Links 9/28/16

TV doctors say annual checkups save lives. Real doctors call bullshit. Vox

Huge Meteor? Alien Attack? Hundreds Report Bang, Flash in Sky Over Australia Sputnik News

The genetics behind what mosquitos choose to bite Ars Technica

Neonicotinoids: Unpublished Industry Studies Detail Harm to Bee Health Truthout

Nick Clegg reveals that there is a special security door for cats in Downing Street New Statesman

Deutsche BailOut/In Watch

Deutsche Bank shares fall to new low after another turbulent day The Guardian

Deutsche Bank debt is taking a beating Marketwatch

German banks pose threat to EU, claims Lamont The Times

Bundesregierung bereitet Notfallplan für Deutsche Bank vor Die Zeit

Matteo Renzi’s not-so-secret weapon: Euro-bashing  Politico

The Government Wants To Define What “Healthy” Actually Means On Food Labels Buzzfeed

Science in crisis: from the sugar scam to Brexit, our faith in experts is fading The Conversation

Endangered species rule changed, angering environmental group The Hill (Frosty Zoom)

Martin Shkreli – ‘American’s most hated man’ – auctioning off chance to hit him in the face Telegraph

Feds accuse Silicon Valley firm of hiring bias San Francisco Chronicle

Senators accuse Yahoo of ‘unacceptable’ delay in hack discovery Reuters


Saudi Arabia is showing signs of financial strain as its relationship with the US sours Independent

Syrian troops launch major ground assault for Aleppo Al Jazeera

US Special Forces sabotage White House policy gone disastrously wrong with covert ops in Syria Sofrep (Chuck L)

Boris Johnson seeks to mend fences in talks with Turkish leadership The Guardian. Don’t miss the last paragraph.

How Fracking is Re-Calibrating Global Geo-Politics The Wire

A New Debate Over Pricing the Risks of Climate Change NYT

Power-Plant-Emissions Court Case Raises Questions on EPA Rules’ Scope WSJ

Greenland’s receding icecap to expose top-secret US nuclear project The Guardian


Could Brexit bring back the royal yacht? BBC

Jeremy Corbyn ‘relaxed’ about immigration numbers Politico

It’s not just Britain. Europe too has everything to lose from an end to the single market in financial services Telegraph

Ex-Chancellor Osborne Warns of ‘Severe’ Damage From Hard Brexit Bloomberg

Sturgeon links Brexit to austerity in London speech BBC

In ‘Unprecedented’ Move, India Ditches SAARC Summit in Pakistan, Sees Cross-Border Link to Uri The Wire

Modi turns to river politics to avenge Kashmir attack FT

Imperial Collapse Watch

Barack Obama’s pivot to Asia in tatters Al Jazeera. Although this was published over the weekend, it’s  still worth reading for its summary of declining US influence in Asia, focussing on Duterte’s decision not to toe the US line on China’s South China Sea stance.

Duterte talks big, but the Philippines won’t break ties with the US any time soon The Conversation

WTO Slashes Global Trade Forecast by 39% Since April: “Wake-Up Call” Says WTO Director Mishtalk

iPhone production ban among tactics China may deploy in new trade war with the US SCMP



Evangelicals, Once Skeptical Of Trump, Have Rallied To His Side FiveThirtyEight

Why Nobody’s Talking About the Supreme Court Bloomberg

Lester Holt’s Big Lie About the Commision on Presidential Debates Is a Root Problem of U.S. Politics Truthdig

Fed on ropes as Yellen seeks to fend off Trump blows FT

Here’s what Goldman Sachs is telling clients to do ahead of the U.S. election Marketwatch

Nuances of crime stats lost in 2016 presidential debate The Hill

Trump Promises No First Nuclear Strike, Sort of; New Bill Would Make it Illegal The Intercept

Judge blocks Election Day registration at Illinois polling places Chicago Tribune

Climate Science Denialist Myron Ebell Named As Trump Adviser As Debate Skirts Climate DeSmog Blog


Antidote du jour:




See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.



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  1. fresno dan

    Lester Holt’s Big Lie About the Commision on Presidential Debates Is a Root Problem of U.S. Politics Truthdig

    Holt claimed that the event was “sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. The commission drafted tonight’s format, and the rules have been agreed to by the campaigns.”
    While the CPD certainly controls much of the event, it’s not a “nonpartisan” organization at all. It’s about as far from nonpartisan as you can get. It’s totally bipartisan. It’s a creation of the Democratic and Republican parties designed to solidify their dominance over the public.
    Holt’s fabrication—he can’t possibly be ignorant of this—is really a root problem of our politics. All the lies and spin from Clinton and Trump largely manifest themselves because each side excuses them because “the other” is worse. That is, the very “bipartisan” structure of our elections is in large part responsible for the dynamics we’re seeing.
    And the voters have “no where else to go” because they are in effect held prisoners by fear. Millions of people who might agree with other candidates—Jill Stein of the Green Party or Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson or the Constitution Party or socialist parties—do not actually coalesce around those candidates because they fear helping Trump or Clinton. This mindset probably prevents stronger challengers to the duopoly from ever coming forward in the first place.

    The fact of the matter is that the two parties agree far more than they disagree. Trump is continually becoming more orthodox.
    The average American faces a more sustantive choice deciding between Pepsi and Coke.

    1. Roger Smith

      The average American faces a more sustantive choice deciding between Pepsi and Coke.

      Awesome connection, ha! I remember those awful commercials.

      1. Emma

        Interesting comment. Many people are simply shrugging their shoulders and sticking with mediocrity. But it’s at their own expense, not for those overhead. Perhaps there’s nothing nicer than becoming self-harming saboteurs of democracy. It’s the best of both worlds isn’t it? Living within a kakonomy within a ‘free-market’ economy. That’s exceptional. If not dysfunctional.

        On the other hand, in a democracy, you get freedom and choice. A little like what you get in a free-market economy. It’s not about manipulating and limiting peoples freedom of expression and choice. It’s actually about giving space to all the different voices of a nation.

        That’s why you don’t have just Pepsi or Coke. Because at some time, some place in America, some people once thought new approaches to evolving challenges should not be silenced. That’s how you get innovation. And progress. And democracy. If that’s what you actually really want……..

    2. DanB

      “Trump is continually becoming more orthodox.” Yes, and if he dose win he’ll cut successive deals with the 1% -the tribe to which he belongs and is ultimately beholden. This will continue the delegitimization of current politics and government.

      1. Paid Minion

        He’s a 1%er himself. Just ask him.

        No reason to think that he won’t manage the country like a 1%er would. Which is more of the same crap that has put the country where it is now.

    3. Ignim Brites

      Until congressional districts and election to the Senate by states are abolished and strict proportional representation is introduced, politics in the US will gravitate toward duopoly. (Actually, it will tend toward monopoly as NY, CA among others demonstrate.) I won’t say that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are not serious political persons but they are not serious enough to challenge the duopoly.

        1. polecat

          Well .. that representation is currently working ‘proportionately’ for the Banksters, members of CONgress, and the 10% on up, is it not ??….. I mean, come on !! …. when it comes down to it, there is NO representation of the plebes, by our supposed representatives …… it’s all jive 24/7 !

        2. Waldenpond

          I don’t see how it happens unless voting, a set minimum number of political parties and registration for a party are mandatory. It would still be controlled by the oligarchs so it would also have to include public financing and criminalizing public corruption.

        3. hunkerdown

          Each state becomes a multi-member district in which people vote for parties who then select members proportional to the party’s respective share of the popular vote.

          Ceteris paribus, I don’t like it. The lord-serf allegiance model is still in place and one is still expected to subordinate oneself to the “democratically decided” dictates of the party, whether germane or no. We’re still expected to have ourselves improved by our “betters” and still can’t fire them (non-renewal of contract is not the same). Parties would have to be much more responsive to the populace than to their imaginary friends for such a scheme to improve outcomes.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Don’t forget monopoly (monoparchy? Monopcracy?) in Michigan, Wisconsin, even Sunny Florida where the Democrat Party takes care of “issues” like LGBT and nods to abortion rights, while putting up for “the vote” creatures like Alex “Kitchen” Sink and Charlie “Jesus” Christ and Patrick “Formerly Red” Murphy. State legis long controlled by Reds (remember when those same people used to scream “Better DEAD than RED”?) despite a majority of “voters” (the ones not purged by the Reds with Team Blah connivance) but basically just “an arm of business,” including developers (actually “destroyers”), aptly named “power companies,” Big Agra/Sugar, phosphate mining (“oops, sorry about all that sudden-externality-recognition stuff, banking and charter schools and toll roads and a creature named Marion Hammer, Gun Moll for the NRA and other “conservative interests.” ANd let us not forget that Fokker who is the Governor General, selling off the state including his favorite area, “medical services.” With ALEC and other players keeping the ball rolling, and a steadily more in-the-bag-with-the-money 4th Estate cheerleading and proselytizing.

        Other states in the same sinkhole? Here, when ordinary people fall into sinkholes they don’t generally get out alive.

        I wonder every day why nobody on the ordinary-people side has availed themselves of the “Second Amendment Solution…”

      2. Katharine

        Why abolish congressional districts? I don’t see your point there. I would like them compact rather than gerrymandered, which would improve a representative’s chances of knowing and representing the concerns of his or her constituents; in a sane world, my city and its inner ring suburbs would constitute one district, instead of which the city is divided among three districts which all have ridiculous extended shapes reaching into a couple of other jurisdictions. It makes no sense for a representative to have to travel over 50 miles to get from one end to the other of his district when better design could make it ten miles.

        1. Jim Haygood

          They’re called fishhook districts for a reason: it’s how Depublicrats “catch and release” oblivious voters, while keeping their duopoly safe and stable.

          Without them, many bizarre “designer district” lifeforms that inhabit Congress, wouldn’t.

  2. timbers

    Greenland’s receding icecap to expose top-secret US nuclear project The Guardian

    “Trust the professionals” – President Barack Obama

        1. Dave

          Judith, God, how our language is declining and shrinking….
          “Booby trap”, a noun and a verb–as in I.E.D., something designed to kill or maim or capture someone, foolish enough to fall into, enter or be tricked by it.

          Another example of language shrinkage…
          look how the words and the separate meanings of “husband, wife, fiancee, girlfriend, boyfriend, lover, paramour, roommate, mistress”, etc, have all been subsumed into the meaningless “partner”.

          1. Judith

            I think it might be a Juvenile Masked Booby. Since IDing juvenile birds can be a bit tricky, and I never did figure out that pelagic bird that seemed like a tube-nosed from a few weeks ago…

          2. hunkerdown

            Dave, those terms haven’t been subsumed; they’ve been concealed as to obscure what’s none of your business.

