Links 3/20/17

Giant ring of galaxies scattered during Andromeda flyby challenges Einstein’s theory of gravity International Business Times (original).

Mongolia’s reindeer herders defend their way of life Al Jazeera

Dogs recognize dog and human emotions Royal Society Biology Letters

‘Animal spirits’ aren’t firing up the economy just yet MarketWatch

Deutsche Bank Says Revenue to Stay `Broadly Flat’ This Year Bloomberg

Are Canadian banks headed toward a Wells Fargo–style scandal over sales tactics? MarketWatch

Anatomy of a Banking Scandal Showcases McDowell Bank’s Rise, Fall The State Journal

Opinion: The G20’s dilemma Deutsche Welle

G-20 meeting was ‘disappointing’ and ‘disturbing’: Yale’s Stephen Roach CNBC

‘Deep denial’: G20’s controversial trade retouching fails to stir investors Australian Financial Review

Brexit?

A sensible Brexit deal is more probable than you think Wolfgang Munchaü, FT

Jeremy Corbyn campaign group Momentum accused of union plot to take control of and ‘destroy’ Labour Party Telegraph

How Much Europe Can Europe Tolerate? Project Syndicate

French election: policies of the runners and riders FT

3 takeaways from the Schulz coronation Politico

Germany rejects Trump’s claim it owes NATO and U.S. ‘vast sums’ for defense Reuters

Germany-Turkey rift widens as Erdogan accuses Merkel of ‘Nazi measures’ France24

Syraqistan

Israel reportedly launches strike on Syria as tensions rise Los Angeles Times

Syria war: ‘Worst man-made disaster since World War II’ AL Jazeera (Furzy Mouse).

The Risks of Pre-emptive Strikes Against North Korea NYT

China?

What Should China and the US Do About North Korea? The Diplomat

Shadow Lending Threatens China’s Economy, Officials Warn NYT

What Was the Point of Demonetisation? The Wire

Farm loan waiver is no solution to farmers’ woes Live Mint

A saffron-robed Hindu holy man was sworn in on Sunday Reuters

Health Care

Medicare for All should replace Obamacare: Column USA Today

Make America Singapore NYT. Anything, anything but adopt the simple, rugged, and proven solution that a continent-spanning, multicultural, multilingual, federally-organized, Five Eyes-member nation sixty miles to the north of Burlington, Vermont has adopted…

Republicans revamp health bill, boost benefits to older Americans Reuters (Furzy Mouse). This plus a contract for Bath Iron Works should swing Collins. Not a peep from Democrats on capping Medicaid. I guess they support it.

New Cold War

Lawmakers seek FBI, NSA answers on Trump, Russia at rare public hearing Reuters

Russia Critic Sparks Feud At The New York Times Buzzfeed

We lost a war: Russia’s interference in our election was much more than simple mischief-making New York Daily News. The zeitgeist has moved from “hacking” through “interference” to “meddling.” This guy is stuck at “interference.”

Red Scare Redux: “Russian Weapons Stocked Right Up At NATO’s Border!” Moon of Alabama

Getting Russia Wrong The Russia Monitor (DK). The Obot talking point “The President is not a dictator,” localized for Russsia.

Our Perpetual War Political Culture The American Conservative (Re Silc).

Why does WikiLeaks keep publishing U.S. state secrets? Private contractors. WaPo

The CIA Reads French Theory: On the Intellectual Labor of Dismantling the Cultural Left The Philosophical Salon (MR).

Trump Transition

Trump Is Now Breaking His Core Promises Ian Welsh

White House installs political aides at Cabinet agencies to be Trump’s eyes and ears WaPo. Will-to-power…

Trump’s Budget and the Fiscal Crisis of the State: Something’s Gotta Give Corey Robin

Trump Travel Ban 2.0: Hawaii Judge Refuses To Limit His Order On Revised Travel Ban International Business Times

New York Attorney General Steps Up Scrutiny of White House WSJ. Hilarity ensues. More on Schneiderman at NC here and here.

Republicans take heat on Trump’s tax returns The Hill. “Most of the Republicans who have called for President Trump to release his tax returns have declined to join efforts to use the power of Congress to make it happen.” Nobody could have predicted…

The Left becomes a cult rather than gather support to oppose Trump Fabius Maximus. “Not on the right right” doesn’t equal “left”….

2016 Post Mortem

Passing the Baton Perry Anderson, New Left Review. Several articles on this topic: Election 2016 is good too. Important!

Centrist Democrats struggle to draft a survival strategy McClatchy. “The presentations helped the group arrive at four core values that would unite Democrats of all kinds: security, opportunity, compassion and results.” Gawd. Whichever consultant they paid for that drivel didn’t understand the Oxford comma, did they? Three words, one hashtag: #MedicareForAll….

Western Democrats spearhead Trump resistance Politico. Newest talking point.

Would Bernie Sanders Have Won? Poll Shows Senator More Popular Than Trump Newsweek (MR).

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Exhibit “A” That the Washington Elite Remain Out of Touch with Voters Independent Voter Network (PU).

Class Warfare

Tomato pickers win higher pay. Can other workers use their strategy? Christian Science Monitor (MR).

I Was A Hardcore Conservative: What Changed My Mind Cracked (DK). I should read Cracked more often.

Why I left my liberal London tribe FT. The Etonian version of “front row kids” vs. “back row kids”?

A World Without Wi-Fi Looks Possible as Unlimited Plans Rise Bloomberg

Infrared light could someday deliver super-fast WiFi Engadget (Furzy Mouse).

“Positive thinking” has turned happiness into a duty and a burden, says a Danish psychologist Quartz

Conducting the Milgram experiment in Poland, psychologists show people still obey Science Daily

Dilemma: Past and Future of Science in Society Weather Underground

Antidote du jour (via):

But is it an Oxford comma?

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

214 comments

  1. sleepy

    On the USAToday piece on medicare for all–

    I’ve noticed in the past couple of weeks that the notion of some sort of universal healthcare has received more and more press in the msm from pundits not so normally inclined, even on dem outlets such as MSNBC where for example NBC’s chief business correspondent Ali Velshi (a Canadian) has engaged repub politicians on the issue and challenged the orthodoxy of free market healthcare.

    Aside from Sanders, dem promotion of medicare for all is virtually non-existent of course.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      sleepy
      March 20, 2017 at 7:23 am

      There is the irresistible force that people don’t want to die because health care makes a few people rich, meeting the immovable object that neoliberals will not accept that the failings of the market are particularly pernicious with regard to health.

      Trump was a big F you to the establishment – but I think it will become clear pretty soon, Trump is ineffective at actually changing anything substantive – great at talking in a new way. Until there is a clear demarcation between candidates on REAL policies that are clear and meaningful (medicare for all) instead of drivel (saving through elimination of waste, fraud, and abuse) we are going down the same road as with Hillary/Jeb! – only with less tweets.

      Reply
      1. Octopii

        Trump can change plenty, perhaps in a more insidious and long-term way than most assume: He has numerous judicial appointments to make. Once the courts are tilted, say goodbye to social progress and citizen “freedom” such as it is.

        Reply
        1. fresno dan

          https://ccrjustice.org/home/press-center/press-releases/court-finds-abuse-former-guant-namo-detainees-standard-foreseeable

          A federal appeals court today dismissed a civil lawsuit brought by six men formerly held at Guantánamo who were wrongly detained and abused while at the prison. The suit, one of the last remaining Guantánamo damages suits, was brought against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other military officials for the torture, religious abuse and other mistreatment of plaintiffs.

          In dismissing their claims, the D.C. Circuit stated that the torture and religious humiliation these men endured—even after being cleared for release by the military—were incidental to the “need to maintain an orderly detention environment,” “appear[ed] to be standard for all” U.S. military detainees in Guantanamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and “was certainly foreseeable [by the government] because maintaining peace, security, and safety at a place like Guantanamo Bay is a stern and difficult business.”
          ….
          In a number of previous cases the D.C. Circuit had ruled that immunity doctrines apply to shield the actions of government officials who abused Guantánamo detainees while they were suspected of being enemy combatants. The Supreme Court has thus far declined to hear appeals from those holdings. Unlike prior cases, three of the plaintiffs in this case were abused even after they were found to not be enemy combatants.

          ==================================================
          It is certainly possible that the courts can get even worse, but it strikes me that what ever protection the courts supposedly provided to protect social progress was lost long, long ago.

          Reply
          1. Left in Wisconsin

            It is certainly possible that the courts can get even worse, but it strikes me that what ever protection the courts supposedly provided to protect social progress was lost long, long ago.

