Links 1/7/2020

Ditching coal in the US is saving lives, helping crops Ars Technica

Meet Gomathi, the elephant who can play football and the harmonica The Hindu

Harvey Weinstein hit with new charges in Los Angeles during New York trial Guardian

You can expect more tourist taxes this year TreeHugger

New demand for very old farm tractors specifically because they’re low tech Boing Boing (Dr. Kevin)

Disinformation For Hire: How A New Breed Of PR Firms Is Selling Lies Online Buzzfeed (dan k)

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Puerto Rico a day after another quake rocked the island CNN


Iran: deadly crush during funeral for Gen Qassem Suleimani – latest updates Guardian

US starts the Raging Twenties declaring war on Iran Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

On The Idiotic Partisan Debate Over Regime Change In Iran Or Syria Caitlin Johnstone

Trump’s Approach To Iran Highlights Both Parties’ Internal Divides FiveThirtyEight

America should drop the ‘Dr Evil fallacy’ on assassination FT

Pentagon Rules Out Striking Iranian Cultural Sites, Contradicting Trump NYT (The Rev Kev)

‘They Fear Someone Will Go There and Tell the Truth,’ Says Iran’s Top Diplomat as Trump White House Bars Him From US Common Dreams

Iran considering ‘13 scenarios for revenge’ against US for killing of top general Qassem Soleimani Independent

US-Iran War: Tehran Could Bomb Trump Properties Around The World As Revenge International Business Times

Opinion: Trump has Europeans caught in a trap Deutsche Welle

Australia Apocalypse

Foreign media rips into Australia over causes behind bushfire crisis News Corp Australia

Signs heat may have peaked as outlook shifts to milder, wetter weather Sydney Morning Herald

Listen to your people Scott Morrison: the bushfires demand a climate policy reboot The Conversation

Australia bushfires – a national catastrophe DW News

Monsoon Rains Hit Indonesia Causing Massive Flooding In Jakarta NPR


Be vigilant, Chinese embassy in Jakarta says as fishing row adds to anti-Beijing sentiment SCMP

L’affaire Jeffrey Epstein

5 Takeaways From the 60 Minutes Jeffrey Epstein Report New York magazine/blockquote>

Obamaworld Hates Bernie—and Has No Idea How to Stop Him Daily Beast

Biden and Sanders Differ on Foreign Policy. They’re Happy to Tell You So. NYT

Rep. Ro Khanna on a Public Takeover of PG&E: “Why Can’t We Provide Power to Our Own Citizens?” Jacobin

Big Brother IS watching You Watch


Airbnb has patented software that digs through social media to root out people who display ‘narcissism or psychopathy’ Business Insider (Dr. Kevin)


Living Through JNU’s ‘Bloody Sunday’: A University in Grave Crisis The Wire

India plans to cut spending to curb deficit; may hurt growth Economic Times

Class Warfare

Uber Files Official Complaint Against Workers Who Led Protests in France Motherboard

CEOs make more in first week of January than average salary – pay ratios are the solution The Conversation

Chelsea Clinton made $9M since 2011 from corporate board position: report NY Post Ka-Ching

Fecal Bacteria In California’s Waterways Increases With Homeless Crisis Kaiser Health News

FLEXI-PRIME Finland to introduce a FOUR-DAY working week and SIX-HOUR days under world’s youngest prime minister Sanna Marin The Sun

History of the two-day weekend offers lessons for today’s calls for a four-day week The Conversation

‘Say No to Stealing Our Social Security Benefits’ FAIR

Dan K:

Waste Watch

How de Blasio bombed in his attempt to fix New York’s garbage crisis Politico

Biden says plastic bags should be phased out Plastic News

Trump Transition

A spate of new class-action lawsuits threaten the CBD industry. Will they force Washington to act? Stat

Two Years Later: What Has Trump’s Tax Law Delivered? Capital & Main<

Trump Accused of ‘Disgraceful Abdication’ of Duty to Protect Earth for Proposal to Neuter Landmark Environmental Law Common Dreams

Two Years Later: What Has Trump’s Tax Law Delivered? Capital & Main

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.


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  1. zagonostra

    >Chelsea Clinton $9M

    I think Gaetano Mosca puts Chelsea’s “earnings” in perspective

    …ruling classes do not justify their power exclusively by de facto possession of it, but try to find a moral and legal basis for it, representing it as the logical and necessary consequence of doctrines and beliefs that are generally recognized and accepted.

    This legal and moral basis, or principle, on which the power of tie political class rests, is what we have called…the “political formula.”

    Too great a concentration of wealth in the hands of a portion of the ruling class has brought on the ruin of …the Roman Republic. Laws and institutions that guarantee justice and protect the rights of the weak cannot possibly be effective when wealth is so distributed that we get, on the one hand, a small number of persons possessing lands and mobile capital and, on the other, a multitude of proletarians who have no resource but the labor of their hands and owe it to the rich. In that state of affairs to proclaim universal suffrage, or the rights of man, or the maxim that all are equal before the law, is merely ironical.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Hey now, Chelsea Clinton never once had a single credible FCC compliant filed against her when she worked for MSNBC.

      She had unfettered access to the former President and Secretary of State.

      She’s so dull even a fake resume is hard to come up with.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The article said that Chelsea Clinton, a graduate of Stanford, Oxford and Columbia, began her career working for management consulting firm McKinsey & Company and investment firm Avenue Capital Group. Why, that could almost be Pete Buttigieg’s resume.

          1. The Rev Kev

            You make it sound like a lunch order-

            “I’ll have a Mayo on a Chelsea to go, thanks!”

        1. Massinissa

          Wait… Stanford, Oxford AND Columbia? Shes so privileged she didn’t even need to pick just one?

    2. flora

      I think this might be a problem, then:

      “Most dramatically, it found that the country’s three richest individuals—Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos—collectively hold more wealth than the bottom 50% of the domestic population, “a total of 160 million people or 63 million American households.” Roughly a fifth of Americans “have zero or negative net worth,” the authors wrote.”

      1. Odysseus

        “Roughly a fifth of Americans “have zero or negative net worth,” the authors wrote.”

        Nobody’s interested in changing that, so what can you do?

