Links 5/16/17

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Overdose prevention worker saves pet mouse with Narcan CBC (frosty zoom)

40,000-year-old bracelet made by extinct human species found Digital Journal (Selva)

Researchers report new, more efficient catalyst for water splitting PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Diesel engines pollute much more than we thought — and that’s bad for our health The Verge

Parents of student poisoned by alcohol describe ‘torture’ at fraternity BBC

Drug checks at Vancouver injection site found 80% contained fentanyl Vancouver Sun (martha r)

Researchers see possible North Korea link to global cyber attack Reuters

Martin Schulz: We took a punch but weren’t knocked out Politico

Drug firm faces fine of £220m for hiking prices CNN

Neo-Nazi network in German army larger than previously thought WSWS (martha r)

Brexit

Nicola Sturgeon wants seat at Brexit talks table BBC

There is a new consensus in Germany – Brexit should be clean, and Britain should pay for it New Statesman

Labour party’s plan to nationalise mail, rail and energy firms Guardian

Macron

German enthusiasm for Macron begins to wane Defend Democracy

Emmanuel Macron inaugurated as president of France WSWS (martha r)

Guardian journalist Paul Mason calls for a “left” alliance with “free market elite” WSWS. Martha r: “Wow, I didn’t think Paul Mason was THIS bad.”

New Cold War

Gorbachev Warns of Growing Danger Consortium News (Sid S)

The Fog of Cold War Dissident Voice. Chuck L: It’s a book review, but the book is important. I’m restraining myself to pasting in just one paragraph”:

It was headed by Steve Possony, a Hungarian émigré who professed to be an expert on Communism in general and the Soviet Union in particular. Steve was the first of several Central European émigrés I met in the next few years who passed as experts on Communist Europe….Others were Stausz-Hupé, Kissinger, Brzezinski and many lesser lights such as Leon Gouré and Helmut Sonnenfeldt. In every case I felt that they were thinking, consciously or otherwise, as representatives of a lost cause in their native land, and I always believed that they were used by the military because their ‘obsessions’ were so useful. (FTFM, p.80)

Ontario politician Jagmeet Singh to launches bid for federal NDP leadership Ottawa Citizen. Martha r: “Not much on policy. hard to tell from this story where this guy is really coming from. maybe he doesn’t really know yet? (/s) Anyway, ‘Progressive, social democratic values’, he says.”

Trump Transition

Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador Washington Post

Trump’s Classified Disclosure Is Shocking But Legal Bloomberg

Trump’s handling of classified info brings new chaos to White House Politico

Trump takes heat over intel, ‘tapes’ The Hill

Trump Aides Race to Limit Fallout From Report on Disclosure Bloomberg

Donald Trump’s trust problem Politico

Republican Lawmakers Express Frustration With White House Over Russia Report Wall Street Journal

Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador MSN (EM)

The Push for Trump’s Impeachment Robert Parry, Consortium News (Gauis)

Not every scandal is a magic bullet, and the hysteria is helping Trump Telegraph (MoiAussie). A contrary view. Note: “The information in question is now said to have been about ISIS plots to sneak a bomb on to an airliner in a laptop, a plot device easily imagined by any Hollywood TV writer or paperback spy thriller author.”

FBI’s Comey: 15% of terrorists came to US as refugees, at least 300 Washington Examiner (furzy)

How Trump gets his fake news Politico (UserFriendly)

This is why Richard Nixon taped his White House conversations Washington Post

Waiting for Those Trump-Comey Tapes? Don’t Stay Up Late Bloomberg

Jim Bakker says people against Trump are “the spirit of the antichrist” Boing Boing

Women Are Really Not into America Right Now Vice (resilc)

Obamacare

WaPo Columnist Condemning Sanders’ Drug Importation Bill Doesn’t Realize Canada Can Expand Its Regulatory Agency Dean Baker, Common Dreams (martha r)

Senators huddle in Capitol to explore bipartisan path on ObamaCare The Hill

A Whistle-Blower Tells of Health Insurers Bilking Medicare New York Times (martha r). If upcoding is deemed to be fraudulent, this would have repercussions across the health insurance industry.

Veterans Affairs to close more than 1,110 facilities WSWS. Martha r:

My partner gets treatment at the Vermont VA, the best in the country. On these trips iI sometimes talk with patients in the waiting room about the latest va news. Some seem quite confident that if TPTB go too far in messing with va provision of care, there will be a huge rebellion of vets and VAstaff that won’t be suppressible.

The Real Obama Current Affairs (martha r)

U.S. Supreme Court rejects case involving burping teen Reuters

The Magic Liberal Counterpunch. Li: “Key quote: ‘The anti democratic actions of Obama over 8 years seems to pass unnoticed. What was NDAA? Obama expanded surveillance, prosecuted whistleblowers and expanded military tribunals. And this just scratches the surface. What was TTP for that matter? And yet, if you can find me a liberal willing to actually debate this, I will clean your house for a year, free.'”

Confirmed: DNC Emails LEAKED … Not Hacked George Washington. Headline a overstated but still an important find….

Hillary Clinton returns to politics with launch of new organization DW

Noam Chomsky: The Most Remarkable Thing About 2016 Election Was Bernie Sanders, Not Trump (Video) Truthdig (martha r)

Why the ‘alt-left’ will succeed where centrists fail Guardian (martha r)

The Usefulness of Alt-Left, EmoProg, BernieBro and FireBagger Ian Welsh (martha r)

Young Black Democrats, Eager to Lead From the Left, Eye Runs in 2018 New York Times (resilc)

Vermont Makes History With Legislative Passing of Marijuana Bill Cannabis Business Times (resilc)

Police State Watch

Out of Line: How to Better Protect Airports from Terrorist Attacks Rand

U.S. Stats Officials Say Measurements of GDP, Inflation Are Off Bloomberg

Ford Aims to Cut Global Workforce by Roughly 10% Wall Street Journal

Harvard Endowment’s Biggest Public Holding Is a High-Yield ETF Bloomberg

Class Warfare

The Crisis of the Middle Class and American Power Stratfor (Sid S)

Uber Ordered to Return Documents in Self-Driving Fight With Waymo Wall Street

California Today: Tackling Some ‘Ridiculously High’ Traffic Fines New York Times (martha r)

The Privatization Prophets Jacobin (martha r)

Antidote du jour. Erpé: “Pika nr Moose, WY (Grand Tetons NP)”:

And a bonus video (hat tip Richard Smith). How lucky this weasel is to have such a nice human!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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265 comments

  1. MoiAussie

    Researchers say global cyber attack similar to North Korean hacks

    MoA’s take on this: It is #Fakenews Day – On North-Korea, Syria and the U.S. President

    The Wall Street Journal asserts with a #fakenews headline that bits of computer-code in the recent WannaCry ransom virus are identical with bits of computer code that was allegedly used in a 2014 hack of Sony. (The Sony attack was falsely attributed to North Korea.)

    The connection found […] lies in software that both programs use to securely connect to other systems over the internet, said Kurt Baumgartner, a Kaspersky Lab researcher.

    A ‘b’ explains, just about every program that connects over the net uses common code. Unless there’s more to it, the claimed connection is a total beatup.

    Reply
    1. DH

      The ransomware attacked pounded China, including shutting down many ATMs. Not a smart thing to do to your ONLY ally. If North Korea was behind this, then we may be watching the ultimate battle of incompetents between Kim and Trump.

      Reply
      1. Bill Smith

        North Korea doesn’t seem too happy with China these days so not as implausible as it would have been a few years ago, plus once launched they would have lost a fair amount of control as the where it went.

        Reply
    1. jsn

      Thanks for the link!

      George Friedman’s cranial rectal inversion is almost as bad as Thomas Friedman’s.

      Nature destroyed the middle class, what is to be done?

      Reply
      1. Vatch

        That’s not the message I took from his article. Maybe I read too quickly, and my comprehension suffered, but I got the impression that he primarily blames large corporations for harming the middle class. What did I misunderstand?

        Reply
        1. justanotherprogressive

          I think you missed the message that he thought corporations had to change the way they did to become more efficient. Now they are more efficient, which he seems to see as very good, but ooops, the middle class got screwed. Now he thinks the private sector has to come up with a solution to the problem…..just more neoliberal mumbo jumbo……

          Reply
          1. Vatch

            Okay, I accept that. Despite that, it’s good that he’s acknowledging that the middle class has been seriously harmed. There are oblivious people who aren’t even aware of that.

            Reply
  2. Kevin Smith

    re: Jagmeet Singh: per Frank Magazine
    “It Ain’t The Jagmeet It’s The Jagmotion”
    Whatever can THAT mean?

    Reply
    1. FreeMarketApologist

      It’s a take on the lyric “It’s not the meat, it’s the motion, that makes me wanna rock!”

      Reply
          1. Jess

            An alternative version is, “It ain’t the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean.”

            Of course, I’ve always been a big boat on very stormy seas, but that’s just me.

            Reply
  3. Carla

    Re: UnitedHealth Whistleblower

    “If upcoding is deemed to be fraudulent, this would have repercussions across the health insurance industry.”

    In what universe is “upcoding” not fraudulent?

    Reply
    1. Ronald Pires

      I suspect the actions of United Health, while unethical, are probably not illegal. This sounds more like a former employee fishing for reward money, which would be mindboggling if the acts proved to be illegal.

      Reply
    2. tomk

      My (limited) understanding is that when there are several legitimate ways to code a condition, they choose the one that will result in the maximum reimbursement, without crossing the line into outright fraud.

      Reply
    3. Carl

      Many practices of the “health insurance industry” (and healthcare, for that matter) would be considered fraudulent in any other field.

      Reply
    4. efschumacher

      Interesting contrast with the UK Labour Party manifesto out today. Among the many good points is this on page 69:

      “We will introduce a new legal duty
      on the Secretary of State and on NHS
      England to ensure that excess private
      profits are not made out of the NHS
      at the expense of patient care.”

      It just arrived and I haven’t fully digested it, but here is the link for your personal copy:
      http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php/manifesto2017.
      Since the Conservatives always ding Labour for for financial unrealism, there is a separate 8 pager summarizing the costing of the whole range of programs:
      http://www.labour.org.uk/page/-/Images/manifesto-2017/Funding%20Britain%27s%20Future.PDF

      It’s too bad Labour are not going to be elected next month. It would be wonderful to see this program put into action. Although with people like Diane Abbott on the front benches, the competence issue wll be another place they will likely get dinged.

      Reply
      1. subgenius

        Wait…does that mean there are competent politicians?

        I thought they all went extinct, like the Denisovans, but a little more recently.

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          Politicians lie and grift. What you’re seeing there are competent public administrators. I understand how hard it is in English-speaking nations to not think that one implies the other.

          Reply
    5. Katniss Everdeen

      I am turning 65 in October, and have been forced to learn how Medicare actually works, to the extent that that’s even possible. It has been quite a revelation. (As an aside, I can say that the explanatory graphics in this article are pretty much worthless.)

      Judging from the marketing calls with which I have been inundated, sometimes 4 or 5 a day, the insurance industry is far more interested in selling me a supplemental policy–referred to as “traditional Medicare”–than they are in pushing Medicare Advantage.

      Having said that, I’ve no idea how the insurance company determines the “diagnosis.” I thought that’s what physicians were for. Sounds like practicing medicine without a license to me.

      As usual, I suppose this “healthcare” scam comes down to the same things they all do–insurance companies cannot remain profitable if they actually have to pay for “healthcare” for their insureds, and this from the article:

      The inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, where the centers reside, audited a small sample of Medicare Advantage plans early on and found overpayments of up to $650 million in 2007. It predicted even more in 2008, but then came budget cuts and those audits stopped.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Just had a little personal experience with the scamming: My wife had some labs done at the local “:full-service” clinic, and of course the results could not be simply reported to her by phone or fax, she had to come in for an office visit. The financial finaglers that run the place decided to code that as an “annual checkup,” which she had already had, and which “pays” more than a brief follow-up. So insurance declined to pay. Big fight with the clinic’s finance/billing people, which while the discussion was going on, sold the “claim” to a collection agency.

