Links 6/11/18

Medical Xpress (CL).

WSJ

Tax Research UK

FT

Bloomberg

FT

CNBC

Bloomberg

TechCrunch (KW).

Economist. “Convenient, safe AVs, which allow riders to nap rather than mind the wheel, should reduce the hassle of travelling by car.” Anything below Level 5 demands constant vigilance by the driver, which negates the convenience advantage.

The Atlantic. “Instead of fixing the old trains, let’s rip out the tracks and fill the tunnels with fleets of autonomous vehicles running on pavement.”

North Korea

Politico

The Interpreter

Axios

Foreign Policy

South China Morning Post

China?

NYT

Reuters

Bloomberg

Trade

Associated Press

Reuters

Wolf Street (EM).

David Leonhardt, NYT

Global Guerillas. From 2017, still germane.

Syraqistan

The Vineyard of the Saker

Reuters

Brexit

Institute for Government

Economist. The trigger on the privatization side seems to be the Carillion crash; the trigger on the government side seems to be a centralizing the schedule function in the head office, eliminating local expertise.

Trump Transition

CNET

Politico

Democrats in Disarray

NY Post. Getting a lot of play at the state level (, , , , and ) but little nationally. A shame this lawsuit is coming from conservatives and not the left.

Washington Monthly. “Cross-pressured affluent suburban Democrats.”

NYT. “The lone Democratic outlier from the money chase is Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who bypassed large contributors in his 2016 presidential bid and still raised about $230 million, almost entirely from a torrent of small online donations — a model that many Democrats are trying to emulate.” Many?

2018 Midterms

s The Hill

The Hill

Facebook Fracas

Independent (KW).

Imperial Collapse Watch

America is already great:

Having now been in Beijing, Seoul and Singapore in the past six months, it is like peering into the future. Much of their infrastructure, compared to ours, is like the Jetsons compared to the Flintstones.

— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox)

Having just come through JFK’s international terminal, followed by a ride up to Boston on Amtrak, I can only agree.

Guillotine Watch

FT

Cliodynamics (UserFriendly).

Class Warfare

Forbes

Dandelion Salad (JB).

Salon (UserFriendly). Yves: “This is fun in a jaded way.”

CNBC. See also NC here.

Politico

Antidote du jour ():

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

166 comments

  1. JTMcPhee

    Drone killings under Trump are a growth industry, it seems. Even worse than Obama’s pretty indiscriminate “killing people:”

    “The numbers are shocking — or at least they should be.

    2017 was the deadliest year for civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria, with as many as 6,000 people killed in strikes conducted by the U.S.-led coalition, according to the watchdog group Airwars.

    That is an increase of more than 200 percent over the previous year.

    It is far more if you add in countries like Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia and many others.

    But the subject, considered a stain on President Barack Obama’s legacy even by many of his supporters, has almost dropped off the map.

    Obsessed with the seemingly daily updates in the Stormy Daniels story or the impeachment potential of the Russia investigation, the American media is paying even less attention now to a topic it never focused on with much zeal.”

    What a wonderful world.

    Reply
    1. armchair

      Between a drone killing spree and payoffs to a porn star, what will be more effective at convincing a Christian conservative to reconsider loyalty to a crooked real estate developer?

      Reply
    2. Doug Hillman

      Soaring hope for the lesser of two weevils is thus dashed. Meet the new boss, worse than the old boss. The only noticeable change in the white house now is decor.

      Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    “1 big thing: The intelligence file on Kim Jong-un”

    “Gluttonous, prone to fits of anger and swaggering around his classmates.”
    I’m sorry, but this is Kim’s file, is it?

    Reply
    1. Doug Hillman

      Ha! A mixup at CIA/NSA? Trump’s Intel dossier is differentiated by its thickness when the classified blackmail appendix is attached.

      Reply
  3. JTMcPhee

    Women crushed under $890 billion in “student loan” debt? Can’t probably be collected, won’t be collected, despite imposed pain and suffering.

    #juststoppaying .

    Reply
    1. zagonostra

      The “pathology of normalcy” is strikingly evident in stories like AARP’s concern about it’s member’s being ensnared by one of the evil demons of debt. Along with the other demon of healthcare cost, it is printed here and voiced elsewhere as another drip, drip, drip of news…the media and their owners will keep events like Korea, Russian and what ever the news story du jour is rolling so that “normal” people come to accept the absurdities and evils…

      Yes juststoppaying if you can, and if you can’t now (sometimes you have to wait until your loved ones are safe) then do so at the first opportunity.

      Reply
    2. Tangled Up in Texas

      Just stop paying means garnished wages, black marks on your credit report, lost job opportunities as a result …and maybe even loss of employment. Certainly higher borrowing rates as a result of those black marks and garnishments…and the debt collectors of these student loans can go so far as to garnish your Social Security.

      Just stop paying does not work. You would need a mass movement and the powers-that-be have taken great pains to make sure we are a fractured Society, unable to work together to bring about good or just conditions.

      Getting politicians to change the law would work, but it was the politicians who created the condition in the first place. i.e. Mr. MBNA Joe Biden made sure student loans weren’t dischargeable in bankruptcy.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Of course the garnishment, bad credit, job loss and all the rest of what you name are happening to lots of honorable people who are struggling to pay, and pay, and pay.

        And we mopes are constantly told all the reasons we have to just accept that resistance is futile, change for the better is impossible, and there is no alternative. I’m guilty myself.

        But there are tipping points. And catalyzing moments and actions.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Like many things in life, it’s not black or white, one or zero, etc, but involves more nuanced cost-benefit trade-offs.

          Short term pain vs. long term gain, for example.

          Here, we look forward to tipping points, catalyzing moments and actions.

          In a trade war, there are casualties.

          “A shocking blow to the solar industry!!!!!!!!!”

          In another age, reminded of a victory being declared after Dunkirk, someone might today say, in response to South China Morning Post’s ‘a trade war was over and the US was defeated: “We shall fight on the beaches littered with imported plastic beach umbrellas, we shall fight on laminated floors, maternity wards, absentee owner mansions, soybean fields, pig farms…we shall never surrender.

          Reply
      2. Mulish

        I’ve been in default with my loans for over a decade. My wages have been garnished once, which stopped after I was laid off. They haven’t come after me again. My remaining balance is under $10K and I’m sure I’m not worth the effort with the ballooning rate of defaults.

        It doesn’t have to be a mass movement. There are never going to be enough debt collectors to collect all the debt.

        I don’t care about my credit, ie my ability to take on more debt. I’m not foolish enough to believe in the long term stability of the USA or the planet for that matter. Back when I first stopped paying, I was just trying to not be hungry. I don’t work in an industry that is going to pore over my credit report, and when they ask to look, I’m upfront about my credit being shitty.

        Your whole rant about this presupposes that people actually care about credit scores. The only people who care about credit scores are lenders. And with the re-current bouts of sub-prime lending, even that is questionable.

        I’m not going to live my life to have the best credit score possible. That’s insane. To shape one’s life to get the best rate on debt is bollocks. It’s just one more iteration of social Puritanism that needs to die.

        I’m also pretty good with my taxes so I don’t get refunds (which can be garnished and handed over to student loan companies) and generally only pay a little to nothing in taxes. As for SS, I have a feeling that student loan debt will be dischargeable by the time I’m collecting, not that I won’t be working anyways, if we haven’t lemminged ourselves into the sea as a species by then.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          The problem is that the entire social and economic culture of the West today is tied to credit scores at many levels. Our son had to get a room mate, when he was single, with a decent credit score, to rent a ‘decent’ apartment. His credit score was non-existant.
          Essentially, one must exit the ‘modern’ social system entirely to avoid credit scoring. a difficult process at best.
          I expect to see the return of old fashioned anarchist “bomb throwers” sooner or later.
          An old hunting trick is to leave a way out for the prey. Much safer that way. A cornered ‘prey beast’ is a very dangerous one. Anything else leads to Hubris and the intervention of Nemesis. Essentially, a bad time will be had by all.

          Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            One way out of the trap is likely to be “Assisted Suicide,” which of course is subject to being franchised and monetized as a growth industry. I think already there is a significant “market” for human organs and tissues. Not quite the “Soylent Green” loop, where human corpses go into the vats that grow the algae that er the sole remaining food source for the remaining humans (except the Elite, of course, who run the Soylent Corporation and live high on the last few hogs and steers and such.)

            Or possibly that walk down the shadowed basement corridor, waiting for the small-caliber bullet to be fired into one’s brain stem…

            Interesting that the Mopery has not produced many people so anomic that they are willing to do whatever, to decimate the Looter Elite — but maybe we mopes just are not allowed to hear about episodes of such behavior…

            Reply
        2. oh

          The crooked credit agencies usually store a lot of erroneous information. They created the credit score to sell their wares to companies providing credit who are mostly seedly and unethical. They “collect” information on you but they cannot keep that info from being hacked. I don’t know how we’ve let it get this far. Insurance companies are another set of crooks and want to find ways to make you pay more in premiums but are reluctant to pay any claims.

          What you’re doing is one of the better ways to beat them at their own game. Any time you can work in the underground economy you can stay away from these bloodsuckers.

          Reply
      3. TSD

        What you do is take a cash advance on credit cards and pay off your student loans and the default on the credit cards, if you so inclined.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          That’s assuming that you have that large a line of credit. Wouldn’t the outstanding student loans diminish your credit line? (From someone who doesn’t use credit very much, if at all.)

          Reply
          1. oh

            Not really. The more loans and credit cards you have they more they’ll loan you, as long as you’re current on you payments. If you don’t have credit, they won’t give you any credit!

            Reply
      4. Lost in OR

        I stopped paying around 2008 when my life sh!t the bed. Yes, there are repercussions.

        At some point, we have to ask ourselves if we’re being good little consumers because it’s the moral and upstanding thing to do or because we’re afraid of not being good little consumers. I suspect that the mindset that makes us stuck in dealing with the debtor economy also makes us stuck in dealing with climate change, peak oil, extinction, etc. The future will not be painless. Have courage.

        And may our Higher Power help us.

        Reply
      5. Just Stop Paying

        1) Self-Employed people (Uber/Lyft ?) cannot have their wages easily garnished.
        2) Many student loan donkeys already have poor credit, and no savings, and won’t be buying cars or homes on credit soon anyway. “Cash Rules” baby.
        3) Social security garnishment yes, but a 25 year-old anticipating the situation in 2058 is perhaps not so worried about that. Check your Accounting textbook on the the definition of “Present Value.”

        Reply
        1. Synoia

          Self-Employed people (Uber/Lyft ?) cannot have their wages easily garnished.

          They would just garnish your bank account.

          Reply
        2. Lord Koos

          I have a friend, a young woman in her mid-30s, who has somewhere north of $20k in student loan debt and who cannot find a decent job. At this point she will only take work that pays cash under-the-table, to avoid the garnishing of her pay. There must be millions like her.

          Reply
          1. Aumua

            Nah. You just go Income Based Repayment. If you’re making little to no money you pay nothing (basically the same as #justnotpaying). If you make enough, then you pay 12.5% of it or whatever it is. It’s doable, even reasonable almost and that’s my plan. Of course this does assume only federal loans and no private loans.

            Reply
      6. Bugs Bunny

        What if Student Loan defaulters had free “access” (one of those words) to financial consultants who could offshore all their wealth the same way they do for “high wealth individuals”? Just a thought.

        Reply
    3. rd

      It will be collected. They can garnish Social Security to pay off Federal student loan debts. Federal student loan debt is definitely something to pay off before retirement.

      Reply
      1. Lord Koos

        These people won’t be at retirement age for another 30+ years. What do you think social security will look like by that time? And since there is so little work for many graduates in the first place, how big do you think their SS check will be?

        Reply
    1. SimonGirty

      Yeah, I well remember Putin ramming the designated hitter rule rule down our thoats outlawing tasty trans-fats and forbidding white suits after communistic “Labor” Day.

      Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            …just like they are in RUSSIA! Except different, of course. Why the Empire and global looters fear the Russian model…

            Interesting — when I was a kid in the 50s and 60s, the thundering phrase was “BETTER DEAD THAN RED!!!” Now, of course, the “conservatives” take Red as their banner and brand.

            Reply
            1. DonCoyote

              “Followed some clues from my detective bag
              And discovered red stripes on the American flag
              Betty Ross”

              –Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues, Bob Dylan

              Reply
      1. polecat

        What about ketchup ? .. it’s RED ! And it Kerrys the day in most Establishment ‘I’ll eat-your-lunch’ joints ..

        Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I have to admit I liked the Flintstones better than the Jetsons.

        The latter just look like they’d have higher Social Credit scores.

        Reply
        1. John D.

          Yeah, George Jetson was – or will be (the show’s set in the future, remember!) – definitely in the 10% class, constantly sucking up to that mean old 1%-er Mr. Spacely, while Fred Flintstone was working class all the way!

          Reply
          1. Darthbobber

            Unexplained was how George Jetson still had a full-time “job” when it seemed reduced to the daily pushing of a single button. They automated everything else, but that was so vital the compensation sustained the Jetson clan?

            Reply
        2. pretzelattack

          i think the flintstones were loosely based on the honeymooners, and the jetsons on leave it to beaver.

          Reply
          1. RMO

            But… much of the Jetsons humor (such as it was) was based on the technology failing or having unpleasant consequences whereas the Flinstones tech usually worked well and the humor (such as it was) was in its idiosyncratic design. I’m not sure the futuristic infrastructure was an improvement:-)

            Reply
  4. Steve H.

    > “While rising credit helped sustain an impression of prosperity,”

    Succinct and accurate. Thanks UserFriendly for the ‘Demographic Structural Theory” article.

    Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    “Does Winning Affluent Districts Require Selling Out The Poor?”

    No, but for both Republicans and Democrats, that is the icing on the cake! Look, after reading this article as well as the New York Times article that it referenced, I think that I can square that circle for them. If they want both the Trump voters and the affluent suburban voters, go for single-payer healthcare for the US. Simple.
    For Trump voters that means that they don’t have to die from some totally treatable condition and for the affluent suburban voters, it can be pointed out to them that they will no longer be one major illness away from being homeless and in poverty. It will cost a bit to set up but that will probably be cancelled out on the first year’s savings alone. Tell me that is not a vote winner. But it won’t happen because the Democrats work for their donors, not their voters.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      A key factor in the sustainability of any attempt to create more equality is that if it is just aimed ‘at the poor’, it will always be vulnerable to attack in the next electoral round. Good support schemes must benefit the majority in material ways if it is to have deep political support. This is why universal healthcare of some type and free education at all levels must be at the core of any progressive movement. Likewise, direct welfare should focus on universal child benefits, free childcare, etc.

