Links 1/20/17

The Man in the Zebra Suit Knows the Secret of the Stripes Wired

The Mortgage Market’s $1 Trillion Pocket of Worry WSJ

“UK Govt consultation on abuse of Scottish Limited Partnerships announced” (audio) Good Morning Scotland, BBC. Friend of the Blog Richard Smith at 1:15:36. Roger Mullin, the main MP who got Scottish Limited Partnerships onto the agenda, at 2:16:57.

More VW Executives Could Be Charged, Court Documents Suggest NYT

Tax justice and public contracts, Brexit threats, criminal dodges and crackdowns (podcast ) Tax Justice Network

Student Debt Payback Far Worse Than Believed WSJ

Scale of crisis facing news industry is exposed by NMA report: Google and Facebook must start paying fair share to publishers Press Gazette

This Team Runs Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Page Bloomberg


Even After May’s Speech, Brexit Details Are Foggy WSJ

Is Theresa May’s Brexit Plan B an elaborate bluff? FT

‘Clock is ticking’ on Scottish independence vote France24

Le Pen Moves Into Lead in French Race, Le Monde Poll Shows Bloomberg


Robert Rubin on the Future of US-China Relations The Diplomat

The ‘Internet of Bicycles’ is China’s latest export FT

The Inaugural

At least this time we don’t have to pretend the president is good WaPo

I guess we’ll see about the Teflon…

Jubilant Trump awaits inauguration as US president FT. Trump: “If it really pours tomorrow, that’s O.K., because people will realize it’s my real hair.”

Trump needs a colossal inauguration pivot: Column USA Today

Trump Inauguration: How Networks in U.K., Russia, Mexico and Beyond Will (or Won’t) Cover It Hollywood Reporter

Donald Trump inauguration South China Morning Post. Round-up of SCMP stories.

Bluffer’s guide to the Trump inauguration – what you need to know Irish Independent

Everything you need to know about Donald Trump’s inauguration Politico

On Inauguration Eve, Trumpsters party in the ‘swamp’ of Washington Reuters

Thousands protest in Washington, New York City in defiance of Trump USA Today

Trump Transition

Soros Says Markets to Slump With Trump, EU Faces Disintegration Bloomberg and Buffett Says He Supports Trump’s Cabinet Picks ‘Overwhelmingly’ Bloomberg. ZOMG! Even the good billionaires are fighting amongst themselves!

Economy under Trump: Plan for the worst Larry Summers

Trump’s Transition Looks an Awful Lot Like the Start of Crony Capitalism Vice (Re Silc). The start? Really?

A Trump Administration, With Obama Staff Members Filling In the Gaps NYT

Executive actions ready to go as Trump prepares to take office Reuters

Trump on Health Insurance, NATO and the EU Ian Welsh

NATO Called ‘Obsolete’ By Trump, Anyone Who Saw Them Fight In Afghanistan Duffel Blog

On His Way Out the Door, Obama Bombs Libya One Last Time Common Dreams

Obama’s parting gift to foreign entrepreneurs: A new way to stay in the US VentureBeat

New Cold War

Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates NYT

Obama Parting Shot Aims At Brennan, Clapper, Clinton: “The DNC Emails Were Leaked” Moon of Alabama. And Obama is a very careful man. He doesn’t “mis-speak” a lot.

All Russian puppets? Le Monde Diplomatique

The Real Reason Any Russian Meddling Is an Emergency The Intercept. Not so much the “meddling” itself, but Trump’s reaction to it, which is not to propose an independent commission. Although one wonders, at this point, where the members of such a commission might be found….

Noam Chomsky on the Long History of US Meddling in Foreign Elections Truthout

Imperial Collapse Watch

Pentagon Tester: F-35 Program Rushing Tests, Delays Still Likely DefenseOne

Obama’s Hidden Legacy Politico

Chicago Mayor Promises To Turn Over Emails From His Private Accounts Following Courtroom Losses TechDirt (DK).

The Reason Why Booker and the Big Pharma Dems Have No Excuse Richard Eskow, Moyers and Company

After 1,000 days, Flint is still without clean drinking water Yahoo News

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Law Enforcement Has Been Using OnStar, SiriusXM, To Eavesdrop, Track Car Locations For More Than 15 Years TechDirt

Denver Police Use Social Media to Follow Activists, Bring Back Fears of Spy Files WestWord

Health Care

This is how American health care kills people The Week. A balance-billing horror story.

The Republican Health-Care Debate National Review

Class Warfare

Commentary: What the Davos crowd needs to understand Mark Thoma, CBS

Billion-dollar project aims to prep vaccines before epidemics hit Nature

Racial and Gender Discrimination in Transportation Network Companies NBER Working Paper No. 22776

I think, after giving due consideration to all relevant factors, that it’s time for a cute cat video. Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. fresno dan

    The Hollywood Reporter: In cancelling the premiere, Universal and Amblin on Thursday issued a statement saying, “Because Amblin’s review into the edited video released yesterday is still ongoing, distributor Universal Pictures has decided it is in the best interest of A Dog’s Purpose to cancel this weekend’s premiere and press junket. Amblin and Universal do not want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between humans and animals.

    “Since the emergence of the footage, Amblin has engaged with many associated with the production of the film, including safety personnel, trainers and stunt coordinators as part of their in-depth review. While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress, everyone has assured us that Hercules the German Shepherd was not harmed throughout the filmmaking.”
    Hallstrom did not return a request for comment about PETA’s most recent demand. Polone, however, was forceful in a conversation with THR (for which he regularly writes opinion columns about industry issues). A prominent Hollywood vegan and animal rights activist, he contends “PETA wants to fire up its base and it’s not productive. It’s also kind of crazy — I’m the person they should be strong-arming? This is a movie about promoting the idea of animals as sentient and deserving of empathy and rights.”
    The link is to the Daily News because I couldn’t get the Hollywood Reporter video to play.

    Just because I get tired of rich Hollywood stars who ACT as if their rich because of their virtue.

    1. savedbyirony

      A movie that is about “promoting the idea of animals as sentient and deserving of empathy and rights” should have spent the money and used cgi or hired a properly trained stunt dog. We had a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and that breed would have dove in that water, no problem. Now we have a German Shepherd (lovely and plenty brave dog) who freaks over being given bath. She would chase a ball all day out in the back yard but throw it in a pond and forget about it. I don’t know if it’s a general characteristic of that breed not to like the water but unlike retrievers their bodies aren’t designed for swimming and certainly not in rough waters.

      They should have spent the money to do this safe for the animal actors as well (not that human actors are necessarily treated all that well if they are not big stars). I think a boycott is deserved and to be expected considering the movie is targeted at dog lovers.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Animals are sentient.

        They remember being captured by hunters to be sent to America, Europe or elsewhere for scientists to study them.

        They mourn their dead friends.

        The question that i have, and I wonder if they ask the same question too, is, do they, the sentient beings, wonder themselves what happens after they die, if there is an afterlife, or God exists, or created the world in their image?

        1. savedbyirony

          They definitely remember how they are treated. That is one reason why i have a big problem with how the shepherd was treated. What if the “trainer” had succeeded in throwing the dog in, an experience i am guessing would not go well for the dog, and the next time anyone is trying to get the dog into or near water for whatever reason she bites them instead of just struggling to get free. Who is going to pay the price for that; probably the dog.

        1. Waldenpond

          Vandalizing a robot is a misdemeanor. If you want to repress the luddites, it’s necessary to act preemptively before they destroy the oligarch’s transparently vulnerable target source of the luddites unemployment and eventual immiseration. The oligarch’s must turn what would otherwise be a vandalism charge into conspiracy (pre-crime), kidnapping and assault to protect their unearned wealth. Instead of a misdemeanor ticket, the luddite is looking at a jail term for conspiracy for even considering acting against an oligarch’s robot not to mention likely multiple felony charges and a long prison term.

      2. witters

        My German Shepherd LOVES the water. In goes the stick – sea or dam or river – in goes Roxy. She’ll drag you to the beach or river edge. I think we should beware of generalising about/stereotyping our dogs – especially when we claim special care, concern and insight.

    2. Waldenpond

      This bs is the same as making a movie about Flint but doing nothing to provide clean water. The public should tolerate injustice in the process of making a profit as they are ‘bringing attention’ to injustice. Genre: Exploitation films.

  2. fresno dan

    I like the almost end of the video where Maru does her supergirl impression and goes running into several boxes

    1. Clive

      I like it when she does her SEC impression, lying on her back and letting her tummy be tickled by just about everyone that happens to come along.

    2. craazyboy

      Yeah, cats do have a sense of humor. I’m wondering how many months it took to film and edit that clip. Cats are even less cooperative than Shaun Penn.

    3. Eclair

      I will be collecting these soothing cat videos in anticipation of the current Congress ‘privatizing’ Medicare and issuing vouchers to purchase high-deductible ‘insurance’ from for-profit corporations.

      Five to ten minutes a day spent watching them will take the place of high blood pressure medication.

      (I really loved the video; could feel my body and mind just going all soft and gooey.)

  3. fresno dan

    Commentary: What the Davos crowd needs to understand Mark Thoma, CBS

    We don’t have to close America’s doors to the rest of the world’s goods and services. We hurt only ourselves by doing so, and we needn’t be afraid of technological upheaval. Both of them really can “lift all boats.”

    But for that to happen, the Davos men and women must get over their greed and their lack of compassion for those who’ve paid the price for their fortunes. They must understand that the goose that laid their golden eggs could disappear if things continue as they are. They must be leaders for the political change we need to ensure that everyone benefits as the economy grows.

    I have a tough time with these economists:
    1. Trade is an unalloyed good thing
    2. OK, there will be winners and losers – but we can fix that
    3. OK, it wasn’t all trade….probably mostly technology
    4. OK, there will be winners and losers from technology – but we can fix that…

    “They must be leaders for the political change we need to ensure that everyone benefits as the economy grows”
    No mammal could be that stupid. The people who put us in that situation aren’t going to unput us out of it.

    1. Leigh

      No mammal could be that stupid. The people who put us in that situation aren’t going to unput us out of it.

      Exactly. “Hope and Change” and “Make America Great Again” make great slogans.

      Curiously enough, both of these slogans point to a realization on their part that things are NOT all that good, otherwise, why do we need “hope” for change, and why the need to make us great “again” – does this mean we are not currently great? Of course we are not. Those of us in the rank-and-file know this and THEY know this as well.

      They will never, ever, voluntarily give up their positions. But, they want us to have hope – they NEED us to have hope – otherwise, its pitchfork and torch time.

      Hope is good and essential, but it is not enough, hope is never enough to cause change.

    2. OIFVet

      No mammal could be that stupid.

      Sounds like a losing bet to me. Humans have infinite potential for stupidity, and all it takes is the presence of credentials to unleash that potential.

      1. Katharine

        Too right! So much of the mess the planet is in came of our having a little technical know-how and no capacity for thinking about possible consequences.

    3. roadrider

      They must be leaders for the political change we need to ensure that everyone benefits as the economy grows”

      Of course they will. Wait, was that a flying pig I just saw?

    4. GlassHammer

      “No mammal could be that stupid. The people who put us in that situation aren’t going to unput us out of it.”

      Their statements are not intended to match reality or to be sensible to you or I. Its an “in-group narrative” designed to confine/bind their members and keep others out.

  4. Clive

    Re: So Cute that it Probably Causes Tooth Decay Antidote

    Since we are sadly lacking a substantial cohort of Japanese schoolgirls in the Naked Capitalism readership, I will have to step in with a (please say in a high pitched scream) “ka-wa-i-iiiii!”

      1. Clive

        Oh, wow! I wish I could get lessons in schoolgirl-ese from you! My long suffering (40+ age) Japanese speaking friends only indulge me to the extent of complying with minimum essential politeness at my pestering. But they’re all a load of squares.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          How do Japanese school girls compare with, say, Chinese school girls or American school girls?

          Do ours need to catch up? Another failure of the American educational system?

          1. Uahsenaa

            While JK girls can be vapid at times, I have real sympathy for anyone who’s had to go through the micromanaging nightmare that is Japanese public school.

            That’s not even to mention how poorly Japan rates on measures of gender inequality…

        2. JoeK

          The J-teen* world is indeed divided into 可愛い and 怖い (kawaii and kowai, cute and scary, and yes no one writes kawaii that way any more, I like revealing the etymology of Sinitic words). Once when exiting the subway somewhere in Tokyo a well-pierced teenage cosplayer (rather unusual combo) announced “怖い!” to her BF the moment I entered her field of view. Considering that I look and dress pretty boring, and the existential angst any non-superficial understanding of the culture of many young urban Japanese can easily provoke, I found the comment ironic.