  2. Carla

    There’s a problem with the FAIR interview with Alex Lawson of Social Security Works and it’s emphasis on “We paid into this; it’s OUR money.” Well, of course it’s our money because U.S. fiat is a public utility. But it’s not functioning as such. The problem with the insistence that individuals have the right to benefits because they paid for the “insurance” to fund them smacks right up against the argument that fewer workers cannot support benefits for a quickly rising population of elderly. When are Jackson and Lawson going to wade into MMT?

    1. flora

      That’s what the trust fund paid for by increased fica taxes on boomers starting in the 80’s was for. What happened at the same time in the 80s was the start of big tax cuts for the rich, offset in the govt books by the rising ss trust fund value. And, yes, the Dem politicians were part of the fraud as well, not just Reagan.

      “Some members of Congress were outraged by the practice and tried to nip this misuse of Social Security revenue in the bud. On October 13, 1989, Senator Ernest Hollings of SC expressed his outrage during a speech on the Senate floor. Excerpts from that speech, taken from the Congressional Record, follow. “…the most reprehensible fraud in this great jambalaya of frauds is the systematic and total ransacking of the Social Security trust fund…The public fully supported enactment of hefty new Social Security taxes in 1983 to ensure the retirement program’s long-term solvency and credibility. The promise was that today’s huge surpluses would be set safely aside in a trust fund to provide for baby-boomer retirees in the next century. Well, look again. The Treasury is siphoning off every dollar of the Social Security surplus to meet current operating expenses of the government…”

      This is why the wealthy are demanding cuts to ss, because they don’t want to pay back the money the govt let them “borrow” in the form of tax cuts. Making good the govt bonds they “borrowed” will require them to pay back all that “borrowed” money in the form of losing their tax cuts. The “too few workers” argument is a distraction from the real problem. (And this is why the Peterson Inst. and others are determined to cut ss, it’s so they don’t have to pay back the money they “borrowed” in the form of tax cuts.) If the govt simply defaults on the govt bonds owed the ss trust fund the US reserve currency status will be in danger. So, convince people ss should be cut, or scaled back, or grand bargained away. Neat trick (based on a lie) if they can pull it off.

      1. Carla

        I know. And you know. But Jackson and Lawson and the “Democrats” need to inform everybody else. Hah! Fat chance.

      2. Pension Guy

        Another part of the problem is that the 1983 compromise was built upon the assumption that 90% of the wage income in the country would be subject to FICA taxation. That lasted a year or two because high income wages took off and were not captured by the use of the average wage income index. Had we used income as reported to the IRS as the “index” for the FICA cap, social security would be funded as far as the eye can see. The response of the Clinton administration was to try to reach a secret deal with Newt Gingrich, but that unraveled when the Lewinsky scandal made impeachment more important. Then the Bush administration thought that converting to a 401(k) world made sense, until taxpayers panned that option. Then the Obama administration thought a “grand bargain” with John Boehner was the answer. To date, no administration has confronted the problem that top income earners escaped a lot of FICA taxes.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Were the tax reforms that mostly eliminated income averaging passed right after this? Because I never knew a laid off blue collar worker who was able to average the good years against the bad. At the time it seemed like a loophole for professionals that was eliminated the moment large numbers of downsized working people became eligible.

        2. Bill Carson

          I don’t know what those naive people are thinking—that the Social Security Administration is going to convert all of those payroll deposits into cash and lock them in a room in DC? They are just numbers! And of course we are going to let the money be used so that at least there is a little bit of gain against the hit of inflation. Not to mention that this would do untold damage to the economy if all those dollars were taken out of circulation.

          I tell you what, I would much rather send my retirement money to Washington where I know that it just goes into the treasury to fund some of the government spending, rather than pay some over-priced broker to buy corporate equities, hoping that the corporate managers will screw enough employees out of fair wages that they can afford to pay me a dividend.

      3. Procopius

        Making good the govt bonds they “borrowed” will require them to pay back all that “borrowed” money in the form of losing their tax cuts.

        This is not true. All they have to do is add it to the deficit. Period. The Public Debt is not “paid back.” It is rolled over. It’s been going on for several years already, since 2008, in fact. They don’t need to default on the bonds, just move numbers around on an electronic spread sheet. This is probably the most pernicious lie the neoliberals have spread to convince young people that Social Security will not be there for them.

    2. Wukchumni

      Military Monetary Theory works great, we gin up over 2/3rds of a trillion per annum out of thin air and nobody cares, but imagine the outcry if the public demanded that $686 billion be spent on infrastructure, education and apprenticeship programs?

      1. flora

        So,Military Monitary Theory rests on the pillars of govt looting the ss trust fund to pay for military adventures and shortchanging the value of working people’s fica tax purchase? oh…kay…..

    1. mnm

      Horrible all the destruction and dead animals. Instead of helping put out the fires on a humanitarian mission, USA starting another endless war.

    1. a different chris

      Ok well everybody give up, then.

      Sigh. These are three strengths of the Trump candidacy. Y’know, dude does have things going for him, he’s POTUS and I am not for instance. But strengths is what they are, that’s all. The post is well-written detail-wise but the title and histrionics wrapping the good info are ridiculous.

      Might as well say somebody is unstoppable because he has good hair, a military background, and a pretty wife. Sadly those are significant, but are not the end of the story.

    2. neo-realist

      Re 2020, I think that a Sanders, if he is allowed to get to the national election, has a shot with his appeal to economic justice issues as Mr. Flores mentions. Sanders has just got to push those issues hard in the swing states that decide the election.

      The dems, and I know I’m asking a lot, have to do some serious voter registration and education to offset the voter disenfranchisement schemes of the republicans in the swing states, e.g., 200k thrown off the voter rolls in Wisconsin, voter id laws, cross check, etc., to take advantage of increased participation and turnout in 2020 to have a shot at knocking off Trump.

      Also get some Attorneys on the ground in those states on election day because there will be shenanigans with the machines and the votes.

      1. Eureka Springs

        The hurdle is the D party, this primary. Far fewer new voters needed with much bigger impact when 20 plus percent turnout is huge than in Nov. with maybe 50 percent turnout.