      Reply
  6. PlutoniumKun

    Is Putin really ready to “ditch” Iran? The Vineyard of the Saker

    Amazing analysis, with a stark conclusion:

    Finally, there is the single most important fact: the AngloZionist Empire and Russia remain at war, and have been so for at least four years or more. That war is still about 80% informational, 15% economic and 5% kinetic, but it this is a very real war nonetheless, and it is escalating. As long as Russia will retain even partial sovereignty and as long as she will offer an alternative civilizational model, even an imperfect one, she will remain an existential threat to the Empire and the Empire will remain an existential threat for the entire Russian civilizational realm. While hugely important to Israel, the entire Iranian issue is just a sideshow to the transnational leaders of the Empire who see Russia and China as the real main competitors, especially when joined in a symbiotic relationship as they are today. Hence the crises in the Ukraine and on the Korean Peninsula, hence the constants warnings of a possible full-scale nuclear war (see Eric Zuesse latest article here or Paul Craig Roberts numerous article on his website; also check out Dan Glazebrook’s excellent analysis of Trump’s attempt to repeat the “Rambouillet ruse” in Korea here). Even if Putin succeeds in moving the EU closer to Russia and away from a (clearly insane) USA, and even if he succeeds in preventing the AngloZionists from directly attacking Iran, this will only further convince the AngloZionist leaders of the Empire that he, Putin, and Russia, are the ultimate evil which must be eliminated. Those who hope for some kind of modus vivendi between the Empire and Russia are kidding themselves, because the very nature of the Empire makes this impossible. Besides, as Orlov correctly pointed it out – the Empire’s hegemony is collapsing, fast. The Empire’s propaganda machine denies and obfuscates this, and those who believe it don’t see it – but the leaders of the Empire all understand this, hence the escalation on all fronts we have seen since the Neocons re-took power in the White House. If the Neocons continue on their current course, and I don’t see any indication whatsoever that they are reconsidering it, then the question is only when/where this will lead to a full-scale war first. Your guess is as good as mine.

    I’m not a believer in their being many ‘good guys’ against the ‘bad guys’ when it comes to geopolitical games, but its increasingly clear that whatever their many, many faults, the axis of Russia, Syria and Iran need to hold together and prevail if there is to be any hope of long term peace in the Middle East and across to central Asia. The mad mix of US/Anglo Neocons with SA and Israel seems hell bent on war, whatever the consequences. Its hard to avoid the conclusion that this is a response to their perception that the growth of a multipolar world is an existential threat to their way of life, and even a nuclear war is worth it if it stops the process.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From Wikipedia, Neoconversatism:

      Neoconservatism was initiated by the repudiation of the Cold War by the American New Left; Black Power, which accused white liberals and Northern Jews of hypocrisy on integration and of supporting settler colonialism in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict; “anti-anticommunism”, which during the late 1960s included substantial endorsement of Marxist–Leninist politics; and the “new politics” of the New left, which Norman Podheretz said was too close to the counterculture and too alienated from the majority of the population. Many were particularly alarmed by what they claimed were antisemitic sentiments from Black Power advocates.[23] Irving Kristol edited the journal The Public Interest (1965–2005), featuring economists and political scientists, which emphasized ways that government planning in the liberal state had produced unintended harmful consequences.[24] Many early Neoconservative political figures were disillusioned Democratic politicians and intellectuals, such as Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who served in the Nixon Administration, and Jeane Kirkpatrick, who served as President Ronald Reagan’s United Nations (UN) Ambassador.

      It looks like they still have a lot of work to do.

      Reply
  7. Alex

    Re The New York City Subway Is Beyond Repair

    Excellent article. For a moment I even thought it’s not a satire

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In a few scenarios, the likely outcome is hat London, Shanghai and New York could all be underwater within decades.

      The question is whether we should save that money and move people inland instead, in contrast with China’s doubling down on the Pearl of the Orient?

      Reply
      1. Alex

        Why do you think we won’t be able to protect the key cities? A quarter of Netherlands is below sea level now

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Some worry about a potential mega-tsunami from across the Atlantic that could hit New York, and other cities.

          Reply
          1. Synapsid

            MLTPB,

            What would cause a large tsunami heading from E to W across the Atlantic? Large tsunami are caused by large earthquakes, the kind that occur in subduction zones. The subduction zones in the Atlantic are on the W side, in the Windward Isles that bound the Caribbean on the E.

            Is there a source for that worry? I’m curious.

            Reply
            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              From Megatsunami, Wikipedia, Canary Islands section:

              Canary Islands
              Geologists Dr. Simon Day and Dr. Steven Neal Ward consider that a megatsunami could be generated during an eruption of Cumbre Vieja on the volcanic ocean island of La Palma, in the Canary Islands, Spain.[23][24]

              In 1949, this volcano erupted at its Duraznero, Hoyo Negro and Llano del Banco vents, and there was an earthquake with an epicentre near the village of Jedey. The next day Juan Bonelli Rubio, a local geologist, visited the summit area and found that a fissure about 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) long had opened on the east side of the summit. As a result, the west half of the volcano (which is the volcanically active arm of a triple-armed rift) had slipped about 2 metres (6.6 ft) downwards and 1 metre (3.3 ft) westwards towards the Atlantic Ocean,[25]

              Cumbre Vieja is currently dormant, but will almost certainly erupt again. Day and Ward hypothesize[23][24] that if such an eruption causes the western flank to fail, a mega-tsunami could be generated.

              La Palma is currently the most volcanically active island in the Canary Islands Archipelago. It is likely that several eruptions would be required before failure would occur on Cumbre Vieja.[23][24] However, the western half of the volcano has an approximate volume of 500 cubic kilometres (120 cu mi) and an estimated mass of 1.5 trillion metric tons (1.7×1012 short tons). If it were to catastrophically slide into the ocean, it could generate a wave with an initial height of about 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) at the island, and a likely height of around 50 metres (164 ft) at the Caribbean and the Eastern North American seaboard when it runs ashore eight or more hours later. Tens of millions of lives could be lost in the cities and/or towns of St. John’s, Halifax, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Miami, Havana and the rest of the Eastern Coasts of the United States and Canada, as well as many other cities on the Atlantic coast in Europe, South America and Africa.[23][24] The likelihood of this happening is a matter of vigorous debate.[26]

              The last eruption on the Cumbre Vieja occurred in 1971 at the Teneguia vent at the southern end of the sub-aerial section without any movement. The section affected by the 1949 eruption is currently stationary and does not appear to have moved since the initial rupture.[27]

              Geologists and volcanologists are in sharp disagreement about whether an eruption on the Cumbre Vieja would cause a single large gravitational landslide or a series of smaller landslides, or whether a slide is likely at all. There are also questions about the dynamics. Day and Ward have admitted that their original analysis of the danger was based on several worst case assumptions.[28][29]

              If you google ‘megatsunami, New York,’ you will find articles from around end of 2016, early 2017, around the time Trump got elected (coincidental?)

              Reply
              1. Synapsid

                MLTPB,

                Thanks. I’d forgotten about the threat of island collapse in the Canaries. We have an example of that very thing in the Hawai’ian chain but the name of the island escapes me. The runout on the sea floor is tremendous and it may well have set off a tsunami.

                Reply
            2. The Rev Kev

              Here is what a tsunami hitting the US east coast might look like though the cause here is a meteor strike, which, when you think about it, is not out of the question-

              Reply
        2. ambrit

          The upper end sea level rise scenarios posit a tens of metres rise in sea level within a century.
          Historically, the sea level has had ‘pulses’ of extreme short term sea level rise within the last hundred thousand years. Thus, the sea level rise could outpace the available protection methods. World wide, the population dislocations attendant to sea level rise will overwhelm the available resources. Triage will become necessary.
          Think of “The Pearl of the Orient” as a ‘sunk costs’ futures bet.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            From Liangzhu Culture, Wikipedia:

            It is believed that the Liangzhu culture or other associated subtraditions are the ancestral homeland of Austronesian speakers.[3] The Liangzhu Culture entered its prime about 4000 ~ 5000 years ago, but suddenly disappeared from the Taihu Lake area about 4200 years ago when it reached the peak. There are almost no traces in the following years ever found in this area.[4] Recent research has shown that the development of human settlements was interrupted several times by rising waters. This led researchers to conclude the demise of the Liangzhu culture was brought about by extreme environmental changes such as floods, as the cultural layers are usually interrupted by muddy or marshy and sandy–gravelly layers with buried palaeotrees.[5] Some evidence implicates that the Taihu lake was formed as an impact crater only 4500 years ago, which could help explain the disappearance of the Liangzhu culture.[6]

            The key word is ‘suddenly.’

