being pretty much middle class for me (50-70k yearly) in the end I received nearly the same % of money in Canada or the US after paying all taxes in Canada (at a much higher base rate, but with deductions for kids, etc. bringing it back down) and paying for all extra “benefits” in the US (health insurance, etc).

          And now I’m an employer in Canada and I know we have to pay a sizeable portion of an employee’s salary directly to the government also.

          The big advantage is clearly for people who reach a high income, where in Canada you would start having less deductions and the % taxes will keep increasing while in the US your health insurance won’t keep increasing as a % of your salary. There’s a reason why people at the top want to keep it the way it is…

          So the end-result for the company might not be more money. But I don’t think it should be less money either, because the overall cost of the health care system should go down dramatically, and the savings have to end up somewhere. How it will be implemented will definitely have a big impact on where that “somewhere” is.

          1. flora

            Thanks for this info. Only thing I’ll point out about US health insurance sold to US business for employees is that even there the premiums have been hiked anywhere from 10-32% each year for the past several years. Businesses are complaining about being gouged, and continuing to provide health insurance is becoming more difficult each year. There’s usually one or more business mag. articles every year about economically unsustainable premium hikes on businesses. (Well, not the health insurance business.) It an especial hardship for small businesses to provide employee health insurance, in part because of insurance company premium pricing machinations.

            So, yes, there will be taxes for M4A, but I think those taxes will be both lower and more stable – not raised by 10-30% every year – than the current US health insurance premium charge-whatever-you-can price raises. Just a guess. I think M4A taxes on both business and individual will be lower, in some cases much lower, than the current system’s out-of-control yearly premium hikes, deductables, and co-pays, etc etc.

            1. Woodchuck

              Wow, 10-32% per year definitely seems very excessive. I’ve worked in Boston from 2008-2012, so maybe by now I would end up with less money in the US than I do here at this level of income… Or my health benefits would have just been slashed a lot by my employer, which would also have been quite possible I guess.

              I can’t help but wonder how this works though. I mean, I certainly understand corporate greed and wanting to increase profits constantly (and the kinda “necessity” to do it because of growth objectives and raising prices across the board being the easiest path to it).

              But even considering that, a 10-32%/year increase would seem just way out of bound. Makes me think that the core business model is actually not viable. I mean you could not sustain this type of increase without forcing out your customer base at some point (even though “health care” is one of the last thing people will want to be forced out of, it certainly could happen), which would lead to even more drastic increase until you fully collapse. If it’s pure greed, it seems awefully stupid and short-sighted (not exactly impossible I know). But it can also just be that the base cost of the system cannot hold, which is very bad news for the US system if an alternative solution is not implemented quickly.

              1. inode_buddha

                It’s just sheer greed. Looking at other industrialized nations, it is very apparent that the base cost is nowhere near as high as US companies claim.

                1. Woodchuck

                  Just to be clear, I did not mean at all that the base cost of “health care” is unsustainable.

                  I fully agree that the cost in other countries isn’t near as high as what people pay in the US. But a single payer system for instance would remove SO much in administrative costs that it can mean that it’s sustainable, while the current US system with so many private insurance companies as middlemen is not. I do not know if this is true, both systems might be sustainable in theory (although I believe one is obviously better than the other), but this crazy increase in premiums (or benefits being slashed repeatedly) sounds like it might be worse than greed and just have a bigger issue at its core.

                  But you could also be right and it could also just be sheer greed. It wouldn’t be very surprising.

              2. flora

                Yes, it’s insane. Employers are switching to high-deductable plans in many cases to save money. If the premium raise is only a 5% y-o-y for a high deductable, but 10% for traditional plans, employers pay less but employees pay more (and get less).


                Insurers say ‘well our costs for hospital and drugs go up.’ And they do go up. Hospitals vs insurance vs pharma has become a vicious game of rents extraction, each one against the other two, and patients left in enormous price-gouging debts. M4a would break that trio’s ‘who pays John’ round-robin price gouging, imo.

                On the private, individual market it’s even more insane.

                1. Woodchuck

                  Pretty sickening. I certainly hope you will manage to put into office someone (with a team behind) with a real will to change something before it comes crashing down, because this kind of price hike that is way above inflation on a crucial service just cannot end well in the long run, and small improvements of the kind attempted with the ACA that tries (but obviously fails) to keep everyone happy will just never be enough.

                2. Aumua

                  It is similar to the student loan bubble vicious circle of Cost of Attendance goes up –> More Loans are Offered –> Students take More Loans –> Cost goes up More.

                  Obviously other factors such as balooning administrative overhead and state funding cuts are at play as well.

              3. CloverBee

                My company employs Canadians to consult for them with US companies, as well as Canadian companies, to provide our tech support. Why? Because it is cheaper to, because they pay less for healthcare. We have a whole team of people to manage health care benefits, who always tell us the importance of shopping for the cheapest care.
                That is a large company. Small companies are crushed by the weight of maintaining this highly extractive system.
                Personally, I would like to do consulting independently, but can’t because my family needs benefits, and it is so much more expensive to buy them on my own, independently, via ObamaCare exchanges.

            2. inode_buddha

              Single point of data is anecdote: My tax documents the other day showed me that the Medicare taxes for the entire year were less than one month’s insurance premiums. Let that sink in for a bit. Then tell it to everyone you know. I’m just a regular wage earner.

          2. Skip Intro

            Medicare for all will, according to Bernie, be paid by a 4% income tax that exempts the 1st $29k. US companies are at a competitive disadvantage having to pay for expensive healthcare for employees, and still having employees in poor health.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Yes but 8 billionaires made serious money making sure people go broke just trying to stay alive, so there’s that.

              Can’t have actual health care because

              Ooooooh Socialism

              Swarthy men with Slavic accents hiding under your bed.

              1. 1 Kings

                Openpod, you magnificent’ve done it again.

                ‘People go broke just trying to stay alive”.

                Send this to Bernie and any on his side.

          3. Oregoncharles

            There was a report, years ago, that the car makers were setting up factories in Canada – right across the border – specifically because of health care costs. For them, at least, it was netting out favorable – but that might be because their profits were reported in the US, not Canada. Would have to be a tax expert familiar with Canadian taxes to be sure.

      1. Carey

        He sees the light now on healthcare, and that’s what matters to me.

        Right on, John Beech!


  5. stefan

    For the first time in a long time in the US there is a widespread sense that capitalism may be a fundamental problem and that something people are calling democratic socialism may be called for, but there is very little in terms of substantial new notions of what such a socialism could mean, and most strikingly no big visions on the left that take on foundational questions of the meaning of democracy, freedom, and value.

    Something to think about.

    1. human

      What planet do you live on?

      Restore funding to Education and Welfare; clean water and any number of local, regional infrastructure initiatives; mass transit; Single Payer, cradle to grave healthcare; election reform; re-regulation, with teeth; criminal justice; economic justice; immigrant justice; climate justice. Need I go on?

      1. Carla

        stefan, let me spell it out for you: without all the things human listed, there can be no real democracy, freedom or (human) value.

        Got it?

      1. chuck roast

        hear her, hear her…
        there will be no “democratic” and no “socialism” until corporate rule is curtailed.

    2. John

      I was 9 years old when WW II ended and 36 when the Watergate Break in occurred. In between were some pretty good years when unions were strong, CEOs and kinds of Os did not receive obscene “compensation packages”. (No one is worth that kind of money; there is nothing they have done, do or might do that justifies them becoming multimillionaires for filling a seat at the table.) anti-trust suits were brought, fought, and won by the government. Business was regulated and I understand that guys who wanted to become multimillionaires did not like that regulation. Now we have a good idea of the world they wanted. Looks to me like it is good for them and to hell with the rest of us. So call it democratic socialism or any other label you want to tack on it. Insist if you will that unregulated capitalism is what Adam Smith wrote about and I will tell you to go back and read all of Adam Smith not just the parts you like.

      Capitalism as practiced in the USA today is a problem and either it is going to be modified so it is less predatory, less cruel, less selfish, or there will be a growing movement to make those changes for the capitalists and they will not like the result.

