Links 1/31/2020

Neanderthal genes found for first time in African populations Guardian (Kevin W)

NSF’s newest solar telescope produces first images NSF (Dan K). See video. “Whitewashy” background: How the world’s largest solar telescope rose on Maui while nearby protests derailed a larger scope Science Magazine

Harry Goes Rogue London Review of Books

Artificial Intelligence Will Do What We Ask. That’s a Problem. Quanta (David L)

Climate change calls for action, not adaptation Sydney Morning Herald. Kevin W: “Mostly of local interest but the cartoon at the top says a lot about how to respond to climate change for our leaders.”

Immune systems not prepared for climate change PhysOrg (David L)

Genetically engineered moths could be crop protection solution CNN (furzy)

Irish team question new US blood pressure threshold RTE (PlutoniumKun)

Brexit. Today is the big day! Please also see our post.

Brexit: Brussels lights up its main square in Union Jack colours to say goodbye to Britain Independent

The Last Days Of Brussels: Here’s What It Was Like In The EU Parliament On Brexit Eve Huffington Post

Boris Johnson to hail ‘dawn of a new era’ as we leave the EU at 11pm tonight BBC

NOT SO FAST EU blow to quick Brexit deal with Brussels plan to force sign-off by ALL 27 parliaments

Opinion: Little Britain drifts into insignificance DW

The far-right Bolsonaro movement wants us dead. But we will not give up Glenn Greenwald and David Miranda, Guardian (Bob K)

Coronavirus. Important factoid: SARS was contained and then it just stopped (see short account and long account). There was never a vaccine. A vaccine would take many years to go through the clinical trial process, so absent luck (the disease mutating into a less lethal variant) the lines of defense are not getting infected and existing drugs.

The World Health Organisation just declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency because it could spread to countries that aren’t prepared Business Insider (Kevin W)

CDC records coronavirus case that spread within US The Hill

Airlines remove hot food, blankets, magazines and more amid coronavirus outbreak Fox News (Kevin W)

Global Nurses United Leaders Demand World Health Organization Strengthen Its Guidance on Prevention and Control of Coronavirus Global Nurses United

Limited data may be skewing assumptions about severity of coronavirus outbreak, experts say StatNews. While this is probably true, one assumption in this piece is that severe cases are being reported pretty accurately, mild cases not. That may not be the case, given multiple reports, including long form ones in the press about the difficulty of particular individuals who were very sick getting any attention, simply being sent away or sent to another hospital that similarly didn’t test or treat them. In other words, at least in Wuhan and perhaps in other cities in Hubei, the health care system is severely overloaded and it appears pretty much everyone is being sent away, meaning overload results in an inability to take in (as in even bother testing) any more than trivial additional numbers of the worst cases because the hospitals cannot handle any more. Even from five or six days ago there were reports of vastly fewer doctors and tests needed even to handle the very sick, as opposed to the moderately sick and worried. However, the numbers are almost certainly more accurate for people outside the epicenter, so any analyses that parse those out should be given a great deal of weight. For a contrary reading, note what Victor Shih said he was hearing from doctors on the ground (Shih is not an MD but is very connected and does understand statistics):

Mr. Shih said he puts very little faith in this prediction, and believes it will take at least another 2-to-3 quarters for the Chinese government to get control of the viral pandemic. In fact, Mr. Shih noted that the ratio of serious cases (i.e., people who needed to be treated in the intensive care units [“ICU”] of hospitals) to the total infected is actually closer to 30%.

Also note the definition of “serious cases”: it may be more serious than most laypeople assume. So the bottom line is there is still a big informational fog.

Trump Transition

Portion of US border wall in California falls over in high winds and lands on Mexican side CNN (Dan K)

Trump pushes forward conservative transformation of Medicaid MSN (Kevin C)

Medicaid Block Grants Endanger Older Adults Justice in Aging (Kevin C)

Inside Donald Trump’s New Commission On Law Enforcement Shadowproof. UserFriendly: “What could possibly go right?”

Condoleezza Rice to lead Stanford’s Hoover Institution Stanford News. Resilc: “War criminal makes good.”

FAC Wins Important Ruling for Police Transparency in California First Amendment Coalition. See ruling here.

Impeachment

Alexander to vote no on witnesses, bringing trial close to end The Hill. I wonder if Doug Jones (D-AL) will abstain. He has to act like a Republican to have any hope of being re-elected, and the Democrats have no other horse to ride.

In Defense of Dershowitz: Critics Slam Harvard Professor For Ethical Representation and Intellectual Opinions Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)

2020

Why Our Politicians Leave Americans Wanting RealClearPolitics (UserFriendly)

What I learned watching Bernie and Biden for hours on end Politico (UserFriendly)

The making of Bernie Sanders: How a hitchhiking campaigner pushed a vision that remains remarkably unchanged CNN

Millennials Have Formed a Human Shield Around Bernie Sanders New York Magazine. UserFriendly: “Last line is key.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn’t running for president, but she’s in the race Washington Post. UserFriendly “Bernie Sanders’s Iowa surrogate is AOC, and it appears to be working”

Take Two: Can Sanders Broaden His Base? Sabato’s Crystal Ball (UserFriendly)

Document shows Bernie Sanders’s team preparing dozens of potential executive orders Washington Post (Kevin W)

Does Bernie Sanders Know What He’s Doing? Ian Welsh. Important.

Our Famously Free Press

City of San Diego Pension Debt Now Over $3 Billion San Diego News Desk (JPR)

Delivery Apps Keep Adding Restaurants Without Their Consent Eater (Chuck L)

Flight attendants sue Boeing over design they say causes ‘toxic’ cabin air Chicago Tribune. Now that Boeing’s technical chops are in doubt, suits like this are more viable.

Fed moves to ease some restrictions under the Volcker rule CNBC (allan). Hard on the heels of Volcker’s death.

Health-Records Company Pushed Opioids to Doctors in Secret Deal With Drugmaker Bloomberg (Dan K). A must read.

Guillotine Watch

Has Davos Man Changed? Project Syndicate (David L)

Class Warfare

lhan Omar Asked About the Dreams Student Debt Kills, and the Internet Answered Teen Vogue (Dan K)

Friends Like These Point Magazine (Anthony L). On liberalism.

Globalization – A sneaky overview Vineyard of the Saker (Chuck L)

Delta will ditch the uniforms many employees call ‘toxic’ CNN (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour. MGL: “Lifted this lovely photo from the Juneau Empire”:

And a bonus video (Janet M):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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222 comments

  1. Livius Drusus

    Re: lhan Omar Asked About the Dreams Student Debt Kills, and the Internet Answered.

    This might not be popular here but did Omar think of asking people who never went to college how their dreams were destroyed by outsourcing, labor arbitrage, automation and de-unionization? I get that college is now ridiculously expensive and that there is a student debt crisis, but even with the debt crisis, college graduates are still generally doing better than people without college degrees. Also, people who did not complete college are still the majority in this country.

    I cannot help but see the intense focus on student debt as another example of the disconnect between the left and the broad mass of working people. Worse, I fear that it will continue to further the idea that the answer to our economic ills is to send more people to college and that the only problem with America’s obsession with sending more and more people to college is the massive cost and debt. I think college needs to be made more affordable but college is overrated as a way to deal with inequality and other economic problems.

    Reply
    1. sleepy

      Many, many students who incur debt for college never end up graduating. This is particularly true of for-profit colleges. Afaik, Sanders’ student debt program would erase debt from trade schools and other post-secondary institutions, not just college.

      Of course, Sanders has many other policy ideas which universally assist the 90%. Student debt relief is only one of them.

      Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Gee it’s not as if she supports a host of other reforms…wait, she does.

      Would it be too much not to fall for Republican concern trolling arguments from the 90’s? Biden is worried about the feelings of people with great healthcare and the people who already suffered from not receiving healthcare.

      Reply
      1. russell1200

        I don’t think it’s trolling. A number of regulars here have voiced suspicion with the focus on helping the collage crowd versus others.

        Reply
        1. Wyoming

          I think you are missing the point. The people who would benefit the most proportionally from this are those who are not college graduates.

          It is trolling as the post seeks to create a false class division when the intent of the policy is to help everyone who has been harmed by the student debt scam. The real class division is between the rich and the rest of us.

          The most expensive education is one that doesn’t lead to a degree

          While graduating with high levels of debt is holding too many borrowers back from reaching their full potential, the even more damaging outcome is for students who take on debt but never complete their degree. In fact, students’ ability to repay their loans depends more strongly on whether they graduate than how much total debt they take on.[7]

          Students who take out college loans but don’t graduate are three times more likely to default than borrowers who complete.[8]
          The median debt of borrowers who default is under $8,900, which is barely half of the median debt load for all students, and the average debt for students in default is $14,500, which is half the average debt of those who graduate.[9]
          States with the highest default rates for their four-year colleges tend to be near the bottom on completion rate too; and states with the lowest default rates tend to rank higher in four-year completion rates. [See Appendix for state-by-state data].
          More than 40 percent of first-time full-time students who enroll in a bachelor’s degree program don’t graduate within 6 years.[10]
          Low-income students, first-generation college students, and minority students, in particular, are being underserved by the current system. Just 9 percent of students from the lowest income quartile graduate with a bachelor’s degree by age 24, compared to 77 percent for the top income quartile.[11]
          Students from low-income families are also less likely to enroll in and complete college than their peers, even when academic ability is taken into consideration.[12]

          https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/fact-sheet-focusing-higher-education-student-success

          Reply
          1. SpringTexan

            Yes, more educated people is good for the country – everyone. Also, forgiveness of student loan debt – including for professionals – means that professional fees such as medical and veterinary bills don’t have to be so high. Vets find how much they need to charge to cover student loans very stressful, and many MDs that might like to go into primary care can’t afford to given student loans.

