The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Jackson, Mississippi in Third Week Without Water

So, another mess. Even before this, much of the water was unsafe and probably lead-poisoned. There are no high-level talks between the State and the city — which is the State capital!

American un-development continues. What is also striking is the complete incapability and unwillingness to handle problems. It’s the third week and the state and the city aren’t in high-level talks? Meanwhile, this news has not gone national: There is no American effort to help Jackson, any more than there was a national effort of any significance to help Flint with its water problems.

This is no longer a society where you can count on the public infrastructure OR on society to help you. Congress is currently cutting Covid aid even more, not just from $2,000 to 1,400 but more and more means testing and based on 2019 incomes, so if you lost your job during the pandemic, you are shit out of luck. (It is also true that people will look back and say Trump gave more money, with a $1,200 check and a $600 one.)

The level of malign indifference displayed by elected officials and senior bureaucrats is mind-boggling. They do nothing to help, but make sure to keep funneling money to the rich people who own them.

You can’t count on the US federal or most state governments. They aren’t interested in the basic duties of governing, like making sure the power and water keep flowing; the dikes are built, the forests are managed, and so on.

That means you have to count on yourself and whatever community you can find or create which is trustworthy.

At the least, build some reserves, but at the most, see what you can do to cut vulnerabilities. I know it’s hard, maybe even mostly impossible if you’re poor, but do what you can. This sort of event is likely to become more common until this political order is replaced, and it’s not clear when that will happen or whether it will be replaced by something better.

After all, California’s PG&E, which had disastrously mismanaged power and also been responsible for some of California’s worst wildfires has paid a heck of a lot of large dividends. To rich people and the politicians they own, it’s doing its job, so they don’t consider any of this a real problem.

Until that attitude changes, probably by changing the politicians, however necessary, you will continue to live in a country where your elites’ depraved indifference to your welfare or even death puts you in danger.

Prepare for it and remember: This state of affairs has actually the norm throughout most of human history. To rulers, people like you and me are cattle, and if the cattle are producing meat and milk, their pain, misery, and death is okay.

It was nice to have a few rulers who weren’t functionally depraved psychopaths for a few decades from FDR on, but for the US and Britain, those times are over.

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Our Society, the Slave Factory


Open Thread


  1. BobbyK

    This is astonishing I heard nothing of this water problem until seeing this post. People will realize Trump did give them more money and 2022 is going to be a catastrophe for the democrats, and I’m sure Biden will respond by becoming even MORE conservative than he already is, paving the way for an even worse Trump.

  2. The level of malign indifference displayed by elected officials and senior bureaucrats is mind-boggling. They do nothing to help, but make sure to keep funneling money to the rich people who own them.

    You can’t count on US or most State governments. They aren’t interested in the basic duties of governing, like making sure the power and water keep flowing; the dikes are built, the forests are managed and so on.

    I haven’t rechecked my original research to see if the situation has improved, but in my website, I reported on not only the Federal Government, but also each and every state government FAILING to encourage vitamin D testing, as a precursor to vitamin D sufficiency. In the African American community, that level of Vitamin D insufficiency reaches 76% (according to the Cooper Institute; other sources have put it in the neighborhood of 82%). Where is the NAACP when you need them? I’ve asked a number of black people about their awareness of vitamin D vs. covid, and a lot seemed to know that it should help. But none of them know just how deficient their community is. Thanks, US Government! Thanks, Tony Fauci, you little Nazi! (Recall: Dr. Campbell of youtube fame presented evidence that Fauci takes 6,000 IU of vitamin D, per day. Vitamin D for me, but not for thee!)

    Vitamin D3 normally takes 5 days to become fully utilizable in the body, so it’s worth noting that in a (Sophia Reina) study giving the calcifediol version to hospitalized patients, which is more rapidly utilized, nobody in the cohort that received it, on top of the standard of care which included hydroxychloroquine, died; furthermore, only 2% needed to go to ICU. (Note: even using duckduckgo, it appears that mention of hydroxychloroquine as “standard of care” for all arms of the study is being suppressed. I can’t remember whether or not azithromycin was also part of the standard of care in the Sophia Reina study. ORWELL LIVES! should have better sources)

    So, now it’s also being reported that

    The death rate from COVID-19 is 10 times higher in countries where 50% or more of the population is overweight, according to the federation.

    (see, e.g.)

    What would be nice to see is a graph of % obesity vs. covid death rates, for all the countries of the world. Also, vitamin D levels. Also, graphs of degree of obesity vs. covid death rates, where various measures of determining degree are attempted. (The thinking here is that if you are 20% overweight, you are likely not twice at risk as those 10% overweight, but something more than that. If you have the data, it should be easy to just try out various weighting functions, and see what fits the data the best.)