    3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Stefan please do not repeat this category error, under capitalism we would not have the amassing of the unbelievable fortunes that we see today. If JP Morgan had to operate under capitalism they would not be able to stiff arm the country’s central bank in the “markets” (repo madness) and skim tens of millions off the top, straight to the personal accounts of their top execs. Amazon would be just a regular ecommerce company if they paid *any* taxes. Lockheed has a blank check from the taxpayer for military hardware, all they do is simply fill in the amount.

      What we have is Corporate Hyper-Socialism, the sooner people stop blindly acquiescing to the pervading myth that we have anything like “capitalism” the better.

      Actual people get capitalism. Try not paying your bills sometime, or your taxes, and you’ll find out what “capitalist creative destruction” looks like. Nasty, brutish, and short.

      The Chosen Few get hyper-socialism, and scurry under the “capitalist” banner because it protects the unbelievable flow of state money to their coffers from view.

    4. Carey

      >very little in terms of substantial new notions of what such a socialism could mean, and most strikingly no big visions on the left that take on foundational questions of the meaning of democracy, freedom, and value.

      Please get a little more general


    5. Carey

      >For the first time in a long time in the US there is a widespread sense that capitalism may be a fundamental problem and that something people are calling democratic socialism may be called for, but there is very little in terms of substantial new notions of what such a socialism could mean, and most strikingly no big visions on the left that take on foundational questions of the meaning of democracy, freedom, and value.

      Stefan: consider contacting Professor Henry A. Giroux (seriously). He’d be right up your alley, and by 2032 or so, I think the two of you together could potentially have a tidy 2000 page Mission Statement all sorted out.

      decent healthcare-decent jobs for decent pay-decent housing; there’s a start.

      “it’s all so confusing!”


      why the left loses, v. 997

  6. PlutoniumKun

    It’s Good That Joe Rogan Endorsed Bernie. Now We Have to Organize. Jacobin

    I’ve a feeling we’ll hear more about Joe Rogan voters in the near future – I wish I’d copyrighted the notion, I wrote sometime ago that Bernie and Tulsi were potentially mining a rich seam of new voters in their appearances on Rogans podcast (both of which have many millions of views on YT).

    The article sums up this type of voter very well:

    In reality, he’s about where many persuadable Americans are, which is to say that while he doesn’t think about politics all the time, he likes and dislikes some individual politicians, he has kneejerk reactionary positions on some issues, and he finds egalitarian proposals for universal programs deeply appealing.

    The fact that the Sanders campaign can reach the Joe Rogans of the world is a very good thing.

    Mainstream leftists (not just in the US, in Europe too), seem determined to drive away this type of voter by erecting purity tests around certain identity issues. In todays Guardian, John Harris writes very well about this too:

    There is a modern version of this problem, bound up with a combination of old-fashioned statism, Labour’s increasingly middle-class makeup, and the way the left’s focus on the politics of attitudes and behaviour sometimes teeters into shrill intolerance, not least online. By comparison, Conservatism’s eternal promise is that its supporters will be left alone.

    As an aside, the Jacobin article falls into its own trap in describing Rogans views on Trans people as despicable – in fact he’s had trans activists on his show and allowed them to state their case calmly and without interruption. Rogans perspective is specifically from the sports perspective, where he sees permitting former men fight and compete with women as ridiculous and dangerous – and I agree with him.

    1. Mel

      And this idea interlocks very nicely with the idea in the Daily Yonder article here in links, making small towns and rural areas part of the solution. Organizers would be swimming upstream against both parties’ fixation on “efficient” big money. Parties would have to work amongst the littler people, and it takes a lot of those to make $100million,

    2. lyman alpha blob

      It’s as if those criticizing this endorsement from Rogan are portraying him as some public intellectual, which he most certainly is not and never claims to be. I tune in mostly when he interviews scientists and the last time he had physicist Sean Carroll on, I thought Carroll might just walk out in frustration when Rogan failed to understand a somewhat simple concept and kept asking Carroll the same question over and over for about an hour and still didn’t get it. (In Rogan’s defense, Carroll’s explanation can sometimes be a bit muddled.) He’s just a guy with varied interests who has a podcast. I’ve watched a few of his programs and I think he genuinely wants to learn and by extension the people who tune in to learn about MMA fights get to learn something too. That may be exactly why the corporate types can’t stand this – by having Sanders on he taught a lot of people what Bernie was really about and dispelled a lot of the nonsense going around about him.

      Due to the backlash over his endorsement I’d wondered if I missed something about Rogan, but after doing a bit of research I found that it’s just as you said – his criticism of transgender people was limited to former men competing against women, a criticism that you and I and most people I’d imagine agree with. As to being racist, all I could find was some quote he made when he went to see the Black Panther movie. I didn’t really understand what he was getting at in the first place as it didn’t come across as racist so much as nonsensical, and it very likely was just that since he has been known to enjoy a blunt before, during and after his program. Plus, he apologized for it right after saying it anyway.

      More than a little ironic that in the lead up to endorsing Sanders, Rogan made the point that the media will take the one or two worst things a person has ever done and use it against them, completely ignoring everything else, but that there just wasn’t anything there to pull that with Bernie.

      So they’d pulled it on Rogan instead.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        What’s particularly hilarious of course is that Rogan revealed that Biden, Warren, and Buttigieg’s team have been begging him to have their candidates on his show.

        1. Massinissa

          I wish he had let Buttigieg on the show so we could all watch him rip Buttigieg a new one.

          Inviting Warren would have been a bad idea because it would be like punching a neoliberal puppy.

      2. avoidhotdogs

        Well said. He was originally described by other YouTubers as some kind of Neanderthal…. But when I began to check him out (about a year ago) I found him to be interesting, unafraid to show when he didn’t know much and someone who is libertarian socially but with economic views that seemed in line with Sanders and which many “angry Trump supporters” might go with.

      3. Plenue

        The panicking idpol types are currently trying to present Rogan as some sort of neo-nazi type, but the reality is that he’s centrist in the true sense of the term, and maybe even slightly left of center. He’s a genuine everyman who more or less got lucky in that he caught the podcast wave at just the right time to establish himself.

        He has a variety of views; some enlightened, some legitimately ugly, and some merely unpopular and thus ‘wrong’ to liberal goodthinkers. Outside of thought crimes he dares to give a platform to pretty much anyone, where he lets them speak at length and sometimes even gives genuine pushback.

        And I say all of the above out of no particular interest in, much less love for, Rogan. He’s a former sports broadcaster; I’m not remotely in his target demographic. But he is a pretty good ‘average dude’ type; sometimes insightful, sometimes a douche. And he has a larger following than any of the cable news shows, including the top performers on Fox.

    3. Partyless Poster

      Personally I resent how sites like Jacobin make blanket statements about the “left”, as if we all have to agree on every topic. I’ve been a socialist my entire life but I cant really bring myself to care that much about trans issues.
      And its such a losing issue I don’t understand why lefty sites continue to obsess about it, only about .5% of the population is trans but pushing those issues could turn off way way more people than it brings in.
      There will be no real change in this country until there is some left-right dialog about CLASS issues, if the SJWs of the left think they can win while writing off all the Joe Rogans of the world than they are part of the problem.

      1. Plenue

        I too am curious about how exactly the T was so quickly welded onto LGB, and how it so quickly seems to have become widespread wisdom that if you’re a lefty you simply *must* blindly accept everything trans related as obviously good.

        This is going to bite us in the ass. If it bites liberals in the ass I’m not much bothered, but barring voices in the wilderness like Adolph Reed, the actual left has screwed up on this entire issue.

      2. Woodchuck

        I kinda agree with this. Although in general I would say I’m quite “pro-trans” (whatever that means, sounds weird), there’s a lot of valid debates about the subject in my opinion (and those talked about by Rogan that I heard of, like sports and children, are VERY valid debates) and it feels like there’s often this kind of automatic reaction by the left that “anything regarding LGBTQ is to be fully respected without question or argument” without any question whatsoever.

        It’s weird. It doesn’t feel rational. And many seem to be playing with that and taking advantage of that “outrage”. It represents a VERY small population, and while I’m totally for having a rational debate about certain issues and I’m fully for respecting personal decisions, I’m also not going to automatically reject people that might think differently about it.