            Your sentence is conflicted. If “what ever protection the courts supposedly provided to protect social progress was lost long, long ago,” then the “it is certainly possible that the courts can get even worse” seems insincere, or half-hearted at best. I would strongly argue that things can, and likely will, get much, much worse.

            I would identify your logical flaw as considering “the courts” as a single, unified agent. There are still many good federal judges, many others that are good on some issues and not on others. What Trump will do (and HRC would have only been somewhat better) is add terrible rightwing ideologue after terrible rightwing ideologue to the federal judiciary (with very few whimpers from the Dems). The vast majority of the New Deal edifice is still standing, even though much of it no longer functions very well. I would predict that there will be much less of it left after Trump is done, and we will all be much worse of for it materially, though perhaps closer to seeing what needs to be done (though I am not a big believer in immiseration as a driver of left politics or governance).

            Reply
      2. Benedict@Large

        “… I think it will become clear pretty soon, Trump is ineffective at actually changing anything substantive …”

        The problem isn’t Trump. The problem is change. Washington is non-functional. It is incapable of changing anything.

        Reply
        1. Quentin

          Nonsense. Washington is incapable of changing things for the better…but extremely adept at changing things for the worse. The Trump avalanche is gathering force, gathering no moss.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Obama and Bill had ample opportunities and means to make major, positive policy changes. Can you imagine a Democrat fighting Obama on single payer or even the public option in 2009? That Democrat would have been tarred and feathered, and Washington would have jumped.

            Reply
            1. tegnost

              yes, change could have happened in a rational way, but was resisted, now change is happening in a like it or don’t manner. Combining anecdote from my acquaintances in tech (funding issues, layoffs, buyouts) with a sense that uber, the darling child, may have just tipped into a tailspin (fingers crossed) ISTM that changes are developing in a less controlled, randomly generating manner that is increasing overall uncertainty which maybe everyone should be a little concerned about. Power seems to still be lying in the street waiting for someone to pick it up…somewhat related, kayaking in lopez sound at low tide over the past week, finally saw one starfish, and it sadly had that sort of beige dull orange that signifies disease, not the bright orange a healthy starfish would have, five years ago you couldn’t count them there were so many.

              Reply
            2. Procopius

              You really think Joe Manchin and Mary Landrieu would have gone for Single Payer? Or even Public Option? Obama claimed the votes weren’t there and I wouldn’t doubt him except Rahm was saying the same thing, so I don’t know. I’ve come to think Obama was too much the New Dem anyway, but he sure was influenced by them in his first term. And what about Weepin’ Joe Lieberman?

              Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Ali Velshi, a recent addition to msnbs, has been so remarkable on “healthcare” that I’m not sure how long he’ll last. Some quotes from a recent interview of one of the slimier members of the house freedom caucus, jim jordan, on his contentions that more free market is needed to make healthcare “affordable,” and that the greatness of the american system has Canadians coming over the border in droves to get some:

      “There was never affordable insurance,” Velshi responded. “And I was just saying to Bill Kristol, nowhere on the face of the earth is there a free health insurance market that works. If you could point me to one and say that a free market works; It is just one of those areas where a free market does not work.”

      “Sir, I grew up in Canada,” Velshi responded. “I live in Canada. My entire family is in Canada. Nobody I know ever came to the United States for health care. I am sure you have a handful of stories about things like that. It is not actually statistically true.”

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/3/11/1642393/-CNN-Ali-Velshi-destroys-GOP-Congressman-lies-about-Obamacare-amp-Single-Payer-healthcare

      Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We need a March for (Free) Medicare for All…in DC, and all over the country.

      If not one single politician bothers to scream, to really loudly scream (,) and chain him or herself to the front lawn fence of the White House for it, the tired, the sick, the ageing (,) and the unhealthy yearning to be treated must scream for ourselves.

      Or maybe marches are possible only with money from shadowy groups.

      Reply
      1. HopeLB

        Great Idea! Wonder how we can the MSM to cover it? (Maybe tell Maddow ” We have THE TRUMP video tape!” and ask her to meet us at the Medicare for All March for a livestreaming exclusive of both the handoff and playback on our old VCR?)

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Pick a weekend date for the march and we can all be there.

          “We are doing it for all of us.”

          Reply
    4. susan the other

      yes. this morning c. 5:00 am NPR mentioned so briefly “Canadian Singel Payer” that I wasn’t sure I heard it, but it was still a huge – huuyge – tell. let us all stay tuned…

      Reply
  2. Marco

    Momentum “plot” to destroy Labour? Is that a bad thing? Maybe to save something you need to burn it to the ground first.

    Reply
  3. todde

    Did Stephen Roach just say Apple brings consumers ‘incredibly low prices’ for apples products?

    Because Apples whole business model is predicated on having high profit margins, which, and correct me if I am wrong because I didn’t graduate from Yale, the opposite of incredibly low prices.

    Reply
    1. inhibi

      Just like the whole “we don’t have enough truck drivers” argument, while their wages steadily decline. I too didn’t go to Yale, so we might both be wrong.

      Reply
  4. Steve H.

    : The CIA Reads French Theory: On the Intellectual Labor of Dismantling the Cultural Left

    “the precarization and vocationalization of education.”

    Is thems French words? This is how Critical Theory eats itself, intellectual autophagy doing the CIA’s dirty work, but hey, keep gettin’ them checks.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      The CIA has long been in the business of demolishing any kind of “leftism.” It’s in their genetic code, now. A nice little book that spells out a lot of the details, including the paid or volunteer or ignorant-stooge participation of the “intelligentsia” in the whole process, and this seems to me a clear review of the content:
      “Who Paid the Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War,” https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/CIAcultCW.pdf Greece, Italy, Iran, all those little countries down south of us, big parts of Africa including “We came, we saw, he died.”

      Makes you proud to be an American, doesn’t it? All the stuff that is done “in our names,” to “protect us and our way of life”?

      Reply
      1. Portia

        I never could warm up to Jackson Pollock.

        this
        kind of jumped out at me:

        After the Second World War, with the discrediting in Western Europe of the old right
        (compromised by its links to the fascists and a weak capitalist system), the CIA realized that,
        in order to undermine the anti-NATO trade unionists and intellectuals, it needed to find (or
        invent) a Democratic Left to engage in ideological warfare. A special sector of the CIA was
        set up to circumvent right-wing Congressional objections. The Democratic Left was
        essentially used to combat the radical left and to provide an ideological gloss on U.S.
        hegemony in Europe. At no point were the ideological pugilists of the democratic left in any
        position to shape the strategic policies and interests of the United States. Their job was not to
        question or demand, but to serve the empire in the name of “Western democratic values.”
        Only when massive opposition to the Vietnam War surfaced in the United States and Europe,
        and their CIA covers were blown, did many of the CIA-promoted and -financed intellectuals
        jump ship and begin to criticize U.S. foreign policy. For example, after spending most of his
        career on the CIA payroll, Stephen Spender became a critic of U.S. Vietnam policy, as did
        some of the editors of Partisan Review. They all claimed innocence, but few critics believed
        that a love affair with so many journals and convention junkets, so long and deeply involved,
        could transpire without some degree of knowledge.

        Reply
  5. Hana M

    I did not know this: 85 percent of the federal workforce lives, works, spends and votes outside the Washington area.

    Also, an interesting observation on the Clinton Federal job cuts:

    There are lessons to be learned from the massive downsizing of the Clinton years when about 250,000 federal jobs were chopped using buyouts as the carrot and reductions-in-force (which are costly, messy and often hit the wrong people). Tens of thousands of federal jobs were privatized and turned over to contractors. So the federal payroll dropped, but reappeared in the private sector where privatized feds wound up making a lot more money than they did in the same jobs in government.

    http://federalnewsradio.com/mike-causey-federal-report/2017/03/caution-when-draining-the-swamp-remember-its-a-very-very-big-swamp/

    Reply
    1. Hana M

      Job growth during Obama’s administration was skewed heavily towards the private sector; public sector job growth in his second term was the lowest of six of the last presidents.

      Only 374 thousand public sector jobs have been added during the forty six months of Obama’s 2nd term (following a record loss of 708 thousand public sector jobs during Obama’s 1st term). This is about 25% of the public sector jobs added during Reagan’s 2nd term!

      Read more at http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2016/12/public-and-private-sector-payroll-jobs.html#6qWflhOPPF5c3ibe.99

      Reply
    2. justanotherprogressive

      Errrr…..a little caution is needed here. As a Fed during the Clinton Re-Invent Government period, I saw firsthand what was happening. Yes, contractors took over the jobs that Feds used to hold – those jobs the Government declared were not “inherently governmental” (whatever that means). But the former Federal employees did NOT necessarily get paid more for those jobs when they switched over to becoming contract employees – usually they got paid much less for doing the same job – whatever the contractor decided was the prevailing wage rate. The contractor corporations got paid vastly more to provide that same work for the government and also kept as profit the difference between the salaries. It was a complete lose-lose for the Government, but I am sure those contractor corporations made their lobbying costs back within a year or two…..

