Links 2/11/17

Woman Adopts A Pitbull, And The Dog Can’t Stop Hugging Her Bored Panda

First Gene Drive in Mammals Could Aid Vast New Zealand Eradication Plan MIT Technology Review (Dan K)

These ‘vertical forests’ could transform a Brussels wasteland into luxury apartments Business Insider (David L)

Measles Outbreak Traced to Unvaccinated Border Staffers NBC (Dan K)

Excessive Radiation Inside Fukushima Fries Clean-up Robot Gizmodo

China?

The Chinese Embassy Told Durham University’s Debating Society Not To Let This Former Miss World Contestant Speak At A Debate Buzzfeed (furzy)

Brexit

Brexit leaks could put journalists in prison The Times

Brexit transitional deal will lock UK into EU court, says Verhofstadt Guardian

Secret plan to tie Britain to EU after Brexit is being kept ‘under the radar’ Daily Express

The US concern for the rise of the Leftist forces inside the UK Labor Party during the Thatcherian era failed evolution

Martin Schulz, the veteran MEP challenging for Merkel’s crown Financial Times

Russia Today Is Expanding In France And Preparing To Launch A French TV Channel BuzzFeed (furzy)

Greece hopeful of imminent EU debt deal despite German warning Guardian (Sid S)

Greek debt crisis: an existentialist drama with no good end in sight Guardian. From last week, still germane.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Russia Considers Returning Snowden to U.S. to ‘Curry Favor’ With Trump: Official NBC (Bill B)

What Happens to Communities When Streetlights Join the Internet of Things? DZone. Tony K: “Scorpion Stare, here we come.”

Google AI invents its own cryptographic algorithm; no one knows how it works ars technica (Chuck L)

Trump Transition

Betsy DeVos Orders Immediate Flattening Of All School Globes Huffington Post (UserFriendly)

Trump Weighs New Immigration Order With Next Legal Moves Unclear Bloomberg

Trump Administration Begins Deportation Raids Across the U.S. Wall Street Journal

Democrats call for Michael Flynn’s dismissal after reported Russia talks Guardian (furzy)

National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say Washington Post. Lambert: “‘Nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.’ So that’s the size of the cabal. Good to know.”

Who pays Donald Trump’s US$1 trillion infrastructure tab? Asia Times. Resilc: “Bullshit/vapor = bullshit squared + nada.”

Smile and nod: Trump was not wearing translation device in Japan PM’s speech Guardian (furzy)

Three signals that Donald Trump isn’t going to renegotiate NAFTA Quartz (resilc)

The High-Concept Presidency Moyers & Company

How Trump’s Agenda Clashes With What Americans Want Rolling Stone (resilc)

Ann Marie Buerkle set to lead Consumer Product Safety Commission Syracuse (bob). OMG, she is the stupidest person I have ever seen in public office.

Steve Bannon harnessed the spirit of revolt that the Democrats gave up Thomas Frank, Guardian (Joe H)

2016 Post Mortem

Fake news, Russia and Comey: all poor answers to why Donald Trump won Guardian

Behind the Internet’s Anti-Democracy Movement Atlantic (furzy). Important.

Don’t Like the Ballot Measure Voters Approved? Just Ignore It, Some Lawmakers Say. Governing (Dan K)

Exclusive: Labor Department to delay, revisit fiduciary rule – sources Reuters (UserFriendly)

State lawmaker’s solution for pregnant workers: ‘You can quit’ Think Progress (Chuck L)

Fake News

NYT: Unlike Russian Wars, US Wars ‘Promote Freedom and Democracy’ FAIR (Sid S)

Daniel Tarullo, Federal Reserve Regulatory Point Man, to Resign Wall Street Journal. This is a huge loss Tarullo almost singledhandedly got some serious reforms through.

Republicans Boost Wall Street Donors, Help Finance Industry Stop States From Offering Retirement Assistance To Workers David Sirota, International Business Times. Tony James of Blackstone, one of Clinton’s top picks for Treasury Secretary, was pushing a similar idea; it was clearly a key element in a plan to turn Social Security over time into a welfare program rather than a universal benefit. Now that the Republicans are in the fore, will the Democrats oppose it or show their continued fealty to their Wall Street paymasters?

Class Warfare

Income share for the bottom 50% of Americans is ‘collapsing,’ new Piketty research finds MarketWatch. UserFriendly: “Quelle surprise!”

How the Democrats paved the way for Betsy DeVos World Socialist Web Site (Judy B)

Marathon Pharmaceuticals to Charge $89,000 for Muscular Dystrophy Drug After 70-Fold Increase Wall Street Journal

A Lone Data Whiz Is Fighting Airbnb — and Winning BackChannel (HH)

Finland’s biggest trade union says a universal basic income is ‘useless’ Business Insider (David R)

The Cult of Work Hazlift. From 2015. Nikhil: “I think we are at a crucial time that commenter aab articulates perfectly. The problem is that we have two parts of the left that can’t seem to talk to each other. Anyway I thought this article might be an interesting step in that direction.”

Antidote du jour. Wayne W: “Our role model…”

And a bonus video. Furzy sent this version of the story; it’s confirmed by a report at the local news station WCMH:

Officer James Givens has served with the Cincinnati Police Department for over 26 years, but has never quite experienced anything like this before.

He was sitting in his patrol car in a parking lot when he got an unexpected visitor.

A goose came up to his car and started pecking on the side of it.

He threw food out for her, thinking that’s what she wanted, but she didn’t take it.

She continued to peck and quack, then walked away, stopped, and looked back at Officer Givens.

Then she came back to his car and pecked at it again. She made it very obvious that she wanted Officer Givens to follow her, so he finally got out of his car and did just that.

The goose led him 100 yard away to a grassy area near a creek. Sitting there was one of her babies, tangled up in a balloon string. The baby was kicking its feet, desperate for help.

Being wary of helping the baby on his own, and worried that the goose might attack him, Givens called for help from the SPCA, but no wildlife rescuers were available at the moment.

Luckily, Given’s colleague, Officer Cecilia Charron, came to help. She began to untangle the baby, and the mother goose just stood there and watched, quacking. She didn’t become aggressive, and just let Officer Charron do what she had to do to set the baby free.

It was like the mother goose knew they were helping. Once Charron untangled the baby, she put it down and it ran right to her mom, and they went right to swimming in the creek.

“It seems like something made up. It was just incredible,” Givens said. “I honestly don’t know why I decided to follow her, but I did. It makes me wonder – do they know to turn to humans when they need help?”

Charron teared up and said it was the highlight of her 24 years on the force.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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260 comments

  1. allan

    Ann Marie Buerkle set to lead Consumer Product Safety Commission Syracuse (bob). OMG, she is the stupidest person I have ever seen in public office.

    And yet, from the story:

    Buerkle was appointed in 2013 by President Barack Obama to a Republican seat on the five-member commission that oversees the agency.

    Buerkle was a Tea Bagger swept in to Congress in 2010, running against the ACA
    and energy-efficient light bulbs (I kid you not), loses her seat 2 years later,
    and then O decides that she deserves a seat on the CPSC? Heckuva job, Barry.

    1. JeffC

      I felt bad for Congressman Hank Johnson in his truly unfortunate moment here

      2.5 minute video:
      https://youtu.be/f-HCYgZo_og

      but any contest for public officials being stunningly dim has to consider his concern that Guam might capsize if unbalanced by overdeveloping just one shore. There were rumors of an illness or med side effect producing this truly bad day at work, but I always wondered whether a hostile staff member set him up to ask that question and thereby reveal just how literally mind numbing those hearings can be.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        I don’t know—maybe Hank Johnson knows something I don’t know. I admit I’m not an expert in island geography. Maybe it WOULD be possible for Guam to capsize from overdevelopment. Lucky for him he’s not posting this theory on NC, however, because Lambert would demand that he include links, relevant studies, etc.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Light bulbs, comrades:

      Buerkle said many people don’t like the compact fluorescents, or CFLs, because some produce a dimmer light than a typical soft-white incandescent. She added, “It’s not like the CFL bulbs are completely safe.” Buerkle said the small amount of mercury in each bulb is enough to contaminate 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe-drinking standards.

      http://www.citizenscampaign.org/news/story.asp?id=303

      Like the old tube-shaped fluorescents in office ceilings, CFLs emit light at three discrete peaks within the visible spectrum. Even setting aside their mercury content, this impoverished color spectrum is both aesthetically unpleasant, and probably has subtle negative human health effects as well. CFL spectrum chart:

      http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v71/UnknownVT/CPF/ecoSmartTrueColor_12-0911-xln-56112789p.jpg

      A technical criticism of the US light bulb regs is that they outlawed a technology — the 100W tungsten filament bulb — instead of simply setting a performance standard and letting manufacturers choose a technology to meet it.

      The tungsten ban resulted in a flood of halogen “bulb within a bulbs” that consume 20 to 30 percent fewer watts per lumen than a tungsten filament. This primarily benefitted two big European manufacturers, Philips and Osram. Better hope Donnie don’t find out! :-0

      1. paul

        That’s why tungsten bulbs were legislated out in europe, because noone wanted this philips patented crap. CFL’s, as well as incorporating too much electrickery, seem to save energy by giving out a lot less poor quality light.

        1. Pete

          I have seen a lot of cfls broken especially at resturants where i have worked. I think the mercury issue is a big deal there are a lot of people who just shrug it off and you will never know it happened when you walk into a building. Also saw two trafitional tubes get busted in a shed at school. No one seemed to care about that either.

      2. DH

        CFLs are largely irrelevant now only a decade after they became common. LED bulbs are taking over and they last much longer. Businesses are putting LED bulbs in as their incandescent and fluorescent lights die because they can go about 5 times as long as the CFLs without being replaced while having similar energy usage. That means their labor costs drop dramatically for bulb replacements.

        Reduction of labor and energy costs means that market forces dictate that incandescent bulbs will soon be a thing of the past except for people who still want that “warm light” or want a bulb for their EZ-Bake oven (LEDs and CFLs don’t emit much heat).

        However, to make America Great Again, we may need to mandate the use of incandescent bulbs made in America to keep people employed making and installing them. Technology can’t be allowed to rob us of blue-collar jobs.

        1. Jim Haygood

          LED bulbs are taking over and they last much longer.’

          Yes. LEDs are the king for low power use. But like CFLs, many LEDs also have color spectrum issues. Some have a CRI (color rendering index) as low as 80 on a scale of 0 to 100 — not so good for kitchen, dining, closet (matching socks) or desk illumination.

          To get 95 CRI in an LED, you have to pay up for Soraa LEDs, which are tweaked to add violet light that other LEDs don’t have. It’s great tech; I use it (and the LED portion is made in California). But costly.

          While they aren’t very green, I still luvvvvvv low-voltage MR16 halogens with their 100 CRI. They are like crack cocaine for me, just as electrical wiring is a kind of zen meditation. Just installed some in the dining room yesterday to pick out the table. Emerged from the attic lookin’ like a woolly mammoth with a fresh coat of blown cellulose. But oh, the results are sweet!

          1. homeroid

            I used incandescent for years in my carport. Being out side in Alaska fluorescent takes to long to warm. I put in a LED bulb and it works fine only it ruins the AM radio signal.

          2. SpringTexan

            So I looked up Soraa on Amazon but it seemed to be all floodlights? What do you do to get a regular light bulb, especially a bright one like 100 watts, that is satisfactory in an LED? Any recommendations? (I can afford to pay pretty much if the quality is good.)

        2. Synoia

          My experience with LED bulbs is that they fail early. I put all CFs in my house when remodelling it in 2011, and repalce the with LEDs.

          The LEDs do not last. Must be the square waveform here in SoCal. Or that the electricity only peaks on the right.

          But, I accumulated no data.

