Interesting & Important News & Analysis, August 19, 2019

This is exactly why I wrote that I would have lower the rate by 100 basis points rather than 25. I wouldn’t have raised the rate in the first place. It was a big mistake. We knew Trump’s corporate-tax cut would not have a lasting positive impact and that most of the money would go into stock buybacks.

How to Avoid a Recession? Cut Interest Rates Like It’s 1995.

Between February 1994 and February 1995, the Fed raised its benchmark short-term interest rate by three percentage points to slow the economy and forestall the risk of inflation. At first, officials thought they were “behind the curve” because employment, output, and spending all grew briskly through much of 1994.

As the tightening cycle progressed, however, the difference between yields on two-year and 10-year U.S. Treasuries collapsed to almost nothing. By the summer of 1995, it was clear the Fed had overshot. Manufacturing production had flatlined. Retail-sales growth slowed from an annual rate of 9% in 1994 to 3% by the middle of 1995. The average number of private-sector jobs added each month dropped from over 300,000 at the end of 1994 to barely 100,000 by the middle of 1995. The jobless rate stopped falling, and the number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment insurance grew on a sustained basis for the first time since the 1991 recession.

Perhaps most ominously, 10-year yields had plunged by two percentage points in the first half of 1995. The Fed eventually responded by lowering its policy rate in July. It would ultimately cut 0.75 percentage point by the beginning of 1996.

The “mid-cycle adjustment” in 1995-96, to borrow a phrase from current Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, was successful. American production and spending growth reaccelerated by the end of 1996, while the job market quickly returned to new heights. The expansion ended up lasting for another half-decade.

The question now: Can the Fed repeat the same trick?


State lawmakers promise ‘heavy penalties’ for landlords who violate rent laws

… it won’t be until at least 2020 that any changes to the law can occur when the next legislative session in Albany reconvenes.


Study: Breathing dirty air is like smoking a pack a day

Breathing four pollutants — ground-level ozone, fine particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and black carbon — was found to be associated with increases in emphysema, a lung disease that causes shortness of breath and is most associated with smokers. Just a small increase of three parts per billion of ozone was associated with damage equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes every day for 29 years.


Ceres risk analysis of power sector calls for decarbonization by 2050

The framework covers the limits of clean energy resources and energy efficiency measures on companies’ profitability, along with risks related to supply and demand changes, higher insurance premiums, reduced access to capital due to recurring costs from extreme weather events and other costs.

Business growth opportunities covered in the analysis include electrification, renewable energy and low-carbon services and the need for new transmission lines to connect renewable energy resources.


One Tax System for Most Americans, and a Second System for the Wealthiest

Walmart is one of a number of companies that have implemented a full-court press effort to reduce its property taxes nationwide.

This strategy works for the corporate giants because many local taxing jurisdictions simply don’t have the financial resources to match up against corporate legal teams in court, and often find it cheaper to simply give in to corporate tax-cutting demands.


Tlaib’s grandmother says

“Trump has told Rashida and Ilhan to go back to their home countries. What a contradiction, yesterday he asked them to leave and today he asks that they aren’t let in,” said Bassam Tlaib.


Kushner to soon break ground on its first development in Florida — a 400-foot, $550M tower

Plans filed with the City of Miami show a $550 million tower rising 408 feet with 1,100 units. Kushner plans to break ground in October with the first of three phases that comprises 400 units, as first reported by Next Miami. The design calls for an eight-story parking garage sheathed in perforated triangular aluminum panels, according to plans filed with the city. The building includes required ground-floor retail space and an amenity deck for residents atop the garage.


Democrats torch Trump failures on rural digital divide

It’s harder to live in the country if you work remotely.


The following gives me no pleasure.

I typically like much of what Popular Resistance has to say. They usually do a good job of holding a mirror up to our USA. However, as with the vast, vast majority of the “far left” (they aren’t as “far” as most on the right would like you to believe), they have a tendency to hate US imperialism so much that, that hate colors their analysis.