            1. Dave

              Well if you’re ashamed of what you’re doing, have no pride in it and want to conceal it, I guess you are right.

              So you’d agree that what people think of other groups and people’s personal choices and how they express that among their friends and in public is none of your business? Consistency.

  3. paul

    Re: Science in Crisis

    Yesterday’s coverage of Elon Musk’s amazing plans of travel to Mars, says ‘science’ will feel little pressure to mend its ways.
    With a straight face,it was relayed that Elon was going to the red planet for about 2/3rds of the Deutsche bank fine (or 1/8th of the F35 development budget),taking only one year longer than tesla took to engineer an IPO.
    I’ll say one thing for Musky, he’s got a very hard neck.

      1. TheCatSaid

        As whistleblowers say there have been secret space programs on Mars for several decades, maybe Musk knows more than he lets on.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It’s more likely Musk knows machine traders trade on news, so it’s better to stay in the news with a positive light.

          As for the science of going to Mars, it’s nothing new or fantastic. It’s just expensive until you get the place up and running even if you just had robots because you would need robots to build and maintain those robots, and who would robot the robots who robot the other robots? There would would be way too much activity to keep a secret Mars program out of the news. Besides the retired engineers who did the leg work would want recognition.

          There could be a secret rover or two, but that’s about it.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            If I was an investor in Tesla companies, I’d treat each Musk announcement of Mars flights as a ‘sell’ signal. Its the equivalent of a magician trying to draw your eyes away from the cards as he changes the deck.

          2. Isolato

            The science of going to Mars says…don’t. You won’t survive the radiation exposure in any way you would like. And why? Our roving robots get more sophisticated every year, never complain, work for years. Yes, I get it is an “adventure” but adding meatbags adds a huge cost for very little return other than bragging rights and is likely to contaminate Mars biologically, just like we have screwed up our own planet. It is a kind of imperialism.

            Unless we come up w/a novel way out of our gravity well we are unlikely to ever move very far off the surface of the Earth in a big way. Of course I’d rather all our weapons scientists worked on a Mars rocket, but that ain’t gonna’ happen. I came of age to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001”. I’m still waiting for that wondrous year.

            1. Plenue

              On the other hand, if Musk himself goes on the first ship and gets himself killed, I’d say it will have all been worth it.

              1. hunkerdown

                Vatch, kewl, we’re gonna colonize Aleppo! Where is that, anyway? Do you happen to have the right-ascension and declination? ;)

            2. redleg

              The radiation danger is miniscule compared to the psychological stress of essentially being trapped in a car for a few years.
              People lose their minds spending a winter in Antarctica. Multiply that by an order of magnitude and then combine that with the stress of lethal failure. People would kill each other over fingernail clippings or kill themselves out of loneliness before the radiation would. Imagine an office cube farm that neither you nor anyone else could leave for years.

          3. oh

            I would like him to take the first one way trip. Everything he does is another scheme to use govt. subsidies to enrich himself.

    1. Praedor

      I’m OK with the 0.1% shitturds all leaving for Mars. They will go there and quickly die and/or go insane. No way to ever go outside, no way to “terraform” the planet to make it what they’re destroying here.

      See, Musk and his ilk ignores a key scientific fact: Mars has no magnetic field of any consequence. So what says you? That’s EVERYTHING, says I. No magnetic field, no protection from cosmic radiation, no protection from the solar wind. The earth is habitable NOT simply because it is warm and wet. It’s habitable because it has a solid magnetic field that keeps the surface from being sterilized 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from hard radiation. No magnetic field means that no matter how much CO2 you dissolve/sublime from Mars’ poles, or out of the permafrost, no matter how warm(ish) you make it (still be cold as hell) you will never ever eliminate hard cosmic and solar radiation. Spend any time outside of your underground bunker on the surface even after you warm the place up to 50 degrees F and you STILL will go back in with ionizing radiation damage up the ying-yang to your DNA and proteins. ALL the rich fucks that run to Mars will (happily!) live short lives loaded with cancer and radiation sickness.

      PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE all you 0.1%er shiteaters, GO TO MARS! Go! You deserve the fate that awaits you in “paradise”.

        1. Praedor

          They didn’t. No on is living on the Moon day-in, day-out. And no one has fantasies of terraforming the moon either to make it a “new earth” like Musk does (he has fantasies of nuking the shit out of Mars to do a quick and dirty heat-up to get the terraforming ball rolling).

          Musk is talking about PERMANENT migrants to Mars, not just an extended stay in shelters…plus astronauts that spend long times in space are already known to have increased cancer risk (significantly) relative to their earth-bound cohort. Just months of exposure to high-energy radiation of space is enough to do a number on them. Mars travelers are looking at a long trip to the planet in a tin can exposed to full radiation (low Earth orbit astronauts still benefit from the protections of Earth’s magnetic field…they are below the Van Allen belts where they would be fried in short order if they spent months there). These Mars travelers then arrive at Mars and go down to tin can shelters that provide equally null protection from cosmic or solar radiation. If reasonably intelligent, they spend all their initial time there building buried shelters to provide thermal insulation as well as radiation protection and then they stay in them for the vast majority of their time, with only short jaunts outside whether day or night, to do other stuff. They can think on it that every day spent outside their buried shelters is like a daily x-ray taken back in the 50s. Every. Day.

          1. paul

            Relax man, Elon is just taking the piss. I reckon he’ll do a Ken Lay in 5 years and they’ll abandon the mission out of respect.

      1. ChrisPacific

        It’s a good illustration of how people tend to overlook or minimize the unknown unknowns. Colonizing Mars would be orders of magnitude more difficult than learning how to live sustainably and preserve the environment here on Earth (the problem that Musk thinks is too hard, and proposes to dodge by colonizing Mars). But we know exactly how hard the latter problem is and (in great detail) what scientific, political, and psychological obstacles must be overcome in order to achieve it. In contrast, colonizing another planet is just a fuzzy Big Idea that captures the imagination, and most people have no clue about specific difficulties like cosmic radiation. So it seems easier to them, even though it’s actually vastly more difficult.

  4. sam

    “Worldwide, we are facing a joint crisis in science and expertise. This has led some observers to speak of a post-factual democracy – with Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump the results.” – from the link to the Science in Crisis story.

    I’m getting a little tired of seeing voting for Trump conflated with having voted for Brexit. Trump appalls me (as does Pepsi. I mean Clinton.) You don’t have to have believed the promises of manifestly unfactual Farage or Johnson (I ignored both of them) to have had very good reasons for wanting out of the EU. If people like pro-Remain Bank of England governor Mark Carney, for example, are considered experts, heaven help us.

  5. EndOfTheWorld

    RE:” Duterte talks big, but…”—There’s no telling what Duterte Harry will do. What good is the US, if all they want the Filipinos to do is act as bullet-stoppers in a war with China? The Filipinos can see the writing on the wall.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      “Duterte has opted for bilateral negotiations with China”, I mean how dare he, if even our most pliant vassal states get all uppity and start *talking* then what’s a global military tyrant to do?
      And someone please point me to a single solitary area where Team Obama’s strategy is NOT in tatters. Russia? China? Syria? Turkey? EU? Maybe the Paraguayans are doing OK. And oh I forgot: THE SAUDIS AND THE ISRAELIS. So it’s Team America: US, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Grenada versus the world. With bank accounts in The City.

  6. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: TV doctors say annual checkups save lives. Real doctors call bullshit. Vox

    “H. Gilbert Welch, a Dartmouth Medical School professor, is an expert on overdiagnosis, and in his excellent new book, “Less Medicine, More Health,”…………”

    Less medicine, more health.


    1. Robert Hahl

      I really like the HMO approach as practiced by Kaiser Permanente in VA. Quick, expert service, nobody seems to push unnecessary procedures, and everything one might need is at the ready.

      1. Praedor

        HELL no. NO HMOs. If I have a skin condition I want to go to a dermatologist, NOT a GP to get him/her to say, “Yep, skin condition. Here’s a permission slip to see a dermatologist”. If I have a spinal issue, I want to see an orthopedic specialist, NOT a GP so I can get a permission slip to see the ortho.

        HMOs suck. They are about denying care as long as possible, preferably until after it’s too late. The point of them is to prevent you from getting expert treatment (or cures) so that you will just die and end the problem for the HMO CEO (and his/her bonus) altogether.

        1. Michael

          I had an HMO where I was allowed to have a relationship with my doc. She was cool about referrals after 5 minute phone chats. It was nice to have a second brain on my symptoms.

          1. Praedor

            My experience:

            I’ve already experienced all my issues for decades, I don’t need an HMO GP gatekeeping for me, especially if I move and have to change up docs. I don’t want to go through the same old shit again to deal with low back pain when I know it wont work and I need to see the ortho directly to get the working procedures done. It wastes my time and the doc’s time to reiterate the same of territory again: Try ibuprofen. Nope. Try some tramadol: nope. Try chiropractic: nope. Try physical therapy: nope. Etc, ad nauseum. I’ve already been through ALL of that and I insist on skipping to the end.

            When I had acne as a teen I didn’t want to keep going thru the same rigamarol of this soap or that soap, change your diet, taking tetracycline, etc, etc, etc. Finally I skipped past all that in my early 20s, went direct to a dermatologist and got what I NEEDED to FIX the problem once and for all: acutane. Boom! Cured (literally).

            If I have urinary tract issues I want to go to an urologist. THAT guy/gal will get to the fix right away without all the repetitive preample crap. They’ll check directly for infection or do a direct prostate exam and deal with it properly. No middleman, no delay. An HMO with the gatekeeper means longer waiting lists to deal with any problem because you have to go through the GP first and exhaust their basics or, at best, get their permission for a consult with the specialist at a later date. So you have to wait to get in to see your GP (waiting list) to deal with a problem you have NOW and want dealt with NOW to get permission to see a specialist that puts you on another waiting list to see them. Wait/delay and wait/delay some more.

            I don’t have a primary physician right now. Don’t need one. When I have an issue with my back, I go to the ortho. If I have a pissing problem I’ll go direct to a urologist. If I have an issue with feet, I’ll go direct to a podiatrist. No extended stay on a waiting list for the primary physician first, THEN placed on the wait list for the specialist AFTER the first physician does their thing.

        2. Prufrock

          The Kaiser HMO referral process, IMO, is better than trying to find a specialist yourself. You can often see your GP, and then walk over to see the specialist you were referred to. Having dealt with both HMOs and other structures due to job changes, the well run HMO is much easier to deal with, and very much like what I would expect a well run single payer system to work like.