            Reply
            1. apber

              Yes, more educated people is good for the country

              But what passes for education these days at the university level is a joke compared to yesteryear. Marxist indoctrination is not valuable in the real world unless you are a budding member of Antifa. Graduates of non STEM degrees will earn far less than the average tradesman who started at 18 and went through apprenticeship and became certified as a plumber, electrician, etc with considerably less debt (if any).

              Reply
              1. Lambert Strether

                Antifa are anarchists. Anarchists are not Marxists. Do some reading (or listening. Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcast has a fine discussion of the differing origins and distinctions between the two).

                Reply
              2. ambrit

                Alas, labour arbitrage is putting the final nails in the trades apprenticeship coffin. I see skilled and semi skilled tradespeople from “South of the Border” everywhere here Down South today. They definitely drive down wages, because they are doing better here than they would at home with even substandard wages for America. I can’t blame them. However, when the serious blowback to this labour arbitrage happens, it will be those poor braseros, et. al. who are the victims of the violence that will ensue. Why do no “local” activists not consider that ‘liquidating’ a few senior American exploiting company executives does a lot more good than any number of bombed or burned busloads of Mexican “guest workers?” I guess that is why the American Class War proletarian hordes need a few “Vanguard” elements. Marx and Engels are right yet again.

                Reply
            2. Oh

              Also, forgiveness of student loan debt – including for professionals – means that professional fees such as medical and veterinary bills don’t have to be so high.

              I hope you’re right but greed has more to do with how much they charge especially in the health care field. Hospitals are run by rich greedy bean counters whom I expect will be reluctant to pass on any savings except take advantage of MD’s.

              We need to clamp down on health care costs and move swiftly to prevent hospitals buying up physicians practices and monopolizing the field.

              Reply
            3. Procopius

              How do we know what is the optimal level of education and the optimal part of the population for various educational levels? It used to be that a self-educated high school graduate could get a job with a software shop and improve his skills from there. Now the cartel only hires college graduates with very specialized skills which are soon obsolete or imports people using H1B visas to replace them at lower salaries. It should be obvious that if everyone has a bachelor’s degree then they will only hire people who go on to graduate study.

              Reply
              1. Carey

                “software shop”? Oh dear, I’m getting old; gladly so, I think.

                So old, I remember making real stuff myself..

                Reply
          2. Lambert Strether

            > the post seeks to create a false class division when the intent of the policy is to help everyone who has been harmed by the student debt scam. The real class division is between the rich and the rest of us.

            Yep. (With those pesky PMCs in the middle…)

            Reply
        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Its Republican trolling from the 90’s that was designed to be repeated by making an argument that sounds good if you ignore context. Joe Biden does a similar act when he talks to unions.

          The problem is its the kind of garbage that’s been out there for a long time. Its not a new concern.

          Reply
        3. Carla

          @russell1200 — The “collage crowd” — Good one!

          I don’t think either Omar or Sanders propose prioritizing student loans over other pressing needs: M4A, corporate crimes including tax evasion, income and wealth inequality, and homelessness, for example.

          The fact remains that student debt is the ONLY category of debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. That’s what puts it in a special category, very much thanks to Joe Biden.

          Reply
          1. chuckster

            The fact remains that student debt is the ONLY category of debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

            Then fix that. Let anyone who wants declare BK as many times as they want. You are playing into Trump’s hands anytime you have benefits that apply to only a certain portion of the electorate.

            Reply
            1. MK

              EXACTLY! Those of us who toiled and paid off our loans get nada and those in the future will get free college as student loans will cease to exist once they are forgiven en-masse.

              Those who lost their homes a decade ago were forced to file BK to get their fresh start. Let those who can not repay their student loans file BK to get theirs.

              Reply
              1. Late Introvert

                And meanwhile your tuition was at least affordable. My mom paid $350 for nursing school per semester. My straight-A 14-year old is looking at $20,000 and up.

                What part of that is unfair again?

                Reply
                1. thoughtfulperson

                  Two different programs: free public college education and college debt forgiveness. I suspect if a few focus groups were done, the free public education would be quite popular and the debt forgiveness less so.

                  We need to think about how to handle the $1.6 trillion in student debt in a way that is more universal. That would make it harder to frame as yet another perk for the already well off, while little is done for the bottom 90%.

                  Just a start might be getting rid of Biden’s non dischargable debt, and all the abusive bank loan fines, late fees, etc where *anyone* who takes out a loan can end up mired in debt for life, basically a new form of indentured servitude.

                  Think of ways to address the student loan problem that are universal and it becomes more popular and harder to slam (accurately or not) as a perk for well of grifters.

                  Reply
              2. Lambert Strether

                > the post seeks to create a false class division when the intent of the policy is to help everyone who has been harmed by the student debt scam. The real class division is between the rich and the rest of us.

                I don’t think it’s helpful to say “I made it through the meatgrinder, so sucks to be you” is a very helpful attitude.

                At the same time, I don’t think “People who played by the rules and now feel they were marks are soulless Pharisees” is very useful either. Their opportunity costs count!

                1) The real point: There should never have been a meatgrinder in the first place. My lonely position is that all who were subjected to is must be made whole (which has the merit of being truly universal).

                2) If, as I suspect, the portion of the population who paid of their debt and would resent that others (“deadbeats”) got away with not doing so is significant, moralizing about it all does no good: The point is to do what is necessary to defuse them. See point #1.

                Adding, I’d speculate that this is a boot-strapping problem, and that the very first Debt Jubilee, back in Biblical times, faced similar issues. Once the Jubilees were built into the system, I would bet arguments like this faded away, because everybody knew what the rules were.

                Reply
    3. zagonostra

      Recently Warren was confronted by a man berating her on her college debt policy. His anger was based on his having had to work and struggle to pay for his or his child’s tuition and that student debt forgiveness would be unfair.

      This issue comes up time and time again. The so called “moral hazard” issue. Personally I feel fleeced of having had to pay tuition for two daughters to get through University yet I’m ok with a complete cancellation of all student debt.

      So what is it that makes me different from that man that accosted Warren? If you look at the criminalization of possession/use of marijuana thousands of lives were ruined. Those policies were wrong, just as allowing kids to enter into a contract that will keep them enslaved till old age is wrong. If I get out of jail after doing time in prison, am I resentful because the laws were changed?

      It all boils down to a notion of Justice which is hard to swallow and which is found in Matthew 20:1–16 on the Workers in the Vineyard and which is a parable whose lesson has not been learned.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        Man, if I was a black person growing up in the first half of the 20th century I would be so mad about people like MLK trying to equalize the races. I mean, I had to deal with all that stuff so why should somebody else’s kids be treated equally just because of their birth date, they were born as black as I was!

        /sarc

        And seriously, like I said earlier many generations had their crosses to bear. WWII, Korea. And other things have been moderated but are far from fixed, like simply having two XX chromosomes regardless of skin color. If you ask those specific questions, nobody wants their kids to have to repeat those things “just because I suffered”.

        Finally, the college thing is ridiculous because the cost has skyrocketed so far above inflation it is almost incomprehensible how they’ve pulled that off. Well, a good part of that is that you get to push it on a very naive (18yr old mostly, sub 30yr old almost exclusively) population.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          the ultimate subprime borrower handed money without question…
          hmmm…can’t see how that might drive costs through the roof…not

          Reply
        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Its just repeating the argument about not wanting to pay for kids of billionaires to go to college. Its an argument to keep us backwards couched in good faith by worrying about those who are left behind, and people clearly fall for it. Republicans and neoliberals use this kind of bile fairly routinely.

          I mean what about all the healthy people who will have to pay for Medicare4All. Or all the people who made it to 65. How do they feel?

          Reply
          1. Phacops

            I like my Medicare a lot. So much so that I’d be overjoyed to see my struggling neighbors get it. Plus, any taxes to have me support M4A will probably be less than the Part B and Part D payments plus medigap insurance, dental insurance, and long-term care insurance, that I already pay. What’s not to like?

            Reply
            1. Carey

              My framing, used to mixed results: “If your neighbor’s doing better, you’re doing better- you just don’t know it, yet.”

              Not sure I’ve got that wrong.

              Reply
      2. Carla

        @zagonostra — I posit that you’re different than that man because you are capable of caring about and empathizing with someone other than your own self. Also, you can and do look beyond your own nose enough to see that sometimes what is best for the whole society won’t necessarily specifically benefit you personally in the short term. Thank you.

        Reply
      1. flora

        adding as a response to the LV’s original comment about loss of manufacturing and good paying blue collar jobs, this line from Frank’s essay hits home, imo:

        “We don’t pause to consider that maybe we’ve got the whole thing backwards—that the big universities expanded in their heyday to keep up with industry demand, not to build the middle class. ”

        Now that onshore industry is smaller and good blue collar jobs are fewer, there’s less real demand by industry for college grads at good wages. I think of this falling demand for college grads at good wages as the tip of the iceberg of the whole offshoring/destruction of US manufacturing mania. It’s the tip that gets a lot of press because people were assured for years, decades, that offshoring manufacturing was OK because people here could retrain and get degrees and get even better jobs. That turned out to be not true for most people. (understatement)
        But a lot of people who went along with shipping away manufacturing in the US believed that excuse was true. Now it’s obvious to the “you’ll get a better job with retraining” believers that idea didn’t work and won’t work. I think that understanding is important to break the US neoliberal economic consensus.