    Recall that Vietnam had the world’s lowest (or one of the lowest) rates of covid deaths (AFAICR); they also have the lowest obesity rate.

    Unfortunately, we’ll never know the full story, because completely disentangling demographic causal factors from therapeutic approach factors is rather difficult, I’m guessing impossible. In India, e.g., hydroxychloroquine is widely prescribed, but some Indian states are prescribing ivermectin, instead, after having determined that it works better.

  3. nihil obstet

    There is the opportunity for good organizing here. Getting together a march on Washington is difficult and of limited effect. Getting together a march on city hall and on the state capital should be possible. There is history — the Wisconsin mass meetings of several years ago, the Moral Mondays in North Carolina that morphed into today’s national Poor People’s Campaign, which is trying for local grassroots organizations in each state. These efforts have tended to peter out into electoral goals supporting the Democratic Party.

    I’d go for something like marching on city hall demanding that the mayor accompany the marchers to the state capital with one specific goal like return of water and/or electricity.

  4. Ché Pasa

    The situation in Jackson has been covered in the mainstream media, but it was overshadowed by the catastrophic situation in Texas. On top of all the other catastrophes cascading down on the US.

    From appearances, the lack of interest by the state government in the situation in Jackson has more to do with the complexion of the affected residents than anything else, similar in practically every way to the disinterest of the Michigan state government with regard to Flint’s water problem.

    At some point, we will have to realize that this disinterest is purposeful, not accidental nor even particularly racist — though of course racism factors into it. Government is more complex than simply being racist.

    Where government disinterest in the well being of the People is strongest we find communities of color and poverty, but we also find what we might call the “marginal middle class.” People of some means but not enough means to interest the political class. People who are unable to or disinclined to make more than token donations to the politicians of their choice and whose “function” in society is considered by their betters to be… expendable. For example, the bulk of the bureaucracy that keeps government functioning — to the extent it does. (This is likely the case in Jackson, the state capital.) The much maligned PMC? Or public school teachers and such?

    At any rate, our media is overloaded with catastrophe and cannot even begin to deal with the reality of what’s happening all over the world, let alone in the US. For one thing, they’re told to happy talk and good news it no matter what. They focus on The One Big Thing not everything, and they run on standard narratives all the time, very rarely digging into the core of problems.

    Nevertheless, we know something is dreadfully wrong and spreading. We can see it, we can feel it, we can smell it, and we can’t escape it. The happy talk and entertainment focus of some of the ‘news’ is almost a relief under the circumstances.

  5. Feral Finster

    The United States is rushing headlong into the Third World, like Brazil, but with worse weather, less attractive women, and a more hyperbelligerent foreign policy.

  6. Mary Bennett

    That link, should you wish to follow it, will lead you to an organization, or group of organizations, in Jackson, MS., which have been promoted, maybe even set up, by the first Black mayor of that city. I don’t know if that person is the present mayor. What would appear to have happened, is that, with cooperation of City Hall under the Black mayor or mayors, folks got together and decided we can sustain ourselves and we are no longer going to suck off the teat of mass consumption capitalism any more than we have to.

    About the water systems: I think there might be some payback happening here. As in, speculating, but I have lived in a lot of small towns and I know how they go about things, someone who has a critical job in the water system happens to be related to a businessperson who thinks Cooperation Jackson has caused him or her to lose money. Besides that, if you are an average small town big shot–a tea partier, in fact–an org like CJ in your back yard getting national attention makes you look bad. There is a political message here also, we might be the bad guys but we kept your water on.

    So, color me skeptical on this one. I don’t dispute the overall points made in the article as to crumbling public goods and elite class, of all parties and factions, indifference to the comfort and welfare of working people, but I think in this instance there is a bit a cynical manipulation going on as well.

  7. Willy

    We as a nation, used to be better at solving problems. Sure, back during WW2 it took a while for us to defend our allies (maybe even “our freedoms”), but once committed we seemed to do so quite well. It seems that today, any problem solving ideas for national problems must pass through some kind of ideological purity filter, so we can better blame whatever “other side” for that problem. The enemy is obviously a plutocracy so addicted to greed pathology, that they’ll expend much effort redirecting our natural problem-solving abilities into fighting with “the other”, so they can carry on with their addictions.

  8. But people effing vote for them anyway. It’s enough to break your faith in democracy.

  9. Willy

    Maybe too many are easily brainwashed. Or too many need to hit bottom first. Or too many always need an enemy to get all angsty over, and with the USSR gone they turn to liberalism as the next Great Satan which must be vanquished.

    I’d like to think that the weak link in the chain is the brainwashed evangelical. I know many whose kids aren’t doing well. Others say it’s the liberal monied elites from tech, medical and academia who always vote Blue for the guilty pleasures but I disagree. What I do know is that the plutocrats know exactly how and where to hit their lesser brethren, regardless of political stripes, so they can carry on with their “freedoms”.