          1. Robert Hahl

            Thank you. That is exactly was I was going to say. A good HMO helps you to find a good specialist and get an appointment the next day.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Purely anecdotal, but I knew a 92-year-old lady who stated that she had not visited a physician in over 50 years. She was healthy and ambulatory, with good posture.

      Ironically, her best friend was a doctor’s wife, who respected her choice.

    3. RabidGandhi

      Funny, both I and my doc are anti-regular check ups, but there was one argument in the article that took me aback:

      About one-third of Americans say they get an annual physical, which costs an estimated $10 billion each year — roughly as much as we spend on all lung cancer care in the United States.

      This means that in the midst of a primary care shortage in the United States, doctors are spending several hours on visits that evidence suggests are a waste of time and could be harmful.

      This comment is made without mentioning that most of that money gets sucked up by a highly-privatised insurance bureaucracy, or the fact that there would be no “primary care shortage” if MD positions were open to candidates from outside the US, the way manufacturing and service positions are.

      Not feeling obliged to get annual check-ups is a positive, but no one should be disuaded from going to a doctor because of economics.

    4. neo-realist

      I had an uncle who went on a health kick—Vegetarian diet and exercise, but he didn’t go to the doctor. When he wasn’t feeling all that good, he went to his nutritionist. By the time he was feeling bad enough to go to the doctor and they discovered that he had cancer, it had metastasized to his liver, kidneys, and lungs; so he was pretty much of a goner. Who knows? If he had gone to the doctor regularly and the cancer was discovered it earlier, he might still be around today.

      Regular checkups are good even if you are living a healthy lifestyle, particularly when you get to middle age when ailments and in some cases disease can creep up on you. You’re not bulletproof like you were in your 20’s and 30’s.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        No, random medical check-ups are not good. Anecdote is not research. There have been numerous studies over the years on this topic and none – repeat none – find any benefit in testing healthy symptom free people. There are in fact sound reasons to think it can be counterproductive for health (as an example, it can lead to over diagnosis and hence over treatment of benign cancers such as some types of prostate cancer).

        There are a certain specific set of medical conditions which should be tested for on a regular basis – such as breast cancer in older women – which have demonstrated benefits. People of the relevant age and criteria are (or should be) notified of these by their physicians.

        1. Dave

          Cat Scans, create a “Moderate Risk” of inducing cancer per the harvesters of profit that use and push them. Knowing how everything is assured to be safe in the medical field, you would have to be crazy to voluntarily get a cat scan. For a while they were pushing “whole body cat scans” as a means of “assuring health”.

          Eat a high quality 100% organic diet, exercise frequently, drink a little if you want, lay off the meat and any tobacco and you’re doing as more for your health than the factory food eating slob that chows down on burgers, brew and ‘backy and gets a yearly medical exam.

        2. redleg

          The advantage is to establish a personal healthy baseline measured over decades. Major deviations from that baseline are a diagnostic tool.

          I’m not a doctor, but long term baseline norms are critical to the research that I personally conduct. For that reason – establishing a healthy baseline that identifies what is normal for me – is why I have annual doctor’s visits when I am not sick or injured.

      2. oh

        I’m sorry to hear about your uncle’s cancer but I wonder what kind of “cure” he’s gonna face. Maybe he’s better off knowing. Now he’ll face a barrage of tests (including x-rays) and chemo which will make his life miserable. AFAIK, there’s no such thing as early detection for cancer.

        Just saying…

        1. neo-realist

          Thanks, but he’s in the cold ground now—Between 15 and 20 years ago. He was terminal when diagnosed, so from what I can recall it was a slow painful road to death, spent primarily at home, without the chemo or much in way of further treatment. Due to late detection and massive spread, they couldn’t tell exactly where the cancer started.

          There is early detection for prostate cancer, and, in many cases, a successful prognosis if you have the antigen surgically removed early if it is larger than it should be.

    5. cwaltz

      I don’t understand why creating a standard would be so darn hard. It isn’t like the government doesn’t already have one.

      The military doesn’t do annual check ups on everyone. The 18-35 group get physicals every 5 years. Each physical requires a CBC, and a urine specimen result be recorded. As a person gets older they add a cholesterol test and an EKG to the mix and require the physicals occur more often. You have access to sick call but they don’t check your health annually(although they do call you in for HIV tests and flu shots that are required to be recorded in your medical jacket annually.)

      You get special physicals if you need to be cleared for things like special assignments(kind of like how a child might need a “sports physical” to play sports.) Why doesn’t the government just take these standards and apply them across the board to healthy folks?

      1. Praedor

        You DO get an annual checkup in the military. Every 5 years you get a full workup. Annually you get a quick health-check: blood pressure, blood chemistry, vision, dental check. The 5 year check is the full Monty with “Bend over and cough”, cardiogram, etc.

        1. cwaltz

          Uh no, they don’t. Annual mean yearly and no you do not get an ANNUAL exam. No one calls you down to sick call to check your blood pressure either.(I should know I was a Navy corpsman who had to handle the physical exam desk at 13 area branch clinic at Camp Pendleton as well a verify medical records and call members to medical to ensure readiness.) They don’t do a chem panel unless it is indicated(you are on cholesterol or hypertension protocol which might impact liver function where the MD wants to ensure that he isn’t hurting you with medication.) They do a CBC which gets recorded on your physical exam standard forms when your exam is due(which is definitely not annually for the younger people. As you get older those physicals are required more often and require more tests.)

          Now they did call you down annually for an HIV test(it’s required for readiness) or pap smear for females(usually this is handled when you need a new prescription for BCPs since scripts must be renewed annually) but as far as a physical exam… There is no SF 88 or 93(history and exam) completed annually.

          Dental is annual but it is kept at dental…..not medical. It technically is treated as a separate department than medical. They have their own protocol for readiness.

    6. Waldenpond

      In our region, it takes more than a year to get in with a physician. If you do not do the annual physical, they will dump you.

      Physicals nowadays are interesting. They do not require that a person change into a gown. The assistant weighs the patient, takes blood pressure and temp. The doctor asks a few questions, refers for a test (how much? no thanks) or meds (how much? side effects? no thanks) and out the door you go.

      1. cwaltz

        I was told that too. If you haven’t been seen within a year then the clinic drops you from the MD you were assigned to.

        Physicals IMO are kind of a joke. They seem more like a bitch fest and a reminder about things like diet and exercise(my last one probably inadvertently hurt me since I was encouraged to eat whole grain instead of the enriched stuff that might have helped my iron levels.) I found out I was anemic thanks to the Rotary club who twice a year sponsors a blood draw for $40.

        You might check your region to see if it does this near you.

        1. Yves Smith

          There’s a lot of evidence that says that physicals don’t improve health outcomes. But anyone who has a prescription has to see the doctor once a year to get a new scrip (at least in NY and I assume in most states). And there used to be all sorts of tests you were supposed to get annually (for women, like mammograms and Pap smears, although they now changed the standards for some of them). But if you don’t want to get a colonoscopy, the alternative is an occult fecal blood test….which needs to be done annually to be a good screen v. cancer.

          You actually SHOULD get your eyes examined at least every 2 years for glaucoma. It’s really easy to get that and not notice. I have a friend who lost 90% of her vision in one eye due to that.

          1. Waldenpond

            Our employer insurance (Blue Shield) doesn’t cover annual tests. They are all spaced out 2-3 years. Have requested the fecal test for several years and haven’t been able to get it.

            1. kareninca

              Waldenpond, it is probably too late for you to read this, but you can now (it is a recent thing) buy the fecal occult tests over the counter. They are about twenty bucks. Actually not literally over the counter; you have to buy them either on Amazon or directly from the company (Pinnacle BioLabs). It is the same test as the doctor does, but you can DIY now totally at home; no need to send it anywhere. We buy them in bulk because our dog has IBD, but I am using them twice a year myself to avoid having to have a colonoscopy.

          2. cwaltz

            The whole system kind of drives me insane.

            Case in point, last month I started to show UTI symptoms. I’ve been hospitalized with pyelonephritis before as well as had a 10mm kidney stone the next year block off my kidney so I headed to urgent care. I gave my history, told them why I was worried. They dipsticked my urine and said it was clear(trace of WBCs) but then proceeded to hand me a script for Cipro. Two days later I ended up in the ER. Why? I was still having pain. This time there is blood in my urine. A CT scan reveals that I’ve probably passed a stone(only one visible in right kidney though and none in left so woohoo for that!) Meanwhile I’ve been taking a broad spectrum antibiotic for no reason. I did get a consult to urology after the fact(courtesy of the 2mm stone in the right kidney). I felt awful about having to use the ER for my stone(even straight out told them with my threshold for pain that these stones feel more inconvenient than painful since they seem to make me feel like I have a UTI) but what option did I have? Clearly, urgent care wasn’t the right or good choice.


            There has to be a better way between testing nothing and guessing and testing everything under the sun.

            1. Waldenpond

              Oh yeah, it’s corrupt…. Doctor did in house testing. Came back negative. Prescribed antibiotics. (Yes, I took the scrip) I went to another lab. Positive. Filled the scrip.

              Needed tests (calcium/magnesium levels) that couldn’t be done at doctor’s office. Refused to send my tests to lower cost lab, sent to hospital lab instead (to have admitting rights they strictly adhere to the religious hospital on all issues). Got hit with a $300-$400 deductible.

              1. jrs

                If it’s UTIs being tested for have them culture it, not in house testing, but have the urine sent away to be cultured, you’ll have results within a week AND they can test if the antibiotic actually works on what you have.

        2. hunkerdown

          It appears that (associated with LabCorp) will draw specimens and report results without a physician’s order. ($29 for a CBC — where’d the other $11 go?)

          1. cwaltz

            The Rotary draw includes CBC with diff, chem panel, cholesterol, and iron stores. They ask you to fast( for cholesterol probably) so you also have a fasting glucose. HCA actually has their staff draw the blood. I’m not sure if the labs are done at the hospital or not(and are a write off for them as a charitable donation.)

            They do these draws twice a year, once in April and the other in October.

  7. rich

    Carlyle’s Rubenstein to Speak at WIF

    Secretary of State John Kerry will headline this week’s Washington Ideas Forum.

    Also on the agenda are Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein and former PEU Steven Rattner of the Quadrangle Group.

    Both men settled pension pay to play investigations in New York state. We’ll see if that’s one of the ideas shared at this week’s event.

    A “How do we make things worse for the 99%” Conference?