          1. hunkerdown

            LED bulbs require current regulators, which range in complexity from a single resistor to an isolating flyback converter. Resistor bulbs are fine if you have really clean power and don’t mind servicing every month or two to replace an LED that failed open. Yeah no. I’ve had great luck with so-called “smart IC” bulbs from Aliexpress with active linear regulators, which are slightly less efficient than switchmode converters but won’t blow out AM radio reception. $3 each shipped and looking good a year and a half later.

        3. heresy101

          CFL’s are a joke and I told our energy efficiency expert that the test one would be removed from our house. She wasn’t pleased at my Luddite tendencies.

          When LEDs came out a couple of years later, we tested a few. My wife banned the daylight frequencies (too blue) to the patio. A couple of years ago, we replaced ALL of our lights with warm white LEDs at about $8-10 each. While expensive, they have now paid for themselves at PG&E’s average $0.23/kWh extortionate rates. Two failed – one from the electronics and one had the glue for the bulb fail.
          Going forward, it is nice to know that our LED bulbs are saving 8x the incandescent bulbs energy (8 watts vs 60 watts). These savings are for at least the next 10 years, or longer, and the bulbs have paid for themselves over the last two years!!

          Had we waited, the LEDs are now 4 for $10, but it wasn’t clear prices were going to come down that fast.

      3. Lambert Strether

        I think old-fashioned tungsten bulbs are better for Seasonal Affective Depression than the newer bulbs, and that includes even the newer sunlight spectrum bulbs.

        Just something about the quality of the light, rather like the quality of radiant heat from a wood stove or steam radiator being better (IMNSHO) than new technologies.

        1. polecat

          i use a 40 watt appliance bulb in my coop to keep thing above freezing, and to add some additional light to compensate for the shorter days, being as the ‘heat’ bulbs, even the lowest wattage, put out too much heat for the hen’s comfort. Thank Heyzeus one can still purchase incandescent appliance bulbs …. the lighting nazis haven’t yet, to my understanding, banned those !!

        1. homeroid

          I keep a couple 250W heat bulbs to make a load on my genset so i don’t get power surge when i run my Monitor heater.

        2. fosforos

          You can still get all the 100 or 150 watt incandescent bulbs you want. But they’re made in China, and the quality is–variable.

      4. Octopii

        Infrared Halogens are marvelous. In an MR16 lamp you get 50 watts equivalent lumens for 37 watts…. and they dim very nicely. An LED MR16 is tough to get dimmed below 20%, but the high CRI lamps affordable at this point at least.

  2. EndOfTheWorld

    RE: the Gizmodo article on Fukushima—obviously it’s not a good sign if radiation fries the clean-up robot, but more to the point, how bad is it up there? You can go on the internet and get all kinds of opinions about the radiation emanating from Fukushima, ranging from “no problem” to “no hope”. Does anybody know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? If so, please type it in below.

    1. Susan C

      I wonder if any of us will ever be told the real truth about Fukushima. I used to check out this website for info – enenews.com.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        “You can’t handle the truth!

        “I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it.”

        —Col. Nathan Jessup in A Few Good Men

        If I knew how to strike through “freedom,” I’d replace it with “unlimited energy.”

    2. justanotherprogressive

      As someone who has spent 18+ years of my “career” dealing with radiation and nuclear safety, all I can say is the best answer is: “We don’t know”. There have been many attempts on both sides of the ocean to minimize what happened at Fukushima so I don’t think we can trust the press on this one.

      But to reassure you, no, all is not hopeless. Japan may be forced to build a sarcophagus around the plant if they can’t find a way to deal with the radiation, just as Russia did with Cherynobl, and that will give them some years of protection and time to think about how to handle the problem.
      And to further reassure you, radioactive materials are not like biologics – they don’t come out to get you. If you leave radioactive materials alone, they pretty much leave you alone. Since radiation levels decrease with distance from the source, the best protection is just to stay away from them.
      And I wouldn’t worry about the amount in the oceans just yet – just because it is detectable doesn’t mean it is dangerous. Like using drugs, it all depends on the dose…..and the dose from Fukushima in the oceans is extremely minimal and is far less than you get from taking an airline flight, or just being alive.

      1. Antifa

        At Fukushima, several reactor cores melted down. The fuel rods first burned off their cladding, and then melted together before burning through their stainless steel and concrete containment structures, eventually ending up as a blob somewhere in the ground underneath. Each radioactive blob tends to sink deeper over time as it heats and melts the rock and dirt below. If a blob encounters ground water, there will be steam and hydrogen explosions as that water is annihilated, which spreads great plumes of radioactive particles into the atmosphere.

        There is also a risk that two or more of these melted cores will eventually merge together underground, creating a single blob that might go critical, causing a nuclear explosion. This would be an extremely “dirty” explosion in that it would be more a spreading of nuclear material into the atmosphere and general environs than a mushroom cloud. A merged blob would get unbelievably hot and radioactive before it went critical. This heating up will spew enormous amounts of radioactive isotopes into the upper atmosphere, possibly for a very long time.

        It does not seem likely that the blobs beneath Fukushima will leave us alone.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          National Academy of Sciences published a report that said the number of early deaths from Chernobyl was 980,000, apparently Fukushima is worse.

          During the initial accident, Prime Minister Natao Kan defied Japanese cultural norms to get straight answers from TEPCO. TEPCO’s order to their workers was “Run away!”. A small group of dissident engineers, protected by Kan, defied the orders and were able to close a few key valves within the first few hours. That act of incredible courage saved Tokyo.

          I don’t mean to be too gloomy but it seems like an extremely complicated and dangerous way to boil water.

          You might also look at the curious case of the hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of radioactive soil being trucked to prefectures far away from Fukushima. There are laws that say no remedial action is required unless one prefecture has radiation levels that are significantly above the national average…hence to need to level out the average.

        2. justanotherprogressive

          YIKES! Where did you get that wad of misinformation? I don’t even know where to begin to explain you that your “blob theory” can’t happen, but suffice to say, it isn’t another criticality that people are worried about, it is radiation levels and seepage of water into the sea – which are completely different things than another nuclear explosion…..

          1. Aumua

            This is what happens when people put stock in what they read on sites like enenews.com and (possibly) fukushimawatch.com, imho.

        3. Altandmain

          That’s not possible

          For it to supercritical, you would need concentrated U235. In a typical Boiling Water Reactor, that won’t happen.

          While there is a disaster and it does look like the pressure vessel and metal grate are breached, but the primary containment vessel has not been breached.

          They said that the radiation levels were 530 sieverts per hour (1 sievert is the max allowable radiation exposure in a lifetime).

          This will complicate the cleanup, but there’s not way it could become a fission bomb.

      2. Skip Intro

        The problem with a sarcophagus is that the corium (melted fuel, reactor, and anything else that they came in contact with) is somewhere under the reactors, where it is in contact with groundwater flows from the mountains to the ocean. That’s why they are proposing an ‘ice wall’, an underground construction of frozen sand or whatever that diverts the groundwater flows around the area where the cores are assumed to be. Unfortunately attempts at building this ice wall have failed thus far.
        As far as ‘staying from radioactive materials’, that may not be that easy, since water soluble radioisotopes like cesium and strontium will be absorbed by plankton and fish, and bioaccumulate in the food chain. As long as there are large flows of contaminated groundwater into the pacific, this will be a gradually increasing problem.

        1. justanotherprogressive

          You may be right, but remember, this isn’t the first time the oceans have been contaminated with extreme amounts of radioactive materials – remember the testing in the 50’s? Fishing had to be banned in some areas but the contamination did not affect life in the whole ocean and cesium and strontium did not enter our food chain. Fukushima will be no different. Now that being said, it is advisable to find ways to limit the radiation seeping from the site and I know they are actively working on it and it will be for some time…..
          But as I understand it, the extremely high radiation levels were actually found in the reactor area – a sarcophagus is just one way of protecting the people in the area….

    3. Uahsenaa

      Considering how much harassment there has been of journalists, both Japanese and non, who have tried to cover/write about Fukushima, I think it’s a safe bet that the situation is much worse than the official government line. To this day, they are still discovering radiation hot spots as far south as Tokyo, and that’s to say nothing of the long term effects of so much radiation exposure, which you would think the Japanese would be familiar with after Hiroshima, though the exposure there was, obviously far more direct.

      Then there’s the deaths of clean-up workers that don’t even get reported on much anymore…

    4. Walt

      Good question, End!
      Glaring in this article are the phrases “Excessive radiation” and “excess radiation.” These imply that there is some level of ionizing radiation that is not excessive. Of course, any amount is injurious. Is “background” exposure or that on airline flights (justanotherprogressive) an acceptable benchmark?

      1. justanotherprogressive

        Radiation professionals argue contentiously all the time about what acceptable benchmarks are. And again, we don’t know and we don’t know if some people are genetically more prone to radiation damage than are others. But it is a fact that people have natural radioactive materials in their body that give them a dose and it is a fact even a pristine environment gives people a dose and has given people a dose since people came into being on this planet. Is that acceptable? If you consider this injurious, what do you propose to do about it?

        1. Skip Intro

          Every additional bit of exposure increases the risk, so receiving a dose that is the same as a cross-country flight is like a 2nd flight, but instead of going somewhere, and getting a bag of pretzels, some executives and contractors get to keep the privatized profits while socializing the risks. Is that acceptable?

          1. justanotherprogressive

            Have you seen any articles about increased deaths in airline pilots or flight attendants? They get far more radiation from flying than you do.

            I think we should be careful and not get any more exposure than necessary, but I am also saying not to loose your head…..

            1. Skip Intro

              Yes, there are many such articles, and the risks are well known. This is, in fact, a reason why exposure during flights is commonly used as a reference for added exposure, though generally by those with an interest in minimizing public concern about external exposure, or conflating risks from external exposure with the much greater risks posed by internal exposure due to inhaled or ingested contaminants.

              I don’t think anyone has suggested losing any heads.

              1. witters

                Here’s my worry. If you can’t fix the plumbing in Flint, how, for God’s Sake, will the US deal with its own N disaster(s)?

          2. Cojo

            This is not necessarily the case. Granted it is difficult to know what the critical level is, but there have been several interesting case studies where a higher background level of radiation over a long period of time did not necessarily increase cancer rates and there was a trend towards lower cancer rates. There was a case of a building in Asia (IIRC China) where the steel used was manufactured with radioactive medical waste causing it to be radioactive. To the surprise of many, after this was discovered many years later and the residents were studied, the cancer rates were lower than matched baseline populations. Here is a recent article in the journal of nuclear medicine giving a similar argument.

            http://www.snmmi.org/files/FileDownloads/JNM1-17_Diagnostic%20radiation%20fears%20unwarranted.pdf

            1. Mark P

              Yeah, Stewart Brand has been pushing this ‘radiation isn’t necessarily as bad for you as we thought’ line for the last few years.

              However, while there are these studies to support that and we don’t see anything like the mutation rates or animal deaths in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone that some people expected —
              http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160421-the-chernobyl-exclusion-zone-is-arguably-a-nature-reserve
              –contrarian I don’t think Stewart is going to be in any hurry to put his money where his mouth is, so to speak, and absorb any more hard gammas than you and I would.

              1. cojo

                I work with radiation as well in the medical field and I too try to avoid it as much as I can. That being said he does give a compelling argument. His essential premise is that although radiation damage is a linear phenomenon to the dose received, the biologic defense response is nonlinear and therefore, at the low ranges of exposure you cannot assume linearity. I think intuitively this makes sense as our evolution has involved exposure to low dose radiation as a constant, yet some species have been able to remain essentially unchanged for millions of years (think crocodiles, and platypuses) suggesting their DNA repair mechanisms are sufficient to correct the damage done by background radiation.