      Reply
      1. Hana M

        Justanotherprogressive’s note fits with what I’ve seen in the pharmaceutical industry where, compared to in-house researchers, contract researchers make far less, with few to no benefits, and with a lot more headaches getting paid.

        Reply
      2. a different chris

        In engineering, too. Bodyshops skim off about 30%, which works out to 15% more hourly cost to the corp but 15% less takehome for the people that actually do the job.

        The corporation likes it because it makes their numbers work out. They can pretend that Sarah “won’t be there” next year, and since she is technically working via XYZ corp there is no severance to be accounted for but everybody knows she’ll be there next year.

        And everybody (except Sarah) gets some sort of tax advantage in it.

        Reply
      1. Portia

        and yet, he’s still a Liberal Golden Child. I saw him on Democracy Now a while ago and it made me queasy

        Reply
  6. Tony Wikrent

    An appeal for assistance in finding an article from a couple weeks ago.

    A couple weeks ago, there was an article somewhere on the tubez which included quotes from some DNC or Clinton campaign emails showing that the “BernieBros are racisists” meme was launched from those quarters. Can anyone provide the URL for that article?

    Reply
      1. KurtisMayfield

        Google has become Yahoo of the 00’s, basically a shopping and trivia engine. They really have screwed their signature product.

        Reply
          1. Portia

            OK. users, but they keep pissing people off, so in the end, they are getting screwed out of things they could have had if they weren’t so greedy, IMNSHO

            Reply
  7. Anonymous2

    Munchau’s piece is written by someone who has clearly never had to negotiate any agreements in Brussels. I have spent more years than I care to remember doing just that. Getting unanimity between 27 states on anything is difficult enough. Getting unanimity in 12 months (which is all the UK will likely have after the German elections ) on a trade agreement, no matter how transitional, would be close to miraculous.

    Reply
    1. David

      Absolutely. All multilateral negotiations are highly complex, even when there’s a clear negotiating mandate, a will to succeed and a common understanding of what the issues are and how they affect each other. I don’t see any of those here.I don’t think most pundits have the remotest idea how complicated this kind of thing is.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Yah, everyone wants to come out holding the non-sh!t-coated end of the stick. Human nature. And no one wants their name on any deal until after it proves a complete winner. Why the species is on the way out.

        Reply
      2. JustAnObserver

        That’s doubly, quadruply, true if, as in the UK’s case, being part of the EU has meant not having to do these kinds of negotiations – solo – for ~45years. As Yves, along with several NC commenters, has pointed out the parts of the civil service responsible for this sort of stuff has been severely hollowed out and the skills needed have atrophied.

        The relevant ministry – Department of Trade and Industry – was closed down in 2007 to be replaced with 2 bits of buzzword bingo BS:

        – Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. (Light touch – remember that ?)

        – Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. (Surpised they didn’t add “disruption”).

        How are they going to be any use ?

        Reply
    1. voteforno6

      Of course they have…the left has always been their true enemy. My favorite part is how they complain that Sanders engaged in a campaign of character assassination against her. Silly me, I was under the impression that Bernie actually took it pretty easy on her. He could’ve easily hammered her on her foreign policy, but he didn’t. Besides, how does all that compare to what the Clintonistas threw at Trump?

      Reply
      1. allan

        There was a short window for reform after the rout in November.
        Four months have now passed.
        That’s one-sixth of the time until the 2018 midterms.
        The incompetent Dem careerists are not going quietly into the night,
        and it’s hard to see how this ends well…

        Reply
      2. Nippersdad

        Ditto. The way he routinely pulled his punches wrt her was cringe inducing and gave rise to the “sheepdog for Hillary” meme that has never quite gone away. Those debates were actually pretty hard to watch.

        Reply
        1. Left in Wisconsin

          29. Every single time we fight the lies and smears against Hillary, we are fighting to regain our grip on truth, on facts, on decency.

          Of the 30 tweet-storm, this was the crescendo.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I’m beginning to suspect Democrats are getting push back from their local loyalists. Perez is now DNC chair and has introduced a new payment option for small donors. This isn’t exciting.

            These people want answers, and the Democrats are pursuing business as usual plus Slav-ophobia. That won’t do anything.

            I wouldn’t even be surprised if doubts were being raised about Hillary hence her recent trip away from her rock.

            Reply
    2. Nippersdad

      I sure hope that Daou is being well paid for his efforts on Clinton’s behalf, and I trust he has a great investment advisor for those checks; they may well have to be his retirement nest egg. Those tweets are going to make great material for why they just don’t get it in future elections, and there won’t be anywhere for him to hide.

      In what should come as a shock to no one, we will then see just how fast the Clinton machine dumps its’ most fanatic supporters for the sake of political expediency.

      Reply
    3. funemployed

      “as or more interested in remaking the Democratic party as it is in resisting Trump.” obviously any right-thinking smart person can see that these are distinct and competing goals. I’m thinking I’ll be starting drinking early today.

      Reply
    4. Roger Smith

      Do these lame sprawling tweet threads bother anyone else? Why can’t these people just write an essay like a normal person? I stopped following Stoller because anything interesting he might say is buried in a 70 tweet storm.

      Reply
      1. Portia

        too much real effort and thought, and maybe even some self-editing if he read it back to himself, and his output would be zero, one would hope

        Reply
    5. JohnnyGL

      That was hilarious….especially about how she has SAVED CHILDREN’S LIVES!!! Combined, with no sense of irony, with a picture of her and a child eating ice cream. The child appears to be quite happy and is in no visible danger, but I guess she’s been saved by Hillary from….something, because Peter Daou says so. No doubt she’d have been hit by a drone strike if it weren’t for Hillary’s involvement at that moment.

      I’m going to make a guesstimate that she’s probably aided and abetting getting a lot more kids killed than she’s saved.

      Oh my bad, we don’t count Iraqi/Libyan/Syrian kids.

      Reply
      1. nippersdad

        Nor for those children whose parents’ wages were halved in Haiti, much less those brought here to escape her coups in Central America. For all of those victims of her rapacity and the children of people caught up in her domestic carceral state, examples must be made.

        I never saw the attraction to such an argument that could be so easily disproven.

        Reply
        1. HopeLB

          In her defense, Hillary did insist that those unaccompanied minors fron Honduras be sent back. Yes, to be taught a lesson, but had they remained in the US, they now would be deported under Trump after they had become accostumed to not living in a war zone. Perhaps, that is the way she cobbles together her benevolence to children?

          Reply
    6. B1whois

      The article “Democrats beware: Sanders movement turns to the primaries” starts the concluding paragraph with this sentence:

      There’s not a great track record of similar media entrepreneurs moving into politics.

      apparently they’ve never heard of Steve Bannon? Or Donald Trump? I’m not sure what they mean by “similar” media entrepreneurs.

      Reply
  8. Tom_Doak

    “Democrats say the Republican plan could throw millions off health insurance and hurt the elderly, poor and working families while giving tax cuts to the rich.”

    Sounds like they are getting ready to throw people without jobs under the bus, just as jobs for non-robots get harder and harder to come by.

    Reply
  9. John Wright

    Re: “Why does WikiLeaks keep publishing U.S. state secrets? Private contractors”

    This article’s stance appears to be that government workers can be trusted with state secrets more than private contractors.

    Given that the article states that 70 cents of every intelligence dollar is allocated to the private sector, one can assert that roughly 70% of the people with access to USA state secrets are private contractors.

    If the incentives to leak (financial or ethical) elicit the same “propensity to leak” in government employees and private contractors, then one might expect about 70% of the leaks would be by private contractors.

    Maybe the scope of the USA intelligence operations has resulted in a huge army of potential leakers, inside the government and private contractors, with access to the data.

    If the USA went to 100% government employed security personnel the leak rate might not change significantly.

    I suspect it is the expanded scale of the USA intelligence operations that has abetted the leaks, not the simple “government employee is more loyal/trustworthy than a private contractor” the author of this piece seems to assert.

    Maybe if we scaled down the government intelligence operations the USA would have fewer potential leakers AND less information to leak.

    Reply
    1. Skip Intro

      Government employees will tend to be interested more in stability than in immediate cash, which is why they accept, in general, lower pay than private sector counterparts, in return for better stability and retirement options. In addition, the private contractors are not only inherently more mercenary, their employeres are also more likely to be exploiting them, abusing them, or otherwise leading to ‘disgruntlement’ among the staff, which is bound to increase the likelihood of leaks.

