Links 1/23/17

Readers, my commentary for Links is just a wee bit crankier than usual. Sorry. –lambert

Archaeology: Ancient cultures used food to domesticate wild animals Columbus Dispatch. Well worth a read, and best of all, not pulled off the wire, but original to the Dispatch.

US farmers have been caught feeding red Skittles to their cattle Science Alert

97% of Endangered Species Threatened by Two Common Pesticides EcoWatch (Furzy Mouse).

Everything Is Awesome! MishTalk (Furzy Mouse).

Global Uncertainty Gets Brushed Off in the U.S. and Europe WSJ

Angola Banks Appeal for Bailout as Oil Slump Cuts Liquidity Bloomberg


Brexit Bulletin: It’s Going to Be a Long Week Bloomberg

May’s vision of post-Brexit trade puzzles experts FT

UK PM May promises frank talk with Trump after women protest Reuters. “Prime Minister, you’re no Maggie Thatcher.”

As it happened: Underdog Hamon wins first round of France’s left-wing primary France24


Russia takes power-broking role as Syria peace talks begin in Astana Guardian

Syrian opposition will only discuss ceasefire at Kazakhstan talks, spokesman says Reuters

75 people killed in renewed fighting and drone strikes in Yemen International Business Times


Diplomat says China would assume world leadership if needed Reuters

China clamps down on banks moving currency overseas FT

From Statues to Doormats, Here’s What Annoys Asian Nations AP

Political Crisis Engulfs Samsung, a Firm Tied to South Korea’s Success NYT

CIA files: Despite keeping tabs, US was unaware of Indira Gandhi’s Emergency plans Hindustan Times. Working through the CIA’s CREST records.

Women’s March

After mass turnout, can protests turn into political impact? AP (MR). “Now, the question is whether that energy can be sustained and turned into political impact.” Whenever you read an agency-free sentence like this — in the lead, no less! — you can be sure the analysis is at best vacuous. Whose energy? Sustained by whom? And what the heck does “energy” even mean? And so forth. Although “energy” is a tip-off, to my suspicious mind, that a process of resource extraction will most definitely take place…

What Happens After the Women’s March Crowds Go Home? Roll Call. “Democratic members of Congress — and the groups that support them — are ready to harness that energy. ‘There is a sleeping giant that Donald Trump and his cronies have awakened,’ Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Saturday before the march.” Of course, the marchers have agency, and because the Democrat establishment wants to exploit them doesn’t mean that’s why they marched, or that those Democrats will succeed. But the dynamic is easy to see, and reinforced by the avalanche of treacle emitted by our famously free press.

Crowd Scientists Say Women’s March in Washington Had 3 Times More People Than Trump’s Inauguration NYT. “It is likely that the timing and location of the march — on a weekend, in a Democratic city in a Democratic region — helped drive the significant turnout.” No sh*t, Sherlock. Couldn’t the “crowd scientists” have factored in ease of transport? And income?

Bernie Sanders Full Speech At Women’s March 1/21/2017 YouTube (MR). I think Sanders needs to go on the offensive more and stop adopting Democrat framing, and in particular rights-based framing. Concrete, material, and universal benefits like Medicare for All, a Jobs Guarantee, and a Post Office Bank would do more for women, and in particular working class women, than any number of “principles.”

Canadians traveling to Women’s March denied US entry after sharing plans Guardian


Analysis: One new presidency gives rise to two divergent grass-roots movements Susan Page, USA Today. The headline is problematic, but I want to give a shout-out to USA Today. It’s reassuring to think that relatively sane coverage is being dropped in front of every hotel room door in America…

Trump Transition

Donald Trump meant everything he said Christopher Caldwell, FT. On Trump’s inaugural speech. Key paragraph:

If you pay attention to the speech, it sounds less like a rant and far more like a serious governing programme. One phrase — “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now”— has struck [some!] people as a reference to slum violence, and indeed that is what it would have meant had a president used it a generation ago.

But its position in the speech makes it likely that Mr Trump is alluding to the wave of overdoses, mostly involving heroin and other opioids, in suburbs and small towns. This is the deadliest US drug crisis ever. It is killing 50,000 Americans a year, more than guns or motor vehicles do. In the 1970s, Curtis Mayfield sang about drugs and crime in the ghetto. In the 1980s, two presidents waged a “war on drugs”.

Today’s overdoses are beneath the notice of either the government or the culture. Mr Trump ran a strong campaign in New Hampshire and West Virginia, the two hardest-hit states.

50,000 deaths is an AIDS-level epidemic. The contrast between liberal Democrat reaction to the AIDS crisis (gays as a protected class) and this crisis (working class heaved over the side) couldn’t be more clear. Clinton in Keene, NH August 2015: “I have to confess, I was surprised. I did not expect that I would hear about drug abuse and substance abuse and other such challenges, everywhere I went.” The Clinton campaign then emitted some bullet points, which promptly dropped from sight; I suppose they didn’t appeal to suburban professional Republican women. (And one more reason we need Medicare for All, if we frame “challenges”death from despair” as a medical issue.) Democratic norms….

Pope Francis says ‘wait and see’ on Trump Reuters. I guess he’s a Russian stooge….

Trump makes it official: He will renegotiate NAFTA USA Today

President Donald Trump Makes Revised Trade Deals an Early Priority WSJ

Republican Plan To Replace Obamacare Would Turn Medicaid Over To States NPR (Furzy Mouse). But do let’s focus on piss jokes, crowd size, and Tweets!

Trump’s ACA executive order heightens insurance market jitters Modern Health Care. Naturally, since developing insurance policies has a long runway.

Executive Order On Unwinding Obamacare Largely Symbolic Health Affairs. So the hysterical coverage was all wrong. That’s not to say Trump’s ultimate goals aren’t inimical. However, there’s a difference between setting your own hair on fire and screaming “The [insert demon figure here]s are coming!” and working out the enemy’s order of battle. Either the liberals with flaming hair don’t know this, or they’re gaslighting. I’m not sure which is worse.

So wait. The coverage of Trump’s first executive order was hysterical, too?

National Park Service faces new rules, new leadership amid growing pains Federal Radio. Voice of the worker bee… Nothing on drilling. I had to dig and do an advanced search to find even this, since the News Feeds were clogged with hysterical stories about a Twitter fight between NPS and Trump. See how that works?

Trump to oversee ‘fiscal bloodbath’ instead of prosperity, says Reagan OMB director CNBC. Like deficit spending is a bad thing….

Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil and the separation of oil and state FT

U.S. Eyes Michael Flynn’s Links to Russia WSJ. I hate to be foily, but after the JAR and dodgy dossier debacles, I’m beginning to question the quality of the intelligence community’s work product, especially when leaked anonymously.

Rocky First Weekend for Trump Troubles Even His Top Aides NYT. Contrast the lead to the links listed above.

City devastated by OxyContin use sues Purdue Pharma, claims drugmaker put profits over citizens Los Angeles Times (MR).

Worried about Facebook’s coziness with Trump? Watch what Alex Stamos does next Pando. Important.

Our Famously Free Press

White House vows to fight media ‘tooth and nail’ over Trump coverage Reuters. I figured the legitmacy crisis would come when Republicans impeached Clinton….

Clickbait culture and groupthink mentality have led to the collapse of journalism — and the rise of Donald Trump Salon

As Cold War turns to Information War, a new fake news police combats disinformation WaPo. Version 2.0…

Class Warfare

From Brexit to Trump Foreign Affairs. “When it seems that nothing at all can get through to the elites, pushing the emergency button becomes not only a legitimate but also possibly the only responsible thing to do.”

Behind Closed Doors At Davos: “Make Elites Great Again” Buzzfeed. Jamie Dimon’s little joke.

When mainstream economists jump the shark and lose it completely Bill Mitchell. Fun stuff, if prolix.

Antidote du jour (via):

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. Jim Haygood

    Cali’s deluge:

    The third and most powerful in a series of storms pounded Southern California, dropping nearly 4 inches of rain south of Los Angeles. Long Beach Airport received 3.87 inches of rain by 5 p.m., breaking the all-time daily record for rainfall. LAX got 2.78 inches of rain Sunday, another all-time daily record.

    Traffic was diverted off Interstate 110 south of downtown Los Angeles because of water flowing across lanes. The 710 Freeway was also closed because of flooding.

    Farthert north along the coast, big surf rolled ashore, with record 34-foot swells recorded Saturday in Monterey Bay. An historic WWI-era ship called the S.S. Palo Alto and docked near Santa Cruz was torn apart by massive waves Saturday.

    As they said when the ex-prez showed up in Palm Springs … “It’s California, and it’s raining.

    Thank you, Obama! ;-)

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Fun fact: The Palo Alto is a concrete ship, one of a series made during WWI when they were afraid of a steel shortage. Like many others, it ended up as a breakwater.

      I remember as a child being told the heroic story of a local illiterate handyman, Johnny Frank Mahon, who singlehandedly astonished salvage experts by raising a sunken concrete ship, the Creteboom, which was blocking the harbour of Killala Bay. But the story I heard was that the ‘ship was full of concrete’, not made of concrete. It seemed that the notion of a full sized ship made of concrete was a step too far even for an Irish pub storyteller.

        1. B1whois

          In college as a civil engineering student we competed with other colleges and building and racing concrete canoes. The secret is that they displace water therefore they float

          1. Anon

            Yes, it’s not a surprise that a concrete boat can float. Concrete has a density of
            ~120 lbs./cu.ft.; steel has a density of ~490 lbs./cu.ft.. So, it’s the shape of the hull (water displacement @ 64 lbs./cu.ft.) not the density of the construction material that allows sweet sailing.

    2. Jim Haygood

      From the ever-vigilant stenos of the NYT:

      White House Pushes ‘Alternative Facts.’ Here Are the Facts.

      The sky did not clear as soon as he began his inaugural address and pour once he left the stage.


      Even at this late date, the NYT insists that Obama is a rainmaker and Trump isn’t.

      Give it a rest, gents.

    3. Arizona Slim

      Quoting Jim Haygood: As they said when the ex-prez showed up in Palm Springs … “It’s California, and it’s raining.”

      To which I say: The Obamamometer strikes again!

  2. Jim Haygood

    Benoit Hamon’s platform includes a 32-hour work week. Same old monomaniacal nonsense as Mitterand back in 1981, with his 35-hour work week.

    In Mitterand’s case, the French franc sank like a rock to offset the loss of productivity. Today, with France lashed to the mast of the euro, no such exchange rate shock absorber is available.

    It’s delusional for the Socialists to think their platform of economic stagnation and decline will resonate with voters, especially after six years of Hollande. Hamon even wants to let foreigners vote, which ought to go over well. /sarc

    *pops a bagel in the toaster to make Hamon and eggs*

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Merci, Comrade Jim.

      I watched the France 2 coverage last night. Jeremy Corbyn featured briefly. Hamon was compared to Corbyn by Claire Fourest. The latter was then slated by Fourest for being pro-Iran(ian ayatollahs).

      On a more serious note, I reckon Hamon could do well, but probably not enough to get into the run off, by means of a f the establishment vote. His organisation / power base is in the urban areas that are disaffected.

      One may wonder about the 35 hour week, but France is more productive than the UK. There gap between rich and poor is not as great either, or does not seem as big.

      I live in the UK, but visit France many times a year on business and for pleasure. I went to university there and have ancestors from St Malo (Brittany) and Mercoeur (Limousin). Unfortunately, my ancestry goes to far back for a French passport post-Brexit.

      1. Jim Haygood

        I was living in the Aquitaine soon after Mitterand was elected.

