Links 1/13/17

Whenever He Goes Diving, This Shark Comes To Cuddle With Him (This Has Been Going On For 7 Years) Bored Panda

Monkeys Grieve When Their Robot Friend Dies Gizmodo (resilc). Be sure to watch the video. Like humans with Aibos.

Women in competitive environments: Evidence from chess VoxEU

PIOMAS January 2017 Arctic Sea Ice Blog (Chuck L)

Techdirt’s First Amendment Fight For Its Life Techdirt (UserFriendly). I hope this isn’t misunderstood, but this is an issue that extends well beyond the First Amendment. Basically, in America you can be sued. You have to spend a minimum of $15,000 getting rid of it. If the other side manages to get past summary judgment, even if the case has no factual merit, you have to spend a lot of time and $ proving those facts. And if the other side has really nasty and procedurally clever lawyers, they will make a point of making your defense as costly as possible. On top of that, some judges are lazy or biased or thick headed, and you can lose for all sorts of bad reasons.

Scientists turn mild-mannered mice into killers Financial Times (David L). Do I not like where this goes. The obvious application will be the military.

Cancer spread cut by 75% in tests BBC (resilc)


Chinese Paper Calls Tillerson’s South Sea Threat ‘Foolish’ Bloomberg (resilc)

98% of Bitcoin trading volume over the past six months was in Chinese Renminbi BoingBoing (Timothy H)

In Bihar, Major Crimes Rise by 13% Nine Months After Liquor Ban The Wire (J-LS)


Theresa May to deliver long-awaited Brexit speech on Tuesday Guardian

Irish court case on whether Brexit can be reversed to be heard this month Reuters

European judges will rule Britain for years The Times

Germany saw a 69% drop in migrant arrivals in 2016 Quartz (resilc)


Once Again, Democrats Are Blowing It on Middle East Peace Foreign Policy in Focus (resilc)

New Cold War

America’s Russian Dybbuk Counterpunch. Gotta love this part re Crimea:

The Obama administration and its legions in the mainstream media, which condemned the “annexation” of Crimea, failed to explain how it was significantly different from the Kosovo secession that the US supported following the massive US and NATO bombardment of Serbia that ended its control over the province. Selective perception indeed.

World War III is on its way, says poll of Western countries Independent (UserFriendly)

Here I Am Again, My Friends! Guccifer2 (resilc)

Russians Named in Trump Dossier Dismiss Claims Wall Street Journal

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

N.S.A. Gets More Latitude to Share Intercepted Communications New York Times (Bill B)

Chilling new pre&post-crime rule: if analysts find evidence that an American committed “any crime” they send to DoJ. @Thomas_Drake1

AI arms race risks spiralling out of control, report warns Financial Times (David L)

Highly Effective Gmail Phishing Technique Being Exploited WordFence (Dan K)

Trump Transition

Come back when he shags a dead pig, says jaded Britain Daily Mash. My initial reaction was along those lines….

Is it just me or has someone decided to go after Trump? Sic Semper Tyrannis. Resilc: “No shit, all out warfare.”

Kremlin says hopes Putin and Trump will get along, disagrees with Tillerson Reuters

Trump’s Nominees Diverge on Russia, Security Issues Wall Street Journal

Donald Trump urged to ditch his climate change denial by 630 major firms who warn it ‘puts American prosperity at risk’ Independent (UserFriendly)

Trump, tech tycoons talk overhaul of H1B visas Reuters

Trump and spy chief differ on what was said in call on Russia dossier Reuters (resilc)

FBI investigated over pre-election decisions on Clinton email Reuters (furzy)

Obamacare Under the Scalpel

House Speaker Paul Ryan on the time table for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act C-SPAN (Kevin C)

Trump Just Screwed Up Obamacare Repeal Even More New York Magazine (resilc)

13 Democrats vote against Sanders amendment to lower prescription drug prices Death and Taxes (UserFriendly)

Cory Booker and 12 Other Dems Just Stopped Bernie Sanders’ Amendment to Lower Prescription Drug Paste Magazine (resilc). So much for Corey Booker’s fortitude.

Cory Booker’s explanation for voting against cheap prescription drugs doesn’t track. New Republic (resilc)

Big Pharma on Notice — About Time! Michael Shedlock (EM). So we see who is in Big Pharma’s pocket.

Obama Legacy

Democrats can’t win until they recognize how bad Obama’s financial policies were Matt Stoller, Washington Post. Today’s must read.

The Obama legacy Bill Mitchell (UserFriendly)

US nears settlement with Takata over exploding airbags Financial Times (J-LS)

2016 Post Mortem

Mourning in America, by James Marcus Harper’s Magazine. Resilc: “‘We can’t say we didn’t know better. We knew. Any adult capable of reading the newspaper had enough information to see Trump for what he was: a performance artist with an authoritarian streak and no conscience whatsoever. That goes double for residents of New York City, which has been Trump’s playground for his entire life. If you live within the five boroughs, you are party to a certain sort of folk wisdom: you hear the anecdote, the tall tale, the telling nugget.’ I am a dummy, please explain how the Clintoons were any different?”

Milton Friedman’s Cherished Theory Is Laid to Rest Bloomberg

Politics instead of pension reform in South Carolina Meditations on Money Management

CFPB Survey Finds Over One-In-Four Consumers Contacted By Debt Collectors Feel Threatened Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Class Warfare

When Robots Take All of Our Jobs, Remember the Luddites Smithsonian Magazine (Tony K)

Give robots ‘personhood’ status, EU committee argues Guardian (Dr. Kevin). Not before dolphins, whales, monkeys and great apes, dogs, and chickens, for starters.

Global Elite at Davos Wonder If They Sowed Seeds of Populist Backlash Bloomberg

The Problem With ‘Smart Cities’ American Conservative. Rick: “Promoting coops as as alternative form of capitalism, contrasted wit the” Metroplis “like techno eutopia desired by Silicon Valley and others.”

Antidote du jour (mk): “Oscar is 16 years old and lost his litter-mate, Hansel, a few months ago. The two dachshunds were inseparable and Oscar was inconsolable. He latched onto this teddy as his substitute companion.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. integer

    History rhymes:

    In 1993, after reviewing the original Team B documents, Cahn* will reflect on the effect of the B exercise: “For more than a third of a century, assertions of Soviet superiority created calls for the United States to ‘rearm.’ In the 1980s, the call was heeded so thoroughly that the United States embarked on a trillion-dollar defense buildup. As a result, the country neglected its schools, cities, roads and bridges, and health care system. From the world’s greatest creditor nation, the United States became the world’s greatest debtor—in order to pay for arms to counter the threat of a nation that was collapsing.”

    Then came Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and Syria. Russia is now on the horizon. I highly recommend reading all the information provided in the above link. Although the page contains a function to broaden the scope of the information, there is no need to do that. Imo there will be no jam for US citizens until this pattern is recognized and terminated.

    *Anne Cahn served in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in the Carter administration.

    1. Dave

      And Richard Perl sabotaged the potential nuclear disarmament between the U.S. and Russia after Reagan and Gorbachev met in Iceland.

      1. JustAnObserver

        Didn’t someone once call Perl the “Prince of Darkness”? The neocons neocon before the term was even invented.

        1. susan the other

          And now it seems the solution our dear leaders have agreed upon is a cashless society. That’s fine with me if it reflects the referent – money. But it does not. It merely is a new lucrative convenience and take over by the digital credit system. Same old. Here’s the rub: digits and credit and cash are all technologies for facilitating exchange. But they are based on an ill defined idea of “money” which is a purely social construct. Money is always an abstract idea of what things are worth – and inconsistent to put it mildly. Like the environment being worth nothing and lunatic financial instruments worth outrageous amounts. I mean, really. This is how we use money. And usually why we go to war. Look just how expensive war and weapons are even though all they do is cause permanent damage to us and the planet versus how disregarded peaceful weapons (equality, science, etc.) are. We’re nuts.

    2. Ivy

      Thanks, I think, for that link. It was a depressing trip down memory lane with too many familiar names that made me wonder how on earth the Team B people have any credibility whatsoever. How do they maintain any standing to push their ideas? Are there no adults in the room who can look back and point out how the prior efforts were discredited? Or are they simply untouchable?

      1. integer

        How do they maintain any standing to push their ideas?

        Their current mode of operation essentially boils down to creating “reality” via anonymous leaks from a network of insiders occupying high ranking political/intelligence/military positions to compromised media outlets such as NYT, WaPo, CNN, etc. It is then reported on and subsequently aquires a momentum of its own in the public discourse. The above link, in detailing how Team B undercut the CIA via leaks to the media, which at the time was more or less a fact based intelligence institution, is also detailing the genesis of what we are now consistently seeing. This section is relevant:

        Although the entire “Team B” intelligence analysis experiment is supposed to be classified and secret, the team’s neoconservatives launch what author Craig Unger will call “a massive campaign to inflame fears of the red menace in both the general population and throughout the [foreign] policy community—thanks to strategically placed leaks to the Boston Globe and later to the New York Times.” Times reporter David Binder later says that Team B leader Richard Pipes is “jubilant” over “pok[ing] holes at the [CIA]‘s analysis” of the Soviet threat. Team B member John Vogt calls the exercise “an opportunity to even up some scores with the CIA.”

        In 2002, defense policy reporter Fred Kaplan will sardonically label Team B the “Rumsfeld Intelligence Agency,” and write: “It was sold as an ‘exercise’ in intelligence analysis, an interesting competition—Team A (the CIA) and Team B (the critics). Yet once allowed the institutional footing, the Team B players presented their conclusions—and leaked them to friendly reporters—as the truth,” a truth, Team B alleges, the pro-detente Ford administration intends to conceal.

        Trump is obviously not one of these insiders and has been doing real damage to these media institutions, which act as the load bearing structures of what is the modern day equivalent of operation mockingbird, allowing the public to be manipulated and subdued into accepting high-level decisions that do not serve the public’s interest. The possibility of Trump dismantling this incredibly powerful mechanism of controlling the public discourse, is one of, if not the, main reason(s) we are seeing such hysteria surrounding his impending Presidency imo.