          *Psycho-emotionally this period can extend well into adulthood, as in the US.

          1. Clive

            The hostess in the Maid Cafe I visited looked similarly askance and condescendingly at me. Which was rather rich as I was dressed in jeans and a boring plain white t-shirt and she was dressed in a ridiculous pastiche of a French maid (the costume being designed as if by someone who had only ever seen a 19th century French maid in a photograph while on an acid trip).

            1. JoeK

              Ha. I love Japan and like Bashô I miss Kyoto even when I’m in Kyoto (tho I’ve got “development” to deal with unlike the bananaman), but as a devotee of the traditional arts and culture I’m often flummoxed and discouraged by much of Japan’s modernity. Great sense of beauty but no sense of ugliness and all that.
              Still working on a more equanimous acceptance of the whole spectacle….in the US for a couple of months and as always can’t wait to get back :-).

  5. voteforno6

    I’m sure everyone will be shocked, shocked, to find out that Uber was engaging in deceptive hiring practices for its drivers, umm, independent contractors.

    Uber will fork over $20M to settle FTC claims of inflated driver earnings

    Here’s my favorite part:

    Uber failed to control or monitor the terms and conditions of the auto financing agreements through its program and in fact, its drivers received worse rates on average than consumers with similar credit scores typically would obtain, according to the FTC’s complaint. In addition, Uber claimed its drivers could receive leases with unlimited mileage through its program when in fact, the leases came with mileage limits, the FTC alleges.

    What’s another $20 million, when you’ve already burned through $3 billion in the past two years?

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      An Uber driver was on Channel 4 news a few weeks before Christmas. Unlike many of their usual drivers, he did not seem to be foreign / of foreign origin. He was defending the business model and saying how it enabled him to pursue other interests, including “artistic”. I wondered about what sort of corporate boot licker that was.

      The reason for my comment about origin is that many Uber drivers in London and Paris seem not be local. This is one way of controlling labour. It’s the same with many, if not most, Asian restaurants in the UK.

      I don’t use Uber or AirBnB, but know some people who do. Oddly, more of my female friends use them than males. One says that its a means of facilitating economic freedom and sticking it to unions and vested interests. I chuckle internally.

    2. Dave

      Gender discrimination in transportation?
      I’ve been discriminated against.
      The cab drivers always choose attractive women over me when two of us are competing for the vehicle.

  6. fresno dan

    Obama Parting Shot Aims At Brennan, Clapper, Clinton: “The DNC Emails Were Leaked” Moon of Alabama. And Obama is a very careful man. He doesn’t “mis-speak” a lot.

    Here is President Obama in his final press conference yesterday (vid @8:31):

    First of all, I haven’t commented on WikiLeaks, generally. The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether Wikileaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC emails that were leaked.
    The DNC emails “that were leaked” – not “hacked” or “stolen” but “leaked”.

    And yet, I bet nothing is made of it.
    It reminds me very much of when Bush acknowledged that there were no weapons of mass destruction found – not very loudly….and not very often.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      My reading of this is he is ONLY saying inconclusive in re who, after hacking, leaked them. Not either/or. He isn’t challenging the consensus he himself has been an integral part of putting forward. Wishful thinking on a good day for it.

      1. Katharine

        That sounds right. Otherwise “as to whether Wikileaks was witting or not” would make no sense. They have to be witting or not of something, and if the something is not supposed Russian involvement what else could he mean by it? They couldn’t not be witting of their own source, only of what might lie behind it.

    2. Wyoming

      I, like many, am highly skeptical about the Russian hacking claims, and all the fluff over them – after all, even if they were true, it is not like we did not start the fight by messing in their elections first.

      However we need to focus a bit on reading comprehension as those who are fans of this blog are kind of tuned into such niceties.

      A proper translation would read thus: Note the added commas.

      “First of all, I haven’t commented on WikiLeaks, generally. The conclusions of the intelligence community, with respect to the Russian hacking, were not conclusive as to whether Wikileaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC emails that were leaked.”

      The meaning is clear that Obama was saying the ‘conclusions’ were inconclusive regarding whether Wikileaks knew or did not know that the Russians passed them the information. But that Obama believes that there was Russian hacking is clear. And additionally when he uses the word leaks one could also take the position he means the “leak” was done by Wikileaks after the Russians hacked the information and passed it to them.

      The wild focus on the word leaked vice the word hacked which one would have expected at the end of the sentence is over the top. Even the harshest critic must pause a bit before jumping to the conclusion (which is extremely inconclusive) that Obama was inadvertently or deliberately buying into the leak vice hack theory.

      Just saying.

      1. Pat

        I agree with this, and find the statement particularly galling because the one of the reasons for the disconnect on reading comprehension is most here are taking the correct position that Wikileaks is acting in a journalistic capacity, hence Press. And that means that despite their name, they are not the leakers. Obama’s annoying parsing on this becomes clearer if you take Wikileaks to be the annoying non-press based leaker.

        1. johnnygl

          I think you two prob have this right. There was a similar flap over kerry’s leaked conversation with the syrian activist groups. He did say they thought assad would come to the table because of isis, but didn’t say that they helped isis to achieve those ends.

          1. Donald

            I agree that some exaggerated what Kerry said, but disagree that it wasn’t important. The main thrust of US propaganda is that it is the US which has been fighting Isis and Assad and Russia cynically claim to be doing so, but really were using Isis as an excuse to bomb ” moderate” rebels. Here Kerry admits the truth is almost the opposite. The US watched Isis grow and thought it would be useful in pressuring Assad. Instead Assad turned to Putin and Kerry explicitly says Putin entered to stop the threat from Isis.

            This is annoying on two fronts– first, that some people overstated what Kerry said and then you react to that overstatement by dismissing the whole thing as a flap. Um no.

            Btw, I am not saying Assad and Putin are good guys. They are war criminals. But our role in pouring billions to arm Syrians who then also commit atrocities, fight alongside Al Nusra and keep the war going has also been criminal. Kerry basically admits in that tape that arming the rebels just leads to further interventions on the other side.

            1. JohnnyGL

              “This is annoying on two fronts– first, that some people overstated what Kerry said and then you react to that overstatement by dismissing the whole thing as a flap. Um no. ” – That isn’t my view, please don’t misunderstand. I think you’ve got this right. I agree it was revealing.

              Compare it to the tone of a NYT article awhile back that wrote as if to say “Those crazy Iraqis really believe some whacky stuff!”

              There’s been at least some talk that ISIS is useful in Iraq to keep the Iraqi government from flirting with Iran too much. In other words, ISIS helps to remind everyone in the region how much they really need our military presence there.

              There was another part of the conversation towards the end where Kerry said there was no appetite among the public for more ground troops because of the ongoing recent wars. The activists were taken aback by the alternate scenario Kerry described and said something like, “Wait a second, we’re not calling for an invasion?!?!”

              At that point, I’m thinking to myself, is this really what’s in the heads of Kerry and others around the beltway as far as what sort of intervention they’d really like? Is this what they think is the ideal solution but is blocked solely by political realities? Because that’s horrifying…never saw any write up on that part of the conversation, though.

              1. Donald

                Actually, the woman did say at the end that she wanted outsiders to do it and that three years earlier she thought it would be you, meaning the US, but now she didn’t know. I think there was a man who said they wanted more military aid so they could do it. Personally I was on Kerry’s side about that– aid to one side leads to aid for the other, but given that, we shouldn’t have done it at all. But I think our participation was not for the sake of Syrians, but as part of a proxy war against Iran and Russia and Assad and Hezbollah, partly as part of our Cold War with Russia and partly for the Saudis and the Israelis, who fear Iran much more than Sunni extremists ( who are supported by the Saudis anyway).

                Kerry himself was self contradictory. I think he read he woman right in thinking she wanted ground troops and he was saying Americans wouldn’t stand for it. I am not sure if Kerry secretly wished we could do it, because he also talks about how he lost the battle in the administration to use more force, so that presumably meant bombing Assad’s forces. I understand that imposing a no fly zone and establishing safe havens would involve both bombing and ground troops, but don’t know if he meant that. Then he talked about some sort of no fly zone that would have been voluntary –I would have to go back and listen again, but wasn’t sure what he meant..

                Anyway, the tape deserved much more attention than it got. Some people did exaggerate that one part, as you and I agree.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Screw Kerry and his bomb-flinging cloak-and-dagger worldview, I think the speech a few days ago that deserved more attention than it got (none) was this one:

                  “We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past…We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments…. Our goal is stability not chaos, because we want to rebuild our country… We will partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism …In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will.”

                  By a certain orange-haired new Commander-in-Chief. The speech was completely unreported, yes we can all pooh-pooh and try and sabotage the man…but those are his words.

        2. Reify99

          So is this like one of those end of class law school comments Jerry-Lynn told us about Obama making, as in, “Water is wet”?

          It also seems to have some ambiguity due to his omitting referents that could have clarified his meaning.
          An example of this is,”Murdering peasants can be dangerous”.

          He does, at least, reinsert Wikileaks back into the equation.

          And on we go, projecting onto Obama what we need and want him to be.
          Even as he’s leaving.

        1. Robert Hahl

          If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.

          – Cardinal De Richelieu

      2. Skip Intro

        I don’t think that is so clear. It is more nonsensically ambiguous. The convoluted construction is “Wikileaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about” The IC conclusions were not conclusive about WikiLeaks knowledge of being the conduit. WikiLeaks surely knew they were the conduit of some emails ‘which were leaked’. They were certainly not the conduit of the Guccifer hacked emails, or the Judicial Watch/FOIA released emails. There is a strong connection between ’emails’ and ‘leaked’. The connections between WikiLeaks, witting, and russians are much more difficult to tease out. It may be that he meant emails were leaked by hackers rather than insiders, but neither is explicit. Calling wikileaks a conduit also undermines any assertion that he meant to imply that wikileaks was a leaker. I agree that interpreting the phrase as a repudiation of the hacking narrative is wishful thinking, but not that the language clearly eliminates that interpretation.

        1. Brian

          For someone that parses words carefully and knows their meaning, there is a difference between “hack” and “leak”. One is done by outsiders to gain the material exposed, one by insiders that purposefully exposes data they know about. In that order. Just definitions.

    3. susan the other

      Seth Rich, the murdered DNC IT guy whose murder has not been solved: people get killed because they know what happened. He would seem to be an unimportant cog who just happened to figure out who was really responsible for the leak/hack. Clearly it wasn’t the Russians because the Russians were the cover story shrieking for months – again, like murdering Seth – to protect the real perps. Getting rid of Hillary was serious business.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Some bad guys killed an innocent person, in order to get rid of Hillary???

        It would mean Hillary was 1) less bad, or 2) good.

  7. fresno dan

    On 9 February 1950, at the height of the cold war, a little known Republican senator declared: ‘I have here in my hand a list of 205 people that were known to the secretary of state as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the state department.’ With that, McCarthy stepped into US history through the door marked infamy.

    McCarthyist paranoia may be a long time in the past, but the Washington Post has just revived that history, on 24 November, relating worries about the possible existence of ‘more than 200 websites’ that ‘wittingly or unwittingly published or echoed Russian propaganda.’

    An ill wind is blowing in the West. And almost every election is assessed through the lens of Russia. Whether discussing Trump in the US, Jeremy Corbyn in the UK or candidates as different as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, François Fillon and Marine Le Pen in France, it is enough to express doubts about sanctions against Russia or anti-Russian theories from the CIA — an institution surely as infallible as it is beyond reproach — to be suspected of serving the Kremlin’s ends. In such an atmosphere, one dares not imagine the outpouring of indignation that would have been aroused if Russia, rather than the US, had listened in on Angela Merkel’s telephone calls, or if Google had delivered billions of pieces of private data collected online to Moscow rather than the National Security Agency (NSA).
    If one is serious, who more endangers the US republic now – Trump or the dems?
    The repubs took us down a dark road with Iraq, aided and abetted by dems. But dems under Obama have ratcheted up and increased the security state. Now the dems, aided and abetted by repubs, are hell bent on restarting the cold war.

    1. olga

      This IMHO is the most accurate/perceptive account of the game behind the game:
      The sad part is that – Trump or no Trump – US is not giving up its “domination-by-military-means-only” habit. Like a coke addict… and here is more commentary from Jack Ma: “Nobody ‘stealing’ your jobs, you spend too much on wars, Alibaba founder tells US.”