        This clinic was started by a physician, who looted it pretty good (big yacht and all) and sold it to Blue for “:green.” The place once had a good reputation, but it’s straight business model now, “more work from fewer people for less money, and every encounter milked for max profit.” Patent crapification, far as I can see. Many staff “let go,” one staff doing two or three jobs, doctors fired for not being “productive” enough or leaving because of the crap. The current owners are reportedly hoping Another corp will buy them out, at a premium of course. The staff is said to be mostly demoralized, and many just hanging on out of inertia/momentum, “benefits,” and/or commitment to provide actual health care to patients.

        I had my own bit of experience — was seen by a dermatologist, all of 1.5 minutes for a “total skin check” and “no findings.” Then, still concerned, I went to a different Derm practice where I hit the trifecta — squamous, basal cell and pre-melanoma found and removed. And then seen by the ENT at the clinic, and when I read the report they generate, I saw a whole lot of statements that he had done stuff that he simply had not done — did not even look in my ears, palpate glands, lots more, but did do a billable nasopharyngoscopy. At this clinic, if you remark or complain about anything, they “fire” you as a patient. And charge heavily for transfers of “your” medical records.

        The fraud is inherent, normalized, and metastasizing. And what is anybody going to do about it? Report it to the Centers for MEdicare Services, which is supposed to be ‘watchdogging” all these things?

        Reply
        1. PhilM

          “The fraud is inherent, normalized, and metastasizing.” Everywhere. Nobody even knows how to do a morality check any more. They say something like, “well all the car dealerships are doing this.”

          The most frightful thing is that Christian radio in south Florida actually propounds a more credible morality than NPR. Truly, a rough beast is slouching around, these days.

          Reply
        2. Anon

          While I’ll agree that some healthcare providers are “in it for the money” and not patient care, there can be no “charge” for transferring your medical records (most are, now, electronic). Simply go to a new provider, fill it the standardized form, and submit it, signed, to your new provider. They will do the work (interaction) of getting your records.

          Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        More learning at 65. It’s good for the brain, I suppose.

        It sounds like we need ‘Free Expanded Medicare for All,’ and not just “Medicare For All,’ if we need to purchase a supplemental policy.

        Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That’s what we need…Free and Expanded.

            I don’t look forward to having to buy a supplemental policy after retirement.

            And everyone benefits from free health care…free at the point of use (Canada) and free of monthly premium (better than Canada).

            Reply
          2. Vatch

            I see that the number of co-sponsors is still 108, which is a sacred number to Hindus and Buddhists. I’m not sure why, although it might have something to do with this arithmetical relation:

            1^1 x 2^2 x 3^3 = 1 x 4 x 27 = 108

            Reply
            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              There are 81 chapters in Dao De Jing.

              Some were probably later additions.

              Whenever they were added, we assume the number 81 was assumed to be a sacred number when those chapters were first included.

              Actually two sacred numbers – 9 (being the number associated with the emperor) squared, nine times nine.

              While Buddhist and Hindu sponsors rejoin at the larger number, Taoist sponsors would probably stop at 81.

              The current Chinese government would probably prefer 88 – it will bring in lots of money.

              Reply
      3. Lee

        To find a Medicare supplement plan I used https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/medigap-home.aspx.

        It was daunting at first but has worked out ok. The supplement I got costs more than basic medicare but protects me from what would otherwise be very high 20% copays and so it is actually saving me money.

        What is really troubling is that about 40% of people in our age group don’t use the internet. As you will see if you visit the Medicare.gov website cited, trying to figure out Medicare and the supplements without going online would be very difficult indeed.

        Reply
      4. Jess

        My experience is, avoid Medicare Advantage entirely and look into an AARP United Healthcare Medi-Gap program. Wish I’d gone that route from the get-go instead of being four years and a significant surgery into Medicare before wising up. Would have saved me many thousands. (Like $20K). With my Medi-Gap plan I have not paid a deductible or co-pay ever, except for one non-covered discretionary procedure.

        One thing to know is that you can’t find those programs on the AARP site or the normal United Healthcare site. You have to go to a website titled golong.com. Why and how the hell they ended up with that beats me. (Be aware, these MediGap policies have letter designations; I chose Plan F, but other AARP/UH Advantage plans also have the same alpha designators, so go to golong.com.)

        Reply
      5. Anon

        Katniss:

        While learning the “in’s and out’s” of Medicare can take some time, it’s not that difficult. Medicare only covers 75% of healthcare expenses. The other 25% is what the supplemental health insurance plans cover. Supplemental Plans (there are approx. nine standardized plans) are available within geographic regions and it’s not hard to figure out which one best fits your financial and health standing. Regular folks do it every day.

        Be leary of the Advantage Plans: they are effectively an HMO (tight doctor network and managed care).

        What you are about to discover is that Medicare, while ponderous and slow, will likely provide the best health care you’ll ever receive. That’s why you’re hearing “Medicare for All” in the news.

        Reply
  4. MoiAussie

    Cholera outbreak in war-ravaged Yemen kills 124 people in 2 weeks
    Yemen’s Dire Humanitarian Crisis Threatened by Deadly Cholera Outbreak

    “This cholera outbreak could not have come at a worse time. Millions of Yemenis are already facing multiple crises that threaten their survival.” says CARE Yemen’s Country Director, Wael Ibrahim. Yemen is today one of the world’s greatest humanitarian crises. Close to 19 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance with over half of these lacking access to safe water and hygiene. An estimated 7 million people are nearing starvation. Less than half of Yemen’s health facilities are today functional as a result of the escalation in conflict in the last two years.

    I understand why the apparently endless campaign to dump Trompe dominates everything else, but the crisis in Yemen deserves more visibility. Thanks to the Saudis, there is now the lethal combination of famine and cholera. They may be brown and far far away, but they deserve our humanitarian intervention now.

    Reply
      1. MoiAussie

        Ok, so (displaying my lamentable ignorance) I went in search of IQMWLTK. Apart from some other skippy posts and a list of number plates, I found by accident that NC is being used as filler for online ads at Price-game.xyz, for example this ad for 2016 Dared Vp 300b Set Tube S With Phono Input 300b Monoblocks.

        I suppose we should applaud recycling, and be grateful that the NC commentariat are useful for making bots appear human.

        Reply
        1. MtnLife

          I’m going way out on a limb here and guessing it is: InQuiring Minds Would Like To Know. I know the acronym doesn’t really fit but it goes with Disheveled Marsupials reincarnated Oracle at Delphi-esque commenting style (which I appreciate for the daily dose of surrealism it brings).

          Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      While I sympathize with your concerns for the people of Yemen and share your urge to provide help to them — I hope I’m misunderstanding what you mean by “humanitarian intervention.” If you mean we should send money to CARE or Doctor’s Without Borders or their like that is one thing — although I wouldn’t call it “humanitarian intervention.” If you mean the United States should send in the troops as part of a “humanitarian intervention” — which is how I think the construct is more commonly used — the United States does not have a good track record for such “humanitarian intervention.” Given what I perceive as a less than neutral stance toward the Saudi’s the idea of a United States “humanitarian intervention” in Yemen is genuinely scary.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        LOL the “humanitarian bombing” (their term) of Libya by Obama, Hilary and her minions Susan Rice and the Eurozone poodles had the desired effect, i.e. more chaos, more arms sales, more fear, a new Islamist state, and a launch pad for African refugees into Europe. (“F the EU!”).
        Along the way they apparently believed that destroying the world’s largest desert irrigation project was the “humanitarian” thing to do.
        Anyone not putting this squarely at the feet of our previous saint president has A). no brain; B). no heart, or C); no brain or heart. Ditto our Yemen “policy”, which The Orange Man now owns.

        Reply
      2. MoiAussie

        I meant immediate delivery of massive food and medical aid, and no troops except those needed to actually deliver, preferably New Zealanders or Finns, who should promptly leave. Elsewhere, maybe celebrities holding concerts to raise consciousness and solicit donations.

        I went looking for examples of how it had been done before, and discovered that the US had a key role in causing the famine in Bangladesh by withholding aid.

        The US had withheld 2.2 million tonnes of food aid, as the then US Ambassador to Bangladesh made it abundantly clear that the US probably could not commit food aid because of Bangladesh’s policy of exporting jute to Cuba. And by the time Bangladesh succumbed to the American pressure, and stopped jute exports to Cuba, the food aid in transit was “too late for famine victims.

        So I guess Yemen will follow the same pattern, the US will wait till hundreds of thousands have died before reluctantly restraining the Saudis and making a belated response.

        Reply
  5. fresno dan

    The Real Obama Current Affairs (martha r)

    That’s why Harry Truman famously refused to serve on corporate boards, declaring that doing so would be undignified. (“I could never lend myself to any transaction, however respectable, that would commercialize on the prestige and dignity of the office of the presidency.”) And those who think Obama is being held to an impossible standard (that impossible “do good things rather than simply lucrative things” standard) should remember that Jimmy Carter has spent a productive and comparatively modest retirement writing, campaigning for the basic dignity of Palestinians, and quite regularly intervening to criticize American policy at home and abroad.

    Some have said that as a “private citizen,” Obama’s choices of how to make money should be beyond moral scrutiny. But it’s private citizens who could use a lot more moral scrutiny. Obama’s choosing to become a mansion-dwelling millionaire is not wrong because he used to be the president, but because being exorbitantly rich in a time of great global poverty is heinously immoral. Moreover it defies credulity to suggest, as some have in earnest, that Obama needs to take money from this particular source. He is already guaranteed a lavish annual pension of more than $200,000 in addition to expenses and almost $400,000 *** in further pension money accrued from his time as an Illinois State Senator.

    =====================================================
    *** You gotta be sh*tting me – that seems quite lucrative for being a STATE senator. For that kinda pay, I would expect Illinois to be heaven on earth…

    Reply
    1. Skip Intro

      Except of course that Obama is not making money as a private citizen, he is collecting payments for favors done in office. This makes him marginally less immoral than his selected heir, who was out collecting bribes in anticipation of performing favors when in office. Pretending that quarter-million dollar speaking fees are about the content of the speech is is transparently absurd.

      Reply
      1. Lee

        He’s receiving the tats for which he gave the public tits?

        I hereby apologize for posting this but I can’t help myself.

        Reply
        1. John k

          Wait… where’s these tits of which you speak? I neither received or saw such items. Another case where goods are not equally shared…

          Reply
    2. Enquiring Mind

      Illinois and other states, counties and cities are facing serious pension funding shortfalls, among other fiscal challenges. That is due to many factors ranging from unrealistic return assumptions to inflated payouts based on spiking or other endgame manipulations. That is before you layer in the graft, corruption, incompetence and all-around lack of transparency that are seen at august institutions such as CalPERS.

      The only sure thing in such dire situations is that the politician benefactors of such systems will insulate themselves to retain maximum payouts while burdening others, meaning the constituents. That is another chapter in their playbook, right after the one about the Senate and Congress having their own healthcare instead of ACA/AHCA/CrapCare. I’d dissolve Parliament, I mean, Congress, and start over with a clean slate.

      Reply
  6. nothing but the truth

    “U.S. Stats Officials Say Measurements of GDP, Inflation Are Off”

    contrary to what the article says, what i see in the stores tells me the prices have rising sharply and sales are down as well. This is a taste of our beloved “nominal gdp targeting”.

    The other day i went to the home depot to buy a fluorescent tube ballast. I buy these in half a dozen qty every year for maintenance. I got the shock of my life when a ballast that was 13$ last year was now 26$ “on sale”.

    Also i noticed that the number of shoppers in the store seemed far less, as did the employees.