    5. andyb

      Fukushimawatch.com is a good site to keep informed. The fact that the MSM is totally ignoring the increasing (and worse, technologically unstoppable) radiation speaks volumes. Especially the total decimation of all Pacific marine life. My take is that Fukushima is an Extinction Level Event that, within perhaps a 100 years, will destroy all life forms. There are good Youtube videos by Helen Caldicott and Arne Gundersen (Fairewinds.org), both experts.

      1. visitor

        Another long-running web site is fukushima-blog.com — in French.

        What is interesting is that it runs many texts translated from Japanese — official reports, investigative articles and blog posts.

        In English, there is fukushima-diary.com, very similar and written by a Japanese — again with many translated Japanese documents.

        The translated Japanese sources make both sites particularly valuable.

        I must say those sites make for depressing readings and do not give much hope about a solution to the disaster.

      2. Altandmain

        Judging by what I am seeing, these are not at all what you are saying. They are ridiculous.

        The idea that these can become a blob results in a doomsday bomb is insane. While it is harmful and there has been radioactive material released in the ocean, the containment vessel was not breached.

        It’s bad, but the sources you have cited are wrong.

    6. visitor

      Russians had exactly the same problem when trying to clean up the mess in the vicinity of the reactor at Chernobyl.

      All robots fried. Some had been designed by soviet astronautics institutes for harsh outer space conditions with heavy radiation and pressed into service at Chernobyl.

      In the end, the only solution was sending battalion after battalion of liquidators with lead protections hastily cobbled together to run the gauntlet of massive radio-activity in 60 seconds clean-up missions.

      There was a documentary called “the battle of Chernobyl” about the whole story, easily found in Youtube — quite harrowing. What is happening with liquidators at Fukushima is probably as horrific — but has been generally kept in the background (and it’s in faraway Japan).

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The Russians gave military conscripts a choice to satisfy their military service with a single 2-minute dash in to shovel a few loads of radioactive waste. More than 500,000 did.

        1. Jay M

          the Mark 1 reactor design was flawed, a flared tube that blew out the top and melted through the bottom
          the cube buildings with the clouds painted on them were just flash hiding the inadequate containment in the Mark 1 (GE) design.
          six reactor electricity works in a tsunami zone, major fuck up

          1. Jay M

            spent fuel was contained on the high floor while it cooled after extraction
            pools on the high floor were interrelated with flaps
            adjacent pool was necessary for maintenance of irradiated equipment

  3. WJ

    Somebody REALLY does not want Michael Flynn to be national security advisor.

    The game being played is a repeat of the initial hysteria over Russia’s supposed interference in the election:

    1. unnamed intelligence officers make accusations
    2. press repeats these accusations as credible with no confirmation or evidence
    3. Democrats, relying on press support, cite accusations of same unnamed officials as though they were obviously true

    Who wants Flynn out? Why?

    Is this the CIA AGAIN? Will Flynn move special ops control and budgets to Pentagon?

      1. integer

        The accusations amount to Flynn having mentioned to a Russian diplomat (Kislyak) that the Trump administration would be open to reviewing the sanctions that 0bama placed on Russia for their “election hacking”. Even if it is true this is only a big deal to the Russia-hating warmongers i.e. the neocons.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          By the way, on the Russian interference front, the evidence, I believe from what I read in one article yesterday, is some Russian officials telephoned some Russians…the timing and locations matched those mentioned in the dossier.

          What did they talk about? Do we know? Maybe where to find the best pizza in DC???

        2. A

          It’s no longer just an accusation, since again, Flynn is no longer denying it. If it’s not a big deal, then why did he and Pence and Spicer lie so vigorously about it? Perhaps because it brings up the broader question of Flynn’s previous contacts with Russia during the campaign?

          1. WJ

            Does “discussing” sanctions that had just been petulantly imposed by a lame duck president and the possible adjustments of such sanctions under an incoming administration constitute an undermining of US foreign policy by private agents?

            Really? I mean, if this is the case, then the entire tenure of HRC in the State Department was one long illegality. She was constantly discussing official matters with parties with whom she had private conflicts of interest–i.e. Saudi Arabia, for one.

            The same people who are so perturbed over what might have been said over the course of one phone call between Flynn and “the Russians” are the very ones who keep telling us that the whole HRC private server thing was no big deal, even AFTER we have evidence in the public domain that suggests otherwise.

          2. timbers

            Weather it’s a big deal or not, weather anyone or everyone lied or not, is NOT a big deal.

            NO-body cares about this outside the D.C. bubble and warmongering class. Reading those articles is painful because it makes you think some awful thing happened but you get to the end and wonder….what? Oh yah…some people talked to some people about something. Aweful!

            It’s not a big deal because…it’s not a big deal. End of story.

            It also defies basic common sense. Of course the Russians will the ones talked to regarding Russian sanctions. If not the Russians, then who? Micronesia?

        3. mpalomar

          More disturbing and curious is Flynn’s revision of what was a realistic assessment of recent history re: Iran, Syria and the region at large, as discussed by Robert Parry over at ConsortiumNews.com
          https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/10/the-neocons-back-door-to-trump/

          Here’s an excerpt:

          “close advisers to President Trump, including son-in-law Jared Kushner and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, appear wedded to Official Washington’s “group think” blaming Iran for pretty much everything that’s gone wrong in the region…
          Ironically, Flynn – when he was director of the Defense Intelligence Agency – oversaw an insightful 2012 analysis that accurately traced the rise of the vicious Sunni jihadist movement in Syria to support from the Gulf states and to the Obama administration’s policies…
          Yet, now Flynn – like almost everyone else in Official Washington — focuses his rage at Iran for the mess in the Middle East.”

          1. aab

            Isn’t it possible that the reporting is wrong? We know a lot of reporting is wrong. I’m sure there are a lot of figures who do believe it’s all Iran’s fault and are pushing this war for all sorts of reasons. Isn’t it possible that Flynn either is placating people he needs to placate until the administration is fully in place or that the reporting is simply wrong?

            “[A]ppear wedded” is pretty weaselly. It seems unlikely to me that Flynn has changed his mind from the analysis he oversaw less than five years ago. I’m not saying it isn’t possible. But it sounds like yet another hysterical claim based on not a lot of actual fact. I’m not expecting awesome, rockin’ foreign policy out of this administration. I will be very upset if they actually launch a war with Iran. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re instead going to talk really tough to avoid doing much — the opposite of Obama’s approach.

            1. mpalomar

              I hope you’re right, likely much better for the world but I’m not optimistic. Trump’s inner circle includes Israeli settlement extremist and now ambasador to Israel David Freidman and also Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner whose fatther is Charles Kushner. These are very likely hardliners on Iran and match the bellicose Washington consensus on the Persians.

              http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.757177

              What Flynn is up to would be a guess but it doesn’t look good. We are all K trying to guess what’s going on inside the castle. So much hidden from us in our democracy. The essential condition for democracy is sunlight, instead we have impenetrable layers of darkness.

              Here’s a strange bit from “Secrets” by Daniel Ellsberg recalling his briefing of Kissinger who he hopes to convince to read the Pentagon Papers upon which he has been laboring and which eventually he will have to leak because no one will heed his chronicle of US failure in Indochine.

              It is 1968 and Kissinger is preparing to assume his duties in the Nixon White House. Ellsberg describes to Kissinger the epiphanies his new security clearance will reveal and how it will change him.

              “You will feel like a fool for having studied, written, talked about these subjects, criticized and analyzed decisions made by presidents for years without having known of the existence of all this information, which presidents and others had and you didn’t, and which must have influenced their decisions in ways you couldn’t even guess….it will have become very hard for you to learn from anybody who doesn’t have these clearances. Because you’ll be thinking as you listen to them: “What would this man be telling me if he knew what I know? Would he be giving me the same advice, or would it totally change his predictions and recommendations?” And that mental exercise is so torturous that after a while you give it up and just stop listening. . . . The danger is, you’ll become something like a moron.”

              We owe a great debt to Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowden and again I do hope you’re right about Flynn.

      2. cwaltz

        It won’t matter for some of the people here. Everything is a big CIA conspiracy(started by field agents because apparently they don’t get their orders from anywhere.)

      3. lambert strether

        The actual evidence? With the sources? Absent evidence, an accusation is just an accusation, denied or not. All sorts of game playing and leverage in the Beltway.

        A link to what, exactly, Flynn is not denying would be nice, too. The propaganda is so thick right now ….

    1. timbers

      Yes.

      And the tone of those articles is absurd, as in Blob propaganda. You sort of have to be a fetish insider to get why it’s all SOOOO SSSSerious. Lots of denials and he-said-she-said whispers and innuendo and counter leaks of actions that amount to a big “So what?” I for one didn’t know it’s against the law to “discuss” “sanctions” (is it even? why?) and frankly don’t care. Let’s all discuss sanctions if we want. What’s the big deal? If we have sanction on Russia who are se supposed to talk with about Russia sanctions…Iceland?

      Not to mention if this is what Dems decide to make headlines over, I’ve got a few suggestions instead…like how about making headlines of a big minimum wage increase and bringing back jobs to America or expanding Social Security or Medicare for all or taxing Wall Street and the rich.

      1. Altandmain

        Problem is that the corporate Dems want the rich to give them money.

        We won’t see any tax the rich schemes so long as that is the case.

    2. financial matters

      I thought this was some interesting background on Flynn.

      http://observer.com/2016/11/the-mike-flynn-i-know/

      “”Most Americans would like to see a boss walk in to the workplace and explain those new ground rules. But D.C. is not full of most Americans. Unfortunately he was undermined all along the way by a few powerful bureaucrats. I witnessed lots of lazy and backstabbing behavior by people making a lot more money than I did. I fought to remove those scumbags from the organization. I and other leaders tried to keep the motivated millennials in the DIA because every day they had to deal with some other piss-poor leader that was undercutting the Marshall-like ideas that Mike Flynn was trying to implement. Unfortunately our nation lost a lot of great young national security experts because we couldn’t convince them to stay in the government until the idiots retired.””

      1. Synoia

        The solution to that is to put all the idiots in one department, give them make work, and transfer the department out of the building to a “secure location” because of the “important work.”

    3. Lee

      Nixon interfered with what otherwise might have been successful efforts by the Johnson administration to end the Vietnam war so as to win the presidency. Whatever Flynn may or may not have done pales in comparison.

      Nixon Prolonged Vietnam War for Political Gain—And Johnson Knew About It, Newly Unclassified Tapes Suggest

      Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/nixon-prolonged-vietnam-war-for-political-gainand-johnson-knew-about-it-newly-unclassified-tapes-suggest-3595441/#3PSK3JcjJoPXth2j.99

  4. WJ

    Also, the bizarre story on Snowden in NBC–overt propaganda, almost too overt–WTF is that all about?

    Here again we have an unnamed intelligence official spouting unconfirmed nonsense about Putin doing Trump a solid.

    We also have lots and lots of misinformation about Snowden’s ostensible “espionage” being spouted by Juan whoseywhatsey from some intelligence agency–again, hostile assertions backed with no proof (and no psychological plausibility) repeated as though true by our state propagandists at GE.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I’m a regular watcher of msnbs–I like to see what the “opposition” is up to.

      They seem to be intent on constructing a narrative of nefarious alliance between Trump and Putin based, as near as I can tell, on extensive financial connections. This “gift of Snowden” seems to be the most recent salvo.

      The “evidence” provided so far, in no particular order, is: Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns which would purportedly reveal extensive, profitable and ongoing business connections; Russia’s refusal to retaliate for the expulsion of 35 intelligence officers / diplomats by obama, which was characterized as “unheard of” and suspiciously deferential; Trump’s non-confrontational position on u.s.-Russia relations–this one is impugned as the “only” campaign position Trump has not modified since his election indicating something; Trump’s public statements on Putin, which are interpreted as hero-worship and and the personality defect that yearns for the kinship of strongmen; ceding Syria to Putin-controlled territory and refusal to condemn the “invasion” and “annexation” of Ukraine.