      1. fresno dan

        January 20, 2017 at 8:58 am

        The Masters have their tools in the media and Congress maintaining a vilification campaign against Russia, and have their puppet Brzezinski also come out against Russia, stating ‘America’s global influence depends on cooperation with China’. The purpose is to threaten Russia to cooperate and place these chips on the negotiating table for Trump. In a traditional good cop-bad cop approach, Donald is portrayed as the good cop wanting good relations with Russia, and Congress, media, Brzezinski are the bad cops.
        Henry’s mass productivity was the wonder of the world and that was what won World War Two for the United States. Amazon does not contribute anything to national defense, being merely an internet marketing service based on computer programs, nor Google which merely organizes data better. None of this builds a better missile or submarine except in a marginal way.”

        Thanks for the link! Interesting perspective. For me, the good cop/bad cop is a bridge too far – I just don’t think some grand strategy has been worked out.

        But on the second point or re-industrializing, it reminds me of Charles Huge Smith’s contention that the “deep state” is not a monolith and is in a battle as what is the best strategy for the US to remain an empire. One group thinks that an impoverished country that can’t manufacture loses a great deal of technical proficiency.

        1. RUKidding

          Snort! Made me laugh. And… me, too!

          Jack Ma tells the Truth! And I agree.

          Will Trump actually HEAR what Jack Ma said and act accordingly?

          My Magic 8 sez: R U Kidding? Hell no!

        2. RabidGandhi

          Ma is not correct, Trump is. The US exports internal demand to China, and this has nothing to do with military spending. In drastic terms, if a blockade were to be placed on imports– temporary disruptions notwithstanding– US job creation would skyrocket in the medium term.

          Military spending, on the other hand, is peversely one of the few areas where the US does create jobs (and actual real manufacturing jobs to boot). The money the US government could spend on things like infrastructure, hospitals and housing is not constrained by what it spends on its bloated military.

          Ma is talking his book.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You’re right that Ma is wrong (just finished composing my 12:00 pm comment and saw yours).

          2. Praedor

            No. On his face he speaks correctly. The US WAY overspends on wars and the military. That money would be vastly better spent on infrastructure (like modernizing the electrical grid), scientific research (CIVILIAN), education, healthcare. Instead, it is used to create a self-licking ice cream cone.

            Defense spending is wasteful and a black hole. It CAUSES conflicts which then begets more military spending (why spend shitloads on the military if you don’t USE it? Of COURSE you gotta use it). It is used to hold and expand an unsustainable empire that itself creates more/new enemies which begets more spending, etc (self licking).

          3. uncle tungsten

            Can’t agree with you RG: “The money the US government could spend on things like infrastructure, hospitals and housing is not constrained by what it spends on its bloated military”

            Expenditure on military is expenditure wasted on war machinery. It does subtract from available money for expenditure elsewhere. Even if the elsewhere is infrastructure, hospitals, housing (and I would add education).

            Ma is absolutely right, it was the waste on Wall Street bailouts and current military spending that is busting the USA. One can argue the minutia all one likes but diverted dollars is dollars lost for a better purpose such as nation building.

            I would bet if twenty percent of current military spending were just diverted from military to civil puposes, the Repugs and most of the Demofarces would go ballistic about ‘waste’ and ‘destruction of private enterprise’ and ‘sabotage of the national economy’ then demand tax relief for their financiers.

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We spend too much on wars?

          War spending goes to

          1. domestic military industry complex manufacturers, say, of F35 jets.

          2. hiring US soldiers.

          Both create jobs here, even if we prefer gentler and kinder jobs, they are jobs nevertheless.

          Someone is still stealing jobs worldwide with exploding smartphones and defective laminating flooring. Perhaps they will argue that they need to, in order to earn global reserve currency reserves.

          In that case, we can defend ourselves by jettisoning the ‘burden’ of being the issuer of the global reserve currency. Maybe we can even peg our money to the Yuan, or the Yen, or (so no one particular country benefits) to, gasp, gold. Please say no.

          1. todde

            Yes but when you have an overseas empire the multiplier effect occurs overseas.

            We create a job allowing a soldier to consume, but the consumption occurs overseas, not at home.

            The jobs created by the demand from the consumer/soldier don’t get created in America

            1. RabidGandhi

              Worker in Vermont gets paid to machine F35 parts. Worker uses salary to buy stuff at local market. Local market has to hire more employees….

              It’s not nearly as productive and healthy as say spending on solar plants, but it does have a significant multiplier.

              1. curlydan

                But worker gets paid to improve electricity grid or fix crappy water pipes, the money not only stays in the U.S. but we also get the long-term benefit of infrastructure.

                Flying gas guzzling F-35s around a foreign country and sending bombs down is far from optimal. Like a health insurance industry jobs pushing paperwork and opacity. Yes, they’re jobs, just far from optimal and sucking up too much of our GDP with little to no long-term benefits.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Yes, you’re both right – not productive nor healthy.

                  We could use kinder and gentler jobs.

                  1. craazyboy

                    Then take it the next step and compare how the workers enjoy their GDP. The F-35 factory worker gets money and spends it on a chocolate dipped Dairy Queen custard cone.

                    He helped create a job for a pilot that may face an enemy in foreign lands and the airplane is incapable of defending itself. The seat ejection system has a 70% chance of plastering the pilot to goo covering the inside of the ejected cockpit canopy. Next, Wiley E. Coyote…

                    Take your pick.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              You’re partially right (just noted RabidGandhi’s comment above), though if Ma thinks our soldiers should be in China to have consumption occur there in China, he’s wrong…again.

              A solider could be here in America, or in China, the consumption is likely to be marked, Made in China.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              To make up for that, our multi national corporations patriotically (they say to themselves) bring those locals to America, with H1B visas, to earn global reserve money (don’t leave home without it…it’s good everywhere in the globe).

            2. Jess

              100 bases? Dream on. It’s more like 700-1,000 depending on how a “base” is defined. And further difficult to narrow down because the Pentagon likes not to come clean about exactly who of our military is where.

          2. jrs

            “Both create jobs here, even if we prefer gentler and kinder jobs, they are jobs nevertheless.”

            it’s a big problem if the person working that job would also prefer a kinder gentler job, if those are the jobs we create at some level those are the jobs we force people to take (because theres surplus labor) That’s the problem with mass creating harmful jobs, what it does to people souls (a mutilation they prefer only compared to homelessness).

          3. Salamander

            Seriously? The USG could pay people to dig holes and then fill them back up. That would create jobs.

            Can you tell me the net difference between such a program and the manufacture of excess weaponry?

            The economic illiteracy represented by this point of view is frightening. Go read President Eisenhower’s famous farewell address please.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      What more endangers the Republic? A bad President for four years, or a slow-moving coup by the intelligence community?

      Granted, for some definition of “bad President”….

  8. financial matters

    The Mortgage Market’s $1 Trillion Pocket of Worry WSJ

    “”“It simply is too costly and too risky to originate these kinds of mortgages,” J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. chief James Dimon wrote in his shareholders letter last year. He added that FHA loans default frequently.””


    It seems that nonbank lenders such as Quicken Loans Inc. are able to skirt the regulations that regular banks have and therefore give out loans at lower costs to themselves while still relying on a federal guarantee for these loans.

    1. alex morfesis

      It is simply too costly and too risky to write these kind of derivatives, wrote(not) jp morgan chief jimmy daemon wrote in his letter to shareholders…

      there is no there there…

      when we in the industry were able to legislate the collapse of fannie and freddie with the signing of the HERA, we were just able to get out from under bad derivative positions…thankfully charles keating’s old lapdog, john mccain, was there to help in between his sips of beer to insure we survived these badly written positions…

      much has been spent to enshrine the fake news of fannie and freddie being bad for the economy…

      they were bad…for the economy of wall street…

      those dogs had worked with aig, bear, Lehman and Merrill to box the rest of us into losing positions…

      but gracefully that john Paulson guy was willing to work with harvey pitt to send that “interesting” letter to the isda that thankfully few noticed was written for an organization that didn’t actually exist to “hire” a lawyer until the day after the letter was dated and delivered…

      But that is the beauty of bitcoin…oops sorry…derivatives…no one knows what it means or does or functions and you can do all the revenue kiting you want…

      The fear of those who imagined credentialed members of the press clubs would understand enough to catch us in our shenanigans were overstated…

      even if the few who do or can figure it out can get enough “corroborating” statements…we can game it by having our lawyers call their lawyers and exclaim…

      “it’s more complicated then that and we will sue you”….

      do you really think some law school grad hiding as a Corporate council since they couldn’t pass the bar are going to risk their golfing life just to allow some underpaid investigative reporter try to win a Pulitzer…


      It has gotten so silly, we can keep just telling bigger and bigger fables…

      In the old days the myth was we bankers lived off of a 150 basis point spread in our lending…so…we geniuses came up with “official reports” which showed that during the hemp crash we were losing more than 175 basis points per year at that time…

      with a nod and a wink everyone not only accepted the story of these “losses” without asking about all the cash we were taking/$tealing from small town pensions in our “pay to play” counter-party claims, no one noticed that our “spread” has increased to over 450 basis points by reducing what we pay out to depositors and adding all those high interest rate borrowers capital flow…

      This has been too easy…

      We need to officially change the name of the fdic to hfgc…

      hedge fund guarantee corporation…

      we dont want to confuse the average worker into imagining they stand a chance…

      1. financial matters

        :) One of Obama’s main legacies. Legitimizing white collar financial crime. What a different road we’d be on if Bill Black had been allowed to take this on. Will be interesting to see Jeff Sessions’ approach.

  9. fresno dan

    Trump on Health Insurance, NATO and the EU Ian Welsh

    My read on Trump’s future is as follows: he either gets two terms, or he gets impeached in his first term. Most GOP Congress members would rather have Pence than Trump, BUT Trump’s followers are very faithful and as long as he remains popular Congress would not dare to impeach him. They have to live in districts where he is popular, and not only their seats, but much more would be at risk if they were labelled traitors by Trump. Bear in mind that there’s no way Trump goes peacefully, or doesn’t call them out, he would fight to the end.
    The Russiaphobe MIC is all out for getting Trump gone. Obama quietly notes that the DNC was not proven to be hacked by Russia, and that the DNC emails were leaked (see Obama’s last press conference).
    Just as it took Nixon to go to China, could it be that it takes Trump to curtail the MIC?

    1. olga

      Forgive me, but I think it is naive to think that DT wants to curtail MIC(C).
      More like rebuild it… where F35 actually works and costs less.

      1. fresno dan

        January 20, 2017 at 9:00 am

        My point wasn’t about building – its about control. There are those who are reflexively anti Russia. Trump challenging this appears to be something that the MIC views as a true Threat to the status quo.
        Whether Trump has the gumption and intellect to actually significantly change things I have my doubts, but time will tell.

      2. johnnygl

        If he didn’t want to overhaul the intel agencies before, he pretty much has to do so now, after their behavior in the last two months. If he doesn’t he looks weak right out of the starting gate. This view is how he seems to view the world. Looking weak is to be avoided at all costs.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          After everything the “Intelligence Community” sneeringly and openly did to prevent or at least delegitimize his presidency, if he doesn’t clean those houses it won’t make him look weak, it will announce it to the world.

          1. hidflect

            I’m sure it’s the things that Trump is being quiet about that we need to watch. I think he’s a bully and he doesn’t forget or forgive unless someone begs his forgiveness first.

    2. dontknowitall

      MIC couldn’t get a veto on who the president was going to be by haranguing politicians in congress and the media about Trump’s supposed Russian sexploits but now its back in the game by making public that counterintelligence is ‘examining’ Trump’s associates for financial or secret connections to Moscow. I understand and support being on your guard for double agents and spies but this stinks like another underhanded way to discredit Trump’s associates wholesale and try to have a veto on whom Trump can rely for advice by making them ineligible for government clearances and thus isolate and the neuter the man. When faced with a CIA afflicted with dreams of independence Nixon had a solution – he fired 10% of the intelligence force.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Nixon had a solution – he fired 10% of the intelligence force.

        Got a link on that? Poking around, I did find this interesting article in War on the Rocks:

        In his dealings with his intelligence agencies, Nixon dug his own political grave. The more he ordered his intelligence agencies to commit improper activities, the more it gave them the power to blackmail the presidency. When he went outside the established intelligence agencies — such as with “the plumbers” who bungled up most of their assigned tasks, including Watergate —Nixon created a Frankenstein monster he soon lost control of. Further, he found a lot less competence than what he would have found using proper institutional channels.

