Links 11/21/15

Never mind the Big Bang! Life on Earth began with a BIG BREATH as oxygen sprang from microscopic plants 2.5 billion years ago Daily Mail

Quantum entanglement achieved at room temperature in semiconductor wafers

The 47 scandals that prove governments would be mad to go soft on banks Ian Fraser

Many unhappy returns The Economist. Pension funds and endowments are too optimistic.

Where Are The Screaming Actuaries? Forbes. Pension liabilities.

The case for openness in MetLife’s too-big-to-fail challenge Reuters

Silicon Valley vs Civilization Pando

What’s Worse Than the SEC’s Revolving Door? Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg

E. Coli Isn’t Chipotle’s Only Problem Bloomberg

Lunch with the FT: John Oliver FT

The Crisis of World Order WSJ


America, refugees and the quest for absolute security FT

Ending Blowback Terrorism Jeffrey D. Sachs, Project Syndicate

The truths, the half truths and the lies AFP

Posing as refugees not easiest path to U.S. for Islamic State operatives McClatchy

France’s Real Problems Are Getting Lost in the Fog of War Foreign Policy. It’s an ill fog that hides nothing bad.

Mali’s Tangled Mix of Jihad and Civil War The Atlantic

In Mali and Rest of Africa, the U.S. Military Fights a Hidden War The Intercept

Bamako Hostage Crisis: How U.S.-Backed Intervention in Libya Spread Chaos to Nearby Mali Democracy Now


Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It NYT

Rational Monster: How Terror Fits into Islamic State’s Plan Der Spiegel

Magical Thinking about Isis LRB

The Syrian Kurds Are Winning! NYRB

Health Care

Obamacare’s Fate May Rest on Patience of Insurers Aetna, Anthem Bloomberg. Actuarial death spiral.

CMS may impose minimum provider-network standards for ACA plans Modern Health Care. Accelerating the death spiral.

Clinton proposing tax credit to help with heath care costs AP. As if ObamaCare weren’t complicated enough.

Kentucky’s ObamaCare case study The Hill. Important. The Democratic nomenklatura — none of whom have been mandated to use it — believed that ObamaCare is actually a good system, and experienced by “consumers” that way. And so we get the “What’s the matter with Kentucky?” narrative.

Specialty drugs now cost more than the median household income WaPo


Young voters feel the Bern, split on GOP Des Moines Register. Sanders: 45%, O’Malley 31%, Clinton, 23%. High school and middle school, but they make fine foot soldiers, and IIRC, some high school seniors can vote before the caucus rolls around. Whatever the future of the Democratic Party may be, it’s not Clinton.

Sanders: Why I’m a ‘democratic socialist’ and why that’s good McClatchy

Verging on Plutocracy? Getting Real About the Unelected Dictatorship Paul Street, Counterpunch

Hillary Clinton hints that she supports backdoors in encryption Daily Dot

Prosecutors bring fresh charges against former Paul operatives Des Moines Register

Did the Paris Attacks Actually Give Donald Trump a Boost? New York Magazine

Donald Trump’s Horrifying Plan for American Muslims Andrew Rosenthal, NYT

Rabid Dogs and Muslim Databases: GOP’s Anti-Muslim Rhetoric Reaches Fevered Pitch Foreign Policy

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Class divides The Economist

We have the Woodrow Wilson/P.C. debate all backwards: Protesters are forcing a debate Princeton has whitewashed for decades Corey Robin, Salon

Reforming police culture is a daunting challenge WaPo. “[A]n emerging narrative in law enforcement circles that might surprise some people: Cops aren’t shooting people nearly enough.”

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Metadata Surveillance Didn’t Stop the Paris Attacks Slate

Police used apparently illegal wiretaps to make hundreds of arrests USA Today

Your Phone Is Listening—Literally Listening—to Your TV The Atlantic

YouTube Terminates PINAC Account for “Violent” Police Videos, the Latest Shutdown on Independent Media Photography is Not A Crime

Facebook has taken over from Google as a traffic source for news Fortune

Buffett’s Grandson Seeks Own Investment Route: Social Change Dealb%k, NYT

How to Decimate a City The Atlantic

How Many Words Are There? Oxford Handbooks Online

Antidote du jour:

capybara links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Carla

    At first, I missed my favorite category, “Class Warfare.” Then I realized, the Links are pretty much ALL Class Warfare. Thanks, Lambert.

    1. Plenue

      Strether’s new favorite phrase, “they don’t call it class warfare for nothing” reminds me of this:

      “But these are only the accidents of industry. The high mortality of the people who live in the Ghetto plays a terrible part. The average age at death among the people of the West End is fifty-five years; the average age at death among the people of the East End is thirty years. That is to say, the person in the West End has twice the chance for life that the person has in the East End. Talk of war! The mortality in South Africa and the Philippines fades away to insignificance. Here, in the heart of peace, is where the blood is being shed; and here not even the civilised rules of warfare obtain, for the women and children and babes in the arms are killed just as ferociously as the men are killed. War! In England, every year, 500,000 men, women, and children, engaged in the various industries, are killed and disabled, or are injured to disablement by disease. In the West End eighteen per cent. of the children die before five years of age; in the East End fifty-five per cent of the children die before five years of age. And there are streets in London where out of every one hundred children born in a year, fifty die during the next year; and of the fifty that remain, twenty-five die before they are five years old. Slaughter! Herod did not do quite so badly.” – Jack London, The People of the Abyss (1903)

      I’m increasingly convinced most of what needed to be said about class warfare had been said by 150 years ago, and literally everything said by a century ago. Everything since has just been reiteration and rediscovery.

      1. JTMcPhee

        …too bad those warred upon have not kept the lessons of how to defend themselves and occasionally fight back…

  2. allan

    Questioning the Civil Settlements with For Profit Colleges

    Law enforcement officials this week reached a global settlement with Education Management Corp. (EDMC), the second-largest for-profit education company in the country. …

    “To avoid major penalties, EDMC claimed poverty, but where did all that money go?” [lawyer David] Halperin asked.

    “Former CEOs John McKernan, Todd Nelson, and Edward West, were all well-compensated,” Halperin said. “To my knowledge, the government hasn’t pursued them, or the three private equity outfits that owned much of EDMC during the period of abuses — Goldman Sachs, Providence Equity Partners, and Leeds Equity Partners. All of those people ought to have plenty of cash on hand, even if EDMC says it’s poor.” …

    But it’s exactly because all of those people have plenty of cash that they (or their law firms)
    will make great places for the prosecutors to work when they leave government service.

  3. timbers

    2016 and Syraqistan:

    Just want to say that the Paris attacks – which are blowback from what Obama is doing in Syria and can be fairly said to be a direct result of his policies (even if Americans including the Right are clueless about why) – are HUGE politically.

    I know a lot of people here even in “liberal” Massachusetts who are motivated to vote by the whole “immigration-refuge” thing, people who think the scary brown people think of nothing else but how to cross the Mexican border to blow up America. Otherwise sensible people lose their common sense over this and immigrants in general.

    The Paris attacks – caused by Obama (but not for the reasons the Right or even The Democrats say) – will likely intensify this right wing push.