            Just how suddenly, the article doesn’t say.

            Also interesting about the Austronesian homeland speculation, from about 4,000 years ago, versus the consensus of Taiwan being their homeland from about 3000 BC to 1500 BC (5,0000 years ago to 3,500 years ago, see Austronesian Peoples, Out of Taiwan Model section, Wikipedia).

            Perhaps they will find beautiful ancient jades with similar motifs (which Liangzhu culture is famous for) in various Pacific islands (none, up to now, as far as I know).

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              I think that you would appreciate “Eden in the East” by Oppenheimer.
              Read:
              I have linked to this in the past. The idea of early cultures being centred in Sundaland and then flooded out, and having to flee to higher ground, is quite persuasive.
              Sundaland:
              Oppenheimers look at the origins of rice cultivation is interesting.
              No question is ‘one and done’ forever. Change is all.

              Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I remember your linking in the past.

                It sounds like the Atlantis of the Orient, and the ‘Express Train Out of Taiwan’ model is something out of the blue to me. What is that?

                Reply
                1. ambrit

                  A link:
                  The prevailing ‘official’ view is that the ancestors of the dwellers of the Pacific Islands came out of Asia in two waves. The East Asians and the Melanesians. The ‘Express Train’ model posits that the Polynesian ancestors spread from China to Taiwan and then by boat out to the Pacific, very quickly, in historical terms. Several hundred years tops. As you can see, the subject is contentious.
                  In the general model, the migrations are from west to East, in a sequential manner. Oppenheimers contention is that, if Sundaland was a cradle of human culture, when it flooded, which is geological fact, the denizens would have spread in all directions, not just in one. So, the Taiwan as source of Pacific culture story could be backward. Also of interest is that part of Sundaland comprised of the South China continental shelf. China could nave been settled by refugees from the Pacific, not the other way around.
                  The Atlantis myth covers a lot of territory, literally so if we accept the premise that early human cultures arose on what are now flooded territiries. Said territories comprising not only Sundaland, but also the Bay of Cambay off the coast of India, the Persian Gulf, Doggerland, the space between England and North Europe, and parts of the upper Gulf Coast. Very early human habitation sites have been found underwater off of the west coast of Florida.
                  This is a big world, and only fools claim to know everything there is to know about it. I’ll admit that I am a Fool, but I like to append the ‘e’.
                  Ambrit Ye Foole

                  Reply
                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    Yes, it’s confusing to me.

                    They (some guys or gals who contribute to Wikipedia, specifically) say Polynesians sorts of just passed through Melanesia, picking up some of the genes (not that much).

                    Reply
              2. Synapsid

                ambrit,

                Oppenheimer’s next two books, Out of Eden (UK, The Real Eve in the US), and The Origins of the British would interest you, I suspect.

                I’ve known Oppenheimer as colleague and friend for a decade or more. He’s always worth listening to; I built a college course on The Real Eve, and it went very well.

                Reply
        3. Jeremy Grimm

          The people of the Netherlands have been building their dikes for centuries. The people of the United States don’t seem able to build anything but F-37s and giant floating targets. I do worry that NYC will try to build up sea barriers and I don’t know what else — to hold back the sea and worry they will try to soak Upstate New York to do it. I also wonder how to reconcile the worst case predictions for sea-level rise in this century with the peak sea-levels reported for Paleoclimates which seem uncomfortably similar to the best case climates predicted for our future together with the evidence that rates of sea-level increase are accelerating.

          Reply
            1. Synapsid

              Synoia,

              The two words illustrate the two main influences in early English, from the Saxon and the Norse.

              “Dike” and “ditch” show the sound difference from the two: “dike” from the Norse and “ditch” from the Saxon. We see the same traces in the pairs “skirt” and “shirt”, and “kirk” and “church.” Each of the pairs shows terms related but not of quite the same meanings. “Drink” and “drench” might be another such pair.

              Reply
    2. rjs

      question is, what does NY do between the time that one starts ripping out the subway and the time when the new system, whatever it may be, becomes operational?

      Reply
      1. SimonGirty

        Well, you must’ve missed BloomsburgAtlanticNYT GuardianPost’s brilliant, PROGRESSIVE solution of utilizing deplorable nere-do-well millenial basement dwellers to carry their betters across both rivers until the righteously smitten tunnels are repaired, or every somebody has silent, 45 mph Chinese made electronic autonomous scooters to zip along the sidewalks and clear away opoiod abusing Rooski paid jihadist riff-raff.

        Reply
      2. SimonGirty

        Well, you must’ve missed BloomsburgAtlanticNYT GuardianPost’s brilliant, PROGRESSIVE solution of utilizing deplorable nere-do-well millenial basement dwellers to schlep their betters across both rivers until the righteously smitten tunnels are repaired, or every somebody has silent, 45 mph Chinese made electronic autonomous scooters to zip along the sidewalks and clear away opoiod abusing Rooski paid jihadist riff-raff.

        Reply
        1. Altandmain

          Sadly many upper middle class types likely share that sentiment for real.

          I bet a lot of the so called professional class tend to look down on the working class. You can see that often with the Manhattan vs Upstate NY/Staten Island dynamic. I’m not saying that Upstaters are perfect, but the point is that they are looked upon with thinly disguised contempt by the wealthy.

          Likewise, the well off types that backed Clinton and similar neoliberals didn’t care to much about the decline of young adults.

          The sad part is that the author has not done the hard work on capacities, costs, etc.

          Reply
      3. Alex

        It will never be able to replace the subway. Think how much square footage of the tunnel a person in a subway car occupies and compare that to a person on a scooter (with the emplty space around which we can’t do away with for safety reasons). Then the author himself acknowledges that these new units will be slower than current subway trains. I haven’t made calculations but my gut feeling is that the capacity will be several times less than that of the current subway.

        So I hope it’s a clever satire at Silicon Valley-style transport projects. Actually it seems like a cross between Lime and Boring company

        Reply
        1. SimonGirty

          I’d been awaiting the trebuchet’s flinging “the help” across the East River as inner tubes were doled out, once NJT and AMTRAK’s archaic tunnel and swing bridge both succumb to smiting due to homersexu’l marriage, sharia law, or… Me, I’m just fine with astral projection?

          Reply
        2. SimonGirty

          I’d been awaiting the trebuchets flinging “the help” across the East River as inner tubes were doled out, once NJT and AMTRAK’s archaic tunnel and swing bridge both succumb to smiting due to homersexu’l marriage, sharia law, or… Me, I’m just fine with astral projection?

          Reply
        3. Wombat

          Yes the off-the-cuff math and rationale in this article is quite appalling.

          How will it will only cost a mere 2 billion to pave and transform the tracks but a whole 19 billion to update it for existing trains???

          “Even so, a budget of $8 million for each of the 240 miles in the current system would add up to only $2 billion.”

          Ahh here we are:

          “This is merely an estimate, of course.”

          Estimate based on what? The cost of paving an above ground bike path? So the author just made up the 2 billion number?

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Yeah, and the underground guidance system?
            If, at one extreme, we consider bicycles, the entirety of the tunnel system will have to be lighted. Who can see in the dark, to steer or avoid feral caymans? And the rats. Watson would nave to write a new adventure, “The Giant Rat of Twenty Second Avenue.”