        For the intelligence community, the main lesson is that acquiescing to a president’s request to politicize its estimates may buy short-term access but not long-term influence. Even in the best of times, intelligence agencies have to walk a fine line. They have to be close enough to the world of politics in order to receive guidance and be responsive to policymakers’ needs but not too close lest they lose their objectivity and neutrality. They have to be in the world of politics without being of the world of politics. The cost of being too far from politics is irrelevance and loss of access. In the coming Trump administration, that would mean letting go unchallenged what Trump’s conspiracy-minded advisers will whisper in the ears of a president already inclined toward conspiracy theories. The cost of being too close to politics is partisanship and the loss of credibility. The CIA went down that route during the Bush administration and has yet to recover.

    3. Praedor

      Trump will NOT get another term if he follows through with the GOP game plan. That plan includes destroying Social Security (privatizing and cutting), destroying Medicare (privatizing and cutting), allowing financial services to run amok as if it was 2006 all over again, is going to cut massive $$ from things like emergency womens rape counciling centers among the first things he does, kill the ACA and replace it with nothing (or something worse) etc. NONE of these things are what his supporters signed up for. The GOP agenda is the opposite of the disaffected base agenda that got Trump elected.

      This equals a single term. He’s already in the 40% range on approval, a historic low on a newly elected Prez. He is all downward from here UNLESS he really surprises us all on each of the aforementioned things on the chopping block.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think this is armchair cynicism. From where I stand, Sanders is the only one who hasn’t lost his mind. He’s out there talking concrete material benefits for working people. He’s not hysterical. From the accounts I can find, OR did well in California. And I hate to say this, but what’s the alternative? (besides DSA).

  10. Robert Hahl

    Re: The Man in the Zebra Suit Knows the Secret of the Stripes

    It turns out that biting flies do not like landing on black and white surfaces. I would have guessed zebras developed stripes for the same reason that everyone does everything, to impress females.

    1. fresno dan

      Robert Hahl
      January 20, 2017 at 8:38 am

      Are zebras the only animal in Africa that doesn’t like being bitten by flies? I would imagine being bitten is pretty unpleasant – why don’t we see striped lions, or elephants, or giraffes????
      What if humans had black and white stripes?
      Wouldn’t it solve a lot of problems???
      ‘that guy is black…with white stripes – instead of being white with black stripes – kill him!’

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Natural selection really means traits are passed down that are good enough to reproduce and starts with random mutations. The mutation has to be introduced and then be superior in such a way to win out.

        Since its not sex related, I imagine it’s related to a calamity that befell the pre-zebra species, possibly viral or the result of an isolated population being better despite stripes. I’m sure zebras still get bit, but having less exposure to the virus would be beneficial.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I’m not sure I understand the relationship between sexual selection and tsetse flies.

            Certainly, the flies are biting around warm areas. Combined with an existing std that could prevent success of the polka dotted zebras.

            The implications of the discovery are there were once zebra like critters some of which happened to have stripes. If the tsetse flies are avoiding stripes, it likely means the “non striped critters” were being exposed to more doses of a virus or bacterial infection than the “striped crippers,” ultimately leaving the non striped critters who probably are the product of recessive genes. If it was an isolated valley population of virile males spreading to the general population of proto-zebras, I believe we would see another advantage for the stripes and non classic striped zebras being born on a fairly regular basis.

      2. Robert Hahl

        fresno dan – Not certain that I buy the conclusion of the study but in any case, your examples only show that not everyone comes up with the same way to impress females.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Most mammals don’t see like us and our fellow arboreal mammals and avian friends. Colors and patterns aren’t super relevant to many mammals. The sexual displays of bird rules don’t apply to mammals.

          Humans do, but our vision evolved to recognize and grasp tree branches in the canopy.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is addressed in the article. Predators don’t seem to have any trouble killing zebras, and humans see very differently than most critters.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          Hmm, perhaps we were a secondary stressor? I’ve been trying to think of any non extinct megafauna outside the range of h. erectus.

        2. dcrane

          Predators don’t seem to have any trouble killing zebras

          Since hares still get caught, does this mean speed hasn’t been selected to help them escape foxes?

          Maybe it’s just the fault of the way the journalist presented the science, but the attempts to falsify the other theories look pretty weak.

  11. Tom

    This is how American health care kills people should be required reading for every single member of Congress. Not that they’re likely to internalize the horror and sheer crushing bureaucracy of our health insurance for profit system. But maybe it will at least give them a glimpse of the venal and inhumane way it grinds us up and consumes us physically, emotionally and financially.

    1. Robert Hahl

      How soon before they offer out-of-network health insurance? If you travel that might be a good thing to have. Foreign visitors to the U.S. often buy a special travel insurance to cover unexpected medical expenses.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Robert.

        My parents and I always do for private visits. We are covered by employers for work.

        I have former colleagues and friends, mainly migrants, at HSBC in mid-town. They say that one reason for the length of service is that the company plan is one of the better ones.

    2. OIFVet

      I just shared it with all of my liberul Faceborg friends. I wanted to counteract the bewildering epidemic of profile picture updates featuring the 0bama family, and see whether liberal stupidity is treatable or terminal.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        I have shared with family and friends, some of whom are doctors, including one who gets hysterical about the Donald, even from the relative safety of Buckinghamshire.

        One of dad’s friends, also a doctor and living in Surrey, has a son in California. The son lost his job about a year ago and his home not long after. Luckily, the parents still work (beyond official retirement age) and are able to support the son.

        1. Robert Hahl

          When talking with deplorables and obmanables alike, I like to use the term medical insurance. It seems to penetrate their defenses better than the euphemistic “health” insurance.

          1. JoeK

            @Robert Hahl

            Exactly. What M.D.s et al (allopathic medicine) do is sick care.

            There’s no way to insure one’s health, but an ounce or better a pound of prevention goes a long way.

            I would wager that investing one’s insurance premium’s wisely/conservatively rather than sending those funds to an “insurer” who is not on your side and will do everything possible along with the “providers” to empty your pockets, would in time probably leave enough money to cover just about any contingency.

            That “gap,” no matter how small, is filled in with fear and trepidation, and that’s the easiest thing for lazy capitalists to cash in on, which they do of course.

            Hence the need for single payer, the one and only ethical solution to sick care.

    3. Steve H.

      Found out yesterday a long-time acquaintance will lose hands and feet. Don’t know many details but my understanding is 4 different ambulances and the hospital refused her while having heart attacks because she had MRSA. Most probable place she’d got the MRSA: the hospital.

    4. fresno dan

      January 20, 2017 at 8:52 am

      But wait, you might be thinking. Doesn’t ObamaCare have out-of-pocket limits that would prevent this sort of thing?

      It does indeed. But there are numerous loopholes that medical providers can and do take advantage of.

      The biggest is that spending on out-of-network services do not have to apply to out-of-pocket limits. Affordable Care Act regulations stipulate insurers are supposed to cover quite a bit of spending on emergency procedures (depending on a complex formula), and Texas law says that Stewart’s insurance should pay the “usual and customary rate” (which probably accounts for the $9,695.87 payment) and count whatever he spends on his emergency care towards his out-of-pocket limit.

      “However, this still doesn’t obligate the insurance carrier to pay for the remainder of the out-of-network care,” Maxine Harrington, professor of law at Texas A&M University, told The Week. Only in-network care has to be covered once the out-of-pocket limit is reached, even if it is an emergency. (In an emailed statement, a representative from the Department of Health and Human Services noted that new regulations are set to be implemented in 2018 that will provide somewhat*** more protection against surprise balance billing.)
      This is one of those things that drive me insane when I read pro Obamacare wonks. They will talk about out of pocket limits as if that actually solves ANYTHING. Its all a Mcguffin – a purposeful diversion to make people think that worthwhile reform has occurred when it has not.

      The question I would ask about “networks” is, what other insurance pays based only on using a preapproved network? I know with car repairs, at least in CA, you cannot be required by your insurance carrier to use only certain repair shops. IF WE REALLY have a competitive, transparent medical pricing system (yeah, that is ridiculous, but I’m trying to show the theory from the get go doesn’t make any sense) how would a network actually reduce costs – other than as a backhanded way to reduce medical care?

      ***somewhat – well, I feel so much more secure

      And of course, the “news” in this country is pretty much people sitting around on TV arguing about Trump tweets….sending someone out who is trying to use their medical insurance is just so expensive….

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Employer insurance if HMO requires use of network providers. If PPO there is a different rate for in- and out-of-network providers.

        Since the 80s when I first got employer insurance.

        Original Medicare and the most pricey employer/private insurance let you go to the provider of your choice.

      2. Hen Kai Pan

        Transparent medical pricing exists in Germany. A liver transplant is 35K, birth in a hospital 1.5K, Appendix surgery 2.2K, etc. There is a catalogue according to which hospitals get paid, and these figures include everything, i.e. doctors, meds, bed and food for hospital stay for as long as the patient needs. This system is not without flaws, because the billing is a bit rigid, and the hospitals also try to ‘beat’ it by finding ways to bill more. But look at these prices….for an insured patient, everything is covered, except ten Euros a day.
        But, you know, this is considered ‘socialized medicine’.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          With a system like that, people can less stressed and are more likely to come up with creative ways to be ‘happier while consuming less,’ leading to a more sustainable world.

    5. Katniss Everdeen

      (In an emailed statement, a representative from the Department of Health and Human Services noted that new regulations are set to be implemented in 2018 that will provide somewhat more protection against surprise balance billing.)

      As we are constantly reminded, it is a “process.”

      Isn’t it “funny” how stories of obamacare’s “successes” inspire and engender passionate defense of the program, while stories, such as this one, of its torturous injustices do not have the justifiably opposite effect?

      A week or so ago, a commenter here defended obamacare against a Trump repeal with a story of the benefits provided his/her son for a life-threatening kidney condition. Through publicly funded MEDICAID expansion. I responded with the story of my daughter whose situation, gawd forbid, would be more like the story of Mr. Stewart in this article. Because mandated insurance.

      While I will repeat my congratulations for that commenter’s good fortune, I will also repeat my demand for immediate repeal. A program which exacts such sacrifice, suffering and even death from some in order to provide life-saving benefits to others has no place in a society that calls itself civilized.

    6. Salamander

      From a public policy perspective this is execrable… and we must fix it. But we won’t anytime soon.

      If that young man were my son, I would advise him to work the bankruptcy angle, and hold onto the house, the wife’s job, and grad school.

      Meanwhile… he lives in Ft Worth. Time to get a doctor and transplant in Mexico. His plan will likely consider a foreign provider “in network,” and while that provider won’t be bound by his insurance’s agreed rates, being Mexico, it’ll be cheap to start with… even before his insurance contributes. And dollars to donuts he wouldn’t have to suffer a fraction of the red tape and delay…

      Sad that it’s come to this, but playing by the corporatocracy’s rules while it sucks you dry before discarding your dry husk of a body is not a strategy.

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Student Debt Payback Far Worse Than Believed WSJ

    Couldn’t get around the paywall (and I tried) but there’s a summary over at the hedge including this:

    The worst offender was the University of Memphis which had one of the largest drops in its repayment rate following the recalculation. Previously, the Department said that 67% of its students were repaying loans within seven years of entering the repayment period. That number fell to 47% after the recalculation.

    The University was not happy. In a statement, the school said it “was not contacted by or made aware of the data changes” from the Education department. “Given the magnitude of the numerical changes in the report released by the Department of Education, the University of Memphis will be challenging the accuracy of the newly adjusted data,” the statement said.

    This is the bailiwick of the department of education, and yet, during her confirmation hearings, betsy devos was hectored about guns and grizzlies.

    The implications of this “technical programming error” (the dreaded glitch) are many, varied, and yuuge. Again from the hedge: …… the student loan repayment rates were originally released in 2015 as part of the Obama administration’s College Scorecard, which followed an aborted attempt to rate colleges and tie federal funds to those ratings.

    The willingness of student borrowers to assume these financial obligations legitimizes and funds everything from bloated admin budgets and media exploitation / profiteering off college “sports” to worthless identity politics programs and degrees. Not to mention the stock prices of publicly traded for-profit education companies.

    The debt keeps able-bodied adults who are students off the “unemployment” rolls, with all the attendant policy implications and rosy economic assessments that facilitates.

    Finally there is this: Recall that back in December 2014, The Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee forecast that in an aggressive scenario, as much as $3.3 trillion in student loans could be oustanding by 2024. Incidentally, that is the scenario that has captured the growth of student loans since it was presented.

    How will these debts be repaid if social security is blown up and these borrowers have nothing to garnish when they turn 65 in 50 or so years?