    1. Clive

      I’ve still got my childhood teddy (actually a small brown dog with a missing eyebrow) and am not ashamed to admit it.

    2. MartyH

      I have two plush dogs that I keep close. Both gifts as I lay in the ICU. One from a close adult friend and one from another adult friend’s son.

    3. Gary

      Unless you are choosing not to have dogs, now is the time to get a puppy. Oscar can show him the ropes and it will give purpose to his life.

    4. susan the other

      Oscar makes me sad that we are so arrogant. Clearly animals feel grief – it has been observed and recorded since before the Bible. And I betcha animals are planful. All the experts say no, they are “dumb animals” who cannot think in terms of the future. So how do cats sit in the window when you are on your way home and dogs curl up by the front door and any number of other subtle things we big goofballs don’t even notice?

      1. Baby Gerald

        My mom adopted two greyhounds at the same time six years ago. One passed away from cancer and the other dog took about two weeks to return to her perky old self. Dogs have personality and character and emotion. Before we start talking about personhood for robots, we should definitely think about it for our best friends.

        Stay strong, Oscar!

  2. integer

    Syria: Israel accused of attacking key military airport

    Assad regime said on Friday that Israel fired rockets at a major military airport west of Damascus, the capital, and warned Tel Aviv of repercussions of what it called a “flagrant” attack and support of terrorism.

    Syrian state television quoted the army as saying several rockets were fired from an area near Lake Tiberias in northern Israel just after midnight which landed in Mezzeh military airport, a major facility for elite Republican Guards. The strike reportedly damaged one of the compounds of the crucial military facility.

    Assad regime’s army has warned that there will be repercussions for Israel for the “flagrant attack” on the military base, state TV said, citing a Syrian army command spokesman. It also linked the alleged strike to Israel’s “support of terrorist groups.”

    “Syrian army command and armed forces warn Israel of the repercussions of the flagrant attack and stresses its continued fight against (this) terrorism and amputate the arms of the perpetrators,” the army command said in a statement.

    There was no information on the death toll resulting from the airstrike immediately available.

  3. Steve C

    The ad hominem fact free attacks on Stoller in the comments by Obots were precious. Cognitive dissonance. So we’re the usual clueless comments about “far-left” Obama.

    1. fresno dan

      So I’m reading “of two minds” and there is this FED graph on corporate profits

      And it sure looks like since 2000 business has hoovered up all the money, and that if anything, the Obama years were even better than the Bush year.
      I mean, who thinks that since 2000 the economy has performed well for the 90% ?

      And with regard to Obama, we have reached prefect idiocy equipoise – both repubs and dems think he was liberal….

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Yeah, that kills me… Also, are you referring to one of the links above? Nothing with “of two minds” in the headline that I could see.

    2. Vatch

      Some of the comments are quite good. These are three that I like:

      1/12/2017 8:43 AM CST
      I tend to have a very favorable opinion of President Obama, and expected this to be the typical right-wing screed against him, but was surprised by how thoughtful and informed this piece is. Additionally, it reminded me of how frustrated I felt with the administration’s responses to the banking and foreclosure crises back in 2010. I, like many readers, often gravitate towards writers I either respect or agree with, but this uncomfortable opinion is filled with thoughtful historic analysis from which I relearned mush [sic] that I once knew but had forgotten. Thank you so very much for putting this piece together.

      1/12/2017 9:16 AM CST
      But it STILL is stupid for working people to EVER vote for Republicans.

      Yes, Democrats hold the coats of the 0.1 Percent Elites while they stomp on working people. But Republicans actively and enthusiastically participate in the stomping.

      J Sarayda Shapiro
      1:17 AM CST [Edited]
      No question, Trump is a disaster. The point is, if Pres. Obama had tried to follow through on his economic promises, even a little, then Trump would never have been elected.

      I hope the Democratic party will use the next few years to change our policies and once again become the champions of ordinary people. We can’t do that if we don’t examine our policies and see where we went wrong,

      1. inhibi

        Funny, on comment #2, I find its completely the opposite: the Democrats will say they are not racist, not elitist, and do everything for the people, while they are the exact opposite. The Republicans are racist, don’t deny their elitism, but lie about helping the working class. So, actually, in my mind the Republicans have always been more honest – and that is why the younger generations are more Democrat than Republican (but more Independent than either).

  4. PlutoniumKun


    The Problem With ‘Smart Cities’ American Conservative

    I like this article, and I can’t help liking American Conservative, so thanks to NC for introducing it to me. I’ve always been interested in the potential of co-operatives, but it does seem that structural forces in so many countries and societies prevent them from reaching their true potential. But this line from the article stands out:

    We’re talking not about socialism but a form of capitalism—algorithmic capitalism—and how to create more capitalists, people who are genuinely owners.

    The great thing about co-ops is that you can interpret them as a product of anarchism (the roots of northern Spanish co-ops at least partly came about from the strength of anarchism in early 20th Century Spain), socialism, or good old can-do capitalism at a grass-roots level. So long as they work, who cares?

    I think in this splintered world, as neo-liberalism goes into its death throes, there are a surprising amount of subjects where left wingers can make common cause with more thoughtful conservatives and libertarians. Opposing Silicon Valley monopolies in favour of locally controlled digitally based co-operatives to provide services is certainly one of those.

    1. Alejandro

      May be worth noting, that worker coops have made strides in subduing the antagonism between “labor v. capital” by converging what many still believe to be a “battle-line” dichotomy…e.g., Mondragon, arguably the largest worker coop, has a worker to ceo compensation ratio of 1 to 6, and that’s lowest paid worker, not the “median”, to the highest ranking ceo…although they certainly do not view themselves as utopian, they do seem to value the notion of equality, and seem to view the purpose of technology (AI, robotics etc.) as complementing their efforts and extending their capacity, and NOT as displacing nor replacing humans.

      Elsewhere, in the realm of transnational corporate “people”…in addition to recognizing the wedges and being aware of the wedge-drivers in the seemingly never-ending class war, it may also be worth noting that trying to qualify and quantify the {value} of labor with vaguely defined and mostly immeasurable abstract units of measure (e.g., hard-work, education, skill, experience etc.) has proven a losing proposition for workers, as shown by the data on inequality. It would seem that linking “minimum wage” to a ratio of ceo to worker compensation, e.g. 1 to 16, would seem fair and would yield much better results, assuming the ceo worked 2X as hard, had 2X the education, 2X the skill level and 2X the experience {2X2X2X2=16},…e.g., to further clarify, ‘Discovery Communications’ CEO, David Zaslav’s 2014 compensation of $156,077,912 would have been cut to $596,016 {OR} a sales assistant’s compensation of $37,251 would be raised to $9,754,869.50, {OR} some justifiable combination adhering to the 1 to 16 ratio…

      1. polecat

        Please people …. ‘coops’ are for chickens, while co-ops are for everyone else ….

        just sayin ……

      2. Darthbobber

        Though it should be noted that Mondragon now offshores significant production, and that the workers employed outside Spain ARE NOT co-op members.

        1. Alejandro

          A link would be helpful…scalability always seems a challenge, and there doesn’t seem to be A solution that can solve EVERY problem, but on the issue of inequality, they certainly seem to have much to teach. Also, it should be noted that companies like Microsoft and GE, have compensated them(Mondragon) for having their (ms,ge) researchers work in their facilities to learn from their methods, implying that they have something to teach in the realm of innovation as well.

    2. Waldenpond

      I read the piece also. It is a bit muddled in mixing owners and workers.

      If equality is a person’s interest co-ops are what people could settle for…. though it still involves monocropping, polluting, profit and growth dependent, capitalism… just with multiple owners. The question is does it really weaken the 1% or just strengthen they sycophant class 10% and the 20% social climbing class? Co-ops change graph lines for the upper income levels.

      If capitalism and the externalities it produces are a person’s interests… co-ops aren’t going to suffice.

      The smart cities portion didn’t interest me. I want to see an experimental smart city that has roof top solar, wind turbines, banned cars or at least drastically limit where they can go etc. For me a smart city isn’t one that uses more tech and more energy or even more tech as level energy, but one that uses less energy, has less impact on the environment (processes it’s own pollutants, makes it’s own products) and uses less energy. There are small communities that attempt this, I’d like to see it done on a large scale.

    3. fosforos

      Robert Owen was a communist. The insertion of the word “capitalism” was a polite genuflection to the word “Conservative” in his publisher’s title.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Holy sh*t, we kidnapped a Haitian senator:

    Before the plane that would bring [Haitian senator Guy Philippe] to the United States took off, Haitian National Police officers and American drug enforcement agents stopped to pose for cheery snapshots.

    The landmark arrest quickly led to chaos on Haiti’s streets, and is further complicating the already fraught relationship the country has with the United States.

    Almost immediately, many members of Haiti’s parliament questioned the legality of expelling a man from his own country without so much as a hearing.

    Then the violence started. In the southwestern city of Jérémie, furious mobs began throwing rocks, breaking windows and vowing to kill foreigners.

    We don’t need no stinkin’ extradition hearing, when dealing with no-account poor black folks. /sarc

    Nice gesture from America’s soi-disant black president — assuming he’s even in charge of the DEA’s lawless thugs (a doubtful proposition).

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Between the confusing “OMG Putin” propaganda and now the arrest of an opponent of Bill Clinton BFF, Arristide, my tin foil hat is telling me that the CGI might be a real problem for other Democratic establishment and by extension the electeds who swore the CGI was legit.

      I am under the opinion war weary Americans would gladly support the destruction of the House of Saud, a notable Clinton Global Initiative donor.

        1. susan the other

          the last blurb I read about the Clintons and Haiti is that Haitians hate the Clintons and claim with evidence that the Clinton Foundation ripped them off disgracefully at best.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            The president of the Haitian Senate was asked after the recent very destructive hurricane what his worst fear was.
            Reply: “That the Clintons come back”.
            The internet is your friend, look up the sweetheart post-earthquake deals for Bubba’s friends to ship relief rice from Arkansas (crushing local providers); the fact that instead of 100,000 new houses they built 50; and the luxury resort built with “relief” funds in the north of the island, where there was no earthquake damage.