        There’s waaay too much close-mindedness about other opinions in general in our society. I’m not going to think someone is aweful because he has doubts about the rights of trans people to participate in some sporting events, because they are anti-vax or because they are for the rights of having guns. I have my own opinions on all these issues, but I will often agree with these people on a WHOLE lot of things other than some particular points, and you don’t build a real social movement by rejecting people the instant they don’t agree with ALL you think.

        1. Plenue

          The anti-vax people are actually awful. Aside from being uniformly stupid, they are comprising herd immunity. They’re inflicting disease on the rest of us.

          And if that’s too abstract, ask someone with a compromised immune system how they feel about unvaccinated brats walking around.

          Vaccinate your spawn, or they should be taken from you. It’s that simple.

          Similarly, people who think males should be allowed to compete against females, inevitably curbstomping them, because they ‘identify as women’, or who are okay with drugs and surgeries for supposed trans kids, are inflicting an ideology on other people.

        2. Carey

          Regarding the ‘T’ part: have a look at the money, and where it’s coming from.

          Divide and Rule, a.k.a. destroying Social Cohesion, is working very well (so far).

          “Transphobe!!!!!!!” whatever

      3. makedonamend

        Yeah, I can get on board with your sentiments, as in I don’t fret about any one particular group. Imo it’s no good to care about and champion, say, homosexual rights when a subsection of homosexuals are homeless, without medical care, and subject to the deprevations of engineered market tyranny. In Ireland we have a homosexual Taoiseach (President) whose policies champion liberal causes. Yet he and his party have pursued social and economic policies that have increased homeless, hospital waiting times and general hardship for working people. You’re free to be gay in Ireland and free die on the streets. Yay. Something that never happened when Ireland was p*** poor.

        Given my Democratic viewpoint, I want to extend the idea further to the workplace. Given my Republican viewpoint, I want individuals to pursue that which makes them happy without harming unnecessarily. Given my Socialist viewpoint, it would be nice that we organise society so that the most freedom is afforded to individuals given that we are a social species, albeit with divergent viewpoints and goals.

        My hope is that when we treat everything, including our environment and our fellow organisms, with fundamental diginity it’ll be too hard to get too caught up in particular discriminations on a daily basis.

        Strangely enough, I find most ‘Leftists’ are starting to lean towards a more generalist approach. But there are still a few doctrinaire people who can’t shake the Bolshevik tendencies, but they seem to be splipping into the past. Marx would be happy.

    4. Carey

      Thanks for this comment. “Woker than Thou”s moment could be a brief one, IMO.
      Agree that the “Rogan voter” is not to be underestimated (horrors!).

    5. dcrane

      Agreed, I’ve seen several Rogan interviews in which both trans and gay issues have come up, and the guy doesn’t seem hostile or mean at all. You may not agree with his take on things (although I often do), but at least he exemplifies an open and respectful approach to dialogue.

    6. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Joe Rogan has also criticised the Trans movement for it’s support for children undergoing sex changes, which I also agree with.

      1. Carey

        +1 on that, to you and Joe Rogan.

        Our -IA funded WokeSters want to make *damn sure* there is no agreement on cultural issues, so that Class Class Class issues never even come up..

  7. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, JL-S.

    Further to the dos Santos link / Luanda Leaks, one has to wonder why now. None of this is new and has been known about for years, especially if one is African or of African origin. One wonders if the Russian and Chinese associates of the dos Santos family are the current cause for concern. It will be interesting to see how far the exposes go. A few European banks and oil companies and some European 10% enablers are sure to be following.

    One of the European banks, which has the dos Santos family and their Swiss based French money manager as clients, was exposed as having provided douceurs to the Al Sauds in today’s FT. Again, why now as the story is old and not uncommon.

    One hopes Thuto chimes in from the fairest cape of all.

    1. David

      Welcome back Colonel.
      I had the same thought as you: the corruption of the ruling elite in Angola has been known for at least 25 years. But then I reflected that for most of the media thé only things they may vaguely know are the civil war in the 1970s and then Savimbi being offed by the MPLA with US help early this century. I suppose if you are that ignorant this could be news.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        But but but we had The Panama Papers, where all of the illegal grifting of the .001% was laid out in full view and complete detail.

        Now comes the part where justice is done and they’ll have to give up all of their ill-gotten gains and ponder their crimes for a decade or so in a small cell where the food sucks.

        (Wait for it…..coming in 3,2,1….. I’m sure the authorities are just preparing their cases, making sure everything is ready to absolutely throw the book at these people)

      2. HotFlash

        How nice to see you, Colonel! Your comments are always greatly appreciated here, not least by me. Speed your horses!

  8. Amfortas the hippie

    from the Week on brokered convention”
    fta:”Among other things, most Democrats are surely eager to have a nominee with the clear backing of the rank and file; the last thing they want is a nominee that some faction can complain won in a smoke-filled room rather than in a fair and open fight.
    But those same Democrats have limited ability to coordinate towards that outcome. If a leader doesn’t emerge fairly early who they are willing to rally around, whatever their reservations, the party may belatedly discover that failing to decide has dropped the decision more plainly in their laps than any time since 1968.”

    a good view from 30000 feet, i suppose.
    he doesn’t delve near as deeply as i would have liked into the establishment’s history of perfidy and shenanigans.
    but still, that establishment is limited in how far it can go while still maintaining a patina of democratic legitimacy…ergo, the shenanigans will be much more subtle this time around(see thread on perez’ picks for dnc bosses)…likely given cover by outrageous craziness from Hillary (and likely a few others), as time moves on.
    maybe instead of parachuting in, Herself’s latest voices in her head moments have been for this purpose…to distract us from what’s really going on with the subtle gears and cam shafts

    1. Epynonymous

      We will be more subtle too, with the internet to spread our displeasure with the establishment. Super delegates might have been sustainable in the 90s but today the Republicans (who are either the religious right or some variety of conservative issue voter) would light us on fire.

      Alot is being said by the talk shows about election corruption of some sort (russia or he wont leave or just nonsense) but if you broker the convention your credibility is gone. Just like impeachment.

      1. inode_buddha

        Yeah, but since when has credibility ever mattered to the Democrats? The only thing they care about is ruining the other guy’s credibility, instead of building up their own.

    2. Big River Bandido

      I dunno. Every time I read The Week, or TPM or Nate Silver, I feel so stupid afterwards.

      The brokered convention is just CT nonsense plus Beltway wishful thinking. Economics and non-viable showings will knock out the phony candidates pretty quickly. Amy! Klobuchar can wave her pathetic half-endorsement all she wants, but it won’t get her anywhere close to double digits, not even in Iowa, much less 15% across the board. So then where does she go? Who’s going to fund a campaign where the entire argument is that voters from the Midwest are ready to crawl through hot charcoal to vote for a female Midwestern deficit scold. Puhleeze.

      It’s just not mathematically/politically likely to split that baby in six even portions so as to render Sanders non-viable…it’s going to be, at most, Sanders vs. Establishment vs. Billionaire, and I’m very doubtful of even the latter because they don’t have a reason to run and they don’t have any real support. By the time Steyer or Bloomberg appears on a ballot the handwriting might already be on the wall.

      If somehow 3-4 other candidates do manage to hang on, then this is a repeat of GOP 2016, where the Establishment failed to coalesce around one candidate capable of stopping the insurgency. (This is contingent on Sanders doing well in IA, NH, and NV.)

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        If those fools at the dnc think they will get away with a “brokered” nomination in the event that Bernie, or any other candidate, wins a majority of the delegates, but not enough to meet the threshold of their new first ballot “rules,” they are off their rockers.

        I’d go so far as to say that the “billionaires,” neither of which has any demonstrable constituency beyond the advertising industry, are being kept alive to ensure that very result.

        Thanks in large part to clinton’s 3-year refusal to go away, the sores of the 2016 dem nomination are as raw as ever, and any attempt to cheat the people’s choice, whoever it is, out of the nomination based on new “rules” will be recognized for the same old duplicitous, manipulated shit that it is and has always been.