  10. edmondo

    Mayor Lumumba (the current mayor) is a black socialist who endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. Think there might be a reason for the inaction?

  11. S Brennan


    Ivermectin, intended for humans [it’s the same stuff they give livestock…same binders et al] can be purchased by ordinary US citizens through Indian firms at VERY reasonable prices. D-Duck-Go it, inquire politely. I’d put a link up but, the FDA would just eff with them.

    Note; I put this up as aid for those that want to help themselves, knowing full well, those who preach helplessness will do their thing will try to bury this information with disinformation. Fine, have at it girls…

  12. Z

    The “donor class” are probably playing the carrot-stick trick with Manchin: we’ll make you richer with insider market deals and knowledge and/or a sweetheart gig once you leave Congress or we’ll bring charges against your daughter for the epi-pen mess.

    Not that it is likely that they’ll use the stick in this case, but what’s in it for Manchin to want to find out?

    Until the cabal in the upper echelons of our financial market mafia class are brought to heel “nothing will fundamentally change” and Fourteen Hundred Dollar and Zero Sense Joe has made it clear that “nothing will fundamentally change” and that he’s all about administering tears and suffering to the working class at the behest of his sponsors, which is what he’s done his entire political career, which is why he is president.

    There are no political options available here, our rulers, who hide behind the politicians they bribe and blackmail, have prevented them. And that’s why there’s that big fence around the White House.

    We can’t even get a living minimum wage. It looks like Biden wants to hold onto that notion so that he can bargain away “entitlements” in order to make a deal with the republicans instead of using the power he already has available to force it onto the Senate floor.

    I knew Biden was going to be bad, but he’s been worse than even I expected.


  13. As repugnant as the American medical system is, regulatory capture and all, it’s worthwhile noting that the FDA also does some good, which can’t be sustained with foreign manufacturers who are intent on cutting corners. Alas, I can’t even remember where I heard the interview – I’ll guess it was on, or else – but some woman described how Indian manufacturers of US sold products were practically unregulated, due to their remoteness from the US. She also went into how the generic marketplace is not exactly what you think it is. I.e., companies whose products go out of patent protection are under no obligation to reveal their manufacturing process (other than, I suppose, what is already spelled out in a patent). Hence, a generic drug might not be an exact duplicate of the original.

    So, as what I’ll take as an example of this dynamic, my cousin’s secretary, who takes hydroxychloroquine for lupus, told me that unless she takes the Sandoz brand, she gets unpleasant side effects.

  14. There is a buying group for a knockoff of a compound which used to be completely legal, being made by bonding 2 found-in-nature chemicals; but which the FDA decided, via a rule change, was a drug, after all, and thus needed standard drug approval, and was subsequently banned. This group has used Facebook to facilitate off-Facebook email orders and payments. The claim is that every batch, sourced in China, undergoes some sort of exacting chemical analysis, to show it is free from contaminants, or whatever. This drug/compound is legal in Europe, but not yet approved for use in the US (last I heard).

    So, this drug/compound, has nothing to do with covid, and the the group probably still has a facebook presence. I doubt any group dealing with hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin would survive on facebook, so looking at another platform to replicate this process is advisable.

  15. Feral Finster

    @Willy and others. Wanna watch something epic? Get thee on YouTube and watch the Kaiser shipyards documentary, how the Kaiser Corp. turned some Monterrey mudflats into five massive shipyards and then cranked out oceangoing cargo ships by the hundreds, and also for grins, they built the surrounding infrastructure, all in the course of three years.

    And these people did that without a single computer or cellphone, not even dial-up internet or a fax machine, during a time (WWII) that was not exactly known for a labor surplus. For that matter, most of Kaiser’s workforce had never even seen a ship before they started building the things.

    Then imagine trying to do something like that today.

  16. S Brennan [circa 2014]

    “The problems FDA investigators encounter in India are similar to those seen around the world in manufacturing,” according to an FDA representative.

    In the last year, the FDA has sent warning letters [to] plants in India, but also to plants in Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Ireland, and Spain. Common issues include inadequate testing and quality checks, inconsistencies in data collection, and contaminated products.

    Are name-brand drugs safer?

    No. Manufacturing standards are the same for brand-name and generic drugs. In fact, many brand-name drugs are produced overseas as well, often in the same plants as the generic equivalents.

    And manufacturing problems also occur in connection to brand-name drugs made by U.S. companies in this country. For example, in what is probably the largest related series of drug recalls in U.S. history…one of the manufacturing plants at the center of the recalls was in Pennsylvania; another, in Puerto Rico.

    Should you take drugs made only in the U.S.?

    It’s unrealistic in this age of globalization. About 40 percent of the medications Americans use everyday are made outside the U.S. And two of the world’s leading drug exporters are India and China, each with about 500 drug manufacturing plants registered with the FDA.