    The agenda to reduce the standard of living of the masses continues full steam.

    Reply
    1. Carl

      I cannot fathom why this doesn’t get more attention, at least among the commentariat here. There have been several sources mentioned in the last few months, none of which I can recall at the moment, who have pointed out in great detail why the official rate of inflation is vastly understated for the majority of people, you know, the ones who actually buy stuff.
      This distortion would also seem to call into question most other economic statistics, in my most uninformed opinion.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Maybe the lack of attention here (my estimation, purely, of course) to real inflation/increase of actual living costs relates to what seems to be the case: most of the commentariat appear to be “comfortable,” hence maybe less or little interest in those other people who are daily on the edge, thanks to the neoliberalism that rightly and accurately gets excoriated here but… hence discussions of how house prices are affecting their area, and bits on various consumer preferences, and even some subtle virtue signaling. There’s so much wrong, from the ordinary person’s standpoint, and only so many hours in the day to consider and blog about it, and I have only applause for our hosts and the good work they do to shine spotlights into the dark corners, to at least make the rats and roaches and silverfish scurry a bit.

        One concern I have with regard to whatever category of the political landscape is represented here, is that there’s so much that participants consider wrong and evil, and can do so very little about, that all the assembling of links and original work and informed and intelligent comment just fosters and increases a sense of the futility of any effort to “make it better.” Except in exceptional corners and bits. Swimming upstream against Noah’s flood of corruption and crapification and dead-end consumption. Hurray for those who persist — you are the parts of the immune system that have not been compromised by the retroviruses of bezzlegreed and neo-everything. But it’s like the exhaustion that caregivers for chronically ill or disabled people suffers.

        “Of course there is class warfare, and my class, the rich class, has won.”

        Take care of yourself, especially our hosts.

        Reply
        1. Eclair

          It is very easy, JT, if one has been even moderately fortunate in life, to remain in one’s comfortable cocoon. You are correct in pointing out that reading NC daily ‘fosters and increases a sense of futility.’ There is so much that is corrupt and evil and wrong; so many injustices that so many people are exposed to on a daily basis, that the thought of correction is overwhelmingly exhausting.

          We are currently in Seattle, house and pet-sitting for our son and daughter-in-law. They live in the north part of the city, in a small wooden cottage in what was a working class neighborhood in the early part of the 1900’s. I was walking the dog, in the rain, at 6 this morning, when a young guy, dressed in skinny jeans and those trendy flat sneakers, got into his new black Cadillac (a very ‘un-Seattle’ car, especially around here), apparently going off to work. (Everyone parks on the street in this neighborhood; the original inhabitants didn’t build garages because they didn’t own cars).

          I picked up the Seattle Times from the front steps and opened it inside; headlines announced that the the City is ‘clearing out’ a big homeless encampment. A picture showed the ‘tents and debris.’

          I noticed the man’s sneakers, because there is a big billboard over in Ballard, advertising Calvin Klein (?) sneakers, with the admonition, “If you can’t wear them to work, get another job!”

          A new Cadillac, an SUV, any car actually, is so much more harmful to living creatures and the environment, than the ‘debris’ around a homeless encampment. But, we see what we want to see.

          Reply
        2. Mike Mc

          As a Boomer slouching towards retirement (and hoping no health problems shove me into it ahead of schedule), I agree with the “caregiver exhaustion” analogy. As a Berniecrat searching for ways to unfck the Democratic Party – in a red state no less – again the analogy fits.

          I’m close to bailing on politics to concentrate on climate change, mostly via resource conservation and local agitation. Wanting clean water, air and food for ourselves and our families pretty apolitical, even if making that happen is anything but. The NC community tends to be made of people who care and who would rather know – regardless of the horror – than not know, and that’s a particularly useful and necessary resilience nowadays.

          Reply
      2. Brian

        The rate of inflation is based upon numbers that are introduced by people that want you to believe, and have nothing to do with the reality. Energy, rent, and other unimportant aspects of daily life are no longer included in the final number, and the formula for calculation changes as often as required to deceive anyone looking at the numbers and trying to figure out why it no mathematics can explain or justify the statement.
        as one commentator says, “Its all bollocks and thats official”

        Reply
      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Without resources and staff this is difficult. State revenues are good barometer of economic activity, but guesses on bag/foot traffic are what they are without just sitting out and counting then checking store receipts. Online shopping hurts these observations. Search “state budget cuts.” Budgets are being cut all over. Expected revenue isn’t coming in. One of the “smarter” Republicans in the state legislature predicted last year’s budget was too rosy and cuts would be made which is worse than not spending. He was right.

        To me the number of new restaurants in the last eight months seems absurd especially when I was able to walk in to a half filled hot spot at noon twice on nice days.

        Will the new restaurants be here at the end of the year? I doubt it.

        Then I would point to JTMcPhee’s point about being “comfortable.” If you aren’t worried about the price of food/housing/whatnot the price of a new flat screen TV might seem too great to worry about how crummy Best Buy looks these days.

        Of course, there is the new normal. The economy sucks in so many places growing problems in a few enclaves won’t be noticed.

        I always like to look at the age of awful job employees, cashiers and such. They use to get young over the Summer. Now they stay old. My cats had their annual exam and their nails done. I worked at a vets office one summer when I was 16. The woman assisting was advanced. Maybe it’s a hobby. I did notice kids were replaced by older people around 2007.

        The election and polling about being “anti-Trump” as opposed to “pro-Hillary” are signs the economy isn’t too hot. It’s similar to 2000 in a way. How could Gore have lost? The answer is the widespread economic decline.

        I didn’t have a good handle on how rotten the economy was until 2005 when I was doing canvassing all the time. I saw many rotten towns that didn’t exist or I might not have noticed in the course of my daily life due to routine.

        Reply
      4. Enquiring Mind

        I’ve been saying that inflation has been hiding in plain sight, and that all it takes is a trip to the grocery store, with a side trip to the pharmacy, to see it in action. Combine that with any number of daily insults and assaults on sensibility from merchants and purveyors trying to eke out a living and you come away with the sense that there is far more stress and rot in the system than anyone sees discussed in the MSM. I hate to be so down on a beautiful spring day, but I fear for the safety of my children and the world in which they must live.

        Reply
      5. cm

        I rant about this on a regular basis, w/ specific focus on shrinking package size. Sugar & coffee used to be sold by the pound…

        My other main beef is the bogus claim that food & gas is too volatile to track. While that may have been the case in the 70’s, the present state of programming (especially real-time point-of-sale data) infers we could have much better inflation data…

        Reply
      6. Goyo Marquez

        It says inflation is overstated not understated:
        “Looking at the personal consumption component of GDP, the authors find that price measures likely show an overstatement of 0.2 percentage point in 2000, rising to 0.26 percentage point in 2015. If inflation is overstated, real GDP is understated.”

        The question we should be asking is why do people who don’t have any cash care so much about inflation? Inflation lowers the value of dollars everything else increases in price. The only people who should care about inflation are people who have huge piles of dollars and people who are owed dollars from borrowers. Pretty sure that’s only the top >1%.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          How wonderfully obtuse, if the comment is not pure snark.

          Those of us who “dont’ have any cash” and have to buy stuff like food and water and electricity and rent and clothing and medicines and “health care” and stuff like that, gasoline or bus tokens, actually do care very much about inflation. Because on fixed and declining incomes, due to the kind of “inflation” you might be focusing on, we get what the Obombanauts have effectively saddled us with: “chained CPI.” You might like this explanation by local favorite Matty Yglesias: http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2012/07/30/chained_cpi_vs_ordinary_cpi_is_a_political_decision_not_a_technical_one.html

          Us Useless Eaters have the “option” of “substitution,” which you might have heard of in connection with the “catfood commission”, which you can read a bit about here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Commission_on_Fiscal_Responsibility_and_Reform Inflation, for us, means constantly paying more and more for less and less. but hey, we deserve less because we are no longer contributing the groundwork wealth generating labor to the oligarchic overlords. So we get what we deserve. How dare we ask that awful question, “Please sir, can I have more? Or even the same amount?”

          So I hope that provides an answer of sorts, from one who gets to live it, to what I hope was a snark question about who cares about inflation amongst the 99%.

          Reply
          1. Goyo Marquez

            No it wasn’t snark.

            Our obsession with inflation leads to decreased government spending. All those moves to fix your income, lower cost of living increases, reduce government benefits, increase the age of retirement, make retirees pay premiums for Medicare, reduce government spending on education and job creating infrastructure projects are defended by invoking the boogeyman of inflation.

            OH NO inflation will make my money worth less. Wait a sec… I don’t have any money…

            OH NO inflation will make my debts worth less, my house and my car worth more, what will happen to to Apples 300 Billion cash horde, what will happen to all those Wells Fargo loans.

            Who profits from keeping inflation low? Who profits from high inflation? Those are the questions you need to be asking.

            Reply
            1. JTMcPhee

              I think I know the answers to those questions, the ones about who benefits. Just asking if people are aware of who suffers, and how. And that there but for the grace of YHWH go they. Not that there is any surfeit of fellow-feeling amongst the citizensresidents of this great Empire; way too many are beggar-thy-neighbor, kick-down, claim-on-the-other-person’s-shoulders sorts. Or any organized groundswell to do anything effective to change the game. Sauve qui peut, and all that.

              Reply
            2. Grebo

              Yup. In the Good Old Days wages and benefits would keep pace with inflation, or at least there were forces pushing that way, so it was not a big problem for the little guy. Those who really hate inflation have been working hard to change that, to get everyone pulling in the same direction. Solidarity brothers!

              Reply
      7. Pat

        I can only speak for myself on this, I’m not ignoring I just note that it exists and move on. Underreporting of inflation that seriously effects people who have to count pennies for heat, food, clothes, housing has been SOP for the last thirty years that I know about. Same with unemployment. If anyone thinks we are remotely close to full employment out there, I have a bridge in Brooklyn, some swampland in Florida and a closet full of pet rocks you will probably be interested in purchasing.

        Official inflation is kept artificially low for a whole lot of reasons including but not limited to: the devaluation of loans, cost of living increases in social security and possibly even union and non union wages, and perhaps even the need to raise interest rates for savings and bonds (OMG no, not that!) Suffice it to say it is not being done for the best of most of the country.

        Reply
      8. Tim

        I like NC, but inflation is the natural outcome of MMT so negative publicity of inflation isn’t so popular here, is my take.

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          Only if you ignore the half of MMT that is taxation, under the fanciful belief that it’s “your” money, not the issuer’s.

          Reply
      9. Jeremy Grimm

        I think the commentariat here concluded long ago that the inflation and GDP numbers — among many many other measures and indicators for our economy — were cooked by the former employees of Anderson Accounting who once worked on the books for Enron. I believe the link revealed how important some players believe it is to dishearten the FED’s half-hearted intent to raise interest rates. It also revealed how easily the inflation numbers could be fudged using “quality” improvements in assessing the carefully selected bag of commodities used to “measure” the rate of inflation.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The Chapwood Index (http://www.chapwoodindex.com/) exposes this clearly to the light of day. Attempts by the Fed and others to obfuscate this simple reality are nothing less than fraudulent.
          And for Senor Marquez above, we use money as the way we measure our wealth and our work. I’d suggest we focus on it more, not less.

          Reply
      1. nowhere

        On the way into work today (carpool drive had CNBC on) I heard that HD is “best in class”. Make of this what you will…

        Reply
      2. Lee

        Home Depot in Oakland CA is usually quite busy. With the added bonus of lots of cheap labor providers hanging out in the parking lot. There is a home improvement boom here largely funded by Silicon Valley money. Fortunately, there are still a number of other building material vendors in our area. I don’t mind paying a bit more for the knowledgeable advice I get from them and that is often not available from Home Depot staff. I don’t blame the staff. Such deficiencies are in all cases the fault of management.