I’m certainly not saying it’s always easy to not let hatred of US imperialism or hatred of other iterations of dictatorship-leaning ideologies and practices influence one’s statements.

In the current case of Hong Kong (the libertarian-capitalist dystopia) versus Xi (China’s self-appointed, totalitarian dictator), it’s a trap to hate one and not the other. It’s a trap not to stand against both at the same time.

Read Popular Resistance’s article, “Hong Kong In The Crosshairs Of Global Power And Ideological Struggles.” You will see there at least two salient issues that are insufficiently addressed from a truly progressive perspective. Again, sometimes an easy trap; however, one that, nevertheless, must be avoided at all cost.

The two most operative words in the article are poverty and democracy. In addition, the treatment of extradition is also vital. Let me start with extradition, as the article attempts to set the readers frame of reference there.

It is absolutely true what the article says about the mega-billionaires of Hong Kong and their views concerning extradition. However, in Popular Resistance’s zeal to rightly denounce US imperialism, Popular Resistance fails to mention the totally legitimate fear progressives in Hong Kong have about being extradited to face charges in Xi’s courts. It is exactly the same reason Julian Assange doesn’t want to be tried in a US court for the “crime” of exposing US wrongdoing concerning the ill-fated invasion and temporary occupation of Iraq, which war was based upon a pack of lies about Saddam Hussein having and/or pursuing nuclear weapons.

Saddam did not try to obtain yellow cake to make any level of bombs. The yellow cake memo George W. Bush referred to as evidence Saddam must be removed was a known forgery. Our own CIA had informed the Bush-43 administration of that months before Bush’s State of the Union Address. Bush had wanted to make the claim in an earlier speech, and the CIA made clear at the time that the allegation was not credible and should not be used. Bush knew that but used it anyway in his Address, which swayed the American people to back his attack, invasion, occupation, and killing of Saddam. He lied us into war. That’s a crime.

Chelsea (nee Bradley) Manning, is sitting in prison as I write this for exposing US war crimes in Iraq through Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks. Assange is in prison in Britain because he knew the US plan to get hold of him to do to him what has been wrongly done to Manning.

People in Hong Kong who have criticized Xi’s dictatorship when they were in China but are now in Hong Kong fear receiving Xi’s version of the Manning-treatment. They are in Hong Kong as Assange was in the Ecuadoran embassy in London, not wanting to be extradited to face a kangaroo court hellbent on meting out punishment for exposing that the emperor has no clothes.

That is no small matter, and Popular Resistance should not have overlooked it and should not seek to diminish it.

As for poverty, it is true that in monetary terms, many Chinese have enough money to now not be considered as living in poverty; and, Popular Resistance deserves credit for stating the obvious that China has huge environmental issues to tackle and that China is trying very hard to tackle. However, the article fails miserably in my view to point out that even by the World Bank’s 2015 figures (which Bank I certainly don’t simply trust when it comes to neoliberal figures), some ten million Chinese live in poverty, some in abject poverty, while Xi and the others high up in the “Communist” Party live in hypocritical luxury every bit as luxurious as the “93 billionaires” of Hong Kong. To true progressives, this is a litmus test on honesty. Look at how AMLO, the current President of Mexico, lives and travels by comparison. AMLO knows what hypocrisy is and strives mightily to avoid it and not simply for appearances sake. Xi couldn’t care less.

Again, that’s no small matter.

Finally, we come to the all-important: democracy. This is Popular Resistance’s most glaring failure. It is so bad in my view, that it calls into question Popular Resistance’s ideological integrity. It’s so bad that I can’t say it was an easy trap Popular Resistance (PR) fell into.

