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Don midwest
Don midwest

How Climate Change Is Increasing Global Hunger

From Naked Capitalism with an intro by Yves Smith

Yves here. The world hunger picture is getting worse thanks to climate change…and we haven’t yet seen the really bad effects start, like mass migrations as low-lying mega cities are hit with floods.


these last 2 articles, i could just go off and on and on, but i’ll just say, grrrrrrrrrrrr!


No in the US just yet but it will hit here as crop yields will start going down as idea growing conditions get worse. I.E the frog in boiling water

Don midwest
Don midwest

American Exceptionalism!!!!!

Progress!!! Look at how great we are!!!

We did it all ourselves, well with a little land

This is not an account of relentless progress. It’s much subtler and darker than that. It reminds us of some simple facts so much in the foreground that we must revisit them: “Between 1500 and 1800, roughly two and a half million Europeans moved to the Americas; they carried 12 million Africans there by force; and as many as 50 million Native Americans died, chiefly of disease. … Taking possession of the Americas gave Europeans a surplus of land; it ended famine and led to four centuries of economic growth.” Nothing like this had ever happened in world history; and nothing like it is possible again. The land was instantly a refuge for religious dissenters, a new adventure in what we now understand as liberalism and a brutal exercise in slave labor and tyranny. It was a vast, exhilarating frontier and a giant, torturing gulag at the same time. Over the centuries, in Lepore’s insightful telling, it represented a giant leap in productivity for humankind: “Slavery was one kind of experiment, designed to save the cost of labor by turning human beings into machines. Another kind of experiment was the invention of machines powered by steam.” It was an experiment in the pursuit of happiness, but it was in effect the pursuit of previously unimaginable affluence.

Only 50 million dead indigenous people. And a land grab that saved Europe from starvation.

From a new history of the US in a book review in NYT

The American Past: A History of Contradictions

It may seem obvious, but it took me some time to appreciate Bruno Latour’s focus on LAND.

And the billionaires are OFF SHORE. Not connected to land, nor the myth of progress.

Also a tie to the land is often a conservative position so it has not appeared nearly enough in leftists work.

Indigenous people are leading the way back to connect with the land as they stand in the way of “progress”

And by the way, killing 50 million people in the Americas was a lot of people back in those days. I recall when writing my freshman English term paper and the global population had just then reached 3 billion. I was stunned. Since then the population has continued to rise but we know the biggest issue is the carbon footprint that we have in the successful countries.

(what value scale makes us successful?)

Don midwest
Don midwest

Koch funded think tank at George Mason University

People here are aware of their funding of ALEC, candidates and probably have heard about how they select faculty and chaired positions. This is an article about a center of economics and policy at George Mason University which was exposed in the excellent book by Nancy McLean “Democracy in Chains” with a subtitle that spills the beans “The Deep History of The Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America” about the work of the Nobel Prize winner in economics, James Bucanan.


One of the comments points out the same kind of corruption of money in industrial research.

Don midwest
Don midwest

a good news story. I may have posted this before, but here goes anyway


How cool that the Intercept picked this up. I sign the petitions. Good for them. Although it seems neverending.


Don midwest
Don midwest

Somali refugee, woman, wears head scarf, won primary in Kieth Ellison’s seat so is heading to congress

podcast from The Intercept


AFTER DECISIVELY BEATING five other candidates in last month’s primary race to represent Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, Ilhan Omar is on her way to becoming the first African refugee and hijab-wearing Muslim woman to serve in Congress. She joins Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib in a wave of progressive women taking the Democratic Party establishment by storm. Before coming to the U.S., Omar spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp, having fled the civil war in Somalia. She immigrated to America at the age of 12. She joins Mehdi Hasan to explain how she went from those humble origins to a congressional seat.

There will be a transcript published later.

Don midwest
Don midwest

“The Overstory” by Richard Powers

I have mentioned this before as a way into the cosmology of Bruno Latour

Bruno tweeted being with Powers today in France and the book has been short listed for the Booker prize.

From wiki

“Library Journal calls the book “a deep meditation on the irreparable psychic damage that manifests in our unmitigated separation from nature”.” Behind a pay wall.

Humans bipedal omnivores

…The Overstory, rather, treats its bipedal omnivores as just another strand in the ecosystem. This vision also informs the many literary references, from medieval Chinese poetry to Thoreau’s Walden, and gives the text its four parts: “Roots,” “Trunk,” “Crown,” and “Seeds.” Along the way, there are glimpses of the world before humanity, and at times the trees themselves function as dramatic personae. The first of the “Roots,” tracing the rise and fall of an Iowa farm family, gains dramatic momentum from a devastating blight of the early 1900s: “A country watches dumbstruck as New England’s priceless chestnuts melt away.” Another early passage notes that “everything a human being might call the story happens outside” a tree’s lifecycle.