        Reply
        1. subgenius

          The space ABOVE the Home Depot and Drake’s brewery – the Gate – is very interesting….(assuming you mean the one in the old truck factory..)

          Reply
    2. Anonymous

      Home Depot prices have skyrocketed. Now more expensive than Lowes for most items.

      Ralphs / Kroger

      small can brand name tomato sauce: was .49 a year ago, now .99 on sale

      Anecdotal, but still

      Reply
    3. Anon

      Change your lighting from flourescent to LED fixtures. 50% less energy consumption and a payback of 5 to seven years (faster if they’re in use for most of the day/night). LED provides a whiter (color spectrum) light and last “forever”.

      Reply
      1. MoiAussie

        If you can get LED ones that go the distance. They’ve been crapified – I’ve had several different ones that cost plenty but didn’t last beyond 3 years.

        Reply
  7. Bandit

    Researchers say global cyber attack similar to North Korean hacks

    Well, you know it had to be a toss up between Russia and North Korea. Anything to deflect the real source of the code being exploited by our very own NSA. My eyes glaze over whenever the MSM points a finger at countries which the US is forever trying to demonize. Do not be surprised when they include Syria and Iran in the next line up since they are actively non-vassal states that are consistently in their cross hairs. It is just pathetic that the majority of Americans actually believe this ongoing BS. This can only be attributed to deliberate ignorance, without which the entire facade would collapse.

    Reply
    1. justanotherprogressive

      Seriously, what WOULD McMaster say? Do you think he would tell us if his boss, Trump, did leak classified information – especially at a meeting he was at? (Which would bring up the question of: Why didn’t McMaster stop him?)

      I’m sorry, but I have absolutely lost faith in anything anyone around Donald Trump says – too often it has been shown later to have been fabrications…..

      But then there is the problem of WaPo……
      So honestly, I don’t know what to think and I will just wait for more information…….

      Reply
      1. MoiAussie

        But then there is the problem of WaPo

        Is it just me, or do others see the WaPo’s black banner with “Democracy Dies in Darkness” as a very clear and explicit mission statement? (WaPo = darkness, killer of democracy)

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Not just you. Since when did the owners of the WaPo care about democracy? Their opinion page staff are regime changers down to the ground.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            With an unprosecuted monopolist multi-billionaire at the helm. We used to know what to do with them, now we pretend they are folk heroes.

            Reply
      2. MLS

        absolutely a fair question about McMaster, but I suppose he could have just stayed silent and said nothing at all.

        I actually believe the WaPo headline that Trump shared some information that was quite possibly classified, but it’s the hyperventilating about it that is the “fake news”.

        Reply
  8. MoiAussie

    The Grauniad reports Edward Snowden and others urge Trump to drop case against Assange.

    Edward Snowden and Noam Chomsky are among those calling on Donald Trump to drop the US government’s investigation into Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

    The pair – along with more than 100 other activists, journalists and government workers – have signed an open letter to the president that calls prosecuting WikiLeaks “a threat to all free journalism”. The letter asks the Department of Justice to drop plans to charge Assange and other WikiLeaks staff members.

    “If the DoJ is able to convict a publisher for its journalistic work, all free journalism can be criminalised,” says the open letter, released on Monday by the Courage Foundation, a trust that raises funds for the legal defenses of whistleblowers, including Snowden. The group launched a campaign in support of WikiLeaks last month.

    Other signatories include Craig Murray, Daniel Ellsberg, John Pilger, Ken Loach, and Jean-Michel Jarre!

    Reply
    1. Eureka Springs

      Why do these gate keepers keep pretending we live under a responsive government? Next thing you know, ‘ol Chomp will be encouraging people to vote for Hitlery. Oh wait!

      Reply
  9. allan

    Rich Retirees Are Hoarding Cash Out of Fear [Bloomberg]

    One man’s fear is another’s rational expectations of the impending end days.

    Now that the millenials are flat on their back and doomed to a life of Dickensian misery,
    the blame cannon for the moribund economy has to have another target.
    Pro tip: when you have to start talking about nudging people to spend more to support the economy,
    it’s time to look in the mirror.

    Reply
    1. Eureka Springs

      Nudging in a time of cholera.

      Anyone else tried to pay their verizon bill this month to no avail? Companies are making it more and more difficult to pay bills. No debit card payments allowed anymore. Not even in direct conversation with a verizon rep on the phone. Website looks more like a newspaper than a place to do business/pay bill. And when one (15 plus year never late customer) tries to log in, the site neither recognizes a customers email addy or phone number.

      If this isn’t a convincing case for never ever allowing a cashless society I don’t know what would be. All this and much much less for a minimum of 69.00 per month.

      Reply
      1. katiebird

        I had no trouble paying my bill yesterday… I have noticed that the site is a mess. Also, they don’t have any cool dumb phones anymore. I think I got the last really good one: LG Octane. I used to love getting a new phone every couple of years but I’m not going backwards. And since I’m always at home, I have no need at all for a smart phone.

        Reply
      2. allan

        Ditto. Our ATT bill now is posted only two weeks before it is due.
        Given the vagaries of the USPS, we need to write the check
        and drop it off at a post office the day after the bill arrives.
        ATT is obviously trying to push their customers towards automatic payment.
        What could possibly go wrong with giving the keys to your bank account
        to a multibillion dollar company armed with a bunch of lawyers
        and the binding arbitration agreement that you “voluntarily” signed.

        Reply
        1. efschumacher

          Why don’t you overpay one month, then all you have to do is keep it in credit: presuming your phone bill varies not too wildly each month. As an added bonus, keeping your account in credit will keep AT&Ts bill paying department in fits, and possibly even cause them more expense.

          And of course keep on paying it by writing checks.

          Reply
          1. Tim

            Such wonderful options wouldn’t be prudent if it weren’t for the feds rendering the time value of money worthless.

            I also never mind overpaying my bills, even though my better half objects.

            I purposely overpay my tax witholdings, because it causes me to live more frugally and then I pay down my mortgage or make prudent investments come April 15 when I get a fat check in the mail.

            If bank accounts actually paid something in interest I could consider that an unwise strategy, but since they don’t, I let the government manage my short term savings.

            Reply
        2. efschumacher

          Or alternatively get a Vonage number, that works by hanging their box off your broadband router. Then you can pay $14 a month and that’s it. International calls, you get by paying someone like Pennytalk, a penny a minute. Our phone bills these days are a slight fraction of what they used to be back in the 90s, when ATnT was the only option. Wife is on the phone to Sri Lanka for hours, I occasionally have longish phone calls to the UK, and we spend no more than about $40 a month on telephonic talk.

          Reply
      3. jrs

        yes I’ve paid it recently with a credit card. But in general I get the rant about the difficulty in even getting through the system to pay a @#$# bill sometimes as it’s not an alien experience.

        Reply
    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I agree with you 100%. I’m retired, not exactly rich and definitely hoarding what cash I was able to save for retirement. Anyone who lived through the seventies remembers what can happen to cash savings. Although as reported in one of today’s links the rate of inflation remains very low — even overestimated — the costs for all the things I need to live have gone up and some of them — like medical care and medicine are going up without constraint. And — yes I have Medicare — but how can I not feel uncomfortable as Congress and our Presidents work to “fix” it and “fix” Social Security — one source for the income I live on. I also have children who don’t have Medicare and don’t have reliable jobs or incomes and they might want to go to college or train for a trade after they too slowly discover the limits of their current paths in life. I could leave them to the tender mercies of the marketplace but I went to a lot of trouble to have and raise my two children. I try to help them when I can and do it in such way that it doesn’t too greatly undercut their self-esteem. I see no limit to the increase in costs I might need to help with or carry.

      One more thing — I’m not sure what the link meant by “rich” retirees. The rich — retirees or working — do not spend as much of their income and savings as the rest of us. Older people — like me — just don’t want or need as many “things” as the young. After a lifetime chasing after toys of various sorts for me and more often for my ex-wife and children I’m left with piles of junk to sort through, store, throw away or carry off to GoodWill.

      And yes I definitely want to leave something for my children. Ideally it will be something of real value I might find, acquire and develop before I die. I need to conserve my money until I find that thing of real value for what I see as a grim future.

      Reply
    3. LT

      I’m guessing the retirees remember economic fundamentals on some level and I can see why they don’t trust “the market.”

      Reply
    1. voteforno6

      When it comes to those emails, it might be safe to be extremely skeptical of any anonymous sources. I’d like to see something more concrete about this one. That being said, I think that it’s more likely that it was an insider who leaked the DNC emails, but not necessarily the Podesta emails, as those appear to have been obtained through a relatively unsophisticated phishing attack.

      Reply
      1. Antifa

        The Podesta emails were hacked. The perps were three members of the Computer Club at East Peoria Middle School in Illinois, who found a nifty script on an old hard drive they bought at the Goodwill store on Carver Lane. They tried it on Mr. Plimpton’s Gmail addy at school, and it worked. They went on from there to catch a whole bunch of Gmail accounts from mid-February on, but John Podesta’s was the only one with anything worth reading.

        Or at least their Russian handlers thought so.

        John Podesta will never find them because they are in, like, a whole ‘nuther School District now.

        Reply
    2. JohnnyGL

      It’s worth noting the family made a statement that basically said the PI (ex-cop) was going rogue. They didn’t agree for him to speak on the record and don’t seem on board with the story he’s telling.

      That definitely muddies the waters a bit, but doesn’t mean the story is false, either.

      Reply
  10. JCC

    Regarding the FOX 5 news story on the fact that the DNC was not hacked by the Russians, does anyone have any idea on how NPR is going to walk back their ongoing “We all know that it’s a fact that the Russians did it” stories?

    My guess is that from now on they will just never bring up the subject.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “This committee owes an apology – apology, senator!”

      But what apology you say? What do you expect from a mob lawyer?

      And please, only in a fascist state are newspaper investigated by a Special Prosecutor. Editors police themselves in a democracy.

      Reply
  11. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador Washington Post

    and

    Confirmed: DNC Emails LEAKED … Not Hacked George Washington

    Anti-Trump hysteria has reached fever pitch on the classified information story on msnbs this morning, with mika brz…. proclaiming that this has wiped “all other news off the front page today.” The scandalous meeting in question occurred on May 10, nearly a week ago, and none other than previously beloved General McMaster denies the allegations, made, as usual, by unnamed anonymous “officials.”

    The subject of the second story, evidence from his missing laptop that Seth Rich was in contact with Wikileaks prior to his unsolved murder, was supposed to break today.

    Serendipity?

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We must make sure Trump doesn’t meet more often with Russian officials.

      If it happens everyday, we’ll be in a lot of trouble.

      Unless, of course, they have secret channels, and this one public meeting was just for show….you know, demonstrating what they can do.

      Reply
      1. cocomaan

        It’s really thrilling to see how many experts on foreign policy, statecraft, and intelligence are out there. They’re just all over the place! Who knew!

        Reply
    2. katiebird

      I would like to know who coordinated yesterday’s story about Trump sharing — yesterday afternoon I heard 6 or more stations and networks reading the EXACT same story in the exact same words. The coordination was almost terrifying to me. As we channel hopped 5:30 central time) EVERY station both national and local was reading the same script.

      If it wasn’t so absurd, I would have thought something had actually happened. Well obviously SOMETHING happened. But, what? Who got that to happen?

      Reply
      1. RUKidding

        I only heard what I heard – in very very SERIOUS tones – on NPR (which I just happened to tune into yesterday; I mostly don’t). I figured it was all over the place, which I confirmed by a few short queries online.

        Yeah: who MADE UP that story and how did it get to EVERYONE in the M$M at the same time? hmmmmmmm…..

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It was speculation about another similar event as reported by an anonymous congressional source, but the speculation centered on McCain, as he has the rolodex and standing with the press to push a story with a few phone calls.