  8. Steve H.

    Some entertaining comments on the debate below. Looks to me like ‘People see what they want to see, and they don’t see what they don’t want to see.’ I agree with Lambert that she won based on points (in a rules-based criteria of analysis). My main individual recollection is Trump tangenting out of any plausible sentence structure.

    But my friend Chris, who grew up in Owen County and is showing a high skill level as we fix the holes in my roof, said this: “In rural areas, there’s a shame associated with intelligence.”

    Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate

    Trade, Trump, and the Debate

    1. vidimi

      in bayesian terms, the debate resulted in peoples’ posteriours to be unchanged from their priors. in real world terms, this election is about two americas – one rich and thriving, the other poor and festering – and the debate didn’t move people from one america to the other. this tells one what to expect from the remaining debates.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Sorry to quibble — how are the votes between rich and thriving and poor and festering split between parties? I would think the poor and festering make up the larger crowd but they always seem to lose in our elections.

        1. vidimi

          it has been suggested that they’re split by ethnic lines:
          minorities treading water economically-speaking are voting for clinton out of fear of trump’s racism;
          most white voters treading water will vote for trump despite his racism while some will vote for him because of it.

          the voters in the second (and third) category will vote at higher rates than those in the first.

          1. Steve H.

            The two groups that have been completely pulped are urban black and rural white.

            So alike, and so different.

          2. jgordon

            Trump is not racist. That is a lie being spread by the Hillary campaign and her vile media toadies.

            If you want to talk about racism, there is exactly one candidate running with a history of making racist comments, and it ain’t Trump, or Stein, or Johnson. But then you wouldn’t know that if you only paid attention to the corrupt legacy media.

            1. Jim Haygood

              “Racist” is a judgmental term, probably not effective in winning people over.

              But folks understand that “law ‘n order” and “stop ‘n frisk” translate via profiling into “round up minorities and lock they ass in cages.”

            2. JohnnyGL

              I’d say Trump’s racist, but not uniquely so among past presidents. He’s less mindful of making insensitive (PC?) comments.

              Realistically, almost all of our past presidents have been racist, to some degree or another, haven’t they? Roosevelt, LBJ and Lincoln were all pretty racist, but helped achieve big gains for black Americans.

              Maybe Obama’s not, or Carter wasn’t, particularly racist, but maybe they are? I don’t know. I really don’t think racism is a factor that clearly indicates someone will make a better or worse president. To be clear, I’d less less racism around, but let’s be honest, the bar is set pretty low among our ruling elites.

              Trump probably does believe that his tax cuts and other policies will make things better for all Americans. But, we’re all familiar with Trump’s struggle with facts (of course, he’s no worse than most Republicans).

            3. John Zelnicker

              @jgordon – Seriously?!? Not to defend Hillary, who has demonstrated her racism with such comments as the one about “super-predators”, but to claim that Trump is not racist is to ignore his history for the past 40+ years. You really need to take off your blinders. Or, is this just part of your agenda that I’m not familiar with? Maybe the lack of response to your comment by other commenters here is an indication that they are used to you making such ridiculous statements and have realized that it is useless to say anything about them.

              1. vidimi

                Maybe the lack of response to your comment by other commenters here is an indication that they are used to you making such ridiculous statements and have realized that it is useless to say anything about them.

                this. jgordon was an early trump advocate back when bernie still had a chance to win. he kept saying how he couldn’t wait for trump to mop the floor with hillary in the debates because sanders couldn’t do it. after debate 1, we’re still waiting for this to materialise.

                1. John Zelnicker

                  @vidimi – Thank you for that. I don’t read all comments and if the first sentence or so doesn’t seem that interesting, I’ll skip the rest. But, jgordon’s comment was just too outrageous to ignore.

          3. Michael

            Essentially all white voters treading water who vote for Trump will do so because of his racism.

            The white folks who weren’t racist rooted for Bernie in the primaries, and Trump is just a bridge too far for the vast majority of folks who don’t call their Latina neighbor “Miss Housekeeping.”

            1. hunkerdown

              Michael, no, it’s only you who needs to believe that because your group esteem depends on it.

              We WORKED for Bernie in the primaries, thank you very much, and now we are convinced that the bourgeois Democrat Party Inc. is wholly dispensable and unfit for service, and frankly don’t care if it gets its just deserts.

              Take that, liberal clientelists.

        2. Waldenpond

          I didn’t think it was a matter of who the poor vote for rather that the larger proportion don’t show up. Kind of like around 1/4 are Ds, 1/4 are Rs and the rest are neither.

      2. Steve H.

        Well said.

        So here’s the thing. Yesterday made clear that writing in Bernie is a pure protest vote in constitutional terms.

        I have to make a challenge to Yves and Lambert, in the position that the Greens are not a worthy political party. In terms of downballot support, and the greater degree to which agency is possible on the local level, it is true.

        My deep priors are that I started as an activist, and then I was a politician, and then a scientist. So my inner child is deeply touched by Stein’s activities. However, there is a hard nosed possibility here.

        “Giant Meteor 2016” “Cthulu 2016” Both parties appear to be cohering in voter suppression through apathy. If you take 1/2 the Democratic party that was motivated to vote, by Bernie, and you suppress both Democractic and Republican Party votes with wtf, then the difference between 1/2 and 1/3 the vote starts to vanish. Polls are biased to land lines (old people), and are all over the place given margin of errors and sampling bias. There are unscientific but high-N polls online & by cell phone (young) that give overwhelming victory to Stein.

        So my challenge is that while the Greens have not been an effective full-scale political party from local to national, they are an effective political party for this presidential election. They are operating on motivating people to the polls, which can upset the status-quo tactic of suppressing all but the core (machine) voters. And with the status-quo suppressing votes, the numbers become far closer than current polling techniques can predict.

        1. Steve H.

          Pardon, edit: the difference between 1/4 and 1/3 the vote starts to vanish.

          i.e., 1/2 the Democratic party is about 1/4 the total usual vote.

        2. Roger Smith

          I would add (having mulled over Lambert’s stances-and yes organization is important) that what does it matter how effective the Greens have been? The Republicans and Democrats are not effective either. What do the other parties do to activate the electorate? Steal their nominations and implant someone who cannot even beat an opponent they labelled as an Uber Nazi neo-fascist? Why are the Greens being held to a different standard? If they can get the votes, they can get the votes. I see no reason, ESPECIALLY for -dare I say- “Sellout Sanders”, to label voting as “protest voting” (lesser, not real, useful, or second class) and further disenchanting millions of people.

          The only reason the current two legacy parties are of any authority is their legacy. They have brand recognition and a duopoly on money and influence. And that is not a reason to support them.

          Regarding Sanders, I have tried to just leave him out of mind, let it be, etc… but he has taken his left kicking to a point where it cannot be ignored. Just what in the hell is he thinking? His blind actions now make me question his entire campaign and if he had won.

          1. John k

            I find it easy to vote for stein, her positions are closest to mine. Not a protest vote at all, simply preference. If progressive don’t vote for the most progressive candidate, how can they expect to ever win?

            1. oh

              Bravo! That’s the only way anyone should vote – based on how much convergence is between one’s values and the candidate’s.

          2. JohnnyGL

            You’re being hard on Sanders….he REALLY doesn’t like Trump and is genuinely worried about what he’d do as President.

            I tend to disagree, as I’m not personally scared of Trump, but I could easily be wrong.

            1. Roger Smith

              He is still good on individual stances, his recent voting record from what I have seen has been good as far as my take on the issues, and I do not think he has changed who he is fundamentally. But how much does that matter much when visually he is stepping all over his image?

              His left kicking is inexcusable, especially given his career background, which has has tried to spin as a reason his opinion on kicking the left this time is acceptable. He has taken the hard-line, no thought required Democrat cliche stance, it’s all okay, this time, because “OMG TRUMP”. It is totally fine for him to prefer Clinton, but his gross public overstatement on her as a candidate (in stark contrast to everything he campaigned for in his career) and further his presumption to tell voters that they shouldn’t waste their vote is not.

        3. Jeremy Grimm

          Do you have any idea why vidimi’s poor and festering seem unaware or unimpressed by the Green Party? Why aren’t Black Voters drawn to the the Greens by Stein’s running mate Baraka? Why hasn’t Kansas figured out what’s the matter? I don’t understand why any of the poor and festering would vote for either of the main party candidates.

          1. vidimi

            i think a big part of that is narrative. many have been convinced (i.e. brainwashed) that their problems are caused by take your pick from
            {immigrants/the blacks/too much public spending/taxes/the debt/irresponsible homeowners/greedy unions/the terrorists/too much regulation…} that when the greens talk about public investment, free education, the environment, stronger regulations, higher taxes, printing money, etc, these proposals simply don’t resonate as solutions that they recognise.

            the problem then becomes how to get the right narrative across. the left’s biggest problem has been preaching to the choir: presenting their solutions from a leftist philosophy when the trick is to get them to appeal to the mainstream (i.e. rightwing). sanders was the most successful in a long time at getting the message across.

            so when the goal is to enact stronger regulations to safeguard the financial system, the focus should not be on regulation but in cracking down on fraud and making criminals pay (tough on crime; nobody likes fraud)

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              That sounds about right to me. I didn’t give the Greens a second thought until Sanders was out of the picture and I was left wondering whether to try a write-in or leave an undercount. The main attraction for me to voting Green is the hope that the Party might get enough votes to qualify for matching funds and the possibly forlorn hope that the Green Party might somehow become a future vehicle for a candidate like Bernie Sanders. As matters stand in the present — we have one party system with two flavors.

      3. ewmayer

        “in bayesian terms, the debate resulted in peoples’ posteriours to be unchanged from their priors.”

        Are you sure about that? I would guess quite a high % of folks who watched were feeling appreciable butt-hurt by the end.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Trouble at the playhouse:

    Last Saturday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in New York to attend the UN General Assembly, went to see Hamilton.

    When he took his seat, accompanied by Secret Service guards and allegedly Mossad, Netanyahu was booed and heckled over Palestine as well as being loudly cheered.

    The reaction was recorded on social media: …

    Who would’ve thought Americans would get so upset over a mere $38 billion to support God’s work of building apartheid?

    A black president negotiated this deal, so surely there will be ‘protections’ for Israel’s second-class citizens minority population.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I have a feeling this $38 billion is going to haunt Washington for some time. If the Hamilton crowd is mad, watch out down below.

      1. John k

        Didn’t poll already show 80% are against it? Not that that means a thing to our masters… Until we start throwing the bums out.