      NBC seems to be attempting to build a case and taint just enough of the jury pool.

      I’ve no doubt that the Michael Flynn “lies” about sanctions will be woven into the “evidence” fabric in the coming days.

  5. crow

    First Gene Drive in Mammals Could Aid Vast New Zealand Eradication Plan

    What could possibly go wrong? And what happens when CRISPR gene editing technology gets so inexpensive and pervasive that the high school kid next door starts experimenting with bacteria, say with the lyme spirochete for example?

    Call me a Luddite.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Like Bill Gates funding of genetic engineering to wipe out malaria carrying mosquitoes. Mosquitoes have an ecological function, notably food for birds and bats. This kind of tampering will lead to knock off effects that could turn us all into green goo.

    2. polecat

      We’ll soon be crawling with CRISPRcritters …. ‘Sigh’

      i think ‘Oryx and Crake’ was a manifesto …..

    3. Mark P

      ‘And what happens when CRISPR gene editing technology gets so inexpensive and pervasive that the high school kid next door starts experimenting’

      Do you imagine that CRISPR isn’t already that inexpensive, etc.? The odin kit below sells for $150, forex. That’s the problem with being a Luddite — you don’t realize where the technologies have already gotten to.

      http://newatlas.com/home-crispr-gene-editing-kit/40362/#gallery

      http://www.the-odin.com/diy-bacterial-gene-engineering-crispr-kit/

    4. Oregoncharles

      “The White Plague,” by Frank Herbert.

      A home-concocted virus that makes women sterile. The book is mostly the apocalyptic aftermath.

  6. screen screamer

    I find it interesting in the Atlantic article that the election of 2016 was characterized as the flight 93 election. This is the way the system is set up. Always having to choose the lesser of two evils until finally we are at the precipice.
    Utilitarianism seems to be the process by which we have gotten here. I believe Jeremy Bentham created this school of thought which was expounded on by John Stuart Mills and continues to this day by none other by Cass Sunstein with his nudge theory of which he has written a book about.
    Under this guise we are tasked with choosing our own demise no mater the flavor du jour of political savior of the day. It would be nice to be given a real choice and in order to do this the money train has to be derailed, otherwise our feckless “servants” will choose consistently to utilize their new found money to further enrich themselves at our expense.
    Nudge theory expounded upon.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rewo7dPiRyU

    1. djrichard

      I have to say, “wow”, the Atlantic article is a hell of a find. Because I had no idea there was an intellectual underpinning to this neo-nationalism that we were seeing. Time for us to get ourselves acquainted with Neo-reactionism I think. Makes it easier now to know what we’re dealing with and how to formulate a response to it.

      Unfortunately, without having really dug into this beyond the article itself, I have to confess that I buy into some of this thinking, that democracy has failed us. In particular because it didn’t stop its displacement by neo-liberalism. And ultimately because it forced us (as you point out) into an either/or decision: neo-liberalism vs neo-reactionism. [Or if one prefers: oligarchy vs autocracy. Or as I’ve been putting the latter: mafia/gangsterism. Or as Benjamin Studebaker has been putting the latter: Caeserism.] And I highly doubt that the response will be to go back to the well on progressivism in its current form (neo-liberalism/oligarchy).

      But it was hard to grapple with this thinking without knowing where the real intellectual leadership was coming from. Maybe now we can formulate some better thinking in response.

      I also have to confess, I’m very pessimistic that we’ll be able to change the direction of this ship away from Neo-reactionism. The ship seems to have sailed; we’ll have to wait for this ship to exhaust itself on its own fumes. Maybe at which point, the new priest comes along, a la what Ben Hunt was getting at in his post on Magical Thinking/The Golden Bough. Best case, we get through this quickly as possible and there’s something more attractive than progressivism/neo-liberalism to displace it. But I don’t think I’m going to live long enough to see that day [I’m speaking multiple decades here.]

      Oh well, makes for a good challenge in the mean time. And regardless the end-game will always be the same, per Jesus, “Give unto Caeser what is Caeser’s, give unto God what is God’s”.

      [2nd attempt at posting. If this is a dup, please delete. Thanks!]

      1. djrichard

        OK, did some more legwork and came across this article, linked from NC on the links section for 5/25/2014. https://thebaffler.com/blog/mouthbreathing-machiavellis That’s an eye-opener and not in a good way. If these guys think the electorate is going to be sold on autocracy centered around silicon valley (or corporations in general) they’re in for a rude surprise.

        That’s what makes Trump interesting. I guess I’ll go back to my mafia/gangsterism way of thinking about it. Well at least one where the rank-and-file gets to vote on who the mafia head is. Kind of like how a union operates. If the mafia head is smart, he’ll stay on the right side of the rank-and-file.

  7. alex morfesis

    mike flynn sure to annoy the penny loafer analysts crowd…push back against his Marine Corp krewe…rob townley gets bumped out by langleys refusal to upgrade his security clearance, although one might think he annoyed a few PhD’s when he was in Bosnia and Fallujah

    https://www.mca-marines.org/gazette/blog/2012/12/17/mini-arnie

    matt pottinger, another marine was getting some flack also

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/josh-rogin/wp/2017/01/06/mattis-clashing-with-trump-transition-team-over-pentagon-staffing/?utm_term=.6106fab49d94

    pottinger was also the author, along with flynn of a 2010 report that basically suggested langley & Co had wasted almost a decade in afghanistan, providing useless intell

    http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/AfghanistanMGFlynn_Jan2010.pdf

    the marines have always been treated badly and have had to fight to survive, with a target on their backs since he end of ww2…they had to put together their own survival system, which led to
    “the chowder society”

    http://www.bluetoad.com/article/The+Chowder+Society/32339/0/article.html

    no marines in my family, but my read of history is we would need tens of thousands of more headstones at arlington if it were not for the sacrifices the corp has made,,,

    1. fresno dan

      alex morfesis
      February 11, 2017 at 8:09 am

      National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say Washington Post. Lambert: “‘Nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.’ So that’s the size of the cabal. Good to know.”

      =====================================================
      Pray tell….how do FORMER officials know about it (that is some pretty good timing that they knew about the leak, and than left the government just in time for the article – but I guess possible)
      If this intelligence stuff is soooooooooo secret, it sure seems to leak like a paper bag….

      And from what I understand, another law not enforced since 1798 or so….that now the republic depends on…..
      RHETORICAL question: Did Reagan negotiate with Iran before Carter left?
      Everyone please supply own examples….

      1. fosforos

        Reagan NEGOTIATED, which was criminal and virtually treasonous. Flynn DISCUSSED, which was normal and the responsible way to prepare for office.

      2. Alex Morfesis

        Nixon and raygun interfered…heck, you can argue the krewe nixon left behind with the bay of pigs operation purposely fumbled the operation…placing flares in a way to guarantee the supply ship gets stuck in that sandbar…super trea $on squared…1940 election had j edgar ignoring german interference in support of the republican party…

        It would be nice to understand how exactly the russians can be a true threat to american interests…german economic interests…yes…but american interests…not so much….

        If your mommie is a commie then you have to turn her (tel #) in (2 me) ;) ;)

  8. fresno dan

    Antidote du jour. Wayne W: “Our role model…”

    Being wary of helping the baby on his own, and worried that the goose might attack him, Givens called for help from the SPCA, but no wildlife rescuers were available at the moment.

    Luckily, Given’s colleague, Officer Cecilia Charron, came to help. She began to untangle the baby, and the mother goose just stood there and watched, quacking. She didn’t become aggressive, and just let Officer Charron do what she had to do to set the baby free.

    It was like the mother goose knew they were helping. Once Charron untangled the baby, she put it down and it ran right to her mom, and they went right to swimming in the creek.

    “It seems like something made up. It was just incredible,” Givens said. “I honestly don’t know why I decided to follow her, but I did. It makes me wonder – do they know to turn to humans when they need help?”
    =================================================================
    “….do they know to turn to humans when they need help?”

    I imagine from now on the goose will go to the other side of the squad car and ask for the FEMALE officer. Might be the best policy for all 2 legged critters…

    “It was like the mother goose knew THEY were helping.” “THEY”??? The mantra of supervisors everywhere….

      1. susan the other

        I dunno. Men are pretty uncanny. We risk being dolts when we underestimate them. I think it is a part of their talent for being killer funny when they are so inclined. This cop did the uncanny thing – he followed her to her duckling and the duckling was saved. I remember story about a mother bear – yes really – whose cub caught its foot in a steel trap and then she begged for help from some guy traipsing out in the forest – and he had the intuition to follow her to her cub – that had to be a clear example of psychic communication on his part because otherwise he’d have bolted or shot her or something. Instead he pried open the trap and freed the cub. Sorry, can’t cite. I read about it 30 years ago… maybe someone else did too.

        1. Ruben

          Some way to understand these examples of calls for human help from non-human animals.
          The only think the non-human animal need to understand is: “this is human-made trouble”.
          Both the balloon string and the steel trap are human-made trouble.
          They are intelligent to seek a human solution to a human-made trouble.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I imagine if the goose has been fed in the past it would learn a lesson. Self domestication predates domestication. Who knows what the rate for those mutations cropping up is?

      It’s a myth birds will reject baby birds handled by humans.

    2. Linda

      Poor guy. He will probably never live this down with fellow officers. Surprising that an (I assume) armed cop would be that wary of a goose. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, that perhaps he would have helped if his colleague had not shown up. He sure kept his distance though.

      1. ambrit

        Geese are (really) fearsome critters when aroused. First, they are fairly big, nothing to sneeze at. Second, they don’t stop attacking until their desired aim is accomplished. Third, those beaks can hurt! (I speak from painful experience.) Fourth, the coppers were dealing with a known mother bird; the poster creature for relentlessness when defending their young. If I had been there, I probably would have been vaguely visible somewhere on the embankment across the canal, offering “backup.”

        1. Stephanie

          Yes, although the ganders are nothing to sneeze at either when it comes to protecting nests. A flock came to a pond on my college campus every spring and the ganders would actively chase down any students who came by to gawk at the babies.

          Plus they built a strong passive defense position by sh*tting absolutely everywhere around that pond.

          1. Katharine

            Too right! Even domestic geese when nesting are dangerous. One year my aunt’s pair decided the old doghouse was the ideal nest, and everyone going to and from the house by the front gate had to get past the charging gander. Usually stamping at him and moving fast was sufficient, but there was always an element of uncertainty.

        2. polecat

          You bet ambrit ! ….. Ever confront a pissed-off hissing Goose, with it’s head on the low down, ready to strike ?!! … they don’t mess around …

          and re. that goose …. whose to say that she, through life experience, didn’t ‘know’ that a human was just the best dexterous ‘tool’ to be ‘applied’ towards a precarious situation … ??

          The ‘lowly’ bird brain …. Ha ! ‘;]

          1. ambrit

            Too true polecat. That bird demonstrated problem solving capabilities. This could be an example of self domestication being of benefit to the bird population. (The being eaten by the ‘overbeings’ doesn’t become obvious until too late, unfortunately. We haven’t experienced that, yet. “To Serve Man” and all that.)

        3. bob

          The male cop did what he should have- He called for backup.

          Rather than going into the situation to “help” and then being forced to pull his gun and fire (THAT WOULD BE A STORY), he simply called someone else to help.

          And, if he did go ahead and “help” and then was attacked, he also would have been the subject of mockery- “he got beat by a goose” or “didn’t he know you don’t screw with a mom?”

          He did the right thing. He didn’t rely on his gun for backup. There are always more cops.

          This should be a lesson, and the cop not showing excess “manliness” helped.