          Reply
        2. Enquiring Mind

          There is ample precedent for media coordination. The Journolist program was 7-10 years ago, which is ancient history in dog years (roughly 1 dog year = 7 human years) or that new metric, phone years (benefit of Moore’s Law, see how many more features there are now versus old flip phones, then first iPhone). My guess is that there are eager interns beavering away to develop apps for platform sharing, or no-platforming, to facilitate their ascent. Combine those underpaid, or unpaid, workers with significant capital backing, and you have the makings of Shadow Societies to vote in their Shadow Governments. I wonder if their new phones have tinfoil hat defeat mechanisms?

          Reply
          1. subgenius

            Tinfoil hat have been proven to amplify the signals…they are an antenna (an early example of fake news)

            Reply
      2. Carolinian

        They self coordinate. Failure to clone latest WaPo accusation within prescribed time could indicate pro-Putin tendencies.

        Reply
      3. mpalomar

        “Well obviously SOMETHING happened. But, what? ”
        – I think something like this, with the fourth estate channeling George C Scott.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FSuWCTzKqY

        My new theory is we are witnessing an entropic devolution toward ever higher states of random incoherence. I’m hoping that soon humpty dumpty will reassemble as a frittata.

        Reply
      4. Jonhoops

        It’s called the AP news wire. Almost all news outlets get their national stories from AP, UPI and Reuters. No one has a real news Dept.

        This is how it’s been done forever. Usually stations will take the time to rewrite the copy but with budget cuts that is not done as often anymore.

        And now with twitter things are moving even faster.

        Reply
    3. fred

      “Confirmed: DNC Emails LEAKED … Not Hacked George Washington”

      That explains the story on Trump today.

      Reply
    4. polecat

      Was listening to N eolibrulcon P utrescent R adio while scraping last years wax off of some hive boxes …

      If it wasn’t the Global Ransomware kefuffle, and N*P*R’s special sauce of ‘experts’ on what to dooo !, it was Blabbergate !!!! ….. on a non-stop mobius loop.

      After a 1/2 hour of that I grabbed the power cord with my sticky, waxy fingers and yanked the poor radio clean off the table …. still works, but no more Nazgul commentary for me !
      CBC radio was only slightly better …

      ‘Sigh’

      Reply
    5. lyman alpha blob

      All this hand wringing about supposedly compromising an ally and yet the WaPo finds it necessary to go ahead and add a few details, making it pretty easy to formulate an educated guess as to who the ally in question is. From the WaPo article:

      The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State.

      My money’s on Pakistan’s ISI who are so well known for being above board and honest at all times…

      Reply
    6. cyclist

      Are not the foreign policy objectives of the US and Russia with respect to ISIS somewhat overlapping (at least on the surface)? So if the president has information on a potential ISIS threat, why wouldn’t it be discussed with the diplomats from another world power also ostensibly opposed to ISIS? Other than the fact that said president is an idiot.

      Reply
  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    U.S. Stats Officials Say Measurements of GDP, Inflation Are Off Bloomberg

    Unemployment measurements are off as well.

    Reply
  13. dontknowitall

    Re Trump reveals classified information to Russian ambassador

    As different journalists noticed it is not illegal since the President decides but the accusation, if it really happened ( it is denied by anonymous officials ), is mighty rich considering Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State spent years having messages with classified information transferred from her secure mail server and emailed to her assistant’s husband’s insecure basement computer so he could print them out for her. Never mind the shenanigans over her unsafe cell phone use. If she had been elected president how many thousands of secrets would have been spilled by now into the ether?

    Where is that investigation on Hillary’s unsafe practices?

    Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I’m reminded of the fact that 99% of prosecutions in China result in convictions, so the game is to get/pay a prosecutor to file charges.

        Our new system is you get tried in the media, if your case gets the right coverage and patronage then it can advance to the courts where an unlimited menu of laws can be brought to bear, especially if sufficient funds failed to arrive in the correct hands.

        The unnoticed turning point for this was probably the OJ trial.

        Reply
        1. MoiAussie

          Not unnoticed. The OJ trial made clear to the rest of the world what a joke the US justice system had become. He’ll be out in a few months, alas.

          Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      And of course there’s that “special relationship” with the Israelites, whereby all our secrets are either shared by direct authorized access, or by all those indirect means that their spy types use to make sure they have it all… “US Sees Israel as spy threat,” http://www.military.com/daily-news/2012/07/29/us-sees-israel-as-spy-threat.html

      “NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans’ data with Israel,” http://www.military.com/daily-news/2012/07/29/us-sees-israel-as-spy-threat.html

      And even some in Australia are concerned: http://www.smh.com.au/national/us-shares-raw-intelligence-on-australians-with-israel-20130911-2tllm.html

      Reply
      1. MtnLife

        What really gets me the most about this whole Russian thing (besides lack of evidence) is that it is being led by a whole cadre of people who have taken money from Israel. Why aren’t there vocal critics saying they might be unduly influenced? Is it because their bribes are in the open through AIPAC? Should Russia just open up ARPAC and do it all legit? I know there are those who say it is okay because Israel is our ally but if elections are viewed with anywhere near the same sanctity as marriage – no one would accept anyone else messing with their marriage for that person’s ends, friend or not.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          This is sort of why the “OMG Russia” event will ultimately backfire on Team Blue. It might angry up their most devoted supporters and open up check books, but Hillary didn’t have a money problem.

          The entire Republican establishment was against Trump. People do not like the Republicans. The Democrats aligning themselves with Republicans and neocons will only underscore the idea the Democrats are out of touch and desire a new base more reflective of the Democratic elites values, “suburban Republicans”. Republicans might love Condi, but Condi’s anti Trump stance last year didn’t hurt Trump with Republicans especially as he did thump her boss’s brother.

          http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/politics/post-abc-poll-trump-popularity-through-nearly-100-days-as-president/2198/

          A Republican should not be popular for a variety of reasons and isn’t shocking. This poll is particularly damning of the Democrats. You might say, “well, what about the latest revelations on “OMG RUSSIA””. What new revelations? That thing last night is stupid. Lousie Mensch is a factory of revelations. Maddow spent half her air time in February and March dedicated to “OMG Russia.” Nothing has happened.

          On the ground outrage is about healthcare, the environment, and the economy. Ignoring these in favor of Republican friends will destroy Team Blue again and again.

          Reply
          1. optimader

            The entire Republican establishment was against Trump.

            As well the entire Democrat establishment.

            Two reasons to vote for him without even needing to think very hard.

            Reply
            1. PhilM

              And to think the Founders thought that faction–also known as “parties”–were the enemy of good government.

              A private organization known as a “party” is set up to parallel government in its every department; over time, that organization can be grafted on to apparently public bodies, in order to co-opt the public authority of government for private ends. That is what parties do. That is how the Nazis co-opted the extraordinarily efficient German government in three years; they simply grabbed the wheel.

              This is the purpose of “parties.” The DNC has openly said so, in the defense against the class action suit brought by people who live under terrible illusion that there is representative government here; that their votes or their money actually mean something any more in America.

              The Federal Government is patently an organization that serves its own members. It has no relation to the American people except as a parasite to a host. How is that not obvious to everyone? Why is it that people still think that the choice among the personalities “running for office” has anything to do with the common good?

              Oh well–“resist Trump,” or whatever, because the next President will be so much better for you.

              I’m going with Tune in, turn on, and drop out, at this point. The corruption has become simply overwhelming.

              Reply
    2. TK421

      There was an investigation. The person leading it, that evil James Comey, who was determined to ruin Hillary’s chances at the presidency, decided that she meant no harm so he was not going to recommend prosecution.

      Reply
      1. dontknowitall

        I know, I meant it to be a rethorical question since we all know there was an “investigation”.

        Reply
  14. justanotherprogressive

    Re: https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/crisis-middle-class-and-american-power
    Interesting article…
    But he says towards the end:

    “It is unclear how the private sector can deal with the problem of pressure on the middle class. Government programs frequently fail to fulfill even minimal intentions while squandering scarce resources. The United States has been a fortunate country, with solutions frequently emerging in unexpected ways.”

    However, he said earlier:

    “The next drive for upward mobility came from post-war programs for veterans, of whom there were more than 10 million. These programs were instrumental in creating post-industrial America, by creating a class of suburban professionals. There were three programs that were critical:

    The GI Bill, which allowed veterans to go to college after the war, becoming professionals frequently several notches above their parents.
    The part of the GI Bill that provided federally guaranteed mortgages to veterans, allowing low and no down payment mortgages and low interest rates to graduates of publicly funded universities.
    The federally funded Interstate Highway System, which made access to land close to but outside of cities easier, enabling both the dispersal of populations on inexpensive land (which made single-family houses possible) and, later, the dispersal of business to the suburbs.”

    Does Friedman not realize that the three things above WERE government programs?

    Reply
  15. tony

    CMV: The lack of energy and youthful risk-taking among kids today makes me want to cry as a school counselor. Youth culture as we know it, is dying.

    There was a Reddit thread about kids today having become risk averse. OP can’t wrap his head around it, but the kids are living in a situation where any rule breaking is punished severly by the school, colleges and the state, and where making a small mistake can condemn you to poverty.

    I dont’t think choosing the administrative class based solely on obedience and brown-nosing makes for a good a country.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      I think I can safely( ha !)state for many here, that, if doing any of the .. ahem ..’activities’ we, as a demographic(I’m talking Boomers here) did back in the day, were practiced by the millennials, the prisons would be filled to bursting !! … oh wait !

      We’ve created a generation of ‘wombians’

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        First of all, inequality leads to risk taking. Presumably risk taking is bad.

        Unless risk taking is bad one day, and good on another day, depending on what we are talking about.

        Secondly, the problem with humanity is we can’t sit in a room quietly.

        So, low energy is good.

        Unless low on energy is good one day, and bad on another day.

        Reply
        1. tony

          Inequality both leads to risk taking and reduces it. It matters what kind of risks you are talking about. High inequality tends to reduce entrepreneurship, because that is risky and sone by people with options. High inequality increases murder, because then the increased social status might be worth the risk of prison.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I aim to be skeptical as much and as often as I can.

            And naturally, I was skeptical when the article came up the other day, that inequality leads to more risk taking. I focused on the part that risk taking might occur first, that it might lead to inequality.

            Reply
    2. cocomaan

      One of the comments points out the real dangers of social media recording everything the kids do – every action now has massive consequences and is written in concrete forever.

      Crazy. It doesn’t have to be this way.

      Reply
    3. LT

      I remember all the crazy mess I got away with in high school and still was accepted to every college I applied to.
      But there weren’t cameras everywhere. Thank goodness there weren’t Facebook posts. Part of being able to grow is being able to leave past mistakes in the past.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        Well god forbid ANYONE having that kind of anonymity in this age of the layer-cake of LYING BIG GOV., 3-LETTER UNTELLIGENCE AGENCIES, 5-EYES NATIONS, ….. with ISRAEL as the cherry on top !

        Reply
    4. LaRuse

      A friend with a middle school age stepdaughter ran afoul of the county a couple of years ago. The girl ran up behind her best friend in the hallway at school and wrapped her arms around her in a surprise hug; as girls can be prone to doing. And in so doing, one of her hands brushed the other girl’s breasts, what would easily be labeled incidental contact. An administrator witnessed the hug and the next thing anyone knows, she was being brought up on charges of Sexual Assault.

      My friend had the resources and time to go to the mat for his stepdaughter. Lawyered up, took off time from work, called the local media, etc. Ultimately, no charges were pressed, the girl got away with only 10 days of suspension, a warning that a repeat of the incident would result in charges, and she and her mother were forced to attend anger management classes since things got a bit testy in discussions with the police and school administrators.

      It is exactly this kind of thing that is killing “youth culture.” Something as innocent as a hug can land a kid in juvie if their parents aren’t as savvy or upper middle class enough to fight back tooth and nail.