        Didn’t take long before the disillusionment set in.

        One protester bore a sign reading, Je suis con, j’ai voté Mitterand. ;-)

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Jim.

          I am hoping to visit the area in September for a week and wondering whether to stay in /explore from Bordeaux or one the villages. Any thoughts? Comments from other readers are most welcome, too. Many thanks.

          1. Sputnik Sweetheart

            If you’re looking at places besides Bordeaux that are in the Aquitaine region, St. Emilion is a lovely little town, with Romanesque churches and some of the best wine in the region. Also if you want to go down further south, Biarritz has pristine beaches and a beautiful lighthouse. The sand forms into multi-coloured pebbles on the shore…

            In Bordeaux, I would recommend visiting the oldest part of the city: the Palais Gallien, which is the ruin of a Roman amphitheatre built during the 200s. It was marked as a preservation site during the French revolution and now exists in a quiet residential neighborhood, almost two thousand years later.

            1. David

              Roger those suggestions. St Emilion is really something, but if you are not very interested in wine, forget it.
              On Hamon, he was the “underdog” in the sense that Valls was expected to win and Montebourg was expected to do better. I suspect it’s just another case of that blasted electorate not voting the way they are supposed to. Hamon seems well placed to be the Socialist candidate (Montebourg has asked his supporters to vote for Hamon, which should theoretically put him over the top) but he won’t be the only candidate of the Left in the first round, and there’s thus a good chance that it will be Le Pen and Fillon in the second round.
              There are some policy differences between Hamon and Valls, especially in the economic area, where Valls is pretty much a full-on neoliberal, and Hamon is a timid centrist who wants to retain the 35 hour week, one of the few measures that actually benefits ordinary people and has survived the neoliberal onslaught. But given the disunity of the Left, these differences are probably academic.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            The whole area is beautiful as you know. Last September I stayed briefly in the little town of Rauzan, about 40km east of Bordeaux. Its a very pretty town with an impressive castle, the sort of place I like, touristy enough to have a campsite, but not too touristy (unlike St. Emilion to the north, which is breathtaking, but overwhelmed with daytrippers). If you like cycling there is a wonderful cycle route from Bordeaux out to that area on an old railway line – as far as the slightly down at heel bastide town of Sauveterre de Guyenne. Most of the Dordogne is a cycling paradise of course. I also stayed two days a little further north-east in the town of Brantome on the river Dronne – its a gorgeous village, if a little more touristy. It has a great Friday market and a family of ragondin living right in the town centre (which is disconcerting if you are having an outdoor lunch and what looks like a giant rat strolls past).

            To go a little north, the hill town of Angouleme is gorgeous and surprisingly untouristy considering how nice it is. I think its cartoon festival is sometime around September.

            September of course is when the schools are back, so the nice coastal towns at Arcachon and so on are quite peaceful and and pleasant if the weather is good.

            I don’t know Bordeaux all that well, but the little I’ve seen of it is very impressive.

              1. Jim Haygood

                French culture has probably changed. But in 1981, there was a plage de naturisme a short walk north from the main beach at Arcachon.

                There, in August, an ice cream vendor was selling frozen treats to nude lovelies. My buddy and I agreed, it had to be the best summer job on the planet. ;-)

                The fresh oysters are good too.

    2. fosforos

      M. Haygood claims that the 35-hour week led to the franc “falling like a rock” due to “loss of productivity.” This is monumental stupidity–not only was the fall in the franc due exclusively to capital flight (in English, “bankers ramp,” in French, “le mur d’argent”) but it is even a law of nature that productivity declines with fatigue so that declines in the length of working time *increase* average productivity (there is a chapter in Das Kapital called “the last hour” that M. Haygood ought to read sometime).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          There will always be a last hour at work.

          Unless, one works 24 hours a day, or doesn’t work at all.

    3. makedoanmend

      So by your logic, unsupported by any cause and effect data on the long term outcomes of a 35 hour week, the creation of millions of part time jobs (formerly full time jobs – split to increase employment figures) in the US and UK under the Capitalist inspired “Austerity” doctrine likewise decimated all productivity in these economies? hmmm….

      I work 2 part time jobs and study part time, if anything, my productivity has increased but has certainly not decreased – probably something to do with work ethic and liking my jobs.

      1. it is very hard to determine cause and effect without isolatation of the independent and dependent variables and based upon very simple scenarios – to do so about an entire economy (and an economy wired into the global economy in some intricate ways) just doesn’t cut the mustard.

      2. Delusion is in the eye of the beholder – not an external phenomena

      respectfully and best

    4. Kukulkan

      In Mitterand’s case, the French franc sank like a rock to offset the loss of productivity.

      It’s really weird. Over a century of increases in productivity, and yet people have to keep working ridiculously long hours for society to meet its basic needs.

      Where is all that extra productivity going to?

  3. craazyman

    Oh man it’s too early for painfully sidesplitting Hilarity.

    Prime Minister May has been emboldend by the Women’s March! No more kowtowing to President Trump.

    Should he “grab her hand and pump it”? Or should he just stare at her? Either one could get him into trouble. What if he tries to kiss her? Obama used to to that, I think he even kissed Hillary in front of Bill!

    “Trump Tries To Grab and Kiss May!” I can see the headlines. .. . . And the story

    London, UK, — Dissociated Press — January 34 — “Womens’ groups are up in arms at U.S. President Trump’s sexist assault on Britain’s Prime Minister Teresa May. In his first state visit as a U.S. president, Mr.Trump reached out for Ms. May’s hand, which White House aides described as an attempt at a “handshake” then sought to kiss her, on the cheek according to administration sources.

    Women’s groups said these assaults are totally unacceptable. “It’s groping and it’s a crime””, said (inster Dickensian name I can’t think of right now). “To come to the UK and assault a Prime Minister, just becaue she’s a woman, is totally outrageous. He should be arrested, tried and jailed.”

    Administration sources denined wrongdoing, “Shaking hands with foreeign leaders is a normal thing for any prsident to do”, siad (whover the spokes man is, gettiing the copy editors to fill it in), “A: kiss on the cheek is a polite social gesture.”

    Still, women’s groups would have none of Trump administration spin . . . (Gotta work! Hahahahahah)

    I would have expected better out of the Brits. Sad stuff really. The shark is being jumped everywhere.

      1. craazyman

        “Demena Bobbit!” That’s the name of the women’s group expert quoted in the story. Oh man. She’s president of the. “Women Aren’t Up for Grabs Coalition” [Unless it’s Happy Hour and They’re on the Prowl, of course]

    1. Jim Haygood

      Prime minister Paul Keating earned the name ‘The Lizard of Oz’ after putting his arm around the queen during her 1992 tour of Australia.

      HANDS ORF, COBBER! screamed the British tabloids.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Jim. You bring back memories of Keating.

        Clive and Integer may recall, too.

        You may remember Keating’s reply to questions in parliament. He referred to one parliamentarian as a “perfumed gigolo”.

        Would Americans be averse to president’s question time?

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Last year, Clive wrote about the “inner Daily Mail” of the Brits. This was in the context of Barry getting over friendly with the Queen. Clive joked that he / we won’t have it.

  4. semiconscious

    Analysis: One new presidency gives rise to two divergent grass-roots movements:

    “We’ve never had as many people who don’t trust the media, don’t trust the politicians, don’t trust economics, don’t trust business,” Republican political consultant Frank Luntz said on CBS’ Face the Nation. “I think we’re going to remember this weekend for a long time to come as not the end, not the campaign being over, but this is the beginning of the most tempestuous … awful conflict between left and right, between men and women, between young and old.”

    because that’s where ‘we’ want the ‘awful conflict’ to be, & that’s where the ‘awful conflict’ must ever remain. as opposed to, say, between ‘the haves & the have-nots’, or ‘the rich & the poor’…

  5. Colonel Smithers

    Treeza is not going to say anything to Trump. That stuff is for right on consumption at home. I have little doubt that when the time comes the May, Merkel, Bildt etc. will do what Uncle Sam says. It would be the same if Cameron, Hollande and Renzi were around.

    Speaking of the above, they were often calling for Assad’s departure. They have gone, but Assad has not.

  6. RenoDino

    Pope Francis says ‘wait and see’ on Trump Reuters.

    Really unintentionally funny report on BBC radio on this subject. The presenter kept demanding the reporter summarize the Pope’s statement to the effect that Trump was the new Hitler and the reporter started to gag and sputter trying to square that circle. The presenter wouldn’t relent as the clearly distressed reporter keep choking and stammering. Finally, the reporter, sounding like he knew his job was on the line, spit out that yes the Pope said progressivism (now code for self rule and statism) gave us the 1930s and Hitler, therefore Trump was probably the new Hitler unless he deviated from his present course. The presenter was clearly delighted the correct conclusion had been reached as the gasping reporter was cut off.

    While the Pope’s actual statement doesn’t go that far, he obviously wants to jump the gun given the Vatican’s horrible record on fighting fascism when it really had a chance.

  7. JohnL

    “City devastated by OxyContin use sues Purdue Pharma, claims drugmaker put profits over citizens”

    Everett, home of Boeing’s 747, 777, 787 production lines and a solid blue city, which like the rest of Western Washington went heavily for Sanders in the primary and somewhat less heavily for Clinton in the general.

    I have friends who are EMTs there. They’re at their wit’s end. The stuff comes over on the ferry and has ruined the lives of four families I know on our little island.

    1. paul Tioxon

      900 DEAD IN PHILADELPHIA FROM HEROIN OD for 2016 which is over 3 times the murder rate. Then, there are the surrounding counties. The state had over 3200 dead for 2016. It seems the police in the entire region carry as much Narcan for countering Heroin overdosing as they do weapons. With about 15% of the Philly PD carrying the antidote, that’s 900 personnel in the field available to administer. Programs continue to expand supply to police,fire and EMT personnel in and outside of the city. The police here have been doing this for almost 2 years now. And the news stories become more horrifying with each new disclosure.

      *Pennsylvania couple died of overdoses, baby starved to death

      December 25, 2016 at 3:58 PM, updated December 25, 2016 at 4:13 PM
      Two young parents died of apparent drug overdoses in a Pennsylvania home about a week ago.

      Left alone in her bassinet, the couple’s infant died three or four days later. Authorities said 5-month-old Summer Chambers died of dehydration and starvation, the Associated Press reported.

      *MCKEESPORT, Pa. — Two adults were found dead of suspected drug overdoses after their 7-year-old daughter told school officials in Pennsylvania she couldn’t wake them up.

      The Allegheny County medical examiner said the bodies of 26-year-old Christopher Dilly and 25-year-old Jessica Lally were found Monday night in their McKeesport apartment. A 9-month-old girl, 3-year-old boy and 5-year-old boy who were inside the home were taken to a hospital to be evaluated.

      1. Aumua

        Every minute of every day, addiction kills people. A relevant question is: why is there addiction? I think society doesn’t really want to look at that question too closely, because there are indications (Dr. Gabor Mate) that the answer might imply a fundamental change of how we live in modern civilization. Addiction is an inter-generational, societal condition, and denial is an interpersonal phenomenon as well. Poverty is a factor, oppression, and also consider that we are literally programmed (by advertisements) from a young age, through sophisticated psychological manipulation, to need something outside ourselves. An emptiness is implanted to make us consumers, for profit. Dr. Mate also talks about the compartmentalized, boxlike nature of modern life, and compares our lives to studies done on rats and how living that way affects the rats’ behavior around drug use.