      The thing that always interests me is the proportion of leaks to WikiLeaks, which can arguably be cast as altruistic, to leaks to private 3rd parties or states, which are rarely discovered or revealed. I suspect for every Ed Snowden, there were a dozen similar leaks that were not publicized.

      Reply
  10. DJG

    Krugman’s column in today’s NYTimes, entitled America’s Epidemic of Infallibility.

    What’s interesting (to use the term loosely) about these criticisms of Trump is the subtheme of Krugman’s column: The U.S. business and managerial class is up to its eyeballs in bullshit. I’m starting to find many of the criticisms of Trump from the economics / managerial class to be bad faith. That bad faith may extend to Krugman.

    As the commenter to the column, AB, from Maryland, notes:

    No. Americans do not suffer from infallibility. White Americans do. Those of us who occupy majority white spaces at work or in school witness trump-like behavior all the time. White employees are allowed to have tantrums, yell at employees in public, toss papers on the floor and storm out of meetings, make costly mistakes, and walk around in the office barefoot in the summer. The nonwhites among us compare notes and stories and conclude, “We could never get away with that.”

    Reply
    1. Portia

      yes, and as a matter of fact, if you do a better job than the “protected class”, they will viciously set upon you as a group and drive you out. I am “white”, but slavic, not cool, I guess, and I was told to get with the sloppy program and not to make them look bad.

      Reply
    2. inhibi

      Why is everything made into a race issue today? America is classist, not racist.

      Lookup Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Hearings 2004. Maxine Waters & Gregory Meeks sure think they are infallible, just like NAME_ANY_WHITE_CEO.

      Reply
      1. Portia

        sounds a bit like it was about race here:

        Waters seemed particularly proud to say “since the inception of goals from 1993 to 2002, loans to African-Americans increased 219 percent and loans to Hispanics increased 244 percent, while loans to non-minorities increased 62 percent. Additionally, in 2001, 43.1 percent of Fannie Mae’s single-family business served low-and moderate-income borrowers…” She then said “the GSEs are working” and reiterated her opposition to more oversight.

        http://humanevents.com/2008/09/30/democratic-coverup-for-fannie-and-freddie-led-to-2008-meltdown/

        Reply
        1. WheresOurTeddy

          “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

          -LBJ

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The problem is Jim Crow and slavery were largely supported by upper classes. Welfare reform (which largely targeted women and children) and the complaints about welfare queens were simply beloved and repeated by white collar workers.

            The forebears of the deplorables in West Virginia largely voted against secession, a cause of the civilized people with European sensibilities.

            The goal of the sit ins of the 1960’s was to target businesses that depended on black customers to force them to make a choice, but until the sit ins, all these business groups were just fine with Jim Crow.

            Reply
      2. funemployed

        race supports classism, class supports racism. No need to put them in opposition to each other. If you’re interested, I suggest you do some reading on institutional racism, which is a very different thing from individual racial bias.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Democrats are making it about poor whites when wealthy whites overwhelmingly voted for Trump. The goal is to blame rural, poor whites as the great “other” while ignoring the white professional class that did overwhelmingly vote for Trump.

          Reply
      1. Romancing The Loan

        Not and keep their jobs afterwards, no. Even the rich.

        I, too, dislike the conflation of class with race though and I definitely think it’s deliberate at some level. The classist notes in some of the stories running lately are really intriguing – was I the only one who thought the point of most of the stories about the “waiter asks diners if they are american citizens” incident in the news was not that it’s not anyone’s damn business but that a mere service peon deigned to speak so to his betters (with a faint undertone of “isn’t the writer great for putting non-white diners in the class of betters”)?

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The “Opposition” needs to decide which frame of the issue comes first, and is a superset of all of the others (kinda like Maslow), then organize and act on that single issue. That’s what worked in the 60’s when everyone coalesced around stopping the Vietnam War, very simple binary framing (and it worked).

          Could be:
          Medicare For All (yes/no)
          Living Wage (yes/no)
          Stop the War (yes/no)

          Organizing around and succeeding on any of these “super-issues” would in turn work to solve most of the second-order issues. It’s also very simple to see which “representatives” voted for and which voted against.

          People who decide their genders or skin colors or other divisions are the top-level issues play straight into the billionaire’s hands. It’s about “We”, not “Me”. There are about 200 million “We’s” and about 20,000 “They’s”, believe me they would run for the hills if they saw an unemployed white redneck man from Chattanooga holding up the same sign as a single black LGBT woman from Oakland.

          Reply
  11. Ignim Brites

    “We lost a war: Russia’s interference in our election was much more than simple mischief-making”. Wow. This guy is really off into “beautiful mind” territory. I suppose the good professor, in delegitimizing Trump’s presidency, might not accede to the notion that this provides license for a military coup. Or maybe he does. Is this really where all this is heading?

    Reply
    1. voteforno6

      Some of those people may secretly desire that. However, anyone with any familiarity with how the U.S. military actually operates would have a hard time explaining how a coup could work.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I believe Dave Barry made a point the problem is who’s kids go to war but kids going to war. The author of the piece needs to be dispatched post haste. Many of these psychopaths would gladly dispatch their own kids if it meant their own advancement.

        Reply
  12. a different chris

    >Dogs can discriminate human facial expressions and emotional sounds (e.g. [11–18]); however, there is still no evidence of multimodal emotional integration and these results relating to discrimination could be explained through simple associative processes. They do not demonstrate emotional recognition, which requires the demonstration of categorization rather than differentiation. The integration of congruent signals across sensory inputs requires internal categorical representation [19–22] and so provides a means to demonstrate the representation of emotion.

    I suspect -not sure, being a guy- that you could substitute “men” for “dogs” in the above and the majority of women would be nodding their heads vigorously and exchanging mysterious, impenetrable glances .

    Reply
  13. DJG

    Oxford comma?

    I’ve been in publishing a long time, and I was trained to use the Chicago Manual of Style, which has been around since 1904. The CMOS calls the mark the “serial comma.” Lately, though, the term Oxford comma has had a vogue. It is now the “bespoke suit” of the publishing world.

    Anything the Brits do, Americans will ape. No wonder there was an actual movie with Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher. I’m wondering where the U.S. suspension of critical faculties comes from. Too many ice lollies?

    Reply
      1. DJG

        I like McWhorter, generally, but he’s all loosey goosey in that column. I use the serial comma. I just don’t call it an Oxford comma. That term is for people who think that toad-in-a-hole is food.

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          English cuisine? English cuisine? Monsieur, there is no such thing.
          Toad-in-the-hole — Crapeau dans le cavite (with accent).

          Credit: Royal Canadian Air Farce

          Reply
      2. JEHR

        When I read that item in the contract, I thought that the contract should have been written more clearly so that the comma wasn’t a part of the ambiguity.

        Reply
    1. Vatch

      Call it whatever you like, but use it. There should be a comma after each component of a conjunction, except the last. Otherwise, we end up with confusing constructions such as this:

      Some famous comedy pairings are Martin and Lewis, Abbot and Costello and Trump and Pence.

      There should be a comma following “Costello”.

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        McWhorter deals with that in the article linked above:

        Let’s not even get into the fact that sometimes the Oxford comma can, itself, make a mess. Try out “To my mother, Mother Teresa, and the Pope.” Only the Oxford comma makes it sound like Mother Teresa is your mom.

        His sensible advice, good advice in any situation, by the way, is to use “punctuational” judgement when you are writing English if your objective is to make yourself clearly understood.

        Reply
            1. Vatch

              Ha! Yes, future gender reforms in the Catholic Church could have a big effect on that! Will the Italian for “the Pope” become “il Mama” instead of “il Papa”?

              Reply
          1. Optimader

            Woaaa, Breakin News
            Your mom, the pope, is a late in life transexual???

            We want childhood pictures!

            Maybe red slippers are a tell.

            Reply
        1. marym

          “To my mother, Mother Teresa; and the Pope” is what would make it sound as though Mother Teresa is your mom.

          Reply
          1. fosforos

            Writing is the transcription of speech. A comma in writing signifies a pause (a “hiatus”) in speech. Nobody capable of subvocalization should ever get it wrong.

            Reply
            1. Outis Philalithopoulos

              Actually, this is not true. People who have learned how to place commas correctly often reinforce these principles by imagining hiatuses in how sentences would sound when spoken slowly. It’s true that commas sometimes correspond to pauses and vice versa, but neither statement holds absolutely. Instead, the correct use of commas involves significant conventional elements. The use (or non-use) of the Oxford comma is a case in point.

