Links 1/28/17

Dear not as patient as usual readers,

All of the site admins as well as some distressed members of the community have noticed a marked uptick in aggressive behavior in the comments section. We’ve had to ratchet up our vigilance, as well as taking measures we do not like employing and have had to do only very rarely in the past, such as unapproving comments.

Attacking other readers is not acceptable. We welcome robust debate, but roughing up fellow commentors is not on. Do so and you are on a fast path to getting yourself banned. And those of you who jailbreak will find your entire comment history expunged.

Some of you are newbies and may not recognize that the reason we are just about the last site on the Internet is that has a high quality comments section is that we have rules and we enforce them. This is not a chat board, this is hosted space. Commenting here is a privilege, not a right.

We moderate and ban on behavior, not content. That includes broken recording, arguing in bad faith, ad hominem attacks, and being nasty to post authors, readers, and site admins.

We also find routinely that the individuals who become overly aggressive are the ones who are losing arguments. That often occurs when they are up against a widely held view in the commentariat (like climate change denialists or HillBots) and aren’t used to having their views challenged. They often rationalize that we have a bias when in fact they started engaging in bad faith or abusive behavior and got booted as a result.

We are very serious about keeping the quality of the comments section high. We have shut down comments entirely in the past when trying to manage them has become too stressful and too much of a time sink. Don’t force us to do it again.

We recognize that many of you are very upset about what is happening in politics, but taking it out on other readers here is not productive. I hope we can work together to develop a clear picture of what is going on and devise sound strategies.

Rapid trait evolution crucial to species growth, study finds PhysOrg (Dan K)

Grass carp have invaded three of the Great Lakes, study says The Star. Frosty Zoom: “Mr. Obama had the chance to close the chicago shipping canal and didn’t. I guess the world’s largest freshwater eco-system is small potatoes when you have other countries to fry.”


China’s Army of Global Homebuyers Is Suddenly Short on Cash Bloomberg

Big China Deals Stall on Capital Clampdown Wall Street Journal

It’s Austerity, Not Globalization, That Pulls European Workers to the Right Dean Baker, FAIR (Sid S)


Lady in red enchants host with plan for a great British welcome The Times

Greece faces ‘explosive’ surge in public debt Financial Times

Greece’s creditors gone completely insane! failed evolution


Patrick Cockburn · Who supplies the news?: Misreporting in Syria and Iraq London Review of Books (J-LS)

America Should Look in the Mirror Foreign Policy in Focus (resilc)

Report: Suppression Of Palestine Advocacy Intensified Starkly In 2016 Shadowproof (Judy B)

New Cold War

Police Arrest Alleged U.S. Spy Working in Heart of Russian Cybersecurity Moscow Times

Trump to call Putin as he considers lifting Russia sanctions Financial Times. So what will Trump ask for in return?

Trade Traitors


Trump Transition

Trump Freezes Refugee Program, Orders New Vetting for Entry Bloomberg

Trump closes borders to Syria refugees BBC

Facebook’s Zuckerberg ‘Concerned’ by Trump Immigration Moves Bloomberg. Gotta have those H1-B visas…

Sen. Franken: No Democrat will vote for Betsy DeVos as education secretary — and we’re seeking Republicans to oppose her Washington Post (furzy). This is one outcome I had deemed important….blocking at least one Trump nominee, since this very rarely takes place. That would be a concrete sign that his power is fragile, since some Republicans would have to defect. I would have rather seen Mnuchin go down, since a Treasury Secretary can do a ton a damage, but DeVos is horrid and she plans to burn a Sherman’s path to the sea through public schools. If you are in a state with one Democratic party senator and one Republican, be sure to call your Republican senator.

The Daily 202: Fresh cracks appear in Trump’s relationship with conservatives in Congress Washington Post (UserFriendly)

At Least One-Third of Attorney General Nominee’s Top Donors Have Matters Involving the Department Of Justice Project on Government Oversight

Trump’s voter fraud expert owes US more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes Guardian (resilc)

AZ Indian Tribe That Controls 75 Miles of Border Won’t Allow TRUMP WALL on their Land (VIDEO) Gateway Pundit (Oguk)

Goodbye Susan Rice, Hello National Security Options National Interest Blog

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim: Trump a ‘great negotiator’ The Hill (furzy). Wonder if Slim is trying to insinuate himself in the process, particularly since he has a lot at stake in these talks, and probably figures it would feed Trump’s ego to negotiate with another billionaire (and one much richer than Trump is)

Trump can’t impose 35 percent tariff on companies Boston Globe

Former Trump Insider, Hired by Former Clinton Insider New York Magazine (resilc)

Outrage Dilution Scott Dilbert (furzy). I don’t like his gleeful tone but the observation is probably valid.

The Nih Intelligence Officer American Conservative (margarita). There’s a bizarre disconnect in this piece. First, it tries to downplay how the CIA pretty much since the election has been running a full bore and shockingly open propaganda campaign against the President Elect, now President. That is an effort to undermine, indeed sabotage, the orderly transition of power, which was a key concern of the Founding Fathers. Second, it points out how the rank and file are often opposed to official policy, like the War in Iraq, yet they still go along with it and fulfill agency orders.

Yes, Tom Brady’s Friendship With Donald Trump Matters Nation (Donna M). Only because America feitishizes celebrities.

The Democrats’ flawed Donald Trump strategy won’t protect us Guardian (Joe H)

2016 Post Mortem

How Networked Propaganda Unraveled US Politics Global Guerrillas

2017 may be the year of the ‘Berniecrats’ The Hill (furzy)

Double Standards: Where Were the Liberal Protestors During Obama’s Wars? Counterpunch (resilc)

Cory Booker, Corporate Hooker: The Perfect Establishment Opposition to Donald Trump Bruce Dixon (resilc). Ouch!

Woman at center of Emmett Till case tells author she fabricated testimony Guardian (martha r)

Fake News

Fake News Of “Interests” And “Intervention” Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

People are outraged about Trump’s so-called ‘gag order’ on government scientists — here’s what could actually be happening Christian Science Monitor (David L). Important.

U.S. Economy Returns to Lackluster Growth Wall Street Journal. More links and quotes in yesterday’s Water Cooler. So will Yellen back off on interest rate increases?

Former Och-Ziff London partner charged by SEC Financial Times

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg drops case to acquire Hawaiian land BBC

Obstacles Remain in Talks to Settle Wal-Mart Bribery Probe Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

The huge disparities in US life expectancy in five charts Financial Times. Today’s must read. Clear cookies and Google the headline if you must. Not only has life expectancy fallen for the poor, notice no life expectancy gains for women, even upper middle class women, only for the richest. And in a huge reversal of historical patterns, middle and upper middle class men have longer life expectancies than women.

Federal Reserve Bankers Mocked Unemployed Americans Behind Closed Doors Intercept (MF, MS). Also from UserFriendly: “I for one am shocked, shocked! That FED officials think that 9% unemployment is all because we are lazy junkie slobs.” Randy Wray had a similar reaction: “Unfortunately not shocking.”

Iron Workers pension cuts approved; retirees to get smaller checks (Paul R):

In a vote pitting current workers against retirees, the retirees in the Iron Workers Local 17 union in Cleveland lost. Starting next week, their pension payments will shrink, some by half or more.

Liberalism as Class Warfare Counterpunch. Lambert: “A bit too schematic for my taste but a good read.”

Lyft Cuts Sales Staff, Reorganizes Team as the Startup Chases Uber Bloomberg

THE HIDDEN SUBTEXT OF VAGRANCY JStor (Micael). On America’s workhouses.