  10. RabidGandhi

    That Die Zeit article makes me want to resurrect my Deutsch Bank/WWI comparison from yesterday. So the German government denies there is a contingency plan and is hoping (“hoffe”) the bank will not need a bail-out/in.

    Wishful thinking, denying the magnitude of the crisis, and heading full-bore into an armageddon-level game of chicken. Where have we seen this before? All of the actors have based their strategy on the other blinking, and all are drunk on the Kool-Aid of an economic recovery folloing 2008.

    Of course this may all just be brinksmanship, and the brinksmanship may not result in global disaster. But such was the case in the lead up to WWI, as there were several crises before Sarajevo that didn’t unleash the catastrophe. So how will we see the DB standoff from hindsight? Like the Moroccan crisis, ultimately defused? (parallel to interbank markets freezing in 2006) Like the 1912-13 Balkan Wars, contained locally? (parallel to US property prices tanking in 2007) Or with disastrous global consequences, like Sarajevo? (Lehman)

    1. vidimi

      the guardian reports that die zeit reports that the government is indeed planning a bail out

      i do think, however, that germany does have a very strong bargaining chip: threaten inaction and DB takes down the entire financial system. Trump becomes president-elect in november. given how elites are unanimously in the clinton camp, merkel could even demand that the US pay DB 14B.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Yes the Die Zeit article says (if my rusty German is right) that it has sources in the government that tell it that Merkel has a contingency plan, but the Finance Ministry denied it. This is repeated in the Guardian.

        I agree they have a very strong bargaining chip, but the question is how close to the brink is each side willing to go and will they be able to pull back in time to avert disaster.

        Edit: here’s the Guardian at 11:35 GMT:

        Germany denies working on rescue plan

        Just in: Germany’s finance ministry is telling reporters that Die Zeit’s story about a rescue is “false”.

        They insist that a rescue plan is not being prepared, and there’s no reason to speculate about this.

        1. vidimi

          you know the old adage, a story is not confirmed until it is officially denied.

          the german government must send different messaging to different groups: to german voters and the US government, the story must be no bailout. to the financial markets, it must be keep calm and carry on, we won’t let anything hurt you.

          that said, dick fuld was convinced that he was going to get a bail out until he didn’t. it would be quite funny if history rhymed again.

          1. Alex morfesis

            And then they came for me…its elmer season at the oder-neisse line…as that greko japanese sage stavros takanaki once said…


            La la la la
            La la lah lah

        2. Jim Haygood

          I know nothing about Deutsche Bank. But its US ADR shares are up 1.6% today, after a small gain yesterday too.

          Dead-cat bounce … or ground floor opportunity? One has to suspect that Sr Mario Draghi is painting the tape.

        3. PlutoniumKun

          Previously, of course, German banks were bailed out, they just did it by calling it a bail-out of Greece (and before that, Ireland).

          Its hard to see how Merkel could overtly bail out DB – it would not just provoke domestic fury, it would enrage governments and citizens right across the EU. I don’t really see how they can persuade the US to ease off, unless they were to pay a very high hidden price – in an election year it would surely be impossible for any US agency to be seen to go easy on a foreign bank.

          The only politically possible contingency plan that I could think of would be a general new EU wide plan to aid struggling banks, which would be described as help for Italy and Spanish banks, but would, by an amazing coincidence, also help out DB. I’m not sure though how that could be engineered quickly in the event of a rapid unravelling.

          1. RabidGandhi

            I have another theory to add to your contingency. My suspicion is the US regulators are racking their brains for ways to use liabilities already paid by DB or provisioned on its books and count them as part of the settlement to puff up the final number that gets published.

            I assume Merkel knows this and is thus the brinkswomanship to ensure the real fine to DB is a minimal as possible. That said, it’s a dangerous game with a tonne of moving parts (political risks) and potentially catastrophic consequences.

            1. Alex morfesis

              Montebank or banca monte paschi…my first wife used to make a cute blonde on the outside joke(as she was apt to be…)

              Cute blonde shows up with her top button more revealing than usual…as dentist preps to do some work on her teeth…as he finished work prep and places wedge in her mouth, she notices him catching a peak at her cleavage and as he blushes she reaches for his private parts and bats her eyes at him…he takes the moment as a dream come true and she begins to try to tell him something but it is all garbled up by the dental block and wedge…

              Wah nahg gahnag gwyrwq gweech ah dah ahh weh…

              Wah nahg gahnah gwyrwq gweech ah dah ahh weh…

              He was all excited by her presence on his manliness and wanted to hear how she was obviously excited about making his dreams finally come thru…so he pulled out the dental stuff from her mouth so he could hear what she was trying to say…

              We’re not going to hurt each other are we doctor…

              Me thinks this is the italians working magic in the background…

              you mess with me…

              I mess with yours

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      My first thoughts on the title of that link are similar to yours.

      The link’s discussion of the arguments to attack to create credibility for our threats wasn’t quite what I expected. It also left me a little cold as an argument. Acting on threats made to make our threats credible seems like a reasonable course of action. Instead of questioning that rationale I think we must question the many threats we make around the world. The sheer number and extremity of our threats imperils their credibility.

  11. Anne

    From the article on evangelical support of Trump:

    “Trump speaks to the profound fears animating so many white evangelicals today,” Griffith said. “Above all, the fear that they and their values are being displaced by foreign, immigrant and Muslim forces as well as by domestic movements such as Black Lives Matter, gay rights, women’s rights and more.” Even among evangelical Christians not motivated by that sweeping set of concerns — and Chris Nickels, for example, praised South Carolina’s decision last year to stop displaying the Confederate flag — a change in the Supreme Court that would far outlast any presidential administration is incentive to vote strategically.

    Griffith said a male Democrat might have fared better with Trump supporters, but “as a feminist supporter of what appear (to them) to be threatening values that will topple America, Hillary Clinton looks like the devil to them.” Feminists are among several groups (including Muslims, Latinos and blacks) that Trump supporters feel less favorably toward than either other Republicans or the public at large, according to research by political scientists Jason McDaniels and Sean McElwee.

    I don’t understand religious groups that use fear as a pillar of their beliefs. I don’t understand religious groups that believe they have a duty to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. I don’t understand religious groups that aren’t content to mind their own religious business and allow others the courtesy and consideration to do the same, and who feel they have some kind of special right to legislate their beliefs so the government can impose them on all of us.

    The reason they fear their values being displaced is because that is what they want to do to any and every other group that does not believe as they do!

    To that end, a bigot in a position of power is a useful tool in the quest to attain/maintain/retain some sort of moral and racial/ethnic/religious superiority. So, I guess I see the attraction for evangelicals – for me, it’s one more reason why I could never vote for him.

    1. DJG

      Anne: Thanks for bringing up the unmentionable, the toxic brew that is “American religion.” It has thoroughly polluted that last several elections–something that we may have to blame on poor Jimmy Carter, who brought up religion in a way that had been avoided till then. Who knew or cared about FDR’s religious beliefs? Or Eisenhower? But Carter had to do all of that endless evangelical testifying…

      [But he has been a great ex-president, hasn’t he?]

      1. Carla

        “The reason they fear their values being displaced is because that is what they want to do to any and every other group that does not believe as they do!”

        Well put. Classic projection.

      2. MikeNY

        “Toxic brew”, indeed.

        I reflexively cringe when somebody starts opening up about their religion, particularly somebody in politics. There is something to that old saying about knowing the tree by its fruit.

      3. Robert Hahl

        Are you thinking of the Jimmy Carter who repealed the biblical injunction against usury?


        A Democratic Congress and Democratic president (Jimmy Carter) enacted the Monetary Control Act of 1980 which removed all remaining controls on interest rates and repealed the federal law prohibiting usury (note that sky-high interest rates and ruinous predatory lending have been with us ever since).

    2. Jim Haygood

      The Atlantic framed Monday’s event as “America’s First Post-Christian Debate.” Then the author Yoni Appelbaum described Hillary as a “devout Methodist” without a /sarc tag!

      As for the pious Trump,

      He told Christian Broadcasting Network in 2012: “I’m a Protestant; I’m a Presbyterian. And you know I’ve had a good relationship with the church over the years. I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion.”

      For years he’s attended Marble Collegiate Church, a Reformed Church in America congregation and once the pulpit of Norman Vincent Peale, author of the mega-best-seller “The Power of Positive Thinking.”

      Sadly for evangelicals, both Methodism and Presbyterianism are considered liberal branches of protestantism, with progressive stands on social issues. Methodists are currently debating ordination of gay bishops; Presbyterians approved the policy in 2011.

      Presbyterians even briefly (2004-2006) had a policy of divesting from companies active in Israel. If that’s not a red flag for evangelicals, what is? But then, evangelicals don’t read much — their lips get tired.

      1. DJG

        Presbyterians are divided and subdivided. There are fundamentalist Presbyterians–I twice stayed at a B&B on the edge of the campus of Geneva College, a fundi Presbyterian school (the pope is the anti-Christ, predestination for all). Owned by a couple, and he was on the faculty. He must have been the resident liberal (the pope may not be the anti-Christ).

        In poor post-industrial Beaver Fall, Penna., so devastated that even the Salvation Army store had gone under.

        But then Ann Coulter claims to be a Presbyterian.

        What did the Scots do to deserve this?

        1. Propertius

          The Fundamentalist movement originated in the Presbyterian Church in the early 1900s. The name of the movement is derived from the collection of essays entitled “The Fundamentals”, which was published by and distributed within Presbyterian churches in the US in 1910. Pretty strange considering how laid-back and tolerant that John Calvin guy was.

      2. LarryB

        There are several “Presbyterian” churches in the United States, ranging from very liberal (Pres. Church in the USA, PCUSA) to very conservative (Pres. Church in America, PCA). . You can find a Presbyterian church just about anywhere you want on the political spectrum. The Methodists aren’t quite as fractured, but they are generally considered the most conservative of the main-line denominations.

    3. RabidGandhi

      If you want a clue about how important a candidate’s religion is to so-called evangelicals, all you need to do is look at some of the candidates they have supported in the past:

      –Reagan (never stepped foot in a church).

      –Bush the Elder (about as methodist as HRC)

      –Romney (Mormonism: worse than paganism per the evangelicals)

      Bottom line: the evangelical vote is not the solid demographic it was made to be, and the fear of it has been created to mask the Democrat Party’s abandonment of the working class.

      1. Carolinian

        Thanx for this. The religio-phobia among the lefties is longstanding. That said, abortion–certainly a religious issue–did play a big part in the resurgence of the right in the 1970s.