      My own daughter lives in the district of the middle school with one of, if not the highest, arrests to student ratios in the country; I only have two more years to figure out a way to keep her out of that school.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        There’s your ‘liberal’ education, right there !

        No ‘PRECRIME’ goes unpunished …..

        …. and a non-thinking safespace cocoon for all … by force if necessary !

        Reply
      2. Enquiring Mind

        That same type of issue poisons the workplace, too. Males of a certain age all got the memo that you never hug, let alone shake hands with, any females unless they initiate that act. They also keep the office door at all times, unless a mixed crowd is included for a conference call or similar event.

        Nothing mutually initiated, no gray areas, as the HR reps and their minions are all around and are on the lookout for such criminal acts or opportunities to settle scores (I’ve seen it happen to a colleague). Some would say that Mike Pence’s dinner policy was largely self-preservation and troll prophylaxis.

        There are plenty of problems in so many workplaces, including all those initiated or perpetuated by males. Dehumanizing a few more aspects only serves to demoralize the remaining employees. And companies wonder why there is no loyalty?

        Reply
      3. Elizabeth Burton

        I am developing the opinion that the creation of middle schools has done irreparable damage to public education. Based on anecdotal evidence, middle schools are the absolute worst when it comes to bullying, and the zero-tolerance B$ that is now the law of the land aggravates that bullying by prohibiting the bullied from fighting back in any way shape or form. Indeed, the bullied is often punished while the bully gets off scot-free.

        Middle schools appear to have become a cauldron of the very worst, most extremist applications of the rubbish the elite class considers “appropriate.” That they were introduced right around the same time as “education reform” went into high gear should, I think, give us considerable pause. The “reforms,” with their ultimate goal of eliminating public education, are also designed to churn out unquestioning serfs for the plutocracy. What goes on in middle schools seems perfectly designed to instill that into kids at their most vulnerable developmental stage.

        Reply
    5. PhilM

      Oh yes? Look at reality television, look at “talent” television. The overt subtext of every single episode: submit to the judgment of your superiors. Your dignity, your self-respect, your self-assessment, your self-worth, are all subordinate to their whim. Submit!

      Reply
    1. sid_finster

      Not if the MSM dutifully claps its hands firmly over its ears and shouts “LALALALALA! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”

      Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          The bourgeois press pled the Fifth. As I learned during jury selection on a murder case, sometimes the only witness willing to step up is no exemplar of respectability.

          Reply
    1. frosty zoom

      or school buses (bring back the “s”!),

      spewing forth their effluent directly at the youngsters’ nose level, gettin’ ’em hooked on the rolling coal.

      Reply
      1. Enquiring Mind

        or all the ships at sea, or more locally, docked and idling. However, credit is due for some ports that have ships connect to less-polluting energy sources while unloading and loading. Still, living near a port remains somewhat hazardous, similar to living on a busy street with worse air quality. At least that leaded gas problem of a prior generation and the attendant lower reading scores has been titrating out of the system.

        Reply
        1. frosty zoom

          lead also leads to erratic, violent behaviour.

          i worry that many law officers are exposed to vapourized lead at the shooting range.

          Reply
        2. Anonymous

          “In total, the ports of Long Beach, LA and the SCAQMD spent $202 million on new trucks.

          And it was effective. By 2015, the cloud of toxic soot that hung over the ports nearly disappeared as diesel emissions dropped more than 95 percent.”

          Diesel trucks in LA, especially around the port, produce huge amounts of diesel pollution.

          But: Program to curtail this ran afoul of truckers due to problems w LNG powered engines.

          http://www.scpr.org/news/2017/03/13/69667/how-local-ports-reduced-pollution-but-lost-trust-a/

          Similar programs caused problems for indie truckers in Oakland, CA:

          ‘But Mr. Zerfiel and others of the 1,989 truck drivers working at the port say they cannot make the switch, even with the financial help. Many, like Mr. Zerfiel, are first-generation immigrants living paycheck to paycheck. They cannot qualify for bank loans since they have bad credit ratings. They are also reluctant to spend the money for retrofits since their vehicles will have to be replaced in four years anyway.

          “At the last day of December, my truck is done at the port,” said Manuel Rivas, a native of El Salvador who said he could not afford to replace his 1989 vehicle.”

          http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/30/us/30sftruckers.html

          Reply
        3. dontknowitall

          A large sized cruise ship idling at port spews the equivalent daily air pollution to 250,000 cars…also

          “Bunker fuel is also thick with sulphur. IMO rules allow ships to burn fuel containing up to 4.5 per cent sulphur. That is 4,500 times more than is allowed in car fuel in the European Union. The sulphur comes out of ship funnels as tiny particles, and it is these that get deep into lungs.
          Thanks to the IMO’s rules, the largest ships can each emit as much as 5,000 tons of sulphur in a year – the same as 50million typical cars, each emitting an average of 100 grams of sulphur a year.”

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1229857/How-16-ships-create-pollution-cars-world.html#ixzz4hGj0dMGx

          Reply
        1. polecat

          ” I got a HunkaHunka burnin SEED .. AHHH !”

          “Woo Hoo Hoo .. I see the prairie’s on fire ….
          Woo Hoo Hoo .. I don’t know which way to go ..”

          Reply
    1. MT_Bill

      Uinata? The giveaway that it was not a pika was that it wasn’t on a rock.

      I know they are not always on a rock, but by the time you see one, they’ve made it to the safety of their favorite Boulder field.

      Reply
  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    California Today: Tackling Some ‘Ridiculously High’ Traffic Fines New York Times (martha r)

    Applying the Trump-resistance logic: Conflict of interest!

    Fines go to police, traffic courts and their New Year parties. Focus everything on ulterior motives, on what is to be gained financially.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      We live in LA and there is almost NO LAPD traffic enforcement on surface streets and scant CHP enforcement on the freeways. Surface street driving is super aggressive and drivers routinely run red lights well after the light turns red and commit various other infractions, with nearly total impunity.

      A separate, somewhat unrelated, issue is that WAZE has ruined quiet residential streets by flooding them with high speed, high volume traffic seeking shortcuts around clogged corridors.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In my part of LA county, we have this popular spot in a busy shopping district where cars are stopped daily for slightly over speeding (too many cars to go really fast), or maybe forgetting to signal to turn left or right.

        Reply
      2. subgenius

        To be fair, hell-A county doesn’t really have what the first world considers ‘roads’, except maybe in the Beverley/Holmby areas. Definitely not in my east side environs. Even sheep would be dubious to consider them as tracks…is this why goats invade the angel park in dtla?

        Reply
    1. divadab

      Actually, Canadian medicare is UNIVERSAL medical coverage for everyone, cradle-to-grave. What on earth do you mean by “near-universal coverage”?

      Reply
        1. DH

          Dental care, vision care, and some other services generally have no government-provided coverage. That is where employer-provided insurance kicks in. With the exception of pharmaceuticals, the uncovered costs generally have much better certainty of costs so employer-provided insurance has not been bloating up.

          Reply
        2. divadab

          Ah yes Dental care not normally considered part of medical care. Medicare does not cover naturopaths or chiropractors either. These are generally covered by employer-provided insurance, as well as pharmaceuticals, which are generally not covered by medicare either, except in Quebec, where there is an additional tax if you are not covered by your employer.

          Reply
          1. frosty zoom

            i wonder if o.h.i.p. covers mercury poisoning from fillings.

            where does the head bone end and the tooth bone begin?

            Reply
      1. DH

        Canadian health care is provided on a province-by-province basis. Provincial residency requirements mean that there are some people who get caught in the bureaucratic cracks and are not eligible. The federal government sets overall guidelines and provides some funding (similar to Medicare, Medicaid, and the ACA) but the provinces have a lot of latitude and run the day-to-day programs.

        The differences between the populations in the provinces means there is a lot of innovation from place to place, including telemedicine and air ambulance services for remote communities. Each province makes it decisions on what services various hospitals will provide. Often the infamous waiting times are concentrated in areas with small populations so that the loss of a single doctor can eliminate that service for a large geographic area requiring practitioners to be brought in temporarily or transporting patients long-distances (Canada has a larger landmass than the US but a population smaller than California – Newfoundland on the east coast is actually closer to Great Britain than it is to the West Coast of Canada).

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_Canada#Statistics

        Reply
      1. divadab

        Except in Quebec. And note that drug prices are much lower in Canada than in the USA for reasons we are all well aware of.

        Reply
  17. Jim Haygood

    “Almost 80 per cent of street drugs tested for fentanyl at a Vancouver safe injection site were laced with the potentially deadly opioid.”

    Under the system of international smuggling franchised by the Jihad on Drugs, enhanced potency reduces shipment volumes and government interceptions.

    So there’s a strong incentive to juice the potency of heroin with fentanyl, particularly if fentanyl can be sourced more conveniently and cheaply than heroin itself.

    Nearly a half century on, the failed Jihad on Drugs is literally killing people by the thousands. Obviously, we need to increase funding for the DEA! /sarc

    Reply
    1. RenoDino

      I’m betting Sessions will stage big raids on rec pot in blue states in a couple of months. The maximum penalty ruling on federal prosecutions got corporate pot’s attention last week. Asset forfeiture will not stop at business assets. California is a sitting duck ready to be plucked.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Corporate greed everywhere…even in pot.

        We can’t hope to eradicate that greed, but only to contain it…the same strategy with drugs. Legalize greed, monitor it, limit it to some safe areas.

        But fascism must not be allowed. It calls for a different strategy…the last 100 years, not just 50. Zero tolerance, even in the German army.

        Reply
      2. Oregoncharles

        Makes you wonder what the states will do. Pitched battles between the state police and the DEA? Call out the National Guard? One very real thing they can do is publicize jury nullification, then have every one charged demand a (federal, mind you) jury trial. Expensive, and no convictions.

        I suspect even Sessions will have the sense to avoid that one. Note: Vermont just legalized it by legislation. It won’t be long now.

        Reply
  18. divadab

    Re: 40,000-year-old bracelet made by extinct human species found

    This is a fascinating find and the article has some excellent images. However, the article has some fundamental errors that call for correction.

    1) No human group that interbred with other human groups is a separate “species”. Just as people with European heritage incorporate DNA from neanderthals gained by interbreeding, so does Denisovan DNA survive in today’s human populations in Oceania, Polynesia, and New Guinea and Australia. SO not only were Denisovans NOT a separate species, they are not extinct!

    2) The article states that the stone age began 10k years ago – this is way off – the stone age began at least 3 million years ago with the development of the earliest stone tools. 10k years ago is the beginning of the Neolithic, or new stone age that incorporated agriculture.

    Humans have been humans for a lot longer than is generally understood. If you took a 2 million-year old homo erectus, shave him, and put him in a suit, he would not look out of place today.

    here’s a photo which makes my point better

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From Wikipedia (Homo Sapiens), it seems the species Homo Sapiens include these sub-species

      1. Homo Sapiens Sapiens
      2. Homo Sapiens Idaltu

      and possibly (though some argue they’re not in the Homo Sapiens species)

      3. Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis
      4. Homo Sapiens Rhodesiensis

      At the bottom of the Wikipedia entry of Homo Sapiens, Archaic Humans are listed separately from Homo Sapiens.

      From the Archaic Humans entry, it seems there is no consensus currently on whether they are in the same species as us.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I recall Darwin making a point about the crazy pigeons people bred in his day would be classified as different species if they were found in the wild despite having been the same species within his lifetime. Obviously, his knowledge of genetics was virtually non existent.

        The red wolf is a good example. Genetic testing indicates its simply a hybrid of coyotes, dogs, and grey wolves, not a separate species.

        Of course, genetic drift and differences that might not show up in skeletons are always at play. Despite physical similarities are we the same species we were 75,000 years ago?

        Reply
        1. Mark P.