      2. curlydan

        normally I’d agree that Sanders has a shot, but I’ve got a pretty good feeling some “moderate” will step into the breach (likely a billionaire like Bloomberg) to find the “middle ground” to “save” us. Hard to tell what would then happen, but I think it’s likely if Bernie can get the nomination.

        1. Hepativore

          I do not know what to expect. While I normally think that I lot of conspiracy theories are implausible, the Democratic Party leadership hates Sanders so much, that I think that it will motivate them to do a lot of blatantly unfair or dishonest things out of desperation to stop him. This would include possible voting machine fixing against Sanders and then blaming it on the Russians if discovered, sudden last-minute rule changes designed to punish Sanders and help his political opponents, and then as a final measure, openly refusing Sanders the nomination in public regardless of his delegate count. The latter would cause a massive outcry but the Democratic Party still maintains that it does not have to abide by its own “rules” as a private organization and they have demonstrated that they are perfectly willing to go down with the ship that is their party rather than let neoliberalism die.

          Of course, all of these hypothetical scenarios are far-fetched, and perhaps nothing will stop Sanders. However, the Clinton/Pelosi/Schumer/Obama wing despises Bernie Sanders and everything he stands for and so I would not be surprised if they are willing to swallow a Pyrrhic victory over Sanders out of sheer spite.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            My view was that Kerry was sabotaged by loyalists to clear the way for Mother because how could anyone run a campaign so poorly. Then two Hillary disasters happened.

            1. Oh

              “Tank Head” Dukakis did! Let’s not forget that Kerry tried to be a war hero for the election whereas his strength (that he did not want to display) was the opposition to the Vietnam war.

          2. JP

            What are we really fighting here. Lack of an interested knowledgeable voter. Not only are the poor and self disenfranchised f%&&ed but a good percentage of the marginal voters will respond to the buggaboo propaganda against socialism. Socialism will remain undefined but Bernie has already declared himself as such. That stigma needs to be addressed along with the popular idea that the administration not congress ledgislates.

            If Biden would only do the patriotic thing and drop dead just before the convention. A Bernie/Warren ticket wouldn’t be the worst thing. Perhaps that would stimulate a broader discussion of ideas without using the words Capitalism or Socialism. Maybe like progressive does not mean a tax on the economy or that Social Security wasn’t ransacked because govt’ spending is really just a shell game. At least we would have an honest choice and the possibility of attracting a greater percentage of those eligible.

            1. Oh

              As long as the fake media keeps up their propaganda against Sanders, he will be denied the nomination. In addition, the Dim party will unleash all shenanigans to fix the results of the primaries, especially in large democrat control states like CA and NY.

              1. JP

                I wasn’t endorsing a B/W ticket but I would vote for a reverse of Bush/Quayle if that was the choice. I also find it hard to find a lot of putative power in the fake media. While I do agree with Trump that the media is the enemy of the people, the media is no longer the monolithic establishment horn. The media is now just a morass. If there was a real candidate (Bernie?) the media will be forced to clean it up a little because more people might be paying attention. But maybe people really prefer to get tunneled in. History is often the result of just a few individuals disproportionate influence. My opinion is that it sure seems that way but they might just be leading where the herd was going anyway.

          3. sparkylab

            I continue to maintain that the Pelosi/Schumer-wing/DNC would rather lose with a Biden than win with a Bernie. If the former – they get to continue the grift, if the latter – its game over for them.

            1. Paradan

              If Bernie wins, they have an emergency session of both houses the day after, and they strip every single power they can from the Presidency. Hell they could even get an amendment done. I actually kinda want this to happen cause it’ll strip the last shred of legitimacy from system.

    3. pasha

      beware the sources you cite! according to media/ fact check:

      “Overall, we rate the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF) a Questionable source based on extreme right wing bias, promotion of Russian propaganda and conspiracy theories as well as a complete lack of transparency with the goal to deceive readers. This is not a credible source.”

      just sayin’

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Airbnb has patented software that digs through social media to root out people who display ‘narcissism or psychopathy’ ”

    Finding ‘narcissism or psychopathy’? In social media? Is that what they call a target-rich environment?

    1. Wukchumni

      I heard the Donkey Show is as I type, perfecting de-nihilist software after the failed impeachment putsch petered out.

      It’s good to have options.

    2. Craig H.

      There doesn’t seem to be much in the press about the Airbnb Orinda Halloween mayhem. Apparently they even know the perps and they are just cruising around their neighborhood like rap stars.

      It’s kind of a pity Charles Manson isn’t alive to see it.

  4. Livius Drusus

    Re: The future car is your mobile office.

    Why not, everyone is on call these days anyway. Let’s just say that work never ends and the whole world is your office. Of course, this sort of thing will be marketed as liberating and people will buy into it. This is why I am against calls for flexible working arrangements as part of a left-wing platform. Outside of things like family leave and more vacation time, I fear that flexibility will just mean the continued conquest of your life by your boss.

    Give me the traditional 9 to 5 workplace over this new arrangement. I know it is not cool to say that these days but I hate having my work life constantly making demands on what is supposed to be my private “own time” away from work. Employers use all kinds of New Age marketing to make people think that they are liberating them from stodgy, traditional workplaces but all I see is mounting stress, less freedom and less time for your own life these days.

    1. jefemt

      Well, for a growing segment, it’s their home, too! Home-office!?

      No real property tax liablity, public rest rooms at libraries, municipal and county buildings. $50 dollar gym membership for a shower. Yeah baby!

      Tax deductible 100%, not as a percent-of square footage used? Exciting stuff!!

      Where does the consequences of these disruptive technologies end?

    2. notabanktoadie

      Give me the traditional 9 to 5 workplace … Livius Drusus

      Rather, let’s have economic justice and wage slavery will be the exception, not the rule, at least for citizens.

      Moreover, the need for economic justice should be increasingly evident as automation and AI make even the use of human wage slaves less competitive.

      No doubt there have been many false starts wrt what economic justice IS but we surely should know by now much more what economic justice ISN’T.

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        some one (about 100 million of them) will have to look at their life and future living in a car or shed and realize they can vote for a change where social justice is primary instead of being the enemy. Where values are applied first to everyone and none of the chaff goes to the looting society.
        But are americans aware enough to realize filthy rich bastages will never stop their war machine trying to kill them and anyone else in the world, when they don’t get their way?