    It has the potential to become a political tidal wave that greatly benefits Republicans, and Democrats if they see this will quickly move to the right with them. It’s happening in Europe, too.

    The stupidity of what Obama has been doing in the Middle East is jaw dropping. Russia is practically the only sane and common sense actor right now.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think this is the eternal question: “Are they stupid and/or evil”? No question being stupid and evil gives a fine account of our current Mediterranean/Black Sea Policy; in fact, just being stupid does. On the other hand, if you believe our policy goal is simply to sow chaos, because (1) that ties down Russia, (2) a military protectorate (Europe) bears most of the costs, i.e., refugees, not the “homeland,” and (3) ka-ching for arms merchants and mercenaries and shouting heads and fear-mongering generally, then smart and evil gives a fine account, too. (Note that (1), (2), and (3) all work as a self-licking ice cream cone; the worse things get, the better. Ditto for (4) moving the Overton Window right domestically. It’s beautiful in its own way, really.)

      1. Plenue

        “ties down Russia”

        If that’s the intended goal, they’ve really screwed up. Syria has provided the perfect stage for Russia to demonstrate that it isn’t remotely backward, at least militarily. Most recently they’ve had the chance to show off their reinvigorated strategic bomber force and they’ve deep-sixed Washington’s fancy plans for missile defense of Europe with their accurate, extreme range cruise missile strikes. Regional US allies are already jumping ship to sign up with the Russian coalition, and if the US doesn’t maintain its recently found enthusiasm for actually hitting ISIS France may do the same.

    2. wbgonne

      I know a lot of people here even in “liberal” Massachusetts who are motivated to vote by the whole “immigration-refuge” thing, people who think the scary brown people think of nothing else but how to cross the Mexican border to blow up America. Otherwise sensible people lose their common sense over this and immigrants in general.

      Meanwhile, in the real world:

      More Mexican Immigrants Leaving U.S. Than Entering, Report Finds

      1. Daryl

        To keep immigrants out, all we need to do is make the US an unlivable hellhole. Future generations will thank us.

        1. Massinissa

          If Trump makes that wall he promises, its going to actually be used to keep Americans in.

          Would make the Berlin Wall look like a garden fence.

          1. Sam Adams

            With the use of the Internal Revenue Code to revoke and deny passports, impossibly complex tax code as applied to Americans living overseas and bank reporting requirements causing European banks to deny US citizens banking accounts, the USA is already becoming impossible to leave.

            1. Massinissa

              Ahhhhh… Just like with mass surveillance, the advances the US have made in keeping people in make the methods of East Germany look quaint.

    3. neo-realist

      Maybe if the Bush/Cheney cabal had not invaded Iraq in the first place, a group such as ISIS wouldn’t have metastasized to enable broader terrorist activity around the globe. And no I’m not an Obama fan.

      1. craazyboy

        How was the brain trust supposed to know sicko Sadaam had a bunch of sicko generals helping him run his half a million man army? Besides, it’s Obama’s fault for not watching Iraq for the last 13 years and now this big surprise pops. I blame Al Jazzera too for not reporting on it years ago, otherwise the CIA/Pentagon/NSA/FBI/MI5/MI6/Mossad would have read about it at the office.

    4. Jess

      I think it’s dangerous to conflate resistance to refugees with opposition to immigration, even in MA. Of course, sometimes the two are fellow travelers, but other times not. In fact, you might be interested in what has happened in Lynn, MA due to an influx of so-called “unaccompanied minor” immigrants relocated from Texas. Since the city operates the school district (combined funding) to accommodate the skyrocketing enrollment the city had to eliminate a highly effective community policing program and use that money to help finance a new middle school, which was already officially designated by the state as overcrowded before it even opened. And, oh yes, the city and state are forbidden to attempt to prove the correct age of these “minors”, some of whom — once arrested on criminal charges — have been determined to be in their 30’s. More than a few parents are justifiably upset about the prospect of their teenage daughters being in school with predatory adult males.

      Here’s the url for a Center for Immigration Studies story:

      1. JaaaaayCeeeee


        Those using Lynn, MA, including its Republican mayor, to blame budget problems on your “so-called unaccompanied minors influx, claim adults are going to middle school as refugees, and fan anti-immigrant resistance against defenseless children (from the National Review online to the anti-immigration Center for Immigration Study, which you cite), seem to be the ones who have been doing some reprehensible conflating. You’re going to need some better evidence to make your argument.

  4. Eureka Springs

    Get a load of this:

    Now 61, Pollard has spent half of his life in prison.

    Early Friday, he was released in North Carolina after serving 30 years.

    But Pollard and his lawyers are challenging the conditions of his parole in a federal court in New York, calling them “unreasonable and unlawful,” according to a statement released Friday.

    His lawyers argue the Parole Commission has “imposed onerous and oppressive conditions of parole” including wearing an ankle monitor. Pollard has secured a job in the finance department of an investment firm in New York. The attorneys argue that the required “unfettered monitoring and inspection of [his] computers as well as those of any employer who chooses to hire him” is unfair.

    Pollard’s lawyers are asking the court to vacate those conditions of his parole.

    Name the investment firm?

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Who says over 50 year old ex-cons can’t get a job after paying their debt to society? There, more hope than you shake a stick at!

    2. tegnost

      well certainly 30 years in the pen qualifies you for a job at an “investment firm” (hmmm which one?) I think Micky D’s might need someone…not feeling particularly sympathetic and wondering why anyone else is…snipped from the wiki…
      “”Why Jonathan Pollard spent 30 years in prison”. Times of Israel. August 2, 2015. Retrieved August 8, 2015. At the same time, Pollard and his key spokesman have continuously declared that he committed espionage only because the American intelligence establishment collectively endangered Israel’s security by withholding crucial information. This has motivated the senior intelligence community to energetically oppose early release for Pollard.” So go get a job in israel dude…o wait thats what he did…A quantum entanglement?

      1. MikeNY

        certainly 30 years in the pen qualifies you for a job at an “investment firm”

        Indeed! Who needs Development and Training personnel when you can hire the finished product from the can?

        1. ambrit

          This idea certainly does work for ‘skilled trades.’ I’ve worked with so many people who have done time, it’s almost absurd.

    3. ambrit

      In most other countries, Pollard would have been either shunted off to some desolate edge of the world for life or shot. He worked for the Israelis. Israels’ Prime Minister publically agitated for Pollards release. If Putin were to have proposed such a deal, America would have insisted on some serious payback from the Russians. Where is Israels’ payback to America? The truth behind the Vela Incident? The heads of the Israeli “Leaders” who ordered the Liberty attack? The punishment of the murderers of Count Bernadotte?
      As for what investment firm; I read that Pollard must serve five years of ‘monitered’ release, and then go wherever he pleases. His ‘supporters’ are agitating for even this to be dropped, and evidently, Pollard moving to Israel. Why not? The damage is done, and Pollard is a dual, Israeli American citizen.
      All fine and good until one remembers what he did. He betrayed his country, and not, as did Snowden, in what he perceived to be that countries’ best interests. To repeat what I typed above; almost anywhere else, after detection, Pollard would have never been heard from again.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        RE: “He worked for the Israelis.”