        Reply
    4. Productive Citizen

      “…college is overrated as a way to deal with inequality and other economic problems.”

      That statement reflects a Neoliberal propaganda point of view that college is ONLY a job factory. College used to serve very different and much more important and useful purposes back when they were (nearly) free.
      Yves points to the “Powell Memo” (look it up, read it) as an important starting point in the oligarchy’s class war against the middle class. The memo included among its goals, neutralizing colleges, transforming them into servants of the looters.
      Before moving on to two other purposes, I have to emphasize that colleges used to be a very viable path out of poverty. Rather than suppressing and wasting the talents of those who were unlucky, those who were not born into privileged classes, which the too-expensive system suppresses now, the talented children of the poor could escape poverty and become substantial contributors to society.
      I grew up in poverty. Dirt poor poverty. I innocently went off to college with about $100 in savings. I was that naïve. But college was cheap enough then that I made it through with a job and small, low-interest loans. I have produced (paid back) very substantial contributions to society.
      Another purpose: I was lucky enough to enter (nearly free) college in the 1960s at the tail end of a fashion about the purposes of college. The job factory part of college then resided in the graduate professional schools. Before moving on to the graduate job-factories, undergraduates were afforded time and opportunity to develop themselves as human beings, not as low-wage grinders serving the looters.
      As an undergraduate, I was afforded the opportunity to try out many different areas of interest. I found I was very good at a couple of things that I had no idea even existed.
      And, in a completely different way, I was afforded the opportunity to socialize myself in very important personal development ways.

      One more purpose: I became a much better citizen. I had time and opportunity to study and reflect on the political world. I had opportunity to become the kind of better-informed activist for justice that the oligarchy hates.

      Reply
      1. The Historian

        AMEN! I too paid my way through college working part time jobs. Yes, it was difficult even then, but sadly, that is no longer even possible. I often look back and think about how my life would have been had I not gotten those degrees. Going to college was the best thing I ever did for my self.

        The whole complexion of a university education has changed since the 60’s, thanks to the neoliberals. Universities are no longer a place to consider what has happened historically, to hear alternate viewpoints and to think about issues – they have become overpriced Vo-Techs designed to create soldiers who will follow orders and do a job but never think about the orders they are following or the job they are doing. We definitely aren’t training leaders for the future any more.

        I remember reading somewhere about how the British Aristocracy used to educate their sons back before World War II. The oldest son was expected to read the Classics, history and philosophy because he was expected to become a political leader some day. The rest of the sons were educated to support themselves, i.e., go into business or law or medicine.

        I took a few college classes after I retired and I was disgusted at how education has changed. I once signed up for a philosophy course on Logic. Imagine my surprise when I found out the course was about putting words into a computer program and having the program tell us if the statement was logical. Not at ALL what I expected so I dropped it.

        Reply
        1. rd

          The oldest son would also typically be the primary heir of the estate, so he could afford to focus on politics and the arts. The others would have monetary bequests, but wouldn’t get the big house and lands.

          WW I changed all that as managing the estate was now a difficult business that was taxed significantly and required real business acumen.

          Reply
          1. Carla

            As the oldest daughter, I have to point out that some things have changed for the better. And even my younger sister, the youngest daughter, I’m sure would say the same, as would MY ONLY daughter.

            Reply
      2. DJG

        Productive Citizen: Thanks for this. The purpose of college is to grow up intellectually and morally. That’s why one is supposed to read the classics (broadly defined).

        (As an aside, the distinction between college and trade schools is false in the sense that trade schools are in decline because of so-called globalization, export of jobs, and Americans’ disdain for the trade. Something like what Productive Citizen writes about colleges directly above.)

        (Aside aside: Further, I’d venture that we should also be talking about the disaster that is the U.S. high school, which can’t produce a literate, curious citizen.)

        Reply
        1. Productive Citizen

          Bernie has this right.
          One of the big themes Yves and Lamber emphasize is that all those products of Neoliberal policies — poor pay, neglect of infrastructure, crappy healthcare, crapification of products, etc., AND expensive college — are NOT an accident. They are the results of looters intentionally shaping national policy to transfer wealth and power to themselves.
          Free college at state universities is a subversive policy directly aimed at reversing a key looter success, they neutered college education.

          Reply
        2. Blue Stater

          This has been an excellent discussion from which I have learned a lot as a retired academic. My own story is that I went to a first-rate liberal-arts college where the tuition was (in the mid-50s) $1,200 a year. I had a $600 scholarship, worked at a moderately paid summer job and one job during the school year, and thus worked my way through college without parental support. I majored in English, but distribution requirements obliged me to study things like chemistry, economics, and German, among others. I worked my way to a Ph.D. through grad school as a TA (with a couple of years of full fellowship), and at the end had accumulated no debt.

          By the time my children (one year apart in school) were approaching college age 25 years on, the tab was, IIRC, $35K a year all in. I resigned a tenured full professorship and went to work as a non-lawyer executive for a Wall Street law firm at half again my salary. I had never set foot on Wall Street in my life and knew next to nothing about the law. But in six months’ time I had figured out the moves for that job and was (on the only evidence that counted in that world, my paycheck) a considerable success in it. When the last kid graduated from college in 1990, also debt-free, I went back to the academy.

          The point of all this is that the broad liberal-arts, non-STEM education I received gave me the mental moves for figuring out and succeeding in a completely new environment. And I was able to accomplish that as well as the scholarly training I needed for my core profession without breaking my parents (both public schoolteachers) or my financial future. I think the set of social choices that produced those possibilities for me were a sound investment in my future and the future of my peers. These choices and the system that produced them appear to me to have utterly disappeared; I am at a loss to understand why. A large part of it, of course, is the gross mismanagement of today’s colleges and universities, which is a (very long) conversation for another day.

          Reply
    5. The Historian

      “I cannot help but see the intense focus on student debt as another example of the disconnect between the left and the broad mass of working people. ”

      What?
      Do you mean that the left cannot be concerned about both issues?

      Very wedgie of you.

      Reply
      1. pebird

        To the extent that student debt can be linked to other forms of debt, there can definitely be a connection with the working class. It’s not too late.

        After all, we all need a debt jubilee and we have to start somewhere.

        Let’s be broad minded and keep the long game in mind.

        Reply
        1. flora

          That’s a good point about all forms of debt.
          NC has written for years about the negative effects of our increasingly financialized economy; the FIRE sector (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate) is hurting the real economy.

          A few points.
          -Politicans run on money. ‘Money is the mother’s milk of politcs’, as the old saying goes.

          -in the 1970s the neolib Dems wanted to specifically take money away from the working class and unions to undermine their money influence in D.C.
          -the nelib Dems wanted to boost financialization and the FIRE sector. They were successful in this.

          -the FIRE sector runs on our debts, and increases its wealth and political influence on our debts. There’s a reason the 2005 bankruptcy bill championed by Biden made student loans non-dischargable in bankcuptcy.

          -to reduce the FIRE sector’s political influence we have to reduce the debts that make them ever richer. To reduce the financialization of our economy we have to reduce our debts that keep the financialization in place.

          -what M4A, and forgiving or reducing student debts, and raising the minimum wage ALL have in common is the reduction of debts, the reduction of the wealth of the FIRE sector.

          -reducing the wealth of the FIRE sector; reducing debts incurred for education or healthcare or bank fraud or trying to make ends meet on $7.50 an hour job – reducing these debts reduces the wealth of the FIRE sector.

          -this will reduce the political influence of the fire sector. That, in turn, could reverse the financialization of the economy. (the centrist Dems hate the very idea of reducing the financialization of the economy, imo)

          -It’s a very good idea to reduce the financialization of the economy and free politicians from the grip of the FIRE sector. 90% of us would be economically much better off if that happens.

          Reply
            1. a different chris

              That was very good. Hmmm..

              >2005 bankruptcy bill championed by Biden made student loans non-dischargable in bankcuptcy.

              Why doesn’t somebody ask ol’ Joe on the campaign trail why it did this? And ask it the way *I* would ask it: “why are the most vulnerable, the ones with empty pockets, subjected to this, whereas a rich man can declare bankruptcy and continue to live in his million dollar castle?”

              Reply
              1. Procopius

                Biden explained at the time that he feared college students, if allowed to discharge student debt in bankruptcy, would file strategic bankruptcy, essentially defrauding the lender and the court. I can’t believe he thought that was true, but it was an effective argument. By the way, he also made Chapter 11 bankruptcy unavailable to ordinary citizens, and made Chapter 7 bankruptcy more expensive and more difficult to claim. That’s one of the reasons I find his support among black voters so puzzling. I guess few of them need to declare bankruptcy. Perhaps they just can’t get credit anyway, so don’t fall that far into debt.

                Reply
          1. DJG

            flora (and Carla): I agree. Excellent comment, giving the long view and a synthesis. This is where our discourse should head. We don’t need more analysis. We have to put things back together and think about plans of action.

            Reply
          2. inode_buddha

            I would like to repeat what I said in the other thread about this, for greater exposure.feedback re: financing education.

            “Simple answer: cost controls. If the Feds back up any loans without doing any cost controls (socialism!) or due diligence, or remedy (bankruptcy) then what happens? Parasites latch on, bureaucracy blossoms like a rose, and costs go up 10x faster than the general rate of inflation. See also: housing crisis, ACA, and many others I’m sure. Shorter: when grifters smell free money, they go for it.”

            Reply
            1. Oh

              I wonder if tuition costs will be controlled if student debt is forgiven and free college is instituted? It looks to me that Universities are increasing the price of education by going on a spending fee (new buildings, higher salaries for the administrators, etc).