To put it another way, this is a novel founded on the notion of our lives as short stories. The author’s experiments in that form clearly helped him develop the skills for this drama. Each section of “Roots” is itself a contained narrative. Each introduces a person in some way marooned, and identified with a tree: a mulberry for the out-of-touch immigrant, a maple for the boy too smart for his own good. Such material takes us back to myth—the primordial short story. Not surprisingly, Ovid’s Metamorphoses emerges as another central text.

from the Swanee Review

Review: The Overstory by Richard Powers

and a strange review in the Irish Times. As I recall, they have little folks in the forests.

The Overstory might be a good book, and it might be a bad book. It might be a novel that reaches out for the unattainable and falls short of it, or a novel that overshoots its own good intentions. You can’t say it works as a piece of prose and you can’t say that it doesn’t work. You don’t know whether you should read it transfixed by the shadow of the fall of man, or throw it at the wall and run screaming into the forest.

Nine characters converge on a ecological protest and splinter away from it. There are scientists, actuaries, Vietnam vets and game designers. There are epiphanies and elemental brainstorms. There are sins of anthropomorphism and personification.

Chapter one begins: “Now is the time of chestnuts.” It isn’t the only sentence in the book that teeters on the brink. The Overstory is a ranter’s sermon. By the end of it you’ll know more about trees than you thought there was to know. Bushwhacked with the wondrous.

The Overstory review: A ranter’s sermon
An eco polemic that’s a powerful defence by Richard Powers of the forest – and the trees


Top Grassley Staffer Gives Away the Game: ‘Unfazed and Determined’ to Confirm Kavanaugh Despite Allegations
“Grassley’s process is a sham but I didn’t expect them to broadcast it so openly.”

There’s new evidence for those arguing that Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican Senator from Iowa who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, is being wholly disingenuous about his desire to get to the bottom of the sexual assault accusation by Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and it comes in the form of public statements made by one of his top staffers on the committee who said plainly overnight that the goal of the current process is not to get to the truth of the matter, but to make sure Trump’s right-wing nominee is confirmed regardless of the credible allegations.

“Unfazed and determined. We will confirm Judge Kavanaugh,” tweeted Mike Davis, who serves Grassley as the Chief Counsel for Nominations for the SJC, just after 11 PM on Wednesday.

TPTB will have what they will have. As several have been noting recently, yay feudalism.


Alexander Hamilton Was Preoccupied with the Threat That a Presidency Like Trump’s Posed for America
This isn’t the first time our democracy has faced the founder’s nightmare—but it is the most dangerous

You all are so familiar with the Powell memo and the oligarchic takeover that I won’t go into detail, but it’s a long and interesting article by Hartmann, if you’re so inclined.


Duke Energy Leaders Carry Blame for Hurricane Florence Devastation

Just extend this to the whole USA and most parts of the world.

Scientists from NOAA, Cornell and other institutions say curbing methane leakage and venting from the gas-to-power system – which is cost-effective according to the Rocky Mountain Institute and others – can have immediate, positive impacts, while buying time to phase out CO2 emissions.

Indeed, if we don’t begin slowing methane emissions, it’s game over. Humanity will soon cross the threshold toward runaway climate, social and economic chaos.

No wonder indigenous Arctic groups and others already suffering from climate disruption are demanding immediate methane reductions.

Fortunately, we don’t need the gas. Proven solutions for phasing out all coal- and gas-fired power – such as local solar-with-storage and energy-balancing programs – are surging in free markets. They’re cheaper, can be deployed immediately, and they create resiliency against grid outages (see our NC Clean Path 2025).

By contrast, Duke Energy’s new 15-year plan dismisses battery storage while projecting construction of 24 large gas-fired plants in the Carolinas. As other utilities and states are moving to go all-renewable, Duke plans to be only 7% renewable by 2033 – despite all the slick advertising.


For orlbucfan especially. Not what I would call a ‘funny’ cartoon, but..



Sexual assault is such a nuisance, not only, but especially, for Republicans.

Here’s the Wall Street Journal editorial board, attempting, with gentlemanly politeness, to dispense with Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation against SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh as quickly as possible:

“Yet there is no way to confirm her story after 36 years, and to let it stop Mr. Kavanaugh’s confirmation would ratify what has all the earmarks of a calculated political ambush.

“This is not to say Christine Blasey Ford isn’t sincere in what she remembers.” But . . .

“The vagaries of memory are well known, all the more so when they emerge in the cauldron of a therapy session to rescue a marriage. Experts know that human beings can come to believe firmly over the years that something happened when it never did or is based on partial truth. Mistaken identity is also possible.”