        It’s not a simple answer as to why there is addiction, but for me, as a recovering heroin addict, the more immediate question has to be how, instead of why. How do I stay quit? How do I recover? I have to take personal responsibility for recovering, or it’s not likely to happen.

        You think Donald Trump is talking about addiction? maybe..

      2. Dave

        Why are these Big Pharma executives safe to walk the streets?

        I can just see it now:

        “Deathwish 7, Coming to a theater near you.”
        “Parents of dead Oxycontin users stalk and kill Pharma executives”

    2. Waking Up

      But wait…

      The Sackler family (Purdue Pharma) is the 19th richest family in the United States, worth $13 Billion primarily due to…..


      Greed and sociopathic behavior paid them well.

  8. amouise

    Molly Crabapple: The woman not only has a way with creating socially / politically relevant art, she also has a way with words. Here’s a taste.

    Trump is now our president, and no savior will stand between America and its mess. Best case scenario, the most powerful man in the world is a New York Berlusconi. At worst? Picture an elderly, vindictive trust fund brat, surrounded by kleptocrats, racists and pucker-faced spawnlings, his toy box stuffed with spy tools and death machines, the likes of which prior despots could never have imagined.

    It takes both skill and luck to bake a FailCake as bad as this, and you’ve got to do the prep work for years. Start with a racist celebrity liar. Soak him in media attention. Plunk him into the electoral college, a system engineered to empower slave states at the expense of densely populated cities, then subtract section four of the Voting Rights Act and add in a dash of discriminatory voter ID laws in crucial states.

    Next, bake upon the ashes of neoliberalism. Shred in Hillary Clinton, victim of misogyny and her husband’s scandals, who also represents everything cowardly, venal and bland about the old order. Smother the whole mess in resentment – some economic woe, some racism, some hatred of women, some deserved loathing for our political class. Sprinkle with “oh fuck it”.

    Remove on 8 November. Serve lukewarm.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      How clever. Hard to ignore the cooking metaphor. I guess it’s ok when a woman does it.

      But facts need to be faced. Donald Trump and his lengthy 2.5-day administration bear no political responsibility for america’s “mess.” That, shorthanded as lack of “experience,” is his sin. He has forced america to look in the mirror, the country does not like what it sees and they cannot blame him for it.

      And so, when the popular girl does not become prom queen, her BFFs attack with dumb junk like ” an elderly, vindictive trust fund brat, surrounded by kleptocrats, racists and pucker-faced spawnlings, his toy box stuffed with spy tools and death machines, the likes of which prior despots could never have imagined” and call it “socially and politically relevant.”

      I’d be more inclined to call it adolescent groupthink, but that implies there’s some actual thinking going on. As opposed to tantrum-throwing.

      1. craazyboy

        Certainly calls for another Urban Dictionary entry. Here we go:

        Washington Consensus:
        -noun- possibly verb when used in the context of fake news, revisionist history, policy making, and counter espionage.

        Example usage: The Washington Consensus can Washington Consensus that.

        Definition: Echo chamber of psychos and perverts.

        Similar words: Why bother. We know what they are.

        1. Jay M

          the village lies on the fainting couch clutching their pearls
          madonna creeps up to the rear entrance of the White House in her LV suicide vest
          she pulls the string and little flags pop out that say “boom”
          Lichtenstein rolls over in his grave
          Pulitzer prize goes to the picture of grimy madonna face with one tear rolling down her left cheek, glimmering

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        Crabapple’s description of Hillary Clinton as representing everything cowardly, venal and bland about the old order are: 1) true and 2) not the language of a BFF. Her contempt for Trump is based on his well-documented history and recent actions (he has picked a Cabinet and advisors from the ranks of his dependents, racists and plutocrats).

        I’m glad he is coming out fast and hard against the nation-destroying “trade” pacts pushed by Dem elites. I’m glad he is on course to shift our foreign policy to one that is designed to serve this nation’s interests. For a change. But, his domestic policies are authoritarian and based on his naked contempt for real regular Americans. He’s looking to make middle aged white men his Kulaks, and grant ole timey serfdom to the rest of us.

        So, can the Trump worship already. We were ill-served by the credentialed “liberal” elite and we continue to be ill-served by their paleo-conservative “opposite”.

        1. integer

          Crabapple’s description of Hillary Clinton as representing everything cowardly, venal and bland about the old order are: 1) true and 2) not the language of a BFF.

          I believe Crabapple was referring to Bill Clinton, with poor old Hillary being nothing but a victim of misogyny and having a scandal ridden husband who “represent[ed] everything cowardly, venal and bland about the old order”. Admittedly the sentence was slightly ambiguous, but that’s how I parsed it.

        2. ginnie nyc

          Who are these ‘real‘ regular Americans, pray tell. And what is your evidence that Trump has naked contempt for them?

          I confess, I find so many drawing ‘lines in the (ideological) sand’, so much name-calling, not helpful, not helpful at all.

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            “Who are these ‘real‘ regular Americans, pray tell”

            Just about any of us who are not white, not old, not well-to-do and not sucking up to him. The evidence of his naked contempt is scattered “liberally” through his campaign speeches. Likewise, his attitude towards damned near all females. It’s not the over-hyped “grab ’em by the pussy” that we should be angry about. It’s his “Man of the Year” complaints in Louisiana during his victory lap right after the election. And the pissy look on his face when he made them. The Donald still really, really likes the ‘old way’ of doing things. And that is more of an issue than whatever lies came out of his mouth a decade ago.

            However, he has his uses. The credentialed Dem-aristocracy needed to be broken. But, that is only one thing and it will soon be a done thing. We now have The Donald, and all his slavering acolytes panting to do unto us like minks……… before their chances slip away.

    2. Lynne

      I am so tired of the whining about voter ID laws. Consider: Congress passed the RealID Act in 2005 with the purpose of making it difficult to get ID. It was originally to take effect in 2008. In 2006, the Democrats gained control of both the Senate and the House. They did nothing to address the RealID Act. Because states did not want to comply, Homeland Security extended the requirements of complying with the Act twice: until 2011, and then until 2013. That gave Congress plenty of time to provide for a realistic way of getting ID, but they did not do so. A big chunk — if not all — of the emphasis on making it difficult to get ID came from the feds rather than state legislatures. The irony for me: the people I know who struggled the most to get a valid ID were hard-core Republicans.

      For that matter, given how much money the Clinton campaign burned and threw into the wind during the election, why didn’t they just spend some on registration drives helping people get good ID’s needed for voting?

      1. Dave

        Sure they did something.
        The Motor Voter Act.

        It allowed illegal immigrants, sans papeles, to get drivers licenses and to possibly be signed up to vote at the same time if the wrong box was checked.

        800,000+ illegals given drivers licenses in California.

  9. Pollypuppy

    Important to recognize that Medicaid is many programs. It IS our long term care system at present. 2-3rds costs are elderly and disabled. Children another 20ish percent. So while population wise it’s mostly health insurance for low income adults that’s not where costs are borne.

    1. Eclair

      What I really like about our current system of semi-universal health care, is the manner in which it slyly segregates the recipients, making it oh-so-easy to write off or denigrate entire populations, or to engage in righteous indignation about the way in which the programs are administered.

      Medicaid: the health care provider of last-resort for those who are young, mentally or physically disabled or just too poor to even think about purchasing health insurance (imagine a homeless or recently homeless, trans-woman who has been kicked around the system, or a young guy, physically strong, who suffers from epilepsy that results in unexpected seizures, even with medication.) Easy to write-off these people as ‘surplus population.

      Medicare: the health care provider that practically guarantees you a lingering, and very expensive, death, with all the prescription drugs and high-tech machinery that our civilization has invented. Plus, it’s those old people who are sucking up the resources generated by the young, productive population. Can’t die off too soon.

      Veterans Administration: the beloved VA, providing life-long care for our heroic military wounded, in mind and body. Except when they don’t and another scandal erupts over PTSD-afflicted boys committing suicide because the wait list was too long. Giving us the opportunity to feel good about clamoring for ‘better care’ and for the corporate crew to salivate over the possibilities of ‘privatization.’

      Then there’s the rest of the population: the ‘elite’ who are fortunate enough to have a job that provides a health insurance benefits, although every year the employee must pay a little bit more out of pocket. And, experience a little bit more of anxiety over being declared ‘surplus’ at age 55 or having your employers pack up and move to another country.

      I’m feeling grumpy, too.

      1. Tom

        Please don’t leave out the self-employed saps who have to pay 100% for their own health insurance. Especially those who earn just over the cut-off to qualify for subsidies, but who nonetheless help pay for everyone else’s subsidies.
        $500 a month for a crappy ACA Bronze plan with a $5,000 deductible was too much for me this year and I opted right out.

        1. Marco

          Holy Crap! That’s around what I paid for a platinum plan in 2014 with $0 deductible…later raised to $500 when they noticed I started “using” the product.

          1. Tom

            I’m glad that you have a much more reasonable plan, but I’m shocked when I see the wide range of experiences people have under the ACA. Not so much a system as a lottery.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I have been with Anthem Blue Cross for I don’t know how many decades, and when it got too expensive after Obamacare was passed, they put in a cheaper one. I don’t know what it’s called, ACA bronze or not, but yours is like mine, around $500/month, over $5,000 deductible, and since this year, an EPO plan, not PPO.

          1. Tom

            My old BCBS plan premiums started at about $350 in 1996 and had risen to $1,700 per month by 2009 — and I had no pre-existing conditions and was in excellent health the whole period. Markets!

          2. Eclair

            You should be honored to know that your monthly premiums, combined with the $5,000 deductible, contributed to Anthem CEO’s, Joseph Swedish, $13.6 Million compensation in 2015.

            I know that my spouse and I are grateful that his $600 per month premiums paid to Anthem BC/BS enables Swedish to maintain his gracious lifestyle.

            Now, I feel not only grumpy, but bitter.

      2. LT

        Everybody should share your grumpiness. Even the young are short-changed by the worship of youth ( largely for reasons that youth are malleable and to be exploited).
        Look at it this way: most of your adult life beginning officially at 18 or 21, if you are lucky enough to live past 60, will be lived after the age of 30.
        But the pressure is that you are expected to have it all worked out by 35 or you are considered less than.
        It’s BS. We have to reject ageism as a society and value experience.

  10. Carolinian

    Some of us share your grumpiness. It’s going to be a long four years if it’s going to be a constant pissing match over trivialities between Trump and the press. Trump needs to grow a thicker skin. The media need to stop being such gossip obsessed high schoolers. The weird thing is that our improbable new president is possibly the more serious. It may seem silly to hold out such a hope, but it’s also bit much to be given lectures on “facts” from a press corps that was more than eager to embrace George W. Bush and his “make our own reality” administration.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      Trump is a fighter. He hates the MSM, and why shouldn’t he? The MSM is going down anyway, with or without Trump, and he just wants to cut to the chase. More and more people daily get their news from other sources. He’s a fighter and he’s fighting a group of dimwitted people with an exaggerated sense of self importance. He is winning.

      1. Carolinian

        No, we need a press corps but one that does its job. Unfortunately the WaPo and NYT may see their post election circulation boosts as further encouragement to turn themselves into Huffpo. However if Trump ends up getting into some sort of long term battle with the press over his image then that means that he too isn’t serious. The complaining about the crowd size estimate was a mistake.

        1. oho

          >The complaining about the crowd size estimate was a mistake.

          I’ll disagree. No one except the Left and the ChatterClass are talking about crowdsize-gate.

          And Crowdsize-gate is sucking up all the media coverage oxygen re. Trump’s actual regulatory and tax policies.