        1. ambrit

          Alas, your last sentence suggests a reason that there will be a “brokered convention” in Milwaukee.
          “…the same old duplicitous, manipulated s— that is and has always been.” In other words, deceit and double dealing has always been a core part of the Neo-liberal Democrat Party functionality. As long as the power players in the party make their paydays, win, lose, or draw, nothing is going to change.
          Googling around the internet, to check up on the location of this year’s Democrat Party convention, I landed on the convention webpage. Check out the logo in the link and tell me that this doesn’t look, at first glance, like a Blue Elephant.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Most of this discussion depends on assuming that the Dems want to win this year. That’s the penalty for shenanigans – their anointed candidate loses.

          What if they have no intention of winning – that’s why Biden is running? It’s still the Republicans’ turn, and the “consultants” who really run the party get paid regardless.

          Even I thought the pattern would break in 2016, but no-o-o-o-o.

            1. HotFlash

              I did accounting for an out-of-office think tank. They ‘splained it to me: Think tanks and lobby groups are the jobs guarantee for loyal party-folks who are not in office but otherwise and/or potentially useful to the party — includes out-of-office politicians (ie, ‘losers’), ‘strategists’ (ie, hangers-on), unelectable but loyal stooges, and, last but not least, girlfriends. The exact phrase used was, “Goats and scholars.”

      2. Darthbobber

        Yes. The premise that slides in mid-chain is the killer. Assume that 5 candidates clear both 15 percent thresholds in all or most super Tuesday states? Unlikely. And the whole scenario rests on that, even if all else is conceded.

    3. Bill Carson

      I think the delegate counts from the first few primaries will tell us what we need to know. If the large field dilutes the delegates across the board, it will end up hurting Bernie. But this ploy may backfire on the DNC. If Bernie is the runaway winner, even if he only gets 30 or 35%, as polls in Iowa and NH are now indicating, then the mainstream candidates could be diluted to Sanders’ advantage. If that happens, then expect the field to narrow quickly in an attempt to consolidate support to defeat him.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Isn’t that what’s already happened with Harris and Booker? Harris in particular sounded very bitter about having to drop out, but did so because the people she reports to didn’t want her draining California votes from whichever Bernie Stopper looks best on Super Tuesday.

    4. Carey

      >maybe instead of parachuting in, Herself’s latest voices in her head moments have been for this purpose…to distract us from what’s really going on with the subtle gears and cam shafts


  9. The Rev Kev

    “Buttigieg takes his case to Fox News before Iowa”

    He may have gone on Fox News – his natural home – but I notice that he was not game enough to go on Tucker Carlson. Bit of bad blood between those two I hear.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Tucker, one of the finest truth-tellers left in his so-called industry, has seen the ridiculous Buttgig for what he is from the start.

      (No I don’t agree with 100% of what he says but the remaining 80% is so powerfully right that it more than makes up for it).

  10. Sam Adams

    The issue isn’t just that Wuhan Coronavirus is contagious for most of its period of incubation (7-14days) , which makes it impossible to detect. (the temperature scans will not detect an infected person). It is one reason china will lockdown its cities, to burn it out. The virus spreads extremely fast and geometrically. However in addition to the shedding, the virus is believed to incorporate Different virus DNA as it mutates. Being the height of flu season It could incorporate and mutate into a far more deadly agent.

    1. vlade

      There is a class of viruses that routinely incorporates DNA from other sources. They are amongst the most dangerous ones.

      Years back I was contributing to a Cancer Research charity in the UK, and I got to see/talk to some of their research grants. One that was promising was attacking tumors by specifically tailored viruses that attacked the tumor. But to do that, they had to mask them to the immune system. At the time, I raised a concern with the research team – because the masking could then potentially escape to the wild so to say (i.e. recombine with another virus) and that could be no end of trouble. I got an answer, but TBH I wasn’t entirely happy with it but didn’t have time/energy to research much further..

      1. The Rev Kev

        A virus that would be masked to the body’s immune system? I know that you are serious but – Jeez. And did they also research combining the bubonic plague with the common cold to see what would happen?

        1. vlade

          Well, I was getting the info third-hand, so it could have been mangled. Found some PR for that:

          Say from the first article: “reveals how the ‘hitch-hiking’ virus is shielded from antibodies in the blood stream that might otherwise neutralise its anti-cancer properties. ”

          The second, longer article is more circumspect on it.

          I tried to find more, but as I said, in the end I didn’t have time/energy to spend on this and I’d have to spend some non-trivial time to understand it properly.

        2. JTMcPhee

          I recall an article not too long ago about a Research Scientist who aimed to develop an influenza virus or some other pathogen that was invisible to the human immune system. It’s true that viruses in the wild, especially the “successful” ones that spread and incidentally kill, succeed in large part because the virus has the ability to evade the immune system. And also true that there’s related research in using viruses to attack cancer cells, and part of the process is to make the supposedly beneficial viruses invisible to the patient’s immune system, to keep the patient’s body from zapping the supposedly curative viruses.

          But this guy was doing this just because CRSP-R made it possible, and it was a Really Neat trick!!!

          A few years ago, another researcher was all in on resurrecting the 1919 influenza virus, again wanting to add to it the ability to evade the immune system. Just because it could maybe be done.

          Like so much else, it’s complicated:

          These are the visible cases. You can bet that the war departments of various countries are, despite the strictures of “international law” and treaties on germ warfare, doing similar kinds of research on the QT. And there are a lot of out-in-the-wild people with a little knowledge in this area, which makes them dangerous indeed.

          As is often said about so much of what is going on in the world and taken note of here at NC, “What could possibly go wrong?”

    2. Lee

      Another question is that of environmental persistence. For instance, regarding the related SARS virus:

      The main route of transmission of SARS CoV infection is presumed to be respiratory droplets. However the virus is also detectable in other body fluids and excreta. The stability of the virus at different temperatures and relative humidity on smooth surfaces were studied. The dried virus on smooth surfaces retained its viability for over 5 days at temperatures of 22–25°C and relative humidity of 40–50%, that is, typical air-conditioned environments.

      Should we stop buying some stuff made in China? Would that mean eliminating buying some consumer goods, including medications and some food stuffs if they are shipped by air? Express delivery from China can arrive in the U.S. in 3 to 5 days. Whether or not this represents a realistic risk, I really don’t know.

      Might the coronavirus serve as a force favoring domestic production and against the importation of goods from countries with substandard health and safety standards? I can dream, can’t I?Always looking for the silver lining, me.

  11. zagonostra

    >Reading out Loud

    I just finished Ivan Illich’s In the Vineyard of the Text this weekend. This slender book of Illich’s essays conveys the deep shift that took place the middle ages in how the Text is approached. In the 12th century the word was read outloud, reading silently was an aberration of sorts, it was “speech made visible,” memory functioned in a radically different way (Francis Yates writes about this in The Art of Memory).

    The book has now ceased to be the root-metaphor of the age; the screen has taken its place. The alphabetic text became one of many modes of encoding something, now called “the message” …after centuries of Christian reading, the page was suddenly transformed from a score for pious mumblers into an optically organized text for logical thinkers. After this date a new kind of classical reading became the dominant metaphor for the highest form of social activity.

    I have friends who had Illich as a teacher in the late 90’s at Pen State in State College, and the education they received left lasting impressions on how they view not only the text but also the “image” and how the “screen” has changed the very nature of the way we think and experience reality.

    1. Norge

      One thing I deeply appreciate about the screen is that it makes sites like this possible, where in addition to the post there are insightful comments from a wide range of perspectives

    2. Carey

      I don’t know that one, but sure will put in a plug for his book ‘Tools for Conviviality’.
      Is that an apt description for what we need, or what?

  12. russell1200

    It is stunning that someone within the medical establishment would downplay the risk of the corona virus.

    Yes the flu kills a lot of people. But a deadly disease that we have zero resistance to (as can happen with a new strain of flu) and with a very long incubation period (so it can spread) is really really serious.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Tesla News: CEO Elon Musk Responds To Environmental Concerns Surrounding New German Factory”

    Wait till Musk sets up that factory in Germany only to discover that they still have unions there. But when he said “Giga Berlin will build sustainable energy vehicles using sustainable energy, so net environmental impact will be extremely positive!” that was really polishing the turd.

    What he meant was that he will destroy local forests, pollute and use up the local drinking water and create all sorts of chaos with local authorities with his constant demands, but that his vehicles will not (directly) pollute the environment in all other places while he makes billions so that is the net that he was talking about.