              An experience that brought this home to me was learning to write prose in other languages – commas are simply not used the same way, and the differences do not seem to correlate with any difference in the way the relevant types of clause structures are pronounced.

              Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                From ‘How Did They Do It’ category, courtesy of Wikipedia, Punctuation:

                Western Antiquity[edit]
                Most texts were still written in scriptura continua, that is without any separation between words. However, the Greeks were sporadically using punctuation marks consisting of vertically arranged dots—usually two (dicolon) or three (tricolon)—in around the 5th century b.c. as an aid in the oral delivery of texts.

                Reply
        2. fosforos

          The comment’s are past their sell date. The required appelation for that old fraud nowadays is “Saint Mother Teresa.”

          Reply
          1. Katniss Everdeen

            A gentle, friendly reminder, fosforos. While Oxford commas are a subject of debate, pluralizing apostrophes are not.

            Reply
        3. MoiAussie

          Try out “To my mother, Mother Teresa, and the Pope.” Only the Oxford comma makes it sound like Mother Teresa is your mom.

          For every example there is a counterexample. Try out “To my parents, Mother Teresa and the Pope.” which makes you sound like the product of a saintly union.

          Judgement is needed to use language effectively. This is one reason that AI doesn’t (yet) write well.

          Reply
          1. NYPaul

            Is it ever o.k. to use two “ands”
            as in:
            “To my mother, and Mother Teresa, and the Pope?”

            And, if “yes,”
            leave out 2’nd comma:
            “To my mother, and Mother Teresa and the Pope?”

            Reply
      2. JTMcPhee

        …and the toilet paper goes OVER THE TOP OF THE ROLL, get it? And why is it incumbent on men to lower the toilet seat, rather than perceptive women to check and correct? /s

        Reply
        1. Portia

          hey, you know that OVER THE TOP.. thing is IMPORTANT. It gets hung up the other way in my experience. and everyone knows that the toilet seat and cover are lowered before flushing to keep the disgusting aerated particles from gushing out all over the room when you flush. That’s assuming men flush… /s, sorta

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Women need the seat down, men need the seat up. And my cats need the paper coming from UNDER, not OVER THE TOP

            Reply
    2. Portia

      I was trained with Strunk & White “Elements of Style” so I am terminally confused about everything grammatical

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        I had a brush with that thing once and was left reeling. I assumed hard work (which I had no interest in undertaking) would make it come together but I guess not. Good to know.

        Reply
      2. witters

        For some weird reason at secondary school (this was a Cathoolic school in Tasmania)I was taught Chomsky’s Universal Grammar – which, being universal, wasn’t much help with specifically english grammar.

        Reply
    3. jawbone

      When the “Oxford comma” is NOT used, I find my reading slowed down as I try to figure out if the last two items in the series are actually meant to be one item or simply someone thought it was easier to leave the last comma out.

      I seem to remember that the NYTimes style book had ordered that the “Oxford comma” not be used. To save time, ink, and space? Or, in the Times approach, to save time, ink and space. Without the last comma my silent reading speeds up through the series, seems out of rhythm, and I silently growl.

      Reply
    4. Katharine

      Thank you! I always called it a serial comma (when I called it anything) and tend to ascribe the newer name to some sort of obscure intellectual snobbery. (Sorry, Lambert, but that’s how it hits me.)

      Reply
      1. NYPaul

        I’m always conflicted about when to use parentheses:
        ______________________________________________
        “…called it a serial comma (when I called it anything) and tend to ascribe ……..”

        And

        when to use commas:
        ———————————
        “…..called it a serial comma, when I called it anything, and tend to ascribe …….”

        Reply
  14. DJG

    Perry Anderson: Indispensable and highly amusing. There is a boxed item at the center filled with saccharine quotes from the un-embarrass-able chattering class: A rib tickler in a rueful way.

    And this:

    “Catapulted into the White House on colour charisma and economic crisis, and commanding the first congressional supermajority since Carter, Obama in office continued to be an accomplished vote-winner and champion money-raiser. But celebrity is not leadership, and is not transferrable. The personality it projects allows no diffusion. Of its nature, it requires a certain isolation. Obama, relishing his aura and aware of the risks of diluting it, made little attempt to mobilize the populace who cast their ballots for him, and reserved the largesse showered on him by big money for further acclamation at the polls. What mattered was his personal popularity. His party hardly counted, and his policies had little political carry-through.”

    And as John Cleese said in Fawlty Towers, “Don’t mention the war(s).”

    Reply
    1. human

      made little attempt to mobilize the populace who cast their ballots for him

      The populace was highly motivated, as evidenced by the activity at change.org. He chose the bed he now lies in.

      Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Finally and decisively, of course, it was his [obama’s] insensibility to growing popular distress—white and black—and collusion with the financial and commercial order responsible for it that created the conditions of a vehement political revolt against the establishment of which he had become so prized an ornament. [18] Hopes that Obama would bring transformation with any ounce of audacity were always illusory. Fears that Trump will bring disaster with tons of bigotry and brutality may be more realistic, though they could prove exaggerated too. One thing, however, is clear: productive resistance to the second can have no truck with the cult of the first, which requires cold demolition.

      I find the image of obama as a shiny, black hood ornament for the status quo particularly accurate.

      Reportedly no slouch in the gray matter department, I hope citizen obama realizes that any assessment of his presidential “success” relies entirely on the same brain trust that has made cultural “icons” of the kardashians.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        >he had become so prized an ornament

        Somebody, not me ’cause I’m whiter than white and also seriously artistically challenged – needs to do a political cartoon with a smiling Obama hood ornament on an outrageous white limousine driven by fat cats with all sorts, black, white, Mexican, whatever, of working class people being ground under the wheels.

        In fact, I suspect there is a Depression-era cartoon or two like that which could just be updated.

        PS: was there an Oxford comma in there and did I screw it up?

        Reply
    3. Vatch

      From Anderson’s article (highlighting mine):

      Once installed as President, with no prior ties to the Republican party or political experience of any sort, Trump was virtually bound to put together a government at variance with most of what he said on the campaign trail, drawing on bankers and businessmen, generals and a couple of politicos of right-wing stamp, to produce a cabinet out of George Grosz.

      Perhaps he’s thinking of paintings by Grosz such as these:

      Eclipse of Sun

      The Pillars of Society

      Reply
  15. Jim A

    On North Korea.
    Attacking the DPRK would almost inevitably involve hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of civilian casualties. It is difficult to imagine a US administration rolling those dice. The fact is that the DPRK already has a strong enough military for deterrence, even though they do not have a strong enough military to “win.” OTOH, it is possible that attacking now, rather than 10-20 years from now is the difference between civilian deaths in the 100k and 1m range. The other problem is that waiting until the DPRK has effective ICBMs would mean that many of those civilian casualties would be Americans. The difficulty is that the DPRKs “I have a gun and I’m not afraid to use it,” negotiating stance is destabilizing and not suited to any kind of long term standoff as we had between the US and USSR during the cold war.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      >The difficulty is that the DPRKs “I have a gun and I’m not afraid to use it,” negotiating stance is destabilizing and not suited to any kind of long term standoff as we had between the US and USSR during the cold war.

      The US’s stance isn’t “I have a gun and I’m not afraid to use it”???

      Reply
      1. vidimi

        good point. also, nobody believes in NK’s ability to hit targets thousands of miles away. the true danger is all the artillery pointed at seoul that could indeed cause the loss of millions of lives.

        Reply
      2. Jim A

        Well the stance of both of them can be easily summarized as “Fuck with me and I will END you.” But the US has a much higher tolerance in it’s definition of what constitutes “Fuck with me,” than the DPRK tends to. We don’t tend to threaten nuclear annihilation for much short of invading the US or its CLOSE (Western European or Japan) allies. The DPRK on the other hand tends to hyperventilate over things like embargoes or cutting off food aid.

        They now have a fairly solid capability to lob a few nukes not just at South Korea but parts of Japan as well. They are actively trying to get the capability to Nuke the US as well.

        Reply
        1. MoiAussie

          But the US has a much higher tolerance in it’s definition of what constitutes “Fuck with me,” than the DPRK tends to. We don’t tend to threaten nuclear annihilation for much short of invading the US or its CLOSE (Western European or Japan) allies.

          I’m calling BS on this one. US voices have clearly been sabre rattling recently, openly talking of pre-emptive nuclear strikes against Russia and now the DPRK. And escalating the threat by deploying nuclear warhead capable “defensive” missiles as close to Russia as possible.

          Sure, the DPRK constantly rants about “seas of fire” and so forth. But rhetoric isn’t a sensible basis for judging a state’s tolerance to external threats.