        Are you sure that should be in the past tense? After 30 years in the slammer most people wouldn’t have the connections to get a job at a gas station, much less a Wall Street investment firm immediately upon their release.

        A quote from the ‘Verging on Plutocracy?’ link sums it up nicely:

        “Also relevant is former Republican Congressional staffer Mark Lofgren’s suggestion that Wall Street is “the ultimate owner” of the “Deep State” that rules America beneath the more “visible” surface state and “marionette theater” of parliamentary politics and campaigns. This is because “it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career that is lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice— certainly beyond the dreams of a salaried government employee…. ” emphasis added

        And apparently not just US government operatives anymore. Kaching!

        1. ambrit

          Too true. The five year ‘monitored release’ could be to take him to the end of his possible usefulness before full release.
          I wonder what the penalty would be for betraying your Oligarchate?

        2. fresno dan

          I can only speculate that being in prison gave him a great deal of face to face experience and contacts with all those wall street criminals and banksters…
          O wait!!!

          (there are no wall street criminals or banksters in prison)

      2. Jim Haygood

        ‘Where is Israels’ payback to America?’

        Good question, ambrit. But you’ve got the direction reversed. America’s annual tribute to Israel is to rise by 50 percent:

        President Obama is predicted to increase the 10-year, $30 billion aid package that was agreed to in 2007 under the Bush administration. Israel is requesting that the U.S. increase its financial commitment by half, from $3 billion a year to around $4.5 billion.

        Increasing aid is the penance America must undergo for its insubordination in signing the Iran deal contrary to Netanyahu’s advice (delivered from the dais of the House last March).

        We have been bad, bad boys. Let the autoflagellation begin.

        1. craazyboy

          Makes sense. If Iran builds a stealth nuke, then Israel will need to increase their stockpile from 200 to 201 nukes in order to maintain the MAD balance in the ME. I imagine nukes aren’t cheap.

          Hopefully the BLS picked up on it and we get the much needed little headwind in our inflation data. That would be a toufer! High fives fer America! But Iran oil coming on the market isn’t gonna help, so we’ll need to tweak supply, Iraq and the Republican Guard getting the thumbs down vote on OPEC quotas there. At least until we need to help the Iraqi people and the newly installed moderate government and rebuild the oil fields and refineries that everyone is presently blowing up. But Haliburton knows how to do that. They should be getting good at it by now. There will be equilibrium eventually. In the mean time, Iraqi Shiite refugees can always move to Yemen. It’s not that far of a camel ride.

          1. subgenius

            Until recently, the answer was officially no, foreign nationals had to revoke their original citizenship….but it wasn’t enforced particularly and recently (last decade maybe) they relaxed the requirement (probably because the .01% needed it…)

            1. Oregoncharles

              Dual citizenship is a right for Americans. The Constitution describes the qualifications for citizenship but says nothing about revoking it, so it’s permanent unless you renounce it yourself.

              The SCOTUS ruled on this, I think, back in the 60s or thereabouts. It was big news at the time. Until then, the US did have provisions for revoking citizenship, or, as noted above, required that it be renounced before gaining other citizenship.

              However, Israeli (dual) citizenship is unique in that dual citizens are allowed to hold highly sensitive positions, as Pollard did. That seems like a serious security risk – as Pollard proved. But it still happens. It actually reveals just how thoroughly Israeli interests are entwined with US policy.

          2. different clue

            One of the commenters ( Walrus) at Sic Semper Tyrannis describes himself as a dual Australia-United States citizen. I believe Canada-US dual citizenship is legal. I believe I have heard of dual-citizenship between US and quite a few other countries.

        1. ambrit

          I am technically a dual citizen. Having been naturalized along with my parents back in ’67, I, being a minor was not deemed competent enough to renounce my U.K. citizenship. Supposedly, my parents did not formally renounce their U.K. citizenship, so, I’m ‘parented’ in. Technically, I am stateless, or, in a pinch, like the FEDs coming after me, U.K.
          It’s something similar to a Corporation, and its’ subsidiaries.
          I would not be surprised to find triple citizenship cases.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I know some people who are dual reiigionists.

            Taoists and Buddhists, Zenists and Catholics, etc.

            1. ambrit

              About the East and Catholicism, look up the practices Loyola bought back to the West from the Orient. Syncretism seems to be everyones’ favourite practice.

      3. optimader

        All fine and good until one remembers what he did. He betrayed his country, and not, as did Snowden, in what he perceived to be that countries’ best interests.
        To be clear Pollard is a Traitor of the worst kind IMO as he did it for money and in anticipation future benefit. And incidentally, not just with Israel.
        Snowden acted I believe in the best interest of his Country and so I’ve read , seemingly w/ with great nuance to not endanger peoples lives.

        It’s wrong that Pollard was released at all, no less without the traditional quid pro quo arrangement w/ the offending Country coughing up something/someone of equivalent value before he is frog-marched to the border.
        Israel of course would never acquiesce to such an arrangement as they have a fifth column in this country at the highest levels of our government that applies influence and usurps taxpayer resources making such arrangements irrelevant.

        As absurd as dual citizenship of USG employees in national security positions is IMO, IIRC Pollard was granted Israeli citizenship while in Prison as a weasely negotiating point.

        OT to Different Clue (and S M Tenneshaw)
        No rhetorical flourish was intended the other day when I wrote Israel is currently the most racist state entity, which indeed is unfortunate for the Jews and everyone else that just want to get along with their lives in Palestine. Israel is the last settler colonialist entity and is administrated as an Ethnocracy. It is what it is, so embrace it for what it is if you believe in it., I would suggest you both trace back the origin of Zionism as a little historical perspective.


        1. optimader

          in quotes of course..”All fine and good until one remembers what he did. He betrayed his country, and not, as did Snowden, in what he perceived to be that countries’ best interests.”

    4. alex morfesis

      Let pollard go free so he can go where he likes…so he can be accidented on israeli soil 30 mths from now…by a nice granny from boca running a red light trying to get to her favorite seat at the bingo parlor before agnes takes it…please…put pollard out in public for consumption…it is time for him to move on with his life…you know with all those meds seniors take today her car skipping onto a sidewalk could happen…poor mr pollard…
      or maybe her grandson was tweeking her mustang and inadvertantly crossed up the programming and her car did an audi…oh well…can someone see if we have some popcorn in the pantry…heck maybe the russians do it as a favor they can call in one day…and obviosly mr sterling will have these many advocates for him and his current club fed vacation soon…oh wait…do i hear crickets…

        1. optimader

          Yes crickets. I would actually be interested in hearing the indignation of Mr. Pollard’s sympathizers so I can suss out their thought process. I guess they demure on the subject.

      1. Jagger

        …..Providing complete unfiltered domestic data to Israel…. Is there any better possible black mail material that you could simply hand over to a foreign government? It is like we intentionally handed them the keys to the realm. Leaves me flabbergasted. Mouth just hanging open…..

        I would really, really like to know what group managed to pull that one off. I imagine that is potentially more damaging than anything Pollard ever did.

      2. JTMcPhee

        “No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.” Yaass, I know, hackneyed and all that, but still…

        In case any of us who give a shit about any of this stuff still give a shit about any of this stuff.