        While not a churchgoer myself, growing up in the semi-rural South did, of course, mean spending lots of time around hard core Southern Baptists and other evangelicals. They really aren’t that scary. For many church is as much a social thing.

        1. Socal Rhino

          I agree.

          Churches from what I’ve seen can have the pros and cons of any community or smaller town with social bonds- people visit other people in the hospital (or in prison), bring hot meals to families that have suffered a loss, and make snarky comments about what someone wore or how they raise their kids. (Like a Socal HOA without the hot meals and visits). And there is a lot of sorting by class and ethnic background, and that explains some of the differing views noted within the same “brand.”

    4. Buttinsky

      I don’t understand religious groups that use fear as a pillar of their beliefs. I don’t understand religious groups that believe they have a duty to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. I don’t understand religious groups that aren’t content to mind their own religious business and allow others the courtesy and consideration to do the same, and who feel they have some kind of special right to legislate their beliefs so the government can impose them on all of us.

      I raise you, Anne. I don’t understand religious groups, period.

    5. Plenue

      “I don’t understand religious groups that use fear as a pillar of their beliefs.”

      Why not? It’s not like they don’t use the biggest boogeyman of all, eternal damnation, as a bludgeon to keep followers in line.

    6. hunkerdown

      They’re not religions, just means of social control under color of religion. The same could be said for most of them, really. Narcissism and pathos are especially powerful under the Western branch of religion; the Eastern branches seems much more comfortable with simple, open, naked power which can be seen and opposed.

      You didn’t happen to read today’s Archdruid Report, did you? He’s talking about exactly this sort of thing, from the perspective of Protestantism informing American liberalism, rather than the reverse. It appears that a lot of people have been informed by his diagnosis today, just strolling around the net and its comment sections.

  12. a different chris


    Well the first step is to get them to retire… so the question really should be “How to keep Generals out of national politics once they are done with military politics”.

    Because honestly in “peace”time – and I claim for America’s upper echelon this is peacetime because our military is so overwhelming that you really can’t lose a fight (a war, of course but not a fight) – it’s the political animals not the technicians that rise to the top of the military. Remember the much beloved General George McClelland, couldn’t beat Grandma in an alley fight.

    They just can’t help themselves because politics is what they know

    1. Paid Minion

      Patton had something to say about it, something to the effect of “opposition to the elected government’s policy is treason/disloyalty…….agreement means I’ve been bought”

      Not that he and other generals and Admirals didn’t have opinions. Before MacArthur, they might state their positions/opinions, but not attach that endorsement to any political party.

      Followed by some generals who were low level officers in Vietnam, who blame the “liberals” and “media” for “losing” Vietnam.

      As if the US people were willing to pay the economic, political, and blood costs of “winning”

      1. Robert Hahl

        It all started with George Washington, while the Secretary of State is now often a retired general, since the State Dept. became essentially a military organization during WW2, with the usual ranks.

  13. JSM

    Re: ‘It Is Time to Drive a Stake into the Heart of the American Credibility Myth.’

    This is not at all the article this reader was expecting. The expected article contain mentions of the broken promise of a limit to NATO expansion, the Chilton report, the lack of WMD in Iraq, the notion that Afghanistan was a limited intervention with clearly defined goals and not an indefinite occupation (ditto Iraq), that intervention in Libya was necessary to fight terrorism, that the US is fighting terrorism in Syria, that its ally SA is fighting terrorism in Yemen, that the US is interested in building democracy abroad, that the US does not seek to inflame sectarian tensions but executes S. Hussein on a holiday on which executions are forbidden, etc., etc., etc.

    Instead the article found that empires come with a stamped-on shelf life. Fascinating…

    1. JSM

      Hate to respond to my own comment, but add to the list ‘the idea that the sarin gas attack in Ghouta was carried out by the Assad regime.’

      For a Ph. D. not to know that was a transparent false flag is unacceptable. No wonder the country’s in the sh*tter. (If it’s deliberate propaganda, no wonder the country’s in the sh*tter.)

    2. fresno dan

      September 28, 2016 at 9:40 am

      I too thought it was going to be a devil’s advocate kind of article posted to show how out of touch the US state department advocates are. Now that you’ve cleared that up, I’ll give it a read.

  14. Jim Haygood

    Direct confirmation of Chalmers Johnson’s “blowback,” from a police transcript:

    The Orlando attack came just over a month after the Pentagon announced on May 9 that a U.S.-led coalition air strike killed Abu Wahib, a middle-level Islamic State military leader in charge of Iraq’s Anbar province on May 6. Wahib was blown up along with three other jihadists in a drone strike on the car they men were riding in.

    During an exchange in the early morning hours of June 12, an Orlando Police Department negotiator identified only as “Andy” asked Mateen, who was speaking by cell phone from inside the Pulse club, to tell him what was going on.

    “Yo, the air strike that killed Abu Wahid a few weeks ago… that’s what triggered it, okay?” said Mateen, who earlier in the conversation identified himself as a follower the Islamic State terror group.

    “They should have not bombed and killed Abu Wahid,” the former security guard declared. “Do your fucking homework and figure out who Abu Wahid is, okay?”

    Heckuva job, 0bama, helping blow up a gay bar. LGBT-friendly D-party: “Yeah, right!”

    1. JSM

      Who knows. The tapes were FOIA’d and never released, so predictably there’s a battle over, not how, but to what end or extent they’re being manipulated.

      Even when you win this war, you lose. Same old song about intelligence sharing:

      Or sometimes not even bothering:

      Or just whatever, it’s the timetable that matters:

    2. Paid Minion

      Of course, it’s impossible that these guys are just crazy effers, who won’t find some other excuse to go on these rampages.

      People like this are all over the world. But only the USA believes crazy people, or people under sudden, unanticipated stress, should have the right to buy a gazillion guns.

      Or, you think fighting “government tyranny” is served by shooting up a bunch of six year olds.

  15. DJG

    The article on the crisis of science, which somehow includes Brexit in science, is a mashup of a number of bad tendencies. Science (which means knowledge, lest we forget) is about accumulation of knowledge. Knowledge is faulty. Scientists regularly test and re-test their ideas. The weird idea promulgated by the article that we have some “faith” in science doesn’t hold water: Even scientists don’t have “faith” in science. Ask the scientists who have discarded ideas of Cuvier or the tectonic-plates skeptics (well into the 1950s).

    The essayist also manages to mix technology with science, which doesn’t help. Economics is held out as a science, when it is a social science, if that, and certainly not as respectable as anthropology or sociology (which have gone through many revolutions in thinking).

    And then there’s this:
    “Climate is another battlefield where the idea that “science has spoken” or “doubt has been eliminated” have become common refrains.” [Ignoring the incompetent writing]

    Just what is needed as the Greenland ice sheet melts, I’d say!

    1. DJG

      Also, and even though I know Yves and Lambert have good reasons for how they frame the debate, I’m going to venture: The distrust of “experts” isn’t truly a distrust of knowledge or expertise. My plumber is an expert (definintely hands-on). The guys who just opened the new trattoria are expert chefs. I deal with experts in teaching and science in my role as an editor and writer. Heck, I am an expert at writing.

      The issue here is not people who are well-grounded in their disciplines and who can use that knowledge effectively. The issue here is using “expertise” in a bureaucracy and then claiming that bureaucratic decison making (such as it is) is effective. The classic case, in my mind, would be consulting firms that send in a couple of newly minted MBAs to restructure (and destroy) a company. That’s just plain old manipulation of the bureaucracy in a malign way.

      I’ll venture: that is what people are rejecting: Another good example is politically connected charter-school administrators (and politicians themselves) lecturing teachers on how to teach. Teachers are the experts. The others are just greedy bureaucrats.

      Reframing possible, then?

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        How’s this for a re-framing — “Science is all right but society is losing faith in scientists and other experts”?

        Good reasons for distrusting our wise old men are enumerated in the post. Foremost among those reasons their backward hands reaching for more grease combined with the hostile takeover of our Universities and Research by Corporate Persons — Persons little interested in anything more than near term profits.

        Next read a few journal articles across disciplines. Are the authors using the same English language? Do you believe their jargon is necessary and/or serves better communication? Do the authors write clear concise sentences and create well-formed paragraphs? Do they clearly state their findings or do their conclusions read like the fine print in corporate disclaimers? Ever wonder why Science magazine goes to such lengths providing readable synopses of the articles in each issue placing the research into a context, clarifying the conclusions and explaining what exactly the research was investigating and why?

        Now read a few journal articles on Global Warming. Do those articles speak to anyone outside a fairly small group of specialists in some specialized aspect of climate change? And what about the articles and webpages written to make the science behind Global Warming accessible — they only go so far and leave a huge gulf between their ABCs explanations and the larger part of the scientific literature.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Thanks for the link! It reminded me of the kind of work and rewards common at the firm I retired from. I’m so happy to retire from that world.

      1. Skip Intro

        The inclusion of brexit is a strong is a tell, the problem is not with science, but with corrosive corruption that has spread to the alleged experts whose summaries we are required to trust, since we can’t all be experts on everything.

    2. germione

      Science has never been practiced in the way that it is now described of testing/retesting hypothesis with the scientist as an objective and pure-in-thought individual. Any endeavor involving people will have politics, and science is no different.

      I think the perceived backlash against science has more to do with the 10% holding science up as the ultimate meritocracy, and society as a whole is pushing back against such notions of meritocracy in reaction to the reduced credibility of the 10%. Statements like “scientific polling” and other economics-as-science has led to further skepticism, given the many and increasing failures to date of these fields.

      1. Plenue

        “Science has never been practiced in the way that it is now described of testing/retesting hypothesis with the scientist as an objective and pure-in-thought individual.”

        Um…science isn’t supposed to function that way. All humans have biases, that’s well understood. The scientific process takes great pains to try and overcome that bias through things like peer-review.

        1. germione

          Peer-review is very biased too — even more biased and political than the actual science itself. Science is a social process, and my point was that I think the push back within the broader society is against the assertion of science as some meritocracy of ideas. The truth is that science does not have mechanisms to effectively overcome bias, but rather the processes underlying the existing mechanisms serve to enrich the administrative 10% class. Things like peer review and grant administration are administrative boondoggles that siphon resources from actual conduct of science.

              1. hunkerdown

                Medicine necessarily has one foot in politics, since its ostensible purpose is to contribute to human well-being, whose definition and assessment are a matter of human perception of change over time and therefore the ambit of politics.

                Peer review would be more effective if peers didn’t have class interests.