          I had a goose attack me. I had to retreat, even thought I was holding a very good, big bludgeon that I could have used. Yes, I could have taken the goose on. I didn’t want to.

          I also have to wonder if the mother trusted the female more than the male. Animals can identify the gender of humans better than some humans. We don’t have any video of how the goose was acting with the male cop. It could have been completely different. From my view of the video, the mom seemed to be paying much more attention to the camera(man), than the female who was holding the baby.

          1. ambrit

            I got that feeling too, about the goose’s reaction to gender. Could she have smelled the male policeman’s fear pheromones? The female officer was “talking” to both goose and gosling, a soothing gesture.
            You hit it out of the park with the “excess”manliness”” quote.

            1. bob

              Even dispute resolution training for humans notes this. Especially in domestic disputes (the most dangerous for cops), changing the gender of the cops can change the outcome. A group of male cops trying to get a female and male human separated can go horribly wrong.

              The same situation, with 2 cops, male and female, can work out much differently.

              As a cop, you don’t know what’s going on. Assume stupid. Changing even the slightest detail can change things. Get things settled down, get everyone safe, then proceed to try to “fix” whatever is wrong, if you can. If not, call someone else who may be able to.

              Don’t make things worse. If what you are doing is making the situation more heated, stop doing it.

                1. ambrit

                  Sorry, but our recent experiment with “co-presidents,” Bill and Hillary, 1993 to 2001, didn’t turn out too well. The theory sounds sound, but the implementation can be tricky.
                  As a side note, when I googled “president clinton,” the Google page returned an image of Bill Clinton in the search results, and a sidebar result for Hillary!!! Talk about hubris.
                  See, if you dare: https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=president+clinton&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-002

                  1. NotTimothyGeithner

                    The problem with the co-Presidency was Bill and Hill. If Hillary was competent and Bill wasn’t devoted to corporate America, they might have delivered on Healthcare and not passed NAFTA. The working relationship was never the problem.

                    The criticism of Hillary was she was bull headed and often unfamiliar with the basics of her plan or demands of the American Healthcare system. Having a singular point person was a good idea, and even hiding behind the spouse freed Bill to be President and groom the interns.

        4. pricklyone

          Seconded! A lone goose in the industrial park where I used to work nearly brought the operation to a standstill one day. Keeping everyone away from parked trailers, abutted by a pond, presumably a nesting site.
          I can personally confirm, as I was one of the many who were ordered into the fray, that day!
          If you’ve never had one of these guys come at you in full battle mode, you cannot give that cop grief over his reluctance. He may have had prior experiences with them.
          Officials in small towns where geese have altered migratory patterns to ‘invade’ parks and other areas with small bodies of water probably have witnessed first hand their aggressive nature, when defending both young, and established nest sites.
          I’m glad it worked out in the end, and the goose was apparently smart enough to override its instinctual behavior.

      2. Olga

        A funny thought though – if a cop is that afraid of a goose in distress, can we be surprised about cops’ reaction to unarmed black men…? Something is definitely not right with this picture…

          1. oh

            I thought of saying that but didn’t. Let’s give the police credit when they act in a manner that’s commendable.

        1. bob

          It’s a lesson on how to deal with unknown situations. CALL MORE COPS.

          There are always more cops. Don’t walk yourself into a situation where you might get “scared” and have to pull your gun out.

          I think it should be a training video on how cops should do their job. You don’t know what’s going on, or why it’s going on? Don’t assume anything, and walk in deeper. Call for backup.

          Calling the cop a ‘wimp’ just makes it more likely the next time he won’t call for backup, and will get himself in trouble.

          1. Olga

            Are you serious? Call back-up to address a poor, li’l goose – however insistent? Is that why we have to pay more and more taxes for more and more cops? Some common sense might help here.

            1. bob

              Yes, that’s why we have so many cops. Geese.

              Sorry, but what’s the problem with how it was resolved? No one got shot, and the goose and baby walked away no worse for wear.

              That’s a good result, no?

              Did any innocent humans get massacred at the same time because 2 cops were dealing with a goose?

              “But my tax dollars!”

              How would your tax dollars have reacted to a cop going out on disability because he tried to help a goose and got a finger bitten off?

              Why not just shoot the goose, in the name of fiscal responsibility?

              ” Some common sense might help here.”

              That you can’t see there was a TON of it on display makes me question your common sense.

              1. Olga

                Let’s all get a grip here, shall we… It is a goose … and a human cop (a cute story, for sure! but still…). Reminds me of a joke… how many cops does it take to screw in a light bulb… (how many cops does it take to handle a goose?).

                1. bob

                  “The male officer certainly showed far less intelligence than the goose.”

                  “Something is definitely not right with this picture”

                  “Are you serious?”

                  ” Is that why we have to pay more and more taxes for more and more cops?”

                  “Let’s all get a grip here, shall we”

                  Jumping into the middle screaming for everyone to “get a grip”

                  Perfectly reasonable.

            2. ambrit

              Sorry Olga, but “Common Sense” is an oxymoron in today’s 24/7 world. Besides, that looked like a Canada goose. We can’t be having international incidents in Cincinnati now, can we?

            3. Katharine

              How exactly would tax dollars have been saved if they’d gone back and sat in the car and done nothing?

            4. Ruben

              You didn’t get the MMT memo. Your taxes pay nothing.
              Besides, common sense would have been the first cop just ignoring the call for help, or else getting himself in trouble and hurting the gosling of the mom or both. Both cops did a great job here.

      3. skylark

        For many years, we had a few brown Chinese Weeder Geese that roamed free around our two acres during the daytime. People were absolutely terrified of them. It was highly entertaining to watch tattooed tough guys run screaming back to their trucks when the geese decided to check them out by flying at them about 2 feet above the ground. They would meekly request that the geese be put away. I think there is a distillery in Scotland that uses geese as watch ‘dogs’.

        1. bob

          I just looked up weeder geese. I know them as Chinese swan geese. They are very scary. That extra honker gives them a lot more power. They’re very large too.

          If geese are territorial, swans are 5 times that. A swan goose is 10 times as bad as either of them, usually bigger too. A flock? you’d be crazy not to run away.

          Swan vs canada geese, gives a good view of the relative sizes.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F20SKPMppQU

          Can’t find any video of “swan” or “weeder” geese, but there are plenty of pictures of them.

          IIRC, a lot of people were starting to use swans to try to uproot geese. The swans end up being worse with humans, more aggressive, and larger. Quite a few states have regulated swans, calling them “invasive”.

          http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/terrestrialanimals/muteswan/index.html

          “Possession of captive birds requires a state game farm license and fencing to contain them.”

          That’s MN.

    3. Linda

      Not only did Mother goose know to go to a human for help, she knew when it’s a 911 call, you go to a cop human! Smart goose. ;)

  9. Victoria

    So… how would a “gene drive” in which mice only have male offspring spread the gene throughout the entire population? I would think that mice who are able to produce both daughters and sons would have an evolutionary advantage? To say the least? Am I missing something?

    1. Stephanie

      Yes, they would, but the gene drive is designed to eliminate that advantage by wiping out the invasive rodent population. No more daughter mice eventually equals no more mice ever, or at least that’s what the aim seems to be.

      1. Jagger

        It is scary using genetic modifications to target and eliminate any species. And once the method is perfected for animals, do you have any doubt that others would promptly look at how to potentially genetically eliminate various subsets of humans? Probably already going on.

        1. Stephanie

          Well, yes, although a gene drive isn’t necessary. Policy will often work, although perhaps not as efficiently. Eliminating daughters was after all the unintended consequence of China’s “one” child population control strategy.

      2. susan the other

        this has to be something easy, like targeting the X chromosome, otherwise Bill Gates would not see a profitable future in such a technology…

      3. Mark P

        “No more daughter mice eventually equals no more mice ever, or at least that’s what the aim seems to be.”

        That’s the aim and that’s how it works.

        “And once the method is perfected for animals, do you have any doubt that others would promptly look at how to potentially genetically eliminate various subsets of humans?”

        That kind of targeting specificity is possible, but at this stage of the game more difficult than you might imagine. Still, in principle it might be possible to create a biological weapon that targeted only, say, Kim Jong-Un and his immediate family.

        Conversely, the Israelis really did play around with the idea about 20-30 years back of designer pathogens that would target Arabs only and had to give the idea up because both they and the Arabs were Semitic peoples sharing essentially the same genetic legacies.So a lot would depend on what sub-population of humans one were targeting.

        Also, one would need a vector. It might look like the Zika virus.

  10. RenoDino

    Worth noting as well:

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/02/10/trump-passes-on-eliott-abrams-for-state-dept-throwing-open-selection-process/

    I thought Rex Tillerson was smarter than this, being the supreme company man. Rule #1: You don’t try to hire someone who called your boss an idiot. Apparently, Trump was the only one standing in the way of Abram’s appointment. Reports say even Jared was on board. Obviously, Tillerson finds himself in a hostile work environment at foggy bottom as the army of neocon zombies under his command rise up to make his life miserable. At the first sign of trouble, he surrendered. Trump was right, he looks the part, but that’s where it ends.

    1. barrisj

      Abrams, despite his several convictions stemming from Reagan-era misdeeds, and his continuing ties with notorious neocon factions in both parties, was chosen by Tillerson because of Abrams’ “familiarity” with State Dept. ways and means. On the other hand, Herr Trumpf, seemingly ignorant of who Abrams was and what he said during the last campaign, apparently only recently had been clued in to the nasty pre-election rhetoric emanating from Abrams, and deep-sixed his Deputy Sec candidacy at the last moment. Wonder who got to the Donald and set him straight?

    2. Bittercup

      Frankly I’m not even convinced that Abrams was ever seriously considered by either Tillerson or Trump to begin with. As I recall, reports were all derived from mysterious unnamed sources, as usual. Much like Bolton was supposedly gonna be Sec of State. When that didn’t happen, presumably some of the same sources blamed his mustache for offending Trump. Yep, musta’ve definitely been the mustache.

  11. Anon

    Re: Trump’s Earpiece

    From the article itself:

    Asked if Trump had worn an earpiece, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House deputy press secretary, said: “I don’t believe during that time. But he did see the text and they spoke quite extensively before the remarks.”

    People are really desperate to throw stuff and watch it stick.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You don’t have to be get better or be good, if you can just make the other guy look bad.

      I’ve noticed this short cut to success since, I don’t recall exactly, but maybe the first grade in school.

  12. Paul Tioxon

    THE CULT OF WORK
    A solid piece. What unionist new in the 1890s. Namely, industrialization, the replacement of human effort with machinery, even machinery which was not powered as yet by water wheels, steam or coal, think of the cotton gin or the 6 shooter pistol, was able to produce more in less time than it took even for the most organized, best managed, most efficient Taylorism Time-Motion programmed human labor. The work week and the work day has declined with the increase in productivity. It needs to decline some more, right now!

    Periodic bouts of overproduction, market gluts create the boom-bust business cycle and the unemployment of labor, with its loss of a paycheck to sustain life. Today, staring right in our faces, usually as some sort of criticism that the government is lying to us about the true state of employment, jobs and hence income, is the labor participation rate. The lower and lower labor participation rate, whatever the cause, still points to the fact that a very small percentage of people are required as economic inputs to produce more than enough food, manufactured goods and services for all. It used to be the complaining working class would point out they do all of the work while the lazy slobs, welfare queens, goofy college kids etc did nothing, but live off of the fruit of someone else who had a real job, doing real work.

    When the point in time comes when even the long haul truckers of legend are displaced to a great degree by AI powered, GPS guided robot drone big rigs, when this is an everyday fact, will there be some awakening to organize an even shorter work week and work day, with the same amount of pay and benefits for a middle class standard of living? Already, many of the “non-participators” are providing for some level of food, housing and medicine, without a paycheck. Someway or someone brings those items from the formal economy into the reach of those in the informal economy. The homeless on the streets of cities or camps in the outskirts of town do not add up to the millions of under/non employed. But they are doing something that just is not being measured by a W-2 statement at the end of the year.