PR has been a fount of advocacy for economic democracy. One could have rightly said it was PR’s guiding principle. However, the article not only glosses over it, the article appears craftily worded to manipulate the reader to side with Xi against those in Hong Kong and elsewhere, such as Taiwan, who are pushing for grassroots economic-democracy not under any dictatorship, whether by a single person or a party, such as the Chinese Communist Party. PR sounds right-wing Bolshevik to me in the article. That would be ranging from the Leninist-leaning to the outright Stalinistic. Xi is rather Stalinistic in terms of how he see’s his own authority. I’m not saying Xi’s crimes have risen to the level of Stalin’s, but he believes he has the authority to do what Stalin did if his control is threatened.

If you even consider this a small matter to be simply dismissed, your thinking is very dangerous for true economic democracy, which democracy brooks no dictators ever.

The hate of imperialism should never see one cozying up to Stalinism, Maoism, or Xiism (a mere hybrid that hasn’t yet shown its worst side) or excusing any of them to any degree for any reason.

Here’s the test that is a fact. China is 100% top-down, not bottom-up. Hong Kong is 100% top-down, not bottom-up. That’s all a true economic-democrat needs to know about China and Hong Kong. Both systems are fundamentally wrong and harmful because of it. Popular Resistance has engaged in quite a bit of whitewashing via it’s article and has come down quite a few notches in my estimation as a result. I was never totally onboard with PR, but now I’m quite concerned PR has to be openly countered (until they fully and openly repent), which I’ve done here for cause.


Kiwi publishers face censorship demands from Chinese printers

“Anyone that prints books regularly in China will confirm that printers operate under certain Chinese laws that impose some restrictions on the material they can print,” Barrowman said.

“The Chinese economy offers tremendous opportunity, but we as a country need to be aware the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is prepared to use that economic power for geopolitical ends,” said the Epsom MP.

“People are very economically exposed to the whims of the CCP now. It’s a really big problem.”

Yes, it’s a really big problem.


Microsoft Confirms Update Warning For Windows 10, Windows 8.1 And Windows 7 Users

An organization the size of Microsoft, with the resources it has to hand, should have quality testing processes that are market-leading.

This is a security problem because it makes people think twice before applying updates that are essential from that security perspective. I’m not even talking about the organizations that will implement some reasoned risk analysis that balances the threat exposure against the business continuity. Instead, I’m talking about the hundreds of millions of ordinary Windows users who will see the updates breaking stuff and switch them off where they can.

These are the very same users who are most at risk from the vulnerabilities that get fixed in those updates. These are the users for whom security isn’t front and center when using their computers; getting the task at hand, whatever it may be, done is all that matters.


Ransomware is a way of driving up the “value” of Bitcoin. When are the governments of the world (national, state, provincial, local, etc.) going to make the smart move of banning all cryptocurrencies to end the insanity?

‘Coordinated Ransomware Attack’ in Texas Hits 23 Local Governments

Of course, the ransomware monsters take the Bitcoin and sell it for real money. For them, it’s a trade-off. They’ll try to convert when the “value” of Bitcoin is high, but timing the “market” is difficult with so many monsters doing likewise.

Anyway, governments dragging their feet should be changed by the people being hurt by the greedy maniacs. Those governments should be replaced with people with the intelligence to instantly shut down all cryptocurrencies.


Combined Toxic 100 / Greenhouse 100 Indexes (2019 Report, Based on 2017 Data)

Toxic 100 Air Polluters Detailed Company Reports


Jeremy Corbyn calls for crackdown on political donors ‘corrupting democracy’

… we will ban donations or loans to political parties from people who are not registered for tax in the UK, so are not contributing to our public services and infrastructure.


What’s outlined in the next linked article is all due to inept US foreign policy from the George H.W. Bush administration right on through the current Trump administration. Bush-41 started it off by not having the faintest idea of what to do upon the breakup of the Soviet Union. He missed the perfect opportunity to turn Russia into a complete and trusted ally. Then we had the opening of China for trade with the US while US labor was deliberately further thrown to the wolves (jobs exported to China) for the sake of corporate-executive greed. If those things hadn’t happened, just think about what the USA’s position would be in the world right now. For the record, my view about the fall of the Soviet’s is not hindsight and neither is my view about opening China. Those were my positions at the time.