      2. Michael

        “…at least for citizens.”
        I hope not. How about everybody gets treated humanely.
        Giving capitalism more reason to ruin other countries and use their labor here in lieu of ‘expensive’ locals is a bad idea for everyone.

    3. Winston Smith

      Shoshana Zuboff’s (Surveillance capitalism) take on this is that it is simply another way for car companies to monetize monitoring human behavior in a controlled environment:“It’s not the car; it’s the behavioral data from driving the car.”

    4. EricT

      Reminds me of the Dr Who episode where he ends up on a planet where everyone is in a huge traffic jam around a city, to the point that people were raising children and going about their lives in their cars. Everyone was trying to get somewhere, but it had been so long that people got used to living in the traffic jam, waiting for an opportunity to move up and hoping to get home. The reality was that they were actually waiting to be consumed by a monster, but didn’t know. There were stories about it, but no one really believed that to be the case.

      1. newcatty

        Very interesting. Brings to mind a few relevant facts in our current reality in many of our great cities.

        1) When you look at the times spent commuting back and forth to work forcing city or suburban dwellers: hours for many . Also, hours spent transporting school aged children playing sports ( when old enough to get drivers license, they join the packs).

        2) Commuters already use cars as an extension of home or office or “social connections”.

        3)People have rationalized or bitterly accept as TINA that “driving in traffic” is acceptable as the price to pay to live in LA or some other monstrous city.

        4)We now have people, singles, mothers, fathers, children, grandparents who are literally living in cars of some type. Or tents. Or under ratty blankets, tarps or cardboard.

        5) Stories are whispered or ranted about the consuming greed, corruption and evilness ( or psychopaths) of the “elite”, “cabal”, “extremely wealthy”, “corruption in government leadership”, and so on…

        6) No one really believes “that to be the case”. Many are starting to question the narratives.

      2. Math is Your Friend

        In fact, they had been sealed down there to protect them from an extremely virulent plague, and as a result were the only survivors of the entire planetary population.

        The number of people eaten by the infestation of the lowest levels seemed to be a tiny fraction of the population.

        It was clearly the best option, even if the scenery was very boring for a decade or three.

        As with any analysis of situations and solutions, you have to look at the whole picture, in order to get the best results (or sometimes, any solution that will work).

    5. Katniss Everdeen

      If your “work” can be done while you’re driving, it probably didn’t need to be done at all, but it would take a person who “works” as the “Chief Digital Evangelist @Salesforce” not to know this.

    6. jrs

      No respectable left-winger would have that kind of “flexibility” as part of their platform period, any one who would iiiii and at that point it hardly matters WHAT their platform is, they are gonna sell you out. If anyone pushes flexibility beyond sick time, vacation time and family leave, it’s laws like Germany has, where there are legal protections on switching to part-time work etc.

    7. drumlin woodchuckles

      There will be a strong service-aftermarket in stripping the digital cooties out of your new office-on-wheels car. Also, a growth opportunity for sales of Dumm Cars . . . . perhaps the Tata will become the Volkswagen Beetle of new generations.

    8. Geo

      “Idol hands are the devil’s workshop.”

      Devil: “now that your car can drive your hands are free so get me those quarterly reports, ASAP!”

    9. VietnamVet

      In the not too distance future, if the office cars are electric powered, they will be new the mobile homes for singles and couples. Fireproof garages with electricity, water and sewage hookup could be priced low enough for working Precariat to rent after the housing subdivisions with no fire-insurance are torched by climate change.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “‘They Fear Someone Will Go There and Tell the Truth,’ Says Iran’s Top Diplomat as Trump White House Bars Him From US”

    This is so stupid this. “Any foreign minister is entitled to address the Security Council at any time and the United States is obligated to provide access to the U.N. headquarters district,” said Larry Johnson, a former U.N. assistant secretary-general. Under the terms of the U.S. agreement with the United Nations, “they are absolutely obligated to let him in.

    Here is the actual treaty and I think that the relevant bit is Article IV, Section 11-

    But would Trump feel like honouring any international treaty? Probably not. And it is not just him about such things. Remember the time that George Bush was supposed to have shouted “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!” That is how elites think about the law.

    1. Wukchumni

      Came you blame our President though, as he’s busy ignoring another natural disaster in Puerto Rico.

    2. rd

      Trump views the law solely as a weapon. He has no hesitation in filing lawsuits to delay things in courts but doesn’t want to be bound by laws.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Yes, what a *Bad Man*, the Dems, of course, uphold the law in every instance. If the former Secretary of State, for example, destroys evidence under subpoena then they would face the full consequences. If the head of the FBI commits perjury in sworn testimony under oath to Congress then they would face five years in prison. If a bank or mortgage company CEO defrauds to the tune of billions of dollars then they would obviously earn an orange jumpsuit, the US Attorney General would never step in and say that bankers are too important to ever face jail time.

        There are many reasons and strategies to oppose Trump but simply saying what he does is “illegal” is no longer one that is available to Democrats.

    3. Sol

      That seems to be the inherent problem with these nifty rules humans think up. We only follow the rules if we agree that the rule benefits our self in particular and at this moment.

      Culture appears to work more consistently than laws, although even culture that asks too much of an individual with too little benefit gets pushback.

  6. JohnnyGL

    I know lambert does a polling round up in the afternoon, but i can’t resist. Bernie continues to creep closer to biden. There’s more detail in this week’s dataset. His gains look broad based…improved across age groups and races.

    Black voters are still a weakness, though. It’s very hard to win the democratic primary if you are behind by 20 points among black voters.

      1. polecat

        Uh, I believe it was taken in Ukraine …

        …. in a smoke-filled Bursima Holdings back room.


        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Still no air time yet for Nancy’s son Paul’s dealings in The Ukraine, one company he owns is suspended for securities fraud, there are ugly paternity suit dealings being pursued by the FBI, and Nancy’s 2015 trip to Ukraine to discuss “energy issues” deserves a close look since her son is on the board of an energy company doing business there. Can you say “quid pro quo”?