    The informal economy, the non-market driven activity of people that is done not for pay, but for desire to care for and teach those around them, cooking, cleaning, nursing the babies and the elderly and those brought down by the flu or a broken leg, civil society engaged not in direct production of economic necessities, but in sustaining the cultural warmth of civilization. At some point, the pointlessness of our make work paycheck lives will be seen for what it is: Anti-Democratic Tribute to the ruling class.

    1. JohnL

      Yes, thank you. This is why DT will not be able to bring back jobs and why it’s the wrong thing to focus on. We need to start talking about a shorter work week, earlier retirement, Medicare for all, reducing inequality, and other ways of taking care of everyone in a world not with less work, but with fewer jobs.

        1. John k

          Just now the lower 2/3 is money short, deflationary. Need to pump money into this group to push up spending, or demand. Deficit too small to compensate for world wide savers that extract dollars from system, plus neo lib policies that push down wages, which transfers funds from lower 2/3 to upper 1/3… latter a feature, not bug.

          Problem not robots, we have lots of unmet needs that could be met with our army of unemployed. And unmet needs look to get worse as we age.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Ah but what do you do in a debt-based money system when the lower 2/3rds (and every other income producing person or asset) is already stuffed to the gills with debt? And that debt has already brought forward all conceivable demand? If you’re Janet Y, you make sure debt service is zero, and you pump more through the “portfolio channel”, i.e. stocks. Then in the next crisis she can take the Fed’s balance sheet to 10 or 20, or 100 trillion $

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Fewer jobs in the US and the EU, but more applicants from all the world.

          “The numerator is smaller, and the denominator is bigger.”

        2. John k

          Date corresponds to change from Keynesian to neo lib policies. See my comment above. Killing middle class jobs, which finally brought trump as anything better than what we have, has been a policy choice.

        3. polecat

          1986 .. when the first Apple Mac came off the assembly line ! …

          Looking back, in retrospect, at that ‘1984’ Apple Computer commercial, who would’ve known that thirty years later, that image of the masses sitting passively taking in, and spewing out, their 2-minute-hate courtesy of bIG bLUE BROTHER would manifest in half the country unemployed & disillusioned, the other half sorta/kinda prospering ,,,,, and the .01% thriving,with the prospect of their golden robots finishing off the rest !

    1. fresno dan

      Tom
      February 11, 2017 at 9:23 am

      “Gee, I wish there was a way to import it from there.”
      Those towering 90,000 foot mountain ranges, vast alligator and piranha filled rivers, and that 1,000 mile chasm filled with molten lava makes it simply inconceivable. The people who foolishly tried to fly it across were eaten by the giant pterodactyls – so we just have to accept that drugs discovered by incentives financed by our tax breaks just cannot be made and sold inexpensively in our economy….ironic.
      But with the 99% willing to selflessly sacrifice themselves so that the 1% can maintain the incentives the 1% need to become richer so that they can cure people…other than Americans….our great country, never greater, or as great as it ever was, or sumthin’ marches on.

      AND NO INFLATION

      1. Tom

        Fun fact I learned while reading about the Marathon story: Most of the prescription drugs consumed in the U.S. are made elsewhere anyway. So to be safe, should we only take drugs made in the U.S.? The answer from a Consumer Report article:

        “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.
        Plus, when you consider that about 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.”

        Surely going with a brand name rather than a generic drug is safer, right? From the same article:

        “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.”

    2. Antifa

      Currently, Americans are allowed to import medicine from overseas pharmacies with only two restrictions:

      1) The value of the medicine not exceed $2,500, and
      2) The medicine be entirely for personal use, not resale.

      Customs will not seize or otherwise interfere with such small shipments. The FDA maintains a list of overseas pharmacies which are approved for this purpose.

      1. fresno dan

        Antifa
        February 11, 2017 at 1:46 pm

        That is incorrect.
        http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm194904.htm

        https://www.thebalance.com/importing-prescription-drugs-for-personal-use-is-it-legal-2663880

        FDA’s “no commercialization or promotion” rule pretty much limits prescription drug importation by individuals to experimental drugs for imminently fatal conditions. In practice, this means a person with stage 4 colon cancer might be allowed to obtain a chemotherapy candidate being tested in Europe but not America.
        ————————————-
        I agree that Americans should be able to buy overseas drugs.

        1. Antifa

          Well, Dan, I’ve been buying several generic meds from an Indian pharmacy for 17 years now, shipped through the US Post Office, four times a year. The same meds bought at my local CVS would cost 11 times as much. I’ve saved a whole lot of money.

          No one from the FDA or Customs has ever seized my mailed medicines, nor put me in prison, nor fined me. Perhaps they would if I exceeded their $2,500 per shipment limit. I don’t know. But it is clear that the FDA and Customs allow the personal importation of generic medicines for personal use only. I’m living proof of that.

          The FDA currently has 19 inspectors who live and work in India approving pharmaceutical factories. They have a bunch more in China, Australia, Canada, Ireland, etc. Over 40% of generic medicines sold in America, at hefty markups, come directly from pharmaceutical manufacturers in foreign countries. Even the ingredients for medicines actually “made” in America mostly come from foreign factories. The FDA inspects and monitors these foreign manufacturers regularly, and allows them to ship boatloads of medicines into America, where the price immediately goes way, way up.

          The list of FDA-approved foreign pharmaceutical manufacturers includes Pfizer, Sun Pharma, Ajanta Pharma, GSK, Torrent Pharma, and Intas Pharma. These are the top pharmaceutical companies in the world, and make most of the world’s supply of generic medicines, including those sold in America under American names and prices. Same medicine from the same factory — different packaging, American pricing.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            The legal restrictions are on reimportation, as in drugs made in the US, sold abroad, and then re-imported. Drugs made by any foreign maker, even a US pharma co but in an overseas facility, does not qualify.

            Part of the excuse was the illegal pharmas in Canada, where doctors will write a scrip without seeing you. But I would also assume that US Customs would stop legitimate scrips since they are reimportations too. I doubt they look beyond Canadian and any Mexican imports. But I would not be surprised if they also stop European or Canada-made drugs from Canada too.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                I said that. The excuse was the Canadian internet pharmas, but the target was reimportation from Canada. And they are probably lazy and don’t check the actual origin, just block all shipments of drugs from Canadian pharmacies. Can any readers say either way?

                I have one medication I’ve gotten from Oz for over a decade with no trouble.

      2. Tom

        That’s helpful. Is it safe to assume what determines the value is what the drug is priced at inside the U.S., not its price in other countries?

    1. craazyman

      Damn! I thought she was setting schools up for a good lesson in the geometry of dimensional reduction projection strategies. You have to spread the globe skin out on the floor so it doesn’t overlap with itself if you wanna do it right.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Across America, teachers are struggling to flatten globe skins into the classic Mercator projection. Trouble is that the skin keeps tearing at the north and south poles. Damned stuff won’t stretch.

        Witnessing this debacle, school children are becoming cynical disrespecters of authority. “Parallel lines of longitude? Stupid adults!” they text each other on their phones, as Teach tries to fix the mess by cutting stress relief lines with scissors.

        1. craazyyman

          No dimensional reduction is needed. It’s 2 to 2. While the sphere is a volume, the radius is everywhere 1. So you can map any point on the surface defined by spherical coordinates into either cartesian or polar coordinates in the plane and just throw away the sphere’ radial dimension.

          The kids would have seen this right away! This is probably the lesson Ms. DeVos had in mind. See, she’s already making a difference in prepping the kids for math and science — where America is weak.

          If you wanted to map one of those bumpy globes where the Himilayas are a little ridge sticking up — into a flat 2 dimensional map. Then you’d have a 3 to 2 mapping. The kids would get the crayons out and probably use colors and contour lines showing elevation for that.

          See Trump is already doing stuff tthat people can’t even get right away. All they do is yell and scream and wear pink hats. They’ll hopefully get their act together and stop cursing soon.

        2. Propertius

          But, but, a sphere is a manifold of dimension 2, so (by definition) the closer you get to it the more it resembles a flat Euclidean space. No actual “flattening” required.

          Make topology great again!

      1. ambrit

        It is indeed oblate, though not very mystical today. It’s the “Flat Earthers” who delight in magical thinking.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          They should update themselves to ‘Flatter Earthers.’

          Then, they can make fun of ‘Round Earthers.’

    2. diptherio

      The Huffington post is apparently trying to be the Onion. Problem is, everyone knows that everything on the Onion is fake. Way to go HuffPo, muddying the waters…They’re probably hoping some right-wingers pick up on the story and make a stink about it being fake so HuffPo can mock them for not understanding satire…or they just don’t get why mixing fact and fiction on your “news” site might be a bad idea.

    3. wilroncanada

      Satire! Please don’t use the catch-all term “fake news” to refer to everything from deliberate propaganda to satire to irony to misprints to bad spelling.

      Sorry. Should follow rjs above.

  13. Carolinian

    Interesting Thomas Frank. He describes Bannon’s worldview as that of Archie Bunker vs the Meathead but admits

    A funny thing about Bannon’s stinky pudding of exaggerations and hallucinations: in the broadest terms, it’s also true. The counterculture really did have something to do with both our accelerated modern capitalism and the Democratic party’s shift to the right – it’s a subject I have written about from The Conquest of Cool to Listen, Liberal.

    The Clinton administration really did strike up an alliance with Wall Street, and this really did represent a new and catastrophic direction for the Democratic party. Trade deals really did help to deindustrialise the US, and that deindustrialisation really was a terrible thing. The bankers really did get bailed out by their friends the politicians in 2008 and 2009, and it really was the greatest outrage of our stupid century. And there really is a lot of narcissism mixed up in modern capitalism. Just look at the man for whom Bannon presently works.

    As a boomer myself I think there’s something to this as well and Adam Curtis did a movie about it called Century of the Self. Freud put us on the couch and now all we can do is talk about ourselves.

    1. Olga

      Thomas Frank, as usual, seems right on. The article is a must-read. I actually know people who do exactly that: blame the sixties on all that is bad in US today. Combining the diffuse anger into a voting strategy was brilliant. Democrats today remind me of the German business class before Hitler took power: they weren’t supporting him yet (somewhat weary of him), but were also afraid of the other option – i.e., the left. The vote in 1932 was almost evenly split between the Nazi party and the two left parties. The German businessmen decided to go with Hitler – the rest is history. (And no, this is absolutely not meant to equate DT w H – which is a goofy, ignorant, and hysterical analogy.) But it’s the dynamics…
      More on Bannon from P. Escobar: https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201702091050509314-trumpology-bannon-doctrine/

      1. Carolinian

        Well modern USA isn’t much like Weimar Germany although the Trump as Hitler crowd like to pretend so. To me the interesting thing is that Frank admits that to a degree Bannon has a point. Generational analysis is frowned upon around here but people who grow up in different economic circumstances do have different world views and the boomer generation was America’s most prosperous. They revolted against all the bad things but may have discarded some good things a well.

        But of course Bannon’s apologetics for unregulated capitalism are a previous generation’s fantasy–not so much the Age of Aquarius as Babbitt and Sinclair Lewis.

        1. Olga

          But the large picture may be similar – I mean in particular that we live in the US in an unsustainable economic model. Implosion – sooner or later (and a major war would be one type of an implosion) will happen. The only question is when. It was said that DT listened to Rush L. broadcasts before deciding to run… and Rush was a master of channeling people’s anger and diverting the understanding of true causes into all sorts of goofy ideas. I guess Bannon musta been sitting next to DT (or he turned him onto Rush, who knows)

        2. jrs

          yea no, even if many of the boomers can be a problem now being older and more prosperous and frankly often VERY conservative in outlook even when they are committed Dems, it doesn’t mean they were the same way in their youth.