          2. RabidGandhi

            Very true that the Clintons have been disastrous for Haiti. Part of that disaster was exiling Aristide and forcing a neoliberal reform package on him as a condition for returnin. Not sure why NotGeithner thinks Aristide is their BFF.

    2. cocomaan

      Holy crap! This is a preposterous, incredibly damaging move.

      I don’t see how authorization for this extradition could have occurred without the AG knowing. And would the AG really go ahead with something so stupid without at least briefing the president on it? Obama is out of his bleeding mind.

      1. Katharine

        I don’t understand why you guys are all so surprised. We kidnapped a Haitian president and flew him to the Central African Republic–and that was the second time we had deposed him. When has this country ever treated Haiti as a sovereign state?

        1. Dave

          “When has this country ever treated Haiti as a sovereign state?”

          Well, they did kick out or kill all the white people in 1812 or somewhere way back then.
          How did we treat the Barbary Pirates? What if they still had a country now? What obligation would we have to them?

        2. cocomaan

          Maybe it’s just the 11th hour nature of it. But good reminder of the litany of crimes we’ve committed against the biggest maroon society that ever was.

    3. alex morfesis

      Someone check obamas meds…he must want to permanently concede miami dade to the republicans…piss off Haitians and Cubans on the same day…

      dude…just go play golf…

      Trump will probably take the chelsea for assange deal and the new whig party might as well fold up and start fresh as some other entity…

  6. allan

    So we see who is in Big Pharma’s pocket.

    If regional banks can own Jon “Just an organic farmer from Montana™” Tester,
    why shouldn’t pharmaceuticals be allowed to as well?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      From an Intercept article on the pharmaceutical vote and democrat betrayal:

      The safety excuse is mostly a chimera, as most of the drugs that would be imported from Canada were originally manufactured in the United States; they’re just cheaper there, because the Canadian government uses a review board and price negotiation to make drugs more affordable.

      “My first response to that is show me the dead Canadians. Where are the dead Canadians?” former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, once asked during his own push to allow for importation.

      corey booker in 2020. I’m too sure.

      He’s probably got Brian Pagliano in his basement setting up a private server as we speak. The sooner the Sanders contingent dumps these losers and sets up their own party, the better off we’re all gonna be. At the very least, I hope they don’t forget who’s with ’em and who’s “agin” ’em. Hint: it’s not Putin or Comey.

      1. Reify99

        Emailed the 13 democrat pharma traitors. 2 of the supporting republicans. List of the 9 republicans who crossed over to support, anyone? This thing would have passed if not for democrat defectors.

        1. Vatch

          Sen. Klobuchar is the one who actually sponsored the amendment. Sen. Sanders is the lone co-sponsor. Here’s the roll call vote for this amendment:

          These Republicans voted in favor of the amendment:

          Boozman (R-AR)
          Collins (R-ME)
          Cruz (R-TX)
          Flake (R-AZ)
          Grassley (R-IA)
          Heller (R-NV)
          Kennedy (R-LA)
          Lee (R-UT)
          McCain (R-AZ)
          Murkowski (R-AK)
          Paul (R-KY)
          Thune (R-SD)

          Sen. McCain has introduced S.92 – A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to allow for the personal importation of safe and affordable drugs from approved pharmacies in Canada. So far, neither the text of the bill nor a summary is available on the Congressional web site.

          1. craazyboy

            Looks like the AZ gang swung for the fences and got struck out by the Ds. Life is strange. AZ remains a red state.

            1. Vatch

              There are a lot of retired people in Arizona, and they have more drug prescriptions than younger people. Only one of the Florida Senators voted for the amendment though (Sen. Nelson, the Democrat). I guess Marco Rubio needs to raise money from big pharma for his next Presidential run.

              1. susan the other

                And McCain is also the almost-lone voice in the Senate to get rid of big corporate money in elections… his good work gets lost in the fog and lately all I remember is that he hates Russia – but he is a good guy on lotsa stuff.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  V. interesting…because when it comes to Russia and WWIII he has definitely crossed over into the realm of the unwell. A physician, not a political analyst, would be required to properly understand his state of mind.

    2. Benedict@Large

      I wasn’t at all surprised to see Cory going over to the dark side, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see how fast and how widely this news spread, and how many people are angry at him specifically. No doubt Cory’s phones are ringing off the hook right now, as he sits there wondering if he’s watching 2020 go right down the plumbing on him. It is amazing how thick some of these neolibs are. We just took down their Queen, and they’re still sticking their heads above the barricades, wondering if the bullets are real.

      1. RabidGandhi

        This. Pre-2016 Booker’s rancid vote would have gone mostly unnoticed. The Sanders campaign succeeded at dragging healthcare into the public debate and at unmasking the Clintonian dems for what they are.

        IMNSHO, changing the debate is a bigger victory than winning the presidency.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          There was decent coverage in 2009 and 2010 of the rotating villain strategy due to Greenwald. Part of the reason Dems bet on Hillary was the DLC style Dems AL, have voting records that would have prevented their own Presidential runs in 2016. “Obama would have been great except for Senator Warner’s decision to join the Republican filibuster.” would have been the mantra at every campaign event. Without Hillary’s celebrity, these people would be embarrassed at every stop in NH and Iowa. They don’t have constituencies outside their home states.

          Could you imagine Rahm answering questions about the Chicago police in South Carolina? Obama’s cult of personality was strong, and his supporters concocted countless excuses for his behavior, but those excuses wouldn’t protect anyone who joined the GOP filibusters or campaigned for those Democrats.

        2. EGrise

          I wonder if that wasn’t Bernie’s plan all along – he knew the bill had no real chance to pass, but wanted to make the f***ers vote against it and expose hypocrites like Booker, potentially kneecapping his presidential run in 2020.

              1. hunkerdown

                Portia, marym noted three roll call votes yesterday… maybe not every year, but possibly every Presidential term, and with Democrats voting it down.

              2. craazyboy

                It’s true that I read that somewhere this AM. The same sponsor, Sen. Klobuchar, introduces it every year. We’d have to assume it gets voted down every year. Don’t have time to fact check that right now.

          1. Waldenpond

            Sure, sure….. or it could be that after decades of the same Lucy and the football strategy people realize the Sanders is in on it (or, WOW, that is one horribly embarrassing clueless guy).

            1. Vatch

              The amendment was sponsored by Sen. Klobuchar and co-sponsored by Sen. Sanders. It was a close vote: 52-46. The fact that 12 Republicans voted in favor of it tells me that this could have passed, were it not for the usual suspects. People need to scold the Democrats who voted against it. Seven of them are also Trade Traitors:

              Bennet (D-CO)
              Cantwell (D-WA
              Carper (D-DE)
              Coons (D-DE)
              Heitkamp (D-ND)
              Murray (D-WA)
              Warner (D-VA)

              plus six who aren’t on the list of Trade Traitors:

              Booker (D-NJ)
              Casey (D-PA)
              Donnelly (D-IN)
              Heinrich (D-NM)
              Menendez (D-NJ)
              Tester (D-MT)

              1. wilroncanada

                Does anyone know how many of these votes on each side were the results of trade deals between individual members?
                There are trades like that made in the Canadian parliament, I know, and I would assume in the US also.
                A member of one party, who either has a safe seat, or a good enough score for his district or state, that he/she can afford to trade votes with a member of the other party who needs the vote to burnish his/her image

                1. Vatch

                  Some of these are probably like that. The general phenomenon is “log rolling” — you help me roll my log, and I’ll help you roll yours. A more specific version of this is “villain rotation”, in which many Democrats will occasionally vote in favor of whatever the billionaires or the giant corporations want, but not so frequently that their liberal constituents notice.

                  The first 7 on the list are probably DINOs, Democrats in Name Only, because they also voted for trade promotion authority. The other 6 may well be indulging in villain rotation. It’s very important for their constituents to call their offices and let them know that we’re on to them.

            2. FluffytheObeseCat

              Sanders has chosen to work within the system. He’s been totally upfront about it for years, and certainly was honest about it during the primaries. He is not a Don Quixote type, insistent on tilting at windmills, and he’s been totally straight about that fact. He got far further acting within the Democratic universe than any of our third party “progressive” or “socialist” candidates have by playing the purity game. They, in contrast, seem to be in the game for the pleasure of perpetual fund-raising, not governing.

              Stop with the constant smear-whines.

              1. Waldenpond

                Got farther doing what? Do you mean personally or has gotten legislation passed with/through the D party? I’ve watched a constant 30 year march to the right.

                I admit the smear whines actually made me laugh (leave the Ds alone!!! My typing will take them down?) but I immediately stopped as I am repulsed by the theater put on knowing full well the Ds will not support reducing the cost of pharma, something so trivial Ted Cruz voted for it and save a few lives.

                I know the dominant Sanders history is what he did well, small money donors, gained in support, got the youth to register for Ds etc…. he still lost to the bribe laundering warmonger Clinton.

                1. Vatch

                  “knowing full well the Ds will not support reducing the cost of pharma, something so trivial Ted Cruz voted for it”

                  Yes, Ted Cruz did the right thing by supporting this amendment. But most of the Republicans (39 of them) opposed it, and most of the Democrats (32 of them, plus independents King and Sanders) supported it.

                  Did you contact your Senators to either praise them or criticize them, depending on how they voted? It only takes a few minutes.

                  1. Waldenpond

                    I no longer waste time contacting my reps. I was on a townhall phone call with one and it was my turn to ask a question. I did. I had c-span and fdl up at the time. The rep called a break, I watched his vote pop up on c-span and recorded at fdl. He came back on the phone and for some reason I was still on the question line, so I called him out for stating he was against a particular bill, had just used his break to go vote for it (I read the portion on the call back to him) and was met with dead silence. I was groveling appropriate and used language appropriate to my betters, truthful rather than lie. You won’t be surprised to know I was dropped from the townhall list.

                    Contacting by e-mail demonstrates they do not read them. Check a box for a topic other than the one you discuss in your e-mail and 3 or 4 months later you get a canned response on the box topic.

                    I have only called my reps a dozen or so times. It has never resulted in a change in position.