China’s Ultimate Play For Global Oil Market Control


Sanders unveils proposal for massive overhaul of criminal justice system

Obviously, Bernie doesn’t want to simply tinker around the edges. I think he’s right to tackle it comprehensibly. Naturally, the legislative process would result in something at least somewhat different from what he’s proposing.

… wants to ban facial recognition software in policing as well as put a moratorium on the utilization of algorithmic risk assessment tools.

I’d have to see more about those. Facial recognition, per se, isn’t bad. It depends on the who, what, where, when, and why of the particular circumstances. It should not be used for police-state purposes. The same goes for algorithmic risk-assessment.

The real solution is for society to move completely away from punishment after the fact (after the crime) to preventative measures (comparable to preventative medicine) and to totally humane and ethical rehabilitation if a crime has been committed. Those changes would make policing vastly better and safer for all concerned.


Interesting & Important News & Analysis, August 18, 2019

Drones Do Deadly Work So You Don’t Have To

For all the talk of automation and robotics replacing human labor, the new uses of drones show how technology can cut costs for companies while dramatically reducing risk, and even saving lives.


Tiny Beetles Munch Through Habitat, Spread Wildfire Risk

The beetles and the songbird have been the subject of legal fights. The Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in 2013. The lawsuit alleged the damage caused by the insects through the beetle release program violated the Endangered Species Act, and argued the federal government should be held liable.

The beetles would not be in the United States if not for the tamarisk that thrives along riverbeds. The trees were brought here in the late 19th century for erosion control.


Scientists Warn Oregon is Lagging in Disaster Preparedness

Researchers were shocked when nearly $12 million to expand ShakeAlert and AlertWildfire _ early warning systems to help detect significant earthquakes and wildfires _ unexpectedly went up in smoke last month, just days before the end of the legislative session. Money for the projects was included as part of a larger funding package, but was stripped in a last-minute amendment.


Apple Sued Over Siri’s Unauthorized Recording of Users

The use of human reviewers by Apple, Google and Amazon already has spurred examinations by lawmakers and regulators in the U.S. and Europe. …

… The unauthorized recordings included confidential medical information … according to a person described in the story as a company whistle-blower ….

That would actually constitute a cyber breach requiring the company to notify the company’s cyber-insurance carrier(s).

I find it difficult to comprehend how any of the mentioned companies thought it necessary to use human reviewers on recordings where the recorded person or people didn’t know. I can think of easy ways to accomplish the same thing (improving voice recognition) without involving any actual customers. The only thing I can think of for why the companies did it the way they did was that they didn’t want to pay enough people to be in enough different sound environments.


Facebook Paid Contractors to Transcribe User Audio Files

The company said the users who were affected chose the option in Facebook’s Messenger app to have their voice chats transcribed. …

Facebook hasn’t disclosed to users that third parties may review their audio. That’s led some contractors to feel their work is unethical, according to the people with knowledge of the matter.

… In a list of “types of third parties we share information with,” Facebook doesn’t mention a transcription team, but vaguely refers to “vendors and service providers who support our business” by “analyzing how our products are used.”

The operative word is “vaguely.’ Concerning insurance policies, ambiguity is typically decided in favor of the complainant. Facebook’s insurance carrier(s) are surely taking an extremely close look at Facebook’s policies and procedures. Facebook’s premiums are astronomical, but wise carriers will still want to run tight ships. Underwriting-diligence is critical to long-term profitability.


Study Links Cheating on Spouse with Professional Misconduct

“Our results show that personal sexual conduct is correlated with professional conduct,” Kruger said. “Eliminating sexual misconduct in the workplace could have the extra benefit of contributing to more ethical corporate cultures in general.”