          Whether by accident or design, Team Trump throw the media and the Left one great big shiny object of no consequence to entertain themselves with and feel smug about

          1. EndOfTheWorld

            Remains to be seen if the plans for the new press room take effect. Why is CNN royalty? The answer: there is nothing special about CNN at all. I myself can’t stand to watch CNN at all, even for a few seconds.

          2. Carolinian

            Seems like I saw a story saying even the Trump people think it was a mistake. Early days and transitions are rocky.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Perhaps it was a timely mistake that has distracted the media the visit to the CIA, and his new policies being put in place.

              1. HopeLB

                Exactly! Even c-span was beating this latest “non-news” topic. I think though, inaugural-attendence=Gate, along with their non-stop Women’s movement coverage, is being used to distract from the gauntlet Trumpy laid down in his inaugural speech. The only line repeated was the one with carnage (NPR) perhaps to drive home Trumps violent urges? Why do they ignore Trump’s bipartisan repudiation? Their playbook, as with the Russia “hacking” diversion, is to kill the messenger/hide the truth of the contents.
                I voted Stein, campaigned for Bernie but as Pope Francis says “Let’s see what he does first”.

                Here is Trump ;

                ” “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.”

                “What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens.”

                1. Jess

                  Trump may have uttered those words, and may actually believe them, but I guarantee you that was written by, or at the behest of, Steve Bannon. That’s his brand of old-fashioned populism showing.

                2. cnchal

                  That speech induced chair squirm in me, never mind the grand poobahs. That wasn’t speaking truth to power, it was speaking truth to those out of power, and those sitting behind and to the left of him.

      2. Tom

        The MSM disintegration reminds me of the cable and satellite giants getting routed (ha!) by cord cutters who are moving to Over The Air TV and streaming services instead.
        Once people realize there’s an end run, it’s all over but the screaming for the legacy institutions.

        1. Robert Hahl

          Nobody watches those TV’s in waiting rooms anymore, if they ever did. It’s all smart phone-based entertainment now.

      3. cyclist

        Trump doesn’t hate the MSM because they are wrong, but simply because he disagrees with them. If they really did their job, he would complain even more. So if he wins this war on the MSM, do you think he will suddenly be comfortable with whatever outlets then emerge? I think people who will try to ‘speak truth to power’ may be in for all sorts of pushback, either by law or goon squads.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The press, and also Hollywood.

      With the White House, Senate and House all Republican, I think we will see more movies about not trusting the government.

      “I am from the government. I am here to help,” says the public sector servant.

      Then, he (or she) turns into

      1. a vampire
      2. a body snatching alien
      3. an evil transformer robot
      4. Frankenstein
      5, Godzilla
      6. a Russian assassin
      7. a terrorist
      8. a groping real estate tycoon

      1. Buttinsky

        10. A handsome, well-spoken man with an endearing family, and the moral depravity of most sociopaths, who gleefully proceeds to drone kill your family and neighbors and foment war throughout your region while torturing whistle-blowers and force-feeding prisoners and consolidating the power of the economic elite who ravaged the world and securing the continuing hegemony of the national security/surveillance imperial state — all to the cheers of political progressives.

        No, wait. That’s the American hero of the movie.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          What we are not likely to see are movies about bad guys, like the North Koreans, attempting to take over the White House, putting the hero in the person of the commander-in-chief in danger.

          Olympus will not fall.

      2. Waldenpond

        You might see a bit for US only tv but Hollywood is seeking profits in foreign markets that do not allow criticizing the government and already alters it’s scripts to satisfy entry into those regimes.

        I can’t imagine how it could manage to swamp the message of first responder triumphalism and warmongering tv though…. it’s all lawyers (that break the law for the greater good of getting the bad guy) police/cia/fbi/sheriff (police state that breaks the law to get the bad guy), court dramas, hospital (violate pt rights) and the current scifi/warmongering spinoffs shield/arrow that normalize spying (it’s for your own good!) and never ending war.

        I am turning on the tv to take a peek… (I don’t have cable and it looks like a couple shows are out after the last storm) talk show (this is nothing but advertising), travel (for the rich and famous), animated children’s show (no actual human interaction), gimmicky cooking show (someone wealthy person bored spouse), soap opera, sean spicer (hahaha!), police show, police movie, judge, police movie, … and off again.

        oy, that was more police state propaganda/normalization than I expected.

    3. jgordon

      You may be missing the point. Trump being thin skinned is a brilliant tactic to distract people and the press from real issues. If he is stirring up trouble about crowd sizes then there must be something else going on that he doesn’t want people thinking about. And it worked.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Why, it’s almost as is the press is colluding with him! (Actually, I don’t think they are, but it looks that way because Trump is the world’s greatest clickbait machine, so “Look! Over there! serves both the press and Trump, although for different reasons.)

    4. clarky90

      I have a thin skin too, when I realize that I am being lied to constantly about “basic LIFE and DEATH information”. I knew that I was being “manipulated” by the Press. I was being “marketed to” by the Press. BUT, during the last few months, it dawned on me, that the MSM were “straight up lying” to me; About anything that they felt like (or were paid to) lie about.

      Trust is a fragile entity. I either Trust everything (within reason), or I Suspect everything. Trusting is an attribute of a happy,free, fair Democracy. Suspecting Everything is an attribute of a Police State. In North Korea, every big/small communication is suspect, and fear-full.

      I am not talking about opinions. We are a multitude of ages, genders, cultures, races, beliefs, diets….. Everyone has their own point of view.

      But, when someone tells you that they were there, and so and so “did this”, or said “that” and you find out latter, from a full video recording, that they falsified their report; for me, I stop TRUSTING.

      “Trust” is fundamental to our civilization. Imagine driving to school/work if you could not trust that other the drivers respect the speed limit; stop at red lights; stay on the correct side of the road; drive in a straight line; don’t randomly slam on their brakes…

      1. aletheia33

        this needs to be repeated more often IMO.

        it is hard to say how much trust, the glue of society, has been destroyed by the neoliberal juggernaut that is inexorably grinding up and spitting out everything that holds human beings together in a more or less functional society. but i am sure the loss is already far greater than most realize. i am not sure how many of the younger generation today even understand what’s been lost, because they’ve never experienced such a society.

        i fear it is too late for enough of this basic social good to be restored to reconstitute our society. i do not see how it can. if anyone has heard of read a convincing scenario of how that might occur, i would really like to know.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Greatest Show on Earth.

        The best movie of 2016.

        The biggest party on this block.

        Are they lies?

        Do these lies lead to bigger lies?

        Are they exaggerations?

        Do people exaggerate?

        Do people bluff?

        Is the world full of lies?

        “You look great today!”

        Is that a lie?

        “Don’t worry. Your wife will be OK. They have the best doctors.”

        Another lie?

        We are withdrawing from the TPP, as of today – that’s no a lie though.

      3. alex morfesis

        Imagine driving on the belt parkway with tovarishes slamming their breaks to get rear ended and reach for their necks…life in brooklyn…

    5. ChrisPacific

      It’s going to be a long four years regardless. Let’s hope it’s only four. Absent either a credible third party or the Democrats deciding to grow up and stand for something, I am concerned.

  11. RenoDino

    Note to Women’s March.

    While the numbers were impressive, this too shall pass unless they have a brilliant and charismatic leader like MLK and a very specific policy goal. Recent history tells us that protest numbers are no substitute for the actual power of the office. Occupy and the Iraq war protests drew similar numbers and were totally ignored. They either didn’t have a real leader or a clear focus or both.

    The only officials listening today are cynical Democrat operatives who want to co-op this movement for their own personal gain. Asking these operatives for protection is like asking the mafia for help.

    1. Portia

      Occupy was ignored??? not by the financial sector–they sent out their govt goons to quash it toot suite

      these protestors need to lean on their Sens and Reps early and often, and keep visible locally. no national party will be helpful to them

  12. cocomaan

    Democrats avoid mention of the opioid epidemic because their pharma handlers don’t want it mentioned. Just look at Cory Booker voting against Sanders’s bill on prescription drugs.

    Obama goes around saying that his greatest regret was not enacting gun control, when it should have been his horrific handling of the drug war.

  13. libarbarian

    I live in Western PA and I think the rural white drug addicts around here deserve to be treated exactly the same way they demanded the drug addicts in the inner cities of Baltimore and DC be treated 20 years ago.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Rural white addiction is a problem in the United Kingdom, too. I live in Buckinghamshire, the county just west of London. The addiction is split between the rural poor and the wives and / or children of wealthy husbands who often work abroad or stay in London for much of the week.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Yah, lib, does that make you feel better? kicking down or sideways has worked so well, hasn’t it? Think it is justice to make current humans who had no part in the declaration and maintenance of the “War on Drugs” get hit with the same top-down Hellfire that urban black and other people did and continue to do? Further impoverishing and destroying the communities of White Poor People who are among the same CLASS as the rest of the what, 75% of us who are under the heels of the 0.01% and their 10% enablers and whip hands is going to do what, again? That will really teach those Bernays-afflicted mopes, with their history and prospects, a real lesson, won’t it? And for sure will stop the problems and defects that lead to desperation drug use, fostered by people who are “just serving a market”?

      Time to declare yet another “War On [. ]…”?

      That is really addressing the problem, now, isn’t it? Luntz and Newt and Brock and the dead cross dresser Hoover thank you very much.

      1. KurtisMayfield

        I take libs comment as a snarky criticism of the drug war more than an argument to kick down.

        1. Katharine

          I think you’re both missing the point. Twenty years ago (and much less, if it comes to that), those rural and small-town people were saying things like “Lock ’em up and throw away the key!” with respect to black drug addicts in the cities: addiction was all about criminality. They only “discovered” that addiction was a disease when it spread among their own communities. This terrible epidemic we keep hearing about now has been around for a long time, but it wasn’t treated as one when the primary victims were black.

          What was wrong was not merely that the drug war was stupidly destructive but also that it was extremely racist. I think that justifies some heavy sarcasm, and I doubt that more was intended in the original comment.

            1. VietnamVet

              Opioid deaths are not new nor an infectious epidemic but are increasing in number and spreading across America. It is the direct result of Neoliberal rule. It is one of the amoral money-making schemes that are extremely profitable for a connected few. If the carnage becomes too evident, the victims are blamed. The cure is jobs, a purpose in life, and Medicare for All; ending the reign of despair.

          1. Tigerlily

            It’s possible the OP is new to the Internet and doesn’t appreciate how written communication unaccompanied by body language and intonation is easily misinterpreted.

            If sarcasm was intended a visual clue to that effect would be appropriate and appreciated, failing that they hardly have grounds for surprise when others take their comments at face value.

            Also the idea that addiction is a recent phenomenon in rural America is a fallacy. Troubadour James McMurtry chronicled this phenomenon in Choctaw Bingo, “a song about the north Texas-southern Oklahoma crystal methamphetamine industry”, way back in 2002.

            Speaking of McMurtry his incomparable We Can’t Make It Here is worth a dozen books on the tribulations of the Deplorables.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        If you think lib’s comment is bad, take a look at the link to bill maher’s first “new rules” of the season from the land of clinton’s “popular” vote margin.

        The linker below, a Mrs Smith, refers to the “carnage” of 50,000 deaths in quotes, and calls maher’s commentary “right on the mark.” More like twisted and demented.

        The shots of the panel, one heather mcghee, president and expert at the liberal think tank demos, and distinguished liberal pundit keith olbermann enjoying maher’s “comedy” speak for themselves.

        Here it is in all its glory. Have a barf bag ready.

        1. Steve H.

          Tried to watch it. Nope.