              Reply
          3. Montanamaven

            Thanks Flora!
            This is a perfect response to anyone objecting to canceling debt of any kind. It’s to take power away from the FIRE evil doers that make all of us poorer. I’ll try that. I still think we can also call out the colleges on their racket. They should be responsible for loaning money, not the banks or the government. I was so lucky to go to college when it was about learning how to think and I could afford to pay for it with a summer job and a couple scholarships.

            Reply
            1. Carey

              I remember well when those unsolicited, large credit-line offers
              from the CC companies started coming in the mid-80s mail..

              Reply
    6. jefemt

      IF, as was reported recently on Frontline and seems to have some validity as a premis,
      50% of jobs/labor will disappear in next decade with ascendant A.I.,
      Why College?
      Personally, I feel that ‘higher’ education, in whatever form it may morph, will be more important than ever— we will need everyone to have access to as much information, philosophy, science, political economy, psychology, health– on how the ‘collective we’ 7 to 8 billion souls are going to make this spaceship earth keep on keeping on for our own and all other species benefit.

      It’ll be up to us to exert political and social will to ‘make it so!’

      Now, how to monetize it…. HAW HAW HAW

      Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yeah. that’s what i thought…until i actually went to college.
          one of the biggest disappointments of my life, right there…the realisation that it was essentially daycare for 18-24 year olds, with some career skills and networking thrown in.
          high school with ash trays(until they took those away)
          i got my liberal/classical education in spite of them, on my own.

          the kicker is that i got accepted—with a ged, and an awesome ACT—to brown and oberlin and cornell,lol…but was talked into a state college backwater because they had spent/lost the trust fund.

          Reply
    7. remmer

      Livius Drusus has a point. Ilhan Omar, like any politician, responds to constituencies. That usually means organized groups that can tell politicians what they need and what they want. People burdened by student debt aren’t organized, but they are an identifiable constituency because they share a single problem. Those people may be doing better than high school graduates, but the size of their debts may make them equally unable to get married, buy a house, and raise a family. That’s a big problem for the whole society, even if they are doing better than the broad mass of working people.

      And the broad mass of working people aren’t a constituency because they are not organized and because they have such a wide range of problems that they can’t be identified with any one of them. The left can talk about policies that would benefit the working class — Medicare for all, $15 minimum wage, affordable housing, free tuition for trade schools and community colleges — but the working class itself remains a concept, not an identifiable constituency. When leftist politicians do talk about identifiable constituencies, they talk about groups organized by race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, because those groups have politically active organizations. Or they talk about student debt.

      Reply
    8. Amfortas the hippie

      aye. college is overrated.
      rtf prof let slip at his superbowl party(we watched the commercials, specifically) that what they were training us for didn’t exist already(early 90’s)…on equipment that we’d never see again outside of an A/V Museum(college radio station had a room full of vinyl and a turntable).
      soon after, i had to quit altogether because of $$ and clerical nonsense.
      I see no reason that working mostly as a cook ever since shouldn’t have afforded me a decent, modest life.
      my brother finished college, at the same school, with the same degree, worked for 3 years in his field, as essentially a walmart employee with a fancy degree…and hasn’t touched Rtf since….doing some incomprehensible sales job at a global software company…working with sharkpeople.
      he hates it.
      he’s got a big house and 2 nice cars and will never be happy, because he has forgotten how to be happy…or even to relax for a moment. he vibrates…you can feel it in the air…even out here under the Big Oak.
      he is forever worried about the mortgage, the car payment the various insurance policies and even the light bill…at over $100K, he’s just as precarious as i am….but i don’t have to put on a show every day like he does(even at home!) and pretend that he’s wealthy and without a care and “handling it”. I also don’t have to pretend to be a psychopath to get through a day at the office.
      he tries hard to believe in the black sheep narrative that’s been attached to me for 35+ years, but can’t quite get there…neither can he fully admit to himself the numerous downsides of his way of life, as opposed to mine.
      to do so would throw an existential wrench into an already shaky contraption of assumptions and shibboleths, held together by no one being willing to speak of it, like a fart in an elevator.
      so i say nothing about all that unless he specifically asks for my advice…usually after i coax him into toking, out in the woods and the silence.
      but i watch his face when he makes his way from mom’s over to our house, and sees how my little familia interacts and supports one another and jokes and is honest…even about sex and dope….and how wife and i accept each other as is.
      it is, of course, not my intention to make him feel bad…we am what we am, as it were…but he knows.
      define success.
      this whole thing…that all kids should “just go to college”…is just as nonsensical as “learn to code”.
      it doesn’t ask the right questions, nor is it even aware of them.
      since at least clinton, it’s been a job is a job is a job…any job will do. “bad jobs” apparently don’t exist…you just didn’t try hard enough, or get the right credentials.
      its a cop out, so the showrunners don’t have to actually do anything that might anger the donors.
      a living wage that accounted honestly for actual inflation would go a long, long way, for instance.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I was lucky that college meant nothing to numismatics or dealing in diamonds, watches or other items known as ‘smalls’ (something that can fit in the palm of your hand). It wasn’t as if there were any courses that catered to those interested in old money or small objects of value. There also weren’t any book-smart numismatists, it was all hands on the learning.

        That said, for the longest time, I felt somehow I wasn’t ‘worthy’ on account of missing out on higher education, and one thing I noticed with a lot of college graduates, is they simply stop accumulating knowledge after graduating, I was never afforded the privilege.

        Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        @Amfortas

        For your brother, perhaps it might help him to point him at the Mr. Money Mustache site. There was an article linked from this site on NC last year. Lots of interesting articles when you do digging into this site and it might be of help to your brother-

        https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i gave him marcus aurelius a couple of years ago, but he quickly convinced himself that he couldn’t handle it.
          repeating to oneself, “it’s too hard” makes it too hard(he’s not a dumba$$ by any measure)
          so i give it to him in dribs and drabs when he comes up here.
          but he feels trapped…his wife would take the girls to Colombia if he sold the house and downsized radically enough to make a difference…
          and heaven forbid they come way out here,lol…hell, i could live for 30 years on what he’d get for that house.
          but she’d never go for it….so he’ll never go for it.
          so i let him call me on his evening commute and rant and blow off steam and offer the best most sage advice i’m able when he asks.
          i refrain from snickering sadly when he tells me about his latest magic pill to fix it all….crustless bread, or swearing off coffee, or beer, or some newfangled add drug, leaving early to go to the office gym…always something.
          something is bound to tie it all together.
          because it’s the american dream, after all…
          and i want no part of it

          Reply
          1. scoff

            A question I’d ask in parallel to your earlier one about success. “What is the worth of a human being?”

            I like Protagoras’ take: Man is the measure of all things.

            We all need to be better. We have to learn to govern ourselves before we can think of governing others.

            Reply
            1. aletheia33

              we learn how to govern ourselves from one another.

              whether it is truly necessary to govern others is still being debated.

              Reply
    9. Big River Bandido

      I was fortunate to go to college before the cost blew through the roof, and I was fortunately wise enough as a fetus to choose as parents professionals who knew how to save for their kids’ college. [/sarc] I never took out a loan. I graduated debt-free.

      Do you think for one minute that I’m not hurt by student debt? Horsefeathers. Of course I am. Directly, because I’m now an adjunct college teacher myself, thus my career is vulnerable to the supply of borrowed money. Indirectly, I’m impacted on an even more basic level, as is every American. That debt dries up people’s savings, sucks up their energies, creates excuses and sinkholes for money that ought to go to social spending, and draws talented people away from occupations where they’re really needed into ones where they make more money. Every American citizen is hurt by it because all that money tied up in college debt, from people who really can’t afford it, acts as a giant drag on the entire American economy. It prevents more productive investment in things that actually create products — and jobs. And that’s to say nothing of the specter of the student debt bubble: there’s now nearly $1.5 trillion in outstanding student debt (4 years ago that figure was only $1T), and the default rate on that debt is already 20%. If you think the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 was bad — that’s going to be a walk in the park compared to what happens when enough people have to walk away from loans they’ll never be able to repay.

      I think you need a little larger perspective.

      Reply
    10. Jesper

      If all got the same amount of money independently of whether or not they had student debt then it would be a universal benefit and thereby probably more popular. I would consider it to be more fair to give all the same amount of money than giving some (for some reason more deserving?) a lot (of monetary value). The ones who would benefit directly and a lot will probably support the direct benefit to them of getting the debt write off, the ones who only get the ‘trickle down’ benefits of a debt write off on the other hand well… If they believe themselves to be short-changed then I do believe that their concern is valid.

      Reply
      1. norm de plume

        This is in essence the same approach Steve Keen takes with his modern debt jubilee: all receive the funds but the indebted MUST pay down financial debts first. Those who have saved get the bonus, which they either spend or add to savings. Debtors freed, bank balance sheets made whole, savers rewarded, aggregate demand increased, businesses prosper (and not just in luxury goods), taxes increase…

        Reply
    11. False Solace

      Some of us believe we have a moral duty to make the world better for the generation that comes after us. Right now, the world is worse and things are only getting worser. Student loans aren’t the only thing on the list, it’s just an obvious thing to include.

      Today 70% of high school graduates go on to college. Loan debt prevents young people from marrying, buying houses and starting families. it isn’t a small issue.

      Reply
  2. WheresOurTeddy

    4 days to Iowa and they try to smear Bernie Sanders – the most known quantity in American politics, revered even by his enemies for his consistency – as a :::checks notes::: secret admirer of George Wallace.