        To add a little frame to the picture, sorry the link’s from the Free Republic back in 2001, but this piece by Seymour Hersh that ran in The New Yorker (now behind its paywall) adds a little context to what this little vermin was really up to. It’s a short read, and there’s too much there for me to pick a single telling bit of text:

        The Israelites are one corrupt bunch, all right, as a lot of people who deal with them apparently agree. Many of them openly refer to this country and our lapdog government as “Uncle Sugar,” and more tellingly “Uncle Freier.” And “freier” is an epithet that has a particular resonance for the often publicly unpleasant and self-interested Israelite:

        Then there’s this: “Memo to Obama: Israel Doesn’t Keep Its Word,”

        And this: “Israel Flagged as Top Spy Threat to U.S. in New Snowden/NSA Document,”

        And of course one could go re-read, oh, say, the first five books of the Bible, to see how G_d’s Chosen People transact and interact and do business…

        One more thing in our grand human culture that is beyond repair…

  5. Steve H.

    NYTimes on Saudi Arabia: I was mostly surprised by the amount of Yup I had, reading from a source that normally requires a corrective lensing to get the incentives. But this phrase made me nervous, in heralding a change in the meaning of editorials ‘droning on…’

    “its immense editorial industry”

  6. Dino Reno

    For the last fifteen years, we’ve been told we are fighting radical Islam. Americans, at large, have simplified the concept to mean that Muslims are the enemy. Trump knows the current mind set and will successfully exploit it much to the displeasure of the all the neocons who can’t understand how the notion caught on after waging unrelenting war throughout the Muslim world. When Hillary stood up for Muslims and against Trump the other day, she unknowingly gave up her bid to the keys to the White House. Hillary loves Muslims. Trump loves America. This is who we are much to the displeasure of the responsible people who think they have things nailed down. Get ready, we are about to get the Strong Man we so richly deserve. I hope when the day comes, Trump’s son Baron is also a kind and benevolent ruler.

    1. ambrit

      On the other side, I can well imagine the equally pliable Muslim youngsters being told that this is a War against Radical Mercantilism.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      I wouldn’t count on American stage simplicity (the inability to comprehend it’s “acting”) as a bump for Trump just yet.

      HiIllary would love nothing more than to run against him and I wouldn’t put it past them to have thought the scheme up together. Even if the RNC manages to ice Trump, and I don’t know why they would – Hillary will give them more than all Republican presidents combined going back to the RayGun, Hillary has already gained enormously by having the Trump clown absorb much of the negative attention she would have otherwise received. If he manages to get the nomination, Hillary’s coronation proceeds as planned. Trump can’t hold a general audience for anything other than the scare factor (Hillary benefits – quite possibly as planned) and, as if that weren’t enough, he doesn’t have the MSM behind him other than as an audience grabbing scarecrow.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Also, I’m not at all sure that, “Americans, at large, have simplified the concept to mean that Muslims are the enemy.” A few by a lot and a lot by a little, perhaps, but no majority by any count. That said, they have gathered that Trump’s open premise is that anything without blond hair and an albino complexion is a terrorist. And I doubt that will do him a lot of good in a general, nor is it probably meant to.

        Hillary’s role plays that card considerably better; implicitly, with suggestions, with public praise for tolerance and knowing concern for more security – always more security. Every American has a god given right to a good hackable back door to keep them safe. From what? Hillary won’t go there other than, “the bad guys” and as part of a larger effort, that’s effective.

        1. Dino Reno

          Everything you say is thoughtful and valid, but Hillary is distrusted by the vast majority of Americans according to polls. No one gets elected President with that base. She is loved by the MSM, moderate Republicans and many identity political groups, but not enough to matter in the general. The majority of Democrats will stay home.
          Hatred is a great motivator and it will bring people out to vote for Trump. In the last go around,
          the majority voted for a black man to upend the system, this time it will be a tyrant.
          As for the majority of Americans not liking Muslims, I can only point to the most recent proxy vote by the 30 state governors and the House and Senate who turned down the Syrians. That was a majority of elected officials who feared for their jobs and sensed the ugly public mood.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            We’ll see. Good arguments.

            Re: Trump-win, it’s tempting to hope you’re right but with a huge and deathly serious gag reflex and noting Lambert’s comment about how people ARE already getting hurt -physically hurt- by what Trump spews. That’s hardly an endorsement for Hillary.

            As to Muslims, the governors in question are not all “representative”. Many are the product of disgust, drop out, and gerrymandering. It takes a lot of concerted propaganda to fully arouse even the USA into detention camp level hysteria. That doesn’t mean some or many Muslims won’t be badly treated and that in turn blamed on “popular demand”.

            Polls? Not yet reliable indicators of divine right choice (perhaps a little more reliable about who is mistrusted) Mistrust is one thing though and hatred another. I suspect the general election will by in large skip the latter, consider the former and then settle on Lessor.

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            It’s not realistic to imagine a Republican victory because: Electoral College and demographics. The Dems could run Elmer Fudd and win in a walk, they have 258 of 270 needed in states that just will not go Red. So the only battle is for the Dem nomination, and the only hope is Bernie.
            Agree with prior comments that Bernie needs to stop operating as though this is a Senate debate, all politeness, respect, and niceties. This is life and death dammit for the people of America and the rest of the globe.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That would make a very popular TV show.

        Wait, it’s already on TV. Its second season, in fact. And plans for more.

  7. John

    I see the neocon warmonger Robert Kagan is masturbating on the most recent collection of corpses his death inspired PNAC policies have produced in Rupert Murdoch’s sh*t stained rag, the WSJ. Moar woar.

    1. Jim Haygood

      The song remains the same:

      Asked tonight [9/11/2001] what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, ”It’s very good.” Then he edited himself: ”Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.”

      November 2015:

      It is to Israel’s advantage, [David] Makovsky [of pro-Israel think tank WINEP] suggested, that “the [Middle Eastern] region has deteriorated. There has been a meltdown of nation states around Israel.”

      And we hay-ulped!

  8. ambrit

    Has anyone else noticed an uptick in “news articles” about how the “Terrorists” are being more effectively evil because of publically used encryption? I sense a ‘program’ being run to pave the way for ubiquitous governmental monitoring of all private communications, legally. Her Majesties, the American one at least, recent approval of ‘backdoors’ in public encrypted communication systems shows the way ‘forward.’ Facebook taking down the site that exposes police brutality is another sign of the approaching Nano State. Time to dust off those old mimeograph machines. It’s going to be back to the Samizdats comrades!

    1. Christian B

      I would like to point out to all of you that the weeks before the Paris attacks there was an unusually large (100GBS) DDoS attack against several internet mail providers that specialize in privacy. This included ProtoMail, Hushmail, and Fastmail. Go ahead and google DDoS attack protonmail”, I did not want to link because I wanted to get this in early.

      Portonmail was asked to pay a ransom to get them to stop. They paid yet the attackers kept attacking. Again, unusual.