          Reply
          1. witters

            I’m calling BS too. Remember that silly thing, ‘diplomacy’? It was the US – with its ‘much higher tolerance’… – that pulled the pin here.

            Reply
        2. Gaianne

          Please remember, during the Korean War the US burnt to the ground all of North Korea’s cities and incinerated 20% of the population.

          Not unreasonably, they figure we would gleefully do it again.

          So, to translate into American, their message is:

          “I don’t know myself whether these nuclear-tipped missiles will reach the west coast of North America, but there’s one question you need to ask yourself. Do you feel lucky punk? Well, do you?”

          –Gaianne

          Reply
    2. neo-realist

      The other elephant in the room is China: Would they not respond to an attack on their satellite state w/ aid to the DPRK which would keep them going for a while in order to inflict maximum damage on SK and Japan, or maybe even direct involvement, including ICBM launches…….on American cities?

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Is it a satellite state of China? It’s on the borders, but the Chinese weren’t involved until MacArthur started shooting at them. I suppose it’s a buffer from U.S. aggression.

        Most states aren’t particularly interested in conflicts because they can experience reprisals, so unlike the U.S., protected by oceans, tundra, and desert, foreign countries don’t think in terms of wars where they can just get away with it and laugh from the sidelines.

        Even Russia in Syria is mostly about their paper alliance center, not the base. If Russia doesn’t back Assad, who will make a deal with Russia in the future? Vietnam won’t work with Moscow because they would know Moscow won’t go to bat for them over a disagreement with the Chinese. The Chinese know they can’t act without provoking a response. What the Chinese don’t want is fallout or a refugee wave out of North Korea. Since they are dealing with an individual and not a party structure, they have to be cautious in how the proceed.

        What is the real state of North Korea is the real question. Is Kim just a nut or is he a guy who understands he is likely to get offed if he leaves and always has people looking to move up? Does he need a major influx of foreign aid?

        After 9/11, there was enough sympathy to stomach an aggressive response from the U.S. especially if international terrorism was the target by countries at large. The Democrats replaced Shrub and the Republicans, and everything changed. Then Libya happened. Everything changed. The U.S. political establishment revealed there were no adults in the room. Obama ripped up a Bush Era deal with Gaddafi. Since then the Russians and Chinese engaged in an arms and defense modernization plan and have embraced Eurasian integration, but they aren’t playing a game of Civilization where they are paying Shaka to throw wave after wave of Impi against Roman legions because Rome befriended Kuala Lumpur. Moscow and Beijing live in a world where one U.S. President believes in God and Magog and the other dismisses deals whenever he feels like it. They aren’t interested in agitating the crazy.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          One phone call from Beijing and Kim will do what he’s told. China just wants the DPRK stick for handy Trump eye-poking

          Reply
          1. Mark P.

            ‘One phone call from Beijing and Kim will do what he’s told.’

            You couldn’t be more wrong. There are lots of years when the Pyongyang regime gives China a harder time — just to show it won’t be f***ed with by Beijing — than it gives the U.S.

            Reply
    3. Plenue

      NK wants a nuke purely for deterrence. It would enable them to significantly reduce their bloated standing conventional military (much of which already spends most of its time on construction projects). Despite what the media likes to pretend, NK isn’t run by madmen or fanatics; they’re well aware they could never win a war, and hitting Japan or the US, or anywhere else would only result in NK itself being completely obliterated.

      As it stands they already so much normal artillery trained on Seoul that it constitutes a strategic deterrence just by itself. The article only mentions artillery twice, and claims NK has ‘hundreds’ of artillery pieces. As far as I know the number is more like 13,000, some of which are loaded with chemical warheads. Of course many of these guns are decades old, and may not even work, but there’s so many of them that they could never all be neutralized in a first-strike, and only a fraction of them need to actually work to turn the planets fifth most populace metropolitan area into a bloodbath.

      I love how just ending the war is apparently never an option. Okay, it takes two to tango, maybe NK wouldn’t sign a treaty, but our side could defacto end the war. Stop the sanctions for one thing.

      Reply
      1. Mark P.

        ‘NK wants a nuke purely for deterrence.’

        No. They want it for nuclear compellence, also.

        For gain, as well as deterrence. That’s where this is going.

        While the Pyongyang regime is human, you’re normalizing them. First, picture the Mafia running a nation-state, with the juche doctrine of Norkean racial purity to justify the aggressiveness towards the lesser breeds outside the DPRK, and also the full awareness at all times by all members of the regime — it’s not just Kim — that the day they lose power they’re all strung from lamp-posts, decapitated, or otherwise dead.

        Then factor into the picture that this existential state of mind has been operative for seventy years, so at least three generations of North Korea’s ruling class have lived, worked and had children, who have in turn then been inculcated with this outlook.

        Finally, add into the picture that South Korea, Taiwan, and South China are where most of planet Earth’s chip fabs are currently located and a nuclear exchange — however limited — would as a byproduct bring at least a temporary halt to our technological civilization. Seriously. That region of the world is where most high-tech manufacturing is done. And Pyongyang knows there’s great scope for heightened brinksmanship on that basis.

        North Korea is a big problem and it’s going to get bigger.

        Reply
  16. rusti

    I’m pessimistic about the “World Without Wi-Fi” article. Industry giants like Ericsson here in Sweden have gone around making wild promises about what a revolutionary technology 5G will be but they’re very short on specifics, particularly when it comes to making a business case.

    Professor William Webb has wrote a lot about this, including his book “The 5G Myth: When vision decoupled from reality” and has a short white paper online for free:

    The problem is that this has not been coupled with a business case nor integrated well with the
    existing structure of operators and other players in the current communications environment. The
    business reality is that there is no new money. Subscriber numbers have levelled off and ARPUs are
    in gentle decline. Attempts by the operators over the years to introduce new services such as picture
    messaging, location-based services, m-health, m-payment, walled-garden Internet, video calls, and so on, have all failed to improve ARPUs, although in many cases over-the-top (OTT) providers such as Skype have delivered solutions. So either 5G will need to be delivered within the confines of current operator revenue or it will need to deliver new services that consumers are prepared to pay more for.

    I don’t think Wi-Fi is disappearing any time soon, it’s got way too much of a cost and performance advantage in so many environments.

    Reply
  17. CRS

    Not a peep from Democrats on capping Medicaid. I guess they support it.

    Not true. Democratic governors have come out in opposition. See Democrats struggle to preserve Medicaid funds

    Also, Democrats in the House have come out in opposition. See House Panel Calls for Medicaid Work Requirement, Tax Credit Changes in Health Bill

    Democrats strongly opposed the Medicaid proposals during debate, dismissing the underlying legislation as the “pay more for less bill” and repeatedly pointing out that a recent analysis from the Congressional Budget Office found that the proposal is projected to cut Medicaid spending by $880 billion and cut rolls by 14 million people.

    “That is simply code for deep cuts and fewer people covered,” Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said of the block grant motion.

    Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., said the provision “only serves to deny people access to Medicaid who desperately need it.”

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      One, DWS has no credibility. Sending her as a messenger is destined to backfire.

      Two, the message on cable and nightly news is what matters. Press releases no one reads are irrelevant to the conversation and only serve to cover one’s back. A better effort would be the DCCC and the DNC announcing any Democrat who works with Trump on this is cut off from funding. Democrats will vow not to support Democrats who do this. Oh well, we’ll just blame Joe Manchin is the strategy.

      Reply
    2. Eureka Springs

      When all are drawing lines which exclude anyone (millions, no matter how you slice it, at the highest costs in the world – 880b for 14 m!!), why bother championing any of them?

      Tell Trump he can be the bestest, greatest, most incredible Pres. of all! Here’s how.

      http://www.pnhp.org/publications/united-states-national-health-care-act-hr-676

      Let’s make a deal… he can have little Trump Mercy hotels (exclusively) next to every hospital and a statue taller than liberty herself!

      Reply
  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    We lost a war: Russia’s interference in our election was much more than simple mischief-making New York Daily News. The zeitgeist has moved from “hacking” through “interference” to “meddling.” This guy is stuck at “interference.”

    Didn’t someone panic (or forewarn with great patriotic insight) and use the word ‘invasion’ or ‘invaded’ already?

    Reply
  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Sharing, Cooperation or Competition.

    Would Bernie Sanders Have Won? Poll Shows Senator More Popular Than Trump Newsweek (MR).

    This seems to say (as in a book that writes itself, as many authors have said…the story just took me over), the ‘smart’ strategy is not to cooperate. Let Trump fail and 2020 beckons…if many don’t die before then.