                    So no, I am no longer a D nor do I attempt to interact with them.

                    1. Vatch

                      It’s possible that things are a little different in 2017 in the wake of the turmoil caused by the Trump and Sanders campaigns. You might consider trying again. Yes, you’ll still get canned responses to most letters, but that’s inevitable when Congressional districts average more than 700,000 constituents. But it’s your life, so spend your time as you choose.

                  2. hunkerdown

                    Why encourage the rotating-heel system? Why allow Democrat officials to act in their own interest? I want them to change the way they and their interests run things, not plead with elites for just a bit more.

                    Letting them feel as if they’ve “won” just encourages them. The by-design absentee government of the USA doesn’t need encouragement.

                    1. Vatch

                      Letting them feel as if they’ve “won” just encourages them.

                      If a large number of people call their offices to complain about the way that they voted on a bill or an amendment to a bill, I hardly think that they will feel that they have “won”.

              2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Um hello there’s a guy about to occupy the Oval Office who completely smashed through all of the party crap just by stating the obvious to the great swath of completely disenfranchised and screwed over middle class voters.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  There are so many issues we can’t fantasize addressing them all.

                  On the Land-of-Tolstoy-Readers front, what would a Sanders’ presidency have proposed to do? Would he have changed prepared plans for that particular theater, and excited as many deep and stately souls as Trump has?

              3. witters

                If he has “chosen to work within the system” then he is, I’m afraid, the problem, not the solution.

            3. lyman alpha blob

              Spend some time in VT. He talks the talk and walks the walk – literally. Sanders is the real deal and people there love him including my Fox watching bible thumping parents. They don’t agree with him on everything but at least they know where he stands and that he’s honest. They would have enthusiastically voted for him for POTUS but hell would have frozen before they voted for Clinton.

              Would he have singlehandedly saved the world as Pres? – no and he admitted as much. But we’d be having a much different national conversation right now. A lot more cross of gold and a lot less golden shower.

  7. Susan C

    Hi everyone – after following the releases of the declassified security report on Trump that was made public last Friday and then reading the 35-page “dossier” Wednesday night, realized I began to scramble the contents of these reports as it seemed the press was referring to the second document on occasion which in fact they should not have done. At first I believed the “dossier” was coordinated by the Dems as another attempt to delegitimize Trump and was furious about it. Question is – does anyone know who originally distributed the “dossier”? All I know is several organizations were given this document and they decided since it was unsubstantiated not to publish it – until Buzzfeed. I realize this Christopher guy in the UK is the author of the “dossier” and he took off with his family as soon as he was named. Any insights would be appreciated.

      1. Susan C

        Thank you Jeff – very interesting piece, have never looked at M of A before. I have been attempting to stay on top of all this through the MSM and some WSJ and then realized I was beginning to get mental crossover between what someone would say and what documents they were referring to.

        1. craazyboy

          I think the “two document” confusion is there is a 35pg one and a 2 page summary of it.

          The flow and timeline is confusing. The MofA article covers that in much detail. But basically, a Brit ex intel guy has a private sector intel biz. He was first funded by Rs(!) to put together oppo against Trump. His report was “intel” he picked up as unsupported hearsay from Ukraine loyalists and “Eastern European” intel agencies. Looks like this started as long as a year ago. The Ds(!) then decided to fund/purchase the report. Along the way, both Rs and Ds tried shopping it to our free press big guys, who turned it down to their credit. Of course our intel dudes got it. It floated around the Beltway and Congress at least 4-6 months, it appears. Became urban legend – Russia is controlling Trump and our elections, the CIA has secret intel (and they said so too!!!), etc….finally a couple months ago McCain belatedly became aware of it and passed it to the FBI.

          It seems 4chan was not really the originator of the P story, since that came towards the end of this “news cycle”. Then Buzzfeed got their hands on it and released it, for whatever reason, and that’s how the plebs find out these things.

          1. Susan C

            Yes it had to do with the 2-page document but also the declassified intel document as how could anyone remember the contents of that document after reading the dossier? I was thinking the 2-page document was a summary of the intel briefing, not a summary of the dossier although it seems the media referred a number of times to the 2-page document which should have been classified I would think. I remember they were saying the declassified document would come out this week but instead what came out this week was the dossier. I wonder if that was intentional – that switch – to confuse people and to be sure they read the dossier. Now the media is saying how great this Christopher Steele is – like a James Bond figure. Just think there was some grand strategy in all this – as a way to delegitimize Trump – Hillary will just not give up already.

            1. Susan C

              I stand corrected. This 35-page dossier which was talked about on CNN on Wednesday and published by Buzzfeed is more important than I originally thought. David Corn was interviewed on MSNBC this evening and he talked about his article in Mother Jones published today – where he says that the M16 ex-spy gave the material to the FBI once he realized where his research on Trump and Russia was going – calling it “hair raising”. He was sending in his reports to the US firm in June and then soon after to his contacts at the FBI. This sounds pretty serious.

              1. craazyboy

                The entire record played out last year may need correcting, IMHO.

                From the MofA article – subject to the same limitations and less than godly omnipotence most of us are burdened with : (These are snips. see whole article for the whole article.)

                Chalupa, who serves as director of “ethnic engagement” for the DNC


                Chalupa is also somewhat involved with the ProPornOT list, promoted by the Washington Post, of alleged pro-Russian propaganda websites. This website, Moon of Alabama, is also on that list :-)


                Chalupa is a main promoter of the “Russia hacked the Democratic campaign” allegations based on thin if any evidence. She was named by the same Isikoff of Yahoo as one of 16 people who shaped the 2016 election.


                Chalupa is also:
                founder and president of the Ukrainian lobby group “US United With Ukraine Coalition”, which lobbied hard to pass a 2014 bill increasing loans and military aid to Ukraine, imposing sanctions on Russians, and tightly aligning US and Ukraine geostrategic interests.


                Moreover Chalupa coordinated her anti-Trump/anti-Russian campaign with the Ukrainian embassy in Washington



                Caution: MofA is clearly making “editorial commentary” in the following excerpt from his article. I strongly suggest anyone reading this do so in the context that this, indeed, is “editorial commentary”. However, I have not contacted MofA to verify my disclaimer.

                snip from Mof A article

                One must thereby categorize Chalupa as a Ukrainian agent or at least as naive manipulated by the Ukrainian government and read her accordingly.
                The foreign influence on the presidential race through the Ukrainian (fascist) connection to the Clinton campaign is thereby much more grounded in reality than the alleged but completely unproven Russian connections to the Trump campaign.

                Back to me speaking

                My editorial comment to the question you raised – “This sounds pretty serious.”

                We’ll have to wait until the Ds can make up their mind if this is serious or a nothingburger. I recommend patience. :)

  8. temporal

    re: gmail phishing

    Use a normal email client not a browser. This way you can read the raw email as well as avoid script attacks.

    Accepting that gmail is not necessarily private.
    SSL on

    For added paranoia protection use Thunderbird with the PGP plugin. Encrypt your emails for select individuals that also use the plugin after swapping public keys. This means that you will also be certain of the sender. Impersonating an encrypted source is nearly impossible. Encrypting also means that your gmails aren’t data mined.

    Apple’s standard email client doesn’t support plugins.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Or use Mailplane, which like just about every other alternative on the planet is hugely superior to Apple’s Mail app.

    1. hunkerdown

      Thunderbird ~= older Firefox with Outlook skin. Thunderbird was forked from Firefox a while ago, uses the same XPCOM object model and XUL/XBL UI component framework, and still shares a lot of runtime code with Firefox. The similarity is close enough that some Firefox add-ons Just Work in Thunderbird. (source: personal experience with this framework for 5+ years)

      Unfortunately, the commitment to ongoing support of Mozilla Thunderbird seems weak. The SeaMonkey messaging/PIM suite is another fork still under active development outside the Mozilla organization.

  9. allan

    I love the smell of revisionist history in the morning. It smells like … like … Paul Krugman.

    The truth is that even if Republicans were settled on the broad outlines of a health care plan — the way Democrats were when President Obama took office — turning such an outline into real legislation is a time-consuming process.

    1. Barmitt O'Bamney

      But Democrats were settled on the broad outlines of a health care plan in 2008-9. They wanted to codify into law the extortion racket that already existed, as run by the five families Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Wellpoint and United Healthcare. And establish it they did after a sequence of ludicrous feints at mild reform. Gosh, because of mean ol’ Republicans and bipartisanship, we only have the votes to become enforcers for the “system” that already exists to separate you from your life and money. You now owe monthly rent on your life. This is the best deal you’re gonna get so take it. You’re Welcome ! — xoxo, the Democrats. In the end, Democratic dissenters from this shakedown could be numbered on the left hand of a snake.

      That episode is how and when I learned who my real enemies were.

      1. Jess

        You betcha. As I kept telling Obots at the time, what the Dems don’t realize is that HCR wasn’t an issue, it was a defining issue, a bright-line demarcation point. Between the HCR sellout and the failure to prosecute Wall Street, Obama and the Dem party began what we now recognize as a slow death spiral. A lot of former Dems would never trust the party again, and absent Obama’s personal constituency, the party was put on a permanent downhill slide culminating in the blowout of 2016.

      2. Joek

        So true, so well stated, and tho I had few illusions in ’09 the expected result was still the last nail in the coffin for my support of the so-called Democrats.

    2. RabidGandhi

      My memories are similar to Barmitt’s. The Dems had a crystal clear idea of what they wanted for a health coverage plan since the HillaryCare racket kicked off in 1992: a scheme that would be extremely complicated to formulate (hooray rice bowls!), that would help their insurance pharma donors (ka ching!), that would provide the necessary kayfabe with the Repubs (fighting for us!), and which most importantly would obliterate medicare for all (“never, ever going to happen”).

      This fits in perfectly with RiceBowl Krugman’s Barbie-like protestation that “legislation is hard!”