      2. pretzelattack

        the perceived backlash against climatology has a great deal to do with the propaganda campaign funded by fossil fuel companies; when their own scientists told them that fossil fuel emissions were causing the climate to change, they hired the ad agency that helped the tobacco companies obfuscate the link between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer.

        1. NYPaul

          Right, but that’s not a valid condemnation of science, simply an illustration of corruption improperly intruding into what should be a science-only debate.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Simple corruption (sugar) or mislabeling (economics is a science?) aside, a root problem here is the very nature of science, which is based on systematized trial-and-error.

      So: scientists regularly get it wrong; science progresses by detecting and correcting those errors. That’s what experiments are for. Unfortunately, a couple of human tendencies interfere with this process. One is scientists’ human tendency to get over-attached to their pet theories and findings. In practice, the paradigm (eg, plate tectonics) changes when the old guys retire or die off.

      The other is a tendency to idealize and idolize the scientists who’ve accomplished such amazing things – the Einstein cult is a major example. I’ve seen a lot of lay writing that treats them like little tin gods, and of course that contributes to the corruption problem. Nah; they’re fallible human beings (my brother was a scientist, important in his field, so I happen to know just how imperfect they can be), and we should always be using some judgement when we look at their results.

      That makes it a lot harder to use science to guide policy, which we really should be doing. I happen to think climate science is based on lab results; the greenhouse effect means that more CO2 will make it hotter than it would otherwise have been, regardless of things like solar cycles. The rest is details.

      OTOH (and going out on a limb here, but it’s an example): dark matter strikes me as obvious fudging, given the reasons for proposing it. In reality, the theory doesn’t match the data, and that usually means something is wrong with theory – even if it’s as well-established as the theory of gravitation. There MIGHT be vast quantities of undetectable “matter” out there, but they’ve now come dangerously close to something very difficult: disproving the existence of such a thing. SF writers call things like “dark matter” “hand waving.” The Ptolemaic astronomers called them “epicycles.” But I’m just a layman; what do I know?

      My point, despite the digression: the back and forth is part of healthy science. Unfortunately, most people are so poorly educated on the subject (blame the schools, again) that they don’t understand that. It’s possible the scientific method is actually hard to understand; certainly it isn’t easy to follow.

  16. Uahsenaa

    re: Saudi Arabia

    I imagine the Saudis will be none too happy about the veto override almost certain to pass this morning in the Senate, though it’s a little more iffy in the House. At least somebody is willing to acknowledge that the Saudi government is more a problem than a solution to what ails the peninsula.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Man, don’t we miss the halcyon days of Abscam, when the Saudis had so much money during Oil Shock II that they could buy themselves seven Kongressklowns.

      Now that our Senators — who have sensitive noses for cash flow — have sussed out that the Saudis are on the ropes, they’re happy to dispose of them like a used Dixie cup.

      1. cwaltz

        Isn’t that our foreign policy?

        Saddam Hussein was just fine when he was gassing the Iranians for us. After that though he got all uppity and became a “bad man” willing to gas anyone that opposed him(Kurds).

    2. RabidGandhi

      I was dissappointed in Cockburn’s headline. Yes there are anti-Saudi rumblings from below, but up top at the Pentagon, the Fund the Saudis to Slaughter Children operation is humming along smoother than ever, with record weapons sales this year. Thus Obama vetoed the bill.

      We saw this pattern earlier with Israel: the Obama administration loves the optics of there being a rift with Israel, but in its actions (diplomatic support for settlements, record arms deals) they are far to the right of even Bush the Younger.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Yes – also the ‘Wire’ article on Fracking implied that oil states no longer have leverage – its filled with dubious assertions.

      There is little or no evidence that the Saudi’s have lost their ability to control US policy to their own ends. Supporting the war in Yemen makes absolutely no strategic sense for the US. It is as clear an indicator as any that SA gets what it wants from the US and Europe. Oil leverage is only one small part of the story – in truth they (along with the other Gulf States) have been hugely effective in buying influence right through the media, business and political establishment.

      1. apber

        This whole Saudi implication in 9/11 is just a massive red herring, designed to distract from all the conspiracy theories that have actually gained a lot of traction in Europe and are being proven to have substance after years of well documented research. To be sure, the Saudis are flagrant enablers of global terrorism, and deserve whatever Karma exists, but they certainly were not the planners and executioners of 9/11.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          When even the laws of physics won’t conform to your false narratives I would think at a minimum it’s embarrassing.
          The official journal of the European Physics Society calls BS on the 9/11 “explanations”. So it’s no longer “tinfoil hat” territory:

          “The evidence points overwhelmingly
          to the conclusion that all three buildings were destroyed by controlled demolition.”
          Pardon me while my entire worldview implodes.

  17. Ché Pasa

    For 40 years, the Standard Model of the Martian surface has included a suspicion that surface dust and soils (er, “regolith”) along with extreme levels of ultraviolet flux are lethal to biology. One assumes that includes you’n’me type biology. Ergo, the Musk Adventure to Mars might have unpleasant consequences for the Adventurers.

    At one point, it was even posited that mere contact with Mars dust could be lethal…

    Nasty business, this.

    1. RabidGandhi

      This could be a valuable experiment to see if our neoliberal overlords are actually made from the same e’er so vulnerable flesh as we mortals.

      I’ll pop the pocorn.

    2. ambrit

      That’s why one of the next ‘rovers’ should include a small ‘greenhouse’ experiment to test the hypothesis. That should be easy to accomplish.
      What isn’t knowable just now is if any off Earth biology is compatible with Terrestrial life. Humans off planet might have to bring their food producing ecology with them. Self contained actual greenhouses for the growing of human digestible foodstuffs. Neil Stephenson touches on this in his novel “Anathem.”

    3. craazyman

      When they get speared through the chest and roasted over a barbeque by Martians they’ll find out what a hostile environment means.

      Just because the Mars rover hasn’t seen Martians doesn’t mean they’re not there. Wouldn’t you hide if you saw an alien spaceship rolling around on wheels. I would.

      I wouldn’t doubt for a minute they hide underground whenever the thing rolls by. It’s not like it’s sneaky. If you’re a Martian, it’s as easy as hiding from a snail.

      ON another topic, I’m still in a state of shock at the condition of economic theory, as described in that sledghammer of a post a few days ago. It was far, far worse than even I humorously and for comic relief pretended it was. It was frankly almost unbelievable. If it hadn’t been written by somebody who evidently knew what they were talking about, I’d think someone like me — or somebody who posts their nonsense in the peanut gallery — wrote it. Not that I could write something that long. That was long. They must have stopped a few times.

      1. fresno dan

        September 28, 2016 at 11:43 am

        I’m pretty sure the Martians have taped over the camera and plugged in a VCR feed of old western scenes (the scenes before the posse rides up). Really – another planet looks just like old Hollywood westerns – what are the odds???
        Everything I have read is that Mars is inhabited by buxom naked green women who have no interest in pale spacemen with dangling appendages…

        1. craazyman

          No wonder they want to go there. The first earth dude who gets drunk and screws a Martian woman is going to be world famous.

        2. Propertius

          Everything I have read is that Mars is inhabited by buxom naked green women

          Dejah Thoris was red, IIRC. And oviparous.

  18. rich

    Joe Biden is Washington Troublemaker-in-Chief

    Biden’s game

    Biden is clearly an enforcer for a faction of what we might call the permanent establishment, the hidden real government that runs on automatic imperial pilot regardless who is nominal US President. That “permanent establishment” is currently becoming “dis-established” everywhere in the world. It sees with horror that its grip on the entire world is crumbling. It does only what it has always tried in such cases—war, war, war. Only of late, those wars—war against Russia over Ukraine, war against Assad’s Syria, an attempted war against Erdogan in Turkey, a war against the growing economic muscle in the world of China—have been impotent flops. Biden, a dutiful servant of those interests, carries the flag of war to where he is sent, much like the character in Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks.

    Biden’s Abe talks were clearly meant to keep the Japanese government on track to repeal Article 9 in the postwar US-drafted Constitution that states: “…the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes… land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

    In September 2015 in another meeting with Abe, Biden praised Abe’s party for passing a major softening of Article 9 that allows Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to defend the country’s close allies in combat for the first time under its constitution. As part of the US “Asia Pivot” aimed at militarily encircling China, Washington has strongly pushed Japan to take a more active military role along with Australia, Vietnam, the Philippines and South Korea.


    Behind Joe Biden’s toothy grin lies a nasty operator with a regime change agenda wherever a nation stands on its own feet to assert its rights. A brief review of other recent Biden interventions makes this clear.

    His drums make bad music.

  19. Jim Haygood

    James “Hillary’s footman” Comey lies again:

    Mr. Comey said the bureau offered immunity to Paul Combetta to try to find out whether he was ordered to be part of a cover-up and found no evidence to back that up.

    “The department granted immunity to the one fellow who erased the stuff so that we could figure out, did anybody tell you to do this, did anybody ask you do this, to see if we could make an obstruction case — we couldn’t,” he said.

    Comey said this yesterday to a Senate committee. As for Katica’s revelation that Combetta sought evidence-tampering advice on Reddit the very day after the State Dept agreed to submit documents to the Benghazi committee — well, it never happened. Just another internet conspiracy theory.

    Here’s betting that the Clintons have a lawn jockey at their Chappaqua mansion featuring Comey’s cheerful boy scout countenance. [Scout motto: “Be Prepared in mind by having disciplined yourself to be obedient to every order.“]

    1. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      September 28, 2016 at 11:20 am

      How many repubs thought Comey was a member in good standing and proclaimed what a great and honorable law enforcement guy he was prior to the investigation?
      “In the more than two decades Clinton has spent in Washington, the same story has repeated itself over and over again: Hillary Clinton or her husband, former president Bill Clinton, push the law just short of the breaking the point, only to be bailed out by Republican overreach and self-sabotage.”

      What I find interesting about the analysis, is that Comey was the guy who was counsel in the Whitewater investigation.
      Soooo – are all the Clinton investigations Kabuki (and I am enough of a cynic to believe that it is DESIGNED to benefit BOTH Clintons and their critics) or are repub prosecutors so Godd*mned stupid that they couldn’t convict a ham sandwich of not being Kosher???
      Overreach and self-sabotage?
      OR plain incompetency??
      OR as I suspect, this is all professional wrestling

  20. allan

    You knew this was coming:

    Republicans brand another villain in Wells Fargo scandal: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    [LA Times]

    Wells Fargo & Co. Chief Executive John Stumpf took the full brunt of congressional anger over the bank’s fake-accounts scandal at a Senate hearing last week and will face more outrage on Thursday before a House panel.