    1. JTMcPhee

      How much for the kidneys? Has binge drinking damaged the liver? I’ll take an option on the heart…

    2. cocomaan

      This is a catastrophic failure, driven primarily by the Obama and Bush administrations, that will haunt us for decades and decades. But considering Obama’s term doubled the amount of student debt, I place the blame on him, as the “Higher Education President”.

      First, Obama appoints Joe Biden, who led the charge on the student loan bankruptcy laws in 2005. Biden’s major push in higher ed wasn’t to make colleges affordable, but instead to focus on Title IX enforcement. Then, alongside the ACA, he signs into law a massive, predatory loan mill for minors in the form of the Department of Education, the profits of which, we shouldn’t forget, also subsidized the healthcare law. He enlisted contractors like Navient to prey on frightened people, though fortunately, the students knew enough not to cooperate.

      Now, we see that the administration flat out misconstrued the repayment of those loans for 99.8% of all colleges, due to a “mathematical error”. Since it’s coming at the end of the administration, I think it’s safe to call that “misinformation”. Obama turned retraining, a must in an economy of “disruptive industries”, into a nightmare of debt serfdom.

      This is not being reported in the various higher ed trade journals (Inside Higher Ed, Chronicle), because the truth is scary: higher education is on the verge of collapse.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Higher education is over-funded at the expense of the citizens it was designed to serve (land grant college and the like anyway. The Ivies only ever served wealth and power.) How does this translate to “verge of collapse”? They could continue their actual education missions on half of what they now pull in. Especially since they’ll be able to make use of hard assets (buildings, grounds) recently built with with loan lucre for decades to come.

        If you mean the for-profit subsector…… well yeah. Good. Flail away, and sink like a stone.

        1. cocomaan

          Look at their balance sheets, or the 990s. There are thousands of schools around the country leaning on finance, government or otherwise, to operate. Reading the aforementioned trade magazines, you see the universal fear of Trump, because if any of this system is even brushed up against, you’ll watch schools shutter. If the D of Ed backed down, or private loans dried up, there will be collapses in schools you’d think were hale and healthy.

          Those hard assets? A deferred maintenance nightmare. One school I’ve dealt with has been using depreciation to fund its operations for years. Those structures have nice veneers but are a massive drag on resources.

          The state schools have been in a bind for decades. State funding has dried up. They can raise tuition, they can do development, they can seek research and other funding, but it’s not enough.

          We can celebrate the end of predatory institutions. At the same time, it’s important to acknowledge that it will be a major shock to the economy.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


            1. Not enough graduates are finding work
            2. employed graduates are not paid enough to service their student loans

            The keep-it-simple solution is this: Produce fewer credentials.


            Not free tuition, because that will just produce/create/manufacture more credentials into a world that has entered the Age of Robots.

            Philosophy or Art History classes should be free. Get rid of excess Engineering, Business Administration, Medical, Law or Architecture professors. Let their employing national corporations pay for their training/credentialing.

            1. cocomaan

              You make a really good point about corporations not picking up the tab for training. But I don’t see how you force corporations to provide training. Quashing credentialism will work part of the way, but I see credentials as a bureaucratic exercise, and there’s little ever done about entrenched bureaucracies.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I would study MLB and look for ways to replicate their ‘draft a kid out of high school and pay him for years to learn how to hit a curveball’ business model.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Those structures have nice veneers

            And then they put their money into gyms and student unions instead of labs and classrooms because you’ve got to appeal to the “consumer”… And then there are the naming rights….

        2. Praedor

          MOST money spent by universities is spent on dead wood administrators/administrative costs. In other words, most of the costs of university that students pay for has nothing to do with the primary point of the university. Universities do NOT exist to employ administrators. Sports is also misused at universities. All that money that football and basketball brings in SHOULD be used to reduce all student tuitions (if we must have tuition rather than tuition-free universities) and fees, and cover some of the costs associated with the CORE function of the university (education and research).

          1. cocomaan

            I agree with the spirit of this, but saying “most” implies that you’ve seen evidence. I’ve never seen that demonstrated, unless by administrators, you also mean the people involved with cleaning dorms, feeding the kids out of the dining halls, etc.
            But absolutely, sports is this weird disaster that I can’t even wrap my head around. I heard an ad for a private school once that said, “We emphasize the three A’s – academics, arts, and athletics”. Bizarre.

          2. RabidGandhi

            This bears repeating. Cocoman mentions the “deferred maintenance nightmare” of universities’ hard assets. But it should be borne in mind that as Praedor rightly notes, over the last 30 years universities’ increasing revenues have gone almost in full to “dead wood [credentialist flexian] administrators/administrative costs”. And what do said administrators do? They justify their spot at the trough by larding their campuses with Cocoman’s “hard assets”: elaborate gyms, four-seasons style student centres, academically worthless stadiums… all whilst the adjunct professors doing the real work live like sharecroppers.

            Cut the administrative bloat, lose the campus bells and whistles and lower tuitions to zero.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > Cut the administrative bloat, lose the campus bells and whistles and lower tuitions to zero.

              Maine’s governor LePage is genuinely stupid, or he would have done this. Not only would it be good for the State, it would have gutted the Democrat base.

              1. RabidGandhi

                By accusing LePage of stupidity, you assume his goal is to gut the Democrat base or help the state of Maine. Where would the Harlem Globetrotters be without the Washington Generals?

    3. Leigh


      I run into the same. For WSJ articles I go to Google and copy and paste the article title – it never fails to pull up a firewall-free version in full.
      The same does not work for Financial Times articles.

      1. hidflect

        You can become a nominal member with the FT for free. Then login and access the article from Google. That’s what I do.

  13. Pete

    I have an off topic question/statment and thought links might be the best place to share. I tried to open one of the articles from my phone and i think i got one of those fake virus adds that told me i needes to download an app immediately to fix my phone. Anyway, i am under the impression that these pop up get through as adds. I have had this issue on other sites and because of it i have stopped using my phone on some of them. Does NC have any controll over this or does google controll all the adds? Or is this just my phone?

    1. alex morfesis

      It is the other places you visit…the algos of ads feed off of information your phone has from info stored on your phone…your phone “asks” for certain bidders…if you tend to visit academic blogs with no or limited ads, there is not much to feed off of…if you chase some of those

      tab you lah lah lah

      look at what happened to these former hollywood stars after ten weeks with a crack pipe…stories and “$pon$ored” ads…

      the ad auction sites will feed your phone to the gru/n$a hacking advertising companies and you will
      draw the ads to your phone based on the hoovering of data off your phone…

      all ad networks do it this way…

      If you visit cowdassians hollyrude articled sites


      gold gold gold & zombie apocalypse survival articled sites




      (Butt on the chest with pasties that fell off sites)

      congrats…you are going to get taken over…

  14. Anne

    “If it really pours tomorrow, that’s O.K., because people will realize it’s my real hair.”

    Well, at least he hasn’t expressed any fears of melting.

    Not sure my eyeballs could roll any more than they already are…but I have a feeling the coming weeks/months will prove that they can.

    And in line with keeping up with what’s really important:

    Frank Sinatra’s daughter has a warning about President-elect Donald Trump reportedly choosing her father’s classic song, “My Way,” as the tune for his first dance as commander in chief.

    “Just remember the first line of the song,” Nancy Sinatra wrote to her more than 140,000 followers on Twitter on Wednesday night.

    The opening line in the 1969 hit penned by Paul Anka is, “And now, the end is near.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I’m reminded of Microsoft’s use of the Rolling Stones’ song, “Start Me Up!” It was the theme song for Windows 95 promotions.

      The line that was missing from those promos?

      “You make a grown man cry.”

      That was an apt description of the difficulties with the upgrade version of 95. OTOH, if you bought a new computer with 95 installed, it worked pretty well.

          1. alex morfesis

            In the microsoft original ad, when you play start me up backwards you end up with what sounds a bit like painted black…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s not the start, but the finish – Seabiscuit.

      It’s the start, not the finish – Obama, whose inauguration was grand, but the presidency ends with a whimper (to many here).

      I think what is really important (if we want to attach importance) is the last line – I did it my way.

      When one’s around 70 in age, it’s understandable to sentimentally feel the end is near, Ms. Sinatra, even if there is still many decades ahead in one’s journey through this life.

      Though, if one thinks the glass is half empty, it is indeed half empty. And the end refers, then, not to the person, that is, the singer of the song, but ominously the order of things, a political party or the world, though the rest of the song indicates that it refers to person-hood, not the world.

      In any case, perhaps it was a joke, to say this is what is really important.

  15. Sam Adams

    Remember to thank Biden for The Student Loan lender plums put into Bankruptcy “reform”: no Bankruptcy discharge or Statute of Limitations on student debt. Uncle Joe introduced student debt peonage to the US and got a Obama Presidental Metal of Freedom for the good work! Attaboy Joe.

  16. fresno dan

    It might seem hard to believe now, but when Obama appeared on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show early in his presidency in 2009, it was the first ever appearance from a sitting president on a late-night talk show. And he followed it up with appearances on every major late-night show that aired during his administration.

    two words…, 3 words…..
    Arsenio Hall

    and the media wonders why they are held in contempt.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Then Governor Clinton appeared on Arsenio.

      Obama’s late show appearances were always a sign his Presidency would be a bust. As President, he doesn’t need to mug, and the late shows aren’t a platform for pushing policy.

      He isn’t going to connect with young voters by appearing on Leno.

      1. fresno dan

        January 20, 2017 at 9:22 am

        It used to be that serious presidential candidates appeared only on equally serious news programs. But in the spring of 1992, Democratic contender Bill Clinton needed something special to set him apart from his opponents, sitting president George H.W. Bush and independent candidate Ross Perot. So the 45-year-old Arkansas governor booked a groundbreaking appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show, to chat with the host and wail on his sax for soulful renditions of “Heartbreak Hotel” and “God Bless The Child.”
        Your right – I always get that mixed up that the presidency actually starts the next year

          1. Arizona Slim

            I remember that skit. Typical uptight Nixon saying “Sock it to me.”

            I didn’t think it was funny.

      2. Gary

        You know, things change. FDR used to do regular “fire side chats” because radio was the TV back then. He needed his face out there to combat the demonizing and “othering” he faced. FoxNews was vomiting toxic propaganda 24/7. President Obama was a disappointment to me, but this is not worth consideration.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Obama held a modern fireside chat last week with his last speech on farewell TV. The selection of Leno and the other late night shows was Obama enjoying the celebrity lifestyle, not communication with the American people.

          Obama knows late night talk show hosts like the ratings bump and won’t ask difficult questions. A reporter might, even in today’s press environment.

          The late night shows come on after local news. Local news will carry messages from the President. We have whole networks built around political communication. Dancing with Jimmy Fallon was about dancing with Jimmy Fallon, not reaching people. It was representative of Obama’s character and the triumph of shallowness over substance.

          At least in Bill’s 92 case, he was trying to reach people with his Arsenio appearance given his status as a Southern Democrat.

          The FDR fireside chats were usually built around direct calls for citizen action to bring pressure on congress. FDR didn’t broadcast recordings of him making little quips about Kimmel’s latest sketch. FDR managed to be both President and organizer.

  17. craazyman

    Whoa with yuuuuuge apologies to Daryl Hall

    He’s Gone!

    librulls cryin at the inauguration
    They still wanna tell me what is right for me
    Ms. Streep even tried to bore me with a sermon
    But it’s plain to see, they won’t get a hold on me

    Sorry Dems, for the imposition
    I think I’ve got it, that the world will carry on
    If you can try to think without derision
    Maybe you can see, ooh it’s no tragedy

    He’s Gone Oh I, Oh I
    I’m so glad I can’t fake it
    He’s Gone Oh my, Oh my
    You’d need the devil to replace him
    He’s Gone – what went wrong?

    Up in the morning, looked in the mirror
    Got a bust of Lincoln sittin’ on the stand oh oh yea
    Keep the corporate money flowin like a plumber
    It was plain to see he was all about “me”

    He’s Gawwwn
    I never dreamed it could’a been this shitty
    Let the fraud and looting choke democracy awaaay-ayyayyayyaaa
    Pretty speeches can’t dissolve the memories
    Oh theyll never be, what we wanted to see

    He’s Gawww -awww -awwww -aaawn
    Oh I, Oh I
    I’m so glad I can’t fake it
    He’s Gone Oh my, Oh my
    You’d need the devil to replace him
    He’s Gone – what went wrong?