          Searched “bill maher hiv humor” and all I got was this: “goat milk cures HIV”.

        2. EGrise

          Bill Maher: Christ, what an a**hole.

          Unbelievable. I never much cared for Maher, but after watching that (actually, two-thirds was all I could stomach) I actively dislike the man.

          Screw empathy, concern for your fellow American or for our society as a whole, just score some cheap laughs. Has it ever occurred to Maher and his writers that people take marijuana and Oxycontin for very different reasons? Apparently not. Disgusting.

    3. Jim Haygood

      Yeah … the criminal model for combating drug addiction is working so well.

      All it needs is a little dash of racial resentment to reach its full potential. /sarc

      Somehow one doubts that rural white drug addicts have any more influence on policy than urban black drug addicts in Baltimore and DC. Policy acts on them, not the other way round.

      1. craazyboy

        Easily corrected however. I’d classify this as “Redneck Hate Speech”. Then we can get 2 new inmates in the private sector prison for profit, paid for by your tax dollars, system. The circle is closed and all is then well.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      Historically Republicans tend to be college educated and yuppies, isn’t it telling you want to blame poor people instead of Republicans?

      There has been some recent shifts with the extreme rightward slant of the Dems, but yeah, the people who were calling for the brutalization of blacks were the likes of Hillary Clinton. Did the “super predator” remarks go over your head?

      Your jack boots are showing.

      1. TheBellTolling

        The “War on Drugs” had majority support from both parties and they were backed up by voters. You’re all responsible.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Is “You’re all responsible” a denial of responsibility by the poster? Spread the ‘responsibility’ yellow paint wide, it hides the locus of the badness. Bill Clinton had a lot to do with it, and ‘Just say No,’ right? People seek pleasure, avoid pain (except for masochists), and oblivion, failing neither…

            I wonder how “we,” whoever that estimable “we” is, can ever get to the point of agreement on an organizing principle that is rooted in decency and comity and leads to a whole lot less destruction and pain for a whole lot more of us.

            “You may say I’m a dreamer
            But I’m not the only one
            I hope some day you’ll join us
            And the world will be as one…”

            Seems that notion will only get you shot in the guts by some fokking Human looking for virtual immortality…

    5. Yves Smith

      As Bill and Hillary Clinton tell the story, it was the black community that asked for the crackdown on crack cocaine. And since it was a Democratic, and not Republican, program, I fail to see how it can be blamed on a group that the Democrats had decided as of the late 1960s to abandon.

      Nice try.

      1. libarbarian

        The “Drug War” didn’t start with the Clintons, although they did their part in ramping it up. However, I don’t think that the political party of the President has much to do with my point – which was best captured by Katherine:

        “Twenty years ago (and much less, if it comes to that), those rural and small-town people were saying things like “Lock ’em up and throw away the key!” with respect to black drug addicts in the cities”.

        It isn’t in the past either. I STILL hear this crap all the time. It hasn’t changed. They want the drug problem to be treated as a health issue in their own communities, but they still want cops kicking doors and breaking heads when it comes to the cities. “We” are basically good people who are caught up in forces outside our control. “They” are criminals. “We” deserve our government largess. “They” are moochers and parasites who are cheating the system.

        And, frankly, this isn’t about CLASS at all .. because the same attitude is expressed by people who are poor through to comfortably middle class (yeah, I don’t know many 0.01%ers who live here). In my experience, the effect of class is dwarfed by the effect of travel and exposure to other places and people. The people who have lived here their whole lives are much more likely to just be plain ignorant and prejudiced regardless of how much money they make now.

        Frankly, I’m sick of it. Ironically, I had more sympathy when I lived in DC because they were an abstraction. Being exposed face to face to the rank hypocrisy has made me less sympathetic and more annoyed with their complete lack of self-awareness.

        So, yeah, I have conflicting moral feelings on this one. On one hand, I do believe in treating addiction as a health issue. On the other, I believe in treating people according to how they treat others. These two things conflict here, because the people who want this treated as a health issue now, in their own neighborhoods, not only failed to do that for others in the past but (to my observations) have no intention of doing it now or in the future either. And I feel there is something deeply immoral about treating addiction as a health issue for some people and as a crime issue for others.

  14. Colonel Smithers

    A bit off topic. I just wanted to say thank you to Lambert and readers for the recent thread on gardening. I was thinking about that over the week-end, when driving around north Oxfordshire and mid-Buckinghamshire and noticing what in the tropics / Creole we call boites allumettes (small houses with little or no garden), and this morning, for the first time in twenty years of commuting, not being able to get a seat an hour from a London terminal. Such is the scale of migration from London to the Home Counties (dormitory towns) and resultant overcrowding on trains. Having spent the festive season in the tropics, where I farm a dozen acres, I wondered about the sanity of coming back to the City and work that I no longer care for.

  15. cocomaan

    The National Parks Service article shows how embattled public lands are right now. We have a unique system in America that is arguably the best in the world. Yet the maintenance backlog is horrific. What the hell were they doing for the past eight years?

    And then this line:

    During a 45-day review period, the Park Service received more than 350 public comments were received regarding the rule change. The rule change underwent some adjustments before being finalized. One big revision keeps corporate logos from appearing in national parks — instead, they’ll receive “credit lines” on NPS signage.

    350 comments? That’s it? I wonder if NC should start getting involved with making public comments on legislation.

    1. Carolinian

      Doubtless most people knew nothing about the change. The assault on the NPS and public lands goes back to Reagan times. At least the new NPS director sounds a lot more in tune with the parks than James Watt.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Speaking of beaurcratic forms, might I suggest a read of two books by CS Lewis — “The Screwtape Letters,” that reveal Hell as a huge bureaucracy running on neoliberal principles (“Eat what you pervert, and the goal is to pervert it all”), and also a really horrible story, “That Hideous Strength,” the third in the “Perelandra” scifi trilogy (not sure scifi is the most apropos category).

          I worked at the US EPA when Reaganauts activated their grand Heritage Foundation-drafted master plant the day after RR’s inauguration (with a lot of obvious, intense advance work, sort of like the Blitzkrieg). Watt gave those of us with any kind of affection for the lootable biosphere some really horrible nightmares-turned-real…)

  16. KurtisMayfield

    Re:Protests being grass roots

    Is this really grass roots? With all the virtue signaling and no one offering an actual plan for achieving the “movement’s” goals this feels like a liberal tea party movement.

    1. RUKidding

      Unfortunately, yes. I was going to attend the one in my town but woke up ill on Saturday morning. I wasn’t all that disappointed not to attend as I truly didn’t know what I was supposed to be marching for or against. I heard some organizers in other cities interviewed on the NPR, and it didn’t seem like they knew why they were marching. They just WERE and it was GREAT.

      There was blather about women’s rights, and there was talk about civil rights, and then it was just argle bargle.

      Unless this energy is harnessed into a more specific program/policy direction, I feel it ends up being a rather empty meaningless gesture. If these people expect the Democratic Party to “lead” them anywhere, woe betide us all.

      The Tea Party was astroturfed by the billionaire “libertarian” Koch Brothers, and they actually accomplished the act of getting people elected to “represent” them. It has been wildly successful… for the Koch Brothers. IMO, not so successful for the Tea Party rank and file, albeit I’m sure they’d argue with me about that.

      1. KurtisMayfield

        That is my feeling as well. The fact that these protests were organized on Facebook already speaks volumes on who the protests are interested in drawing in. Well off, white, women. This is not the crowd that has felt anything from globalization and will not feel one thing change if Roe v Wade is tossed back to the states, or if planned Parenthood is cut, or if LGBT rights are curtailed.

        1. Portia

          I know several women who went to the march in D.C. they are white but not anywhere close to
          well-off. anyone in fear of what the protests’ consequences will mean to them will be interpreting them in a manner that is non-threatening, including media like NPR, and people who are allowed to speak in the media. you are dead wrong about the demographic.

        2. Katharine

          They weren’t necessarily all organized on Facebook, and they weren’t all organized in the same spirit. Why not look at more sources before assuming you know everything about them? I mention only two I found, but you could look for others if you wanted information.

          Article published before the event; organizing by an 84-year-old who said explicity they were not anti-Trump but for action on specific issues; expected turnout 100, but if it’s the one I saw mentioned in the Guardian they had 600.

          This also includes mention of Baltimore’s 5,000 and the reason there were so many:

          Those who went to Baltimore’s Penn Station hoping to catch a 7:30 a.m. train found themselves waiting in epic lines stretching up Charles Street and then curving back down St. Paul Street.

          On Facebook, one woman described to friends why she gave up:

          “Line is 15 [people] across and circles the train station twice. Waited for one hour and did not move forward at all. Walked home. Ugh. Plan B: Baltimore march at noon.”

          (Lambert, I don’t know where you got that ease of transport idea. This sounds like pure hell, and even those who got as far as DC suburbs still had trouble, as the article notes.)

        3. RUKidding

          That’s painting with a very broad brush, indeed. Although I think felt the impetus for the March was a bit blurry, I certainly didn’t see it as only white wealthy or middle class white women participating. My freinds/acquaintances are from varied backgrounds and ethnicities and most are far from wealthy or even financially stable. They also range in age. I also know a number of men who marched.

          Although my older female friends don’t have to worry about whether they can obtain a legal safe abortion anymore (should they want one), they have daughters, cousins, nieces, friends, etc, who WILL face hard decisions if Roe is overturned.

          So I think it’s rather specious to paint the March that way. A lot of men attended, as well, because they have concerns about these rights being overturned. That’s also why I did hear many who marched as characterizing it as a march for human rights. In that sense, that’s true.

            1. JTMcPhee

              …and their daughter might be named Medea or Clytemnestra or Lucretia… Who have fathers,and many desire a partner, (who may give them a zygote…)

      2. Anne

        I can’t tell you how heartening it is to hear women’s rights described as “blather;” but given that you apparently didn’t have a clue what it was you were supposed to be marching for, I guess this isn’t surprising.

        It occurs to me that the best way for any nascent movement to be co-opted is for those participating to have to be told why they are doing it.

        Those who attended the march did so for their own reasons – some marched because they remembered the pre-Roe v. Wade years and wanted to make sure their daughters and granddaughters didn’t lose these hard-fought rights, some marched just to be visible, to show the world they were not going to go quietly, were not going to roll over and wait for our tummies to be scratched.

        To my knowledge, this was not about the Democratic Party, nor was it about looking for a Democrat to lead them. If you’re interested, the Women’s March website is doing a 10 Actions/100 days initiative. You can find it here.

        From the page:

        On January 21, over 5 Million of us worldwide and over 1 Million in Washington, D.C., came to march, speak and make our voices heard. But it doesn’t end here – now is not the time to hang up our marching shoes – it’s time to get our friends, family and community together and make history.

        Every 10 days we will take action on an issue we all care about, starting today.


        Write a postcard to your Senators about what matters most to you – and how you’re going to continue to fight for it in the days, weeks and months ahead. We’re offering printable postcards for you to download.

        You can go it alone, or consider inviting some friends, neighbors and fellow Marchers over for a drink or dinner sometime in the next ten days to talk about your experience and fill out your postcards.

        Sound too simple? Not “active” enough? Not focused enough?

        Well, it has to start somewhere, and there are a lot of people who have never stepped out of their comfort zone, never taken any action, so this is not a scary thing to do.