    But this time, he could share the villain’s role with a favorite target of House Republicans — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new federal agency with a mission to protect average Americans from abuses by banks and other firms.

    The House Financial Services Committee hearing will be presided over by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who has blasted Wells Fargo for what he called theft and fraud of customers, but also is one of the biggest critics of the bureau.

    Although Stumpf will be the only witness Thursday, Hensarling and other Republicans are expected to start laying the groundwork for an upcoming hearing with CFPB Director Richard Cordray by lambasting the agency for failing to uncover Wells Fargo’s improper sales tactics earlier. …

    GOP making a left run around sensibly centrist pragmatically progressive Dems.
    Who could possibly have predicted?

    1. RabidGandhi

      Blaming the CFPB is such a red herring, especially when Putin’s fingerprints are all over the WF scandal.

      1. fresno dan

        September 28, 2016 at 11:51 am

        Its so obvious after Putin was driving that stagecoach bare chested…

        1. polecat

          ….. standing up … with reins in one hand … and a kalashnikov in the other ….

          ….. Whilst chewing rebar …

          1. jash

            Wells , according to the CLinton playbook, the Russkies are rigging the election and all world events so as to get trump elected , so I doubt putin has much interest in WELLS anymore.

          2. NYPaul

            and, vigorously bouncing up & down, doing the famous Russian/Cossack kick dancing specialty. (called, I think, The “Prisyadka”)

  21. Carolinian

    Here’s Raimondo on the the good debate things Trump said that are not–of course–getting much attention. Trump:

    “The single greatest problem the world has is nuclear armament, nuclear weapons, not global warming, like you think and your — your president thinks. Nuclear is the single greatest threat….

    “I would like everybody to end it, just get rid of it. But I would certainly not do first strike. I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over.”


    This is the most under-noticed – and most significant – moment of the debate. […] In a rational world, this no-first-strike pledge would’ve headlined media accounts of the debate: however, in our world, the “mainstream” media – which functions as an unregistered PAC working on Hillary’s behalf – ignored this historic first in favor of what Trump said about some beauty pageant contestant in 1996

    He also points to Trump’s denunciation of the trillions spent on Middle East wars and his statement on the Russia question.

    “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t — maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?”

    Trump, turning to her, looked her in the eye and said: “You don’t know who broke in to the DNC.” Hillary had no response, other than to stand there and look smug.

    That’s our Hillary…smug and wrong. Haven’t the last eight years of smirking smugness been enough?

    1. fresno dan

      September 28, 2016 at 11:35 am

      First, I always enjoy your insights and the points you bring up.
      And I wouldn’t disagree about Trump’s no first strike remark being significant – but it strikes me that it is erased from public discourse as much due to repubs and FOX as the MSM.
      Trump stated that he would be neutral in dealings between Israel and the Palestinians – – and than basically disowned the statement and said what any mainstream repub would say about Israel.
      Trump has waffled on any number of points where he distinguished himself from the repub orthodoxy.

      And if Trump really wants to portray himself as having a radically different nuclear policy, well, I would expect him to have the brains to talk about that after the debate instead of the trouble that fat chicks cause him…

      1. JohnnyGL

        You’re quite right about the Israel-Palestine tone shift from Trump. I wonder if in his bridge-building with the Republicans (he knows he needs them on board to win) he agreed to dumb his “neutral” approach because that’s a huge threat to a big donor base of the Republican Party.

        Being neutral is a classy thing to do, but probably not a vote-winner.

        I do wonder if he wins, since he’s motivated by vanity and ego more than anything else, if he might try to “do a deal” on Palestine to create a foreign policy legacy for himself. There’s big possible appeal there as many presidents have tried over the decades, but none of them really got it done.

        He also might be willing to flip the bird to his party donors to get that legacy.

        As usual, one can only guess what’s in Trump’s head. Call me optimistic and starry-eyed, if you want, you’re probably right.

        1. jash

          According to CBS (60 min) the US can use nukes with almost no damage – heck they may even fix climate change.

        2. jash

          every prez or wannable HAVE to be motivated by ego and vanity.

          No sane person would believe themselves BEST for the job.

      2. Carolinian

        Well he does talk about the latter two ideas–trillions wasted in wars and let’s get along with Russia–quite a lot. Wasn’t his ‘fat chicks’ remark from 1996?

        But I believe Raimondo is simply highlighting the shallowness of our press more than he is boosting Trump’s gravitas. In other words Trump says something sensible and the press ignores it or pretends it was a gaffe. Obama, who has explicitly refused to rule out a nuclear first strike, is arguably just as much of a lightweight as Trump or probably more so since, as just mentioned, he refuses to rule out a first strike.

        As for Israel Palestine, Trump made the “even handed” comment during the primary, changed his tune once nominated when he realized he needed some outside financial support.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I would put Donald’s bleedingly-obvious statement that the Fed is blowing politically-motivated bubbles in the same category. Again, completely ignored, and Donald of course too dumb to capitalize on it. If he came out with a simple statement like this he would be picking out the new drapes for the Oval Office:
          “I will work to ensure all law-breaking, whether it is selling the business of our government for immense personal gain through private tax-free Foundations, hiding national secrets on private servers, or financial crime by bank executives, is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”.

  22. fresno dan

    “Unless you’re the kind of person who spends a lot of time with Tax Policy Center tables, this chart requires a bit of mental reorientation. “Change in share of after-tax income” does not mean what it sounds like—change over time. It means the difference between our universe and another, parallel universe. In that alternate universe, the “changes in tax policy since 2009 and ACA coverage provisions” did not take place. Therefore, the rightmost column in the chart measures the difference between the income shares of the top 0.1 percent in these two universes—according to forecasts of 2017. (Hey, if we’re going to estimate income distribution in an alternate reality, estimating it one year in the future is child’s play.)

    So what the chart really shows is that our universe is a little less unequal than that parallel universe. But for this to mean anything, we have to know how bizarro-world is defined. According to the full report by the Council of Economic Advisers (p. 26), the parallel universe is one in which the tax policies of 2008 remain in place indefinitely—that is, the Bush tax cuts were made permanent.

    But remember, when President Obama took office, those tax cuts were already scheduled to expire at the end of 2010. So a large part of Furman’s “decline in inequality” would have happened anyway if the president had done absolutely nothing. In fact, Obama extended the Bush tax cuts once in 2010, and then made most of them permanent in 2013—but, to his credit, let the tax cuts for the very rich expire.

    It is true that a Republican president probably would have made all of the Bush tax cuts permanent, so Obama deserves credit for not being a Republican. But essentially his accomplishment—the thing he did—was the bare minimum anyone would expect of a Democrat.”

  23. rich

    Och-Ziff Unit Said Expected to Plead Guilty Over Africa Bribes
    Parent company said to sign separate deferred-prosecution deal
    U.S. says millions in bribes were paid to African officials

    Och-Ziff Capital Management LP, the country’s largest publicly traded hedge fund firm, has agreed to enter into a deferred-prosecution agreement and have a subsidiary plead guilty in a federal probe into millions of dollars of bribes funneled to African officials, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    The admission of guilt,

    which could come as early as Thursday, is part of a settlement with the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission after a complex five-year investigation into graft worth hundreds of millions of dollars, shell companies, oil and diamonds. The company has set aside more than $400 million for fines and penalties.

    A spokesman for Och-Ziff didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The firm’s London-based investing arm was headed by Michael Cohen, who left in 2013. He worked on mining deals that kicked back millions of dollars in bribes to African officials, according to the person familiar with it, adding that bribes were paid to Libyan officials as well. The business came at a price through a web of fixers, enablers and shell companies.

    Cohen and several others individuals connected with Och-Ziff are still under investigation and could also face charges, the person familiar with the matter said. The parent company will sign a so-called deferred-prosecution agreement, meaning that ordinary operations can continue and charges would be dropped if it stays out of trouble for a period.

    Is it me or do you get the feeling a low net worth permits easier access to the federal prison system? :)

    1. JohnnyGL

      I can’t wait for “discovery” in that lawsuit. The Saudis have so much money in US assets. We’ve seen in the Argentina precedent that assets can be grabbed and US courts will sustain it. Maybe that’s not applicable here?

      Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch (of terrorist sponsors)!

  24. Plenue

    “Syrian troops launch major ground assault for Aleppo”

    Latest battle map:

    I had assumed they were going to stop advancing at some point, establish a firm perimeter and just starve the rebels out. Not so sure now. Maybe they figure that the more terrain they capture now, and the more rebels they kill and force to use ammunition, the shorter any pure siege will be. They captured the Farafira district yesterday; the push around the Citadel might be an attempt to slice the rebel pocket clean in two.

  25. Ignacio

    RE: A New Debate Over Pricing the Risks of Climate Change NYT

    Todays links are great but I would select this one as a must read. I know the Presidential Campaign is on top of everything but this is an eye opener, particularly if you are thinking on voting Trump and at the same time worried about climate change. If I was american I would almost certainly put a salami slice in my ballot…

    1. Plenue

      Not like Clinton will do anything in regards to helping the climate. And hell, I’m pretty sure it’s far too late already. We should have been having these discussions 50 years ago, and begun putting radical reductions and changes in place 20 or 30 years ago. Forget money; it’s likely we should be tallying the future cost in terms of lives.

    2. Jen

      I find Trump’s position on climate change repellent. And it’s right out there in the open where I can see it, and fight it tooth and nail.

      Clinton, on the other hand is “taking on the threat of climate change and making America the world’s clean energy superpower,” according to her website.*

      *Except she she’ll approve the TPP which negates everything she’s purporting to do.
      **Assuming she isn’t just bullshitting us to begin with.

  26. ewmayer

    Re. “Nick Clegg reveals that there is a special security door for cats in Downing Street | New Statesman” — so are the cats wanting to use the dorr subjected to “stop and Friskies?”

    also in case any NC readers missed it, this related story about the vicious political infighting amongst the Downing Street cats was posted in Links a few months back:

    Number 10 cat Larry loses collar in ‘most brutal fight yet’ with Foreign Office’s Palmerston | The Telegraph

    (For our non-UK readers, here from my dictionary app: Palmerston, Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount (1784–1865), British statesman; prime minister 1855–58 and 1859–65. He declared the second Opium War against China in 1856 and oversaw the successful conclusion of the Crimean War in 1856 and the suppression of the Indian Mutiny in 1858. — the cat named in his hono(u)r appears to be similarly bloody-minded, just on a less global scale.)

    For the rematch, my money’s on Palmerston by late TKO, with the stoppage perhaps due to torn ears.

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