What Would a Labor-Centered Economy Look Like? Charles Hugh Smith (Glenn F)

Antidote du jour (crittermom):

And a bonus of sorts (Robert H):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour Print Friendly, PDF & Email


      1. Linda

        Hmm. Yes. It came up fine initially. I googled the headline in order to find and provide the link, and it opened right up. Try that. It does work when clicked on from google.

            1. amousie

              I got there.

              There is enormous inequality in the US: the bottom 50 per cent accounts for less than 3 per cent of overall spending on healthcare. The highest spending 5 per cent account for half of all health spending.

              So if we get rid of the top 5%, we’d be able to fix our healthcare system?

              On a more serious note, I’m curious at the difference in insurance premiums over a lifetime. Since the poor (and Medicaid) are often demonized, I’d really like to know where the money from premiums come from vs. what or who they pay for. Beyond administrations, and profits and what nots. I suspect that the top 5% don’t pay in according to their actual usage. If true, it would mean that it is yet another redistribution upward that is never talked about while the cultural messaging purposefully seeks to blame sky-rocketing costs on the uninsuranced or the poor.

              1. Waldenpond

                Oy the language, as if it’s a naturally occurring phenomena…. should be written as: the bottom 50% are allowed no more than 3 percent, the wealthiest 5 percent are indulged with half of all health care spending.

      2. DWD

        This is a neat trick:

        If there is a story you want to read behind a paywall, copy the link headline and paste it into a separate window of your browser and search.

        The first entry will be the story behind the paywall, but if you move a few entries down you can find one that is not.


        This URL leads to the story behind the paywall.

        This URL leads to the story without the paywall.

        I found this with just a bit of searching: you have to try several links to find one that works, but it doesn’t take more than a minute or so. . . .

        1. crittermom

          Sorry, but both your links are behind paywalls, leading directly to FT.
          I have found success with that method in the past, however.

          1. RabidGandhi

            Following the snarky link, I get Google results, the first five of which I clicked on and all were sites that repeated the headline and nothing else, and then provided links to the paywalled ft site. The sixth link was to one “” where I found a commenter who gave a link to “”

            The “google the headline” trick hardly ever works.

              1. UserFriendly

                Clear your cookies and from now on only search for the headline in incognito (Chrome) or a private session (Firefox).

                  1. John Wright

                    A private session in Firefox will not clear out existing cookies.

                    When you revert to a standard (non-private) browser, they will be handled as before.

                    File-> New Private Window (Firefox)

                    1. pricklyone

                      Solved here by ALWAYS being in private mode.
                      What advantage to allowing saved cookies/history?

                    1. UserFriendly

                      Tossing them ;-)

                      Well,there are other ways they track you too and once they have you they develop a user profile to figure out how best to advertise to you. Sometimes it might just expire at the end of the month if you don’t go to the site for a while. Alternatively, finding the story on facebook or twitter might work; apparently they are experimenting with that which is why WSJ has been on and off.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Question on FT access as I suspect there are others here who may have a similar situation.

      Years ago I had registered on FT for free and all I had to do was login to read the articles. I stopped doing so for quite a while tough and would hit the paywall when clicking on links from here. A few weeks ago I decided to see if my old login still worked and it did – I was able to read an article or two. Then the next time I tried I hit the paywall again and could no longer find anywhere on the site that would allow me to login and there are no options for a free registration anymore that I can see. Has FT changed their policy and cancelled all the older free registrations? Still not sure why I could get in a few weeks ago and then got cut off. Anyone else have this problem?

      1. skylark

        i also registered for free years ago. I just tried it and it worked for me. There was a small ‘sign in’ located on the right side under the Financial Times banner.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          I see that now – thanks! I was able to login but when I tried to click on an article it brought me back to the paywall. They must have let me read a couple for free a few weeks ago after not logging in for so long and then cut me off.

          The articles generally get covered pretty well in the comments here so I guess I’ll stick with that – way to expensive just to read one website.

      2. GERMO

        Yes, I’m having that same situation. I assumed FT did in fact blow off the old free registrations :(

        edit – I read the skylark comment and then tried it, maybe it is a problem only if following a link from somewhere else.

      3. Aumua

        We could just stop reading it, stop linking to it, etc. I certainly don’t have $6.50 / week to access a website.

          1. UserFriendly

            While I agree there is not usually anything of much importance it still strikes me as just one more way rich people get to exclude the hoi polloi from anything that might be useful for them to get a leg up.

  1. I Have Strange Dreams

    What Was Wrong With Women’s March? – The Jimmy Dore Show

    From the comment section:

    NostraDumAss1 day ago (edited)
    The 5 thing that strike me most about the aftermath of the American elections are 1; Americans have selective morality. 2; Americans have selective ignorance. 3; Americans suffer Celebrity Worship Syndrome (CWS); yes it’s now an official mental condition. 4; Americans are intellectually lazy 5; Americans suffer ‘selfish outrage’ and are only ever outraged at things that effect them directly. 5. ‘Self-Victimization’ is the currency of the new ‘entitled generation’. Protests from idiotic, uninformed fools that despise Trump for his comments about women yet support a woman who takes millions from Saudi Arabia a country with a terrible human rights history not to mention treat women like second class citizens and stone them to death for betraying their men. We won’t even discuss her attacking the women victim of her husbands alleged abuse or Haiti or decades of Clinton family crimes. I don’t get it. Where were they when Obama was dropping 20 bombs a day on the heads of innocents and invading sovereign nations in the guise of benevolent intervention?. Obama inherited 2 wars and now has America in 7, and not a peep. When will people learn that celebrities are not academics or philosophers, and have no more political savvy than a taxi driver, and probably a lot less. When will these pussy headed victims stop sending mixed messages to their daughters, these fruitcakes will stand in front of a mirror piling on make-up while telling their daughters to be themselves, and that they are equal and not to let anyone treat them as sex objects etc. It’s 2017 for Christ sake, if you want equality and to be treated without gender bias, ACT LIKE IT, LIVE LIKE IT and DITCH THE FUCKING MAKE-UP for starters. This whole protest thing was a cringe fest of the highest order. A mutual gratification society of superficial, vacuous, self appeasing, morally retarded, indoctrinated, attention seekers, crying in self pity and spreading falsehoods like a mental illness virus that they all wanted to catch so they had an excuse to be stupid without accountability.

    1. fresno dan

      January 28, 2017 at 7:27 am

      Another prominent former CIA officer who has also been aggressively pushing the anti-Russian button is retired Acting Director Michael Morell. He is best known for his recent recommendation that the United States begin to assassinate Iranians and Russians to send a “serious” message that they are interfering in Syria—and that we are really angry about what they are doing. (Morell somehow missed the fact that we are the ones who are interfering, as Syria has an internationally recognized government that has sought assistance from Tehran and Moscow while excluding us.)
      Morell is inevitably a passionate Clinton supporter who might have been aspiring to be named as her CIA director. During the campaign, he described Trump as an “unwitting agent” of Russia even though his own career through the CIA bureaucracy rather suggests that “unwitting” might well apply to several of his stops along the way. Morell, as White House briefer, delivered the false report that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague. He also presented to George W. Bush the August 2001 CIA report suggesting that a major terrorist strike on the U.S. was about to take place but added his own view that “there was no need to worry about an Al Qaida attack on the homeland.” Morell also led the team of analysts that prepared the infamous Colin Powell UN speech that falsely claimed Iraq possessed “biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.”
      I agree with Yves assessment that the CIA is anti-Trump..IMO laying the foundation for impeachment…or removal.