    Reply
    1. jawbone

      James Comey confirms investigation of Russian attempts to interfere in US election.

      http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/20/520765159/watch-live-house-hearing-on-russian-attempts-to-interfere-in-u-s-election

      10:40AM Comey Confirms FBI Is Investigating Possible Coordination Between Trump Campaign, Russia

      Comey told the committee that he can confirm the FBI is investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, to look for possible coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts to influence the November election.

      “I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. And that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts,” he said.

      “As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed,” Comey said.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And it would be dereliction of duty not to wiretap those individuals, wherever they might be, in Trump Tower or anywhere????

        I mean, if we want to investigate the nature of any links.

        Reply
        1. NYPaul

          Question:

          Is it at all conceivable for any Russian official in a position of having potential contacts with Trump officials to not know every utterance they make is being recorded?

          Reply
  20. Stephanie

    Bang-Up Job: USPS Blames New Employees for Rising Motor Vehicle Accidents

    The U.S. Postal Service’s liability for motor vehicle tort claims (paid to victims of accidents) rose from $48 million in Fiscal Year 2015 to $88 million in FY2016, the Postal Regulatory Commission recently pointed out.

    New employees under pressure to get the job done fast? Routes too long and/or unfamiliar? Inexperienced drivers are cheaper and/or more desperate for the job?

    Reply
    1. jawbone

      In my current location in Morristown, NJ, our mail delivery was moved back to 5 PM or later as routes have been enlarged. Due to cuts, I was told. Changed in early winter or late fall.

      Reply
    2. curlydan

      well “the non-career City Carrier Assistant (CCA) and Rural Carrier Associate (RCA) positions” explain the rotating cast of characters I see delivering my mail.

      We wouldn’t want to give someone a “CAREER”, would we?!?

      Reply
  21. Mark Gisleson

    Cracked is extremely uneven but to their credit they are one of the few pubs who aggressively solicit material from new writers.

    Reply
  22. Sam

    “Anything, anything but adopt the simple, rugged, and proven solution that a continent-spanning, multicultural, multilingual, federally-organized, Five Eyes-member nation sixty miles to the north of Burlington, Vermont has adopted…”

    Try reading the entire piece:

    “I just hope those principles are a comfort to them when the next wave of liberalism delivers us to a much more plausible health insurance destination than Singapore: Straightforward single-payer, in the form of Medicaid for almost all.”

    Reply
    1. marym

      Medicaid isn’t single payer. It’s funded by the feds, the states, and estate seizure; and payment is made increasingly to insurance companies, not providers.

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Try reading the entire piece:

      I tried, and succeeded. You, one can only assume, did not. From the next to the last paragraph:

      Of course they*’re also a bigger compromise with paternalism than the Republican Party’s True Conservatives are currently willing to accept. They have their principles, and making America Singapore is simply a non-starter.

      Douthat wants conservatives to use a Singapore-like proposal to head off single payer in “next wave of liberalism.” “A comfort” is ironic, capeesh?

      * Singapore-like proposals.

      Reply
  23. oho

    >>Make America Singapore

    ugg. All these articles that point to Singapore, Finland, etc as models…..All those nations are tiny—-not even as big as New York City proper.

    Yes, you want to pick up new ideas—but solutions that work for de facto city-states are difficult to scale up.

    Now comparing US to Canada makes more sense.

    Reply
  24. JohnnyGL

    Cracked article was good on persuasion. And really, that’s why we all get into twitter storms/FB wars, etc.

    People do like to read rants and arguments. They’re America’s new soap operas.

    Reply
  25. JEHR

    Canadian banks have turned out to be no better than Welles Fargo in their dealings with clients. These Canadian banks have been making billions in profit each quarter for quite some time. Canadian banks have also been encouraged to deal in insurance and now can use part of deposits for investment purposes. It would be nice if commercial banking would unhitch itself from investment banking so that the banks would not be taking bigger risks than necessary.

    Canadian banks are a big disappointment when they place sales to customers above service to customers.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I stopped when I got to Ed Randell. During the election Randell proudly boasted every white union member lost by Hillary would be replaced by two “moderate suburban republicans.”

      Of course, Rich lives in his own enclave, and doesn’t quite grasp lower classes outside of a few wealthy enclaves are the basis of the Democratic vote. Republican incomes seem lower because they often live in low income, high wealth areas.

      Reply
  26. Portia

    I really love the Cracked article by Christina H. Thanks!

    people who are in the process of rethinking their bigotry feel like it’s a huge, maybe insurmountable leap to cross to the other side, when probably tons of people right around them have slowly floated over without ever making a peep. It would probably be a more appealing journey if it was known to be a super common and chill one, and not a daredevil Evel Knievel jump across a chasm that only one man is known to have survived, and that man eats his meals through a straw now.

    Reply
  27. Alex Morfesis

    Saarland in march…it always ends up being saarland in march…in 1935 it was the beer muscles event for mein dummkopf who fixed the vote in january with the help of future vichistani, laval…this along with the laval deal with il dullce to carve up parts of africa between france and italy, allowing the attack on and against “ras” tafari makonnen in Ethiopia…would soon leave a world at war…

    The same Laval who scuttled the creditanstalt bailout in may 1931, which brought on the collapse of the clearinghouses behind the banking system…leading to the rise of the blackbooters in germany…

    Shulz to conquer germany…next sunday night, the future of Germany may be decided…a crushing loss in saarland for mutti and dr Strangelove may force both of them to resign…

    We can only hope…

    On another note, winter is officially gone and it took david with it…won’t do a scalia “ding dong, ##### dead” dance thingee (in public…)

    Reply
  28. Bunk McNulty

    Wayne Barrett, Donald Trump, And The Death Of The American Press.

    Nice overview. And I liked this a lot, since I’ve been wondering why David Remnick has gone bonkers:

    “The press at present is incapable of reconstituting itself because it lacks the muscle memory to do so. Look at the poor New Yorker. During the eight years of the Obama administration, it was best known not for reported stories, but for providing a rostrum for a man to address the class that revered him as a Caesar. Now that the magazine is cut off from the power that made it relevant, is it any wonder that when it surveys the post-Obama landscape it looks like Rome is burning—or is that the Reichstag in flames?

    The Russia story is evidence that top reporters are still feeding from the same trough—political operatives, intelligence agencies, etc.—because they don’t know how to do anything else, and their editors don’t dare let the competition get out ahead. Why would the Post, for instance, let the Times carve out a bigger market share of the anti-Trump resistance? And what’s the alternative? Report the story honestly? Don’t publish questionably sourced innuendo as news?”

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Well, the rise of blogs was a response to the dearth of journalism during the Shrub years, so if we go by the 2000 election cycle, it’s fair to say we haven’t had the semblance of a press since 1998. If the NYT had acted as a journalism outlet and voiced doubts about the drive to he Iraq War, would anyone care about A trios or know what a Friedman Unit was? Atrios is snarky and coined numerous terms, but what did he do that was new? He did what the media was supposed to do, nothing new or particularly innovative. Basic honesty and context had simply disappeared.

      I would add the death of competition is key to the decline. With so few news conglomerates, everyone has the same angle and good reporters or potentially good reporters have nowhere to go if they tick off the wrong person. The cost of entry is too high, and simply too many people trust the network news. I mean look at the outrage over Brian Williams, an employee of a company owned by Comcast and before that GE.

      To add to the Obama situation, the stark declines among Democrats is crucial. Their are very few if any young Democrats of note in Washington who simply aren’t awful. Nina Turner despite not holding Federal Office is a star. Liz Warren, a Republican, is a star and deemed a dangerous extremist. There aren’t any Democrats to carry the torch forward, essentially because it’s people well past their prime. DWS is till being allowed to speak in public. There is no Democratic Party. There is no vanguard to the future.

      Reply
      1. John k

        dem elites are highly hopeful trumps policies implode, partly explaining their lack of oppo… just wait, continue resistance, pretty soon it will once again our turn to continue neolib in conformance with joint masters pref.
        Meanwhile trump is accelerating neolib, just what big o promoted with grand bargains, providing the balance of explanation for lack of oppo. Just now it’s rep turn to turn the screws.

        Dem party not reformable. A third party is imo both doable and only hope. I look at hopeful numbers at bottom.

        Reply
  29. Portia

    About The Left (Fabius Maximus). “My way or the highway” or “we live under specific physical laws and need to take care of each other and the Earth”?

    As opposed to “I’m going to do what I want and make boatloads of money even if it kills the Earth, and we’re going to get raptured anyway and the Bible says the Earth is going to Hell, so what are you talking about, save the Earth and take care of each other??? Go and get saved, and then do what you want.”