    I know they’ll say Trump is the devil, but then they’d just have to listen to my fake song all over again! How horrible would that be for them? LOL


      1. craazyman

        It’s kind of funny how subtle the graceful syllabic beats are in the real songs. The real lines flow like water in a stream in your mind. The fake songs usually miss — and in some cases really badly miss — the grace and flow of the original’s words and lines. Some of the lines here would be hard to sing because the beats are a bit off. A real singer would go like “WTF am I supposed to do with this?” hahaha. It really takes some careful word selection, but that takes time!

        1. craazyboy

          You just need to have Bill Murray sing them like when he does his fake Vegas nightclub singer act. Works fine for fake songs. Beat and melody take a back seat to lyrics in that case.

          Or you can have a rap singer do it, but then it isn’t music anymore.

            1. craazyboy

              I still contend it’s arguable. Those are fake words rapped to a fake variable time signature that gets matched up to a drumbeat that comes from a synthetic (fake) drum machine. But what do I know. I gave up on trying to make music when we had flutophone back in 4th grade music class.

              1. integer

                Believe it or not, classical guitar virtuoso Xuefei Yang spends her spare time rapping. It’s probably best if you don’t believe it though, because it isn’t true. Fake news!

                1. integer

                  Adding: Music or not, imo there is some rap that qualifies as art, though it isn’t NC suitable so no links. That said, I’m certainly not going to defend the vast majority of the genre, as it really does suck.

                    1. craazyboy

                      I know! I figured out what it is. It’s chanting accompanied by drum machine. Have to admit I do find myself tapping my foot to it sometimes, when taken in small doses.

                  1. integer

                    That said, I’m certainly not going to defend the vast majority of the genre, as it really does suck.

                    I should have written:

                    That said, I’m certainly not going to defend the vast majority of contemporary rap, as it really does suck.

                    The vast majority of the genre, when taken as a whole, is an overstatement.

                    1. integer

                      Ugh. Make that:

                      [Claiming that t]he vast majority of the genre, when taken as a whole, [sucks, was] an overstatement.

                      NSC (Not sufficiently caffeinated).

  18. Colonel Smithers

    This is a rare piece of journalism from the Guardian:

    New Labour venality is still alive and kicking.

    The author mentions Labour councillors being wined and dined at property trade shows on the continent. I observed that when at HSBC in the mid-noughties. I was also told about HM Revenue & Customs top management being wined and dined at the Monaco Grand Prix by Vodafone. Not long after, Vodafone had a big tax bill reduced to a pepper corn and said managers hired by Vodafone and a City institution.

  19. Carolinian

    The Intercept link is deeply disappointing in that Jon Schwarz, formulator of The Iron Law of Institutions and canny political observer, would write this about the claims of Russian “hacking.”

    Under these circumstances, the reaction of anyone who actually cares about the United States has to be: We must investigate this with great seriousness and impartiality and find out exactly what happened. This requires an independent commission with sufficient funding, a broad mandate and legal authority that Congress creates but then can no longer influence.

    He continues

    in any functioning democracy there’s just one position on this issue: Only citizens can participate in deciding who governs it

    Clearly Schwarz is a level headed cynic except when it comes to pronouncements by our intelligence chiefs or the often goofy tweeter himself. As for foreign influence on our political process, how many congress people gave Netanyahu a standing ‘o’ at that joint session speech?

    This is a call for a media circus masquerading as high mindedness and frankly not very convincing in its sincerity or concern about our noble institutions. The commission won’t happen, and instead the Left are going to have to oppose Trump’s moves to the right the old fashioned way: by building political support. No color revolutions here, please.

    1. fresno dan

      January 20, 2017 at 9:32 am

      I read this a while back and thought the same thing. Again, ‘dem’ loves blinds him to taking anything the CIA asserts as being the opposite of reality?

      1. Carolinian

        Even if the Russians did hack Podesta and the DNC so what? The only charge that would be serious would be that they fiddled with voting machines and nobody is claiming that.

        It’s terrible to see favorites like Schwarz and Moyers buying into this stuff. If Trump is unhinged the Democrats and some liberals are making themselves seem far more so.

        1. fosforos

          The overwhelming truth that nobody seems to recognize: Whoever “hacked” or “leaked” those e-mails did a formidable public service, giving the people information that was being hidden from them about a gang trying to hold on to power by a whole series of dishonest and deceptive practices (aka “rigging”). Hackers or Leakers, whoever they are, they deserve medals!

        2. NYPaul

          Yah, and what did the hacks/leaks reveal that we already didn’t “know?” Being pissed at the Russians for informing the public of the corruption, sleaze, and dishonesty in the DNC & Clinton campaign, information our complicit media should have been first to reveal, is not valid criticism.

        3. Buttinsky

          Thank you for your comments, Carolinian. It was a very disappointing article by Schwarz.

          As others have noted, we’d be better off starting with Saudi Arabia or Israel if we want to talk about foreign influence on U.S. elections.

          Or my own favorite example: One of my guilty pleasures is The Graham Norton Show, from London, on BBC America. Throughout the election no chance to ridicule or disparage or fearmonger Trump was ever missed by host and guests alike, Hillary Clinton’s being the only possible sane choice too obvious a fact to even bother stating out loud. Indeed, the European media and its cultural and political elite seemed incapable of doubting Hillary’s virtue, notwithstanding the devastating effect of Obama-Clinton War refugees on Europe. Worse, they seemed incapable of even recognizing their bias, much less its peculiar lack of coherence.

          But I will wait in vain for Mr. Schwarz to call for an independent investigation into the BBC’s clearly heavy-handed attempt to influence the U.S. election, surely more purposefully pernicious than anything on Russia Today TV.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s like the Kennedy conspiracy theories that blame the CIA. This is about protecting the legacy of heroes and ignoring their own actions for non elite Dems. If Russia wasn’t out to get Hillary and she was a disaster of a candidate, what does that say about me? If the Civil Rights movement was ignored and investigated by JFK, what does that say about me? It’s much easier to blame a boogeyman instead of taking a hard look at bizarre hero worship. The Bard made a point about where fault lies. Too many people want to blame the stars above which we cannot control, but every Democrat who liked a SnapFace post of Obama hosting the annual Easter Egg hunt with his brand of style simply could have been bothered to call their Congressman and demand Obama and the Dems adhere to their campaign promises when it came to healthcare is responsible for that inaction. It was fun to chant Obama and have a cool black friend who came into homes without actually coming Into homes.

        Obama might have been decent if people demanded more out of him, but it was easier to praise him for being “hip” and going on shows that aren’t Presidential.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It’s not the CIA that is relevant to the story. The CIA is just part of the “OMG Putin” narrative even if it would be the NSA if this was a real story given the division of labor.

          -Nader cost Gore the election (did you register any voters? Shut up!)
          -Kerry didn’t have that much money to run on ads. No one knew when the election was or…Donna Brazille has to eat
          -Dems have the likes of Lieberman (Dem primary voters offered a solution)
          -the Republicans have never behaved this way. They are just mean to Obama (except Bill, Carter, John Birch cults).
          -Obama would be good except for the filibuster
          -we need to focus on 2012 then Obama can be good
          -now it’s “OMG Putin”

          Every excuse for Democratic Party failures comes after Democratic partisans applauded poor behavior instead of demanding better. The excuses don’t have to make sense. They need to justify insane cheerleading and smugness. Hillary was an abysmal candidate.

          1. fresno dan

            January 20, 2017 at 10:53 am

            Your exactly right. Poor Obama, the cult of personality and team politics that gave him a Nobel peace prize is the most ironical irony….ever?

            It will be poetic justice if the restoration of skepticism and cynicism in the press actually reminds people that Washington’s default position is to screw the 90% and this actually leads to some mild improvement.

          2. JustAnObserver

            And after “OMG Putin” fades out of consciousness and the news cycle moves on, as it inevitably will, what excuse for Hillary will the Dem apparchiks come up with next ? It seems, to me at least, that after all the obsessional chanting of “Russia, Russia, Russia” they don’t have a lot left.

            But of course that’s probably just starry-eyed optimism since “never underestimate the dembots determination to ignore the reality of their complete FAIL 2008-2016 when their paychecks depend on it” (Upton Sinclair-ish).

            1. integer

              It seems, to me at least, that after all the obsessional chanting of “Russia, Russia, Russia” they don’t have a lot left.

              Maybe they could release a rap album.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      And the tail that’s really wagging the dog gets a one line brush off:

      McCain and company are perfectly fine with foreign influence on U.S. politics when it originates with Saudi Arabia or Israel.

      When was the last time Puitin was invited to personally address the US Congress?!?!? And funny how the Saudis were given very special treatment after the trade center bombings and were flown back home with no questions asked. I remember Richard Perle being asked during the Bush administration whether his true loyalties were to the US or to Israel and he claimed the of course they were with the US but that US interests just so happened to be perfectly aligned with those of Israel. I could go on….for days.

      But I’m sure we’ll have an investigation on the blatantly obvious Saudi and Israeli influence on the US government starting right about never.

      1. fresno dan

        United States state – represented…kinda, sorta, maybe sometimes by 2 US senators
        State of Israel – represented absolutely, unequivocally by 50 US senators….

        1. alex morfesis

          It is a bit hard to sell arms with no conflicts…is the conflict in “the promised lands” crafting the problem or are one too many con-gress clowns happy to point to aipac when their mic-key friends need to sell a few more rockets that no one will ever use and probably don’t work anyway..

          There used to be quotas and “gentlemens” agreements along with jim crow in america…do you really think those who can’t or won’t let go of their “white citizens committee” membership cards have let go of their quotas mentality…

          Remember…many of these folks who “embrace” bobo frikinyahoo from the religious right are looking to “the destruction of israel” to help bring on the rapture…

          that bobo sits with people from the prayer breakfasts (created by a close friend of himmler) who are obsessed with the number 17 $hows what a brilliant man and clever man he really is…

  20. nycTerrierist

    “It would be simple and easy to arrange the medical system so that someone like Stewart — and his story is very far from unique — would get the care he needed, and as good a chance as possible of living long enough to get the transplant he needs. The national income is there, the medical institutions to provide that care are there, and the risk pools could easily be made large enough to make the system solvent.

    The fact that ObamaCare — a reasonably good-faith effort to make the system better — did not stop the vicious cruelty of medical billing, and in many ways only added to the system’s psychotic complexity, ought to weigh on us all.

    “How many catastrophes would it take to undo the security in your life?” Stewart wonders. “That is a question I think every person should ask themselves, and consider in judgment of others. I think the truth is it’s usually a lot less than you’d think.”

    Agreed. Powerful article. I’d love to see the ‘architects’ of the ACA confronted with their handiwork, rightly described here by Ryan Cooper as ‘profound evil’.

    1. Paid Minion

      His situation isn’t a crazy, one in 10 million chance scenario. Its the same one that plays out every day for thousands of people, but with less severe consequences.

      The system is working as designed. Which is to make money, not to provide reasonably priced health care.

      Seems to me that New York needs to start tracking the number of insurance related migrants, and send Texas a bill.

  21. thoughtfulperson

    Some important news from Brazil. Yesterday the supreme court justice Teori Zavascki, leading the ‘car wash / petrobras’ money laundering corruption investigation, died in a plane crash. Not much coverage with all the inauguration stuff going on. He was appointed originally by Dilma Rouseff. Now Temer, who has been implicated in the investigation, appoints a successor.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Also of note, Zavascki was singled out by name in the infamous Jucá recording where a top Temer aid spoke of the need to impeach Rouseff in order to thwart the Lava Jato investigation. Zavascki alone was specifically mentioned as a clear impediment to the investigation being thwarted due to his being “closed off” to the idea of playing ball. He was about to summons top Odebrecht officials to testify, who were very likely to have implicated Temer and other top government officials. There is no evidence thus far of any foul play, but it certainly doesn’t smell good. Watching how the press handles this should be illuminating.

      1. optimader

        Welllll…. They flew into heavy weather over water in Beechcraft King Air C90GT (twin-turboprop). Good plane, but still a light aircraft classification.

        Flying into a heavy rainstorm over water is a classic formula for being in such a hurry you never get there.

      2. thoughtfulperson

        per the articles, the Odebrecht employees did testify and evidence is under review at the moment…

        1. RabidGandhi

          Correct, my mistake. They already made their statements, which were about to be entered into the formal record (“homologação”).

  22. Watt4Bob

    I wrote the following back in September of 2012, as we were approaching election day. I think I got a lot of it right, even though the ‘solution’ I recommended was enacted by a different portion of the electorate than I was exhorting;

    The answer to my most gnawing, constant question dawned on me just the other day;

    Why don’t ‘they’ see that they’re driving our nation over the cliff?

    Why don’t ‘they’ see that their rapacious greed is wrecking the very economy that made their own wealth possible?