          But the hapless Dems insist on calling out Trump’s Ukraine phone call as “corruption”?

          Look, I’m all for Team Blue or Team Progressive or whatever to gain the upper hand here but in my view that can’t happen until the root and branch corruption is exposed whenever and wherever it appears. Bernie, Tulsi, and Yang are the only ones I can see who meet the standard, Biden is so deep in it he doesn’t even know it’s wrong.

    1. Grant

      “Black voters are still a weakness, though.”

      He has, by a solid margin, strong support middle aged to younger black voters. He has more support than anyone from younger people of color and it isn’t close. OLDER black voters are a problem, as older voters are generally a problem for Bernie. Upper income black voters are a problem, as they generally are for Bernie. Black people aren’t a monolith.

      And if 74% of Democrats look at Biden’s horrific record, decades long corruption, poor personal conduct and clear mental decline and approve, then that party is almost certainly beyond repair. People have assumed that Biden would collapse because of how horrible of a candidate he is. The assumption was that Democratic voters would be logical, see the obvious, put aside empty propaganda and emotional attachment and many of them clearly can’t do that. It seems beyond many Democrats to do ten minutes of critical research on Biden’s record and critical thinking about how horrible of a candidate he would be to go against Trump.

      1. Tom Bradford

        “People have assumed that Biden would collapse because of how horrible of a candidate he is. The assumption was that Democratic voters would be logical, see the obvious, put aside empty propaganda and emotional attachment and many of them clearly can’t do that.” – Grant

        People assumed that Trump would collapse because of how horrible of a candidate he is. The assumption was that voters would be logical, see the obvious, put aside empty propaganda and emotional attachment and many of them clearly can’t do that.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Trump outcandidated the other Republican wannabes. He then went on to outcandidate the Democrats’ beloved Clinton precioussss.

          So who was the horrible candidate?

          1. Grant

            All of them are the horrible candidates. Trump, the other Republicans, Clinton. There isn’t a non-horrible candidate among them, from my vantage point at least. The question is who is the least horrible candidate to those that bother to vote, in the small part of the country that can go one way or another and can decide an election. How many people have the chance to vote for uncorrupted candidates that offer up actually good policies? In this system, during presidential elections, you have one, maybe two candidates among a sea of nothings, worth supporting and they are always massively outspent and have the media and the party higher ups aligned against them.

        2. JTMcPhee

          Trump proved to be an excellent candidate, no? When it counted, which was however disingenuously talking to, or more accurately at, enough of the people. He figured out how to play the game. I wonder if that understanding of crowd dynamics preceded his hat in the ring, or whether it developed as he went along? He obviously knew how to play the media organ. He played for the win, which as is observed regularly here, the DNC types don’t care to (except in the sense that wealth continues to flow to them from the Elite…)

          So Trump was a “terrible candidate” only according to the framing provided by the People Who Know These Things And Explain Them To The Rest Of Us.

          And with this “who lost Iran and Iraq” thing going on, my guess is that he will once again find the messaging that makes what looks like Keystone Kops, as the Talking Heads and the rest of the MSM are playing it up, into actually a win.

          Of course it is impossible to find the final word on any of this — too many moving parts, too many “interests,” too much rotational spin energy in the machinery. In the meantime, the planet burns, and we humans don’t have more than the tiniest clue about all the systems and interconnects and feedbacks going on in the biosphere. Bunch of blind philosophers each laying a hand on one small part of the elephant, telling all the others in authoritative tones that “The elephant is a Tree” or a broom or a hose…

  7. Wukchumni

    Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
    Ain’t got time to take a fast train
    Iraqi days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home
    DoD, just a wrote a letter

    I don’t care how much money they gotta spend
    Got to get back to my baby again
    Baghdad days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home
    DoD, just-a wrote a letter

    Well, they wrote a letter
    Said they could live without Iraq no more
    Listen mister, can’t you see I got to get back
    To my baby once-a more
    Anyway, yeah

    Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
    Ain’t got time to take a fast train
    Mesopotamia days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home
    DoD, just-a wrote a letter

    1. Wukchumni

      If we were to blast Persepolis into smithereens, that’d put us on equal footing to the Taliban & Isis in destroying cherished ancient cultural sites, so as to erase the past.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Over on IdPol obsessed, people are making posts asking Iran to ‘please bomb this American cultural site’ with a corresponding picture of say McDonalds.

    3. Tom Bradford

      I hope, and believe, the Iranians are not so stupid as to make it personal. Trump is quite capable of weilding the US military purely to gratify a personal slight.

      In any case it would be far more effective for the Iranians to do what it appears might be happening – getting non-affiliated parties to make public rumours of such possibilities. Would you want to stay at, visit or even work in a Trump property if you were aware of this rumour?

      And of course there is always the possibility that such speculation might put the idea into the head of some hot-head who goes ahead and does it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A Call To Alms (Spiritual).

        Iranians do not have to be Italians (as portrayed in movies, and not always accurately).

        Recall Marlon Brando as Godfather. For the greater good (or long lasting profits), he sought to bury the hatchet.

        That’s just a movie, of course. (And Brando turned out to be too optimistic). But the world, the real world*, can do better, or needs to do better.

        *Here, that real world includes real all-often-ignored plants and animals, such as the one in today’s Antidote. They don’t need to do better, just humans who need to do better.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Some would say Bush II with Cheney et al wielded the Awesome Shocking US Military to correct a personal slight to Bush I —- the silly tenacity of Saddam Hussein, former best buddy, as boss of Iraq.

        And we have had presidents who have bombed aspirin factories out of spite, and some who as candidates *allegedly* conspired with (horrors!) the Mullahs of Irania to “influence a presidential election” via arms and money games, to not release those 52 CIA/State hostages, thus bringing on the Reagan Revolution, the only recent successful revolution (actually major victory By the Few in the Class War.)

  8. Winston Smith

    Surprised that there is not more discussion of Iran or its assets targeting Trump properties. That would be a “real world” application of one of Aron Nimzowitsch’s chess axiom: “the threat is stronger than the execution”. That would mess with the President’s mind and highlight the problems of having a President with significant private assets overseas.