      2. John k

        Johnsons vietnam war changed the thinking from gov could solve difficult problems to gov can’t do anything right. Brought us Reagan and neo lib.

    2. Gareth

      As an unrepentant boomer, I blame the descent of American culture on the 1920s, with the open defiance of prohibition, women voting, the Flappers dancing in speak easies to black music while snorting cocaine and smoking Mexican weed. Okay I’m only joking. While I usually like Frank, in this case he is almost as full of crap as Bannon.

        1. jrs

          Well he never made any point against hippies and the counterculture but vaguely smears them and links to an article about a book of his. So it was Frank not making a point there more than anything. If he was going to bring hippy smearing in to an article as something he agrees with Bannon on, and not just the economic populism, which is self explanatory, then he should have backed it up. He didn’t.

      1. diptherio

        Don’t worry man, no one expects you to repent for your date of birth.

        Really, any analysis that grants agency to purely conceptual categorizations (African-Americans, Republicans, etc.) is pretty suspect in my mind. Personally, I used to equate “boomers” with my parents and their particular, idiosyncratic lives and attitudes, simply because that’s what I was familiar with. Lambert explained to me why that was kinda dumb…and I think he’s right. My uncle, for instance, is also a boomer, and has had a life nothing like my parents…but I only see him once every couple years, so I don’t extrapolate from his life to others.

        And while I wasn’t around during the ’60s or ’70s (‘cept right at the end), I would guess that then, as now, it was mainly old fogies in power, not the 20-30-somethings. So blaming boomers for political changes that really kicked-in during those decades seems unjustifiable (apart from the whole concepts-with-agency thing).

      1. lambert strether

        Travis Smiley interviewing a Jacobin editor is an interesting subterranean flow, as it were. I’d speculate there’s a lot of that going on, beneath the oddly sequential and demographically targeted moral panics and hysteria.

    1. Olga

      I sure hope you did not get it here – one of the dumbest pieces lately and full of fake evidence, theories, and analogies.

        1. Ian

          I enjoyed the read but it struck me as garbage as well. If there is move or Trump to push a civil war would have had to be with the help of the further expanded powers given to him by Obama in his final days. The it about the selling off of the oil company as a bribe is interesting but it elevates the sanctions to respectable level when they are anything but just game playing on spurious claims of election interference. On top of which you ave some very prominant corporate democrats hastening in Trumps picks. The narrative overall is garbage and runs counter to my understanding of russia and the usa s hemming them in in an attempt o dominate russia. Trump seems to be building relationship with Putin and that aint a bad thing as i seriously doubt putin wants to take over. The worse bit is when it paints news orgs like CNN as if they were respectable and truth tellers against propaganda. Completely lost me there. Just a fun bit of mental masturbation in y mind that will inflame some of he dumber dems (plenty to be had)

          1. Ian

            Just a few of the issues find with it. If Trump is going to be as bad as article plays with, it sure aint gonna be in alignment with is garbage.

            1. Ian

              Slight correction. Not stating Putin taking over but Bannon pulling Trumps strings to overthrow what is refered to as a democracy. the incessant Mcarthyism of the piece is grotesque and the all that is good and decent about America exscuses completely and totally what pretends to be the left in the usa and makes them out as the last line of defence kinda feel. Utter garbage.

  14. timbers

    Trump Weighs New Immigration Order With Next Legal Moves Unclear Bloomberg

    How about this instead:

    Trump Weighs New Work Visa Order Banning or Rolling Back 7 Nations and 7 Programs

    Trump could call it a making America safe for the American worker or something. Then sit back and watch is polling numbers improve over time.

    1. DH

      Steve Bannon over-reached legally by enforcing it immediately on visa holders in transit and on green card holders. Even a 3-day notice and non-application to green card holders would have voided nearly all of the legal arguments as it would have given a fig leaf of competence.

      I think Trump and Bannon wanted the combative environment to play to their base of non-passport holders in the middle of the country where there aren’t lots of immigrants. The battle lines are drawn.

      The big question is whether or not they are building up their own resistance inside the Administration with people like Mattis and Kelly who appear to want to actually run stuff competently.

      1. Skip Intro

        I think the appearance of doing something and then having it rejected by the courts all while outraged liberals scream and protest is more valuable to Trump than an actual, effective measure. It will certainly galvanize his base better and inoculate him from blame for any ‘incidents’ that may occur. The model for analyzing the administration is probably pro-wrestling.

        1. Ottawan

          Exactly the point. Actually accomplishing the objectives announced in the election is too much hard work, and may dissolve some of the animus of the base (and they don’t want that).

          Another good analytical model is Canadian federal politics because Cdn politicians are so ham strung by the US, MNCs/globalization/being small open country, constitution, and its own federal system. Man oh man our law books are full of unnecessary, symbolic garbage. The Harper governments picked fights with the courts for fundraising purposes constantly.

          Tho likely too late to see this request, I’d like to see DH expand on that last idea of intraadministration conflict

        2. lambert strether

          Courts rejecting the EO also innoculates Trump from blame for a 9/11-type event.

          I don’t see Team Trump as being that Machiavellian, to set it all up, but then they’ve been full of surprises….

          1. Kulantan

            A less Machiavellian explaination is that they are looking for a show down with the judiciary. A win against the judiciary would increase the executive branch’s power. A loss would set them up to campaign to stop the evil “left wing activist judges”

    2. RenoDino

      Where are the immigration protesters greeting Abe’s visit? Japan has the most restrictive immigration policy in the developed world. Only 2% of population is foreign born, and this despite the aging Japanese population and low birth rate.

      No one ever asks Japan to take its fair share of refuges. Could it be they desire to keep the country culturally and racially homogeneous? Where’s the outrage?

  15. DH

    Re: Goose antidote

    Canada geese are very intelligent. In Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC they learned to gang up together to assault picnickers to drive them away from the food while other geese came in to raid the food.

    It is unusual for a goose to look for help from a human. Usually they assault if you get close to the goslings.

  16. DH

    Re: Trump P3 Infrastructure partnerships.

    It will be interesting to see if the corporate America and farmers are actually interested in this. They are reliant on things like water supplies and may not be interested in having much more expensive water than what the government run agencies can supply.

    P3 makes a lot of sense for airports, toll bridges, toll roads etc. where you have very defined users with few other stakeholders. The broader the societal need, the less sense it makes. However, PE is going to make a big push to get into those areas because that is where the big money and the public subsidies will be (mass transit, water and sewerage, etc.).

    Its not an accident that the Jefferson County and Harrisburg bankruptcies were related to boring county wide things like sewers and trash incinerators. Those are boring, under the radar, broad impact, and so easier to game the financing. The private sector wants to get at those big population pools with government subsidies to cover their base costs.

    1. Synoia

      I really dislike the use of abbreviations, such as P3, because they do not clarify, only confuse.

      When I read P3, I first think of a P3 Orion patrol aircraft. I do not think Public-Private-Partnership.

      Abbreviations are a very bad habit, because not everyone knows what P3 means.

      But, then, I do believe discussions such as these are to enlighten, and maybe I have the wrong beIief.

      By all means use acronyms or abbreviations; on the first use, please spell it in full to provide context and understanding.

      Thank you.

      1. Annotherone

        P3 can also relate to a style of eyeglass frame, which I understand has an historical link to the military.

      2. Alex Morfesis

        P3=(people pilfering partnership) or perhaps (politicians pickpocketing people)…the myth of private capital existing is amusing…there is no such thing…all transactions must be leveragable or borrowable and must be syndicated into some form of structure…no one…none..anywhere uses their own money unless it is for a steep discount…

        p3 is another name for conversion of the commonweal…

        period, end of story…

  17. roadrider

    Re: High Concept Presidency

    Wasn’t Obama’s whole “hope and change” thing a “high concept” logline?

    1. JustAnObserver

      Is Elliott Abrams one of the neocons that went over to the dark side – from an R’s PoV – by endorsing Hillary ?

  18. allan

    Polish government accuses media of playing up accidents involving senior officials [Reuters]

    Poland’s conservative government accused the media on Saturday of publicizing car accidents involving government officials more than in previous years, as Prime Minister Beata Szydlo remained in hospital after a car crash.

    Szydlo was hurt when her car hit a tree in southern Poland on Friday, the third road accident involving a government motorcade since the eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) came to power a little bit more than a year ago. …

    Critics, however, say that of concern is the fact that Szydlo’s accident was the third involving a senior official in a short period time and that collisions are getting more serious.

    The PiS has been sharply critical of independent media, accusing it of hostile, pro-EU coverage, and it has increased political control over state-subsidized media. Its attempts to curb media access to parliament spurred broad protests in December and led to the worst political stand-off in years. …

    Real news is the new fake news.
    Check out the photo. A mere flesh wound…

  19. allan

    Website for disabled kids disappears as DeVos takes office [Seattle PI]

    A U.S. Department of Education website, empowering families of students with disabilities, has disappeared — and already embattled Trump education chief Betsy DeVos may be to blame.

    U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell want to know what happened to the vanished website, and have asked Education Secretary DeVos to put it back up.

    The website was set up under President George W. Bush so educators, advocates and parents could get a “one-stop” explanation on the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), as well as know their rights under the disability law.

    A U.S. Department of Education website, empowering families of students with disabilities, has disappeared — and already embattled Trump education chief Betsy DeVos may be to blame.

    U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell want to know what happened to the vanished website, and have asked Education Secretary DeVos to put it back up.

    The website was set up under President George W. Bush so educators, advocates and parents could get a “one-stop” explanation on the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), as well as know their rights under the disability law. …

    Another win for the back row kids.

      1. allan

        From the article:

        The new website “lacks much of the information previously available,” the senators wrote.

        It might be difficult to figure out whether or not that is true.

      2. allan

        NYDN:

        The site used to include the full text of the act, along with Q&As and guidance documents. It now directs to a page saying the servers are “experiencing technical issues,” and directing users to outside links about the act.

  20. fresno dan

    http://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/319076-newspaper-uses-photo-of-alec-baldwin-on-snl-instead-of-trump

    Dominican newspaper El Nacional on Friday printed a photo of Alec Baldwin doing his impression of President Trump on “Saturday Night Live” in an article about Trump and Israel.

    The photo was used side-by-side with a photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    It was not immediately clear whether the image of Baldwin was accidental or an intentional joke.

    ======================================================
    This is an OUTRAGE…..Baldwin’s hair isn’t nearly orange enough to hold the office of president of the US.

  21. Alex

    Could someone explain in simple words why can’t Greece declare bankruptcy? What would the consequences of this step be, are they really so dire as to be worse than the current situation? Do they fear being excluded from the international payment systems, seizing of property abroad or what?..

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      You seem to understand the problem. We might have computers and planes and Facebook, but everything is still the same.

      Greece risks separating itself from the world economy, and Greece lacks the internal industrial and agricultural capacity to provide for itself at this juncture. Who supplies the measles vaccine? Who repairs the MRI machines? Who will take Greek credit? The answer is no one. Greece is so small they can be bypassed by the larger world.

      1. Alex

        Thank you for your answers! I thought I posted the question too late yesterday to get an answer from someone
        I definitely get what you are saying about the capital markets would they need to sell bonds in this scenario? They have a budget surplus now (before interest), so they should have money to buy those measles vaccines and MRI machines, provided there are sellers willing to sell. You imply that there will be some kind of boycott or sanctions?