      I do not think this was a coincidence and I am amazed no one has picked this up in the tech media yet.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Yes it’s currently among the top ‘news’ at yahoo right now. Here’s one posted by some Katie Couric flak:

      Here’s the argument I find absolutely nonsensical: “Terror groups have encrypted their information for years….” We’ve been hearing variations on this argument for years now and my question is, if the authorities are so sure that they’re monitoring a ‘terror group’ , then why in the hell are they waiting around until something blows up and then merely trying to contain the damage? If they’re already aware that there is a ‘terror group’ in existence, why aren’t those who are part of it being arrested? Why the need to monitor encrypted messages of those already known to be part of a ‘terror group’ which presumably has already committed illegal activities if it’s earned that sobriquet?

      And yet the only foiled ‘terror plots’ are those cooked up by the FBI using informants to entrap people into committing acts that they otherwise would have had no interest in committing.

      Of course we know the answer to these questions already – none of these ‘security’ measures are intended to catch ‘terrorists’ or to improve the security of the average citizen at all.

      1. fresno dan

        A hyper cynical person might posit that the government wants to monitor YOU, and if terrorists killing you and related yous helps in accomplishing ever greater monitoring of yous, well than that’s all good.

        As I said yesterday, it is not possible to search every apartment in Paris before the attacks. You would have to do some triage to decide what the most likely locations and individuals are. It is exactly the same with which phone calls to listen to.

        It is unfortunate that our leaders are so stupid. I suspect this it is all a jobs program for silicon valley to build ever more servers and computer related stuff to monitor ever more electronic communication (and associated charges) that will have zero effect, if not be counter productive as scarce resources are devoted to checking up on that curmudgeonly fresno dan and his ilk, who are constantly undermining our brave true wonderful government servants…

        1. craazyboy

          But look at the happy side. Next time we hit the debt ceiling, all our personal info will be archived in Utah and the government can sell it to Google and Chinese hackers. Big money in that, and we’ll be able to avert a government shutdown!

          1. Jagger

            all our personal info will be archived in Utah and the government can sell it to Google and Chinese hackers.

            True for domestic corporations but they will manage to find a way to hand it over for free to Israel.

    3. bob

      The monday after the attack, NPR’s all things considered, had NYPD chief on to talk about how evil encryption is, and how it makes things very very hard for cops. They can’t shoot it!

      But, at this point, they knew nothing about the attakers or how they were organized. All things considered indeed.

      I picture the NYPD chief sitting in an NPR waiting room, wresting McFuck for access to the next “guest spot” on *anything*. He won this time with a wedgie. Mc Fuck will counter by going commado.

      1. craazyboy

        I’m sure the cops are very adept at solving crossword puzzles and Sudoku puzzles, and the really, really long encryption keys mucking up the precinct puzzle supercomputer is what the problem is.

        1. ambrit

          Sorry. Detectives are a subset of police in general.
          A good example is both the original “Bad Lieutenant” with Harvey Keitel and the somewhat spun ‘sequel,’ “Port of Call.” (Nicholas Cage is capable of acting. Send him a good script, like Herzog did, and watch the fun.)

          1. Jagger

            Another subset is known as the philosopher/batshit insane detective which is brilliantly demonstrated in True Detective by Matthew McConaughey.

              1. Jagger

                It is a HBO series. I am only through the first 6 hours of the 8 hour first season of 2014. It is very dark. In some ways, it ranks up with Breaking Bad, IMO. Both McConaughey and Harrison are perfect for their roles. I would definitely recommend. Here is the IMBD link:


  9. Tom Stone

    I always appreciate the links to Radley Balko’s work, but I do wonder why there is no discussion of the caste system that has emerged in California, exemplified by the law that allows current and former LEO to purchase firearms for their personal use that are not legally available to ordinary “citizens.”
    For their personal use…because cops.
    And nothing is being done about the black market in guns her, the 17,000 felons known to illegally possess firearms are being left alone as are the ATF agents who illegally supplied the drug cartels with the firearms used in the murders of more than 1,000 Mexican Citizens.

    1. tegnost

      I’m sure theres a fair number of these lying around somewhere, leftovers from the mid ’80’s

      From the wiki

      M16A1/A2 – The M16A1/A2 was initially issued to elite units before being issued to the rest of the army when it became the standard rifle. The first large-scale delivery occurred in 1981 with 11,868 units delivered. A total of 32,374 M16A1/A2 rifles were delivered between 1980 and 1993. The U.S. began to replace the G3 rifles in the hands of the Salvadorian Army in 1981 with the delivery of 11,868 AR-15A1 R613 (M16A1); followed by another 20,743 M16s purchased with FMS funds for El Salvador in 1982. Many of these “new” rifles were actually leftovers from Vietnam. Eventually, another 45,160 AR-15A1 R613 followed, to include more than 500 CAR-15A1 R639 (XM177E2 Commando – typified as M16A2 for El Salvador) to equip the Mechanized Infantry and officer Corps and hundreds of CAR-15A1 R653 (M16A1) Carbines starting in 1985, and even brand-new M16s supplied by Springfield Armory.[1]
      CAR-15: Colt Automatic Rifle-15 Military Weapons System or CAR-15. The CAR-15: Colt Automatic Rifle-15 Military Weapons System or CAR-15 was deliveres to all military branches of the Armed Forces of El Salvador and also was used with attached M-203 grenade lunchers.
      Colt Commando (model 733, note M16A2-style brass deflector and forward assist), the USA military aid to El Salvador included the supply of this Car-15 variant that was used extensively by the Armed Forces of El Salvador. They also were used with attached M-203 grenade lunchers

      No mention of which models were favored by the death squads.

    2. bob

      Balko is a complete and total tool of the oligarch class. As such, he’s fine with the caste system that has developed to his masters advantage. You can get outclassed by anyone, but you still have your gun to keep you company, useless, scared and a target for LE.


  10. TarheelDem

    Message for Wellpoint, Anthem’s parent: Be careful what you ask for and get. How does writing the legislation from Sen. Max Baucus’s office look now?

    1. Jim Haygood

      From Max’s sinecure in Beijing as US Ambassador to China, it looks just fine. “I’ve got mine, Jack.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Hope he’s coping with the bad air there.

        Perhaps with the help of a space suit 24/7, except when he has to meet the Chinese leaders, of course…hard to prostrate in a space suit.

  11. TomDority

    Life on Earth began with a BIG BREATH as oxygen sprang from microscopic plants 2.5 billion years ago

    Headline is a bit confusing…. Life sprang from life. I thought plants were life.
    Anyway, with the big die off and GW – we should see the return of the microscopic plants to, again convert Co2 and all the other thanes we are throwing into the atmosphere, back into oxygen…. well, at least they will after us more complex life are long gone. Rinse and repeat.

    1. Christian B

      Life in itself is only a concept, as is death. These scientists are searching for reality in a sea of concepts. Their quest will never end since the ability for man to create new concepts is never ending.

      Life was always here, and life was never here.

      1. subgenius

        As with intelligence, there is no definition of what actually constitutes ‘life’.

        Any definition manages to either capture things considered non-living (clay, crystals), or fails to account for odd lifeforms…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          My definition is this:

          Any intelligent being (human, at least) should be able to define what intelligence is.

          And impartiality requires no self-claim be allowed. For example, humans cannot just self-claim humans are wise, or sapient, that is, name themselves Homo Sapiens Sapiens. That naked ignorance of conflict of interest proves, by itself, that is, ipso facto, that we are not wise.