            Reply
            1. SimonGirty


              If you’re not serious about moving millions of people, every single day, you can tear out rails. Shit, America’s plutocrats did this in Los Angeles, forcing millions into lifelong debt peonage, who’d paid their fare and ridden streetcars to works, day and night for generations. Remember the original Watts riots? Remember all US cities running electric mass transit: effecient, equitable and utterly dependable? Remember scores of 120mph GG-1s pulling trains from the 1940s until the interstates ended high speed rail? Forcing workers into debt, spending a third of their income and a big chunk of their lives, sitting in gridlock, cursing taillights was a great idea. White flight, the concrete, the gas, the suburbs started global warming. And all the debt of buying, fueling, maintaining, parking and disposing of cars for all adult famly members… specifically designed to self-destruct… Hey, the Atlantic is libertarian claptrap, huh?

              Reply
      4. blennylips

        what does NY do

        Follow Boston’s example of the big dig:

        I lived in the area at the time with an SO who traversed the dig regularly, from Foxboro to Logan – routes could change over night.

        Reply
      5. PeterVE

        Jarrett Walker must be laughing at that fool. () As he never tires of pointing out, urban transportation is a question of geometry, and the most efficient geometry is the most liberating.

        Reply
    3. Ed

      Here is to the go-to blog on the New York subway, which has actual information on the state of the subway system, as opposed to wtf was in that Atlantic article:

      Commentator Larry Littlefield, who has his own blog, is good on the budget issues.

      To summarize, and the New York Times had an extensive series of articles recently reporting this, the MTA was used as a piggy bank by NY pols for various Tammany style projects, with money being diverted from normal maintenance such as replacing obsolete signal systems. It has nothing to do with rail being obsolete. The solution is the boring solution of “fix the signal system”, though you probably want to do a complete replacement of the MTA management as well.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        If it ain’t really broken why fix it. From your comment it sounds like the subways are doing their job as long as NYC can keep raising the rates and diverting the money from maintenance to other purposes. What NYC needs is a new project to justify an increase in city taxes and get more money from the State and maybe Federal coffers. Think what a “Big Dig” project to build highways for self-driving cars might do for NYC and many deserving others.\s

        Reply
    4. KFritz

      The best parts of the article. 1) The careful attention to current numbers of riders and the space differential between large cars and the numbers of smaller, individual cars that would ostensibly replace them. 2) Its excess concentration on the eternal question: “What could go wrong?”

      Meticulous concentration on logistics is plainly the article’s strong suit.

      The Atlantic is plainly transitioning to a science fiction publication.

      Reply
  8. JCC

    It doesn’t just appeal to Millennials, I also listen to Chapo Trap House pretty regularly (How LinkedIn turned this “Failmom” into a socialist) after living almost 1.5 years in the ranks of the unemployed during the early 2000’s. It was a very frightening experience and most definitely solidified my present political outlook on the U.S. It led to the sort of attitude that justified writing in Alfred E. Nueman for President in the 2016 Presidential Election.

    If I was the religious type, I’d be praying daily for the swift end of our late-stage Capitalist society.

    Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      i think i’ll write in the roadrunner next election, for showing us how to defeat the acme corporation and its running coyote tools.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      I cast my vote in the 2016 Presidential Election for Wink Martindale, my reasoning being if a game show host is what’s needed for a leader in our country, why not a good one?

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        I say we all visualize the reincarnation of Groucho Marx. We will recognize him when he appears before us with a black moustache. His eyes will have a hypnotic gleam and he will declare that its time to save the nation from liars, cheats, charlatans, scoundrels, hypocrites, and false prophets.

        Groucho! Groucho! GROUCHO!

        Reply
              1. The Rev Kev

                Benny Hill. Rude, crude, vulgar and totally politically incorrect. Sadly missed by his fans, including myself-

                Reply
    3. Arizona Slim

      During Obama’s presidency, I went from being successful in business to living in poverty. The root cause was austerity, which was heavily promoted by dear, sweet 44.

      Thanks, Obama.

      Reply
      1. Oh

        Lord O didn’t help small businesses ’cause they don’t make enough campaign contributions. However, there’s no politician who misses the opportunity to hail how small businesses are the backbone of the country. Kinda like “support the troops” but let’s not support the VA.

        Reply
        1. Arizona Slim

          Every time you hear a politician say that small business is the lifeblood of America, pat your pocket to make sure that your wallet is still there.

          Reply
  9. diptherio

    Good little back-and-forth from Frances Coppola and Martin Sandbu on the full-reserve banking referendum:

    Frances is, of course, correct…imnsho.

    Reply
  10. ChiGal in Carolina

    As a 60yo unemployed woman who relocated in 2016 due to my 88yo mother’s decline, had two total knee replacements 6 mos apart in 2017, and am now looking for an LCSW position in unfamiliar territory, the Salon article doesn’t seem fun at all.

    It is terrifying.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      We empathize. I had to opt for early Social Security, no one wanting to hire a sixty-something infrastructure worker.
      Don’t give up. Your mental health is very important. (But you knew that!)
      It is terrifying but, there is always the option of ‘outsourcing’ some of that terror.

      Reply
      1. RMO

        I have a friend who’s about 55, just laid off when his company got bought out. A highly experienced electrical engineer, very competent with both code and hardware, fantastic work ethic and attitude and really easy to get along with. When he was laid off from SGI years ago it took him nearly two years to get work again. This time seems to be shaping up to be even worse. As for myself, I just turned 48 and if it wasn’t for the success of the business my family owned until about 2010 I would probably be dead in a ditch somewhere. My multiple attempts at training for a new career have so far all led to the resume black hole game. I’ve never so much as received an answer from anyone I’ve applied to – and this includes low paying “entry level” positions. No matter what the employment stats say or what the industry PR spouts it’s a tough job market out there.

        Reply
      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        Thx for your understanding…and yeah, I used to interview well but I’m so angry about for-profit health care (affecting me as a patient, practitioner, and employee) as well as so much else, dunno how I’ll come off. Wouldn’t want to outsource to a potential employer who could give me relief from these $1300/mo ACA premiums!

        Reply
        1. Heraclitus

          There is something the matter when experience is overemphasized for young people (this internship, that summer job), yet so denigrated for older workers. What a mess!

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            I’ve found, from conversing with friends and strangers, that many of these ‘intern’ jobs are ways for the employer to get work done for free. Several people over the last few years commented something to the effect that: “I got no training, no hints, no teachable moments while I was there.”
            As far as my experiences with retail go, I’ve discovered that now, it isn’t what you know. Due to the overwhelming pressure put on middle management to ‘meet the metrics’ the main, indeed, only thing that matters is how good a salesperson you are. What would be funny if it were not so obviously dysfunctional, is that the categories measured the most in the retail metrics, at least on the salesroom floor, are the obviously b— s— ones. Those that return the least value to the customer: extended warranties, store branded credit cards, upgrades to basic items, etc.
            So much for the bright future we were promised back in the day.

            Reply
        2. ambrit

          I know what you mean about interviewing.
          When I finally came to terms with the built in biases of the ‘interview’ game, I decided to stop pretending. I don’t wear my Marx and Engels tee shirt to interviews, but, if asked a ‘hard’ question now, I tell my version of the truth. Such as, when one HR woman asked me; “And exactly why did you leave that job?” I told her about the toxic mess that retail establishment had become. I figured that I was a goner when that question came up. Most places I’ve interviewed at in the past asked about my qualifications, and not much else. When a place starts in on your social chameleon index, it is a sign of Dominionist Business Ethics in control.
          That the ACA demands that amount of money from you in a state such as Carolina is a very bad sign.
          Perhaps you could help start an “Intervention Service” dedicated to helping free people from the Cult of the DNC, and other socio-political mind control programs. I’m sure that parents and significant others will pay to free their nearest and dearest from the morning chants of “Yes we can!” and “She’s the one!”
          Be strong!

          Reply
  11. Darthbobber

    Does winning affluent districts require selling out the poor?

    1 Off their meds Clinton true believers overrepresented on yet another comment thread. Problem is clearly racist Berniebros not clapping harder.
    2 Democrats have always carried a significant number of affluent, or as Mrs c would say, “forward looking” districts, so the answer would seem to be either
    A. No, or
    B. We’ve always done that.