      So I see Morell all the time on Charlie Rose and Morell appears periodically on the network commentary Sunday shows as well.
      Yet one has to read rather obscure publications (sorry American Conservative, but the people just aren’t that into you…..) to find out how incompetent Morell is. Can you imagine if Morell’s history was given before every appearance???
      Well, of course you can’t, because if the MSM did this, the first obvious question would be: Why is such a man (Morell) with such an EMPIRICAL, FACTUALLY established record of disaster, giving his opinions – other than there is a BIG RED FLASHING NEON WARNING sign right behind Morell saying do the opposite of what this moron says!!!

      “An interesting recent op-ed by David Ignatius, who is well plugged in to Washington intelligence circles, explains inter alia how the CIA is not equivalent to the agency leadership, which comes and goes with each administration.” SO WHAT? That is true of every agency…and it doesn’t matter one whit. Ignatius has been in Washington how long??? And he doesn’t know that all the employees are merely a cover to give the simulacrum of consensus and study to ANY decisions their bosses made, and be spearcatchers when things go t*ts up?

      1. tgs

        sorry American Conservative, but the people just aren’t that into you…

        Actually, TAC publishes lots of sensible stuff on foreign policy. Daniel Larison, in particular, has been relentless in documenting the massive war crimes the the US backed Saudi attack on Yemen. And Phil Geraldi is always worth reading.

        Having said that, I agree with you and Yves that there is a ‘disconnect’ in this particular piece which is a lackluster defense of the CIA rank and file. But even so, Geraldi makes clear Obama’s role in the Russian hysteria.

        The CIA has been spending 1 billion a year running an operation to overthrow the Syrian government. Trump may pose a threat to that. Therefore, it is essential that Trump be delegitimated and if possible shown the door.

        1. fresno dan

          January 28, 2017 at 10:25 am
          “Actually, TAC publishes lots of sensible stuff on foreign policy.”
          I agree. I was just talking about the number of readers – If there was any justice TAC would have the NYT subscription base, and NYT would have TAC number of readers. Undoubtedly why we are in the situation that we are in.
          But, to have an uncharacteristically optimistic note, NC itself informed me and caused me to change my viewpoint of a number of things, AND it has introduced me to other websites (e.g., TAC) that provide good background and rebuttals to the firehose of bullsh*t I am fed by the MSM daily.

        2. SoCal Rhino

          Agree on TAC, I read Larison regularly, but looking at the frequency of comments Dreher is driving most of the site traffic, Larson gets comments from maybe four or five regulars. I read Dreher occasionally just to get an alien (to me) worldview but he’s not, IMO terribly insightful or even concise. The association with Buchanan probably keeps many folks away.

        3. Procopius

          Actually, TAC publishes lots of sensible stuff on foreign policy.

          Yes, they do. I was quite surprised when I started following links to their material and found out how sensible it is. I expected it to be Burkean, or WingNut, or Libertarian. It’s not. I had the same sense of surprise some years ago when I found out what good material the Fiscal Times has. It’s Pete Peterson’s newspaper, but aside from his obsession with destroying Social Security they get some great material.

      2. TheCatSaid

        Morell shows up on George Webb’s ongoing revelations about the web of spreading international chaos, regimes overthrown, assets and resources looted. In particular he’s mentioned in relation to the use of Sarin gas (from Libya but originally from the West) in Aleppo and other places, this being a new addition to the game plan that made it really easy for ISIS to take a whole bunch of towns very quickly.

        About half-way into this Day 53 video is where Morell comes up. He’s mentioned on many other videos as well.

        At this point, Webb was still focusing on oil, pipelines, arms. More recently he has shifted focus to Haiti as an excellent example of the tactics involved, in use by USA and NATO all over the world. Mayhem results for the locals but a small group of insiders makes a lot of money through all the mafia-style enterprises.

      1. diptherio

        Keep trying ;-)

        The Nih Intelligence Officer American Conservative (margarita). There’s a bizarre disconnect in this piece. First, it tries to downplay how the CIA pretty much since the election has been running a full bore and shockingly open propaganda campaign against the President Elect, now President. That is an effort to undermine, indeed sabotage, the orderly

  2. skippy


    Yves and Co getting FaceBorg’ed…. fly my little pretty’s…. fly….

    disheveled …. really wish they would all go to Mars and send a post card…

  3. Marco

    The Hill piece about 2017 being the year of Berniecrats stated that the California Caucus takeover was instrumented by OurRevolution. Is this true? I had blocked their fundraising emails and would consider giving $$ if this is the case.

    1. Steve C

      That’s my understanding. It also was discussed in previous Links/Water Coolers. It occur to me to check their website.

      The Obama/Clintonites were able to manipulate the rules to hold the Berners to a bare majority on the state central committee. But they would do that.

    2. Arizona Slim

      I have heard that a similar takeover just happened in Iowa. The statewide D organization had some sort of meeting and the Bernie people packed the house.

      My source? The Jimmy Dore Show, and it was a very recent episode.

      1. Marco

        Perhaps it is unrealistic for me to look for a clearer definition of “Bernie People”? If OurRevolution is a central organizing force I would seriously consider donating.

        1. UserFriendly

          I can confirm that Our Revolution was the instrumental behind the CA take over. I am on the slack where they orchestrated it. If you want to get involved go to

          I spend much of my time on there trying to make sure that it doesn’t become a silo for anti Trump reactionaries.

            1. UserFriendly

              No, I mean people that supported Bernie but also fell in to the Trump is Hitler BS black hole from the media. They probably voted for Clinton, grudgingly. But they tend to favor ‘oppose absolutely every word out of Trumps mouth or you are a traitor’ and ‘we need to impeach him’ type of politics, so I try and set them straight. That is some, not all, by the way; plenty were never going to vote for Clinton.

      2. sleepy

        I’m not surprised. The Iowa caucuses were essentially a tie (no voter tallies were released, only delegate numbers) decided by several coin flips. And that was the earliest primary/caucus in the season when Bernie was still considered by some to be a “novelty”.

        I live in Iowa and have no doubt that Sanders would have carried the state in the general and I think the state party knows it. In the fall of 2015 he was packing crowds of 700 in towns of 500.

  4. Teddy

    “Dilbert Guy” is called so because he’s the creator of Dilbert comic strip, the man’s name is Scott Adams. Just a detail, no hostile intentions.

    1. jgordon

      I think that was a stylistic choice. Other posts of his on NC were cited with his real name, but maybe people are just more familiar with the comic strip.

      Regardless, Scott Adams is a genius! He definitely sees things that no one else picks up on and then elucidates on them in a concise, easy to follow fashion in his blog posts.

      As for the Trump flurry: I was admittedly leery of Trump at first, but now that I’ve been seeing him in action I truly admire him. Sure he is evil; but he’s awesome! Trump evil is like the Punisher or Magneto style evil, whereas Obama and Hillary were more like Dr. Evil and Minime. Sure it’ll be awful, but I’m looking forward to the rest of the Trump presidency.

      1. Teddy

        “Scott Dilbert” seems like a simple error rather than stylistic choice.

        I’m a reluctant Trump fan, so I look forward to his presidency as well. While many of his cabinet picks worry me, his post-inauguration activity lets me hope he’ll really try to deliver on his promises. Your observation of him giving off a supervillain vibe is pretty much on point.

        Also, I don’t know where to share this observation, so I’m gonna do it here: Democratic Party lost any legitimacy as anti-Trump opposition when they rigged the primaries against Bernie. It means they either were too short-sighted to realize that Sanders could’ve beaten Trump (so who needs people who can’t even do their jobs) or they knew this, but they’d rather have The Donald than Bernie in the White House (so what kind of anti-Trumpers are they?).