        It won’t be enough for some people – there’s a lot of purity testing swirling about, and I’ve yet to determine if there is anyone or anything that will ever be good enough.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Hi Anne.
          I don’t think anyone’s worried about “purity testing” and I fail to see how divisiveness based on gender advances much of anything. If the ultimate goal was “at least get people off the couch” then with that extremely low bar I suppose it was a “success”.
          This placard being displayed yesterday seems to describe the demands of the crowd. Everything, and nothing, whatever I feel like:

    2. Waldenpond

      It was astroturf. I linked to the spreadsheet of those involved and the NYT. I don’t think anyone opened them up. The money goes out to organizations/msm to get the word out, more to mid-level to get the word out (Clintonite campaign workers, Clintonite media, blogs, twitters), picked up by local political groups (who surely don’t expect future financial support) and pacs who send out an e-mail…. and badda-bing ‘grass roots volunteers’ (unpaid labor) organize (have a test run of tribalism) turnout. Useful for the analysts to see who/how many they can get to show up.

      If I was May, or any other elite, I would be inspired by what just happened also…. getting a coal mine owning/oil interests billionaire to funnel that wealth through elite foundations, elite pacs, elite media and get people to gather based on individualism.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      A Mars spokesperson then came out and confirmed that the red sludge on the road really was a bunch of Skittles that didn’t make the grade for human consumption – hence the lack of “S” the Sheriff observed.

      I’d be interested to know what separates the skittles that aren’t fit for “human consumption” from the ones that are.

      I suppose it’s a good thing that feeding cows skittles is cheaper than feeding them corn resulting in cheaper food for humans, but I’d expect that to be temporary. I hear those cow dentists charge an arm and a leg to fill those cow cavities.

      1. Portia

        it was probably cosmetic defects on the Skittles. anyway, no worries!

        Turns out, discarded candy isn’t only cheaper than corn during times of drought – farmers claim it’s just as nutritious.

        “(It) is a very good way for producers to reduce feed cost, and to provide less expensive food for consumers,” Ki Fanning, a livestock nutritionist (!!!) with Great Plains Livestock Consulting, told CNNMoney at the time.

        1. a different chris

          Yes because what this obese nation needs is less expensive “food” — less expensive quality food, maybe. But I don’t think that’s what you get when you feed Skittles to cattle.

          1. Portia

            I wonder how much of that “cost savings” actually is passed on to consumers. methinks it pads the profit margin instead. really, business is looking out for the consumer? LOL

        2. flora

          origination of the term “watered stock” per Wikipedia:

          ‘ “Stock watering” was originally a method used to increase the weight of livestock before sale. It entailed tricking cattle to bloat itself with water before it was weighed during a sale transaction. Its introduction to the New York financial district is popularly credited to Daniel Drew, a cattle driver turned financier.[3]’

          New term could be “sugared stock”. ;)

          1. JTMcPhee

            Skittles label ingredients (is corn syrup the same as corn, under federal regulations, so the feedlots can claim the cattle are “corn fed?”)

            Skittles are a popular candy manufactured by Mars, Inc. Originally from the UK, the brand was brought here in the late seventies, and has nevcr looked back. The “taste the rainbow” theme has been used extensively in the brand’s marketing campaign. So what’s inside the rainbow?

            What you need to know:

            Here is Skittle’s ingredient list (which, by the way, does NOT appear on the Skittles website):

            Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Apple Juice from Concentrate, Less than 2% Citric Acid, Dextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Coloring (Includes Yellow 6 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 5, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1 Lake, Blue 1), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).

            Not surprising, the first two ingredients are sugar and corn syrup (a type of sweetener).

            The hydrogenated palm kernel oil is a glue to hold all that sugar together, as does the modified corn starch.

            Dextrin (E1400) is a white or yellow powder produced from starch. It is used coatings and glazes, and may cause an allergic reaction.

            The natural and artificial flavors are trade secrets, and NO YOU CAN’T find out what they are. But these are what give each of the skittles its lime, grape, berry, etc… flavors.

            Our “favorite” part of the ingredient list is the rainbow of artificial food colorings, including no less than 9 colorants. Other countries are phasing out these colors, but America just loves children with blue and green tongues, so the FDA maintains the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status of these chemicals. For example, Red 40 is suspected of causing hyperactivity in children.

            Don’t expect any nutritional value in Skittles. A single serving 2 oz pack contains 250 calories and a whopping 47 grams of sugar (that’s 12 teaspoons of sugar in a personal bag). Surprisingly, vitamin C content is 50% of the daily value, but that’s because Ascorbic acid has been added to the product. The palm kernel oil contributes 2.5 grams of saturated fat to the mix (that’s 13% of the daily value, from a candy!)

            “We don’t know nuthin’ about nuthin…”

            1. bob

              Yeah, it’s not that hard to believe that sugar got eaten.

              There was a post here a while ago about double counting. This is one of those cases. Where do people think that stuff goes?

              “but molasses is more healthy” And a byproduct of sugar cane refining(healthy), instead of corn sugar refining(unhealthy). Yin and Yang.

              I’d bet the cows would have to share a skittle, in reality. They probably wouldn’t end up with a human sized “serving”. They would have been mixed in with other feed, to up the calorie count.

              Let’s not forget that not too long ago in the UK it was very common for beef farmers to feed beef to beef.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      How was Bill’ latest anti-muslim rant? I suspect Brock has given out the marching orders.

    2. integer

      “So let’s stop calling Trump voters idiots and fools and call them what they are: fucking drug addicts.” (laughter)
      – Bill Maher

      You consider this to be right on the mark? Personally, I found the linked segment to be in poor taste. I note he also managed to insert the Russia bs into his excessively smug rant.

        1. integer

          Looking at my comment again I’m not sure why I initially phrased my distaste in so mildly. I should have stated that I found Maher’s little display to be despicable. Maher is nothing but a court jester, simultaneously seeking the approval of his morally bankrupt masters and their self-satisfied subjects.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      What in gawd’s name do you find “on the mark” about this?

      50,000 deaths is an AIDS-level epidemic.


    4. Annotherone

      Bill Maher has not been “on the mark” about anything much for the last few years – and especially not in his attitude in this clip. Some serious topics can be made funny – this one (drug abuse) can’t! I’m disgusted by his audience in this clip also. I see Keith Olbermann was on his panel, laughing it up too.

      Once upon a time, back in 2004 when I first arrived in the USA Maher and Olbermann seemed like lifelines to me, I was a fan of them both. I’ve learned a lot since then and now see them, and despise them, for what they are -or have become.

    1. B1whois

      It took me quite a while to realize I wasn’t looking at a photo of a hippopotamus face coming out of the water

  17. Jim Haygood

    Bears on the prowl — from Marketwatch:

    The total value of U.S. stocks was pegged at 169% of gross domestic product at the end of 2016, compared with 85% when 2008 came to a close and 177% at the bubbly finish of 1999.

    Pricy [sic], yes.

    Naturally, the good Dr Hussman is just beside himself with the unruly bull market’s defiance:

    Last week, an unusual set of classifiers that we monitor raised red flags, with two of our three “crash signatures” now suggesting the likelihood of a market loss in excess of -25% in the months ahead (the last time these signatures were active was in Apr-Oct 2008).

    They capture unusual combinations of market conditions that may include offensive valuations, dispersion across market internals, credit market weakness, lopsided bullish sentiment, Federal Reserve tightening, or other features.

    While these signatures are quantitative, my impression is that there is far more potential for economic and social disruption than appears to be reflected in the current speculative pitch.

    Even the mild-mannered Dr Robert Shiller — with a sterling record of having nailed the Y2K Bubble I peak — is warning in The Guardian that “In the US, the combination of Trump and a succession of new asset-price records – call it Trump-squared – has been sustaining the illusion underpinning current market optimism.

    Illusion? Oh, my. All I know is that the speculative party doesn’t usually end when everybody’s complaining that the house isn’t rocking, the champagne’s not iced, and all the distaff guests in their little black dresses (lace, cutout, strappy) are wallflowers.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Why should the “party” end? There’s a new gambler in town who can print “unlimited” chips, never needs to mark to market, and never gets a margin call. In the next crisis he/she can take his/her balance sheet from the current $4.5 *trillion* to $10 or $20 *trillion* or more. Party on!

      1. JTMcPhee

        …and Obama, we read from the links, seriously considered minting the Platinum Coin…

        “And the beat goes on,
        The beat goes o-on,
        Drums keep poundin’ a rhythm to the bra-ain…”

  18. TheBellTolling

    “The contrast between liberal Democrat reaction to the AIDS crisis (gays as a protected class)”

    Oh give me a fucking break. Dems did nothing during that crisis except pay lip service as they usually do.

    1. Yves Smith

      Yes, this is a bit ahistorical. But the gays threatened to withhold votes and $ from the Dems, and it appears the Dems woke up and realized they were a significant factor.

  19. flora

    several comments in no particular order:
    Trump wants to renegotiate NAFTA: that statement is about keeping a campaign pledge to his voters, unlike O who said he would, then upon his election said it was off the table.
    Trump withdrawing the US from TPP: that’s good news and keeps another campaign pledge. (Does this mean TPP has finally been killed with fire?)

    Trump apparently doesn’t want to ramp up another cold war. That’s good news. China offering to “step in to world leadership” made me laugh. Sounds like China is trying to goad the new admin into ramping up the cold war again – to China’ benefit? Funny.

    In the past few days I still see press stories about the currency debacle in India. I haven’t seen any more “US cash is icky” stories. Has the US anti-cash crowd gone into regroup mode? One can only hope.

  20. Vatch

    Behind Closed Doors At Davos: “Make Elites Great Again” Buzzfeed. Jamie Dimon’s little joke.

    Without a little more context than the article provides, I’m not sure how to interpret that. I won’t let a lack of information stop me, though! :-)

    This implies that Dimon is acknowledging that there is nothing great about the people who have more money and power than the rest of us. Elites just have more money and/or power — that’s it. There’s nothing great about them, period. He wishes that were not the case, but it is.

    1. Portia

      in Jamie’s mind, it takes skill and brains to pull off the kind of quasi-legal and illegal theft that makes an Elite an Elite. Why is that no longer admired? why doesn’t everyone aspire to corporate-raiderdom any more?

      1. MartinEvans

        Am I the only one who thought this was clever and funny ? The perfect sardonic humor for the times, especially given the context.

        I assumed its target was all of us, elite and populists alike.

    2. ChrisPacific

      The Davos Authentic Refugee Experience put me in mind of ‘Common People’ by William Shatner (cover of an original by Pulp)

      Rent a flat above a shop.
      Cut your hair and get a job.
      Smoke some fags and play some pool.
      Pretend you never went to school.

      But still, you’ll never get it right.
      When you’re lying in bed at night
      Watching roaches climb the wall,
      If you called your Dad he could stop it all.

  21. fresno dan

    The Left is not just in disarray–it is in complete collapse because the working class has awakened to the Left’s betrayal and abandonment of the working class in favor of building personal wealth and power.
    The source of the angry angst rippling through the Democratic Party’s progressive camp is not President Trump–it’s the complete collapse of the Left globally. To understand this collapse, we turn (once again) to Marx’s profound understanding of the state and capitalism.

    Broadly speaking, the Left favored labor (whose rights were protected by the state) and the Right favored capital (also protected by the state).
    But over the past 25 years of globalized neoliberalism, social democratic movements have abandoned labor to embrace the self-serving wealth and power offered by capital. The essence of globalization is: labor is commoditized as mobile capital is free to roam the globe for the lowest cost labor. In contrast, labor is far less mobile, and unable to shift as fluidly and frictionlessly as capital to exploit scarcities and opportunities.
    Neoliberalism–the opening of markets and borders–enables capital to effortlessly crush labor. The social democrats, in embracing open borders, have institutionalized an open immigration that shreds the scarcity value of domestic labor in favor of lower cost immigrant labor that serves capital’s desire for lower costs.
    Globalization and neoliberal financial / immigration policies signify the collapse of the Left and the victory of capital. Now capital completely dominates the state and its cronyist structures–political parties, lobbying, campaign contributions, charitable foundations operating as pay-for-play cash vacuums, and all the other features of cartel-state capitalism.