    Facts: Print and video exist of him comparing Wallace to Hitler. It was debunked within hours.

    Jonathan Chait walked it back. If you’ve lost Chait…

    “I think it takes an ungenerous reading to conclude Sanders was trying to praise Wallace.”

    Unbelievably weak. They really have nothing on him.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Don’t be too sanguine. A lot of “nothings,” in politics, can add up to “something.” History is replete with examples of baseless smears that worked. I would suggest that the ‘baseless’ smears are the ones that have to be resisted the most strongly. Nothing is more difficult to fight than an idea. Ideas do not have to be “true” or “false.”

      Reply
      1. norm de plume

        ‘History is replete with examples of baseless smears that worked’

        The future of the UK was (at least in part) derailed with one over the last year or so; but one, you would think, could not plausibly be applied to Sanders…

        Reply
    2. Big River Bandido

      The big smear attempt will come from the likes of the Atlantic Council, Council on Foreign Relations, etc., through their house organs like the NYT. The front for the attack will actually be AIPAC, allowing them “cover” for the “antisemitic” trope. In order for that thorn to pierce the skin, the attack would need to come before Super Tuesday.

      This nexus is dangerous and powerful, but Kissinger is old and even his direct acolytes are old, and their political methods are out of touch and about 40 years out of date. I think this is where they will falter. They haven’t quite realized that the dogs aren’t eating the dog food. But that’s the line of attack they will try. Because, as you point out, they really have nothing on him.

      Reply
      1. lordkoos

        He will be smeared as a Russian asset. Photos of him in Russia will be plastered all over the internet.

        What Sanders is trying to do here is like hitting a large hornets’ nest with a stick.

        Reply
        1. Carey

          >He will be smeared as a Russian asset. Photos of him in Russia will be plastered all over the internet.

          …and the legitimacy of those doing this smearing will be seen as?

          I’m a “boomer™”, and it won’t be working on me, or almost anyone I know,
          at all. They can steal the primary, and I’m guessing they will, once more,
          but there will be no hint of legitimacy, and the energized populace will
          take action accordingly, I think.

          Reply
      2. False Solace

        The lesson from 2016 is that it doesn’t matter if an allegation doesn’t have a shred of proof. After the establishment settles on a line of attack a legion of intelligence agency apparatchiks will crawl out of their spiderholes to support it. The media falls in line running story after story until the general population is steeped in the storyline. I still remember the first Putin joke I heard in 2017 from a coworker who watches nothing but Twitch streams (so not exactly a frequent reader of the WP or other establishment outlets).

        For Corbyn it was antisemitism. We don’t know what they’ll pick for Sanders.

        Reply
  3. Wukchumni

    If the Coronavirus spreads to the point where people are afraid to go out in public and shop @ brick & mortar stores, does online shopping expand to become dominant, but then there’s the pesky question of how do you get Chinese employees to make the doodads we so desire if factories get closed up in the Middle Kingdom?

    Reply
    1. Lost in OR

      Indeed! This, potentially, changes everything.

      I am a manufacture’s rep for industrial products. I have four lines, two of which are made in China. If China shuts down or gets quarantined, there is only current stock to sustain maintenance and/or growth of our local economy. I’m just beginning to try to wrap my head around the depth of this potential outcome.

      I recall waiting for SARS to quarantine “life as we know it”. And I recall the sense in ’08 that we were cluelessly close to a precipice with bumbling idiots at the helm. And now, I have so little respect or trust in governmental or media sources that, well, I don’t know what to believe.

      As much as I don’t like listening to the ever-fatalistic Chris Martenson (he makes me feel like I have a blood pressure problem), he has better facts than most. I feel like we’re living on the edge.

      https://www.peakprosperity.com/tag/coronavirus/

      Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        You too? I am a regular but small customer of industrial products. My employers are historically large customers.

        For my personal tools and supplies, I have been known to insist on “Made in USA” and willing to pay up to 3x more for such, even though my budget is (obviously) much smaller than a large manufacturer.

        Reply
        1. Lost in OR

          Sounds like you’re a Maker. I believe that will give you a head start getting through the jubilee. How do you see this crisis impacting your business? If there is a stall in the import of goods, is there a niche for you to fill?

          Too bad there isn’t a way for readers to connect beyond this forum.

          Speaking of forums, I’d love to have another Portland Meetup?

          Reply
          1. inode_buddha

            My day-job employer would be hurting but my small-time (one guy) outfit would do OK in a jubilee. The niche is huge, it is called “metal working and machining and manufacturing all around the Great Lakes” .

            Personally I hope and pray that the global supply chain burns to the ground and civilization collapses altogether. Myself and friends will be just fine, along with the Amish and Mennonites. The cities will be destroyed, they have no means of supporting themselves without the current system. That is without even factoring in climate crisis.

            Reply
            1. Carey

              Thanks so much for this comment, IB. I had a good (best) friend
              who worked in sheet-metal fab. Told me about the “consultants”
              coming around (N Cal). Less than a year later his job was gone,
              and two+ years later he was dead. He was a Good Man (oops,
              I said a disallowed word!).

              Reply
              1. Carey

                My friend, as well as being a first-class writer, late in his
                neolib-shortened life made a few films; some showing him doing
                his paid work: he once said something about perfection
                being a crime against god, which urged him on toward that end.. he was a Stud, got the film to prove it, and I’m so sad
                he’s gone. Neoliberalism’s killing us off one by one..
                maybe time to turn the tide.

                Reply
        2. Fiery Hunt

          I’m with ya, inode_buddha. Been a craftsman for nearly 20 years (custom stained glass) and outside of some German glass, everything I use in my work is American made.

          I hope the globalized supply line burns to the ground.
          Be good for American jobs, be good for the whole damn planet.

          Reply
    2. RickV

      I have heard from local retailers (i.e. Home Depot, Lowes) that they are selling out of N95 masks in the thousands to people sending them and other virus protection supplies to China. These shipments need to be stopped by the government at the border (unless there are ample supplies for the US population when the epidemic worsens).

      Reply
      1. Lost in OR

        Last Sunday I bought the last to boxes of N95 on HD’s shelves. I haven’t been back to see if they were able to restock. The clerk raised her eyebrows and wondered if I were having a party of some sort.

        I’m seeing reduced usefulness for masks. If you are sick, you should wear them. Some experts are saying they have minimal impact if you are not sick. Just keep your hands away from your face and wash frequently.

        Two boxes of 15 masks cost me $40. That’s 30 one-time uses. If I really have to use them I hope to be a part of a small community. I doubt if any of them will have any masks. I can’t Bogart the masks. And how long might this go on? My two boxes of masks are feeling like small potatoes.

        Reply
        1. RickV

          Yes, there are all kinds of problems with N95 masks: Eyes are exposed, they must fit absolutely securely (no beards), filthy to take off and decontaminate after possible exposure or single use. But mask or no mask I vote for mask. It may take us through the period until a vaccine is developed. I bet N95 masks are selling in China for a lot more than 15 for $40.

          Reply
  4. Toshiro_Mifune

    Millennials Have Formed a Human Shield Around Bernie

    When Bernie ran in `16 and I saw the reports on the demographics of his support base my reaction was, ‘Even if he loses the nomination his supporters are going to win the party. It’s just a matter of time.”
    This is about the first MSM article I’ve seen to acknowledge that.

    Reply
    1. WheresOurTeddy

      2014 off-year Dem voter participation, age 18-35: 20%
      2018 off-year Dem voter participation, age 18-35: 39%
      We Millenials are more progressive than Boomers by a mile and there are more of us + Gen Z than there are of Boomers + Xers. And Xers are more progressive than Boomers too. Gen Z are straight up leftists.

      We’re disproportionately poor and the internet exists so why have access to the information WHY.

      What do you think our turnout will be in a Presidential year, with Bernie on the ballot, and voting against Trump?

      That rumbling sound you hear is the earth moving beneath the Oligarchy’s feet.

      Reply
        1. WheresOurTeddy

          Trump most likely wins, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was winning going away

          There’s one electable Democrat in 2020. He just happens to be a Democratic Socialist.

          Reply
    2. ptb

      The center point of millenial age range is leaving the stereotypical “young adult” category. Think married, young kids. If they find out other countries give their kids health care, that we have more money than other countries, and that the health system set up by their parents generation was an enormous con, then woe to the politician who stands in their way.

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        Actually, most of them are delaying marriage and having children and buying real estate, if not forgoing it altogether, for lack of financial resources to support such life decisions. But that, too, feeds their resentment, as it’s three more things their parents took for granted that they may never have. And you’re right about their utter lack of respect or patience for 1980s austerity politics.

        Reply
        1. RMO

          To the extent one can assign attributes to a group of people base on year of birth I have found that millennials usually understand just how badly they (and the world in general) have been screwed by austerity, neoliberalism and late stage capitalism to a substantially greater degree than my Gen-X peers. It gives me a little hope for the future – and I sure need it.

          Reply
  5. russell1200

    A History of Influenza – Potter : http://ddata.over-blog.com/xxxyyy/0/12/23/21/potter-2001.pdf

    A very close look at the outbreak of 1918-20 is in order as it is unusual in that the first wave was a “normal” flue pandemic. It was the second wave where it turned unusually virulent.