  5. WJ

    “It’s the bullet that kills you, not the gun that fires it,” according to Dean Baker. Which I suppose is technically correct but somehow not very illuminating.

    1. diptherio

      Hey Dean, try throwing a bullet at somebody and see how that works…turns out, the gun part is actually necessary to kill you…just sayin’

      1. JTMcPhee

        As is the, you know, “gun operator.”

        “The car ran over two pedestrians, killing one, and then fled the scene…”

  6. Kevin Smith

    Well said Yves!
    What you do, and the order and discipline you maintain are much appreciated, and a great example for the rest of us.

  7. Kevin Smith

    Well said Yves!
    What you do, and the order and discipline you maintain are much appreciated, and a great example for the rest of us.

    1. GF

      Maybe there is a vast right wing conspiracy that wants to overwhelm NC with questionable/unruly comments in order to prod NC to shut comments down in order to stifle rational reasoned opposition??

    2. Aumua

      I just wanted to add that what Yves and Lambert do, and the order and discipline they maintain are much appreciated, and a great example for the rest of us.

    3. different clue

      Colonel Lang does this at his blog also, sometimes in a very rigorous and thoroughgoing way. If Ian Welsh would do the same over at his blog, then the Ian Welsh blog-threads would also improve.

  8. fresno dan

    Outrage Dilution Scott Dilbert (furzy). I don’t like his gleeful tone but the observation is probably valid
    25 outrages out of 25 headlines in a week: Excellent Persuasion

    “At the moment there are so many outrages, executive orders, protests, and controversies that none of them can get enough oxygen in our brains. I can’t obsess about problem X because the rest of the alphabet is coming at me at the same time.”
    Former CIA Director John Brennan is “deeply saddened and angered” at President Donald Trump after the commander in chief addressed CIA employees at their headquarters in Langley, Virginia, on Saturday, Brennan’s former deputy chief of staff says.

    Trump spent much of his speech — which he gave in front of a memorial wall that honors the 117 CIA officers who have fallen in the line of duty — focusing on the size of the crowd size at his inauguration, his appearance on magazine covers and saying he “has a running war with the media.”

    Gee, it wasn’t even that long ago – but who even remembers all of the details of the outrageous CIA conduct???

    …….NO, NO, NO!!! NOT Trump outrages, but Brennan outrages. And see how well it works!!! – its beyond the pale to even posit that people who die trying to manipulate other countries (that never actually result in progress in other countries) are actually heroes….
    But they have done an excellent job of turning the issue not into what the CIA does, but the Americans who died….

    1. russell1200

      I heard retired football coach Steve Logan on the radio recently say that he would tell his offensive linemen to hold on every play. The referees would call it some, but so long as the holding wasn’t made too blatant, they’d get worn down and stop calling it. Thus giving an eventual advantage to the offensive line.

      Not sure this is intentional, but it seems like somewhat the same effect is going to be in play here.

    2. DH

      Re: Outrage Dilution

      I have family members and some friends that are frothing at the mouth over Trump’s election and his blizzard of alternative facts.

      I ask them if they have contacted their representative and senators about any of his nominations or executive orders yet, and they tell me no.

      My recommendation to them has been simple – don’t listen to what he is saying. Read what he is doing, pick key items, and contact Congress directly through e-mail (not through canned e-mails, but personally written ones), and phone them on key issues.

      Many of his ideas are half-baked and will collapse of their own weight (although some people will get buried in the rubble). How Congress implements the ideas is going to be the key.

        1. Knot Galt

          Which may be harder than you think. I have noticed how even long time Democratic representatives will schedule a public Town Hall in the outskirts of the District at 10 AM on a Monday or Tuesday. Try making an appearance if you have kids in school, are working, and or on the other side of the district. Any and all calls to the district headquarters offer no solutions as they are only forwarding the information. But of course, they will let the Representative know all about it!

          Calling, faxing, and using their social media sites is about as good as any of us can do. If everyone got into the habit, it would be an interesting social experiment to measure efficacy.

    3. DH

      Also, humor will be a good diffuser down the road. People like Trump really do not like being the butt of a joke.

      A good recent one from across the Atlantic where The Netherlands introduce themselves to Trump in his own words. I am sure that this one video will be sufficient cause for a 50% border tax on spring bulbs.

  9. WJ

    On Networked Propaganda and the Unraveling of US Politics:

    I am not convinced by the analysis. It gives too much power to social media (and one tweeter, Trump) in isolation. The failure of broadcast media propaganda to manufacture consensus during this last election had more to do with the poor quality of the propaganda itself–its too obvious divorce from the lived reality of actual people–and the growing power and availability of rival accounts of that reality as found on sites like this one, various web programs, and the like. It is only in this context that social media adds a further, destabilizing force, and that Trump’s tweets gain their surprising leverage over the electorate. I find this article to exaggerate the stand alone significance of twitter, Facebook, etc in themselves, and not as the efficacious means of distributing alternate and dissenting views first developed and primarily expressed in the more traditional media of web journalism, blogs, and videos.

    1. fresno dan

      January 28, 2017 at 8:18 am

      “The failure of broadcast media propaganda to manufacture consensus during this last election had more to do with the poor quality of the propaganda itself–its too obvious divorce(ed) from the lived reality of actual people–and the growing power and availability of rival accounts of that reality as found on sites like this one, various web programs, and the like.”

      Hits the nail on the head – good analysis. I agree completely.

      1. Eureka Springs

        To call it ‘failed’ is to rest on our laurels at a perilous time. I mean, sure it failed to overthrow the elected one within the confines of our electoral college, however the electoral system itself is not trustworthy on so many levels.

        Also the poll numbers suggest as shocking number of people fell for it hook, line and sinker.

        I seriously doubt we’ve seen the end of this approach. They will redouble efforts and do it again until we say no more in terms of law, enforcement of said laws, the elimination of government secrecy as well as an end of funding the nefarious players.

        Furthermore the laws we know about encourage so much deception and direct propaganda upon us all.

        1. PhilM

          And then there’s the problem that the federal government has way too much power. When so much power is concentrated in so few hands, people will do anything to get it. The long-term answer is obvious: the devolution of power to regional federated units.

    2. Tom

      Agree. It’s not so much social media that threatens the legacy media’s monopoly on the “news”, but the underlying structure of the Internet that has democratized information access — including access to extensive archives of video, audio and print documentation.

      The result is that individuals can not only educate themselves about and fact-check claims made in the legacy media, but to also publish alternate interpretations or analysis supported (in the best cases) with meaningful links to other factual records, documents, videos, etc.

      At its very best, like at sites like Naked Capitalism, it brings together people from a wide geographic, demographic, philosophic, political, etc. range of experience and viewpoints to produce peer-reviewed analysis of events, policies, etc. that are more vigorously reseached, vetted and argued than much of what passes for news or analysis on CNN or MSNBC.

      I guess its sorta like crowd-sourcing the news, or building a supercomputer by wiring together a couple thousand people together.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Peer-reviewed analysis‘ — a very critical point. NYT and WaPo have editorial review, but it’s a claustrophobic groupthink chamber with a brittle narrative to promote, no matter how awkward the factual gymnastics. Which is going to be their undoing.

        Get enough capable and intellectually diverse heads together, and you can kick the ass of the politically monocultural MSM.

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      Most of what I see on social media, at least among those professing to be on the left, is “bubble-talk.” What gets passed around is whatever supports the position of the ones doing the passing, whether it be Obama sanctification or mouth-foaming over Trump’s latest. Most of them don’t have sufficient knowledge base to do any actual critical review of what they see and read, so the cognitive bias just embraces everything that fits.