          ‘are we the same species we were 75,000 years ago?’

          Mostly. In the last decade, high-throughput genomic scanning has delivered the capability to deliver fairly precise knowledge about when and where in history a given single nucleotide polymorphism (mutation) appeared and was selected for. (i.e. in what human population in what part of the world).

          With that being said, the old dogma — that in our era humans had stopped evolving because of reduction of survival pressures thanks to civilization’s rise — turns out to be entirely wrong. We’re evolving faster than ever.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The next species to replace us should arrive soon.

            I once did a back-of-envelope calculation, and thought it was over due.

            Part of it was based on the assumption that today, we have more humans reproducing, so we wouldn’t need as many years (when previously, there were far fewer humans reproducing the DNA and we assume a constant error rate…one error per X number of replicating).

            Reply
            1. Oregoncharles

              Isolation is a big factor in production of new species, and that isn’t happening much these days. In any case, humans have always been good at hybridizing. enthusiastic, you might say.

              Rapid evolution does make for new species sooner, but the dividing line is arbitrary – and largely at the service of paleontologists’ ambitions.

              Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          In fact, wolves, coyotes, and dogs are all the same species genetically.

          OTOH, you can make a good case that miniature dogs are not the same species, because they can’t breed with regular size dogs without technical help. I’ve witnessed the attempt, and it ‘s pretty funny if you aren’t personally involved. Probably not as funny if it’s the female that’s miniature. Dogs do not have a good sense of scale.

          Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      My suspicion is that anthropologists like to claim new species more as a way to make a name for themselves than for the sake of accuracy. Otherwise it’s all just a bunch of old dead people which isn’t nearly as exciting.

      Reply
    3. Oregoncharles

      You beat me to it – I made the same point below, without reading all the comments first.

      The picture is of a Neanderthal, but certainly makes the point.

      Reply
      1. tony

        Lola finally begged us to stop trying to help her.

        Why do you stay? we asked.

        “Who will cook?” she said, which I took to mean, Who would do everything? Who would take care of us? Of Mom? Another time she said, “Where will I go?” This struck me as closer to a real answer. Coming to America had been a mad dash, and before we caught a breath a decade had gone by. We turned around, and a second decade was closing out. Lola’s hair had turned gray. She’d heard that relatives back home who hadn’t received the promised support were wondering what had happened to her. She was ashamed to return.

        Depends on how you define ‘it’. Apparently a lot of organization are run with the underpaid and unacknowledged work of agreeable and concentious women. They are exploited because they never stand up to defend themselves:

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

        Reply
  19. voteforno6

    Re: Seth Rich

    I think some degree of skepticism regarding this story is warranted. Much like the “Russia did it” stories, this one is relying on anonymous sources. As far as I can tell, the private investigator hired by the family doesn’t have access to Rich’s computer, so he is essentially reporting on anonymous sources as well. This is one that people need to be very careful about, because if there’s any truth to it, hoo boy.

    Reply
  20. RDeschain

    Re: the Seth Rich story . . . apparently the family is not happy with the PI at all, and disputes his story.

    Some fake news definitely going on here, though one can argue about from which direction (if not both).

    story here

    Reply
      1. cm

        You need to RTFA:

        They also said that Wheeler’s services as an investigator were offered to them and that his work was paid for by an unnamed third party.

        Reply
  21. jefemt

    Antidote: Looks like a small Richardson’s ground squirrel to me.
    Pika have larger ears, more rotund, their biome is talus/high alpine ?

    Trumps son may have been gunning for the ground squirrel along with the prairie dawgs

    Reply
  22. JTMcPhee

    Anyone curious why the US military can’t win wars (though they sure do great Battlespace Management and Procurement and Supply Chain and Logistics and Unauditable Expenditures!), check out this link, so redolent and typical of the whole MIC mind set:

    “Joint Battlespace Management Command And Control:
    An Industry Perspective
    Precision Strike Summer PEO Forum
    Huntsville, Alabama
    8 July 2004”
    http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2004/precision_strike/TheWorkingCopyPSABrf.pdf

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The MIC procurements machine has little or nothing to do with winning wars. Winning wars has much more to do with deciding what wars to fight and what to call “victory.” I suppose all of our latest wars could be called victories for the MIC. Getting large sums of money from the Federal Government was a major objective behind many of our recent wars. I think the MIC can claim victory. The geopolitical 3-D chess players in DoD — our neocons — have proven themselves clueless, feckless, inconsistent and all too often manifesting signs of insanity. I suppose they can claim victory in their minds — although paranoid claims of victory thwarted by Evil forces within better serve their cravings.

      I’m not entirely sure what to make of your comment. Before I retired I worked at various times in all three areas you reference. Why fall back on a Locheed Martin Chart pitch from 2004? Isn’t there some new chart pitch full of new jargon and acronyms and new “concepts”? I would think “net-centric” might be a little long in the tooth by now. Just out of curiosity — what MIC mind set does this old chart pitch suggest to you?

      While employed, I viewed the PEOs as big money machines that echo whatever doctrine oozes down from TRADOC or its equivalents in the other services. The “joint” push was a constant during most of my career serving the MIC and progressed at glacial speeds [as in glacial speed before global warming speeded things up]. Contractors like me worked for the big MIC cartels as money conduits for passing money from the government into the hands of the MIC cartels — I got a cut. I was retired when I became an inefficient money conduit because my cut was bigger than the cut the cartel handed to younger newer guys who might be placed at my desk instead.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        I just posted that PowerPoint as a random example of the corporatization and Milbabble-ization of the “defence” blob. (I prefer the British version, since so much of the “defence” world uses it, to add distinction and gravemen to the BS. and it is all over the trade publications that assist the metastasis of the Great Bleeding.) There’s any number of other pitches and “programmes” and doctrine white papers that would show the same thing. One fave: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1269463/Afghanistan-PowerPoint-slide-Generals-left-baffled-PowerPoint-slide.html

        The referent “self-licking ice cream cone” kind of captures what I was thinking of when I typed that comment. I do wonder why I keep dipping into Jane’s and Defense Industry Daily and the rest — it’s a positive (not in the good sense, of course) feedback loop, that keeps extracting more of the world’s virtues and turning them to sh!t like autonomous battle machines and nanobots and hypersonic scramjets (an ICBM is likely less costly and probably more “reliable,” no?) And of course rubblized “infrastructure” and dead humans and the stuff of Ragnarok and anomie.

        And having swum in those waters, you know probably better than I, and with more examples and proofs, that “Resistance is (most likely) Futile!” until the host that supports this parasite, this awful metastatic cancer, dies. By “kinetic” means, or just cachexia…

        Reply
  23. cm

    Let’s go there… Russian Times covered Berlusconi slam at Macron’s wife, of whom which I was unfamiliar. From Macron’s wiki:

    Macron is married to Brigitte Trogneux, 24 years his senior, who was his teacher in La Providence High School in Amiens. They first met and established a relationship when he was a 15-year-old student who joined the drama club she advised—she was 39 at the time—but did not have sexual relations while he was still a minor. His parents initially attempted to separate the couple by sending him away to Paris to finish the final year of his schooling, as they felt his youth made this relationship inappropriate, but she obtained a divorce from her first husband during this period and reunited with Macron after he graduated, marrying him in 2007

    Did they play Van Halen’s Hot for Teacher at the inaugeration?

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      hmmmm…. interesting. Well if French Films are anything to go by (take with a pallet of salt), there are often depictions of much older women with younger men in them. So this is possibly not considered all that outrageous by the French populace.

      If the ages of Macron and his wife were reversed, most people would think nothing of it. Just saying…

      Reply
      1. Quentin

        If the ages were reversed: a 39 year old male teacher courted by a 15 year old female pupil. Now, how would that go down. I really wouldn’t have a problem with the situation but then I’m a bit… (fill in the blank).

        Reply
        1. Massinissa

          I think RUKidding is referring to if they were not teacher and pupil. Being teacher and pupil does indeed make it more complicated, but if you take that out of the equation, a woman marrying a significantly older man is not particularly uncommon.

          Reply
    2. Alex Morfesis

      And it is nice Berlusconi always takes along 1 of his great grandaughters every time he goes out in public…or are they his wetnurse…??

      Macron married a woman who was “playing” a teacher in public…she comes from a financially prominent family…simple plain jane teacher she never was…he climbed aboard as a child on his long march up the social ladder…he was chasing money…not moo-knee (opa…sopa)…

      Her ex hubby has made comments about him not noticing macron as out of the ordinary as she always brought home her teenage students to interact with the family…it may not have been meant as such but it does seem he was under his breath implying they either had an “open” marriage in general or she regularly brought home boy toyz…does not seem husband was too upset with her dumping him for a child…

      15 is a child…17-18 is a child…

      Now if a 39 year old broke hottie starts dating and then marries a 20 year old…then thats ok…

      Reply
      1. divadab

        Macron is the son of a Neurology professor and a medical doctor, who was educated at (private) Jesuit Lycee and at an exclusive private school in Paris. Hardly someone who needed to climb socially. His wife is also from a prominent family – who own a chocolatier. Your smear of her “playing a teacher in public” is cheap and inaccurate.

        And for most of human history, a seventeen year-old has been considered a young man with almost full agency, including marrying, holding a job, and leaving school. Just asserting that a “17-18 [year-old] is a child” does not make it true. Patently false, IMHO.

        Reply
        1. Massinissa

          “And for most of human history, a seventeen year-old has been considered a young man with almost full agency, including marrying, holding a job, and leaving school. Just asserting that a “17-18 [year-old] is a child” does not make it true. Patently false, IMHO.”

          Agree with what you say, but pretty sure he was 15 at the time.

          Reply
        2. polecat

          At even earlier times young people 17-18 years, or maybe even younger, engaged in such ‘activities’ as the ‘joust’ due to having greater strength and endurance than us moderns … a dash of ‘nobility’ didn’t hurt either !!

          ….. of course people, in general, died earlier as well !

          Reply
        3. jrs

          marrying close to one’s age at 17 or 18 is one thing and sometimes works well so I would not judge it at all (nah not even if one party is age of majority and the other a year less or something).

          But with extreme age differences there will be extreme power imbalances. Saying it isn’t so, doesn’t make it true. The power imbalance of 20 more years on earth and of 20 more years of mental maturation at that point in life (less so at an older age with equal age differences) is very great.

          Reply
          1. jrs

            or even 10 years on earth at that age, just because a heck of a lot of understanding of life and mental maturation takes place in those years and it can be sweet to go through that together when married young (sometimes works out long term, sometimes doesn’t), but it’s a real power imbalance if one person is already much older.

            Reply
            1. Alex Morfesis

              4 the record, I was that 20 yr old man-child who dated & then married the 39 yr old hottie…she didn’t look a day over 30 when she asked me if I was going to eat that cookie…

              the dynamics between us were not as clumsy as the discomfort of those around us…

              I used to have a chippendales bod…

              now much closer to chunkendales…

              Reply
      2. Massinissa

        Honestly, I think their relationship is a little creepy too, but you really don’t have me convinced it was about social climbing. Her family wasn’t all that much higher than his was, I would almost say they were of the same social class to begin with.

        Reply
      3. optimader

        “…17-18 is a child…” maybe irresponsible, but not a child.

        France.
        Persons under the age of 18 “able to understand what they are doing” are criminally responsible for the felonies, misdemeanours or petty offences of which they have been found guilty, and may be subject to measures of protection, assistance, supervision and education according to the conditions laid down by specific legislation. There is no absolute minimum age set at which children become able to be held criminally responsible, but a child will usually be considered to have “discernment” between the ages of 8 and 10.

        https://www.crin.org/en/home/ages/europe

        At a higher level, who actually gives a sht who he married and why?…

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          What about at work?

          Does it work if the boss is 20 or 30 years younger than oneself?

          Or having to work for a much older boss or customer, like, for example, ladies in certain places in Amsterdam?