          1. Christian B

            In 10th grade math I was measuring some shape on a piece of paper. I realized that I could never know how long the object the side I was measuring actually was. Because to know its exact length I would have to keep making smaller notches on the ruler, 1/8. 1/16, 1/32, ect. I realized that it meant it was either infinite in size or it did not exist at all. I asked my math teacher and she said, you are right, it does not exist, we are just approximating its existence. She was German, of course. That blew my mind.

            So, I can say how high a table is, but that is not how high the table is. I can say that man is intelligent, but that is not what intelligence is.

            The Dao that can be talked about is not the Dao, as the sages say.

        2. Will

          The spirituality that best incapsulates this, as far as I know, is called ‘animism’ – I find it to be pretty profoundly reasonable as a way of relating to the universe and ourselves.

          Basically, people with an animist perspective believe all the universe is living, or equally alive or equally worthy of inspiring a spiritual relationship. It is not possible to remove global oxygen cycles, or ocean water, and still have (99% of) life any more than it’s possible to remove humans’ lungs or brain and still live, and so the ultimately wise thing is to recognize the interconnected nature of everything, and live and work to preserve the health of the interconnected whole, seemingly abiotic and biotic elements alike.

          Part of what makes it seem so profound to me, is that it does away with all arbitrary distinctions of life and non-life and implies an obligation to maintain both biotic and abiotic elements of the world/universe that make human and non-human life possible.

    2. optimader

      Life on Earth began with a BIG BREATH as oxygen sprang from microscopic plants 2.5 billion years ago
      Considering the Earth was created 6,000 years ago, there must be an explanation for this in Einstein’s TofR concept of Time Dilation

    3. LifelongLib

      The story I got is that life may have emerged as much as 3.8 billion years ago, but that organisms that could produce oxygen didn’t appear until long after that, and even then oxygen levels in the atmosphere didn’t rise until surface minerals had been oxidized. The “Cambrian explosion” that produced modern animal phyla didn’t occur until about 540 million years ago.

    1. wbgonne

      And the comments, sheesh, hired shills of HRC no doubt.

      ‘Tis the season.

      Sanders’ speech reads like an indictment of Clintonism, with the Clintons being unnamed co-conspirators. The neoliberals/crony-capitalists are the present-day economic royalists, and they are far more entrenched in power than when FDR fought back.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Your phone listening to your TV.

    The time to start worrying is when the phone becomes addicted to watching TV, not just listening.

    “Let’s go, phone.”

    “Can we wait? There is a boxing match on TV between two heavy-weight phones. We will go when it’s over.”

    They will make programs especially for smart, TV watching phones.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Reforming Police Culture.

    The problem is fractal in nature, as is the solution.

    At the municipal level, prioritize the government budget. Reduce the police funding (and their power, as money is power) and use it for organic community gardens and other more useful projects.

    On this important civil matter, send in federal troops (from a reduced military – that’s your fractal beauty) if necessary.

  14. fresno dan

    Reforming police culture is a daunting challenge WaPo. “[A]n emerging narrative in law enforcement circles that might surprise some people: Cops aren’t shooting people nearly enough.”

    “I think there are two critical components to policing that cops today have forgotten. Number one, you’ve signed on to a dangerous job. That means that you’ve agreed to a certain amount of risk. You don’t get to start stepping on others’ rights to minimize that risk you agreed to take on. And number two, your first priority is not to protect yourself, it’s to protect those you’ve sworn to protect. But I don’t know how you get police officers today to value those principles again. The ‘us and everybody else’ sentiment is strong today. It’s very, very difficult to change a culture.”

    I don’t think it is individual cops forgetting those components. I think police chiefs and politicians have constructed a narrative that each and every cop is a HERO. All heroes, all the time. Perforce, each and every police action is heroic. By definition, they can do no wrong…

    Whether I should put on my tinfoil hat and say its a conspiracy to destroy our freedoms, justify a police state, or whether I should look at it as an outcome of modern media that inflates every threat and posits simple, wrong answers is pretty much a function of how cranky I am that day.

    And one other thing:
    “In January 2005, police officers in Baltimore County, Md., staged a pre-dawn raid on the home of Cheryl Lynn Noel and her family. They suspected that Noel’s son had been involved in drug distribution. When Noel, whose stepdaughter had previously been murdered, woke to the sound of armed men breaking into her home, she grabbed a gun the family kept for protection. When the officers broke down the bedroom door, they saw Noel with the gun, still in her nightgown, and opened fire. According to Noel’s attorneys, the police then shot her again from point-blank range as she lay on the ground.”

    See, keeping a gun for self protection is a bad idea….because the police will shoot you dead.

    1. wbgonne

      I think police chiefs and politicians have constructed a narrative that each and every cop is a HERO. All heroes, all the time. Perforce, each and every police action is heroic. By definition, they can do no wrong…

      Yes, some time ago we apparently changed the meaning of the word “hero.” Heroes do something heroic. Being a victim, however sympathetic, is not the same as being heroic.

    2. subgenius

      Dangerous job? It’s much more dangerous to just live in Oakland.

      It’s more dangerous to work in fishing, farming, logging, construction than to be a leo

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t think that’s related to the 47 ronin.

      Strange we should have that prime number popping up in different places like that.

      1. ambrit

        I dunno about that. Isn’t the underlying plot of “Chushingura” the struggle between Honour and The World? (Pretty much universal, I’d say.)

  15. Daryl

    > Never mind the Big Bang! Life on Earth began with a BIG BREATH as oxygen sprang from microscopic plants 2.5 billion years ago Daily Mail

    Agh, I read the comments. If only young earth creationists were as smart and forward-thinking as… the Daily Mail?

    1. Synapsid


      Yes, the comments are eye-openers though not the only sad part of the article.

      Sarah Griffiths, the writer, seems to think that photosynthesizing cyanobacteria are bluegreen algae are plants. To me that’s as bad as the comments. Algae are more closely related to you and me than bacteria are to algae.

      Question for Lambert: Why quote the Daily Mail on something like this in the first place? For the comments?

  16. fresno dan

    Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It NYT

    Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other.

    If you saw the democratic debate, it was comical how each candidate went on and on about how we could not to it alone, but had to LEAD. (really, see O’malley’s rephrasing of Clinton’s verbal construct – really silly)

    Our interests and the Saudi interest don’t coincide. Pretending otherwise is like seeing a drowning man and saying he is no fire and throwing a bucket of water on him – not helpful.

    1. LifelongLib

      “Our interests…”

      Depends who you mean by “our”. Not you and me, but there are some Americans with a lot of money whose interests DO coincide with the Saudi one, or who at least feel it’s in their interest to let Saudi Arabia have its way…

  17. Richard Creswell

    United Healthcare as the first to announce a possible withdrawal from the health insurance exchanges: couldn’t possibly have to do with outsized CEO compensation or pay to other top management.

    1. cwaltz

      Screw consumers…….everyone knows what really matters is shareholder value (and it just so happens that CEO compensation is very much linked……as in the guy heading UH collected most of his compensation in the form of stock.)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Without more and more sick people, how does the health care industry grow?