    Of course this site already had a warm welcome set out for him so it was a pity that there was no ground-breaking ceremony where he got to slam the first shovel into the ground-

  14. chuck roast

    Re Matt Stoller on Warren “teaching online lessons”:

    I have heard Warren’s raps in the past about bankruptcies due to inadequacies in the health care system, banker greed and looting and economic inequality. She can produce a cogent analysis and then come to precisely the wrong solution. She can correctly describe a broken health care system and come to the conclusion that we need “means testing” as a remedy. She has endlessly lectured on the greed and rapaciousness of the financial sector and proposes regulatory measures that are modified out of the box and captured immediately in a new Federal agency. She can painfully describe citizens crushed and broken by the dominant economic system and her solution is a more efficient market to level the playing field.

    We all know public “intellectuals” like this. I remember when Rolling Stone magazine began picking up velocity on its long trip downhill, they had a high-profile writer called P.J. O’Rourke who was a master at this. He would write a couple of thousand words that you would nod your head in agreement too, and then he would wrap-up with a conclusion that in no way related to the previous couple thousand words. What?! The most recent example is Steve Bannion. I clicked a link here last week and watched an hour long interview with the guy. I’m going, the guy is bright, incisive, eloquent and logical. Why does he come to the absolutely wrong conclusions. I don’t know. Maybe he spent too much time being taught by the Jesuits. Why Warren does it…I couldn’t tell you.

    1. Samuel Conner

      In medicine, the combination of ‘accurate diagnosis’ with ‘inadequate plan of treatment’ has the ‘feel’ of ‘malpractice.’ Is there a political analogy to the medical specialty of ‘pathologist’?

      Please, EW, explain to us what is wrong, but don’t try to fix it yourself.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Thanks for that one. From the link:

      In February 2019, shortly after announcing his second presidential run, Mr. Sanders emailed a letter to surrogates. “I want to be clear,” he said, “that I condemn bullying and harassment of any kind and in any space.”

      That he felt compelled to append this note to his national reintroduction was perhaps as telling as its contents.

      Perhaps he “felt compelled” because he was smart enough to know that there would be a bunch of hit pieces like this one thrown at him from the corporate media every time someone purporting to be a supporter said something untoward online.

      Funny how when someone online criticizes an establishment position it is immediately attributed to “bots”, preferably Russian ones, but in this case it always the real live army of Bernie’s racist and sexist supporters. And the fact that Clinton through David Brock actually hired a whole bunch of trolls to make Her look good and demonize her opponents goes right down the memory hole.

      Thankfully there are other ways to get one’s message across than reading the increasing irrelevancy NYT or listening to the inanity of cable news.

      Bernie or bust!

    2. Woodchuck

      How surprising that this would come out in the NYT, along an article that says Trump is probably better than Sanders…

      1. David Carl Grimes

        “along an article that says Trump is probably better than Sanders” – can you provide the link?

  15. allan

    Safeway owner Albertsons seeks IPO amid woes over underfunded pensions [NY Post]

    Supermarket giant Albertsons is looking to take itself public even as tensions escalate with unions and a powerful US agency over a soon-to-be insolvent pension plan, The Post has learned. …

    The grocery giant — owned by Cerberus Capital Management, the buyout firm controlled by secretive billionaire Steve Feinberg — says that if the pension goes bust it will continue to fund the nest eggs of Safeway’s roughly 10,000 workers in the DC area at a rate of roughly $20 million a year.

    That could leave taxpayers and roughly 40,000 beneficiaries at Giant Food and now-defunct chains stranded with empty carts. …

    I love the smell of private equity in the morning. It smells like … like … victory. For the .01%

    1. Milton

      Here’s another:
      Bar Louie files chapter 11 Will close 1/3 of stores.
      No mention of Sun Capital, the PE which extracts everything of value from owns the chain. The story includes all the general statements regarding the bankruptcy like challengy economic conditions and higher staffing costs.

    2. Brian (another one they call)

      We used to shop at both Safeway and Albertson’s. Can’t any more. Safeway prices are nearly double what our local supermarket chain charges. Albertson’s is more expensive than Safeway. These zombies won’t survive.
      Not sure how everyone is going to get fed when venture capital is allowed to loot such a basic industry needed by everyone. And capitalism.

  16. lyman alpha blob

    RE: As Angola Accuses Billionaire Isabel Dos Santos Of Fraud, Her Empire Begins To Unravel

    I’ve been trying to understand the political situation in Angola ever since a large number of Congolese and Angolan refugees starting showing up Maine. I understand why people would want to flee the Congo, but I’d thought that in recent years Angola was a relatively stable country and hadn’t seen anything about a major conflict in the news. I have an Angolan in-law and have met their family and had not heard of any major turmoil there.

    What I learned from them is that there is a relatively new president who replaced Dos Santos’ corrupt father and who is trying to institute some fairly major reforms. One of those is attempting to build an infrastructure to refine oil in Angola rather than just exporting the raw crude to the West as has been done in the past. The new president is trying to make Angola more self sufficient and not just a country to be exploited for resources. Evidently there’s a lot of inertia to overcome to achieve these reforms. That’s the simple version at least.

    The refugees coming here are definitely not the poorest of the poor as the poor generally don’t have the means to move. I’m basing this on what I’ve read in the local paper where some of the refugees were interviewed came from professional backgrounds, professors and such. What I’m wondering is if at least some of the refugees had been part of this corrupt regime. The refugees are coming here via Texas where they first crossed into the US and they have all applied for legal asylum. I would guess this means the US wouldn’t admit people who had been bad actors in corrupt regimes but of course the US government is friendly with lots of terrible governments.

    Anybody have a better read on the political situation there? The Forbes article didn’t really get into the larger picture of what’s going on there now.

  17. Ignacio

    RE: Something Far Deadlier Than The Wuhan Virus Lurks Near You Kaiser Health New

    Though trying to regain attention for flu instead of the new coronavirus may have some merit I dislike it. I could write a similar article asking why HRSV (Respiratory Syncitial Virus) has been forgotten. The CDC says there are 500 casualties per year in children and about 14.000 casualties per year amongst the elder in the US associated with HRSV and acknowledges that those numbers are underestimations. There are many respiratory viruses with similar contagion routes and symptomatology and the high season for almost all of them is winter. With high probability the new coronavirus will be the new guy in town, if not this year, the following. A new virus complicates things: it makes necessary more diagnostic assays, increases the chances for repetitive respiratory diseases during the winter and it is particularly troubling for a segment of the population already battered by viral and non viral respiratory diseases: The elder.

    So, being flu the most important from the epidemiological point of view, the respiratory viruses as a whole (influenza, parainfluenza, rhinov, adenov, syncitial, coronav…) should be treated as a clinical-epidemiological complex and we don’t want this complex to be even more complex. New diseases are not welcome and we shouldn’t informatively treat them as if they are competing diseases. On the contrary, a viral infection may facilitate or “prime” your respiratory tract for the next viral/bacterial infection.

  18. rd

    Here is an interesting little article looking at USPS privatization and what to learn from Canada Post doing some privatization. buried deep in the piece is the little nugget that healthcare costs have been a serious issue in the USPS privatization efforts because USPS workers have very good benefits while privatized ones often wouldn’t. There was a brief note that Canada Post didn’t need to deal with this but they did not explain that it was because ALL Canadian workers had a solid healthcare system so different insurance plans between public and private workers were a fairly small item.

    Ultimately, this is what Americans need to understand about the US healthcare system – it makes the US noncompetitive, reduces worker mobility, and reduces small business formation. Its also immoral, but that doesn’t seem to be a big issue these days.

    1. Olga

      Not having a decent/affordable healthcare for individuals certainly diminishes US’ entrepreneurial spirit.
      (How many folks are stuck in jobs they don’t like, but cannot start a business because of health care?)
      OTOH, it occurs to me that maybe the emphasis on creating new businesses went out the window a long time ago… If you’re a monopoly, the last thing you want is to encourage competition via the “build a better mouse trap” way. Short-term gain at the expense of the country’s long-term competitiveness…

      1. inode_buddha

        You want to know what diminishes US’ entrepreneurial spirit?