          Reply
  24. cm

    I’m going to post this link in the PERS story as well: Margaret Brown’s website.

    She’s the person we read about yesterday who exposed the fake financial report @ PERS.

    Reply
  25. jerry

    It feels an awful lot like we are on the precipice of some large geopolitical event/meltdown.. something just has to give.

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      yes and no. I think there’s a tremendous amount of fake news media hysteria being generated right now.

      But some economic indicators do look worrisome.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        ‘It’s Big, It’s Back … IT”S EBOLA …… RUUUUUUNNNN !!!!’

        yeah … MORE MSM hysteria ………..

        Reply
    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I share your malaise. I can’t point to any one cause or combination of causes for the feeling — a feeling of deep disquiet.

      Reply
  26. marym

    DNC Chair Tom Perez to Meet With “Pro-Life” Democrats

    (1) scare quotes added as this used to be called anti-choice

    (2) As sort of referenced in the post, establishment Dems helped Dem Mello lose the Omaha mayoral election because he’s “personally” opposed to abortion, even though he helped moderate a harsher proposed law on mandatory ultra-sounds.

    (3) So much for the “but the Supreme Court” argument, and the “attracting moderate pro-choice Republican women” argument

    Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      I think it would be more appropriate to put up scare quotes when using ‘Pro-Choice Dem’.

      Been watching since a teen in the 70s, I can’t recall one piece of legislation to make things better, not even a Conyers type perpetual bill.

      Did anti-abortion precedents enable the ACA? A constitutional democracy that owns the physical bodies of its voters seems a little redundant.

      Reply
  27. armchair

    I find it useful to call myself a liberal, and I was disgusted by Obama. Come on over and clean my house. I have been against wars over and over again, and I find it convenient to call myself a liberal. Since, just about everyone I know is unaware that liberal has become a word for centrist-war-hawks, I don’t ask them to read Thomas Franks and Michael Hudson and report back to me. I just tell them I am very liberal, because I am anti-war, I donate my time to a legal clinic, I refused to vote for the Democratic presidential nominee in 1996, 2000, 2012 and 2016, and telling people that I am very liberal is very easy short way to explain this.

    In some ways, I feel like this drive to name every nauseating thing we see in the Democratic Party, the Left, the Progressives, whatever – as ‘liberal’ is just another divide and conquer strategy. It disgusts me. It reminds me of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. When I hear liberal bashing, I don’t think of sincere academics, I think of hot-talk conservative radio hosts. The more I hear liberal bashing, the more I want to yell. I’M A LIBERAL!! Now clean my house.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      Whatever is called liberal now is not even liberal, but the left has always been more radical than liberal, they have never been liberals, because they are anti-capitalist and liberals believe in the reform of capitalism. True there is no absolute clear and fast line and anyone might favor better than we have now. Anyone who believes in the reform of capitalism basically is liberal.

      Reply
    2. Massinissa

      I cant think of a single politician, besides MAYBE tulsi Gabbard, who calls themselves Liberal, that I have ANYTHING remotely in common with. Even Bernie doesn’t actually refer to himself as ‘liberal’, and he is far more mainstream than I am. So no thanks. Being leftist is not the same as being liberal. ‘Progressive’, maybe, but if you judge the word by who is in the progressive caucus, that word is only marginally better…

      Reply
  28. Code Name D

    TYT integrity challenged, Justice Democrats exposed

    There has been a lot of drama unfolding the past week. It started out when TYT rolled out their first Justice Democrat who recently won his post in Silicon Valley, named Ro Khanna. I don’t know about you, but I have been seeing quite a bit of him in my circle. He is said to be one of only five Congressmen who has completely sworn off of corporate donations.

    A bold claim, and bold claims get checked. It turns out Ro Khanna is not what he appears, and not only has taken silicon money in the past, but is continuing to do so. Worse yet, he is mentioned favorably in the Pedestrian Emails, and was preferred over his primary challenger.

    Rather than confronting the evidence against Khanna, TYT started a smear campaign against the sources disseminating this information and doubles down on Khanna.

    And this is not taking place in a vacuum. TYT has largely ignored the DNC fraud law suit. And when they do bring it up, they take the DNC’s side of the issue. And more recently, TYT has gone all in for the Russia conspiracy theories and even called for Trumps impeachment for dismissing Comie.

    Ro Khanna
    https://youtu.be/HGkbTjcXnGE
    Wikileaks Podesta Email:
    https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/
    Ro Khana Wanted Clinton at Wedding, Hints at Tech Support for Attendance:
    http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-g
    Syrian Weapons Inspector Dispelling 2013 Assad Involvement/
    US Backed Rebels:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp52R
    Ro Khanna Meets with White Helmets:
    Watch Peace Council School UN on Syria and Assad:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp52R
    Ro Khanna Open Secrets – He CLEARLY has been receiving money and it is disingenuous to claim he hasn’t taken it as Justice Dem/he does:
    http://www.opensecrets.org/politician
    On White Helmets/Eva Bartlett:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pCr3
    Ro on White Helmets:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/s
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/r
    Ro Khanna standing in DNC lockstep for Russia election interference:
    https://khanna.house.gov/media/press-

    Reply
  29. Alex Morfesis

    President krazeepahntz & a lower dollar…certainly don’t want to argue this “potential” constitutional crisis having the effect of lowering the dollar has been or is being staged…

    but….

    It is rather convenient…

    can’t be blamed for currency manipulation if “the markets” “perceive” a political danger…

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Would not be surprising to find, among the trash, plastic bags and pregnancy prevention rubber things.

      We see the same on many beaches.

      Should we ban them, including those pregnancy prevention rubber things?

      Reply
        1. polecat

          It’s a yin/yang conundrum !

          Too many people/trashy products vs. Too many discarded .. uh .. prophylactics !

          Reply
          1. polecat

            … and lets not forget about all those endocrine disrupters, from birth-control pills and other drugs, to plastics of various kinds, being manufactured … then urinated, flushed, and/or thrown out to sea ….

            Reply
  30. duck1

    Am I the only one who thinks the WAPO Trump leak is what let the genie out of the bottle disclosing high level penetration of ISIS in one of their cities? They would have read about it on the innertubes yesterday and proceeded accordingly against suspects. Doubt Lavrov sent them a heads up after the WH Trump meeting. And who was the partner that had the high level ISIS source? Would one speculate a certain middle eastern client state?

    Reply
    1. MLS

      to me the WAPO story is a twofer for the paper – it’s about as click-baity as one can get, hyperventilating about mostly a nothingburger, and it undermines and delegitimizes Trump, who they can’t stand.

      I think Occam’s razor applies here, and I suspect we’ll get more of it in the months to come until people stop paying attention. For now, it’s working as intended as they’ve got the administration playing defense.

      Reply
    2. Alex Morfesis

      Will dow close down 800 points or some other distractions to take the trump disclosed worthless secrets to impotent russians off the front pages??…does seem it is turning out the good folks at the “institute” (?4 better profits?) was the source of the embedded in isis intell…which would beg the question…

      Beebee could probably not use another problem to go along with case 1000…case 2000…

      & now case 2000.5 ???

      Reply
  31. Oregoncharles

    “40,000-year-old bracelet made by extinct human species found Digital Journal”

    Yet more evidence that Denisovans, like the Neanderthals, were in fact us. The practical definition of a species is that it’s genetically isolated; if two populations interbreed, they’re the same species, even if they look rather different. Modern humans interbred with both Neanderthals and Denisovans, AND raised the babies, since the resulting DNA is found in the modern human genome. There is little fossil material from the Denisovans, so cultural evidence that they were at least as sophisticated as modern humans of the period is important. It also makes you wonder why they aren’t around any more, although their descendants are.

    The real significance is that our species is much older than usually suggested. Neanderthals go back half a million years. The particular subspecies called “modern” is much more recent than that, and you wonder what advantage they had to survive the others. It doesn’t sound like they won any head-to-head fights with the Denisovans. The end of the Ice Age may have been key – despite some more recent adaptation, we’re essentially a tropical species; the others weren’t.

    Reply
    1. georgieboy2

      Humans had dogs the second time they headed north (once the weather got decisively better) to meet up with Neanderthals. And they had better ankles/tendons for long-distance running.

      Reply
  32. ginnie nyc

    Apropos of nothing:

    I had a doctor’s appointment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan today, and on the return trip took the Lexington Avenue bus towards home. Seated across the aisle from me was a woman about 65 years old, a plump grandmother of New England ancestry, probably a Republican, but a member of The Condominium, as you will see. A younger, thin woman got on the bus, in her late 40’s, and wearing a lot of Restylane. They recognized one another, and began conversing.

    OL: Oh, wasn’t that a nice lunch [when last they met]?
    MAL: Yes, I really enjoyed it!
    (Chitchat, then pause)
    OL: Can you believe what’s going on in Washington!
    (pause)
    You know, after the election, I was very upset, but my friends told me, the CIA will take care of it.[my emphasis]
    MAL: So what happened, then?
    OL: Those guys, those guys! (pause) He’s going to be impeached.
    MAL: Well, that doesn’t mean he won’t be president. Look at Bill Clinton…
    [short argument ensues over impeachment process]
    MAL: (rises to depart) I’ll see you tomorrow! [at the club]

    Just another idle conversation, for what it’s worth.

    Reply
  33. darthbobber

    Aah.. the alt-left gibberish. For my money, the Jacobin publisher is correct. The “alt-left” (a term nobody not attacking it uses, is just the Left. The only Left. These clowns would like to coin alt-left partly , of course, to tie to the negative connotations of the equally stupid alt-right. But mostly because it allows them to maintain their desperate pretense that they actually are a sort of left to which something else is an “alt”. But they aren’t. A few of the older ones were when they were younger, and seem not to have noticed what has happened to them over the years. Most never were.

    Reply
  34. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Researchers report new, more efficient catalyst for water splitting” —
    University of Houston physicists Paul C. W. Chu, Zhifeng Ren and Shuo Chen, helped by postdoctoral researchers Haiqing Zhou and Fang Yu, and graduate students Jingying Sun and Ran He … reminds me of the post from a few days ago describing how government and industry worked to dismantle the study of science in this country by United States citizens. Houston, Texas seems a most unlikely place to encourage a large scale Chinese community.

    The discovery itself sounds great. It might solve one of the problems with solar and wind energy — their discontinuous availability and lack of a good means to store energy for use later. Given all the advantages outlined for the new catalyst I was struck by the equivocation in the statement Dr. Chen made at the conclusion of the link: “Our discovery may lead to a more economic approach for hydrogen production from water electrolysis.” I’ve read too many press releases from research centers promising great advances and quietly disappearing within a week or two. Are the claims overblown? If the claims are real why does nothing come from all the discoveries reported? What’s going on?

    Reply
    1. MoiAussie

      Don’t be too hopeful. While a better catalyst may reduce the dollar cost of building and maintaining a system for generating hydrogen, it does nothing to alter the energy cost – all the energy you get by reacting hydrogen in a fuel cell in a car must be put in when the hydrogen is created from water in the first place, and lots more too. About 50% of the input energy in the overall production cycle is lost. That’s maybe OK if it’s solar or wind derived, but terrible if it comes from the grid from gas or coal-fired power stations.

      You then have about 50% efficiency loss again in the fuel cell when you use the hydrogen, so about 75% of the input electrical energy is lost, compared to battery powered electric vehicles. Hydrogen storage is also difficult as it needs to be kept under high pressure in heavy tanks, and hydrogen transport is worse. Chemical approaches to storing and transporting hydrogen, e.g. as ammonia (NH3), are being considered.

      Fuel cell cars only make sense if you have electrical energy that would otherwise be wasted that can be used for synthesis of hydrogen exactly where it is needed. The infrastructure build needed is extensive – currently there are only 34 refill stations in the US. See this review for more details.

      Reply

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