    So if the current death rate of our Corona virus is 2%, it doesn’t have to stay there. On the other hand, there is no reason it needs to change, or couldn’t get less virulent.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      According to the John Hopkin’s site there are currently 9,776 confirmed cases, resulting in 237 deaths and 187 recovered. This leaves over 9 thousand as yet unresolved cases. The JH data is tracking only from Jan. 19. I can’t find any source that tells how long one is made ill from the virus. But assuming the virus takes a couple of weeks to either kill you or for you to get well, we just don’t have enough numbers to make any kind of reasonable projections. Unless, and this is the scary bit, the small number of known resolved cases is indeed indicative of future outcomes.

      As for the the virus mutating in favor of greater or lesser lethality, this is generally determined of host availability. More hosts favor virulence, fewer hosts favor milder forms of a disease. Absent a vaccine, keeping potential hosts from becoming infected and then transmitting the disease is pretty much all we’ve got.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > I can’t find any source that tells how long one is made ill from the virus.

        From “First Case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the United States“, NEJM (published 1/31):

        On hospital day 8 (illness day 12), the patient’s clinical condition improved. Supplemental oxygen was discontinued, and his oxygen saturation values improved to 94 to 96% while he was breathing ambient air. The previous bilateral lower-lobe rales were no longer present. His appetite improved, and he was asymptomatic aside from intermittent dry cough and rhinorrhea.

        The pneumonia hit on illness day 9. So it looks like your guess of two weeks is spot on (based on this one case). The patient was still in hospital after illness day 12, but I assume that’s a combination of health insurance and wishing to observe the course of the treatment.

        Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “Irish team question new US blood pressure threshold”

    I can see why PK recommended this article as a link. The kicker is near the end where it says ‘The US recommendation to lower the threshold was based on expert opinion, not on clinical trials.’ which is so wrong. The article itself says that perhaps 150,000 people may be subjected to unnecessary treatment and I am betting that it will be of lucrative benefit to the US healthcare system. I wonder if articles like this may be an indication of a trend of countries not automatically accepting US guidelines. You would have to ask the FAA about that one.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      ……perhaps 150,000 people may be subjected to unnecessary treatment……..

      My guess is that the overtreatment would be a lot more extensive than that. Unlike cancer or even diabetes–two of the medical-industrial complex’s current cash cows–every human has a blood pressure just waiting to be monetized.

      I’m pretty sure “experts” from other countries understand exactly what “do no harm” means in american medical speak.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        The US medical system is an outlier in world medicine for over-diagnosis, overmedication and overtreatment. From cancer to ADHD, orthopedics to angina, the US system is a world leader in identifying and treating phantom illnesses.

        Reply
        1. Glen

          You forgot over billing. Definitely the world’s most expensive healthcare.

          Health outcomes? I think we rank close to last of the industrialized nations.

          Reply
        2. Bugs Bunny

          Almost everyone I know there over age 70 has had their knees replaced. They all take statins.

          That’s insane.

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Yes, particularly since knee replacements don’t have a great success rate. But FWIW most of the older people I know do have their original knees.

            However, I am also hearing of MDs prescribing statins in marginal cases, the justification being that they are supposedly Alzheimers protective. Criminey, I’d do silica water any day over something that messes with your liver function.

            Reply
    2. DJG

      Rev Kev and Katniss: Yep. Set the standard so low that you capture big numbers of people who wouldn’t normally require treatment–and who likely are in no danger–something like the absurdly low numbers for cholesterol, which led to mass prescription of statins.

      All of which support the U.S. medical model: Lots of prescriptions, forever.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          My MD is now trying to make that four times a year to renew the meds. This was one of the basic definitions of a “pill mill” given to us, the jury, by the Federal Prosecutor in the Pill Mill case in Gulfport, MS.
          Formerly illegal behaviours are now being ‘normalized,’ all in the name of the revenue stream.

          Reply
        1. Carey

          Triglycerides, primarily from processed foods, not the currently-demonized
          saturated fats. See Robert Lustig MD, and de novo lipogenesis.

          The cholesterol hypothesis came about, IMO, because an ostensible cure
          (statins) was available for marketing and sale.

          Reply
  7. William Hunter Duncan

    Regarding today’s must read, the article about how opioids were peddled using software, is this a venue where I can state clearly, that it is evident that corporations can kill people outright, and the actual people who run the corporation are absolved? Is that like, in the Constitution or something? Because it seems like it happens all the time.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      “It” happens all the time probably because we do not yet have “People’s Commandos” carrying out “Executive Accountability Actions” yet.

      Reply
  8. Wukchumni

    I’m proud to announce the launch of Bit Mask, an online safety device which secures tightly around your server and won’t let any virtual virus in, and doubles as an investment which tracks mask sales in stores and goes up in value based on feverish demand. Just 21 million are available of this strictly limited edition of the vizard of oz.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      But if your server goes down, will all those Bit Masks continue to work? And would they stop working while doing an update?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        The last thing you want with virulent diseases is your server going down, forcing peer-to-peer networking and open sores technology.

        Reply
    2. chuck roast

      Yah Wuk…you are wicked entrepreneurial bro’. First Habit Coin and now Bit Mask. Good thing the SEC is running a permanent dozeathon. But you got the zeitgeist. I recommend Jimmy McGill for your lawyer. Oh…and launder all your cash through the Bernard for President campaign.

      Reply
    3. Bugs Bunny

      In related news, my dear mother got ransomwared. They want about $5000.

      Most of the data is on a backup but it’s scary.

      Reply
    1. Bugs Bunny

      Thanks Olga. These are really interesting! They seem tired but the atmosphere looks convivial. Funny that there are none of Stalin himself.

      Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Flight attendants sue Boeing over design they say causes ‘toxic’ cabin air”

    This sounded very unusual this article so I dug a bit on it and found that it may be part of a more serious problem involving a series of early deaths. I give a long Guardian article link below on this that came out in 2017 and it seems that the later Boeing aircraft designs no longer use the bleed air system for what may be – ahem – reasons-

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/aug/19/sick-crew-toxic-air-planes-frequent-flyers-ill

    Reply
  10. Expat2uruguay

    Question for NC publishers Yves or Lambert: In the link entry titled “Limited data may be skewing assumptions about severity of coronavirus outbreak, experts say,” there is a quote included from Mr Shih about a higher rate of serious cases then reported. Could you please provide a link, as I would be interested to read that source.

    Reply
  11. Chris

    Re: Impeachment and other news

    I’ll be off FB and other social distractions for most of today which seems to be a blessing. I woke up to the gnashing of woke teeth over the entirely predictable outcome for the impeachment saga with a Republican choosing not to continue the farce and no one admonishing the House for its “Ready! Fire! Aim!” approach. Mother Jones wept and all that…

    If I was feeling generous I’d say that the house Dems cooked up this flawed plan to tank Bernie and other progressives and to shield themselves from bad press. But I really just think that Pelosi and others don’t know what to do. They’re trapped in a prison they made for themselves and they have this motivated base that wants them to do something, anything, to stop business as usual. So they put this together and hoped if it wouldn’t work out it would at least protect Biden. Surprise, guy who has ran and failed to do well in the primaries 4 times before is failing to well in the primaries now.

    I have a slightly more positive outlook now with respect to Sanders winning enough delegates that he can’t be ignored at the convention. But I still can’t see anyone letting him win. Anyone who thinks the same ham handed politicians who put the impeachment together will allow that is kidding themselves. They will cling to power until their dead claws turn to dust and everything they were fighting for is no more.

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      Lifting this from (yet another fine) comment from David re Brexit…

      But there’s another and subtler point: for the first time in living memory the Establishment has not got what it wanted. It’s been defeated on a major, major issue, one of the few on which it was broadly united. I don’t know when the last time something like this happened – the 1945 election perhaps? But, irrespective of all the arguments that Johnson is a paid-up member of the Establishment etc. etc. it remains true that this is a defeat on a subject where it was thought that public opinion would be forever quiescent.

      Rhymes

      Reply
      1. Tom Doak

        Yes but the whole reason it’s taken so long is so all the constituencies of the establishment could sort out how to take advantage.

        Reply
        1. Carey

          >Yes but the whole reason it’s taken so long is so all the constituencies of the establishment could sort out how to take advantage.

          That’s sure how it’s appeared to me in CA.

          Reply
    2. a different chris

      Oh man this is funny because of our handles — but in this case I’m not “different” at all.

      If I could express myself as well I would have written your comment almost word-for-word. (Maybe I think it’s not impossible for Sanders to win the nom, but pretty close to impossible for sure). What especially rang true was the dilemma between “are House Dems trying to be clever or are they just lost”.

      Thanks.

      Reply
    3. lordkoos

      On bad days I have a feeling of dread about this election. I don’t know how far the oligarchy will do to stop Sanders, but I put literally nothing past them.

      Reply
        1. thoughtfulperson

          I wonder how a Trump – Bloomberg – Sanders race would turn out?

          Something along the lines of 90s Clinton Bush Perot races?

          Reply
  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Delivery Apps Keep Adding Restaurants Without Their Consent Eater (Chuck L)

    This may be my own personal “OK, Boomer” moment, but can anyone explain to me how a “business” with a pricing structure like this even exists?

    According to a confirmation email, Blease ordered the onion petals with sherry vinegar — a popular dish at Lord Stanley — for $5, with a $5.99 delivery fee, a $5.49 service fee, a $2.00 small order fee, $1.58 in tax, and a $3.61 tip, for a total of $23.67.

    Note to my fellow clueless boomers: You can get a lobster tail and perfectly cooked 6 oz. sirloin, loaded baked potato and salad for $16.99 at Outback. That leaves roughly $7 for the tip or about 41%. You’re full, your underpaid “server” is happy and the internet geniuses get what they deserve–nothing.