    Why don’t ‘they’ see that they’ve killed the goose that laid the golden egg?

    Then it dawned on me that you can visualize our economy in a certain sense, as a wave, a wave that the PTB have been both shaping, and riding.

    They’ve worked very hard to build this thing, and they really succeeded in getting a tremendous amount of momentum going here.

    Our MOTU are a crazed gang of hoodlum surfers, and they’ve caught a monstrous wave.

    It’s all a matter of hysterical momentum.

    They are riding a mountainous wave of greed fueled hubris, and they see some sort of illusory finish line ahead where the rest of us see a very real chasm.

    They cannot stop, they would never in a million years think of stopping.

    As things are, there is virtually nothing standing in their way other than a terribly fragmented and uncoordinated public opinion, and that public has been so thoroughly convinced of it’s own helplessness that so far, it’s been mostly staring down the road in anticipation of the crash.

    It is already too late, the tipping point is here.

    It is no longer possible to make believe that we can turn the Democratic party around convince them to listen to our pleading.

    I’ve had my doubts, but those doubts have disappeared, yes ‘they’ intend to take everything, and the Democrats as much as the Republicans are helping them carry it all away.

    It’s no longer necessary to list their crimes, we all know what they are.

    It’s no longer necessary to convince anyone of the uselessness of petitioning our politicians to come to our aid before it’s too late, everyone knows that.

    There is one thing we might do, one thing they don’t expect, one thing that would at least make us feel less complicit in our own ruin.

    Instead of sitting out this disgusting election season, instead of joining the ranks of the dispirited, we could get out and vote for Jill Stein, and the green party.

    On election night we could turn off the TV, ignore the vote tally and get a good nights sleep secure in the knowledge that for once we haven’t been snookered into voting for the lesser evil.

    If enough of us did this, we could show ‘them’ quite convincingly that the tipping point is now, and that we’ve had enough.

    It won’t require torches and pitchforks.

    Let’s proudly turn our backs on those who’ve sold us down the river, and vote for Jill Stein.

    The tipping point is now.

    Fast forward to the present, here’s a few observations;

    First, while ‘we’, and by that I mean all us virtuous ‘progressives’ doubled down on Hope and Change, our Democratic heroes continued to compromise with the enemy at every turn.

    Second, in retrospect, it appears a large number of people came to the same conclusion that I did, only they chose a different candidate to support.

    Third, substitute the name Donald Trump for Jill Stein in the portion of my advice above, and see how the narrative fits our situation.

    Fourth, the people I thought I was encouraging to take action, managed to continue to spin their wheels, while that portion of the electorate, who at the time, I considered part of the problem, have been the ones to take action.

    Finally, consider how many people are today celebrating their own success (as illusory as that may turn out to be) at sticking it to ‘them’, sans torches and pitchforks, through the normal functions of our democratic process.

    Turning points are not really discrete points in time, they are identified in hindsight, and I would hope that what we’re seeing in the result of the recent election is an actual turning point.

    For most of my adult life I’ve been hoping that so-called liberals were going to be the agents of the changes we so obviously need, and that has turned out to be a ridiculously foolish expectation, so I cannot bring myself to criticize the folks who have decided to place their hopes in a totally different direction.

    1. fresno dan

      January 20, 2017 at 10:02 am

      prescient and insightful

      I view Trump as a beginning, and he is not important as an individual, but as a marker. I doubt he will change policy much, but hopefully he will change the idea that if you only raise enough money you get the nomination (thank you Jeb!)

      1. Watt4Bob


        We should probably thank Hillary and the DNC for showing us the real face of the progressive mis-leadership class while we’re at it.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > progressive mis-leadership class while we’re at it.

          Since “progressive” is not only liberal rebranding but conflates liberal and left, I’d say “Liberal Misleadership Class” (LMC). But good idea — why the heck didn’t I think of it?!

        2. uncle tungsten

          Thank Hillary AND Obummer.

          Chris Hedges nails it:
          The Democratic Party leadership cannot face, and certainly cannot publicly admit, that its callous betrayal of the working and middle class triggered a nationwide revolt that resulted in the election of Trump. It has been pounded since President Barack Obama took office, losing 68 seats in the House, 12 seats in the Senate and 10 governorships.

          It lost more than 1,000 elected positions between 2008 and 2012 nationwide. Since 2010, Republicans have replaced 900 Democratic state legislators. If this was a real party, the entire leadership would be sacked. But it is not a real party. It is the shell of a party propped up by corporate money and hyperventilating media.

  23. DyspepticAuldCoote

    Commentary: Executive actions ready to go as Trump prepares to take office Reuters

    With so many real/potential executive orders, I wonder how much splash this will have:

    Trump is expected to…take steps to delay a Labor Department rule due to take effect in April that would require brokers who give retirement advice to put their clients’ best interests first.

    The “delay” is in all reality a prelude to dropping the requirement?
    So, the default mode will be “You can’t trust your broker/adviser”. And you can’t sue him/her (due to mandatory arbitration) when he/she screws you and profits from said metaphorical financial fornication.

    Inspires so much trust in “free markets”, yes?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I hope that’s a requirement for all workers and corporations.

      My doctor should put my interests before Big Phrama, and free trips to the Cayman Islands or Panama.

      My senator, before her re-election.

      My town’s traffic police officers, before the ‘quota.’ OK, some people’s city cops. Ours are beyond reproach.

      My college, before their football team and unaffordable tuition.

      My (political) party, before their big donors.


  24. Vatch

    There are Senators who will vote against Scott Pruitt’s nomination to be the head of the EPA, but unless U.S. residents express their opposition to Pruitt to their Republican Senators, he will be confirmed. The Republicans, with 52 Senators, control the majority. Here are some examples of good comments by Democratic Senators:

    What about Republican Senators Collins of Maine, Toomey of Pennsylvania, Portman of Ohio, Johnson of Wisconsin, and Blunt of Missouri? Don’t they care about the water that their constituents drink and the air that they breathe? I haven’t seen any statements by them.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Don’t expect too much from the “moderate” Collins. Maine already lets Nestle sell off its aquifers and I don’t remember her putting up too much of a fuss about it.

  25. Otis B Driftwood

    I can’t find a more bullish signal of pending prosperity than Larry “Wrong Way, Every Day” Summers opining that a Trump presidency will harm the economy.

    And no, I’m not going to wish for disaster just because I don’t like or support Trump, as it seems to be with so many others. And yes, at least this time we don’t have to pretend we have a “good” president.

    1. Arizona Slim

      If I may be permitted to voice a heretical thought, here it is: My itty-bitty freelancing business did much better under Bush than it ever did under Obama or Clinton.

      Under Clinton, I had one good year, 2000. Under Obama, it was 2009.

      GWB? Five good years — 2002-05 and 2008.

      Did I vote for Bush? Nope. Did I ever support him? Uh-uh. But I did vote for Clinton and Obama. Two votes for each of them.

      During 2016, I was one of those evil Sanders and Stein supporters. Was never in favor of Trump.

      But, on the eve of his presidency, I’m thinking that, maybe-just-maybe, my little business will do better.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Yup. I can pay my bills with those stock market returns.

          Silly me. I thought that being able to pay bills had something to do with the money in my checking account.

    2. UserFriendly

      Holy shit! Sirota does not strike me as someone with flexible integrity. I want to see how this plays out.

      1. aab

        Me, either. But he was frank on social media during the campaign about how discouraged he is, how hard it is to get money for real investigative journalism. He watched everybody else he worked with get laid off. I’m sure Neera and her girl squad tried to get him fired. IIRC, they openly threatened him a couple of time on Twitter, which was the first step in their process of getting Bruenig fired. He has kids he wants to take care of.

        I don’t blame him, but still…Brock? Really? It’s a money laundering operation, on top of all the other problems. I was going to unfollow him, and then I thought it might be better to watch this play out than turn away. But I’m sad about it.

  26. RabidGandhi

    2017 is already… surreal.

    Hillary Clinton fundraiser David Brock has hired David Sirota, a critic of big money ties to both parties.

    David Sirota is leaving his role as senior investigations editor at the International Business Times to lead True Blue, which currently operates as ShareBlue and was part of a network of liberal outlets supporting Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign.

    ShareBlue is the brainchild of David Brock, the former conservative journalist turned liberal political warrior who is building a liberal fundraising and politics machine explicitly modeled on the network established by the conservative Koch brothers. After the election, Brock also told donors that he was seeking money to finance a “Breitbart of the left,” a phrase he modified in a speech Tuesday to the left’s “answer to Breitbart.”

    My only love sprung from my only hate.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Dude, you need to stop being so reactive. Answer to Breitbart? No, no, NO!

      Raise your own questions, David. You don’t need to be giving Breitbart any more publicity, m-kay?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Mr. Brock should just run for the White House himself, being so active and busy, seemingly the one defending the D party.

  27. Optimader

    Larry “Wrongway Corrigan” giving investment advice again!
    Isnt he the one that lost nearly $2B out of Harvards endowment fund?

    Gotta love the persistent nature of his pathology tho.
    He gets a knockout punch in the face and he just stands up again to pontificate more, like he didnt throughly discredit himself…the Black Knight Sundrome.. merely a flesh wound!

  28. Optimader

    Same brain way Otis
    For the younger crowd

    Douglas Corrigan (January 22, 1907 – December 9, 1995) was an American aviator born in Galveston, Texas. He was nicknamed “Wrong Way” in 1938. After a transcontinental flight from Long Beach, California, to New York City, he flew from Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York, to Ireland, though his flight plan was filed to return to Long Beach. He claimed his unauthorized flight was due to a navigational error, caused by hea…

      1. JohnnyGL

        HA! I knew you’d be on it!

        If they actually have elections, and they let him run….Lula wins in a landslide. I’m calling it.

        Sadly, my in laws aren’t angry enough about the corruption. They kind of throw their hands up and say, “well, they’re all crooks”.

        I say, “No way, vote for the guy that the entire political class HATES the most. That’s how Trump won!”

  29. fresno dan

    One unexamined narrative I keep hearing is: “OK, so neocon-neoliberalism was less than ideal, but Trump could be much worse.” Let’s start by asking: would Syrian civilians agree with this assessment? The basic idea in the “OK, so neocon-neoliberalism was less than ideal, but Trump could be much worse” narrative is that the modest problems created by neocon-neoliberalism will pale next to what Trump will do, implying jackbooted Waffen SS troops will soon be marching through America on Trump’s orders.

    Try telling that to the Iraqis, Libyans and Syrians who have been on the receiving end of neocon-neoliberalism policies. The reality is very unpleasant: for those targeted by America’s neocon-neoliberalism, nothing worse is imaginable, because the worst has already happened.
    The cold reality is America’s 25 years of neocon-neoliberalism has been great for the top 5% and an unmitigated disaster for everyone else in the U.S. and the nations it has targeted for intervention.
    Those defending the Democratic Party’s 16 years of neocon-neoliberalism (Clinton and Obama) and the Republican Party’s 8 years of neocon-neoliberalism (Bush) are defending a system that benefited the few at the expense of the many.

    Rather than admit the past 25 years have been catastrophic for the bottom 95%, the apologists speak darkly of fantastical visions of a Nazi America as a diversion to the grim truth that they have blindly supported an evil Empire that has stripmined the bottom 95% in America and laid waste to entire nations abroad.

    1. Waldenpond

      The denialism over Os term is bizarre. The D base is hoping for Trump to be even more horrible so they can justify their neoliberals.

      Trump is signing a stack of executive orders, so we’re about to find out what (it hasn’t been an issue of how bad for decades) bad it is going to get.

      Trump can continue the D policy of collapsing public education, continue the D arguments against single payer, D arguments for cutting social security, etc. and all he has to do to get reelected is just toss out a few (right to fire) jobs.

  30. Terry Humphrey

    This is the best I’ve seen for 2020…Nina Turner.

    2:00PM Water Cooler 1/19/2017 – 01/19/2017 – Lambert Strether

  31. Vatch

    Buffett Says He Supports Trump’s Cabinet Picks ‘Overwhelmingly’ Bloomberg

    Really? Medicare privatizer Tom Price, Serial Forecloser Steven Mnuchin, Poisoner Scott Pruitt, Clueless Plutocrat Betsy DeVos, and Court Jester Ben Carson? Warren Buffett needs to refresh his memory of the U.S. Constitution. From Article II, Section 2, Paragraph 2:

    he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law…

  32. kj1313

    Interesting tidbit here. David Brock hired David Sirota as CEO of his ShareBlue website.