        Isn’t that the fundamental existential angst issue the industry needs to address? How to phase itself out or to a diminished state?

        1. JTMcPhee

          Of course, only repetition makes it out to be “health care.” If anything, it’s “billable treatments and a pill for a problem,” and “care” has little to nothing to do with it. All about enriching the UNsurance corporations and “as seen on TV drug pushers,” as they monopolize the realm, leaving us who have no alternative but to pay their “premiums” and still risk “medical bankruptcy” and somehow sustain that steady bleeding out of our substance and security… (It’s not INsurance, by the way, it’s UNsurance, because you are UNsure what coverage you have, UNsure whether your providers are “in plan” or will be next week, UNsure whether your “plan” will be around next renewal period, UNsure whether your necessary medications will drop down 2 or 3 ‘tiers” or just fall off those ‘formularies”..)

  18. Jake Mudrosti

    Regarding the article:

    if a reader isn’t aware that the word/concept “particle” has been radically redefined in modern quantum field theory, compared to the word/concept “particle” of the early 20th century or prior, then they’re getting an Abbott & Costello routine instead of a meaningful summary of the physics. The reader might imagine that they’re learning “facts” while entirely unaware that they’re building up a trash framework on a mismatched conceptual and interpretive foundation.

    Search for “tag” in the following link, to see how decidedly not-spooky and not-elusive entanglement can be (“When one of them decays in a way that reveals (or ‘tags’) its final flavor, the other meson is certain to be in the opposite flavor state at that instant.”) :

    See? Far from being elusive, spooky, or weird, it’s actually one of many standard tools in the modern physicist’s toolbox. Yes, it’s the *starting* *point* — and decidedly *not* the spooky mystery on the horizon — for the analyses supporting that Nobel Prize. As mentioned in previous NC comments, the standard textbook by Peskin succinctly sets the pieces into place in the opening pages of chapter 2, and in chapter 1 introduces the modern concept of particle *interaction* so key to any understanding of “entanglement” in modern interpretations.

    Briefly: Heisenberg specifically alerted his readers to the cracking that results from putting new wine into old bottles. Although quantum field theory admits a wide-open range of interpretations, the article’s author is looking backward at interpretations that predate quantum field theory formalism. The “weirdness” should be the wake-up alarm. Instead, we get shoehorning of the current physics into the outdated frameworks, accompanied by ooh and aah and wow. Previous NC comments link to a summary of the Karlsruhe Physics controversies, to explain the troubles in physics pedagogy today. That’s why this matters.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is there a need to unify the concept of the particle of the modern quantum field theory with the concept of the particle of the early 20th century? Or does one supersede the other, unlike having to unify general relativity and quantum mechanics?

      1. Jake Mudrosti

        The old “particle” concept (e.g., in the atomic theory of John Dalton) and its follow-on concepts need to be replaced or redefined, either in total or piecemeal, when accounting for certain phenomena. A good analogy might be Newtonian vs relativistic mechanics. Newtonian mechanics is still used today, but you must be aware of (1) limits of its applicability, and (2) the fact that its interpretive features and conceptual framework aren’t the last word on the subject. Certain things seem to defy explanation when you insist on pushing it too far.

        Peskin’s textbook, chapter 2, summarizes some key interpretive shifts, and succinctly motivates them by asking and answering some key questions.

        1. craazyman

          “Certain things seem to defy explanation when you insist on pushing it too far.”

          that is very nice. it is truer than it seems. well done.

          however “the explanation” itself seems to require a wholly transformed epistemological vocabulary, both new words, new ideas, new relationships or as Plato’s philosophy would perhaps aver, new “forms”. It is quite astonishing how the modern mind has wholly lost sight of the idea of “form” as an innate structural property of nature. It reminds me to some extent of the poet William Blake’s hatred of Newtonian reductionism for its destruction of organic form. I think Blake missed the point sort of, since the reductionist technique was itself a form of form, but in terms of metaphor, which I imagine was his chief lens of examination, he had a point.

          as we all probably know by now, modern economic thought in particular is a mental disorder because it only knows quantity as a variable of analysis and has no conception of form. it’s like knowing electricity but having no conception of a power plant, or it’s like Michaelangelo knowing marble but having no conception of the statue. A normal person would think “How could they be so crazy?” Of course a normal person wouldn’t be thinkking about this stuff at all, especially with Adele’s new album out. But some people are weird.

  19. bob

    How to Decimate a City The Atlantic

    Local reaction to the piece. See the comments by *people* who live well outside the city. Honestly, it’s probably better that way.

    The author of the story also completely disregards the role Syracuse University (largest employer in the area) played in the planning of the interstate. Trump was the first to propose a wall? Nope. SU wanted a big barrier between it and “everyone else” at the bottom of the hill.

    1. bob

      Also going to add that Canadian exporters and truckers are one huge lobby group in DC that have had an outsized and completely behind the scenes role in the discussion.

      75-85% of interstate money comes directly from DC, with huge lobby strings attached.

      Again, this also benefits SU, who is very deep in DC. Currently ranked in the 50’s as far and natsec “schools”. The new king of saudi arabia sent his son, the first SA astronaut, to SU’s “maxwell school of public citizenship”. I. Shit. You. Not.

  20. Jess

    The recession is officially over and good times have returned. How do I know? Yesterday my mailbox was graced by a Sharper Image catalog with Josh Duhamel on the cover and a headline, “Boys Like Toys”.

    For those that remember, Sharper Image was one of the first retailers to bite the dust when the financial shit hit the fan. The fact that it is back is further proof that the elite and the enabler class who service them are doing just fine.

  21. bob

    One more bite of bitter for the day-

    E. Coli Isn’t Chipotle’s Only Problem Bloomberg

    “The chain might be biting off more than it can chew. It needs to spend more time figuring out how to keep the customers it already has.”

    Business BS without the S. Chipotle needs to figure out how to keep shit out of it’s food. It’s that simple and straight forward- e coli is shit.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Just keep the customers health.

      And that should also be the number 1 goal of education.

      “Today, before you learn algebra, we will show you how to avoid toxic vegetables. You can fail Algebra and still graduate – tough luck with your future corporate employer – but if you fail Safe Vegetables 101, we have a moral duty not to let you loose in the world.”

  22. Gio Bruno

    RE: The Great Oxidation

    This shouldn’t be news to NC readers. It’s been covered in the Comments section months back.

    A key point is left out of the science article. Blue/Green algae is NOT

    1. Gio Bruno

      …pilot error above. Missed Shift and got a truncated submission. Go figure.

      Blue/Green algae is not like regular green algae. B/G can take nitrogen (a limiting element in photosynthesis) out of the atmosphere and use it in the photosynthetic process (oxygen making). Since the atmosphere is ~70% nitrogen B/G algae has unlimited growth opportunity (if there is available energy input: solar).

      1. JTMcPhee

        …So we can comfort ourselves that there will be sufficient Soylent Blue-Green to feed our progeny?…

  23. 3.14e-9

    Apropos yesterday’s 2:00PM WC discussion on Bernie Sanders’s failure to call out HRC on corruption:

    Bernie Sanders ‏@BernieSanders on Twitter (6:11 PM EST)
    “The truth is, you can’t change a corrupt system by taking its money.” With link to today’s NYT story, “Wall St. Ties Linger as Image Issue for Hillary,” by Patrick Healy.