    3 Do poor and affluent as categories cover the entire polity? What about that huge number who are by no means affluent, but haven’t yet been pushed downhill far enough to join the literal poor in the means-tested and constantly intruded upon basement? Are they irrelevant or just irredeemablY selfish for presuming to have interests of their own? Or is the problem that they still have enough voice and remnants of power that it’s harder to just appoint yourself their guardian than to do so for something called “the poor? “

    Reply
  12. Jason Boxman

    I’m looking at new, cheap Android phones and ZTE phones get decent reviews. But they’re now blacklisted by carriers, a fact sadly not mentioned in reviews I’ve seen. If you buy one now, it won’t work on any network in the US apparently. This is about as close to seeing fallout from China policy as I’ve gotten in my life.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      I too was looking at phones and noticed ZTE currently being sold to work with at least one pre-paid carrier. Are you sure about that?

      Reply
      1. Jason Boxman

        I don’t know about the carrier sold phones, but at least for the unlocked ZTE Blade sold on Amazon, several reviews, including one this month, state that the buyer couldn’t activate the unlocked phone on any carrier in the US. Also, it can’t get OS updates.

        Since I’m looking for an unlocked phone, this seems like a poor buy.

        I’ll probably have to buy a Motorola or Nokia I guess. Several are in the $250-range.

        Reply
        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          I had Motorolas for years, from my first flip phone to the first Droid, then the Droid Bionic, and finally the Droid Turbo for the larger screen. Never had a single problem with the earlier phones even though I usually kept them longer than whenever I was entitled to an upgrade. I see no damn reason to get the latest phone every two years.

          Well, I am on my third Droid Turbo–it has been a nightmare. The first one started bleeding under the screen about six months after I got it and at the VZ store we just barely got my stuff off before it was completely inaccessible. The replacement had some kind of issues I can’t remember about 9 mos later and again I had to get a new one, with much hassle over trying to save my stuff for the transfer.

          Now, a year later the screen becomes unresponsive, the phone turns itself off, phone won’t give me access to dial pad for calls requiring number entry, camera and maps work sporadically, frequently giving error messages and shutting themselves down.

          What a nightmare! I have spent hours on multiple days with tech support, after trying everything else they finally did a factory reboot, and it’s still not right.

          So after the first melt-down I got warranty coverage. Turns out this only entitles me to a RECONDITIONED phone, by now this model is “old”.

          All I can think is that Motorolas are now crapified. I am going to take the replacement when it arrives into the store and trade it in for another brand–and a one of their latest models: they really FORCE their planned obsolescence on you by not passing on upgrades and patches to older models, really pisses me off.

          I hate to spring for a Samsung. Can anybody confirm Motorolas have gone downhill and/or point me to a reliable alternative?

          Thanks in advance.

          Reply
          1. Lee

            If I find something that works, I keep it for as long as possible. I had a Samsung flip phone for 7 years and, because I like the utility of the touch screen, I got a Motorola Android that’s now 3 years old. I , have a 20 year old car, a 15 year old motorcycle, and a 14 year old Airedale Terrier. And then there’s me, a good deal older than all of them combined. ; )

            Reply
          2. carycat

            My family was on Moto G’s until they got so old that even McDonald’s app refuses to work on it. We switched to Xiaomi’s mid tier phones at just under USD $200 shipped when mailordered from China. We are very happy with them. They come unlocked and works on the AT&T network (and other companies that piggy back on it) if you are careful to order the “global version”. Easily the match for the name brand phones that the carriers sell for twice the price. They even have a 3.5mm headphone jack.
            Xioami also just booked a quarterly net loss of USD $1.1 billion but are about to IPO. Will be interesting to see if they can ride the bubble up or crash and burn.

            Reply
          3. JCC

            I bought an unlocked LG G6, my very first “smart” phone, about a year ago. They have unlocked Verizon and AT&T models and I’ve been pretty happy with it. A little expensive, relative to the inexpensive simpler phones, but nowhere near a Samsung or Apple or Motorola and it takes great pics so I killed two birds with one stone.

            Reply
            1. RMO

              You can try a Sonim XP7 if a phone that is just OK with regards to glitzy features but is damn near indestructible and has a battery life measured in days instead of hours appeals. It’s a bit thick and heavy and the black/yellow rubber armor makes it look alike a DeWalt product which may or may not appeal. I use mine pretty much exclusively as a phone (GPS, wifi, location services etc. are all turned off) and I don’t talk that much on it, probably no more than an hour of speech and some texting, and the battery is usually still at 50%+ after more than a week – battery life is the main selling point for me. It’s certainly been sturdy and reliable too, if a bit expensive to buy outright.

              Reply
            2. SimonGirty

              We’d actually kinda joked about this glass coated aluminum HTC monstrosity at the NYC get together… so of course, it seems to be posting everything twice, somehow. But my beloved ancient LG got the boot-loops and the 1.55um 12MP Sony camera makes it worth $300, but paying ANYTHING more for backdoor rootkits seems just plain silly?

              Reply
          4. Duke of Prunes

            Yes, Motorola has gone downhill. They are built by Lenovo now. I gave up on them when my new Android (motoX gen 2) was missing calls, and I asked a Lenovo engineer I know about it. His answer “who makes voice calls anymore?”.

            Stan

            Reply
          5. ChiGal in Carolina

            Thanks all. The LG G6 might be an option, I do care about the camera. JCC, Motorolas are much less than Samsungs or Apple phones. But thanks Duke for confirming they aren’t what they used to be.

            So far in my research I have discovered one arresting fact: all Apple phones and phones made and sold by Google (Pixel, Nexus) receive updates and security patches direct from the manufacturer, timely. Carriers are inconsistent about providing updates and protection for known threats to their customers.

            I am thinking the Pixel 2, for the security and a good camera.

            Reply
  13. Wukchumni

    Drowning deaths in Sequoia NP tend to involve Hispanic visitors, and a friend was the wildlife biologist there for many years, and oftentimes, NPS employees wear a number of hats, and she was fluent in Spanish, so she became the family liaison for the National Patk, comforting people she only just met, that lost somebody due to drowning.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      I’ve wondered at that.
      Out of all the Mexican Americans I know(married in to a large bunch), maybe 3 of them ever learned how to swim.
      All of them have gone to the river all their lives.(it’s free)
      I’m unable to determine causation.
      Wife thinks it has to do with La Llorona.

      Reply
  14. marym

    To deter migrants, the United States government under Trump is separating families, taking children from parents in a considered system of deliberate cruelty. And advancing that approach is his attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

    [Sessions:] “[T]he United States can’t be a total guarantor that every parent who comes to the country unlawfully with a child is guaranteed that they won’t be, is guaranteed that they will be able to have their hand on that child the entire time. That’s just not the way it works.”

    During his speech announcing his “zero tolerance” policy, Sessions framed his actions as reflecting the will of the public. “For decades, the American people have been pleading with our elected representatives for a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest—a system we can be proud of.”

    It seems this system—where countless parents face the pain and terror of losing their children with no knowledge of when they’ll return—is what he has in mind.

    Not a source of pride for Sessions and whoever he deems included as “we”:

    US Constitution – Amendment XIV:
    … nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      If someone is willing to hide for days in tunnels, ‘safe houses’, and/or pick up trucks and also walk miles through the desert is ‘deterrence’ via threatening the separation from the kids really logical?

      Why not just go for the whole enchilada and waterboard all involved when caught? After all…..DETERRENCE!!!!

      You could justify shooting every 100th migrant that’s caught because playing Russian roulette is a deterrent.

      Here’s an idea….you can cut the unnecessary cruelty and increase the effectiveness…..maybe just cut the number of travel, student and H1-b visas issued each year. Way less cruel, and way more effective. Maybe lay off the coups, drug war military aid and other ‘regime change’ gigs would help reduce the supply side of migrants?