    1. voteforno6

      Talk about hitting Trump where it really hurts him…I suspect he would care a lot more about them attacking any of his properties or any Trump-branded stuff out there, then them taking out some random American general. It’s rather fiendishly clever on their part, I think, to even hint at it.

      1. tegnost

        especially as trump is completely responsible for all u.s. aggression for 20 years prior to his becoming tweeter in chief. This bomb trump bs is, as I noted in another comment, a democrat wet dream. Please…fiendishly clever, almost as if rachel maddow made it up.
        Here’s one…
        SINS OF THE FATHERS — Euripides (c. 485-406 B.C.), Phrixus, fragment 970: “The gods visit the sins of the fathers upon the children.”

        I hate to break it to you, but there’s really nowhere to hide

      2. human

        The day my twins were born, 30 plus years ago (sigh), I rushed my wife to the hospital and found a parking space near the door up against a utility company barrier for some gas main work. A worker asked me if I was concerned for my car. I replied, “It’s insured.”

        1. voteforno6

          It’s not so much the act itself, but the threat that would be worse, I think. If people think there’s a chance that one of his properties could be a target, they would take their business elsewhere. For the most part, these are people that can afford to take their business elsewhere.

    2. Acacia

      Breaking: “Cargo Spills as Mysterious Unregistered Container Ship Crashes Ashore at Mar-a-Lago. Thousands of Rabid Tasmanian Gophers Found Devouring Golf Course” ;)

    3. Bob

      I’m sure they are covered by insurance. I find it sad that so many people root for evil people to do evil things.

      1. Winston Smith

        The whole point is NOT to do anything but to let a vague threat hang in the air…hint that something could happen and discourage people from going there….I don’t think insurance covers that. If necessary, actualize the threat without harming anyone.

        1. ambrit

          Expect to soon see a new insurance company “get out of responsibility free” clause.
          The following are not covered by this policy: …. Including ‘Acts of the Party of God.’

          1. human

            Just months before 9/11, the World Trade Center’s lease was sold to Larry Silverstein. Silverstein took out an insurance plan that ‘fortuitously’ covered terrorism. After 9/11, Silverstein took the insurance company to court, claiming he should be paid double because there were 2 attacks. He won, and was awarded $4,550,000,000.

            Sorry that this is from Snopes, Just want to supply a quick fact.

      2. polecat

        “evil people doing evil things” .. ??

        … and just who are the most evil, eviler, evilist of evils, prey tell ?

      1. Eclair

        My husband’s family swears by Gravely. We have six antiques in the wood shed in western NY, including riding and walk-behind plows, mowers and snow blowers. They are in use …. although they require constant maintenance. This allows the men in the family unlimited opportunity to hang out, tinkering with them, going to the hardware store, sending away, or traveling to Pennsylvania, for esoteric parts. I am still waiting for the new garden plot to be plowed up.

        1. Synoia

          Perhaps a NEW Gravely would fix the problem?

          In addition to cutting the beer supply until certain milestones, plowing the new garden plot, are met?

          I refer you to the tale of the Spartan Women, a form of sanction, as a mechanism to focus male effort.

          1. Eclair

            I am doing the Spartan Women one better. Finding myself another man …. who has a working tractor. For rent.

        2. inode_buddha

          Speaking of which, I have been hoping for years to get myself one of the old 2-wheeled walk behind tractors, to fix up and use. Right here in WNY. Anything that can pull a 1-bottom and a harrow is OK.

      2. Mark Gisleson

        We had a little Allis Chalmers when I was growing up on the farm. Until we were tweens, it was the only tractor we were allowed to use. I have more affectionate memories of that tractor than I do of any of our farm dogs.

        When farm kids turn 16, getting a driver’s license is seriously anticlimactic.

        1. Ray Sim

          As I recall, if you looked the part, you had a defacto license to drive damn near anything on township roads. My teenage employment history was pretty much a nonstop OSHA violation. I loved it of course.

        2. HotFlash

          My grandad went to the sherriff’s office to get a drivers license for his oldest, then 13, so he could drive the tractor on the road. The sherriff said to my grandad, “Well, here’s one for ‘Nita, too.” That was my mother, then 12 and not even there at the time.

    1. Pelham

      Two things: Last fall we visited an organic grain farmer in upstate New York who had three old tractors and made a point of noting that aspiring farmers really need to be “gearheads” to make a go of it. He’s a former mechanic and car dealer and repairs all his equipment.

      Separately, for years I’ve longed for a new car or truck I could work on. (Significantly, 50-year-old trucks now sell for quite a premium.) Does anyone remember the Ford Maverick? One of its big selling points back when it was introduced in the ’70s was the fact that owners, if so inclined, could do all the routine maintenance themselves. I believe it had a very basic inline six and sold for $1,995 initially in Ford’s bid to compete with the VW Beetle, another super simple car.

      1. apber

        Put 2.5 million miles on an 84 Ford E250 van with an inline 6; an engine that was the easiest to maintain of any vehicle I’ve owned. Cost me less than $500/yr to maintain (mostly tires,brakes).

        1. Pelham

          Inline 6’s are the only naturally balanced internal-combustion engines, thus suffering less wear and tear. Also simple, as you say.

          I’d need to learn a lot, but my ambition is to get an old pickup with a 6 and spend my retirement fixing it up.

    2. Hopelb

      GE could revive itself with a line of low tech, easily repairable, lifetime lasting, appliances, and then could move onto a low tech, easily repairable car. Call the line, Obsolete Planned Obsolescence,OPO! GE’s back in business!

      Our GE range, washer, and dryer all stopped working because of their digital panel boards ( tin whiskers?). Too costly to repair, so we bought antiques from Craigslist. When the Kenmore washer broke, we fixed the coupler that attaches the motor to the drum for 17 dollars.
      More on tin whiskers;
      Great diy repair videos;–/Kenmore-Washing-Machine-Troubleshooting

      1. Karla

        Don’t forget Speed Queen, made in America, steel construction, commercial quality, lasts forever.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I really don’t know why some company hasn’t already started selling low tech items. It would work well for automobiles too. And it’s not like all these new cars larded up with excess tech get 150 mpg or have any other major benefits – the tech just seems to make them cost more and unable to be fixed.