    Reply
    1. Jason Boxman

      I never understood delivery apps either. I can’t countenance paying double for a meal I can go get myself; or cook. What insanity. The world seems to have so many people with so much money, or that can’t balance a checkbook. It’s astounding to me.

      Reply
    2. Mel

      Wolf ran an article two days ago about start-up “Cash Burn Machines”. His suggestion is that they start up intending to make a splash in the investment market, and to get “smart money” funding them with the sole intention of selling out to “dumb money” later.

      Somebody might argue that taking two taxis to go out for dinner would run the bill up in a similar way — but two taxis to go out for a $5 onion blossom? No. That’s not dinner. Or is that just me?

      Reply
    3. Bazarov

      As an impoverished millennial, I only recently (as in less than a year ago!) could afford to buy a car. I relied for more than a decade on the bus to get to work, to get downtown, and on my legs to walk back and forth from my small apartment to the grocery store trailing a dolly behind me.

      Since I did not own a car, it was very difficult to eat out, as the busses did not run particularly late, and even if there was a bus running, there was a good chance it would not stop near the restaurant I was craving.

      For car-less poor people, these delivery apps make it possible to “eat out” on occasion–yes, you pay dearly (being poor is expensive!). But sometimes you have a bad day, and you need the luxury of a hot meal made to order as a salve.

      Many boomers (like my parents) live in a different world–my generation is thoroughly enserfed.

      Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      This is embarrassing this. Maybe they should have consulted with experts in building this border war. People who have a track record in building walls that go for hundreds of miles. People that can build walls that last for centuries. Anybody here know of such people? Asking for a friend.

      Reply
      1. rd

        The wall was under construction, so not permanently anchored. However, it exposes a construction site safety issue as there should be better bracing or a gust of wind could knock it over and crush a worker. However, that would cost the contractor some money……

        Reply
        1. Wyoming

          Not quite.

          They are pouring the concrete around the wall sections and then letting it cure. Once it is cured the wall is stable. They failed to brace the wall sections until the concrete had cured and the wind came up and blew it over. I have seen this happen in construction many times. It calls into question the expertise of both the general contractor and the design team for certain however.

          An interesting point about this construction method (which lacks a proper foundation) is that it would not be hard to attach a big cable on the Mexican side and hook up a large capacity winch and just pull the walls over. I would like to give that a try if no one minds….

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            a thing you learn living on a farm: all fences are mostly just psychological barriers. we had a cow—“Martha”—who had learned in her youth that fences could be jumped, or just bulldozed over, and that cattleguards were just holes in the ground that could be jumped(prolly why mom got her for so cheap)
            soon, she taught the other cows these deep truths, and i was forever chasing cows on the neighbors’ places. the good news is that i got to trespass and wander around my “neighborhood”.
            if there’s no foundation to this wall they’re building, sounds like it leans(Ha!) a little too much to the psych-barrier side of things.
            just a little more foolish than i expected.
            ho hum…..repubs are stupid.
            not all that newsworthy,lol.

            Reply
      2. polecat

        This kinda reminds me of that scene in RoboCop, where Security-theater Droid ED-209 receives it’s final comeuppance, getting blasted to smithereens by a shoulder-fired cannon.

        Reply
  13. Dan

    Re: Globalization – A sneaky overview. This is really an interesting approach to explaining the forces within a country, and globally today, and what to expect should the status quo remain. I am not sure that it is in a form that is easily understood though.

    Reply
  14. marcyincny

    Gods I love puffins and that photo is a beauty. Anyone remember “Lucky Mrs. Ticklefeather” and her puffin, Paul?

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      The coins of Lundy are unofficial issues of currency from the island of Lundy, in the Bristol Channel off the west coast of England. Two bronze coins, the “half puffin” and “one puffin”, were issued with a 1929 date and featured a portrait of Martin Coles Harman who owned the island and was responsible for the issue.

      Harman had sent specimen coins to the Royal Mint and had been thanked for them, although they had warned him about Section 5 of the Coinage Act of 1870. Harman replied that Lundy was a little Kingdom in the British Empire, but out of England. He recognised King George V as the head of state, however he was adamant that Lundy was a self-governing dominion within the British Empire. This led to a visit from the Devon Constabulary and a Supt. Bolt and other officers reported seeing the coins (tokens) in use at the Marisco Tavern, mixed with standard British Imperial coinage. Harman lost his case at the Petty Sessions in Bideford and appealed to the High Court of Justice where he also lost and was fined £5, with fifteen guineas (£15 15s) costs.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coins_of_Lundy

      Reply
  15. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Artificial Intelligence Will Do What We Ask. That’s a Problem

    A major aspect of the problem is that humans often don’t know what goals to give our AI systems, because we don’t know what we really want.

    Then how about all these platforms simply stop using AI altogether? I don’t remember being asked if I wanted recommendations for everything under the sun in the first place and would like to think I can make a decision on my own what to watch or buy or whatever.

    Just because some code monkey has the chops to make a primitive AI do something doesn’t mean the tech should then be be rolled out to billions of people.

    As a species we have enormous problems discerning between can and should.

    Reply
    1. funemployed

      Agreed. I genuinely miss the randomness of advertisements, and actually kinda liked facebook when it was a straight chronological feed.

      Also re: Stuart Russell’s notion that AI should be focused exclusively on figuring out and helping realize human preferences. I thought Wall-E debunked that notion already.

      Oh well, I think the world would be a much better place if engineers and other mathophiles weren’t taught from a young age that their smartness is way “harder” and “realer” and “better” than all those sissy philosophers and artists and humanities wusses.

      I mean, don’t they know that their own heroes like Bertrand Russell and Oppenheimer and Einstein took the “soft” sciences every bit as seriously as, if not moreso than, the “hard” ones.

      Reply
      1. funemployed

        Not trying to make blanket statements, but I’ve met pretty serious economists who, after 20+ years of education, genuinely couldn’t understand the “practical” value of reading a serious history book or work of political philosophy…or even, I shift you not, basic writings on epistemology.

        My rearview mirror is far from rose tinted, but I feel like the notion that a person could be considered truly educated without seriously engaging with arts and humanities is a pretty new one.

        Reply
        1. turtle

          I’ve realized that many STEM or “numbers” people seem to be very uninterested in anything not having to do with STEM/numbers. Not all, and perhaps not even a majority, but many. You just need to lurk around Slashdot or similar tech forum to run into a post that goes more or less like this:

          When I got my engineering degree they forced me to take a bunch of liberal arts classes and they were completely useless.

          or another good type of line:

          If they’re going to force STEM students to take X portion of liberal arts classes, they should also force liberal arts students to take X portion of STEM classes.

          They will generally also fight any arguments to the contrary. So what you said is not surprising at all.

          Reply
          1. RMO

            Considering the way that for decades now education has been almost exclusively promoted as a way (often the only way) to make a decent wage, the increased cost of that education, the increased amount “last one standing wins” competitive pressure pitting students against their peers in the scramble for the decent paying jobs, the increased difficulty of finding a part time job when in school to survive until graduation, the cost in time needed for classes which aren’t directly related to the student’s major and the possibility of doing poorly in one of those classes thus hitting the student’s GPA and the chance that this could result in being unable to get into classes needed for the major I can’t say I’m surprised. Rather than education being about helping people grow as human beings and citizens of the nation and the world it has been just a matter of how much money you can get back in the future from the education expense incurred today. It’s really terrible. Good for making compliant cogs in the machine though.

            Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “Condoleezza Rice to lead Stanford’s Hoover Institution”

    ‘War criminal makes good.’

    ‘You can’t say that!’

    ‘Why?’

    ‘Because she is black, a woman, an accomplished concert pianist and honoured by her peers.’

    ‘OK. Black, female, piano-playing, honoured war criminal makes good.’

    Reply
      1. lordkoos

        Interesting that we don’t hear from a lot of Russia experts regarding the powerful and insidious Russian influence on American politics.

        Reply
    1. Dirk77

      Apart from there being a pension deficit, the San Diego News Desk article is pretty empty of facts, like, I don’t know, the causes. The “About” section states that the website is run by the Republican Party of San Diego.

      Reply
      1. Carey

        Heading down to the harbor and looking west there will tell you everything you need to know.

        dog what a dismal empire this is

        Reply
  17. Goyo Marquez

    Re Blood pressure
    “The team has warned that it could mean up to 150,000 blood pressure patients here potentially receiving treatment with no additional benefit.

    No additional benefit to the patients but plenty of additional benefits to pharmaceutical companies.

    We’ve had several of these incidents lately with our teenage kids, all of whom are very athletic, suddenly and quickly being diagnosed with high blood pressure.

    Reply
    1. rd

      If they were working out or rushed into the doctors office from somewhere and had their blood pressure taken quickly, then they could have higher blood pressure at the time of reading.

      Accurate blood pressure measurements need to have a relaxed patient with both feet flat on the floor. The blood pressure can also vary between arms. Improper readings can be different enough to pop over the guideline levels.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        And few people are exactly relaxed at the Dr.’s office.

        I’ve had my blood pressure (normally low) taken incorrectly – which I discovered when they suddenly insisted on taking it again before I left – I assume when someone got a look at the numbers.

        Reply
    2. Mark Gisleson

      Took me a while to figure out that so long as I was overweight, I’d have high blood pressure. Which you really need to have when you’re trying to haul 300 lbs of you up the stairs.

      I don’t think BP ever had much to do with my health. It’s like saying the tachometer on your car shouldn’t budge when you’re hauling a trailer. When I unhitched the trailer (lost weight) the BP returned to normal.

      If you’re overweight, you’re going to have high blood pressure. That’s a different kind of high blood pressure than the more serious kind, but financialized healthcare doesn’t seem to see a difference.