    80 percent of all raw drug ingredients used to make medications we take in the U.S. come from other countries, it is very difficult to know where all the components of a medication come from, regardless of where it was manufactured.”

    I am all for “buy American” but, for that to happen we need to “produce in America” and we don’t because of the greed of big Pharma…fix the production side and then lecture.

    Don’t want fix the production side because the “orange Hitler” says we should and we need to oppose EVERY POLICY that orange Hitler is for and…we need to vote for “blue no matter who” each and every time because…well because “this is the most important election of our lifetimes”. No…we simply can’t afford to punish the de-industrialists in the neoD party because the “orange Hitler”. We must never diverge from the “lessor of two evils” to examine the longer view, forget 9th dimensional chess, hell, forget chess altogether, forget checkers, forget tic-tac-toe, every election must be viewed as a single coin toss, no more, no less.

  17. Willy

    For anybody unfamiliar, Manchin’s daughter is Heather Bresch of Mylan scandals fame. She faked her MBA and still made it to CEO of Mylan, somehow. Her company bought the patent for the Epipen and immediately quintupled the price and got some highly lucrative school mandates and other contracts in their favor. She’s a good poster child for the government-crony-nepotism of our current corruption age. I don’t believe she got more than a slap on the wrist and hasn’t demonstrated any contrition which I’m aware of.

    As for outrageously expensive drugs, I once had an ear infection where an extremely expensive drug was prescribed. I researched and found the reason for the high cost was the same thing as above, buy the patent and multiply the price until the patent runs out. I found a physician who said the veterinary industry had an identical product for dogs for one twentieth of the price, if one was willing to take the chance.

  18. anon

    I’m just thankful that I managed to get the vaccine. If it wasn’t for vaccines Americans would be dealing with the pandemic and massive death indefinitely. Mask mandates have already been lifted in the South with fewer than 10% of the population vaccinated. It’s mindboggling. I have a friend in Texas whose husband is an elementary school teacher. He has already returned to in-person learning and nine students in his class have tested positive for COVID-19.

    If governors can’t make the correct decision on something as basic as mandating masks until the majority of Americans are vaccinated, I would not depend on them to solve anything like a water crisis or a natural disaster. Fifteen years later and New Orleans still has not completely recovered from Katrina. America is a failed state and it is no longer equipped to be a world power or fairly compete with other major powers without getting into an unjust war.

  19. Hugh

    With climate change, overpopulation, and neoliberalism, we should expect more instances of this failing state syndrome. The set ups for these disasters will continue until those responsible start doing hard time for them –which is unlikely.

  20. Ché Pasa

    And Elon’s SpaceX 10 “stuck the landing” — and then exploded on the landing pad a few minutes later.

    There’s a metaphor in that somewhere…

  21. Mark Level

    I’m disappointed in myself for not knowing about this previously, and that’s why I’m glad that this is among my top half dozen go-to news & polit(rick)s sites.

    At the risk of repeating myself, the US’s situation is analogous to the slow, never-checked decline of the Byzantines. They were “exceptional” just like us, they inherited the failed Roman world, & we “inherited”/nudged aside the failed British Empire which was akin to Rome. An ignorant and detached populace (them by icons and tradition, us by the ‘Net, celebrities and memes) run by an even more detached and complacent Elite, things falling apart all ’round but until it’s “Me” it just doesn’t matter, right? . . . these things don’t end well.

  22. Willy

    Speaking of dysfunctional leaders and their trickle down culture…

    If I was a single-issue voter it would be immigration.

    Common Culture Myth: Mexicans can do what Anglos will not, for a whole lot less.

    I recommended a drywall company for a whole house installation where my friend is their highest ranked installer. He’s a union journeyman with thousands of hours experience. He knows code, best practices, and can fix any framing issues. He makes $25/hr, plus a few benefits. The remodeled home owners instead chose a Hispanic-owner/employee company which had bid 25% less. I watched them the whole time. My best estimate had their per-man billing rate at around $80 per man hour.

    I also know a tree-service employee who’s well-experienced in all manner of high climbing and safe felling. He leads a crew and makes around $30/hr working for an owner. Another friend of mine refused his companies services and employed a Hispanic company who’d give him the best bid. From what I was told, I’m guessing their billing rate was around $100 per man hour.

    Anybody care to guess how the Hispanics did it?

  23. Z


    With the drywall, I’d suspect they cut costs on materials.

    Other than that, I’d guess they did the work faster and probably shoddier.


  24. S Brennan

    Willey…limit immigration?

    …the “Orange Hitler” says we should and all non-deplorables know we need to oppose EVERY POLICY that the “Orange Hitler” is for. We need to vote for “blue no matter who” each and every time because…well, because, “this is the most important election of our lifetimes”. No…we simply can’t afford to punish the neoD party because…well…“Orange Hitler”, need I say more?