South Dakota Town Recovering From Tornado Damage

“The main threat to Burke was the straight-line winds,” Heitkamp said, adding that it’s up to the affected community to decide whether to sound the alarm.


… man gets 15 years for arson conspiracy

… Daryl Evans purchased 1628 Hamilton Street, Warren, property in 2011 and 267 Parkman Road NW, Warren, property in 2014. He purchased insurance policies for both homes and rented them to tenants.


Chemical Contamination Found in Wells Near Delaware Air Force Base

Businesses and residents near Dover Air Force Base in Delaware are being provided bottled water after chemical contaminants were found in private wells near the base at levels far exceeding federal health advisory levels.


Nuclear Industry Looks to Save Money Under Reduced U.S. Safety Oversight

While many of the regulatory rollbacks happening at other agencies under the current administration may be concerning, “there aren’t many that come with the existential risks of a nuclear reactor having a malfunction,” said Geoff Fettus, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council on nuclear issues.

I cannot overstate how much I oppose any reduction in oversight. My view is that the sooner every nuclear-power plant is decommissioned, the better.


So far this year, California has caught a break in wildfires. Don’t plan for that to be a trend if we don’t end AGW.

Report: California Wildfires Will Get Worse, Blame Climate Change

Large fall fires are likely to become increasingly frequent with continued warming and possibly gradual declines in fall precipitation.


New Hampshire Committee to Consider Tough Water Standards for Chemicals

… the New Hampshire Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules took up the proposal to set maximum levels for several compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalykyl substances, collectively called PFAS. New Hampshire is proposing a maximum of 12 parts per trillion for one of the contaminants called PFOA and 15 parts per trillion for another called PFOS.


Insurer Innovation Comes Under the Rating Agency Microscope

“Innovation would be hard to measure as a separate metric accurately, given the subjectivity involved and the difficulty in determining if a carrier is actually making the right [technology] decisions,” he said.

“What if the technology you’re investing in today to modernize the infrastructure, or improve distribution or operations, is the wrong technology? What if it is replaced by something better in a short period of time? You’d end up artificially inflating one company’s rating to the detriment of another company that did not invest in that technology.”

Exactly!


North Carolina Residents Hit by 2 Hurricanes Still Waiting on Long-Term Aid

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded North Carolina a community block grant of $237 million for Matthew recovery, but as of July the state had spent only about 6%, according to Laura Hogshead, chief operating officer of the state Office of Recovery and Resiliency. By comparison, South Carolina spent 22% of its award for Matthew by December 2018.

Hogshead said South Carolina was already established as a grantee, whereas North Carolina had to apply for grantee status before receiving funds.


Gas Line Explosion in Kentucky Neighborhood Kills 1, Ignites Homes

The explosion in Moreland, a community about 40 miles (65 km) south of Lexington, was on a natural gas pipeline operated by Canadian energy firm Enbridge Inc, the company said in a statement.


5 Firefighters, Baby Injured in 7-Alarm Fire at Bronx Apartment Building

Fire Operations Chief Thomas Richardson told a news conference that the fire started in a grocery store on the ground level and quickly spread to the floors above.


Faulty Electrical Wiring Blamed for Bronx Fire that Injured 6

Officials say the fire started in ceiling wiring above a grocery store on the ground level and quickly spread to the apartments above. A smoke alarm in the first apartment did not activate but alarms went off in other apartments in the building.


California Manufacturer of Fire Protection Spray Sued for $5M

The lawsuit alleges the product actually is “corrosive, volatile, and toxic” and its protection claims are unsubstantiated.


New Jersey Supreme Court Rules Landlord Not Liable for Infant Burned by Radiator

The majority opinion stated it wouldn’t be fair to impose the requirement on landlords without prior notice.

Also, why was the bed that close? Why wasn’t the baby in a bed the baby couldn’t roll out of?