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Access to capital markets means the bond market. They would be locked out – i.e. no bank (including the ECB) would purchase their bonds. There will come a point after which no one will pony up for sovereign Greek debt because the rate at which Greece is able to earn Euro’s is unable to get past the rate of accruing debt. Greece should not be running a surplus at all! As Yves has pointed out many times, Greece doesn’t produce much on its own. It is really a net importer. By sectoral balances, Greece should probably be running deficits in perpetuity because of this. The only way Greece can achieve a surplus is by killing the public sector – pensions reduced by 40%, government jobs eliminated, salaries cut etc. This is part of the internal devaluation in the name of competitiveness you’ll see assholes like Wolfgang Schäuble going on about. It’s tragic, and when Greece is finally allowed to exit, it will take decades for the country to recover.

  22. ChiGal in Carolina

    Re deportation raids

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-immigration-officials-national-enforcement-operation-is-routine-not-part-of-trump-crackdown-20170210-story.html

    I am heartsick that while the media and the convo here has been all about the ban and the march, ICE has rounded up some 600+ allegedly “deportable” people this week

    From the account I read from the Chicago Tribune and LA Times, they are characterizing the action as routine, similar to one taken last summer, but admit that along with the “deportables” (who have been convicted of felonies – in one example, a DUI) they have taken in some who have no documentation of legal status but have otherwise committed no crime. They apparently have no intention of letting them go.

    And yes, where was the outrage when smooth-talkin O was doing it? Some noticed, but thanks to the corporate takeover of the Fourth Estate, not enough. Now that the nation is becoming aware, in the present moment, standing for due process is a good thing.

    Many according to the law are deportable – can’t really fault Trump for enforcing the law and keeping promises to his base. But the overreaching should be checked, and if the laws are unfair (keeping in mind that freer immigration favors capital over labor) we can work to change them.

    1. HopeLB

      Obama deported 2.5 million and Hillary sent unaccompanied Honduran children who were fleeing the violence of our assisted coup. “They need to be taught a lesson”, Hillary said.

      1. ewmayer

        Indeed – doing the math shows that under Obama deportations averaged almost exactly 6 *thousand* per week, but nary a screaming “Deportations drop 90% under Trump” headline to be seen in the MSM, which is odd. Or not, as Lambert likes to say.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            never mind, i found it, i did the math: 6k like you said.
            what is left is my original point, about due process.

    2. aab

      The existing Democratic Party doesn’t want to limit immigration (or deportations). So if you want different governance around this issue than what is currently on hand, you need to work to purge out the neoliberal New Democrats from the Democratic Party. That has to be step one. Otherwise, there will continue to be wars, coups, and corporate-led destabilization of countries all over the world, driving refugees and illegal immigrants here, to be exploited or deported as the ruling class faction currently in power sees fit.

    3. Lambert Strether

      > I am heartsick that while the media and the convo here has been all about the ban and the march, ICE has rounded up some 600+ allegedly “deportable” people this week

      First, read the moderation policies and don’t assign us tasks, no matter how implicit the assignment.

      Second, the best way to bring materials to readers’ attention is not to complain about lack of coverage, but to do what you in fact did, which is to place a useful link in comments.

      Third, the story to which you link (headline: “‘Targeted’ immigration operations in Chicago are ‘routine,’ not part of Trump crackdown: officials”) illustrates the diffculty of linking to anything in the current propagandized news environment.

      A) If we are to believe officials, there’s no story here:

      “The focus of these operations is no different than the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations Teams on a daily basis,” an emailed statement from ICE said.

      A really useful link would compare and contrast the current raids with those conducted by Obama (under whom after all, “2 million people were deported during Obama’s time in office, including a record of more than 409,000 people in 2012″) in more than an ICE says this, immigration advocates say that fashion, as the “Fact Check” story I just linked to do.

      B) If true, this statement would seem to support Trump’s less lurid claims, rather than the reverse:

      Marin said roughly 75 percent of the people arrested this week had prior felony convictions for crimes that included “sex offenses, assault, robbery and weapons violations.” Most of the 161 people arrested this week had been targeted for removal based on past criminal convictions, but Marin admitted a few people were swept up because they were found to be living in the U.S. illegally while other arrests were being carried out.

      C) Are the reports in fact designed to create panic?

      “The rash of these recent reports about ICE checkpoints and random sweeps and the like, it’s all false, and that’s definitely dangerous and irresponsible,” Marin said. “Reports like that create panic, and they put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger.”

      Now, I’ve seen reports of checkpoints on the twitter, but that’s as far as my knowledge goes, and I haven’t had time to dig deeper. A compendium of vetted incidents would be really handy (and not from “advocates,” please.)

      We all get heartsick about different things. Personally, I’m heartsick that a ginormous liberal vs conservative grudge match over who gets to run the empire and screw working people and how has made the press a thoroughly unreliable guide to the news, which has become a cesspit of “any stick to beat a dog” propaganda (not that the press has been anything other than dysfunction since at least the WMDs debacle in the runup to the Iraq War). I prefer to gouge out my own eyeballs, rather than to have them gouged out by others.

      Adding, you write:

      I can’t really fault Trump for enforcing the law and keeping promises to his base. But the overreaching should be checked, and if the laws are unfair (keeping in mind that freer immigration favors capital over labor) we can work to change them.

      I agree. The problem is that “the overreaching” assumes what needs to be proved.

      1. Robj

        Good to see you’re on the ball on Flynn, Lambert. Do the disinformation tango! (cabal! one could just as accurately call Flynn a member of the Trump “cabal”.) I treat it all with skepticism, including your choice of “cabal.”

  23. Oregoncharles

    The Chinese Embassy Told Durham University’s Debating Society Not To Let This Former Miss World Contestant Speak At A Debate Buzzfeed (furzy)” –
    There was a rather similar incident in my town; the embassy objected to a very public mural supporting independence for Tibet and Taiwan. Evidently it’s policy to object to anything like that that they hear about.

    Evidently there is something about our political culture that the Chinese don’t understand – probably genuinely. Accustomed to a totalitarian system, they can’t, or won’t, tell the difference between private and governmental expressions.

      1. Oregoncharles

        “Japan says the statue violates a previous agreement on the issue.” – which involved a lot of money.

        Or try Turkey if you talk about the Armenian genocide – though I think they only react to making it official. China doesn’t distinguish between official and private.

        But you’re right: other countries have their sensitivities, too, usually involving a guilty conscience.

  24. DawnSorrow

    So Kevin Drum has beat the warchest of his favorite topic, “AI”, and in an article titled “Artificial Intelligence Is Coming Whether You Like It Or Not” (gotta love that obnoxious technological triumphalism) and had this to say

    “Besides, AI is the real problem. As we all know (don’t we?), the decline of manufacturing in the US has far more to do with automation than with trade or globalization. That decline set up the conditions for an angry working class in three Midwestern states that finally decided it had found a savior in a guy who claimed it was all the fault of a bunch of foreigners. So now Donald Trump is president. How much more real can you get?”

    I see this claim parroted an awful lot, and unsurprisingly by people who have a long history advocating “free trade”. Would be nice to see if someone could run the numbers and see exactly how true that statement is, since apparently it’s just being accepted as conventional wisdom that trade has nothing to do with job losses anymore.

  25. allan

    Draining the swamp, GS style:
    Trump’s Economic Cabinet Is Mostly Bare. This Man Fills the Void. [NYT Dealbook]

    A few weeks after the election, Gary Cohn, the president of Goldman Sachs, was summoned to Trump Tower for a discussion about the economy. It would be the first of many such meetings with President-elect Donald J. Trump.

    During that sit-down, on Nov. 29, Mr. Cohn briefed Mr. Trump on what he regarded as the chief hurdle to expanding the economy, according to people who were briefed on the discussion: a stronger dollar, which would undermine efforts to create jobs.

    Mr. Cohn also argued that the bold infrastructure projects that Mr. Trump envisioned would need private-industry partners, those people said, in order to avoid weighing down the government with costs.

    That got Mr. Trump’s attention. …

    “Weighing down the government with costs.” When long term interest rates are near historic lows.
    Surely our Art of the Deal™er in Chief saw through this Wall Street flim-flammery. Or not:

    The president-elect turned to the other people in the room — his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon; his chief of staff, Reince Priebus; and Steven T. Mnuchin, his campaign’s chief fund-raiser and Mr. Trump’s nominee to be Treasury secretary — surprised that his infrastructure ideas had such a potential downside.

    “Is this true?” Mr. Trump asked the group, according to those people. Heads nodded. “Why did I have to wait to have this guy tell me?” he demanded….

    Fifty years in RE and he doesn’t know how to properly cost out a major project? Sad.

  26. Vatch

    Measles Outbreak Traced to Unvaccinated Border Staffers NBC

    From the article:

    Authorities have confirmed 22 measles cases in Arizona since late May. They all stem from the Eloy Detention Center, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility managed by the private Corrections Corporation of America.

    Pinal County health director Thomas Schryer said the outbreak likely began with a migrant but that detainees have since been vaccinated. Convincing employees to get vaccinated or show proof of immunity has proven much tougher, he said.

    So we have a two-for: privatization and science deniers. Betsy DeVos must be so proud!

    1. aab

      And in today’s “Dead Horse Hit Again” entry, this was already in place before Trump’s election, I assume: both the privatization AND the science denying. Why it’s almost like Donald Trump isn’t some history-shattering villain, but exactly the type of political “change” the system was willing to let through.

      You know, instead of the guy who wanted people to be able to go to the doctor.

  27. crittermom

    RE: “Three signals Donald Trump isn’t going to renegotiate NAFTA”

    OMG. Pure evidence that Trump is easily swayed (by money) & has done a 180.

    Bernie was right. Trump was a total liar on the campaign trail.
    But Trump didn’t mean to be, right? He just didn’t have all the right facts until folks like Jamie Dimon enlightened him. sarc/

    Now reconsidering my answer to Lambert’s inquiry to keep us occupied while he was traveling earlier this week.
    While I’d given him a 95% chance of finishing his first term, I may have given him too much credit as he’s sure to (finally) make many people mad regarding Medicare drug prices & Dodd-Frank. Especially Medicare & drug prices!

    Keep at it Trump, & ALL of the peasants just might open their eyes, forget party affiliations, & join together demanding to be heard.
    One can only hope…

    1. John k

      Were you hoping he would be better than Obama?
      Did you think hillary would have been better on either Medicare or drug prices?
      You might have hoped he would torpedo TPP… and he did!
      You might have hoped he would avoid confrontation with Russia… so far, so good!

      Lots to be unhappy about… but my mother often reminded me to count my blessings…
      And in these dreary neo lib days we should avoid hoping for too much.

    2. jrs

      The thing is Obama also promised to renegotiate NAFTA. So actually it’s the exact same lie of a campaign promise broken once again. We’re deep into re-run season already, only a few weeks in.

  28. Lupemax

    Re First Gene Drive in Mammals…
    Bill Gates et. al. should contribute some of their billions to work on eradicating the “billionaire greed” gene and rid the world of excessively greedy people like Gates Zuckerberg, Soros, Buffet, The kochs, hedge fund mgrs, bankster billionaires and dare I say Trump and all those billionaires in his cabinet, etc. I suspect the world would be a much much better place…don’t have to worry about anyone missing them or how their absence in one country would deprive other countries of something… we know everyone would be better off.

  29. freedomny

    I have to say – that Thomas Frank article on Bannon was one of the most fascinating articles I have read in a while….

    Have always been a big fan of his – but Wow.

    1. Adam Eran

      Note: Frank’s Listen Liberal: Whatever happened to the party of the people is really worthwhile. It discloses, among other things, that Clinton had a deal to privatize Social Security with Newt…until Monica Lewinsky came along. We all owe her a debt of gratitude.

      Incidentally, there’s lot’s of criticism of AirBnB on these pages. My retired masseuse neighbor swears by them … (She’s a host)

      1. skippy

        AirBnB reduces living standards for those next door…. not to mention spurs RE prices by specufuookulators…

        disheveled…. might as well live in one big motel….

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