      Reply
      1. neo-realist

        I’m height weight proportionate, yet have high blood pressure. Possibly due to genetics, and possibly due to a junk food diet in my college days:/

        Reply
      2. Yves Smith Post author

        PK and I discussed one non-exercise way to lower you BP and improve your general cardio health: sauna followed by cold shower or cold dip. I assume a steam room would do, not sure if whirlpool would raise temperature on enough body surface.

        Reply
        1. Carey

          Garlic, and potassium-containing foods like bananas, are a good place to start to lower BP (assuming adequate exercise and appropriate weight).
          Salt, per se, is usually not the issue; more often processed foods
          and the preservatives found in them.

          YMMV.

          Reply
  18. Wukchumni

    City of San Diego Pension Debt Now Over $3 Billion San Diego News Desk
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    You might think that firefighters & policemen in Tijuana-adjacent would be so upset regarding their potential pensions that they’d riot in the streets if there was no there, there.

    Reply
  19. coboarts

    Portion of US border wall in California falls over in high winds and lands on Mexican side…

    Hahahahahaha! Should of had the Mexicans build it. They built my fence – solid, and there wouldn’t be so many windmills just east of me if we didn’t have wind.

    Reply
  20. Cuibono

    The story about opioid pushing EMRs is really a window into one if the more concerning aspects of EMRs

    Think of doctors as front line salesforce

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      After two recent trips to the ER (both resolved favorably, thank you), I concluded that they tend to take things much too seriously, because that’s their job. I was lucky.

      But that makes them a good place to stay out of if you aren’t seriously ill. I may start being pickier about recommendations that I go there. One pitfall is going to Immediate Care (the only place not requiring an appt. weeks in advance) on the weekend; they don’t have all their equipment running then, so send you to the ER for imaging. And an interview with a surgeon – I refused his advice.

      The second time, different issue, waiting might have been a good plan, since the problem stopped shortly after I got to the ER. Nice to have a clean bill of health from them, but it took all afternoon. At least no surgeon that time.

      Even on Medicare, there’s a $100 copay, enough to stop a lot of people.

      Reply
  21. Cuibono

    It’s too early to say anything for certain about CV.
    In contrast to those claims of 30% needing ICU are reports from Germany of 4 cases from one source point who were largely asymptomatic

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Thanks for that, you wouldn’t have any idea how difficult it has been to keep n95 masks on the countenances of our feline family, but it turns out it’s no big deal.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        I am reading this and, admit some unbecoming sense of ITYS, that unless there is an unfortunate series of events ( regarding the humans in charge of providing their livelihoods) that we are even more relieved and glad that our feline friends are in house only.

        Reply
  22. KC

    Quite a few local Chinese in China posted videos and photos about people walking on the street and then just collapsed and died. One was waiting in the hospital with loads of cash to bribe the doctor, but he collapsed before a successful bribe.

    I vaguely remember reading about the Black Death, that people then just collapsed while walking or doing their Everyday tasks. This CV seems to be a plague.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Been saying to Lambert that the body language (no pun intended) of Chinese citizens says they are hearing/seeing something we aren’t. Even with high-ish mortality rate, the victims are supposedly mainly not healthy old men. So why the freakout (not just the quarantine, but the clear near-panic)?

      Of course, what they are hearing/seeing may be bad rumors or Web evidence…..

      Reply
  23. Gabby

    “Party insiders are concerned Sanders could win the nomination.”

    In other words:

    “Party insiders are concerned Sanders could win the election.”

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Yes! They don’t live in any sort of world where Trump actually matters. Healthcare? Gold plated. Taxes?
      Trump likely cut theirs. Border controls? They have all the paperwork they need. So all the crocodile tears about how “Sanders is going to lose bigly!” is complete bs. Having Biden instead of Trump is mostly about appearences, Trump is so “distasteful”.

      They are more afraid of Sanders winning.

      Reply
    2. Carey

      They’re lazy and out-of-shape, and it’s scaring them sh!tless, as it should.

      “How dare the threaten our value™-chains!, and before brunch!”

      heh you don’t see the half, ladies

      Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Dershowitz has a bad reputation for reasons other than his skills as a lawyer. For instance, he didn’t just defend Epstein, he hung out with him – like you-know-who.

      And he’s especially virulent on Palestinian rights; hard-core, vicious zionist. So lots of people are gunning for him.

      Reply
  24. David Carl Grimes

    I just saw an ad on Facebook from AOC saying that eleven candidates are trying to unseat her in the next primary. She’s trying to raise a million dollars. Given her national standing as a proxy for Sanders, do these candidates even stand a chance? Or is she actually weak in her own congressional district?

    Reply
  25. inode_buddha

    Re the practical value of education, has anyone else noticed how there aren’t any course offerings in “How to be an easily corruptible toady”?

    I could startup a private school for this, and make lots of money, since it’s really the only way to get ahead any more, without getting totally ripped off. I think that being corruptible is an unspoken job requirement these days.

    Reply
    1. HippoDave

      Your post reminded me of “Back to School”, 1986, where middle-aged Rodney Dangerfield goes back to school and takes a Business class. He’s made a very successful career as some kind of business person (forget) and objects to the professor when he lists “costs”, clearly meant for academia/theoretical, not real world–

      he adds paying off unions, greasing politicians, etc. as additional real world costs, and the younger fellow students take copious notes about the non-legal things they should consider to thrive.

      Also starring Keith Gordon (Christine), Sam Kinison, Sally Kellerman, Robert Downey Jr., Adrienne Barbeau, Ned Beatty, and of course–Kurt Vonnegut.

      Reply
  26. smoker

    Re: City of San Diego Pension Debt Now Over $3 Billion San Diego

    Speaking of which, look at this outrageous City Manager Pay Raise Santa Clara city manager, among highest paid in the state, gets 11.2% raise

    The “merit-based” raise, which comes out to an additional $45,171 a year, brings Santana’s base salary to $448,491. The City Council, which voted 5-1 to approve the salary increase, also eliminated Santana’s $3,750 monthly housing allowance, which adds up to $45,000 a year.

    Still, the raise will net at least $18,590 toward Santana’s total annual compensation due to increased retirement costs, according to a city staff report.

    In all, her total annual compensation will be $767,605

    The only sane (or non intimidated?) Council Member:

    Councilman Raj Chahal was the only council member to vote against the raise, saying his decision wasn’t a judgment of Santana’s performance but based on his view that her contract was too generous to begin with.

    “I don’t think it’s prudent to spend this type of money…our compensation package is way more than any [other] city,” Chahal said.

    He also took issue with the argument that the salary increase won’t cost taxpayers much more, noting that base salary increases mean higher pension payouts, which the city also is on the hook for.

    “This is not only what we are paying today, but we are also liable for the pension liability,” Chahal said.

    He should have also mentioned all of the area’s unsheltered and WORKING homeless who much of that salary could have gone to for City Jobs.

    The piece doesn’t even include the early 2016, near interest free, City Mortgage Loan – she already received from her last City Manager hop – to buy that home, before the 3,750 monthly housing allowance she had been receiving since she left that city after only 3 years (see here ). Nor does it include the outrageous public employee pay and pay raises she doles out to loyal followers (see here).

    This stunningly overpaid City Manager is most infamous for her brutal handling of the Oakland Occupy protest (remember Iraq War Veteran Scott Olsen, whose skull was fractured during that protest) and the succeeding Fraser Report Scandal (see here for a summary of her Oakland City Administrator background).

    Reply
        1. smoker

          And, rounding out the circle –directly back to California City Pension Debt Queries- I may as well add this October 2018 piece, which implicates that Roving City Manager: Santa Clara Subject of State Pension Investigation

          This wouldn’t at all be near so horrid if any of these Golden State™ Public Servant Strivers (including way too many IDENTITARIANS, who really should be ashamed) had done anything at all to prevent far more of the thousands of honest citizens from spiraling into homelessness through no fault of their own.

          Reply
  27. Carey

    Has anyone here been able to endure all of this ‘Friends Like These’ piece?
    Author playing to the gallery to the point of

    No fan *at all* of Gopnik, but

    yeesh

    Reply
    1. Carey

      Well I finished it, though not all at once, and the last third was less bad than the rest.
      But its author seems to be assuming that he has a substantial, important readership, that
      shares his assumptions:

      “..Writing at a time when, as he famously put it in the introduction to The Liberal Imagination, liberalism was “not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition,” Trilling did not see his task as being to “defend” that tradition against its ideological enemies. In his essays on literature, rather, he was interested in “putting under some degree of pressure” the assumptions of his liberal readers. When he wrote about T. S. Eliot’s “The Idea of a Christian Society,” it was not to endorse or condemn Eliot’s vision of a “Community of Christians”; it was to show how that vision challenged liberal intellectuals who, in their rush to construct the progressive utopia of the future, sometimes neglected to “value the humanity of the present.” In his essay on Henry James’s The Princess Casamassima, he emphasized the novel’s staging of the inherent contradiction, often covered over or denied in liberal society, between the “ideal of adventurous experience” and the “necessities of radical democracy.” The assumption underlying such interventions was that liberalism was not a stationary metaphor or a precious inheritance but a living dynamism—one that might, with the right critical education, grow and expand. Or that would, if it gave into its own worst impulses, merely grow old, and die..”

      Precious, dude! I suggest you lessen the high-toned™ wordsmithing, and go do some real
      work for Senator Sanders, with the rest of us [proles].

      On the up-side, soon enough, pieces like this will not be written.

      Reply

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