    “True Blue Media, pitching itself as the left’s answer to Breitbart, has picked an investigative reporter critical of Republicans and Wall Street Democrats alike as its new CEO.

    David Sirota is leaving his role as senior investigations editor at the International Business Times to lead True Blue, which currently operates as ShareBlue and was part of a network of liberal outlets supporting Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign”

  33. David

    Re the other Presidential election, if you click on the link to the Le Monde story about Le Pen you’ll find that the clearest message from the poll is that the Socialist are, um, screwed. None of the candidates, not even boy wonder Macron, looks like they will get into the second round, whichever of them wins the primary. That round looks increasingly like Le Pen/Fillon, although when Bayrou eventually decides whether he’s going to run, he could substitute for one of them. As for Le Pen’s lead, it’s pretty much margin-of-error stuff, but she does appear to have regained some momentum. If things go on like this, the Socialists are going to get the kind of kicking the Democrats got in the US, and for much the same reasons.

      1. David

        Mélenchon is not the candidate of the PCF, but an independent vaguely Marxist politician. I can’t remember what his party is called this month. The Communists have, however, said that they’ll ask their members to vote for him. An official PCF candidate would be lucky to get more than 2-3%.

      2. Sputnik Sweetheart

        Melenchon represents the left-wing populist side of the French election, and unlike Macron or Hollande, is opposed to both the CETA and TTIP deals. He’s interested in transitioning away from nuclear power, investing in agriculture, and would also like to withdraw from NATO. If this year is a populist year, then it’s no surprise that people are interested in him. He presents himself as the anti-Fillon, and I would also argue that he’s a benevolent leftist foil to Marine LePen, because of his rejection of the conventional ideas pushed by centrist Macron (for example, he would like to reinforce the 35 hour work week and move to 32 hours, in contrast to Macron wanting to push back to the 39 hour week). Cooperation with Russia is also a part of his foreign policy.

        Wikipedia article for his campaign:

        A LeMonde article that outlines his opinions: (link in French)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      No sure where I saw it or when (was it yesterday) that Macron was the savior or something.

      Wait, just found it – FT: Macron’s Rise Electrifies the French Election Race, 2 days ago.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Recall that Obama’s first Inauguration attracted something like 1.8 million. And, if what my neighbors* were telling me was correct, the crowd was close to the million mark in 2013.

      *My neighbors attended the 2013 Inauguration.

  34. Gareth

    It is interesting, although not surprising, that the NYT article on Paul Manafort and others fails to mention that he was working in Ukraine for the Podesta Group. This is just one reason why the alleged investigation by the IC will go nowhere.

  35. rd

    Re: NATO obsolescence and Afghanistan

    Please read about Canada in Afghanistan:

    The US soldiers complaining about NATO troops probably never saw the Canadians because the Canadians were deployed on the frontlines in Kandahar and had the highest in-country casualty rate of any NATO force, including the US. The Canadians didn’t have a lot of forces in Afghanistan because they relied on other countries for logistics support (typically about 5-10 support people to support one fighting person). Instead, they were the pointy end of the spear in many areas of Kandahar. A total of 40,000 Canadian military personnel cycled through Afghanistan (Canada has 10% of the US population, so that would equate to 400,000 US soldiers).

    Canada was NOT in Iraq because they did not see the justification for that war in the first place. Canada turned out to be right on that one. One of the reasons that many of the NATO countries backed out of Afghanistan later is because the US blundered into Iraq and diverted a huge amount of resources and attention to it instead of Afghanistan. Afghanistan was probably “winnable” (whatever that means in that part of the world) in 2003 but Iraq squashed that opportunity in the same way that Germany invading Russia meant they lost all chance of defeating Britain in WW II.

    It is important for the US to recognize that the wars are generally not fought on US soil, but instead on their allies’ soil. Even now, the refugee crisis created by the destabilizing Iraq war that expanded in Syria is engulfing Europe with millions of refugees while the US whines about accepting 10,000 refugees. NATO is not simply an instrument of US foreign policy, and there will be fundamental disagreement on a number of issues.

  36. ChiGal in Carolina

    So far no healing the divisions. Facile populist and nationalist notes.

    Oops, now invoking the Bible to promote unity.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I never listened to Obama’s speeches and did not ever get over-excited.

      I haven’t watched Trump’s either, saved short clip over at Marketwatch, and won’t get overly depressed either.

      He did say, this moment is your moment. Reminding myself a speech is just a bunch of words, nevertheless, it contrasts, words vs words (and not contrasting words vs deeds), with Hillary’s ‘I am with Hillary.”

  37. cocomaan

    Trump wants to “unlock the mysteries of space”. He also talked about children looking to the stars.

    He’s made many statements about space travel during his campaign. I would like it to become a major issue.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I hope it’s not about developing Martian real estate.

      “The world’s first casino-resort staffed by little green men!!!”

      1. cocomaan

        You know it will. I’m particularly looking forward to the asteroids dragged into orbit to be mined for precious metals, but first etched with TRUMP, visible with the naked eye.

        1. alex morfesis

          We dont have the financially viable capacity to recover things just 300 feet below the waves to mine the seas…but somehow we are going to slingshot out of earths gravitational pull and mine rare earth from outer space…it is a bit easier I guess to spend boat loads of money and claim you failed in “outer space”…a bit harder to “audit” results beyond the stratosphere…

          We are “archers” in outer space…it is not buck rogers…

          1. craazyboy

            I’m hoping Trump means we’re going to find those female Space Alien hotties they had in ’50&60s TV shows. The ones that wear hotpants, skimpy anti-gravity tops, and 4 inch high heels. We should narrow the search to low gravity planets, obviously. That would cost less.

            Then get them to invade Pantsuit Nation.

  38. peter

    Meanwhile here in Brazil, supreme court justice Teori Zavascki dies in plane crase.
    This is John Grisham ‘Pelican Brief’ type stuff, except it’s not a novel, but reality. He presided over plea-bargaining with some industry figures behind the car-wash corruptions scandal (including Odebrecht) that have explosive stories to tell about the most powerful politicians, including the new president Michel Temer. The supreme court justice that will get to do this job now will be the justice to be appointed by president Michel Temer himself. This was the only threat still facing powerful politicians. Lots of celebration going on in the ‘bastidores’ of Brasilia, that’s for sure.

  39. ProNewerDeal

    Slightly surprised ConManDon actually took office. Thought that CrookedHillary might somehow rig it like she did to Bernie, perhaps by getting “faithless elector” EV voters. Or the MIC/Deep State might blackmail or “liquidate” ConManDon before today.

    I am fearful of ConManDon, although am hopefully perhaps ConManDon might actually pursue SOME good policies on trade or peaceful Russia/Syria relations.

    However I simultaneously bid a vigorous “good riddance” to 0bama & the 0bama Regime. I am exhausted from being nervous for literally years of reading the news fearful if 0bama finally would implement his beloved Grand “Bargain” Ripoff or TPP. Disgusted with 0bama & 0bamabots bragging about “14M new private sector jobs” when the 25-54 employment-population ratio 0bama PEAK was lower than the Bush43 pre-2008 GFC LOW, aka 0bama has Crapified the US job market to a new lower level. On these 3 issues alone, 0bama was probably EvenWorse that previous WorstEva Bush43, although Trump may also be EvenWorse than 0bama. Digusted with 0bama on many other issues, & a few positives like ACA Adult Medicaid Expansion or Iran peace deal or CAFE auto mileage standards are minimal on the scale in contrast with all the 0bama crimes or negative policies.

    I feel like celebrating the end of the 0bama Regime this weekend, but sadly don’t know any IRL friends who have the anti-0bama & anti-Trump view that I do. In lieu of an IRL party, I raise a proverbial brew or cookie with a “secret” “gr33n” ingredient to the like-minded NC community, have a great weekend!

        1. Waldenpond

          We wouldn’t want to upset the peaceful transfer of power through which the oligarchs enrich themselves by going all Boston tea party on them now would we.

    1. a different chris

      >I am fearful of ConManDon (but) I simultaneously bid a vigorous “good riddance” to 0bama & the 0bama Regime.

      Yeah me too.

      >0bama has Crapified the US job market to a new lower level. On these 3 issues alone, 0bama was probably EvenWorse that previous WorstEva Bush43, although Trump may also be EvenWorse than 0bama. Digusted with 0bama on many other issues, &

      Oh crap — if Trump=Obama=Bush=Clinton=… are we simply looking in the wrong place for the source of the problem? And if so, now what?

  40. DawnSorrow

    Was my comment marked as spam? I posted something earlier here about Zuckerberg’s latest shenanigans.

  41. Arizona Slim

    Here it is, 11:26 am Arizona time and what the heck is up with Brand New Congress? I was expecting to get a fundraising e-mail from them by now.

    Come, BNC, lift your game!

  42. Portia

    having limited options for radio, and no internet at home, I turned early this a.m. to NPR, and the BBC World Service, or America, or something, who blurted from their pieholes:
    1) there is a new demographic hanging around D.C. bars and restaurants this weekend;
    2) they can be recognized–they are not wearing ties, have some stubble, and women have their hair pulled back;
    3) this is evidence that “the Two Americas” will come to light during the Trump administrations.
    a middle eastern historian

    not to be outdone in lunacy, NPR correspondents in Florida interviewed a nice white family of Trump supporters, at length their 9-year-old son, who is a self-proclaimed Middle East historian and foreign policy wonk who believes that because Trump is “for change” everything will be all better now. how, he did not say. I am surprised they did not ask him if he saw a future for himself as one of Trump’s Brown Shirts.

    For the duration, my radio dial is on classic rock–thank the Goddess that comes in loud and clear.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I have my radio glued to one of Tucson’s community stations. It plays “Democracy Now!” at noon, which means that my musical respite will soon be coming to an end.

      Oh, well.

      1. Portia

        perhaps the owner of that station will soon come under pressure to remove that lefty faux news, and you will get Mike Savage or The Drudge Report.

  43. oho

    remove 5% of content and Trump’s speech could’ve come from a mirror universe, real populist Joe Biden.

    1. tongorad

      That was good for a Danny Thomas spit-take!
      Smokin’ Joe Biden, delivering the knockout punch to the middle class.

    2. Watt4Bob

      Stand them side-to-side, I swear I couldn’t tell for sure which, Biden or Trump is from the Bizzaro universe.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Did Queen Zenobia build that?

      I remember the town as being one of the terminuses of the ancient Silk Road (not sure about the new Silk Road going through there).

  44. Waldenpond

    Ds are not redeemable…. David Sirota now works for Brock. hahaha! Michael Tracey is at TYT… actually this one is not a surprise as Cenk is still a Republican (remember his whine about Sanders during the primary: if Ds took on Sanders policies, Cenk would go back to being a R) and Tracey is a libertarian who has been getting positive attention from the pepes and alt right, so it’s a good fit. I’m just noting further evidence that the Rs/libertarians/neo-libs are ascendant in the D party.

  45. Ernesto Lyon

    The beauty of vaccines for Pharma is that you don’t have to wait for people to get sick to move product.

    The beauty of stockpiling vaccines for Pharma is that you don’t even have to have a patient to move the product.

    Ever wonder why the fear machine gets cranked up so high on nothings like Zika and SARS?

    1. Waldenpond

      It isn’t but that made me smile. One of the conditions for me to ever consider voting for a D again was that they would first have to pass medicare for all.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      If Trump wants to cement Republican dominance for a generation, that’s exactly what he should do. I doubt he will.

      Still, stealing your enemy’s clothes while they’re frolicking nude in the swimming hole is a time-honored political past-time..

      1. aab

        I doubt he cares about the party, which has been fighting him and undermining him. I think he cares about his family and its dominance.

        I can see him doing Medicare for all, and getting it passed. It would be a GENIUS move: boxing the Democrats in (I mean, how can they NOT vote for it?) . He’d only need a handful of Republican votes in addition to the Democrats to get it through the Senate. The House would be harder, but with their elderly base and many of the rabble-rousers hating Ryan, I can see him swaying enough of them. He announces he’s doing it, and then starts doing rallies in districts he needs for the House vote.

        Then he’s free to sell off all our public lands and do all the other deal-making he wants. He’d be untouchable, get back at Obama and Clinton and go down in the history books, while making his kids even richer. Doesn’t that sound like him?

  46. Howard Beale IV

    Hmmm…SirtiusXM forced to turn stolen vehicle mode on due to a warrant.

    Right. I’m sure my XGT Sportscaster XM sattelite radio is ratting out my location.

    That TechDirt article is very sloppily-written; If SiriusXM provides a ‘stolen vehicle locate’ mode its part of a larger electronics telematics in the car’s radio.

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