    We must never diverge from the “lessor of two evils” to examine the longer view, forget 9th dimensional chess, hell, forget chess altogether, forget checkers, forget tic-tac-toe, every election must be viewed as a single coin toss, no more, no less !!!

    Now stop this talk criticizing unrestricted immigration…or…endless foreign wars…or…de-industrialization, don’t you realize how miserable the USA was until we abandoned FDRism and went all in for Gilded-age-economics..[sans mercantilism] and neocolonialism back in the 70’s.

    Shame on you Willey for even thinking of supporting one of “Orange Hitler’s” policies…we must remain pure of heart !!! Never examine a policy independent of the person holding it…WTF are ad hominems for if not to keep people from thinking independently of party dictata? For God’s sake man…pull yourself together or I will call the Thought Police!

  25. Willy

    Like everything else Orange Hitler “accomplished”‘ for the working man, his immigration policies were mostly noise. There was little difference in deportation numbers between Obama and Trump. Somebody else can debate the cost-loss analysis of his family separation policies, all things considered.

    A large part of the northward flood was a result of bad American policies ranging from big meat union-busting, to deporting so many MS-13 back to El Salvador that it wrecked the culture and many families fled for their lives. Even NAFTA caused working Mexicans a lot of damage. I hear that stull all the time from illegals I’ve gotten to know.

    Hint: they ones willing to work up here may be decent folk, but they’re human. They’re not usually loyal to us Americans. Not after all we’ve done to them.

  26. S Brennan

    Yes Willey, yes.

    Please continue to lecture us on your learned helplessness and please, refresh our memory from yesterday, where you spoke of your travails, your horrible disfigurement at work…you know the one, where your coworkers didn’t back you because…a new bully pulled into town and took you off your throne…oh so tragic. BTW, nobody I know who’s “made it” ever had to swallow something like that…you brave soul…soldier on…oh, that’s right you never had to soldier on, you had better things to do, like uhm…supporting clowns who sent “lessor people” off to war. Cry me a river.

  27. Willy

    Are you drunk?

  28. S Brennan

    r u ever sober?

  29. Willy

    Are you a wounded draftee? You fought for your country anyways, for somebody else’s war and now spending the rest of your life in a wheelchair?

  30. different clue

    @Feral Finster,

    The United States is rushing headlong into the Third World, like Brazil?

    I think the United States is rushing headlong into the Failed Second World, like Ukraine and Belarus and Moldova. I’d look at those countries, not Brazil, to see the Overclass’s planned future for America.

  31. Temporarily Sane

    @different clue

    Agree…the “omg the US is becoming Brazil” thing is just something people repeat mindlessly because, in their minds, Brazil = 3rd World = dysfunctional state. I first saw it mentioned on NC, where sycophantically repeating “tropes” dropped by the hosts is a time honored tradition.

    But, yeah, Brazil is the B in BRICs so it’s economically on the rise whereas the US and the rest of the moribund NATO/EU bloc is on the decline.

  32. Hugh

    If you want to limit illegal immigration, you don’t need walls. You heavily fine their employers and send them, the employers, to jail. It’s not rocket science. There are four to six industries, like meat packing, building trades, tree trimming, hotels, and restaurants where a lot of this workforce is concentrated. All this is known. Nothing is done because it allows politicians to be anti-immigration in public for the rubes as they are pro-cheap undocumented labor for their rich backers.

  33. different clue

    @ Temporarily Sane,

    I think that America’s Overclass and their controlled Leadership Figures have put America into a state of Powerdive Into Terrain that I don’t see being matched in EUrope. But maybe EUrope is also Powerdiving Into Terrain and I just don’t see it from 3,000 miles away.

  34. Joan

    @different clue,

    I’m tempted to agree with you, though obviously things are still up in the air as the consequences of policy decisions during covid haven’t fully come home yet. Europe and especially the EU have a lot of neoliberalism to pull away from, and though things vary from country to country, I hope that process is smooth and swift. We’ll see.

  35. Jason

    If you want to limit illegal immigration, you don’t need walls. You heavily fine their employers and send them, the employers, to jail. It’s not rocket science. There are four to six industries, like meat packing, building trades, tree trimming, hotels, and restaurants where a lot of this workforce is concentrated. All this is known. Nothing is done because it allows politicians to be anti-immigration in public for the rubes as they are pro-cheap undocumented labor for their rich backers.

    This is the most succinct comment here, in both identifying and addressing the issue.

    Don’t forget agriculture. Who picks all our fruits and vegetables?

    I would also add that “tree trimming” includes all residential and commercial “landscape” services. It’s a huge industry, and it’s almost entirely unnecessary. And that defines nearly everything in our modern, complex societies. It’s all too much.