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        At some point people will realize that the first thing a government is supposed to do for you is help keep you from dying.
        First level of that is to protect the borders from invading armies. Not the Ukrainian or the Saudi borders, just the American borders.
        But the second thing is a health care system that does not bankrupt you. From the thankfully reasonable perch of Australia I can clearly see two obvious things: first that the current health care trajectory of the US will bankrupt both the people and the nation, and second that it most definitely does not have to be that way.
        This is already a three-alarm fire; it’s not a drill

        1. Joek

          Another commentary slam-dunk. Too true. And unlikely this behemoth will ever be tamed much less turned around.

  10. oho

    ‘The Problem With ‘Smart Cities’ American Conservative.’

    The last 30 years of technocratic urban planning (new Urbanism) has been spent underdoing/repairing the work of the prior 30 years of technocratic urban planning (Le Corbusier-ism).

    Another field, like economics or foreign policy, where the cognoscenti “experts” have done more harm than good?

  11. cocomaan

    Joe Biden got the Presidential Medal of Freedom yesterday.

    This is a guy who co-sponsored THE civil asset forfeiture bill with none other than Strom Thurmond in 1983. Joe Biden’s son was kicked out of the navy for cocaine, so it’s really a family affair, freedoms for mine but not for thine.

    I’m not really sure what he did when he was VP, but I guess he deserved an award from the constitutional drone scholar.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The curmudgeonly civil “servant” was so overcome that he turned away from the crowd to wipe his teary eyes. (There’s video.)

      “And I can’t deny the fact. You like me. Right now. You LIKE me.”–Sally Field, accepting the Best Actress Academy Award for, of all things, Norma Rae, a story of labor union organizing, and I’m sure what was going through smilin’ joe’s head.

      Good riddance of bad rubbish.

    2. Jim Haygood

      You used to be able to get a Medal of Freedumb by sending in a cereal box top, 50 cents and a self-addressed stamped envelope.

      Maybe you could still find one at a flea market.

      1. wilroncanada

        It used to be five box tops, four bottle-bottoms, three labels, two coupons, and one thin diiime.
        For the Junior Birdmen.

    3. mad as hell.

      You left out credit card companies’ favorite senator. Yet on an emotional level it was hypnotic. I couldn’t stop watching. There is just something about Uncle Joe and I’m not sure what the hell it is. Maybe it’s because he appears to be an “average Joe” or I wish he was.

      1. Sam Adams

        Did you forget smiling Joe’s help creating the Student Loan debt serfdom with his bankruptcy discharge repeal and elimination of Statute of Limitations? Nobles need bling.

    4. Carolinian

      Had to look up Biden’s exact quote

      “I mean you’ve got the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and nice-looking guy.” – Joe Biden, Vice President

      After Biden praise like that of course Obie had to give him the Medal of Freedom.

    5. Dave

      And his other son in on the board of directors of the Ukrainian Natural Gas Company. Didn’t secretary of state Clintoon send her gal pal, Vicky Nuland, over there to help stage a coup?

      Cocoman, also how could you forget this:
      “Joe Biden bears a large amount of responsibility for passage of the bankruptcy bill,” Ed Boltz, president of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, said in an interview with IBT.

      That legislation created a crisis, said Northeastern University law professor Daniel Austin. Federal Reserve data show that about 1.1 million people face student debt loans of $100,000 or more, and roughly 167,000 face student loans of $200,000 or more.

      “It is perverse and obscene,” Austin told IBT. “We are creating a generation of indentured people. It is mind-boggling that we would do this to a whole generation of young people. I can’t understand any other modern society doing this.”

      1. cocomaan

        Good point! For the record, this is the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 we’re talking about.

        Love this gem from Wiki:

        According to George Packer in his book The Unwinding, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and Hillary Clinton helped pass this bill.[18] (Of the three, however, only Biden voted for the final bill. Dodd voted against, and Clinton did not vote.[19])

        Don’t forget that Joe’s new pet issue is campus rape. So after you’re exploited for your money, Joe will tell you how to date. Good deal.

  12. Merf56

    Re Robots taking jobs: Eventually who exactly will be buying all the shoddy goods these robots are churning out in mass quantity? The wealthy? Do they want machine made mass produced crap? Really?
    The ones whose jobs were replaced by robots will not have the money to buy more than the barest of essentials so who is going to purchase this stuff? Hmmmmm…
    I smell a feudal society developing where the truly wealthy will have their own cabinetmaker, weaver, shoemaker et al ….. living in tiny cottages on their country estates at the mercy of the whims of the lord…..
    Better we all pick an old craft and start boning up I am afraid……

    1. L

      This is why Guaranteed Basic Income is suddenly so popular with the wealthy of Silicon Valley. Unlike other social programs which have the goal of getting people off them, and thus prioritize work, this one prioritizes consumption with no tie to work and thus guarantees a perpetual market for cheaply produced crap.

      1. Merf56

        Guaranteed Basic Income would have to be extremely high to foster the kind of consumption needed and that is never going to happen…

        1. craazyboy

          All Silly Valley needs is the guv to pay out $150/month for smartphone/cell/high speed internet and the clicks and page views continue to come in. Ad revenue from the S&P 500 follows and nothing else is needed.

    2. akaPaul LaFargue

      Yes feudal resurgent – besides the crafts(people) resurgent to service the rich, please add on the technical staff (servants). Here you have the makings of employment and the proof that, if unrestrained by regulations, the tricke-down works!

    3. Waldenpond

      The robots will labor. The robots will be taxed. The owners will institute a bureaucratic regime that will consume the leftover humans time and energy to acquire food and shelter. If the owners keep the calorie allowance low enough, they will be too weakened to resist.

      Unfortunately, I imagine we have entered a cycle where homelessness is accepted and people will just accept that is the way it is going to be. If everything is monetized, short term and disposable and humans are monetized…..

  13. L

    Matt Taibbi has a stern and uncharacteristically unfunny piece up today: “The Russia Story Reaches a Crisis Point”.

    As with all of his pieces it should be read in full but I found this part to be particularly telling:

    Meanwhile, Ynet in Israel is reporting that Israeli intelligence officials are deciding not to share intelligence with the incoming Trump administration. The report indicates they came to this conclusion after a recent meeting with American intelligence officials, who told them the Russians have “leverages of pressure” to use against Trump.

    This is an extraordinary story. If our intelligence community really believes this, then playtime is over.

    No more Clapper-style hedging or waffling. If Israel gets to hear why they think Trump is compromised, how is the American public not also so entitled?

    But if all they have are unverifiable rumors, they can’t do this, not even to Donald Trump.

    1. RabidGandhi

      One of the more entertaining pantomimes of the Obama Administration was to pretend that Israel has some sort of leverage over the US: an oddity in the annals of imperialism where the colonial outpost, at least in appearances, seems to dictate policy to the imperial capitol. The Bushes, Clinton and Reagan may have played this charade to a much lesser degree, but whenever push came to shove, Washington never doubted in asserting its position as the master and Israel as the lackey.

      Trump’s alleged forté is his negotiating skillz. If this is true, then it would be unlikely that he would not see the obvious leverage the US holds in the relationship: don’t give El Donaldo what he wants, and the $3bn per annum, the diplomatic support, the support for Egypt… all could be placed on the bargaining table, thus disposing of the Obama kayfabe.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Don’t forget US aid to Jordan. That’s another billion a year, on top of the $2 billion a year to Egypt, all paid so Israel’s undemocratic neighbors will make nice.

        This has been going on for nearly forty years, since Jimmy Carter’s Camp David accord in 1978 which somehow failed to stop Israel’s expansion of illegal West Bank settlements.

        If this mountain of cash — probably nearly a quarter trillion in today’s currency including aid to Israel — had been simply burned in fireplaces, it could have kept some Americans warm. :-(

        1. cnchal

          To you and me it is a mountain of cash. To Uncle Sam it’s a couple of nickels. A quarter trillion over forty years, versus trillions in an eye blink for the criminal banks. Now, if those trillions for banksters were used to kill them with fire, it would have been a wise investment.

    2. Fitz_Darcy

      Taibbi is too cute, as he plays both sides. His stand, like most in mediastan, is to say, “well, the evidence sure is laughable, but these guys in the IC are just too mature and serious not to take them seriously.” Here’s my take from the 18th century party circuit, the nation (well the whole West) is run by high school popular boys and girls who are mad cause stinky Donald T somehow won the vote for prom king. Well, they will sure show him!

      1. L

        I don’t see it as playing both sides. While I agree that the coctail club is in a titter over having “that man” admitted to their parties I don’t think that is what is going on with the Taibbi piece. He hates Trump yes but this isn’t about fanning the flames of what he admits are (publicly) unproven allegations.

        As I read it he is simply saying that if this is a baseless smear then it should stop. But if it is true and is as serious as they say then they must share. It cannot be just some private secret shared with Mossad.

        Put up or shut up.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          But even just asking it as a question legitimizes it, as though there IS a question to be asked that is relevant. Russia did not make Hilary lose. Period. They can’t prove the source of hacking traffic. Period. The US has hacked and subverted elections around the globe for decades. Period.
          And I love how “Trump wants better relations with Russia!” is construed as the worst possible accusation. Whereas I would have thought the opposite was true, as in “Hilary wants WWIII with Russia!”. Trump’s response was short and 100% accurate: “Only stupid people do not want better relations with Russia”.

    3. Carolinian

      Taibbi: We need a “sober effort to get to the truth of the situation” ’cause those Russkies might actually be blackmailing Trump. Today’s Daily Mash offers a more sensible reaction. Has everyone on the left lost their minds? Even the admirable Pam Martens seems to rejoice in yellow rain gate…defends the press.

      1. armchair

        Time to work furiously to discredit Ynet? I’ve been given reassurances by a commentator on this website that Trump will have no trouble being best buds with both Russia and Israel at the same time. Pretty magical.

      2. witters

        One thing is indisuputable, and all the evidence is out there: Matt Taibbi is no Hunter S Thompson.

    4. Ivy

      How much of the posturing is designed to precipitate a crisis around Inauguration Time? There are so many rice bowls in the dishwasher now and only so much hot water and soap to go around. At this point, I put the odds on Donald Trump lasting through his first term at 50/50. How will Americans react to their own government, media and other institutions in the face of any seditious activity?