        I just got my tax documentation in the mail the other day. Last year, my medicare taxes for the YEAR were less than one month’s payment to the health insurance. Said health insurance payments put me underwater by a very large margin.

        Next time somebody asks “How are we going to pay for it?” I’m going to ask “How can we pay for the current system?”

      2. HotFlash

        Olga: (How many folks are stuck in jobs they don’t like, but cannot start a business because of health care?)

        Well, glad you asked. I live in Canada, with my husband run a (very) small business, and before that I was self-employed for about 15 years. We get health care ‘as a human right’, so even in bad times, we are OK if we need medical (slammed off bike, have a tumor, just want a check-up, whatever). Mostly it is just the two of us, but occasionally we need part-time help. I can hire hourly workers as I need them, they still get our pretty fine health care. Note: not ‘insurance’, *care*. This is a great weight off our shoulders, and off the shoulders of the people we hire part-time.

        And, as a PS — Bernie’s plan is better than what we get now here in Ontario. OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) does not cover prescriptions, dental (unless performed by an oral surgeon = MD, so routine checkups, cleanings and fillings by DDS, pay out of pocket, but root canals and complicated extractions covered), eyeglasses, and a bunch of other stuff it should.

        But if I (goddess forbid) cut my hand off in the table saw, I am not gonna bleed to death for lack of $$$ or have to bind it up in saran wrap. You guys should really, really go for it, it is the first thing *ever* to make me reconsider my moving from MI to Canada 50+ years ago.

      3. Carey

        Entrepreneurial™, post 2020:

        clean water
        clean food
        sentient warmth
        books music

        Downside™ risk:

        “Smart” anything- that is / will be for the New Loser Class
        “New!” “Improved!” heh effing losers clear enough, soon enough

  19. Scylla

    Hey Lambert-
    Have you gotten a copy of the new William Gibson book, Agency, yet? I know you are a fan, as am I. I am about half way through it at the moment, and it is quite good, but I am absolutely disgusted to see that he has inserted and immortalized the Russiagate narrative in his book. Not to be too spoilery, but he discusses different timelines where different candidates won the 2016 election, and without naming any candidates beyond their gender, he mentions that Russia was involved in one of those elections.
    Pissed me right off, let me tell ya. It very much cheapens this trilogy/series.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Who Said the American Model of Fighting Terror is Best for India?”

    Maybe someone should tap India on the shoulder and point out to them that the reason that the US can do a lot of what they do is because they are protected from attack by an ocean on each side of them. Directly bordering two nuclear powers means that India cannot do the same but maybe diplomacy would be a wiser move. But not diplomacy based on Modi’s idea of “Hindus Rule!”

  21. Frank Little

    Won’t pretend to be invested in the outcome of the impeachment trial, but it’s pretty amazing that rather than testify before Congress about impeachment John Bolton is writing a gossipy book it and leaking the juicy bits to the press. Guess I must have missed that episode of Schoolhouse Rock.

    1. ewmayer

      Schoolhouse Rock … that brings back memories. Let’s see, how might such a ditty in honor of the Bomb Walrus go?

      I’m just a shill, you know I’m only a shill,
      And I’m creepin’ ’round on Capitol Hill.
      And I hope and I pray, and I wish that I may,
      Somedaaaaaaaaay … get my next war!

  22. Alex

    Re the preservation article, I have mixed feelings. I lived for some time in Philadelphia quite close to a historical neighbourhood. The whole area was a really pleasant place to live and the residents evidently liked and took care of it.

    What would have been built in its place had there been no protection whatsoever? I suppose it would be glass condos, just like the ones in the other parts of the city. Would these buildings be more sustainable than the rowhouses which usually have masonry walls, natural lighting and ventilation?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Let’s see if I cannot translate that story here. Rich, entitled person who has the money to buy into the wealthy Capitol Hill Historic District in Washington DC discovers that he cannot have his cake and eat it as well. To his shock, discovers that he, as a NYT editor, is still not important enough to laugh at laws for the 90%. Dumbfounded to discover that he also forgot to check if he would be allowed to have solar panels on his roof in spite of spending years on stories to do with property.

      1. Tomonthebeach

        To amplify Rev Kev, I helped to historic district Woodley Park, NW of Connecticut and Rock Creek Pkwy. We took that step to prevent skyscraper Godzillas from infesting our neighborhood. That was not a neurotic concern as several were in the works when we got woke and took action. All we had to do was look at Arlington VA to see what letting Godzilla enter might look like.

        Later, we moved to Carderock Springs and our neighbors historic districted there too. However, in that case, it was to protect the unique architectural style of the neighborhood – max trees. About the only place in the DC Metro area that you will NOT find colonial-style houses is in Carderock Springs where about 300 houses were built into the woods with minimal tree removal. Our back yard was all woods – no grass. Carderock houses have a Frank Lloyd Wright style with lots of glass and vaulted ceilings that made the forest part of the ambiance of living. No solar panels there either — not much sun passes thru the trees. But trees purify the air and cool the houses in summer.

        1. chuck roast

          Yeah, I was in DC when they finally added the south end of the Woodley Park Apartments in your neighborhood. Beautiful! And true to the original 70 year old design. Of course we couldn’t afford anything like that, but we could enjoy the eye-candy.

          Similarly, in my neighborhood we have 100-150 year old yachts that ordinary human beings can’t afford. Many of them were found rotting on mud-flats or in fallen down storage sheds. Fixing them up and maintaining them is just pocket change for the rich. If you believe that beauty is the only truth then you occasionally have to give the .01% their due.

          1. Carey

            >Many of them were found rotting on mud-flats or in fallen down storage sheds. Fixing them up and maintaining them is just pocket change for the rich

            Not so sure about that. I’ve seen those projects make a dent in more than a few of them. Helpful hint: Wives’ expressions.


    1. lyman alpha blob

      Heh. A presidential loser stumping for another two time loser. Because everyone wants to be associated with a loser. That ought to get them running out to the polls!

      1. KLG

        Just like an oh-so-un-self-aware student who is repeating the year due to academic “insufficiency” telling his current classmates how to do it. I’ve seen this several times, and the looks on the faces of the repeater’s audience are always priceless…

    2. chuckster

      Wait a minute… I thought Hillary was “the most prepared, experienced and capable person ever to run for president since the history of time”? Now it’s Joe Biden? Really?

      1. Carey

        Adding: don’t they both (along with other DC Dems) have family with “positions” in
        Ukraine; and might that somthing for our free press to be “looking into” (love that
        obscure term)?

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Is the consumer genetics fad over?”

    Between having police having access to your DNA as well as other random agencies to make a buck off it, perhaps it started to occur to people that corporations like insurance companies might demand access to those DNA results as well to see if they reject you or not for a policy. If this sounds unlikely, I believe that in Australia that if you have a DNA test, that you are legally required to disclose the results to your insurance company.

    1. Koldmilk

      … perhaps it started to occur to people that corporations like insurance companies might demand access to those DNA results as well to see if they reject you or not for a policy.

      Science fiction has already explored this decades ago. One of the most memorable, for me, is the short story “The Mountain to Mohammed” by Nancy Kress (Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, April 1992). Not only for the idea of gene scans being linked to insurance but also for how the “deplorables” have no access to modern medical care.

    2. Bill Carson

      I don’t understand why people are upset that police were able to solve cold case murders like the Golden State Killer. Economics tells us that, for now, police are only going to use this time-intensive method in high-profile cases that they can’t solve otherwise. Perhaps if there were a threshold test that these databases only be used for certain types of crimes, then it wouldn’t be as big a deal.

      1. rtah100

        How is it time-intensive? It isn’t even compute-intensive! They are searching databases.

        I doubt they are searching whole genomes, either, but SNP “fingerprints” (variations at specific nucleotides, which for enough nucleotides represent a fingerprint, a bit like the “Guess who?” game where if you narrow it down to the black male with short hair, hat, glasses and beard, you know which character your opponent has).

        Scientists have done this with animal genetics (hello fruitflies!) for years.

        Even if it were resource intensive, just remember the NSA built a multi-billion dollar bit barn in Utah. Money is no object when surveillance is the project.