  36. Jeremy

    Yup Brennan, you’re quite right.

    I’ve bought Ivermectin, Azithromycin and Budesonide inhalers from India (sent to me here in the UK). Very reasonable prices.

    Contact Anil at

    He’s the guy at the company referenced here:

  37. Feral Finster

    @Temporarily Sane:

    Brazil’s economy has not exactly been performing so well in recent years, even before the COVID hit.

    Its politics, however, remain as dubious as ever since the fall of the Fifth Brazilian Republic (aka the “military government”).

    @Different Clue: Ukraine isn’t a bad analogy, either, although in many ways, that country makes Brazil look good. Byelorus, not so much. In BY, the state and not the oligarchs are very much in charge.

  38. js

    Ha, the U.S. becoming Brazil may have been in reference to the movie. (“Brazil”)

    But who can deny the actual Brazil is under bad leadership now with Bolsanaro, you have to be pretty deep into apologizing for far right strongmen to go there, but maybe that is really rather a case of Brazil becoming the U.S.. There are a lot of South American countries I would rather the U.S. become that Brazil, not that I have any say in it, as progressive improvement isn’t likely, but right wing strongman is certainly possible.

  39. Z

    Rest assured that the following politicians will be perpetually well-funded in their future primaries by the “donor class” and Chuckie Schumer (D-Wall Street):

    These 8 Democrats just voted NO on a $15 minimum wage:








    With democrats like this who needs republicans much less a “strong republican” party? Nancy P the Speed Queen and Sly Chuckie (D-Wall Street) have already got it covered.


  40. S Brennan

    Above, Hugh w/Jason in adamant concurrence agree that the way to control borders is by making employers an unpaid national police force. Really?

    Apparently, Hugh w/Jason have never heard of casual labor, never heard of day labor, never heard of falsified papers, never heard of independent contracting, never heard of legalized nationals using foreign labor. Nor have they heard of drug cartels using illegal immigrants for the drug trade…a $150 Billion dollar “industry”. Nor have they heard of the regular deportation of workers who have overstayed their visa or used false documentation to obtain work. As recently as last August, ICE agents were rounding them up by the hundreds for deportation to the jeers of publications like Hugh’s gotto rag, The Atlantic.

    The amount of law enforcement needed once an illegal immigrant has made it past the border is several orders magnitude larger than stopping somebody at the border. Why one should ask, if Hugh & Jason’s argument is valid do we not see similar numbers of illegal immigrants from Eastern Europe, from Africa, from the middle east, from south Asia? Hugh & Jason’s argument conveniently leaves out the effect large bodies of water, called oceans play in illegal immigration. Why? because Hugh, as always, is full of shit. Again, Hugh [and his acolytes] argue for a pink unicorn and a lollipop policy that ignores reality in favor childish esthetics.

    And wouldn’t it be lovely if Hugh would explain, if employer sanctions are the one size fits all solution, how H1-B’s under the Clinton/Bush/Obama administration [singular intended] became the go-to methodology of wiping out much of the technical class in the USA. No other country does/would allow the decimation of it’s intellectual class in such a manner. State Universities openly seek foreign students because they pay many times the tuition [which supports higher Administrator fees] and these Universities incentivize this by promising legal residency/work papers thereafter. Yes, once again, Hugh’s simplistic, one size fits all “solution set”of employer sanctions is another attempt to disguise a not too clever lie wrapped in a rather clumsy deceit.

  41. Willy

    Getting conservatives to be principled enough to snitch on employers of illegals might help. But as the mindless worship of an orange clown car Hitler so aptly demonstrates, conservatives have no principles.

  42. someofparts

    Willy – The scroll button is your friend. Avoid futility as much as possible. Life is too short.

  43. someofparts

    I don’t think anyone who hires illegals is a moral paragon, although I understand how it might be necessary to be competitive. Seems like it would take disincentives, but I don’t see how that would be possible without restructuring the economy more broadly.

  44. S Brennan

    Funny Willey, an illegal immigrant [with false papers] who was very popular with folks in this small town, including myself, was just snitched on by a couple, she far more conservative than he and subsequently detained. So…I’m thinking that’d make you feel pretty good huh? Maybe not as good as wrapping yourself in multiple layers of self-pity, but hey, that’s job you have to do yourself huh?

    I didn’t know he was illegal and had I…I wouldn’t have ratted him out, a decent guy who made a living by day laboring. I met him while I was digging out a tree stump, [the local kids don’t go in for that kind of work*], he offered to help, I paid him 50.00 for two hours of back breaking work. That’s how he made a living, he didn’t take a job from your lazy ass or, as far as I can tell, anybody else…of that you can be sure.