Lack of FEMA Levee Approval Would Leave Southern Illinois Village at Risk

If the levee in Prairie du Rocher loses Federal Emergency Management Agency recognition, the National Flood Insurance Program could decide to treat the village as a high-risk area. That change would bump up insurance premiums for about 30% of the around-250 homes in the village, village president Ray Cole said.


North Carolina Criminal Investigations Reserve Unit Formed to Fight Insurance Fraud

Fraud costs about 18 cents of every dollar we pay for insurance premiums.


California Group Seeking Legislative Action on Wildfires

More than 35 member organizations support a package of measures intended to boost California’s fire prevention efforts and to improve emergency response around the state.


What type discipline? Underwriting-discipline.

Many Reinsurers Take Increased Catastrophe Risks as Rates Harden: S&P

“If a 1-in-100-year event hits, causing losses well in excess of $200 billion across the insurance industry, we expect only 12 of the 20 global reinsurers would maintain their current S&P Global Ratings capital adequacy level…”


U.S. Scientist Files Whistleblower Complaint Over Order to Stop Climate Work

“As our climate spins out of control, bureaucrats eager to please the Trump administration have worked feverishly to destroy the reputations of climate scientists who stand in its way,” said Kevin Bell, a lawyer for Luber at the watchdog group the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER, who is filing the complaint.


Walmart CEO Calls for Congress to Debate Assault Weapons Ban

Walmart apparently wants to be forced to stop selling guns. It’s competition would also be forced.

Well, it would be better than nothing.


Facebook Warned Its Employees, Not Users, About 2018 Breach, Lawsuit Says

“Facebook knew about the access token vulnerability and failed to fix it for years, despite that knowledge,” the plaintiffs said in a heavily redacted section of the filing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco.

“Even more egregiously, Facebook took steps to protect its own employees from the security risk, but not the vast majority of its users.”

If true, it’s not confidence building.

This is exactly why you can’t log into this site using Facebook or any other 3rd-party login credentials.


Outside Inspectors Find Tree Hazards That PG&E Contractors Overlooked

PG&E Corp.’s court-appointed compliance monitor concluded the utility isn’t trimming trees that pose wildfire threats in high-risk areas of California and didn’t train its contractors properly.

“PG&E’s service area includes more than 120 million trees with the potential to grow or fall into our overhead power lines,” PG&E said in a statement. “While we have made progress in many areas to further enhance wildfire safety including vegetation-management work, we acknowledge that we have more work to do.”


Biometric Security Vendor Exposes Fingerprints, Face Data

… a rich data trove that lacked many basic security protections, vpnMentor says. The Elasticsearch database and Kibana interface should have been at minimum password protected and only allowed whitelisted IPs, according to the video.

The database included personal information for employees and unencrypted usernames and passwords. It also included fingerprint data, facial recognition data and photos of faces, records of building entries and exits, employee records, security clearances and mobile device information, vpnMentor reports.


Serious flaws in six printer brands discovered, fixed

… it’s a small computer with the ability to spit out hard copy. These things have an increasingly large attack surface and are often connected to the internet, awaiting remote commands.

… When was the last time you patched your printer firmware and checked its configuration?


Dead heat

At mid-month, Arctic sea ice extent is tracking close to 2012, the year with the lowest minimum in the satellite record.


Judge orders Georgia to switch to paper ballots for 2020 elections

“The court’s ruling recognizes that Georgia’s voting machines are so insecure, they’re unconstitutional,” ….

Many people are unaware that the problems with the Diebold machines has been known about since they were first introduced. Not fixing or replacing them was done on purpose.


China And the Zombies Of The Past is an article that, like so many others, offers a false choice. It offers only two choices to the reader: agree with US imperialism or agree with Xi’s totalitarian dictatorship. Those are not the only options.

It is totally possible to oppose US imperialism and Xi’s dictatorship over China at the same time. I’m living proof of that, as I oppose both.