    A telling quote from the article:

    “In the primaries, Mrs. Clinton’s advisers privately concede that she will lose some votes over her Wall Street connections. They declined to share specific findings from internal polls, but predicted the issue could resonate in Democratic contests in Iowa, Nevada, Ohio and Michigan, where many have lost homes and businesses to bank foreclosures.”

    The article also mentions a new Sanders ad that began running today in Iowa and New Hampshire that criticizes Clinton’s ties to Wall Street. I haven’t seen it yet but will search after posting.

    Lastly, it’s always amusing to see how out of touch the “NYT Picks” are with “Readers’ Picks.” NYT picks are largely pro-Clinton, Readers’ Picks are … well, not.

  24. petal

    Drove about 25 miles up Rt 10 along the CT River today through Lyme, Orford and Piermont, NH. Saw a lot of Bernie Sanders signs in yards. Was very surprised at the number. There’s also a new one in a yard around the corner from my house. No Clinton signs seen yet but have been seeing a small handful more bumper stickers since the debates began-no comparison to the number of Sanders ones, but still more than before.

  25. Vatch

    Verging on Plutocracy? Getting Real About the Unelected Dictatorship Paul Street, Counterpunch

    I was a bit annoyed and perplexed by the title of the article, until I read it. The author had the same thought about our plutocracy that I had when I saw the article’s title:

    There’s one part of Foner’s letter that I forgot to mention in my previous essay even though it is intimately related to his alignment with milquetoast radicalism and Hillary’s fake-progressive corporatism. It comes at the beginning of the letter’s sixth paragraph, when he says that contemporary socialism seeks “to empower ordinary people in a political system verging on plutocracy.”

    I’m all for and indeed about empowering ordinary people, but I had to stop and read that statement a second time and ask myself: did the nation’s leading left-liberal historian really just describe contemporary U.S. politics as merely verging on plutocracy?

    Elsewhere in the article, the author seems to be a little hard on Sanders, but maybe the time has come for Sanders to hit back harder against Clinton. Until recently, I supported Bernie’s kid gloves approach, yet Hillary is up to her eyeballs in corruption, and many likely Democratic primary voters don’t seem to realize it. It’s time for Bernie start showing what nominee Hillary would face from the Republicans in the general election.

    1. 3.14e-9

      CounterPunch editors Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank have been dumping on Bernie Sanders since well before he entered the race. They have their checklist of faults and continually try to fit new developments into their little concrete box. As editors, they accept submissions from writers who agree with them. I could be an amputee and count on one hand the articles they’ve published that remotely approve of Sanders. At this point, I doubt Sanders could do or say anything that would get their approval, simply because he’s running as a Democrat, and that makes him part of the big, bad, evil system.

      It’s interesting, by the way, that when Sanders says something that makes sense, the folks in that camp deride it as “just words,” intended for some nefarious ulterior motive. Meanwhile, they support Jill Stein on the issues, conveniently ignoring that positions are just words and that she has no voting record whatsoever to back them up.

      1. James Levy

        I’m always haunted by a kind of Leftist opinion exemplified in Germany in January 1933: give Hitler his shot and not only will he expose the mendacity, stupidity, and corruption of the Right, but it will set the stage for us walking in and taking over. The idea that once the Right holds the coercive power of the State in its hands it’s going to care about popular mandates going forward is laughable, but too many on the Left buy this line of reasoning. They rant about how this is today a full-bore plutocracy, and think that electoral politics don’t matter. Big mistake. Bernie Sanders may be hopelessly compromised in their eyes, but if they think him or Donald Trump or Ted Cruz running the Executive Branch will be all the same deal they are being ideologues and not serious students of human affairs. Americans don’t know what a total plutocracy is, anything more than they know what a military dictatorship is. Things could get vastly worse, and stay that way for a long time. Surrendering to that before we have a chance to mobilize the people against it is a huge mistake.

        1. skippy

          “I’m always haunted by a kind of Leftist opinion exemplified in Germany in January 1933:”

          Are you… have you completely lost the plot… the citi memo..

          Skippy… and what is this thing you call the left…

      2. Vatch

        I’m definitely a Sanders supporter, and I strongly disagree with the people on the far left who think that he’s insufficiently pure. I’m just a little concerned that Sanders is not pushing hard enough against Hillary. I don’t want another U.S. Presidential election in which one major candidate is an overt Republican, and the other is a covert Republican masquerading as a Democrat.

        1. 3.14e-9

          You’re absolutely right.

          My concern, beyond that, is that those advocating that he “go for the jugular” might be a bit too hasty. You could be right; maybe he’s channeling his inner wimp and/or going easy on Hillary by design. But he may have other considerations. For example, we’ve seen how Hillary’s campaign twisted his words to cast doubt on his commitment to women’s rights. It’s a very subtle and manipulative way to play the gender card, and it instantly puts him on the defensive.

          A second consideration is that he doesn’t have her financial resources or extensive power network. He’s vastly outnumbered and outgunned, which means he has to use what he has wisely. He can’t just start shooting at anything that moves. If it were me, I’d try to draw some of her big guns out into the open to get a better idea of what we were up against. Again, I could be giving him too much credit, but I want to wait and see before declaring him spineless, gutless, clueless, etc.

  26. optimader


    The Hasbro toy company has just launched Joy For All, a line of robotic cats specially designed for seniors. Thanks to numerous sensors, these interactive plush toys are indeed able to respond to petting by purring, but also by rolling on their back to request belly rub. These gadgets are sold at a price of $99. And you, what will you offer to your grandmother for Christmas?

      1. Massinissa

        Is it because we just found out that CATS can be replaced by robots too?

        If CATS can be replaced by cheaper robots, why do human professionals think they are immune to automation? Cats have been around longer than the worlds oldest profession! Which, by the way, is quite possibly ALSO on the way out with robotic sexdolls in a couple decades, or sooner.

        Not quite sure why newer professions like, I dunno, Lawyers or something, think they cant be replaced…

        1. 3.14e-9

          Well, that helps clarify. Cats CAN’T be replaced by robots. So for starters, it’s depressing that anyone would think there was anything remotely desirable in a contraption that is programmed to respond a certain way when you push a button. Maybe if it was a Tribble or something else that didn’t imitate a real animal, it could be a fun novelty toy.

          And I suppose that’s part of my misgiving, too. Pets aren’t toys, nor are they there simply for immediate gratification. And, for that matter, a big part of the therapeutic effect of pets is that they need to be cared for, nurtured, and loved.

          In a way, it’s like when the talking Barney doll came out and was promoted as a friend to a child. And yet somehow it feels worse.

      1. optimader

        Sorry, hate other peoples acronyms (OPA) undefined… shorthand for MyLessThanPrimeBeef.
        Yes, creepy-depressing because it’s for real

    1. skippy

      Nature deficit disorder refers to the phrase coined by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems.

      Skippy…. ummm….

        1. skippy

          Yeah good old THX1138….

          Been on cable of late, family thought I was watching a comedy with all the laughter and guffaws emanating from the lounge room…

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