        1. Bill Carson

          Have you ever tried to track down relatives on GEDmatch or Ancestry? Ever tried to triangulate DNA matches to determine how a person is related to another person? It’s not like you type in a sequence into the Bat Computer and it prints out the answer.

          1. rtah100

            Both, as somebody interested in my family tree and (for plasmids) when I studied molecular cell biology.

            The police and spooks are interested in hauling in possible contenders, not making a family tree in their spare time. If you think surveillance capitalism is too much trouble for the military industrial complex, think again.

            You don’t compare DNA sequences between pairs stepwise. You throw the full set at an algorithm that infers most likely common ancestors / relationships to fit. Same with the genealogy data. And none of the work traversing the tree is wasted, you’ve tagged a whole bunch of people for next time and can postulate potential sequences for many more.

            Remember, “shotgun sequencing” in 90’s genetics works by blasting the genome into fragments and probabilistically recombining them by algorithm. And, less biologically, the Iranians cheerfully pasted the shredded US embassy documents together by hand

      2. bob

        “Economics tells us that…”

        ….Insurance companies will use this to deny person hood to anyone who they are able to with this technology.

        “but is too expensive…”

        Which is why they’ll half-ass it and use some sort of algo(black box tech)’, to justify *anything they want*

        1. rtah100

          My reply went to comment heaven :-(.

          In short, I’ve done both, for my family tree and for plasmids when I read molecular cell biology, respectively.

          None of the work traversing the tree is wasted, it sets up more probable matches / inferences for the intermediate nodes. Plus the police and spooks are looking for potential suspects to haul in, not perfect matches, not building a family tree for a hobby.

          Even in the 90’s, shotgun sequencing was viable, blasting the genome into fragments and recombining them probabilistically. And, less biologically and with no computers, Iran pasted the shredded US embassy documents together by hand….

      3. Carey

        >I don’t understand why people are upset that police were able to solve cold case murders like the Golden State Killer.

        Because that’s the thin end of the wedge, that’s why.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Agreed. As an example, America’s three strike law was brought in with the promise that it would only be for violent offenders, rapists, murderers, etc. Of course in application it became a huge grab-bag and you read of cases where a guy would be sent to prison on his “third strike” because he stole a slice of pizza.

  24. Wukchumni

    Global Groundwater Is Threatened by Unsustainable Practices Amid Climate Crisis TruthOut
    Almonds are a good fit in the Central Valley as there are few places you can grow them in the world, and the perfect tree for making the nut, it starts bearing 3 years after planting, and commercially producing in 5-6 years, with most of the crop being exported and in drought years 90-100% of the water to keep between 125 and 250 million almond trees alive comes from aquifer water, in normal years, 40-60%.

    Pistachio trees are nipping on the buds of almonds, with over 100 million in production, and they take a long time to get to be commercial viably, around a decade or longer. Same gig as almonds, most are exported, and use a lot of aquifer water.

    We’re robbing future inhabitants of our sooner than later to be depleted aquifer of any chance of ever living there, by virtue of market forces holding sway for a few decades, draining out something real for something imagined with nuts as the middlemen.

    1. Lee

      And then there’s this similar stupidity:

      Saudi Hay Farm In Arizona Tests State’s Supply Of Groundwater

      Outside of Phoenix, in the scorching Arizona desert, sits a farm that Saudi Arabia’s largest dairy uses to make hay for cows back home.

      That dairy company, named Almarai, bought the farm last year and has planted thousands of acres of groundwater-guzzling alfalfa to make that hay. Saudi Arabia can’t grow its own hay anymore because those crops drained its own ancient aquifer.

  25. Ignacio

    RE: Salvini’s League loses bid to topple Italy govt in regional vote Agence France-Presse

    The Sardines succeeded!! BUT, they did so on the wings of high turnout, the mobilization against Salvini’s populism. If the electorate, as so often occurs, is again and again driven nuts by corrupt imbecile and inept politicians Salvini will be back with a vengeance.

  26. Good News

    Fascinating NYT article on the large disparities in Iowa polling, and why it is bad news for Biden. Do read the whole thing:

    Biden’s Iowa Problem: Our Poll Suggests His Voters Aren’t the Caucusing Type

    Very good news for Sanders. This is no opinion piece either, it has very solid data backing this from the NYT’s own polling crosstabs. It really reinforces Sander’s theories on mobilizing new voters too. Hopefully this will get picked up for the more poll-focused 2:00 water cooler, but if not I’ll comment it there too.

    1. Big River Bandido

      I am leery of all the sudden rah rah press for the Sanders campaign. It’s as though they’re trying to set him up for a fall, like Howard Dean in 2004.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Dean’s conservatism over the years went around and his polling tanked prior to the Dean scream. Even anecdotally, there were reports of people being deterred by Trippi’s treatment of organizers (running them down with too many hours even by campaign standards.) as causing people to reexamine Dean.

    2. Bill Carson

      I have no doubt this is true. Bernie’s supporters are the caucusing-type, to the extent that he won a surprising and overwhelming victory in Colorado in 2016. This was so concerning for the DNC that they changed the rules and now Colorado will have a regular primary instead of a caucus this year.

      The purpose of this article and others like it that will follow in the next week is to lower expectations, so that when Biden only gets 20% (or less) instead of the 30% which is what the polls have consistently predicted, that this will not be seen (they hope) as a crushing defeat.

      1. Michael

        Washington swapped to a primary system as well, shortly after Sanders beat Clinton 73% to 27% (!!), winning every county. Something tells me he’ll still win here, but he probably won’t see quite the same results.

    3. Art Vandalay

      I also think a key motivation behind this article’s appearance is to devalue the expected Sanders win in the caucus – now that even the NYT must grudgingly accept it is a likely outcome. This will help the establishment push the notion that, “the caucus isn’t representative of a real election and thus isn’t a useful predictor of general election performance.” It’s the best way for them to continue to push the idea that the 3rd or 4th place caucus candidate (Sleepy Joe or Striver Pete, likely) is more “electable.”

    4. chuck roast

      Were these telephone surveys? Old folks would probably answer their phones. Young folks would probably not answer their phones. Was it a text survey? There is no indication what sort of communications technology was used. Maybe one was a door-to-door poll.

      Yeah, I believe the polls. I believe that the polls have a around a 12.5% margin of error not a 4.5% margin of error.

  27. Carolinian

    Caitlin nails it

    Such paranoia and suspicion of government power in the wake of the extraordinary post-9/11 advancements in Orwellian surveillance programs and unprecedented military expansionism were perfectly understandable, but predictions that the younger Bush would not cede power at the end of his second term proved incorrect. In today’s hysterical Trump-centric political environment we now see mainstream voices in mainstream outlets openly advancing the same conspiratorial speculations about the current administration, and those will prove incorrect as well.

    What these paranoid presidential prognostications get wrong is not their extreme suspicion of government, but their assumption that America’s real power structures require a certain president to be in place in order to advance depraved totalitarian agendas.[…]

    In a sense, the conspiracy theories about a Bush coup were actually correct: the Bush administration didn’t truly end. All of its imperialist, power-serving agendas remained in place and were expanded under the apparent oversight of the following administration. The same thing happened after the Obama administration, and the same thing–whether in 2021 or 2025–will happen after the Trump administration.

    It’s hard to explain the odd paradox of someone like Schiff saying, in effect, that Trump must go because when the time comes Trump won’t go. Meanwhile Schiff himself is trying to cancel that upcoming election and leave the voters out of it (except for the fact that their Senators will very much have to answer for the result–the monkey wrench). Given how bad both parties are you have see the constant cry of “fascism” as projection. Neither one of them believes very much in democracy.

    An article out today says what Brexit really boiled down to was the Brit public telling the politicians “we’re still in charge.” A Sanders nomination–whatever his flaws–might be that thing for the Dems. Which is why they will probably do anything they can to prevent it.

    1. Lee

      Given how bad both parties are you have see the constant cry of “fascism” as projection. Neither one of them believes very much in democracy.

      Bingo! The bipartisan establishment’s disregard of and contempt for the electorate is turning to fear. Good times ahead.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I always get the URL from the actual page; comes clean without having to find that telltale question mark.