      However, I’ve had a few small successes via that channel, and I while I disagree social media decided the election I do see it as a valuable resource for the simple reason it allows one-on-one “discussion” that can sometimes break through the cognitive bias if done well. One simply has to develop first the understanding of which fights are worth pursuing.

      I’ll also note that I consider sites like NC, where the comments are always of value, a version of social media for that reason. I make note of that whenever I post a link on my Facebook news group—that it’s one of the few sites where reading the comments is part of the experience.

      So, social media is a tool those planning to join the revolution need to master because the more tools one knows how to use properly, the better.

    4. jsn

      Robb at Global Guerrillas is like Marx in that his analysis is always better than his prognosis.

      I agree with your criticism but believe his insight in this instance is that democratization of media distributes the weight of forming consensus. The new distribution is based not on accuracy or honesty but intensity of feeling. Our consensus before may have been based on propaganda, but at the institutional level we’ve just lost the ability to reach consensus at all. This is a real change.

      That neither the main stream press nor the main political parties can or will find a business model that incentivizes them to pool common interests in the narratives they spin leaves it to heroic sites like this one where essentially two people have managed to attract enough support to sustain a popular, moral and clear headed editorial position while producing and curating accurate and/or informative information output.

      Outside of outliers of sanity like Naked Capitalism, the internet is becoming an information centrifuge forcing narratives into ever more emotional and unstable isotopes.

      1. Tom

        The current state of the internet includes chaotic elements for sure, but I’m optimistic because humans can learn quickly and may gravitate toward more credible and valid outlets over time.

        I mean, look how quickly the term click bait has become part of the lexicon and part of a shared (by many) understanding that the internet is filled with site and stories to avoid — hucksters, criminals and kooks who will say anything to grab your eyeballs for a few seconds — much like many politicians will say anything to hoodwink you long enough for you to pull the voting booth lever for them before you snap out of it.

        After 8 years of Clinton (NAFTA, financial deregulation, mandatory sentencing, welfare reform), 8 Years of Bush (9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, torture, global financial crisis) and 8 years of Obama (5 more wars, bank bail outs, NSA surveillance, drone assassinations) and nearly 4-8 years of Clinton (see previously – more of everything) and now 1 week of Trump, it’s clearer than ever that we need some straight f*cking talk — face to face and on the internet — if we are going to salvage some kind of future before the various catastrophes that are barreling toward us overtake us once and for all.

        So if the question is what role the internet will play going forward — trending toward more fragmentation and more competing narratives, or toward growing realizations that too many of the narratives are false — then my vote is for the latter.

        1. jsn

          Agreed, I didn’t mean to sound fearful if that’s how it came off! My point is more along the lines that communications has introduced phase shift type changes and they are real and we are no way near through them, fragmentation is just the latest and there’ll be plenty more.

          As incumbent power centers try to dominate and control these changes I suspect they just make the system more brittle, making real change when it breaks through even more dynamic.

          The question in my mind is if popular communication can congeal around popular interests and restructure our economic and power structures before the power goes out: the communications revolution has so far been profoundly anti-environmental and continues to ramp up electricity use with all the ecological negatives that entails even as it makes more of us more aware of the problem.

          1. Tom

            No, you didn’t come off fearful at all — I guess it took me longer to get where you already were in your thinking. Couldn’t agree more about the phase shift changes that are being triggered by enabling people across the globe (to varying degrees) to instantly communicate, almost for free, with anybody else, in real time — and to access pretty much the entire knowledge base of the human race with a few clicks or swipes. Neat!

            Anyone looking for proof that this is rocking the institutional gatekeepers’ boat need only look at the dwindling audience for much of the legacy media’s product, or at the increasing suspicion of anything coming out of (most) politicians’ mouths.

            And if further proof is needed, the recent fake news hysteria spread by the media, the intelligence agencies and even Hillary is really a case of, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”.

            In fact, one of the most amazing things in that IC report on “Russian hacking in the election” was the section on The IC report cited instance after instance of some pretty accurate reporting in RT about U.S. domestic affairs as proof that RT is a nefarious group up to no good. How dare they report the truth! Now RT isn’t some fount of purity and goodness, to be sure, but much of what they write could have appeared on some of the more enlightened sites online.

            Whether TPTB succeeds in shutting down or neutering the growth toward more openess and accuracy on the internet before radical restructuring can occur — or we simply run out of time or energy, as you say — it seems like a path forward is becoming clearer as we build toward a critical mass of fundamental discontent with the status quo.

            And after Trump’s first week, I’m thinking he will be the catalyst that really kicks the rage into outright revolution.

  10. nippersdad

    What a tragedy about the grass carp invasion of the great lakes. I had heard a few years back that there was an effort to turn them into fertilizer; using the rationale that an economic purpose found for “wild” animals usually leads to their extinction, it sounded like a good idea. Such a pity that they found the exception to the rule in the grass carp.

    1. different clue

      I suspect part of Obama’s motivation for ignoring the Grass Carp problem was his ( and Emmanuel’s) rootedness in parochial Chicago politics. Certain Chicago-based shippers and barge-operators would lose some bussiness if the water-links between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Basin were hard-severed. And Obama chose to prioritize a One Billion Dollar shipping bussiness preservation for his Chicago crony pals over a Six Billion Dollar bussiness loss for the Great Lakes.

      1. different clue

        You know what would be a neatly sardonic and sarcastic way to thank Obama for keeping the Chicago River open to Grass Carp?

        Once his Library and Foundation get built, and get permanent mailing addresses . . . everyone who catches a Grass Carp in the Great Lakes can get it wrapped up inside hermetically sealed plastic so no smell escapes until it is opened . . . and mail it to one or another Obama address. And include a note saying: ” So long, Obama. And thanks for all the fish.”

        1. Isotope_C14


          Sad thing about these kinds of carp is that they do not fall for lures or usual bait. They are vegetarians and the only way that I’ve heard to catch them is Skarping.

          Skarping – google or you tube it, you’ll be in for a laugh.

          I guess you could try the cherry tomato float method but it’s a lot of work for not much meat.

      2. DH

        The USACE has an electric fence in the canal to keep the carp from reaching Lake Michigan. This just goes to show how relying on a fence instead of a wall is a ridiculous idea.

        The carp won’t be much of an issue once we introduce Burmese pythons and alligators into the Great Lakes to control them.

    2. Oregoncharles

      I gather the Chinese really like eating them. Might do wonders for our balance of payments.

      1. Isotope_C14

        According to those that have successfully caught them, I hear that instead of a fishy taste, they have a more shell-fish taste. Closest approximation was a hybrid of scallops and shrimp.

        Though they are very large, they have a small amount of filet meat in comparison to other types of freshwater fish (Pike, Walleye, and Lake Perch).

        I’ve heard that a couple of higher end dining establishments in Chicago have had them on their specials menu and use interesting names for them that don’t include the word Carp!

    3. Optimader

      Creating a market for them would likely have very adverse unintended consequences.
      Best they be eradicated without creating a for-profit channel to support their persistence. Their eradication as an invasive spieces is an excellent example of a Federal program that should be undertaken with the participation surrounding Great Lake states and Canada

  11. Jim Haygood

    From the Iron Workers pension cut article:

    The federal Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. could be swamped if it took on the obligations of multiple union pensions. So Congress in late 2014 allowed multi-employer plans to cut monthly payments to current retirees for the sake of preventing the fund’s bankruptcy later.