    To mask the collapse of the Left’s economic defense of labor, the Left’s apologists and PR machine have substituted social justice movements for economic opportunities to acquire economic security and capital. This has succeeded brilliantly, as tens of millions of self-described “progressives” completely bought the left’s Great Con that “social justice” campaigns on behalf of marginalized social groups were the defining feature of Progressive Social Democratic movements.

    Look at the FRED graph of disbursement of income in the article at the bottom.

    “…..campaigns on behalf of marginalized social groups were the defining feature of Progressive Social Democratic movements.”
    the 46 years of collapsing incomes was mere coincidence….

  22. RenoDino

    There is no question that the debate about the crowd sizes this weekend is stupid as a central point of discussion by all the parties involved. But the press seized on KellyAnne’s statement that there are “alternative facts” and made this their cri de coeur. She did not say alternative reality like the Bush administration said during the Iraq War. That was crazy, but the press basically ignored it out of patriotism. She said facts, and they can come in many flavors. Some are better than others. Great facts can be used to support a terrible argument and visa versa. There is nothing wrong in looking for alternative facts unless you work for Trump. The MSM has been using them for years.

    1. Anne

      It’s like saying that “the earth is flat” is an “alternative fact.” Or, better yet, that the whole Obama/birther/Kenyan socialist thing was based on alternative facts.

      What’s really going on here is that Trump always has to win, even at the most petty of details, and if that means he has to make up his own facts to do it, well then, that’s what he will do. I think it’s absurd to send Spicer and Conway out like some sort of Baghdad Bob/Tokyo Rose tag-team to try to gaslight the public about what people can see with their own eyes, for no reason other than to satisfy Trump’s ego.

      If the media has any interest in keeping Trump honest – a task that may require a stronger adjective than “herculean” – it is going to have to make an effort to look past the petty BS that Trump lies about, and focus on the substantive lies we know he will tell, and call him on them.

      As for facts coming in many flavors, and some facts being better than others, and there being nothing wrong with looking for alternative ones, I could probably come up with some that would support the argument that the earth is flat – but that doesn’t make it so. Trump seems to live in a world where if he can get someone to buy his alternatively fact-based argument, he’s convinced that makes whatever conclusion he’s pushing a fact, too. It’s a tactic he’s used on just about every issue that comes to mind, and it’s worked very well on his supporters.

      1. hreik

        it is going to have to make an effort to look past the petty BS that Trump lies about

        Respectfully disagree. It is precisely those instances of the petty issues being factually lied about where people can see the shameless lying and subterfuge. There is every reason to “lie” about a big issue. None whatsoever about petty ones. It’s the petty lies that showcase the “pathological” in “pathological liar”, even if the larger issues are far more important.

        1. Anne

          I tend to think that ignoring his petty lies just emboldens him to lie bigger about bigger things, making it more obvious what a pathological sack of crap he is – and hopefully making it easier to hoist him on his own petard.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > If the media has any interest in keeping Trump honest – a task that may require a stronger adjective than “herculean” – it is going to have to make an effort to look past the petty BS that Trump lies about, and focus on the substantive lies we know he will tell, and call him on them.

        So far as I can tell, he’s trolling them, and they are more than happy to be trolled.

  23. Dita

    Re: women’s march, even though I am a permanently cynical and soon to be former democrat, I think it’s great that people showed up for the marches over the weekend, and I don’t doubt people’s sincerity. Experience has taught me that for a lot of people it’s more about virtue signaling than getting involved in organizing, canvassing – the hard work. Marching and shooting your mouth off are easy.

    But you can’t say this kind of stuff in my circle though, and I’m counting in spending the next four years biting my tongue. And also, you’re going to protest his vulgarity by wearing a…pussy hat? LOL gimme a break

    1. Katharine

      “I’m counting in spending the next four years biting my tongue.”

      Forgive me if it’s a rude question, but why? If it’s anything truly inescapable, good luck! I think I would develop untold stress-related ailments.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      I had a similar response to two Facebook themes over the weekend around the act of naming one’s vagina. My response was that I prefer to be considered a complete human being, thanks very much. And haven’t some percentage of “feminists” been snorting for decades over men giving their genitalia names and/or being entirely focused thereon?

      So, progress is doing what the guys do? Oh, never, mind, it’s just a joke. And sadly, far too many intelligent women can’t see that it very much isn’t.

    1. cnchal

      In a sense, drivers sleeping in their cars typifies, in an extreme way, what Uber said it does best: offer drivers flexibility. “With Uber, people make their own decisions about when, where and how long to drive,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. “We’re focused on making sure that driving with Uber is a rewarding experience, however you choose to work.”

      The drivers have to be flexible to cram themselves into a Prius for a good night’s sleep. A reward would be driving a bigger car or van where one could stretch out.

      1. Irrational

        When I went to India 30 years ago I suspect our driver was sleeping in his car, not something for a company to be proud of – ever.

  24. Chief Bromden

    Re 97% of endangered species:

    “When it comes to pesticides, it’s always best to look before you leap,….”

    Ya think? The toothless EPA has been leaping for corporate poisons since its inception as demonstrated by their imperative to move the poison goal posts to wherever the profiteers need it to be. If it were not abdicating its responsibility to technocratic, self-policing corporate “science”, it would not be dithering about as a faux regulatory agency and classify these pesticides as biological weapons of mass destruction, abolish the biotech cartel, and prosecute the heads of these syndicates for conspiracy to commit ecocide.

    1. Vatch

      And yet Trump wants to weaken the EPA even further by putting Scott Pruitt in charge of environmental demolition.

      1. Chief Bromden

        Gina McCarthy didn’t exactly turn out to be the Obama “greenie” she was painted as… with epic fails to meaningfully confront Wall ST. CAFOs literal crapification of Iowa’s water supply or do anything to address the poisoning of families in Flint. Can you weaken something that’s already unable to function properly? If a car has no engine or tires, does it matter if it’s Jeff Gordon or Ernest ‘on a 4 day bender’ Hemingway getting behind the wheel?

        If the EPA was a real regulatory agency, factory farms wouldn’t be called “farms” at all, and they would be abolished as the environmental disasters that they are. But we know who is really calling the shots here.

        1. Vatch

          I agree that Gina McCarthy has performed very poorly at the EPA. But I think your automobile metaphor needs modification. Right now, the car runs, but the tires are bald with low air pressure, some of the spark plugs are bad, and the engine is clogged with gunk. Pruitt wants to puncture the tires and remove the few spark plugs that still function.

          CAFOs and Flint are tragic, but some of that is the fault of state governments. Anyhow, whether Pruitt is worse than McCarthy or equivalent to her, I don’t want him to be the EPA Administrator. Do you?

          1. Chief Bromden

            I agree about the state actors. In the case of Iowa the Gov and the pork prison industry put the money pressure on McCarthy and hollowed out the DNR who were in charge of the “inspections”. It was only small activist groups and environmentalists that organized and had to beg the EPA to try and do something about the pig shit overflow problem.

            If I saw any evidence that the EPA was there to protect people, and not the corporations, I might agree with you. The agency is simply there to move the poison fence line around. In the same way that the EPA mechanically raises the allowed poison residue levels at the corporations’ command, so it also has a history of changing its assessments of the carcinogenicity of corporate products in response to changing corporate needs. The most notorious example is glyphosate.

            Since the 1970s the EPA has been an ardent booster of maximal poison spraying and the application of poisons to ever new frontiers. One of the expanded corporate welfare programs was government contracts for herbicide spraying in national forests. Private companies also receive subsidies for massive spraying of 2,4,5-T, and 2,4-D, and glyphosate. This is a direct handout to the timber companies and ultimately a laundered handout to the poison manufacturers.

            It’s always been an insult to common sense that regulators allow the corporations to police themselves and accept the corporation’s own product safety submissions as valid evidence. Simple rationality knows a priori that the fox can’t be allowed to guard the henhouse, and if reason’s not enough for anyone (ironically, it’s precisely those who exalt a cult of “Reason” who are the most contemptuous of rationality in day to day practice), we have the evidence record of history, which proves that the corporation will always lie about its own products. There are no exceptions to this. It’s as certain as that the sun will rise in the morning.
            Therefore, the fact that regulators like the EPA continue to accept corporate lies at face value and then propagate these lies whitewashed with the agencies’ own stamp of approval is an ongoing scandal and crime against humanity. There is no innocence about any of this. It’s impossible to make an honest mistake about the actions and “studies” of the likes of Monsanto and Dow.

            The corporations always had the car. They just painted over their logos to make us think it was ours….I hold no special fantasies or cult beliefs that some new technocrat is going to actually get this faux regulatory agency to do anything other than normalize and entrench industries like poison-based agriculture. I guess that’s why I started to grow and raise my own food. The central planning just isn’t working out.

        2. Jess

          Hat tip for the Jeff Gordon reference, but I think Jimmy Johnson’s record-tying seventh Cup championship this past September make him the preeminent reference du jour. (Glad to see another Nascar follower here; shows — or at least, implies — that we’re not all hillbilly rednecks.)

          1. Chief Bromden

            Jess, our family farm is about a half hour away from the Atlanta Motor Speedway…. but admittedly, I have no interest in watching people turning right at high speeds for extended periods of time. Or left? Sh#t… this is like the duopoly… false choices everywhere. I thought Jimmy Johnson was the ex-coach of the Dallas Cowboys turned senile bread and circus analyst. As a huge Paul Newman fan, I still- for the life of me- can not figure out his fascination with auto racing. He had me at blending salad dressing in bathtubs.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Linked from your article with the words “dubious enforcement decisions” is this one from 2014 which concludes:

      The delays nonetheless set a troubling precedent. They are unlikely to be challenged in court — no one has standing to sue over the employer-mandate delays, and no insurer has thought it worthwhile to challenge the “like it, keep it” fix. But a future administration that is less sympathetic to the ACA could invoke the delays as precedent for declining to enforce other provisions that it dislikes, including provisions that are essential to the proper functioning of the law. The delays could therefore undermine the very statute they were meant to protect — and perhaps imperil the ACA’s effort to extend coverage to tens of millions of people.

      More generally, the Obama administration’s claim of enforcement discretion, if accepted, would limit Congress’s ability to specify when and under what circumstances its laws should take effect. That circumscription of legislative authority would mark a major shift of constitutional power away from Congress, which makes the laws, and toward the President, who is supposed to enforce them.

      Hmmm…… obama. The constitutional “scholar.” And forward thinker.

    1. Portia


      Neither is expected to seek public office again. But both are now expected to be involved in Democratic politics for years to come.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        All I know is, in some countries, say, China for example, the party is more important than any public offices.

    2. Arizona Slim

      ISTR reading reports about Nixon’s attempts to launch a comeback. As he grew older, the reports diminished.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Ed Rendell is quoted in the article and previously swore Hillary didn’t need the left because she would pick up two suburban republicans for each person she lost.

  25. LT

    Re: Skittles and cattle feed…

    Wow. I was wondering what the real connection between the candy and gum products Mars owns and the dog and cat food brands they also own (like Pedigree and Sheba).
    I thought it odd the combination of sweets and animal food and at first just chalked it it to diversifying markets. I didn’t stop to think about a shared ingredient connection.