      1. reslez

        What we are witnessing is the opening moves of a game that will end when Trump is either impeached or resigns in disgrace. Should he somehow avoid either of these fates, Trump’s administration will be crippled for the duration. There are too many “princes and principalities” with an interest in this outcome for Trump to avoid it. Taibbi jumps on board the investigation train, but it’s precisely these “investigations” that will inflict the ongoing damage, suck all the oxygen out of Trump’s free media advantage, and prevent Trump from implementing anything he’s promised his voters. If you live in the US or in a country that’s materially affected by the US, this affects you. Not quite deadlock, the only measures that will be enacted are ones favored by the oligarchs. Prescription drugs? Forget it. A fiscal infrastructure bill? Don’t make them laugh. Endless, wasteful war? On the menu.

        If your favored populist measure doesn’t happen in the first 90 days it won’t happen.

        Lambert was correct when he pointed out the various phases the effort has taken since November 9th. Every available extra-constitutional lever of power has been stomped to the floor — starting with the hollow recount effort (hastily dialed back once it revealed Democrat ballot shenanigans in Detroit); the delegitimization of the Electoral College in favor of the popular vote (won solely in California); the cultivation of faithless electors (which backfired); and now an on-going offensive from faceless hacks in the politicized intelligence “community”.

        Their plan is to bury the Trump administration in Congressional investigations over the false dossier followed by impeachment and a Pence administration, one which will be much more congenial to the PTB. The Clintons know extremely well how effective this tactic can be. They were its victims in the 90s. All this following an election where the American people were assured for months running that Trump was “literally Hitler”, yet he somehow still managed to win. It doesn’t matter that there’s zero evidence for either claim (Russian sponsorship of Trump / Trump’s equivalence to a German dictator). It doesn’t matter what’s true. The media will report it anyway.

        All I can think of right now is the famous headline from the Onion: “Hillary Clinton To Nation: Do Not [Family Blog] This Up For Me” and the implicit threat that follows.

    5. craazyboy

      “The report indicates they came to this conclusion after a recent meeting with American intelligence officials, who told them the Russians have “leverages of pressure” to use against Trump.”

      Ain’t that amazing? We keep hearing the Russian Influence bugaboo is real, at least for a year now, and the more we find out the detail, the more our “intelligence” tries to walk back the credibility of the evidence. Clapper is now invoking “plausible deniability”, I guess by telling us and Trump that of course they knew the P story could be bogus, and they really can’t confirm hearsay about other supposed Kremlin blackmail they obtained from the same P story people in Ukraine.

      Then we still need to revisit Podesta emails (no official take about Podesta falling for a high school level phishing scheme), Hillary emails (what about the ones Huma and Ant have?), the Clinton Foundation Influencing The USG, and whatever else I may have temporarily forgotten this morning. I hope someone is keeping a list of it all.

      But the Russians are still the greatest threat to the world and we just rolled into Poland.

      1. Isolato

        That American Russian Political Action Committee is an unspeakable “leverage of pressure” against our democratic system. Why I hear they are the most powerful lobby in Washington…

    1. John Parks

      If you have your own website, and want to know about your specific anti-slapp laws for your state

      I have a friend in the UK where anti-libel laws are pretty much like the old west here in the US. He was under attack by a gov official ( one who basically took offence to being called an idiot) so we moved his site to our server so that he could write without fear of suit or having his website blocked.

      I am thinking that this may not be good enough for the future times, maybe Iceland!?

  14. TiPs

    Re Milton Friedman is wrong, Noah Smith obviously ignores (true) heterodox economists, who have provided evidence against the PIH (and its sister Life-Cycle theory) going back to Duesenberry’s Relative Income Hypothesis published in 1948. A significant amount of empirical research on cross-sectional wealth data “proved Friedman wrong” in the 1980s as well. Once again, a mainstream theory can only be wrong once a mainstream economist proves it….

      1. Tim

        The key to being rich is to focus on getting rich, not on being wrong, because yes you can be wrong and still get rich.

        It is a truth I fail to take to heart which mildly, depressingly means I will never be rich.

  15. KYC

    On the article about women in competitive situations, the article mentions the study that concludes women perform worse when competing against men than against women. Unless I’m misunderstanding their analysis, the results are consistent with the long standing hypothesis that men are better than women at chess.

    The article cites a 46% chance of winning when a woman plays against a man, versus a 50% chance of winning when playing against another woman. If you look at all women vs women matches, by definition the overall win-rate of all women (not counting draws) would be exactly 50% as each match has one winner and one loser.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The point of that, as I understood it, is that its not that men are better than women, but that equally matched men are more likely to win when playing a woman. The evidence set out indicates that men are less likely to resign against a woman, and that also (referring to other research), women may internalise a feeling of inferiority, and so it might actually mean they play worse than playing men.

      The study is very interesting, and does I think confirm what many people think or say (often in whispers, its not very pc), is that women are often very competitive with other women, while being less so with men. Men are more equal opportunity in their competitiveness.

      The gender gap in pay is undoubtedly a real thing, but there is plenty of research out there that indicates that its much more complicated than simply a case of a glass ceiling or simple sexism. Its a pretty complicated issue and it will only be resolved by understanding exactly what goes on within organisations. I’m glad NC regularly publishes these articles which question the sort of assumptions liberals and left-wingers often make, it stops us indulging too much in group think.

      1. Katharine

        I think you read too much into this as a potential explanation of unequal pay. Few work situations mirror the direct personal competition of a chess game, so the relevance of this effect to anything in a work environment is unclear.

        I am not quite sure why you refer to “assumptions” left-wingers make. It is not an assumption that the CEO of Microsoft said it was bad karma for a woman to ask for a raise, it is a fact, and the statement was sexist by definition as it applied only to women.

        1. dbk

          I read the article a few hours ago, and then discussed it with a friend who grew up in Tbilisi, Georgia. I told him about the study (and sent it on to him to read), and he noted something very interesting: within the USSR (former, of course), there was one group of top chess-playing women who were able to compete with their male counterparts without this apparent handicap. They were all Georgians. I found this fascinating, and have asked our friend and his wife (a Ukrainian) to read the study and suggest reasons why they think this might have been the case.

          Note: their 8-year-old son is a chess protege who starts formal competition this weekend, so they follow the game pretty closely.

          1. Portia

            it sounds cultural to me. I always felt an implicit or explicit threat from men when in “competition” with them even outside of a formal game situation. Anything a boss or co-worker (or in my case, even male family members) felt would make them appear at a disadvantage or in a lesser light resulted in intimidation. I would find myself wondering if it was worth it to “win”.

      2. craazyboy

        Women probably aren’t all that committed to playing chess, thinking it’s a stupid game where the Queen does all the work and the King sits around in stupid castle.

    2. charles leseau

      I can’t think much of the the 4% difference. It seems too insignificant a spread to be particularly relevant. Among other things, women have to deal with things like PMS during tournaments. Further, it may be that the separate women’s events keeps some women from achieving more against men, by virtue of their being often confined to their own group. (To be clear, there are no specific “men’s events.” Women can compete for anything and can be invited to any chess tournament provided they have the goods).

      The biggest issue in competitive chess with women is clearly numbers and participation. Judit Polgar has already proved that women can reach the top 10 regardless of sex (I believe she reached #8 in 2005 or so), and downed all the major male stars of her heyday, including Kasparov.

      My favourite player of either sex is a female, Valentina Gunina. She plays some crazy stuff sometimes and takes tremendous chances, which is why I love her play. She recently won the London Super Rapid tournament against a field of men.

      An aside: Nigel Short has been roundly ripped apart for his comments about women chess players over the years. It’s certainly not the first controversial thing he’s said, and he has since tried to clarify what he meant, but I guess nobody is listening. In the chess world, there are scads of people who think he’s an ass, and for numerous reasons. I’m personally kind of neutral about him and often quite like him and his personality.

    3. reslez

      If they run a gender-blinded study and it erases the 4% is that going to help women in face to face matches vs men? Or is it only about scoring points in the gender wars, like KYC is so eager to do with his “long standing hypothesis” and total misreading of the article?

      If you don’t believe physical intimidation or bias-laced head games are part of chess you’ve never played it on a competitive level. Fischer used to do strength training just so he could crush Spassky’s fingers during the opening handshake. A woman is always going to lose certain kinds of dominance displays.

      Speaking as a woman in a male-dominated field, no single match or game or contest takes place in a vacuum. There’s a wider scope for consequences that men get to ignore – and use to their advantage. Women tend to be more perceptive of those factors for survival and socialization reasons.

  16. Jim Haygood

    From The Donald’s tweets this morning:

    What are Hillary Clinton’s people complaining about with respect to the F.B.I. Based on the information they had she should never….have been allowed to run – guilty as hell. They were VERY nice to her. She lost because she campaigned in the wrong states – no enthusiasm!

    6:25 AM – 13 Jan 2017

    Well, there you have it. HE’S not going to pardon her — “guilty as hell.”

    Seven days left to obtain a “stay out of jail” ticket from Potus. But being as bad a lawyer as she is a candidate, the ‘beest won’t do it.

    Why? Because as “Bill” said more than four decades ago, she wants to “stay viable within the system.”

    You never know when you might want to run for something! ;-)

    1. Barmitt O'Bamney

      Well, first Citizen Trump has to make it to Jan. 20.
      The thing with no name appears to be ready to do whatever might be required to stop him. Nor will it stop after the Inauguration, assuming there is one. It has a lot of experience in the business of running insurgent populist leaders to ground and destroying them. Sometimes it just pulls out their teeth and plucks off their wings and makes them do funny tricks. It practices this all over the world, and I’m sure it has no qualms about doing it here, too. Even if they were blatant and brutal about it, they could count on half the population dancing in the streets.

      If he makes it to his Inaugural, Trump will still have a long, dangerous struggle before he will be in any position to yell about sending Boss Hillary to Sing-Sing, Gettys! Sing-Sing!

      1. hunkerdown

        But it can’t do that without the immunity of the official system. If covert employees suddenly become unemployed professionals, shooting upon sight becomes much more tenable for his security personnel.