    *Young men today expect to start at the top and go upward from there, leaving us old farts to do the hard work they eschew, fair enough, that’s how I started, day labor construction. In fact on occasion, while working on my house, twenty-something “contractors” have stopped their cars and offered me their card/work, apparently, they have better things to do than work on their own project. I’m saying there was a spread of 35 years between us…pathetic.

  45. different clue

    About illegal immigration . . . people think “Mexico” when they hear “illegal immigration, even though many illegal immigrants come from other places, including illegal student-visa-overstayers from Europe.

    I have read estimates that there are about 11 million Mexicans in America as “illegal immigrants”.
    Many of them came here because their own country and economy were very carefully destroyed on purpose with malice-aforethought by the NAFTA conspirators. And since one of those conspirators along with Reagan-Bush-Clinton of American and Salinas de Gortari of Mexico was Mulroney of Canada, and because Canada has 10% of the population of America, I think 10% of the NAFTAstinian economic exiles from Mexico should be living and working in Canada.

    What would disincentivize the would-be illegal employER from hiring illegal immigrants? Life without parole in America’s very worst Federal Prisons. If 500,000 thousand illegal employERS were to spend the rest of their lives in the very worst Federal Prisons, where everyone could see it and know it, that would disincentivize the rest of the wannabe-illegal employERS from becoming illegal employERS.

    What kind of economic restructuring would reduce the illegal immigration problem? Abolish NAFTA and restoring unto Mexico, America and Canada the political-economic sovereignty to reprotectionize their own agricultural economies and societies.

  46. Hugh

    The BLS Jobs report covering February is out. February is usually the beginning of the yearly spring jobs build. 978,000 jobs were added total nonfarm (public and private sectors combined) not seasonally adjusted. In the private sector alone, 663,000 jobs were created. Both these numbers are in range, toward the higher end but not the highest. Compared to February last year, for nonfarm jobs, we are down 9.042 million (this does not take in expected jobs growth without the virus) and down 7.681 million in the private sector. To make up for these deficits, jobs growth has to do very much better than it currently is doing. At the current rate, it would take 3 1/2 years to get back to where we were –and to make up for lost growth in jobs much longer. It is still early days, however. What will happen when vaccination programs take hold and the economy is fully open remains to be seen.

  47. Lex

    I think your examples are of capitalism run amok. I spec and bid out large projects as well as assist clients in selecting bidders. We won’t do low bid anymore because it always ends badly. Making our decisions, personal, corporate or political based solely on monetary calculation is the road to ruin.

  48. S Brennan

    DC, what you are advocating/offering is more neoliberalism.

    Asking small onesie-twosie employers and individuals such as myself to screen/police casual/day labor [the ones, if the IRS is any indication, that would be prosecuted] instead of the federal government sounds like another idiotic idea from the lips of Milton Friedman.

    Not to mention such a poorly thought out idea would lead to large, unwarranted discrimination of Hispanic looking people…which given the completion of America, would have the “left”/”liberals”/”regressives” effectively prescribing racism, while advancing the libertarian concept of government helplessness. Please try to think about the consequence of such a glib prescription. Besides, as I point out above, it wouldn’t begin to solve the problem, which, wasn’t a problem during the years 1932-1965.

    Neoliberalistic methodologies such as Hugh SOP & DC propose requires people to ignore the history of the USA in the 1932-65 period while, prescribing a wholly novel solution to something that was already solved in the past. People should ask themselves…pour quoi?

  49. Astrid

    S Brennan,

    Just because something might negatively affect your current living or business arrangements doesn’t make it a Neoliberal plot. I am also pretty sure he is employing hyperbole.

    I think a bounty system is probably better. Provable violations incur a fine 10x the value (pegged by BLS) of the work performed, work 25 percent of collected fees going to the whistleblower (who will need clear documented proof).

    But it’s pretty meaningless until we also completely do away with time limited “guest worker” programs. I’m sure that if working as a tree trimmer paid $50 an hour, you can find someone to do it no matter how hard the work.

  50. Jason

    We all did feel the same
    We just saw it from a different point of view

  51. Willy

    @someofparts, I couldn’t resist. I also encourage any others to enjoy a little play time at conservative expense. A future contest with prizes may be in the offing.

    @ Lex,
    “There is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud” -M. Friedman

    Apparently old Milt forgot that part where human nature being what it is, most humans will conveniently forget the second half of long aphorism as long as it’s just enough of a cultural norm to do so.

    Nothing on the illegal drywallers card (except the phone number) checked out. The license number was fake. I don’t even know if “Chuy, Dewey and Louie” were their real names 😊. The homeowner was a fairly assertive and confident guy but apparently so emotionally invested in his “more saving more doing” that he just went with it when they abandoned certain areas because of poor framing. After all, the 35’ long exterior wall on the side of the house bows outwards a visibly obvious 2” courtesy of the illegal framers, but it’s only noticeable if you look up. Thank God for overworked/underpaid inspectors.