    1. Portia

      excellent thought about the ingredient crossover–who knows what they put in the Skittles, eh? The farmers think they are nutritious…

      1. Bob

        They do provide calories. “Empty” calories aren’t truly empty when the goal is to fatten the livestock to get a better price at the slaughterhouse where they pay by the pound.

  26. rjs

    re: Trump to oversee ‘fiscal bloodbath’ instead of prosperity, says Reagan OMB director

    i would not dismiss David Sockman out of hand…he was the only one in the Reagan administration to admit that “we don’t know what all these numbers mean”
    while he may have a misunderstanding about what they mean today, he’s had a large head start on anyone else trying to understand the implications of all the data…i guarantee you that no one on Trump’s team can hold a candle to what he knows…

    1. Jim Haygood

      All David Stockman needs to do is update his “$200 billion deficits as far as the eye can see” quip from the early 1980s to “trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see” today.

      If a recession occurs by 2018 as I expect, total federal debt will be approaching $25 trillion by the 2020 election … up from the $20 trillion mark that Obama just missed by a hair.

      1. craazyman

        Federal assets are worth at least $30 trillion. We’re getting richer every time we spend, since the assets we’re creating are so awesome.

        (It’s impossible to logically argue with that. It’s only a political argument. LOL. But they try to make it a social science with all sorts of maff.)

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Did you include overseas military bases in the calculation of federal assets?

          Also don’t forget to include the fiat currency print press.

        2. Jim Haygood

          In its Sep 30, 2016 financial statement, Usgov claims a skinny $3.47 trillion of assets … versus $22.8 trillion of liabilities. See page 14/20 of this pdf:

          Assets don’t include Stewardship Land and Heritage Assets, a note states. But then liabilities don’t include $46.7 trillion of social insurance (Note 22).

          It’s very telling that the gov is unwilling to include Soc Sec and Medicare as “on balance sheet” liabilities. Reason is that they are political programs, which in theory can be cut or terminated at will.

          With these programs having a negative net worth of nearly four years of GDP, you can bet the cornered rats are looking for a way to skate, while blaming it on someone else. “Putin hacked the Trust Fund,” etc.

          1. craazyman

            I have contemplated reality intensely, and single-handedly pioneered new approaches to conceiving of money, economics and economic analysis — all by myself and without a grant from anybody — or even an office anywhere — or even a Think Tank job — or even anything except erudition and illumination . . .

            The idea of an asset here is actually quite nuanced. It could be said that the entire idea of cultural stability is inherently an asset — similar perhaps to Goodwill on a corporate balance sheet. It’s very hard to value a corporation based solely on tangible property, plant and equipment and other hard assets. It would be very hard to value the assets produced by govermint debt as if they were property, plant, equipment and/etc.

            To the extent these expenditures promote and enhance social justice, cultural stability, national longevity, law and order, economic vitality OR vice-versa — they are very hard to value within any rational framework. It’s not a trivial idea, although it’s easy to make it seem so.

            There’s a whole constellation of very tightly packed ideas there that give the illusion of being obvious and easily reduced to a few manipulative concepts — like “debt” and “entitlements” and “budgets” and “deficits”– but that’s an oversimplification of a quite abstract, poly-dimensional space (not to get too florid of mathematical metaphor) that includes a variety of abstract assets that are very hard to define and almost impossible to value. Reducing this analysis for convenience to a handful of easily measured dimensions leaves so much out.

            A politician actually would be able to see this instinctively, but their self-interest would drive them to use the ideas only for self-promotion. An economist could never see this, unless it was when they weren’t being an economist.

          2. craazyboy

            “With these programs having a negative net worth of nearly four years of GDP”

            haha. Well, well. Maybe I’ll start projecting what my net worth is out at the end of 2086. Then tell the bank it’s my present value and get a big loan against it! Kick the bucket before I have to pay it all off.

            1. craazyman

              you can create a world worth living in — in the future

              Just by chasing your dreams today with abandon!

              It’s kind of like a perfume commercial.

          3. alex morfesis

            There are no govt deficits…simply deferred taxpayer extractions…

            issuing social security credits feeds back into the economy taxable events which the “peterson” krewe of “skyfall/piie in the sky” fame dont seem to calibrate into their greek diner mentality…

          4. Lynne

            Anyone else recall the PIK certificates sent out by the USDA? They didn’t have the money to make farm program payments, so we got scrip that we then had to find someone to buy. The rationale was they were political programs, so the government didn’t have to honor the contracts.

  27. bob k

    Purdue Pharma should be shut down and its assets seized under RICO’s provisions for operating a criminal conspiracy across state lines.

  28. Buttinsky

    Re: Demonstrations in the Age of Trump

    I have a profound ambivalence about all of this that I suspect others share as well. During the election madness, one of the arguments — in fact the most important one — I always brought up for not voting for Hillary Clinton was that, while both she and Trump would do great evil as president, good citizens would criticize, protest, organize against Trump at every turn, while Hillary would get either a big fat “meh” or even cheers, especially from my “progressive” friends, when she committed her crimes. So how can I not approve of what’s going on now? Moreover, I am always loath to discourage any American from questioning the legitimacy of their government, or authority in general.

    But there are two sticking points for me these days, when Trump has barely begun his mischief:

    1. As others have noted, there is something so unnervingly unfocused about the present demonstrations that it all looks a lot like mere hysteria. I try to refer friends to some specific object for their energies, such as House Resolution 676, which improves and expands Medicare.

    2. I find the fundamental hypocrisy at the heart of all of the rending of garments absolutely stomach-churning. Where were these “good citizens” when Obama was torturing Chelsea Manning and force-feeding prisoners at Guantánamo, or drone-killing innocent men, women and children all over the place? That their silence was purchased with Obama’s (eventual) support of gay marriage and the fact that he was not a rude and goofy-looking blowhard only makes their complicity in Obama’s crimes more revolting.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      8 years of straight-up Bush policies were just fine and dandy so long as there was a handsome mellifluous black man delivering them and telling us all how great they (and he) were

  29. Andrew Watts

    RE: As Cold War turns to Information War, a new fake news police combats disinformation

    The Washington Post is hitting a new level of absurdity. The idea that any official in that country is a protector of truth is ludicrous. Czech intelligence was responsible for the “Saddam was behind 9/11” disinformation in the build up to the 2003 invasion. They spread the report that one of the 9/11 hijackers met with a member of Iraqi intelligence in Prague.

    Czech intelligence is allegedly the unnamed Eastern European intelligence agency that contributed material to the Trump dossier. The dossier alleges that a meeting took place between a Trump campaign official and Russian intelligence. Guess where? Prague. Unfortunately the campaign official named in that fabrication has since been confirmed to have never even been in that city.

    It’s almost as if somebody is running a disinformation campaign using the same exact methods as the propaganda war that brought us the second Iraq war. It isn’t even a creative lie. *Target* is meeting with *Enemy* in Prague? Sure, tell me another one!

    1. Andrew Watts

      Just so everybody knows why we’re hearing about the heroic Czech fake news police.

      “The trickiest aspect of lying is maintaining the lie. Telling an untruth is easy, but continuing and reinforcing a lie is far harder. The natural human tendency is to deploy another lie to bolster the initial mendacity. Deceptions—in the war room, boardroom, and bedroom—usually unravel because the deceiver lets down his guard and makes the simple mistake of telling, or revealing, the truth.” -Ben Macintyre, Operation Mincemeat

      This comment is dedicated to all my friends and enemies in the intelligence world,

        1. craazyboy

          Don’t forget that the Pentagon pays rent to foreign governments that allow us to put our military bases on their land and “protect” them from enemies.

  30. Waldenpond

    Doug Henwood thinks that the elite going prepper is a sign that they have given up:

    I think it’s elite’s displaying that they are going to up their civil war against the 99% they haven’t yet been able to destroy through corporatism and state violence. If they can’t get the peasants to die faster through denial of employment, denial of shelter, denial of food, flooding regions will illegal and legal pharmaceuticals, denial of basic healthcare, poisoned soil, poisoned water, (I mean, heck, what better demonstration that you are excess labor than eliminating your schools, get a hint already) etc. you’ve left them no choice but to pick up weapons. The elite will have to do what the incompetent government can’t… sigh, as usual.

    Doomsday Prep for the Super-rich: New Yorker

    1. Ivy

      If and when the Bush family decamps to their estancia in South America, I will be reminded of a scene in Men In Black (a useful movie for references).

      To set the scene with J and K, (Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones): the human-looking alien Reggie has left his restricted domicile on the island of Manhattan and they pulled him over just as he was going to make a ‘warp jump’ to leave Earth with his pregnant wife. K said that something serious must’ve spooked him to bolt (paraphrasing). That is analogous to how the Bushes and their ilk would bolt, leaving the rest of humanity to deal with that Arquillian Cruiser, or bug, or undiscovered (or unpublicized! meteor) or pick any other menace that is set to destroy life as we know it. Expect more speculation on nefarious deeds as word of bug-out shelters, seasteads and the like gain traction.

  31. Irrational

    Thanks Yves and Lambert for continuing to dig when everyone in the MSM is busy reporting on presidential tweets and ignoring the important stuff.

  32. Oregoncharles

    “Worried about Facebook’s coziness with Trump? Watch what Alex Stamos does next Pando. Important.”

    Yes, important, because a large portion of organizing is now on Facebook – and “on their servers.” I’m a reluctant participant myself, but was just involved in extensive discussions within the Oregon Green Party. I’m grateful to those who are willing to administer our social media outreach, because I don’t want to do it, but our increasing vulnerability to huge, essentially inimical corporations makes me really nervous.

    The party’s main defense is that we keep it legal and are as transparent as possible, but that doesn’t help us if Zuckerberg decides to censor our presence, and the issue is much bigger for some other organizations. It also wouldn’t help if there were an actual fascist crackdown, always a possibility. We’d all be meeting in the concentration camps. That’s why the info pipeline to the NSA is so alarming.

    I was once in a local organization that included black-clad anarchists. (Turns out they don’t get along with union guys, which killed off the org.) They were extremely fussy about their names appearing even in internal email. They may have been a good example.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The party’s main defense is that we keep it legal and are as transparent as possible, but that doesn’t help us if Zuckerberg decides to censor our presence,

      Ever tried to find anything on Facebook that’s more than a few days old? An organization needs a collective memory in the form of an archive, and FB simply does not provide that functionality. So, over time, using it will make the GP stupider, even without censorship.

      Too bad Diaspora blew up, because a federated distrbuted system is exactly what is needed. Any techies out there know of one, since it’s impossible to find anything on the internet these days except consumer goods?

  33. aletheia33

    i cannot find information showing that roseann demoro, leader of national nurses united, currently fighting hard for medicare for all, who continues to actively tweet inconvenient truths about the democratic party, participated in the women’s march on washington. can anyone confirm or contradict?

    why were nina turner and roseann demoro not on the stage at the DC rally? has any media outlet noted these significant holes in the cheerleader line?

    most of all i would like to know if these inspiring leaders sought to be included in the lineup, were actively rejected, were passively not invited, did not wish to be included, or what.

    these are the great female movement leaders i follow and support.

  34. Dave

    I wonder how big the inauguration crowd would have been if Trump voters had been able to afford airline tickets from all over the country, charter buses, take half a week off work and would have abandoned their families?

    How many of the voters in D.C. and Virginia Military industrial Intelligence government workers voted for Trump? They would be those most likely to show.

  35. Anon

    …those airline tickets will arrive about the same time as the new manufacturing jobs they’re looking for.

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