        Not sure how removing the commander (WaPoo, therefore “if true”) of the DC National Guard in the middle of the inauguration is supposed to help legitimacy, though. It’s sure not making the conservative Birchers any less astute predictors.

    2. witters

      “Because as “Bill” said more than four decades ago, she [HRC] wants to “stay viable within the system.” Like Bernie.

  17. freedomny

    “Any plan to allow the importation of prescription medications should also include consumer protections that ensure foreign drugs meet American safety standards. I opposed an amendment put forward last night that didn’t meet this test.”
    Booker on why he opposed the drug amendment. What a bunch of phony crap. My sister and brother in law are both physicians and they get their prescriptions from Canada. I think they would know better than Booker. I’m calling his office to call him out and I would encourage others to do so.

    1. divadab

      Both WA Senators, CAntwell and Murray, also voted nay. Yet another example of the corruption of the Democratic party – favoring continued gouging of sick people by monopoly capital that bribes them. Filthy. Disgraceful.

  18. MtnLife

    Talk about history rhyming: women pushing for an alcohol ban that results in increased crime. You know, India, you could have just asked us how that all turned out and saved yourself the trouble.

    1. susan the other

      I’ll just say this about that. My very expert plumber opined that alcohol was good for us. And I agreed. I’m thinking that the reason the dinosaurs went extinct was because their livers did not adequately process alcohol. And ours do. How nice. If the bio-killer enemies of humanity want to do away with us they are gonna have to decommission our livers. or vice-versa – never hear about that possibility.

  19. Jim Haygood

    Another day, another record high (intraday) for the Nasdaq 100 glamour stock index.

    In fact, the S&P 500 index is also trading above its Jan 6th record high close of 2,276.98 as I type.

    A new record close for the S&P would be a bigger deal than Dow 20K, as the S&P index is much more widely indexed and tracked as a benchmark.

    Bubble III — you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I just hope gas is cheaper…everything else is more expensive. Health insurance premium. Rent. Truck lease. Organic First Press Olive Oil.

      1. Isolato

        You can get some wonderful olive oil from Gaza through a middle east children’s charity…not to name names. Tastes great…does good.

  20. olga

    What is funny about Matt Stoller’s article is that it points to the many ways of dividing the electorate:
    Frank Thomas in What’s the Matter with Kansas shows how Repubs got ordinary folks to vote for them using the culture war of intolerance (no abortion, religious stuff, etc.) – while they picked folks’ pockets.
    From Matt Stoller’s WAPO piece, it seems Dems did the same – except they used too much tolerance as the means of division.
    No place to turn for the regular joe sixpack.

    1. UserFriendly

      It’s Tom Frank, and if you haven’t read his follow up, Listen Liberal, you absolutely must!

  21. ex-PFC Chuck

    Question for the moderator. What happens if when hitting “Post” the captcha test. Do I just get chance to do it again? Or just a white screen with an NC header. The latter is what I got ten or so minutes ago when I attempted to post a long comment.

    1. Waldenpond

      You can refresh so you don’t time out. If I time out, I have to go back, scroll to find the item I was responding to (because my comment has dropped to the bottom of the comment section as a new comment and is no longer a ‘reply’), re-click reply, re-click post. Sometimes it’s better to write outside of comments. Sometimes you just give up. ha!

  22. fresno dan

    Then, last Sunday evening, during the NFL playoff game between the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers, the FBI posted on its website more than 300 emails that Clinton had sent to an unnamed colleague not in the government — no doubt her adviser Sid Blumenthal — that had fallen into the hands of foreign powers. It turns out — and the Sunday night release proves this — that Blumenthal was hacked by intelligence agents from at least three foreign governments and that they obtained the emails Clinton had sent to him that contained state secrets. Sources believe that the hostile hackers were the Russians and the Chinese and the friendly hackers were the Israelis.

    Last Sunday’s revelations make the case against Clinton far more serious than Comey presented it to be last summer. Indeed, Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated by Trump to be attorney general and who has been a harsh critic of Clinton’s, told the Senate Judiciary Committee this week that he would step aside from any further investigation of Clinton, thereby acknowledging that the investigation will probably be opened again.

    One of the metrics that the DOJ examines in deciding whether to prosecute is an analysis of harm caused by the potential defendant. I have examined the newly released emails, and the state secrets have been whited out. Yet it is clear from the FBI analysis of them that real secrets were exposed by the nation’s chief diplomat — meaning she violated an agreement she signed right after she took office, in which she essentially promised that she would not do what she eventually did.

    So…..the SoS (secretary of state) emails were hacked by foreign powers.
    I’m not going to say I told you so, but that’s a lie – a dirty despicable lie. I told you so. It made no sense what so ever to claim that spies are hacking useless political stuff (well….maybe its not useless for a foreign power to know who is buying who for what purpose and cost how much) when they can be seeing what the SoS is sending. The ONLY thing the SoS emails about is yoga pants???

    IRONY alert – the Inspector General investigating Comey about the Clintoon email investigation believes the book should be thrown at Comey……because he DIDN’T recommend prosecution.

    1. Ivy

      Will there be any investigation whatsoever regarding that tarmac meeting between the grandparents Loretta and Bill? My guess is not, down the old memory hole for that type of inconvenience.

    2. Gareth

      “…during the NFL playoff game between the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers, the FBI posted on its website more than 300 emails that Clinton had sent to an unnamed colleague not in the government — no doubt her adviser Sid Blumenthal — that had fallen into the hands of foreign powers.”


      I’m not finding those emails on the on the FBI website, which is probably why realclearpolitics didn”t provide a link.

      1. fresno dan

        January 13, 2017 at 12:10 pm

        Good point. I tried a Google search and found this FOX article:

        Which states in part
        “This is the fifth release of Clinton investigation documents on the FBI Vault website, although the bureau has not made an official announcement as of Monday morning.
        The documents apparently are related to the handling of computer hardware collected from Clinton’s lawyers for the investigation. They also contain emails from FBI officials discussing the classification of Clinton’s emails.”

        Which contained this link:

        So I believe the RCP statement, ” the FBI posted on its website more than 300 emails that Clinton had sent to an unnamed colleague not in the government” maybe INCORRECT – but without a link and specific documents referenced, hard to know exactly what the RCP article is referring to. I think the FBI release The FOX article refers to is internal FBI documents (and maybe emails ABOUT Clinton emails).

        So actually, this RCP statement:
        ” It turns out — and the Sunday night release proves this — that Blumenthal was hacked by intelligence agents from at least three foreign governments and that they obtained the emails Clinton had sent to him that contained state secrets.” – – So the RCP conclusions may be premature or may be entirely incorrect (or correct – hopefully time will show if there are 300 emails to Bloomenthal or not and IF they were hacked).

        Of course, what I am curious about is how much effort was expended with regard to seeing if the SoS was hacked and how much apparent effort was expended that the DNC was hacked.
        Maybe Hillary was great at separating yoga pants and top secret emails?
        Maybe the CIA knows Hillary was hacked but has to use DNC as a cover because it would expose the carelessness of Hillary and the Obama administration and acknowledge that critical information was penetrated? I don’t know….

  23. NotTimothyGeithner

    Joining Corey Booker in his brave vote against Putin on behalf of big pharmacy were these shining examples of the Democratic Party:

    -Mark Warner
    -John Tester (2018)
    -Michael Bennet
    -Maria Cantwell
    -Pat Murray
    -Tom Carper
    -Chris Coons
    -Heidi Heidikampf (2018)
    -Bob Menedez (2018)
    -Joe Donnelly (2018)
    -Martin Heinrich
    -Bob Casey (2018)

    These have demonstrated they are worse human beings than Ted Cruz.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Political correctness means it’s easier to shout $1 million or even $100,000 minimum H1B wage, than to say we are reducing the H1B quota.

      “What the matter, you don’t people from abroad?”

      “No, I just like them foreigners to earn $1,000,000 at least.”

      “But you don’t like to see minimum wage of $100,000 mandatory for American workers? You an American self-hater?”

      1. djrichard

        I get your point, but in this case I actually see congress being the good guy. They’re saying that corporations can no longer be allowed to debase the labor market with cheap H1Bs. But it doesn’t prevent the corporations from getting talent; if talent is truly the issue then $100K for talented workers should not prevent anyone from hiring that talent.

        Now with respect to other factors debasing the labor market, e.g. high unemployment due to other factors such as imbalanced trade, this certainly seems to be on Trump’s radar too.

        But admittedly I don’t see the Trump administration doing much on the minimum wage side.

        Edit: if I’m a labor organizer, I wait for when full employment starts to get restored (e.g. through trade rebalancing in particular) Then use tight labor as leverage to negotiate better wages, etc.

      2. djrichard

        It’s really beginning to look like “it took Trump to bring workers in from the cold”. And if Trump is successful on these fronts, the dem party is finished in my mind.

    2. carycat

      A better deterent will be a mandatory application fee (non-tax deductible and only partially refunded if a US citizen is hired for that position and the application is withdrawn) that is a percentage of the total compensation package of the top 1% (in compensation) of the company with a minimum that is equal to the the 90th percentile US annual wage. Add a hefty fee if the H-1B labor is billed out to any other concern so they cannot launder the H-1B via cutouts that pay their CEO one dollar a year. Then we will see just how valuable these folks are and how US citizens just don’t have the right skills.
      You need something really simple (no gaming the system) with real teeth.

  24. Waldenpond

    Techdirt…. seems one tool to protect independent media is for them to headquarter an office in an anti-slapp state. Why don’t they do this, is it tax avoidance? Cheaper than a lawsuit.

  25. ex-PFC Chuck

    re: Scientists turn mild-mannered mice into killers – January 13, 2017

    The concern expressed by Yves in her comment on this link is well founded. After all, the title character played by George C. Scott clearly stated what war is all about in the monologue that opened the movie Patton. The following are my recollections from a pertinent book I read shortly after its publication in the mid-1990s. It is entitled On Killing: The Psychological Cost Of Learning To Kill In War And Society, by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, USA.