    The Iron Workers Local 17 fund is the first pension fund to get Treasury approval for these kinds of cuts. Treasury rejected a similar request for a vote from a much larger fund, the Central States Pension Fund, after concluding its plan for post-voting survival was still risky.

    Multi-employer pensions are under the greatest pressure, because of a big increase in their dependency ratio as union membership stagnates or declines. But it’s a general problem, with multi-employer plans serving as the canary in the coal mine.

    PBGC, which covers multi-employer plans separately from single-employer plans, is grossly under-reserved. What are the 535 Kongress Klowns doing about it? Nothing. As with their Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debacles which went spectacularly bust, solons are sitting in their upholstered seats watching the train wreck.

    1. Brian

      I’ve always wondered at the purpose of Freddie, Fannie, Ginnie and Sallie, The Mac and Mae crime families. Whatever it may have been, now it appears it is only a means to steal money from the people of this country to pay the interest on the national debt. Foreclosure frauds were always for this purpose, because the government paid 4 bailouts to Bob Carol Ted and Alice including enough money to erase the debt of every borrower, which they had already sold for a full price to a futher sucker. And your friendly bank knows nothing is owed, but comes to demand payment for an extinguished debt. That is the price we are forced to pay to support the people that own the copyright on the idea of America.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        You pretty much nailed it, now get mad, much madder than you already are. The giant counterweight and inertia and home court advantage of the all-pervasive institutionalized theft in this country are so gargantuan that in order to move the needle at all we must start acting at the far end of the spectrum. The time for polite discussion and debating the finer pros and cons of policy alternatives is long past. Power yields nothing without a demand.

        1. Waldenpond

          The ask for card check and unions is insufficient to the cause. The argument is going to have to be stacked with demands for stripping corporate charters, eminent domaining of buildings and manufacuring capacity from outsourcing, etc.

          1. mk

            I interviewed a group of seniors living in a retirement home many years ago, they were former union members, wobblies, international workers of the world. They shared horrible stories of government sponsored violence around their organizing activities.

            We workers have to get militant and make demands and maybe even be willing to lose our lives to get what’s fair. Then we have to be vigilant to keep what’s fair.

            We Americans are too soft, we don’t have what it takes to really organize a strong labor union. Look at how the unions treated Bernie as an example.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      That article epitomizes what’s wrong with this country. No sanctity of contracts here for people who actually work for a living.

      We’re talking about a pension shortfall affecting low single digit thousands of people and the cuts need to be approved by Treasury. It’s nothing a little MMT couldn’t solve – and I do mean little as the total amount we’re talking about here is about the same as the cost of a few F-35 that don’t work, and we have no problem coming up with the money for those. Treasury increases debt by issuing bonds for those types of expenditures – so why can’t the government simply credit the pension account so it’s fully funded? If they can’t simply put the cash in there, fill it up with some of those ‘worthless IOUs’.

      This would be a great test case starting on a small scale to show how we could actually solve these problems and the world wouldn’t end. Which is precisely why it won’t happen. Need to keep the myth alive that the elites got where they are because they earned it and we can’t be giving free handouts to the unworthy.

      1. andyb

        The FED and its banker masters control the US Treasury and have absolutely no incentive to help solve the pension problem which, in many states and large cities is an on going disaster of cataclysmic proportions. Looking deep into the problem re CALPERS (thanks Yves), as well as Chicago and Illinois (and many jurisdictions throughout the US), it is fairly obvious than bankers and their cronies created more than just a portion of the problems all pension funds now have. To be sure, local politicians are principally at fault, but they were convinced by advisors that the only solution was to keep kicking the can down the road. But in so doing they guaranteed an infinite income stream in fees for the bankers.

        1. JTMcPhee

          When I first worked for the US EPA, Waste Management was a relatively small, thuggish bunch with a very aggressive business model and plan. Of course the corp management was shall we say ‘connected.’ These creatures worked a rotten long game to garner control of a huge part of the national (shamefully wasteful) garbage “market.”

          One trick for gaining entry to a “market” jurisdiction where there already were waste collectors and haulers (private and public) was to have one of the VPs and a few lower level folks get cozy with the public authority that had power over the waste business — the individuals in the various utilities boards and commissions and units. Then bribe the administrators or legislators to “fix” the laws and rules in their favor, and low-ball contract prices in violation of all kinds of antitrust laws, to become the contracted hauler and disposer. Of course “waste management” has since early days been corrupt and a source of revenue for mobsters. These guys were at a higher level of sophistication, it would seem.

          Sometimes an ambitious prosecutor would get wind of the corruption and “investigate” and figure out who paid out, and who collected. As a general rule, prosecutors prefer to nail-and-jail elected and government officials — the optics are better, more cred-building, than perp-walking some lower level corporate employee, ones we at EPA referred to as “designated indictees,” who were after all just doing their job for the company. And who, in exchange for testimony to convict the public servant (sic), would get a nice slap on the wrist. And of course a nice bonus from Waste Management for sitting out the jail time if any.

          Not sure, given the more “mature” state of our garbage-making and -disposing activities as a culture, whether the grift and coercion are still such a big part of the business.

          Does this fit into the “bezzle” category, maybe?

          1. Optimader


            Wayne “if you ain’t Dutch you Ain’t much” Huizenga.
            The south side Dutch mafia. In the early days of competitive garbage route aggregation, a molotov cocktail in the truck bin was not an unusual preamble to focus attention on negotiation.
            I had a few colleagues that went on to Chemical Waste Management when it was a high flyer entity. Waste Manegements Attrmpt to enter the hazardous waste disposal bizwhich was apparently one step beyond the expertise of management as it eventually contributed to the firm’s implosion.
            I recall WH as being a bit of a dick, living in a rather austentatious manner at the time, in Hinsdale.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Yeah, the Dutch connection. “Nice little landfill you got here. Be a shame to somehow find yourself buried in it, now wouldn’t it?”

              I wonder if he pals with Trump — here’s a little, very soft and gentle, bio on the guy:

              Interesting. Somehow he’s got a whole BUSINESS SCHOOL named after him, one of those diploma mills down here in Florida: “H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship,”

              Can’t even make this stuff up. All one can do is shake one’s head in rueful sorrow…

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I’d just mention the INSANE notion that interest rates should be at zero or *below* and the central bank should see its business as nothing but a serial bubble-blower and funny money slush fund when hideously overextended credit gets into the inevitable trouble.
          Pensions should be able to earn a positive real risk-free rate that reflects the real-world risk cost of capital for enterprises that might go bust. Take away the “might go bust” part and the whole thing collapses into one great big joke.
          Now central banks are loading up on stocks. I have just one question for these geniuses: how would you ever know what they are worth? Since the unit used to purchase them was materialized from thin air.

    3. DH

      I am impressed they were able to beat the Teamsters pension to the trough. That takes an extreme level of incompetence.

    4. oh

      Wouldn’t it be nice if we could find a way to cut Congressional salaries and pensions using a country wide referendum? And also the double and triple dipping of pensions by the ones who leave Congress, get a cushy federal cabinet position, etc. by appointment .

  12. Bugs Bunny

    How long will it take before Uber opens its change purse to acquire Lyft? I can’t see the Jeff Sessions DOJ Anti-trust division blocking it but I hope I’m wrong.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Apps are basically free. If Uber buys Lyft, it’s only a matter of time before “Quo Vadis” starts. “Next time you’re on the go, you’ll go QUO. ” Depending on the price of a hypothetical Uber purchase of Lyft, there will be a myriad of competitors offering crazed rates.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I hope you copyrighted the phrases and maybe design-patented a logo… You could retire on the royalties and licensing fees…

      2. Bugs Bunny

        I wish I had a mind as quick to the profit bite as yours. I think though that the capital investment of an Uber should not be underestimated. Their lobbying alone has cost millions. That said, others could simply leverage that work at no cost.