The article also makes two huge fundamental errors. First, it falsely assumes the British Empire ever had the legal right to control Hong Kong to give Hong Kong back to China. Second, it falsely assumes that China’s sovereignty is lodged in Xi or Xi’s Chinese Communist Party. The British never had any such right, and the sovereignty of China lies with the whole of the Chinese people living in China.

The Chinese people would not elect Xi as their leader in a free and fair general election. They would choose someone else, someone representing what they want rather than what the fake-Marxist Xi forces down their throats.

Xi is a usurper. He is self-appointed and rules only via the barrel of a gun pointed at the hearts of the Chinese people: submit or die. He’s an evil man. Anyone supporting him over the whole people is supporting that evil.


With New Perennial Grain, a Step Forward for Eco-Friendly Agriculture

Plowing large fields every year causes a mammoth loss of topsoil; erosion removes 30 tons of soil per hectare per year, on average, according to one study.

Farm field runoff with high nitrogen content spills into water bodies like the Gulf of Mexico and the Baltic Sea, creating giant dead zones; Crews noted that such zones now form at the mouths of 400 rivers around the world. The widely used herbicide, Roundup, is implicated as a carcinogen. Aquifers across the United States are being depleted. Monoculture crops are subject to diseases that can wipe them out. The fungus Tropical race 4, for example, has decimated the global Cavendish banana crop — the kind we all eat — largely because they are a genetically identical fruit grown in vast one-crop plantations. And every time a field is plowed it releases stored carbon into the atmosphere — agriculture is responsible for 9 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

As a result of these growing concerns, efforts are accelerating to develop a kinder, gentler agriculture to adapt to a changing world.


The Great Switch: Old Ways Fade and are Irrecoverable

Three major political forces are gathering strength in this political environment where global warming (for the former Centrists), and immigration (for the sixty per centers) are the new defining issues. Nationalist right-wing parties, once marginal, are now a structural element of Europe’s political landscapes. The Centre is struggling everywhere, and the third force is becoming the Green movement. Its spectacular rise – as voters reject the traditional parties and press their leaders on the urgency to act against climate change – is mostly attributable to a mobilisation of the young.

It is this cloistered élite ‘blind spot’ of discounting the adverse effects of globalisation on the ‘Sixty-Percenters’, in favour of pursuing their ephemeral identity preoccupations, that has become toxic for what remains of the old working class. Daley suggests this blind spot “probably cost Hillary Clinton the presidency: women in the depressed rust belt states were not worried about “glass ceilings”, they were worried about putting food on the table and whether their men would ever work again. What happened next? They voted, as the angry and disenfranchised are inclined to do, for a demagogue who did not regard them with contempt, and who gave voice to their frustration”.

The status quo ante is no longer available – even domestically – in the West, let alone externally. The Great Switch is underway. Society has lost its cultural centre of gravity. The old way of life is fading, and is close to extinction.

Is it overstated? I think it lack sufficient vision. It sees the “Green movement” but doesn’t appear to anticipate the Green New Deal’s (GND) impact. The GND encompasses much more than a narrow environmentalism. It shoots for a New “New Deal” that is built on environmentalism. It does not shoot for environmentalism built upon the status quo. When the GND succeeds, China and Russia will have no choice but to implement it too. The whole world will be watching. They will see the GND transform the United States as nothing before it. China and Russia won’t be able to hold back all the other nations of the world jumping on the GND bandwagon. What choice do we have besides self-inflicted extinction?

Let’s not allow disdain for US imperialism to cloud perceptions about America’s possibilities.


Memo to mainstream journalists: Can [as in stop] the phony outrage; Bernie is right about bias

… here’s the sad reality: There doesn’t have to be a memo from the owner to achieve the homogeneity of coverage at “centrist” outlets that media watchdog groups like FAIR (which I founded) have documented in study after study over the decades.

It happens because of groupthink.