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        But, as with all things Trump….it’s all about the spectacle and there’s barely any substance at all.

        Reply
        1. Arizona Slim

          There’s a very good book, written by a local author by the name of Margaret Regan, called . She was a 14-year-old Salvadorean girl who fell ill on a mountain trail, and then she was left to die.

          Reply
      2. oh

        You could send ’em for screening and body search at the local airport, compliments of the TSA. They’d never want to be in the USA again! /s

        Reply
    2. Synoia

      Translated from official bigot-speak:

      “[T]he United States can’t be a is total guarantor that every parent slave who comes to the country unlawfully with a child is guaranteed that they won’t be, is guaranteed that they will be able to have their hand on that child the entire time again. That’s just not the way it works.”

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The coyotes don’t care whether a child can make the journey or not.

        I assume that’s how they ended up in the desert.

        Reply
  15. allan

    [The Hill]

    The Supreme Court on Monday upheld Ohio’s “use it or lose it” practice of cleaning up its voter rolls.

    In a 5-4 decision, the court’s majority said the practice, known as the “supplemental process,” does not violate the National Voter Registration Act, which bar states from removing the names of people from the voter rolls for failing to vote. …

    Under the supplemental process, voters who have not voted in two years are flagged and sent a confirmation notice. Voters who then fail to respond to the notice and vote within the next two years are removed from the rolls. …

    The Roberts Court – calling balls and strikes since 2005. Balls on the right and strikes on the left.

    Reply
  16. Romancing The Loan

    Read all of the lengthy article on Demographic Structural Theory with enjoyment. Although the author shares some of the prejudices of his class (thought Obama and Clinton were just great, talks about his own career and name drops far more than necessary) the ultimate conclusion that increasing population levels are the driver for a large variety of anti-working class policies (and that ultimately the post-war Baby Boom is responsible for the immiseration we’ve been seeing from the 80’s on) is novel but plausible, and the prescription that elites need to aggressively reverse these policies and purge their ranks of corruption or face increasing political turmoil is certainly something I broadly agree with. I’m not sure I buy his blithe faith in the strength of our democratic procedures saving us from an actual civil war by buying time until the baby boomers die off and (he argues) the instability factors will recede by themselves. Seems like climate change/resource exhaustion/etc. could add in additional stresses he’s not accounting for.

    Reply
  17. Glen

    Gee, an article about how Social Security and Medicare are draining the national budget. Funny, I’ve paid into those programs my whole working life, but I never paid for war, 14 trillion, bailing out banks, 4 trillion (who knows how much), and I never asked my Washington representatives to pass tax cuts for billionaires.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Yep. Just another maneuver in the campaign to enact the “Grand Bargain” to gut the Social Safety Nets.

      Reply
    2. Elizabeth Burton

      In case you missed the link, the current hand-wringing about Social Security and Medicare is apparently part of the ongoing progression to privatizing it:

      Reply
  18. Lee

    Researchers reverse cognitive impairments in mice with dementia Medical Xpress (CL).

    It’s a good time to be a mouse.

    We’ve got some rodents hereabouts that routinely get the bait from traps without getting caught. I’m beginning to suspect they benefit from increased cognitive capabilities derived from interbreeding with genetically enhanced rodent escapees from one or more of the many scientific labs around here.

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      The next step is rats. Consequently the treatment will never have enough vaccine to be used outside DC.

      Reply
  19. marym

    In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court gave Ohio a victory Monday in a fight over the state’s method for removing people from the voter rolls, a practice that civil rights groups said discourages minority turnout.

    Ohio election officials send notices to anyone who fails to cast a ballot during a two-year period. People who do not respond and don’t vote over the next four years, including in two more federal elections, are dropped from the list of registered voters.

    Reply
  20. Synoia

    Self Driving cars

    Anything below Level 5 demands constant vigilance by the driver, which negates the convenience advantage

    Anything below Level 5 traps the driver into inattention, making the “convenience” lethal.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Here, most commuters spend most of their driving time in stop-and-go traffic. An automatic driving feature that would allow one to read, snooze or whatever during slow bumper to bumper traffic would be the safest, easiest and cheapest, and most desirable option. But nooooo, Sillycon Valley wants to sell us wants to sell us dubious complexity when all we need is simple.

      Reply
  21. Synoia

    The New York City Subway Is Beyond Repair The Atlantic. “Instead of fixing the old trains, let’s rip out the tracks and fill the tunnels with fleets of autonomous vehicles running on pavement.”

    Better:

    The New York City Subway Is Beyond Repair The Atlantic. “Instead of fixing the old trains, let’s rip out the tracks and fill the tunnels with fleets of BICYCLES running on pavement.”

    Reply
  22. Wombat

    Taking Lambert’s four step model for privatization from the recent VA article and applying it to the Atlantic NYC Public Subway hit piece:

    [1] Defund [or sabotage]: “… and it’s going to cost billions to keep the old trains running: $19 billion, at least according to one estimate from city planners.”
    [2] claim crisis: “But the system is also falling apart.“
    [3] call for privatization: ”Just a collection of competing fleets, centrally orchestrated and offering different levels of service to different groups at different prices.”
    [4] Profit! [ka-ching]. “People would pay to reserve a slice of the pavement at a particular time.”

    Thank you for the privatization model. Makes it quite seamless to break down these attack on public service articles in about 2.5 seconds.

    Reply
  23. LC

    Re How LinkedIn turned this “Failmom” into a socialist Salon

    Yet another reminder that along with apparently no teeth (or a total lack of attorneys willing to take cases on) in any age or gender discrimination laws,

    Connected, regarding the unemployed, there appear to be no major Tax Incentives and Tax Penalties with teeth for hiring local first, and providing further training once on the job, something that used to be the norm. Entire communities in some areas are being repopulated with under 35, predominantly male and way overrated Ivy Leaguers, along with under 35, predominantly male H-1B visas while decades long residents increasingly flounder, flee, or possibly become homeless.

    US policies and lack of policies have created an increasingly propertyless and transient population. It’s no small wonder that recent CDC Suicide Report was bleak, it’s going to get far bleaker as more and more under retirement age boomers (most particularly those who rent apartments, which figures are conveniently never discussed [1] because it would destroy the ugly Boomer Myth the Media and powers that be love to take advantage of) can’t afford the basics.

    It’s venal that Congress hasn’t publically spoken to this – as there’s no way they aren’t aware of it – particularly millionaire members of Congress (the majority being over retirement age themselves!) legislating for states which have horrific: unemployed; age; race; class: gender; and wage discrimination reputations, such as California.

    [1] :

    BABY BOOMER RENTERS

    Boomers account for one of the largest groups of new renters. According to the State of the Nation’s Housing 2017 report by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, 44% of renter growth between 2005 and 2016 was due to households aged 55 and older. A Freddie Mac survey projects that number will grow, finding that 71% of those aged 55 and older expect to rent their next home, and 60% cite affordability as a main factor in their housing decisions.

    Our own analysis found that 23.3% of Baby Boomers are renting as of 2015 — a relatively small amount for the time being — but they’re the most cost-burdened of every generation in our study, likely due to the fixed incomes that come with retirement or semi-retirement. Renting Boomers pay the lowest median rent of every generation as well — $890 — which is fortunate, considering they earn the lowest median household income by nearly $7,000. Renting Boomer households live on an income of $33,000.

    Further down in the piece:

    For some, renting is a lifestyle choice. But for many others, homeownership is not a feasible economic reality. Rising rents are a problem for everyone — particularly Millennials with lower earning power and Boomers on fixed incomes. And for Generation X, being cost-burdened can make it hard to save up for a down payment. A high population of cost-burdened renters thus not only influences the rental market and new development — it affects the housing market as well.