  13. Jim Haygood

    From Trump Wall article:

    Tribal leadership of Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona said they won’t support a border wall project on their land. Part of their reservation extends into Mexico and covers 75 miles of the international border.

    Vice Chairman Verlon Jose explained tribal members have traversed their ancestral land since time immemorial, and a wall of any sort would not be supported by the community.

    Mr Jose is right. Long before Europeans showed up, Native Americans ranged freely all over the Sonoran Desert. The formerly casual border of a century ago has turned into a regimented border that slices Native American tribes in two.

    Could the Tohono O’odham mount the same kind of resistance as the DAPL protest? Maybe. It’s in Pima County, probably Arizona’s most politically liberal thanks to the university town of Tucson. Native Americans enjoy a certain amount of sovereignty over their reservations, which can be leveraged politically. Stand Tall, Smash the Wall.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Pima County resident here.

      If the TO want to resist that wall, they will have plenty of local helpers.

      1. ambrit

        Really now. It all started with Quetzalcoatl and his “culture bringers.” Gadsden was a latecomer to the game of “civilizing the savages.” In his case, the savages were railroad robber barons.

    2. Jess

      Got any idea what Trump will do if the tribe is successful in blocking the wall? He’ll build the rest of it, leave that portion open and, because it’s tribal land, not patrolled by the INS. That strip of land will be like the neck of a gigantic funnel. The reservation will get trampled by the smuggling traffic, which is exactly what has happened to border farmers and ranchers in Texas. A year or two of this and the tribe will beg for the wall on their land.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Naw, just add a few more miles of wall along the Imperial side of the border between Tribal Sovereign Nation lands and our Exceptional Empire, to join up at either end with the US-Mexican Death Line. Show them savages who’s boss.

        I’m wondering if all the “interdiction weapons” the US MIC has come up with, machine guns and smaller-caliber cannon and death rays, will be depolyed as along the Korean DMZ, or maybe the NRA can provide snipers to man (and woman, many of them get off on that stuff too) sniper posts along the Wall, with ‘interlocking fields of fire.’ Since the MIC is heading toward large scale deployment of ‘autonomous killing technologies’ this should be, in that nice phrase, a ‘no-brainer…”

    3. Waldenpond

      There is hard work behind the DAPL protest, but I thought the process was always a done deal. There are tribal lands here and tribal sovereignty is constantly violated.

      Is it possible to up the negative corporate pr to divest from projects like DAPL? Blackrock and Vanguard are invested in DAPL and have HBO. Can the protest include unsubscribing from/boycotting HBO?

  14. alex morfesis

    Boston globe: trump can’t impose 35%…interesting…so that .25 euro per bottle one way fee for recycling in germany which prevents americans (or anyone else who doesn’t set up shop in germany) from being able to “import” beverages…

    & the vat france charges for imports…

    Norway pays a 12% tariff to sell smoked salmon into the eu (in addition to the vat) and france pays a 400% (not a typo) tariff to sell its cheese in norway…

    We have fica contributions of 15% & funding to the pension guarantee corporation that are not “contributed to” by importers…

    U.S. treasury (or epa) could perhaps set up a auto recycling rule…a “deposit” for the average “life cycle” of the vehicle, with a “potential” refund 8 years down the road…based on what work, if any, importers did to mitigate the “waste” brought into usa…

    The notion that the treasury dept could not impose a “payment” along with the department of labor, & epa, etc. is rather interesting of the globe
    (& others)…

    It would take at least 2 years (IIRC) to have a “complaint” wind its way thru wto…

    Long enough to make the point even if the govt loses and has to pay back the money…

    and that is if a “settlement; isn’t mediated between the parties…

    There has been a trade war against the american worker for over 40 years…

    The german landesbanks provide all types of low cost financing for exporters and the “agreement” to reduce govt guarantees did not cover existing banking relations from before 2002…

    only new relations had to wind down by the end of 2015…

    1. Clive

      And even those sticklers for rules and regulations (so their own PR goes and they are only too happy for one to accept the cliche unquestioning) Germany is willing and able to flout treaty and legal stipulations which threaten to impose — horror of horrors — solutions which reflect US superiority in industrial technology and/or aren’t what the German government often sees it its main priority, supporting German businesses.

      The German government shamelessly aided and abetted Daimler Benz in ignoring, then flouting, then pursuing fatally flawed legal challenges which hadn’t got a hope of success but could drag things out a bit in holding out against environmentally friendlier refrigerants.

      And don’t even get me started on the kinds of stunts the Japanese pull.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      AKA non-tariff barriers to trade. Subject to WTO dispute resolution process but of course Trump doesn’t care about such things. Plenty of work for lawyers and I’ve actually heard no complaints in my world of profiteers and speculators.

  15. TheCatSaid

    DeVos is objectionable because of her inclination to enhance privatization of education. She’s an even worse candidate when her family connections are considered, and they are relevant as they relate to privatization.

    DeVos’s brother is Erik Prince of the mercenary firm Blackwater (Xe Services / Academi), which is involved in privatizing unsavory military functions. Scahill reports Prince is advising Trump.

    DeVos is a troubling pick for many reasons.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Yikes!!! erik prince is devos’s brother. I did not know that.

      In the current environment, I can’t believe that just mentioning that fact wouldn’t make her too much of a hot potato for confirmation–even for the department of education.

      Isn’t this guy maximum kryptonite?

        1. Eureka Springs

          Because Democrats are not who you hope they might be. Not even close. And even if they ramped up the kabuki they will capitulate on the next nominees.

          It’s who they are and what they do.

          1. EndOfTheWorld

            “Fun to shoot people.”—–That’s the way combat officers talk to their troops. The whole purpose of a military is to kill people. Mattis was not the lame brained nincompoop that ordered the Iraq invasion but his job was to go over there and lead a group of killers.

    2. dbk

      Devos is a troubling pick for many reasons.

      Including, unfortunately, the fact that she doesn’t know anything about education. I watched much of the confirmation hearing (which Lamar Alexander cannily cut to just over 3 hours; he knew it was a bad idea to allow a second day of questioning and turned down the HELP committee Democrats’ request) and frankly, I was cringing in shame for her.

      Most notable were her exchanges with Franken (she didn’t know the difference between proficiency and growth), Kaine (she refused to agree that charters be held to the same standards of accountability as public schools), and Warren (on higher education/ college loan programs; that exchange was just, well, never mind).

      This is the nominee who is most strongly opposed by members of the public in terms of numbers of letters and calls.

      Warren (yesterday iirc) in a statement released to justify her voting for Carson for HUD Secretary actually called her out: “I’m looking at you, Betsy DeVos” (along with two-three others).

      But it’s not certain any Republicans will be found to cross over and vote against her. If anyone has a Republican Senator who’s not being funded by the nominee and who is even remotely pro-public education, please write/call about this nomination. The vote was postponed from last Tuesday to this Tuesday (31 Jan).

      1. Ivy

        There are likely material differences in educational approaches around the country that have been either hidden, ignored or under-reported. For example, it would be instructive to see a comparison between, say, public schools, charter schools, religious schools and prep schools, for example. That comparison could cover such topics as inclusion or exclusion of academic and non-academic topics, presence or absence of art, music, PE, foreign languages, advanced math, etc.

        My initial assumption is that the high end schools spend a greater percentage of the school day on academics and are not burdened with as much social engineering.