    Shortly after the USA declared war on Germany and Japan in December 1941 Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall selected the journalist and author S. L. A. Marshall (no relation) to be the chief Army historian during the war. SLAM had served as a teenage enlisted man during the first world war and performed his duties well enough to be appointed to Officer Candidate School, which is where he was at the war’s end. He was commissioned a second lieutenant early the following year, not yet 19 years old. He remained in the Army reserves upon being separated from active duty shortly after the end of the war.

    GCM, being a serious, life-long student of military history, had definite ideas regarding how he wanted the war documented, two in particular. First, he wanted inputs from the lowest levels possible in the chains of command, as well as from the higher-ups. And secondly, he did not want those low level inputs filtered by those higher-ups. Apparently he thought that such filtering had been a problem with official histories he had read of the Army’s previoius wars. GCM decided that the soldiers responsible for gathering the inputs should report directly to SLAM, who returned to active duty as a brigadier general reporting directly to GCM himself. The two Marshalls also agreed that the Selective Service System would be instructed to steer post-secodary students in journalism, and especially history, to SLAM’s command. After training these guys were attached to combat units (at the regiment level, IIRC) with the charge to debrief randomly selected soldiers of all ranks, including private, as soon as possible after coming out of combat.

    The historians were ordered to make it clear to each combatant they interviewed that they did not report up the same chain of command as he did, and that no personally identifiable information he provided would get back to that his chain. The historians were also charged with asking some specific questions. Among these were what weapon was the soldier assigned to use, did he fire that weapon, if so how many times and what was he aiming at, etc.

    The data gathered from riflemen in infantry units shocked the brass. Even in company and platoon level units fresh out of the most intense engagements the percentage of soldiers who actually fired their rifles aiming to kill or wound enemy combatants was seldom more than 10%. Army wide the percentage was in the 7-8% neighborhood. Most either didn’t fire their weapons at all or did so intentionally not aiming at enemy soldiers. By contrast, the infantry soldiers assigned to crew-served weapons, such as machine guns, mortars and anti-tank weapons like bazookas, aimed and fired at enemy combatants nearly 100% of the time, as expected.

    Needless to say the guys with the stars on their shoulders were alarmed about these data but because of the more immediate pressures not much thought or action about them took place during that war. Afterward, however, they determined based on research and reflection that rifle training was not realistic enough. All such training up to and during the Second World War made use of bulls-eye targets and most soldiers, when confronted with orders to shoot at enemy combatants, were unable to overcome their ethical resistance to the notion of killing live human beings like themselves that had been inculcated in them since early childhood.

    By the time I went through Army basic training during the winter of 1963-64 rifle training was conducted using cardboard head-shoulders-trunk human silhouettes. These were mounted on mechanisms that could raise them up and down, and that when in the up position could sense the vibration induced by bullet passing through the silhouette. The early part of the training was conducted on what one thinks of as a typical firing range, with targets and shooters side-by-side, except that the targets were silhouettes. The later training, however, took place in a qualification area. This consisted of lanes several dozen yards wide and 250 to 300 yards deep. In this lane there were 7 or 8 target mechanisms ranging in distance from 30 yards to nearly the full length. The silhouette targets and their mechanisms were out of sight when in the down position, and during qualification testing they popped up randomly. In order to score you had to hit it with seven seconds, IIRC. If you hit it within that time window it would immediately retract; otherwise it would pop back down after the seven seconds were up and mark your score for that target opportunity as a miss.

    I don’t know when the Army started using the retracting silhouette targets but IIRC Grossman wrote that during the Korean War the shooting-to-kill percentage for riflemen had “improved” to somewhere around 20%, and by the Vietnam era it was closer to 50%. The author also noted that someone involved in the post-war research got curious about whether any similar data could be found for earlier wars, and someone did. After some of the Civil War battles data had been collected about the condition of the weapons that had been abandoned by killed and wounded soldiers, and perhaps some deserters as well. These showed that muzzle loading rifles typically had three or four unfired rounds in their barrels, suggesting that either he was intentionally faking firing, or he was so stressed by the combat situation that he lost track of when he had fired and when he had loaded. I’m no firearms expert (except for a couple of rabbit hunting expeditions on my brother-in-law’s farm when I was a young teenager my experience was limited to my Army days) but it seems to me that attempting to fire a muzzle loader with more than one round in the barrel would likely lead to a Darwin Award.

    So Yves’ concern is well founded. The Army, all armies no doubt, has a history of messing with individual soldiers’ ethical inhibitions. In fact, that’s what combat leadership is all about.

    Having said all this I now must admit that I haven’t read the article at the link. I haven’t yet figured out how to get over the concertina wire atop the FT pay wall.

    PS: Twice I’ve attempted to submit this with three links in it but apparently didn’t pass the captcha tests. Several of the pictures in the test were taken from such a distance that it was hard to tell whether they met the test. Let’s see if this works.

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      It’s true that the automatic filters tend to react to a large number of links. They also seem to apply more scrutiny to long comments. But this one made it through without issue.

    2. susan the other

      Yes, virginia, there are naturally evolved killer mice, they are adorable and they howl fiercely before they charge. So they’ve gotta be howling at even smaller creatures. Spiders? Do spiders hear?

  26. Dave

    RE When robots take our jobs.
    Simple boycotts of automation are effective.
    When in voice jail after calling a company, leave a message that you will be using a competitor that has live human beings, who are native speakers of English, for your future needs.

    Automated phone calls. Click through and talk to the human salesman. Usually some browbeaten guy in Florida, why always Florida? Ask them who they work for and laugh and report that the owner of that company is a millionaire many times over and they should do the world a favor and dump a cup of coffee on onto the computer server and quit.

    There was a bank teller a couple of towns over who sprayed a little dab of expanding insulation foam into the card ports of all the ATMS he could find.

    Self checkout lanes, now there’s a place to have some fun.
    Lot’s of “mistakes” and uncounted things.
    The Ten Commandments do not apply to corporations.

    1. Waldenpond

      People aren’t going to protest automation. Heck, people on NC complain about their local companies and how glad they are to reject them for Amazon.

      When all companies in an industry enact the same policy, there is no where to go. The companies know that consumers will break a protest (status display) or they’ll just hand a few items out to internet celebrities.

      Self check out is already disappearing, not because of the protests/complaints of job elimination but because of stock loss. Vending machines or home delivery …. don’t let consumers touch the product. They’ve been well trained by Amazon.

  27. Portia

    this goes into effect today:

    In the new drug code titled “Establishment of a New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract,” the DEA says it is “creating a separate code number for marihuana extract with the following definition: ‘Meaning an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant.’ Extracts of marihuana will continue to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances.”

    This means CBD and all other extracts derived from the cannabis plant (psychoactive or not) will come under Schedule 1 drugs, like heroin, LSD, marijuana, and ecstasy, and cannot cross state lines. Any person currently licensed to produce and handle marijuana extracts is required to apply for a modification of their registration by Jan. 13, 2017, the new document says.
    …Medicinal marijuana activists, however, are questioning the legality of the move.

    “This action is beyond the DEA’s authority,” Robert Hoban, a Colorado cannabis attorney and adjunct professor of law at the University of Denver, told Leafly. “The DEA can only carry out the law, they cannot create it. Here they’re purporting to create an entirely new category called ‘marijuana extracts,’ and by doing so wrest control over all cannabinoids. They want to call all cannabinoids illegal. But they don’t have the authority to do that.”

    Fortunately, a permit for growing hemp is available to me. Otherwise, I, as a person who is helped immensely by CBD, would be SOL. There are hemp strains high in CBD with no THC.

    1. Waldenpond

      I seem to recall an article on a CA manufacturer that there are new restrictions on the extraction equipment (he lost the right to sell his equipment in some aspects and has to resort on a limited legal route.) So regulating small manufacturers out of existence and then signaling extracted products exempt from prosecution continues the pharma/industrialization track.

  28. Theo

    Re, co-ops in general, check out:

    Richard D. Wolff Lecture on Worker Coops: Theory and Practice of 21st Century Socialism
    Levy Economics Institute
    8 months ago21,737 views
    Richard D. Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst Friday, April 22, 2016 4:45–6:30 pm …

  29. dontknowitall

    On the AI arms race supposedly spiraling out of control FT says:

    “Some serious thinkers fear that AI could one day pose an existential threat: a ‘superintelligence’ might pursue goals that prove not to be aligned with the continued existence of humankind.”

    The serious thinkers forget the current ruling intelligence on this planet is already doing a good job of not aligning its actions/goals with its continued existence. We might go extinct before we find the secret sauce that crates this mythical super-intelligence…what exists today has no relationship to actual intelligence.

      1. susan the other

        yes, intelligence is just another artifact that can be programmed…. so a plus of many many many here for dontknowitall and craazy. :-)

  30. Oregoncharles

    “Scientists turn mild-mannered mice into killers Financial Times”
    There are predatory mice; among other places, in eastern Oregon (semi-desert). Apparently, they hunt in packs (for insects, mostly) and even howl – a very high-pitched howl. Rats are predatory, too.

    Although we often use it metaphorically, predation is not the same as fighting one’s own species. There are a great many herbivores who fight each other ruthlessly and sometimes fatally, usually over mating but sometimes over territory or nesting sites. Of course, humans do both. We’re very versatile.

  31. norm de plume

    ‘Chinese Paper Calls Tillerson’s South Sea Threat ‘Foolish’’

    Former Australian prime minister Paul Keating has rounded on President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state nominee, accusing him of threatening to bring on war with China and making “ludicrous” comments on the tense South China Sea dispute.

    In a statement released on Friday, Mr Keating warned the Australian government to reject Rex Tillerson’s declaration this week that a “signal” needed to be sent to Beijing that the construction of artificial islands in the contested region must stop and “access to those islands also is not going to be allowed”….

    According to Mr Keating, Mr Tillerson’s testimony to his US Senate confirmation hearing “threatens to involve Australia in war with China”. And he has urged the Australian people to “take note” and recommended the government tell the Trump administration, which will take over on January 20, “that Australia will not be part of such adventurism, just as we should have done in Iraq 15 years ago”‘

  32. Nick

    The difference between Kosovo and Crimea? Kosovo has not been turned into the 51st US state. Or a new province of France. Or another bundesland of Germany.

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