  28. ChiGal in Carolina

    kobe: no lessons to be learned, just that death in its awful and abrupt way abides by none of our feeble attempts to make meaning of it.

    dunno if this is virtue signalling but it did make me sad that he was all in for his daughter as heir to his passion for basketball rather than wishing he had a son and they were on their way to one of her games when her life was snuffed out too.

    1. Tom Doak

      All in, indeed. But maybe the lesson is that taking a helicopter to a youth basketball game to avoid traffic is not good risk management.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          That comment referred to the pilot’s request to have the aircraft tracked by radar. It had nothing to do with the altitude of the helicopter.

      1. Yves Smith

        Not just that. He commuted via helicopter. He didn’t like the risk of being stuck in traffic.

        I would never fly in a helicopter unless I absolutely had to. They are dangerous as hell. He was playing the odds and he lost.

    2. chuck roast

      The virtue signaling has only just begun my friend…
      Let me know when Jabbar passes away…an intellectual, an historian, a writer, a jazz collector, a humanist, a Race Man and twice the basketball player than Kobe ever was.
      from a life-long Celtics fan

      1. Carey


        I’m very sorry Kobe Bryant is gone, and loved, loved watching him play.
        That was my kind of basketball player (watching long before Jabbar was playing).

  29. Bill Carson

    Regarding Buttigieg: Seems to think Kobe Bryant played on a field. Pretty sure he just lost any possible support among the Joe Rogan crowd.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      And that he was an inspiration off the field…so yeah. ..Mayo Pete should have just said he doesn’t follow the sports ball team. The other part is more damning.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        It does lead you to wonder if Mayo Pete spent anytime with the troops or if his military service was limited to sucking up to the brass?

        1. Plenue

          His ‘service’ was nine months, mostly as a glorified chauffeur on Bagram air base.

          I’ve seen people on Twitter say he’s a ‘butterball’; a softy who joins the military only to do a short stint at a safe job merely so they can put ‘veteran’ on their resume. It’s a cynical career move, nothing more.

  30. Stratos

    RE: “Teens are all obsessed with social media? Not so much” MIT Technology Review

    The article was not representative of ordinary American teens. The teens featured were not “obsessed” with social media because of heavy-handed restrictions by their parents, community standards or simple lack of infrastructure.

  31. boots

    Looking for answers after OLBH news: Beshear administration ‘will do everything we can’

    Government and business leaders across the state are addressing the negative economic and social impact facing the area after news broke of the impending closure of Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital.

    “Bellefonte Hospital is an economic driver with tremendous impact, and is tremendously important to the Tri-State,” Rocky Adkins said on Friday. Adkins has spent his career serving Kentucky as a State Representative, and is now Senior Adviser to Gov. Andy Beshear.

    Adkins said his heart goes out to the (estimated) 1,000 people who are slated to lose their jobs at the hospital by Sept. 30. Adkins said the blow is felt keenly, more so given that it follows recent problems with the railway and with AK Steel.

  32. Chris

    In case anyone had concerns, David Frum is here to set the record straight. Bernie can’t win because he’s not really woke.

    How did we get “conventional wisdom” rammed down our collective throat before Slate and The Atlantic stepped up to do it? And how do those vaunted journalistic institutions find such excellent commentators for the subjects they opine on? I know for certain if I really cared about the future of the Democrat party, and our country, I would of course check to see what George W. Bush’s former speechwriter and Paul Krugman’s cousin thinks about the state of play in the current primary season. I mean, he voted for Hillary Clinton! Clearly this man is in touch with the people…

    I repeat myself from an earlier post. We’re doomed. Not only will the people in charge of the Democrat party never let Bernie or anyone from the Left win they can’t even acknowledge why there’s any energy coming from that direction. Even if Bernie gets to the convention they won’t let him win. They won’t even let Warren win. It’s over. Let’s just re-elect Trump and get this disaster over with…

    1. Grant

      You are giving them an absolute power, even in that party, that they don’t have. Yes, they can do all they can to rig it for someone else, but there are even limits there. I also don’t know what people expect. I mean, were these corrupt people going to just roll over and let Bernie and the left win? Who didn’t anticipate a fight? As I have said before, the left in South and Central America faces far more than this, so I personally am not going to give up. Makes no sense to. They have a lot at stake, but they have known (see that NY Times article in early 2019 about anti-Bernie Democrats like Tanden, Pete and Pelosi) that there are limits and if this gets far enough, they don’t have many options. Now, in places like California last time, many ballots were essentially thrown away. The person most responsible for that has been assigned by Perez. But, similar to those that wanted to start a war with Iran that ignored the clear and obvious lessons we all learned from the lies that got us into Iraq, it isn’t going to be as easy as it was in 2016. If Bernie wins early and builds on the momentum, and if they at that point give it to someone else, then they have to be concerned about their host, which is the Democratic Party. Parasites cannot be indifferent to their host, and their host is not in good shape because of them. If they try a 2016 type rigging, their party will face an existential crisis it never has. My guess is that them doing this and creating that situation will result in lots of people that aren’t strong Bernie supporters right now even being angry. If many of them, who don’t inhabit their elite bubble, have to choose between Bernie or their party possibly being irreversibly harmed, I would bet that most of them will go with Bernie.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Not sure I agree. The Dems can make a desert and call it peace. With their grip on the MSM that fiction can last for decades more, most voters get their information in tiny sound bites and brand impressions while standing in line at the 7-11 listening to Smart People in Fancy Newsrooms on cable news tell them what they should think, how scary things are, and how stupid they would be if they thought otherwise. Then this is reinforced by Rich Women Who Lunch (Oprah/Joy/Whoopi/Ellen/Rachel/M.McCain).

        1. Carey

          A lot of people listen to (say) Joe Rogan..

          The corporate/warmonger narrative is failing. Don’t know what the upshot will be, but post-Milwaukee will be instructive, I think.

          1. Chris

            I agree that narrative is failing for everyone but the people who are making a lit of money from it. I just don’t see the DNC letting it happen. And with the committee picks we saw today…maybe I’m being too cynical. I hope you are right. That if Bernie wins the nomination they will let him be the nominee. But I’d put a big fat IF in front of that right now because as always the DNC would rather lose to Trumo and what he represents than win with Bernie.

            1. Carey

              Yes- I think they’ll steal it again in 2020, because they still can.
              Not without cost to their faux-legitimacy, though, and *many
              people see that* now. What would Dem mid-term™ 2022 consent-manufacturing be like, short of telling even the PMC “look, we own you; we own all of you”?

                1. Carey

                  *Which* few thousand?

                  They can slow it down, and have their carefully-procured police state hammer-hammer-hammer
                  it down, but… those damn weeds just seem to grow.



  33. John k

    2020 dem nom rules require 15% to get any allocation. This is great for an insurgent accused of being unelectable in a large field… assuming of course the insurgent has a core of supporters large enough to get over the bar.
    A large field is bound to have some that don’t reach the bar, so their votes are allocated to those that do. Dnc in its wisdom didn’t appear to see this would split and defuse the not Bernie voters…
    Warren is increasing in danger of not getting any in Iowa in spite of her early and expensive effort there… imo those that had a progressive bent now support Bernie, explaining his surge, leaving her with mostly those that would pick biden if she drops out, so I want her to stay in at least thru super tue.
    Reducing to two man race, Biden vs Bernie, meaning no brokered convention… unless Buttigieg shows long term staying power… if he does well early dnc will support, they love wine caves.
    Bernie looks to win first two primaries, especially if polls undercount his support. Fingers toes crossed…

    1. Carey

      I’m almost certain Buttigieg is going nowhere. I saw a very recent Warren campaign clip,
      and it sure looked like another Jeb/Butti “please clap!” / sponsored content moment.
      My bet, for now, is on some wacky-a$$ brokered convention, with the usual result.
      What I really want to see is what Sanders (old, admirable, and very hard-worked) does then..

      Sanders 2020

  34. The Rev Kev

    “China’s coronavirus outbreak reminds me of the Irish polio epidemic I survived”

    Hiding information is never a good idea. I was researching two relatives that died in the 1919 flu pandemic. In the main newspaper they were reporting details of new cases daily and just before I would have found info on those two relatives, the newspaper stopped reporting them. People at the time would have drawn their own conclusions and they would not have been good.

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