    Any time consuming best practices like notching drywall around window and door openings, shimming, fixing bowed framing, etc. are ignored. Plenty of gaps larger than 1/8” around electrical boxes. We found the three can lights they boarded over by feeling for the warm spot from the buried light bulb. Stuff like that. You know the drill.

    On the plus, I’ve never had anything stolen by an undocumented and they seem to usually drive the speed limit. From a distance, their work usually looks reasonable, from a distance. I think they’re just taking advantage of a good thing and their loyalties lie with their loved ones back home living under difficult circumstances. They’re not as stupid as we may think them. They think we are.

  52. nihil obstet

    I don’t think we’re ignoring the history of the U.S. during 30-65 period so much as actually knowing something about it. California turned back Okies at the border. Refugees from the Nazis were turned away and many died. I don’t see this as a solved problem. What FDR saw as the solution that we should pursue after WWII was global prosperity rather than the industrialized world’s colonial looting. Henry Wallace agreed. Churchill was not happy about that solution which would end the British Empire.

    FDR’s solution is still the one we should follow. I’m no more for open borders than I am for right-to-work laws, but simply walling the people whose lives we endanger outside so we can forget about them is pretty bad.

  53. different clue

    @ S Brennan,

    Thank you for your interest in my comment. I am always happy to hear from you. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.

  54. different clue

    @nihil obstet,

    That’s why part of what we should do is abolish NAFTA first of all, and then abolish Free Trade Agreements and Organizations right after that.

  55. Willy

    Here’s a fun little video about historic immigration origins.

    If I remember my Gilded Age history correctly, Frick talked Carnegie into firing all his German Bessemer Steel Process experts he’d imported, after they’d learned everything they could from them, and replacing those workers with low wage Eastern Europeans. Apparently that was the The American Way back before all that unpatriotic Square Deal nonsense.

  56. Hugh

    Most employers of illegals know they are employing illegals. They simply don’t want to take any responsibility for doing so or face any penalty as a result. There is little effort to verify that a Social Security number actually belongs to the person using it. A contractor may be Anglo but very often the work crew has zero English and is illegal.

    It’s important to understand that employers need to be put on the hook both ways. They need to be slammed if they hire illegals and they need to be slammed if they don’t hire groups like Latinos if they are citizens. Employers should be given means to verify their workers are legit. But as I said above, there are whole industries filled with illegals and the companies and those who run them know and are OK with this because it gives them a supply of cheap, abusable labor.

  57. DMC

    Apparently, this same sort of labor scam goes on with parolees. The few employers that will hire them tend to do so for exploitative purposes, since they’re the only thing standing between the parolees and “back in the slam”, they figure they can get away all kind of hi-jinks about pay and worker safety. And the cons don’t seem to have anyplace to lodge a complaint without negative repercussions. I expect the experience of the IA’s is similar.

  58. Willy

    The leader of the drywall crew was “Chuy”, the only one fluent enough in English for me to understand. He showed up one day on the front porch of this full-gut home remodel at exactly the time when the next phase in construction would be drywall. The owner happened to be there and was charmed by Chuy’s humble politeness. Only somebody really desperate for work goes around knocking on doors, right? Plus Mexicans are hard workers (and they were indeed blazing fast) and used to making a buck an hour back in Mexico so Mr. Owner would get a good deal for sure.

    Their bid was exactly the going rate, minus what a licensed insured legit contractor would’ve paid in taxes, insurance, training, fees, etc.. About 25% less. Of course none of that was verbalized.

    Once contracted and on the job, Chuy took his phone calls on speaker. I’d often hear American-sounding voices: “Hi Chuy. Do you have a couple of tapers available this week?” “Chuy my man! I need a tex-finisher by the end of the month.” So I’m thinking: “Damn, Chuy’s a regular drywall pimp.” Not exactly Mr. Humble. Plus there is something to be said about specialization, but sometimes speedy one-job specialists don’t know or care about what problems they might cause for the next guy coming along like interior door or cabinet installers.

    Since they left all the scraps all over the floors the owner found a few Home Depot parking lot Hispanics to put it all into the dumpster for $25/hr. The two crews intermingled for a bit and traded cards and hobnobbed. I don’t speak much Spanish but I knew they were talking about who knew who, basic skills, origins, and what brought them north. While I’ve referred many
    Hispanics over the years, none has ever returned the favor. All of my referrals from immigrants have come from other nationalities outside the Hispanic realm.

    I’ve worked with many American citizen Hispanics and most are just regular guys. IMHO, Trump targeted them for votes because their foreign cousins are competition. I mean, would you Americans of Russian descent want a hungry street-smart native Russian with questionable loyalty to America suddenly working next to you? Others say the Trump campaign also filled heads with talk of “evil socialism”.

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