We respect your sincerity, Ma’am, but please get out of our way. We can’t let unreliable lady memories complicate matters. We’re pushing a serious political agenda here. And besides, if this alleged rape attempt by two drunk teenage boys was such a big deal, why did you keep it to yourself for 30 years?

As Koehler notes, many people could never have made it into Kavanaugh’s circles had they committed such an assault, much less to being a candidate for our highest court.


Please do not let this man be a Justice. Dems, time to step up.

The Company He Keeps: Kavanaugh Bro Mark Judge Is A Scummy Piece of Work

In his opening statement at his confirmation hearing, “calculated liar,” evidently repeat perjurer and alleged sexual assaulter Brett Kavanaugh cited his time at Bethesda’s Georgetown Prep high school in the 1980s with reverence. “The motto of my Jesuit high school was ‘Men for others,’‌ he intoned, nobly adding, ”I’ve tried to live that creed.” Uh huh. Alas, growing evidence – thanks, hard-working enemies of the people – says otherwise. Along with Kavanaugh’s longtime, malleable relationship with the truth, his reportedly dubious finances, and the clear and present danger he poses to women’s rights, Kavanaugh’s choice of friends likewise raises to one critic “the question of his integrity and character and fitness.” Enter Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s high school best bud and alleged fellow assaulter of Dr. Christine Ford, who oddly has already said, through his lawyer, he does not wish to testify at upcoming hearings.

Again, thanks to extensive media sleuthing – here, here, here and elsewhere – we now know that Judge was a teenage alcoholic who grew up to be a racist, homophobic, writer for right-wing rags perhaps best known for his stone-age attitude towards women and sexual assault; it is most memorably reflected in the lofty quote he chose for his high school yearbook: “Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs.” In his 1997 memoir, Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk and a 2005 book, God and Man at Georgetown Prep (now out of print), Judge portrayed a school experience somewhat different from Kavanaugh’s: He describes a culture of rampant alcoholism, frequent blackout drinking, shady parties rife with activities that “would get us arrested today,” and gay priests who in his opinion threatened the sacred tenets of Catholicism.


3.4 Million Chickens, 5,500 Hogs Killed in Florence’s Flooding

one step down from some of us, not worth the time. sometimes i forget that people without health insurance, or enough insurance, are dying right now.


At least our hero (Bernie) and others are finally bringing these things to votes. Unlikely to win….

But the US is doing much more than selling weapons. The American military is actively participating in the war and bears a direct responsibility for the atrocities that result. US planes are refueling the Saudi and allied bombers in mid-air. The US military is supplying intelligence and logistics, and also targeting information. (It has not yet been determined whether US support was involved in the August air strike on the school bus.) US Army Green Berets have also been deployed in the war, across the border in Saudi Arabia, to help Saudi forces destroy caches of ballistic missiles and launch sites. The US, together with the UK and France, are using their weight in the UN Security Council to block any resolution mandating a ceasefire.

None of this military participation is permitted under the US Constitution. Article I, section 8 clearly reserves for Congress the power to declare war and to decide on US military action abroad. No court decision (including by the Supreme Court) has altered that original meaning. To be sure, presidents have sometimes ignored the Constitution and ordered military actions abroad—like this one, which began during the Obama administration—without authorization from Congress, but neither Congress nor the judicial branch has granted the president that power.

On the contrary, in 1973, after more than a decade of US involvement in Vietnam, which at its height had seen the deployment of more than half a million US troops without a formal declaration of war, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution to “insure that the collective judgment of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of the United States Armed Forces into hostilities.” The legislation states:

The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

If none of these conditions are met, the military action is therefore unconstitutional. But Congress has not directly used its power to force the president to remove US armed forces from participation in a war. Until now.

As Weisbrot states, it really has nothing to do with our national security, but

It is unfortunate that the major media have given so little attention to the battle in Congress, because that is how this war will be ended and potentially millions of lives saved. The omission is not because US journalists are particularly sympathetic to this war. The New York Times editorial board, in a piece headlined “Saudis try to starve Yemen into submission,” effectively accused the US government of complicity in “war crimes.”

But most journalists seem to accept the imperial presidency as a political reality, and do not seem to realize that Congress has constitutional authority over decisions of war and peace and is in the process of reclaiming that authority.

I disagree. Surely the NYT and others know of the legislation, the original Constitutional duty, and the current votes. For some ungodly reason, they LIKE the imperial presidency. Oh yeah, b/c it feeds the MIC and finance.

it’s time for a dam revolution again, but without a draft (which I am not advocating, at least not yet and probably never) how will that happen?

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