        1. Sol

          New cars are rolling out with “smart” headlights. Automated control on dimmer/brights, GPS, bells, whistles, probably HIPAA-compliant for now. $1500 to replace a headlight though.

          Alternately, I know of a fella, old computer/tech wiz, built a home thingie system. Can optimize electric usage, auto-set controls for thermostat, manage any home cam feeds; you know, those home system thingies. Everything is in control of the user and there’s no way for a company to mine customer data. He’s trying to sell it for development with apparently zero interest. (Of course, his software might be crap, I’m not good enough to know and also don’t wire my home.)

          I’m in the market for a quern. It’s a manual mill, like a grinder, big ones can be used to make cornstarch and flour, little ones to make tahini or spice blends or… They’re in common use in some parts of the world. Can’t get them in America. Unless someone’s got a hot tip, I’m trying to learn how to make one myself.

          1. HotFlash

            Have you looked into the Wondermill Jr? It’s a manual grinder, not a quern, but reasonably priced and simple. Can be rigged for power, eg bicycle, water, electric.

        2. Deltron

          Capital costs, regulations, and other barriers to entry make it very challenging to become a new player in an established industry like appliance manufacturing. These industries may eventually incur a shake up, but it will likely be a Silicon Valley giant like Google or Apple that steps in (IoT and smart appliances…which means high tech, not low tech).

          The sad part is relatively low-tech, energy efficient appliances are not a challenge to manufacture. In some cases, these low-tech, highly efficient appliance models already exist and are sold in Latin American markets (due to unreliable electricity service in those nations). However, for the U.S. market, manufacturers incorporate the energy efficient technologies only into the premium product lines with digital displays, stainless steel siding, extensive settings, and the software to manage those settings. So, if you want an energy efficient product, you have to pay for all of the other crap. If you want reasonably-priced, simple, and energy efficient appliances (and other end uses), then support more stringent DOE energy efficiency standards along with ENERGY STAR requirements for performance and reliability (e.g., LED color requirements). In 2005, DOE and EPA put forth the idea of including a wash rating for dishwashers since manufacturers already test their models using the AHAM test method (and report the data to AHAM). Obviously, the manufacturers were not in favor of this and employees at DOE and EPA started receiving phone calls from the Hill to rattle their cages. It didn’t go far. So, you have manufacturers complaining that energy efficiency hurts product performance in public dockets, but won’t share data to indicate as much even though it exists.

    3. skippy

      As a kid I was given one of my grandfathers old tractors to help out, sorta like my first car, before I was old enough to get a license.

      A John Deer A that had been sitting in the same spot for as long as I could remember. I was given a bit of sand paper and a wire brush and I prepped it for paint, even took me to the local shop to buy new stickers. Anywho to get it running we just flushed the fuel system, topped up fluids, pressurized the brine filled tires, and cleaned up the magneto and it started right up.

      Although I always had a thing for the old water injection multi fuel John Deer D, weight to power ratio on that thing was ridiculous.

      So yeah in a dystopian reality I could see how such machines would be sought after.

  9. bob



  10. tegnost

    Boeing order of priorities…
    1.) Break unions
    2.) Buy back stocks increasing share price
    3.) Cash out, laughing about the stupid proles as you step over homeless people to get into Daniels
    broiler for lunch…
    4.) Write off the cost of the lunch as business expense since you discussed how you’ve got a
    computer that can make a pig fly

    1. flora

      Not saying they won’t get away with this, but something is shifting in the zeitgeist, imo.
      When even Marco Rubio sounds more enlightened than mayor Petie…

      “When it comes to Chinese firms, our companies aren’t competing with private enterprises; they are competing with a large and powerful nation-state.

      And in the long run it is a competition that market fundamentalists won’t win.”
      -Marco Rubio

      Boeing is a major military contractor. Ya don’t compete with large countries militaries based on finding the cheapest (aka the least skilled) labor available, imo. Hiring the cheapest labor possible and getting rid of unions is part of what got Boeing into this fix, it won’t get them out of the jam they’re in, imo.

      1. voteforno6

        Maybe, maybe not. However, Boeing executives probably believe (with good reason, I think) that the company really is too big, and too important to fail. Boeing will get bailed out – the question is, will there be any consequences for the executives?

        1. Synoia

          Boeing executive believe in having all three, Cheap Fast and Good, and they have ambitious courtiers (underlings), possessing MBAs, who will to prove that’s possible on free-floating power-point slides flying around Boeing offices.

          They have assumed Gravity away, as an undesired concept practiced by unions.

        2. ambrit

          One dreaded possibility is that the Government only ‘bails out’ the military production side of the company.
          Or, President Bernie could nationalize it.

  11. Wukchumni

    In the midst of a week of skiing @ Lake Tahoe & Mammoth, and noticed an interesting thing…

    Our friends who ski @ Park City between Xmas & New Years and have done so for about 20 years, told me how uncrowded it was during this period, which is usually prime-time, and it’s one of a few ‘blackout’ dates where regular season passes aren’t usable, so the resorts are reliant upon proles paying up the ying-yang for lift tix, a nice deal for them to make bank, aside from their regular revenue garnering season of April-May when the next year’s season passes go on sale.

    I was told the same thing happened over Xmas break here in Tahoe, not as crowded as it should be.

    The snow is from a storm a month ago, and euphemistically called ‘Firm’ which is ski-ease for icy. Not the best conditions, but you go with the piste you’ve got-not the ;piste you want.

  12. Pelham

    Re Epstein: The thing that really caught my eye in the 60 Minutes imagery was the photo of the bloody wound on Epstein’s neck.

    It takes a little imagination, but if you picture a man trying to hang himself, it’s easy to see that the noose — necessarily pulling from above head level — would quickly slide up just under the jawbone.

    Now imagine a second party putting a cord around a man’s neck from behind and tightening. The force would either be horizontal or, more likely, downward as the killer uses his body weight to finish the job. Thus the wound mark would be much lower on the neck, and that is exactly what we see in Epstein’s autopsy photo.

    He had to have been murdered.

    1. HotFlash

      Neck looks like a garrot wound, but the three breaks in the hyoid — manual strangulation? Any forensic pathologists out there?