    Or maybe “there is nothing after death, so why bother worrying about anything. eat, drink and be merry”.

    Demonizing The Left as a cult doesn’t help either.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      After Death.

      Some believe in paradise after death, and blow up themselves up to get there.

      Some believe there is nothing after death, so why bother worrying about anything.

      Or we can focus on the present. Put aside thoughts about the midterm or 2020. There is only this 4 year span of life. Life is not better beginning 2021, after the end of this 4 year span of life. Religion would have you believe the next 4 year span of life will be better beginning 2021, if you act properly in this 4 year span of life. There, the Messiah promises, will be many rooms in the mansion, even though many would die if we don’t give our best in this current 4 year span of life.

      “Everlasting happiness beginning 2021.”

      Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The beliefs about afterlife vary greatly, among the tribes in North America.

          I think we all can be good stewards of the environment whatever our afterlife belief is.

          Reply
    2. Katharine

      My chief response is that it makes him look a little silly, so that I am that much less interested to see what he has to say in future.

      Reply
      1. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website

        Katherine,

        “My chief response is that it makes him look a little silly…”

        Some reflections about the Left after the catastrophe of Clinton’s defeat against one of the most clown-like US national party presidential candidates ever — strikes you as “silly”?

        You find it “silly” to look at specific statements by authors at a leading left website to find the insights necessary to build an effective resistance to Trump.

        Well, ok then. Off the cliff we go, singing!

        Reply
    3. Plenue

      >”Not on the right right” doesn’t equal “left”

      Well, I would say liberals are inherently center-right most of the time anyway. But literally the first comment on the original article makes the point that liberals =/= left. Fabius dismisses it as “a rant, of zero content”.

      Reply
      1. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website

        Plenue,

        Your reply is materially incorrect. I said:

        “Most of your comment is a rant, of zero content. But you raise two specific points subject to rebuttal with facts.”

        I said that I used “Left-Right” in the most common sense as the two-dimensional division of the political spectrum into two coalitions, a standard description going back to the French National Assembly in 1789.

        Reply
    4. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website

      Portia,

      Your phrasing of US politics as strictly binary — good and evil — is exactly what I was pointing to at LGM. Saying those who disagree with you are evil is bad politics, a gift to the Republicans.

      “Demonizing The Left as a cult doesn’t help either.”

      Again with the religious thinking. You are validating my point that the left has developed cultish tendencies.

      I point out specific statements and show that they are politically ineffective.

      Reply
      1. Plenue

        It hasn’t developed cultish tendencies. Liberals aren’t the left. They’re at best Conservative-lite. They’ve mostly always been this way, and certainly since Clinton’s New Democrats explicitly turned its back on labor. You’re chastising people who care about the working class for not accepting people who don’t give a shit about the working class.

        Reply
      2. Portia

        You are the one who called the Left a cult. and you obviously did NOT read my comment with any comprehension of nuance or detail. I don’t know what you call yourself, but

        I said that I used “Left-Right” in the most common sense as the two-dimensional division of the political spectrum into two coalitions, a standard description going back to the French National Assembly in 1789.

        does not apply in these times. It’s not 1789 now, and therein lies a problem with you, I think.

        Reply
        1. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website

          Portia,

          “does not apply in these times. It’s not 1789 now”

          Then as now society tends to sort itself into two political coalitions. Which is why “Left” and “Right” remain common terms — easily understood by the man or woman on the street — after 228 years, although the specific doctrines of each side have changed over time.

          If folks on the Left start to think in terms of broad coalitions instead of identifying themselves with factions, there will be a better change to not only resist Trump — but also to fight the 1%.

          Reply
  30. tegnost

    re Centrist dems plot their “survival strategy”…
    “security, opportunity, compassion and results”.
    pablum.
    So do we label this the bargaining phase, how long will we have to wait for depression to take over, yeesh…

    Reply
    1. Portia

      after each word, I ask “for whom?” They’re always saying shit like this, and they are talking about themselves, which does not mean the 99%

      Reply
  31. Alex Morfesis

    Germany doesn’t owe NATO nor USA any money.. It’s always enlightening to be told directly who the american taxpayers are working for…always thought it might be the likud party but they steal nothing compared to the 250 billion per year america spends in keeping europe safe for german industry…

    but perhaps we should have taken note when mister evil dollar (ivo daalder) lectured americans who don’t quite understand how the system works…

    Love how in a nation of 300 million plus we end up hiring foreigners for national security positions like nato ambassador…ivo daalder…grandson of whom who cooperated with the german occupation govt during

    “da var” ??

    Sorry…his grandfather, the children’s book writer and high school principal…he wasn’t “cooperating”…he was just “anti-militarist” & just didn’t think fighting against the nazis was the “peaceful” thing to do…and anne frank and the rest of the children missing from school…anti-militarist and all couldn’t get his precious little hands dirty resisting…

    Ivo daalder brought into the national security system by one certain clinton family…geniuses they bee…

    Should pass that version of reality to my fathers still living cousin who collaborated with the italians and germans during the war…maybe he can convince me to think differently of him…maybe the long running fued between him and moi can end…

    or maybe not…

    Reply
  32. susan the other

    not sure what the physicists are talking about now… is the universe thought to be expanding still?

    Reply
  33. John k

    Dem elites are behaving just as if they think trump’s policies will prove to be very unpopular, so why fight them? Just wait and pick up the pieces. And corps might be agreeing, which means it is simply smart hedging to continue brib… er, supporting them.

    Best of all, and certainly pleasing to the corps one and all, they can continue kicking any and all progressives.

    Progressives must understand the dem party (no, not at all dim, they’re simply following orders) can never be reformed. It must be replaced. Primary challenges are well and good, but you would need to replace a majority of dem elites to take over… how long would that take? Remember only dems get to vote, whereas a third party candidate can draw the indies and even reps.

    Assume an electorate with 30% dems, 30% reps, and 40% indies;
    Assume a solid progressive running on Bernie’s platform wins 1/3 of dems, 2/3 of indies, and 1/6 of reps, adds to 42% of total and a clear win because, assuming balance of indies is split, dems would get about 27%, rep about 32%.

    Popular program pushing candidates can easily win in three way races.

    Winning just 40 seats in the house, or as few as 5 in the senate, could be the balance of power… no need to automatically vote with dems, which party offers the most progressive deals? Granted this might force the dems and reps to combine… reverting to a two party system of neolib vs progressive.

    Lincoln’s reps did it in four years over the issue of new states joining the union as slave states. Today dissatisfaction with both parties has never been higher. Trump picked up power in the street, but he’s dropping the scepter as he betrays those desperately hoping for change. It took 8 years for voters to realize big o had betrayed them, this time will be shorter.

    And Mosler thinks economy sliding into recession…

    Reply
    1. Jess

      “Popular program pushing candidates can easily win in three way races.

      Winning just 40 seats in the house, or as few as 5 in the senate, could be the balance of power… no need to automatically vote with dems,”

      Excellent point. In fact, all we really need is to win a few races in states with the easiest ballot access and then it’s off to the races. It will be a lot easier to solve the problem of presidential ballot access for third parties once we get a few people from third parties in state legislatures and Congress. Momentum is a great and wonderful thing.

      Reply
  34. Alex

    There’s a striking similarity between loan waivers in India linked to the elections and loan waivers in Sumer that were mostly enacted in the beginning of a new king’s reign

    Do the Indian farmers have the option to declare bankruptcy? Or does their land or other property serve as a collateral and would be used to cover the debts if they do?

    Reply
  35. Plenue

    >Syria war: ‘Worst man-made disaster since World War II’ Al Jazeera

    There’s something perverse about this kind of reporting coming from a Qatari outlet, when Qatar is helping bankroll and arm this very same destruction.

    Reply
    1. Gaianne

      Al Jazeera seems to be blaming Assad for not stepping aside and letting the Syrian state fail.

      And then those pesky Russians got into the act!

      Al Jazeera does pretty good reporting on North America. Middle East, not so much.

      –Gaianne

      Reply
  36. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website

    The people at Lawyers, Guns and Money reply!

    I said that the Left is becoming like a cult, inward looking and hence politically ineffective. Resorting to name calling is especially ineffective, after decades of overuse. This behavior is a gift to the Right.

    Their rebuttal is almost too perfect: calling me a “clownish performative centrist”.

    That sounds like the jargon of an inward-looking cult, words without meaning or logic to outsiders. I gave examples of this behavior, but their rebuttal validates my point even better.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      To be fair, only clownish performative centrists call liberals “left”. I hope NC will stop giving you the exposure until you understand just how insulting and rude it is to call a divorcee by her married name.

      Reply

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