    Reply
    1. Duke of Prunes

      But, but, but… I read on Reddit practically every day a thread that devolves into “Boomers are all rich, evil and responsible for all of the worlds problems”.

      Reply
    2. LS

      It’s been over two hours now since I posted the following comment, which has yet to show up, I believe it’s very important but by tomorrow: barely anyone, if anyone, will be checking this ‘page’ to see it, so I’m reposting it now, versus waiting 24 hours, my apologies:

      Very sorry, for those incredibly stressed (actually I’m one of them) to bring up that Current Suicide Report. The thing is, if any of the economically suicidal thought the US Government was doing anything to alleviate those economic suicides, the suicides would be decreasing, not exponentially rising – as they have – for over a decade.

      It is essential that the President and Congress discuss the fact that a frightening percentage of US citizens are killing themselves because they can’t afford to live in any manner that is not inhumane and horridly punitive. Millions are being forced to flee, repeatedly, in a state of permanent transience – those just under retirement age are being forced to seek highly punitive and barely regulated [1] 62yrs + Senior Housing, while the very young can no longer hope to own a home unless they went to Sidling, etcetera – which transience I suspect has a whole lot do with why people ended up on FaceFiend, et al: they are no longer capable of settling down anywhere; their ‘local communities’ have been robbed from them by a hideous and deliberate Technocratic Disruption.

      [1] As in, for just a very small sampling: must get rid of your vehicle, despite horrid/no transit; and $200 per person Mandatory Meals™ Fees (continental breakfast and dinner, no stove or full size refrigerator in the 300 square feet Studio Apartment you and your significant other have been forced into); must pay 30% of one’s income, no matter what the circumstances are, on top of the potential, per person Mandatory Meals™ Fees. No CAP on that 30%, the way it’s deliberately been finagled is that two people at 62 or over can conceivably pay $2,000 a month, or more, for a 300 square foot Kitchenless Studio Apartment, and a forced continental breakfast (no lunch provided) and dinner (if you’re a few minutes late, no continental breakfast or din din for you!).

      To get on a senior housing entity’s waiting list (all of which tell you it’s up to a five year wait for an apartment to open up) for such hideous treatment, one must wait months checking to see if a waiting list has finally opened and then fill in an application (which they are offered no copy of to prove they provided very personal identifying information to that potentially predatory Senior Housing Entity; isn’t that illegal to not provide a copy of a legal document, apparently HUD doesn’t think so) and provide social security numbers, etcetera, to possible predators and then physically compete with other desperate souls, many of whom are terminally ill – as the first ones who finish the applications are allowed to hand them in well before the first ones in line to get on the waiting list, which aren’t noted at all, it’s up to those desperate applicants to agree and make a list of who was there first.

      (This is my first hand experience in the California Bay Area, where the vast predominance (around 97% if one included the newish Lexus driving male who got away with double parking and tried to cut the line in front of the solely women who had been waiting in the cold since before the sun rose) of the applicants were single females (duh, a generally worse age discrimination then males suffer, and a lifelong wage gap, despite far less ethics violations, which admittedly may have to do with men’s forced shame at ‘not providing for the family’) and only one black person, because California has always had a minimal population of blacks due to well documented, and historic racism. The hoping to get on the waiting list applicants started arriving around 5:00 AM, my sweety and I got up before 4:00 AM to make it there. Shame on the US ‘Government’ and California, etcetera.)

      Reply
    1. a different chris

      Remember, as dear Madeleine said, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support the women us alpha women tell you to support“.

      At least that’s how I remember it. Even at that, the first “the women” is probably a mistake, she really just meant “vote for who we tell you to vote for… reserve your so-called independent minds for things like choosing pussy hat colors…”

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        I thought that those hats only came in two colours: red and pink. I wonder if they turn a nice tan shade as they age.

        Reply
    2. ambrit

      I just read the second link. Oh boy. I think that Gillibrand just “Jumped the Shark.”
      Now I’m hoping that the feisty Latina wins.

      Reply
    3. allan

      Interesting. In the 2016 Maryland US Senate primary (which in heavily Dem MD is tantamount to the general election), with very similar candidates (Chris van Hollen = white male fundraising powerhouse and
      Donna Edwards = woman of color progressive), ,
      who went on to lose the primary.
      Translation: Gillibrand is running and wants Crowley’s Rolodex.

      Reply
  24. a different chris

    >The alliance between the United States and Western Europe has accomplished great things. It won two world wars in the first half of the 20th century.

    Wait, what? Am I misremembering, were these wars against invading Aliens from Jupiter? I thought the main antagonist in both cases was Germany, which last I looked was part of and has always been part of “Western Europe”. Especially for the WWI, the only reason it was a “world” war was that The West had colonial-ized* everything.

    *colonized is way too pleasant a word…

    Reply
  25. a different chris

    Lordy I missed the next sentence even:

    >Then it expanded to include its former enemies

    No, we turned the USSR, our ally in the war, into a pariah state. Those who don’t understand history are bound to repeat it. Those who blissfully misreport history are bound to become NYT columnists, though.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      I’m sure what I’m about to say is quoting someone though for the life of me I can’t remember where I read it, but with regards to that NYT writer: “Really, such folly smacks of genius. A lesser mind would not be capable of it.”

      Reply
  26. a different chris

    >Near-Collapse of ZTE May Be China’s Sputnik Moment

    Of course, if a parallel situation came up today in the US, our financial masters would patiently explain that we should simply “buy Sputniks from Russia”. Of course since it wouldn’t be obviously a Sputnik and it wouldn’t come from Russia all the courtiers would nod their heads vigorously.

    Reply
  27. fresno dan

    The best distillation of the Trump Doctrine I heard, though, came from a senior White House official with direct access to the president and his thinking. I was talking to this person several weeks ago, and I said, by way of introduction, that I thought it might perhaps be too early to discern a definitive Trump Doctrine.

    “No,” the official said. “There’s definitely a Trump Doctrine.”

    “What is it?” I asked. Here is the answer I received:

    “The Trump Doctrine is ‘We’re America, Bitch.’ That’s the Trump Doctrine.”
    ==========================================
    I would rephrase that:

    “The Trump Doctrine is ‘I’m America, Bitch – and what’s mine is mine and what’s yours will be mine as soon as me and my friends grift it out of you.’ That’s the Trump Doctrine

    Reply
  28. Montanamaven

    The late great “Superwoman” Margot Kidder was on to money laundering scheme of the Hilary Victory Fund. Couldn’t get straight answers from out Democratic State Committee officials. I wish Margot was still alive to pursue this. Shouldn’t be swept under the rug.

    Reply
  29. rd

    If Elizabeth Holmes can line up enough financing to buy a box of Cracker Jacks, then I think the next bear market is going to be a doozy as even having a proven bezzle is unable to dissuade investors. The private equity side will likely be ugly then as well.

    Why is she able to spend time lining up financing for a new company instead of spending all her time with lawyers preparing her defense in a criminal fraud trial?

    Reply
  30. ewmayer

    “Bolthole on a budget: What you can buy for £500,000 FT” – Echoing Lambert’s “Go Die” rule #2 of neoliberalism, for the economic victims of the bolthole a-hole class, the FT should run a parallel “Bullethole on a budget” article.

    Reply
  31. Darthbobber

    The subway article is either very bad or very funny, depending on whether the obvious stupidity is intentional.

    Reply
  32. VietnamVet

    Autonomous vehicles are the new privatization scam. At best they will provide transportation of elderly elite who are the only ones who can afford it. At worst, they will kill off distracted drivers. If the nation’s capital can’t afford and is incapable of getting its subway’s automatic control system working after killing nine customers, the scheme for a city full of tunnels of self-driving taxis is impossible and terminally stupid.

    Reply

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