      1. Yves Smith

        Hyoid is a teeny bone, very easy to break. And per Perry Mason, it breaks in strangulations too!

        The thing that is more troubling are the breaks of the cervical spine. Hard to see how that could have happened leaning into a noose. And the alternate theory, that he somehow jumped from the top bunk, is disproven by his toiletries being all lined up tidily on the top bunk. Enough force to break cervical spinal bones would have shaken up the stuff on the top bunk.

  13. Karla

    On tourist taxes….

    Tourist drivers are the worst offenders in the Bay Are of California. Their vehicles clog the streets, hog parking places, pollute and gridlock traffic on weekends. There are transit alternatives, but they are scarce, with the exception of the brilliant Muir Woods shuttle and parking reservation system that limits traffic somewhat.

    Rental cars agencies, hotel garages and parking structures all tax heavily.
    Perhaps license plate readers could charge people based on the distance from the area that their cars are registered: If your car is registered in San Francisco, you are charged nothing in San Francisco, if your car is registered in a neighboring city, you pay little, if a distant city, you pay much more.

    What’s the diff between tourists who sleep in hotels, sleep in AirBnB, and people who drive vans into the city and sleep in them?

    What is the difference between motor tourists and homeless who live in vans? Are the majority of San Francisco homeless who are from elsewhere long term tourists, or homeless?

  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Disinformation for hire.

    One wonders if that article itself wasn’t placed on Buzzfeed by a “Black PR” firm because after reading it, it appears that all the bad actors are operating from foreign countries with no mention of any sockpuppetry or fake news originating from the US.

    But I’m so old I remember Correct the Record all the way back from the ancient days of 2000 aught 16.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      It sucks cuz my 23 yr old cousin/roommate watches Buzzfeed/Reddit YouTube Videos but sometimes I just want to scream in her ear about the Blob and Atlantic Council and NATO and that theres a worldwide conspiracy to influence the youth in the so-called “Five Eyes” Countries.

  15. drumlin woodchuckles

    About those older analog tractors . . . ” well built, stood the test of time, and its easy to get parts” . . . If it is possible, or even easy, to get EVERY SINGLE part for these tractors, the question arises: would it be possible for someone who wants to own a “brand new” version of one of these tractors to buy every single part and make his very own classical tractor from all the parts?

    Might a market opportunity be emerging for “kit tractors”? Might a market opportunity be emerging for neo-analog tractors newly made in neo-analog tractor factories? Might ” sociallly-minded” food-buyers begin inquiring whether the farmers they are buying food from use a “can’t-repair-it” digital tractor or a farmer-can-fix-it analog tractor?

    Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat. Lead the money around by the nose.

    1. Synoia

      brand new” version of one of these tractors to buy every single part


      That is a very expensive way to buy a machine, probably 2 to 5 times the cost of a fully assembled machine.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      That’s quite possible. My father restored several 1940s era Farmall tractors a few years ago and he was able to get all the parts he needed. Some of them were rusted out and unusable before he restored them and they are now operational. While he mostly drives them around for show, he has used them for agricultural purposes too.

      1. RMO

        This is a “right to repair” issue, not an issue of the new equipment being necessarily inherently bad. John Deere made a deliberate decision to make it impossible to repair or replace any parts without paying them for the privilege – and trying to get around the code that makes the tractor refuse to work without the factory’s blessing seems to violate the DMCA. This is what is just plain evil. With modern cars, the information needed to do the work, the ability to obtain and fit aftermarket parts and the ability to work with the software are all available to the end user and third party repair shops. You can even keep your warranty while using independent shops and aftermarket parts/materials – just as long as they meet standards. There are thousands upon thousands of gearheads doing their own work on modern cars right now. The same could be true of the new tractors IF you can get the government to stop them from deliberately making it impossible by locking owners and independent shops out via software.

        Unfortunately it’s apparently not enough for a manufacturer to build a product and sell it at a profit any more. Now they have to figure out multiple ways of clamping on to the customers bank account like the face-hugger alien and squeezing them for every last penny.

  16. Tomonthebeach

    A spate of new class-action lawsuits threaten the CBD industry. Will they force Washington to act?

    Why should citizens be required to sue the government to get it to do its damned job? Aside from CBD being turned into the nation’s best-selling placebo, FDA still has refused to regulate eCigarettes either by setting purity standards and limits on nicotine dosages or safety regs for the manufacture of the devices. Trump cannot even bring himself to outlaw flavoring which, as my old Marine Gunny used to say, is like putting a bandaid on a sucking chest wound; but, at least that would be something.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Yeah, about that. You just got suckered, mate. I have now seen a campaign started to get conservatives to say that all the bushfires are caused by arsonists and nothing to do with climate change. That Paul Joseph Watson just did a video on it (and spread some porkers) and the guy at the SNAFU Blog did an article about it as well. Bots have been deployed too but it is not working so well in Oz due to one, a smaller population and two, we are too busy patting down the flames on our clothes.

      Yes, there are some arsonist but there are ones like that 79 year-old guy that lit a few back burns to protect his property and was arrested. Guess what? I have a lot of branches and timber that I would like to throw in my burn-bin and burn off. But there has been a total fire-ban on for months in my State alone. If I did that, the cops would – rightly – nab & charge me with arson. Then I would appear as one of those “arsonists” that the conservatives are yelling about.

      The climate has change son and westerly winds that use to bring in rain to fall on the Australian mainland have moved south so that those rains are falling in the ocean there. Places like swamps are drying out and are burning. I live here and the dryness and heat & humidity have set up a wonderful fire season. We just brought back a horse from having its hoofs trimmed and the farrier commentated how the hoofs cut like cardboard because the dryness of our few acres were sucking all the moisture out of them.

      And before I sign off, check that article that you linked to, mate. Out of the 183 people charged since last November, only 24 have been actually charged with deliberately lighting fires. What does that say about the seriousness of the other 159? Read that article again.

      1. Daryl

        It’s amazing how the lies only become more brazen and depraved as the dire consequences of climate change begin to manifest.

        1. Wukchumni

          Automatically going to the arson card is pretty common concerning wildfires in California also, but the press seldom pins the tale on something that happened a few months ago, that’s a rather desperate angle of repose.

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