        If anyone has suggested resources to find out more about that I’d be quite interested.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          There are tons of this kind of information available, and have been for at least a decade. Start with Diane Ravich’s blog and Peter Greene’s Curmudgecation.

        2. WJ

          As somebody who has spent his whole life in one educational institution or another, my view is that the entire elementary system is fucked, that public schools in poorer areas are still more fucked, and that the high school system is triply fucked (and mostly a waste of everybody’s time). There is only one level of our entire educational system where thinking is still allowed, structurally, to occur, and where it does actually sometimes take place, and that is the university–which has comparatively only begun to join the orgy of enforced instrumentalization the primary schools have suffered for decades. But we have made up for our initial belatedness with a kind of frenzied zeal–adding lots of new buildings and associate deanships and proliferating cadres of administrative Vice Presidents of this and that, all while cutting our costs (which nevertheless always rise) by getting rid of 75% of tenure-track faculty. The few that do remain are now market-responsive: teaching with an eye to what students (customers) like and not what they need; transforming what once were Shakespeare courses into “critical writing seminars”–the goal being to prepare the students (the lucky ones) for a lifetime of writing contentless grammatically correct emails to their supervisor at Target. More recently, we have like our colleagues further down the chain been similarly tasked with quantitatively assessing the our learning outcomes, which we dutifully write up and pass on, like they, to a faceless conglomerate of MBAs and PHDs in University Leadership who for this service charge us many tens of thousands of dollars annually and, every five years or so, touch us with the magical wand of accreditation. At which point we are assured that we are, in fact, a real university. Some of us initially resisted all this, but most are coming round to embrace the new normal as the only possible outcome of a logic none can quite express. Of course, many of our students end up indebted and jobless even after all these changes–and who knows? maybe in part because of them–but what can we do except hope that some social entrepreneur, somewhere, will one day solve our students’ problems, and the worlds’, with a grant from the Gates’ Foundaton and the cooperation of a couple of benefit corporations?

        3. KurtisMayfield

          Most charter schools weed out the students they don’t want, one way for another. For example Success academy in NYC (Eva Moskowitz’s charter, whose name was tossed around for Dept. of Education) started with ~75 students in their first class. That class is now down to the high teens. Success indeed.

          Also no one can find their State exam scores to even know how the kids are performing.

        4. Waldenpond

          To me, charter schools are elite language for the mechanism to funnel public money to religious and prep schools. As an experiment, try to classify the school as anything other than ‘charter’…. a look at the history (shut down and reopened xtian school) or the founders (individuals that had private schools that were shut down for financial or academic issues) starting new schools and, in the vast majority of the cases, it’s the same ol’ same ol’.

      2. UserFriendly

        So far Murkowski (AK) has been wavering because school privatization would be a nightmare in AK. She might be flippable with more push.

    3. CranckyBayStater

      Well, heck, there is the solution for safety in schools!
      Hire Xe/Blackwater — whatever it is called now– to patrol the halls of all schools.
      I am sure the contract will have favorable terms (for whom is up to the reader for interpretation)….

    4. The Trumpening

      There is speculation within the Trumposphere that Mick Mulvaney and Betty DeVos are sacrificial establishment GOP (GOPe) lambs offered up to Chuck Schumer to help make him look tough to the Dem base as he rejects them.

      Mulvaney is a GOPe budget hawk whose selection seems totally contrary to what will be Trump’s free spending ways. Once he is rejected Trump, could shrug his shoulders to Ryan & co. and say he tried to get their guy in but he failed and so now it is time for a Trump pick.

      If the Senate rejects DeVos, who is also pure GOPe, that will help Trump on the sexual front, for when people complain about how male-heavy his cabinet is he can respond by saying the Democrats proved they will reject his female candidates.

        1. The Trumpening

          Probably the best pro-Trump blog is The Last Refuge aka The Conservative Treehouse (I have no idea why they have two names) ( ). They concentrate on the split between establishment Republicans and Trump. The comments are weak and they do not like like criticism of Trump so it reminds me a bit of a right wing Daily Kos in that you pretty much have to cheer for the home team to participate.

          The Gateway Pundit ( ) will hit the main pro-Trump themes. It is very weak content-wise and often not accurate. But you will see the big picture themes and argument lines that the pro-Trump side will use. Comments are a complete waste of time.

          Steve Sailer ( ) is normally pro-Trump but with a higher quality comments section where criticism of Trump is allowed, both from a left and right wing point of view.

          Scott Adams ( ) Concentrates on Trump’s persuasive skills. Reasonably intelligent comments (both pro and anti).

          Breitbart — they can be surprisingly critical of Trump if he sways too close to establishment Republicans. But the articles are usually devoid of content; too many ads and videos popping up everywhere; comments are totally useless. At the most it is occasionally interesting to scan their homepage just to see which persuasion / propaganda lines they are pushing. Today for example it is surprising in that they are actually kind of praising Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

  16. fresno dan

    Class Warfare

    The huge disparities in US life expectancy in five charts Financial Times. Today’s must read. Clear cookies and Google the headline if you must. Not only has life expectancy fallen for the poor, notice no life expectancy gains for women, even upper middle class women, only for the richest. And in a huge reversal of historical patterns, middle and upper middle class men have longer life expectancies than women.

    And yet…..and yet, how many articles have I read that Trump was NOT elected because of the economy….how many articles decrying, lamenting, wailing about the word CARNAGE in the inaugural address…….

    America political system.
    DEMS: When your in power, and people die, it is not worth talking ** about…
    REPUBS: When you or dems are in power, and people die, it is not worth talking** about…

    ** dems and repubs: it is never worth DOING something about….

      1. bob k

        what?!?!?! it’s 2017!!!! we had obama!!!! you telling me that women are still not equal???? i don’t believe you! you’re a liar! (quote attributed to dylan).

  17. timbers

    Healthcare / Crapification?

    Have a healthcare story to share.

    As I’ve done full time contract work or only 5 months this year I rushed to get my annual check up done by first getting my annual blood tests done on 12/29/16 and scheduling doctor visit on later date, knowing that it would be covered to varying degrees depending on the Rubix Cube of my final income for the year. Yesterday I received an $800.00 bill for those tests. After calling Massachusetts agencies I was told my coverage was cancelled because I did not respond to proof of residency requests sent by U.S. mail, and that there is a law barring the U.S. Postal service from forwarding these requests (aimed at immigrants and those who live out of state?). Since I sold my house and bought nearby, I never received the request for proof of residency due to change of address even though I filled out change of address forms with Postal Service.

    Being in good health the only healthcare I use is an annual checkup and some common prescriptions for blood pressure and cholesterol. Annual blood tests are needed for these medicines.

    The mass agencies advised me to write a letter and request coverage be back dated to 12/29/16, which I’ve done. Would also like to note that a few years back I did get a statement from an insurance agency that covered these same tests and recall the bill being closer to $150.00, because I was supposed to pay a small co-pay of abt $14.00. The current $800.00 bill is a big jump up from my memory of past bills.

    On a bright note I’ve received my first good as in good paying full time direct hire (not contract) job offer in years that of course also has company health insurance and starts 1/30/17. Not sure yet when it’s health coverage starts.

    1. fresno dan

      January 28, 2017 at 9:41 am

      I hear you 100%. And my cynisense (akin to spidisense i.e., the sense of impending danger spiderman has, except cynisense is the sense of an impending screwing…and not in a fun way)
      tells me this is DESIGNED to be so cumber-sum, so convoluted, so filled with rigmarole so as to dissuade 99% of people from taking ALL (almost infinite) actions necessary to get what would be a fair use of the product (i.e., insurance)…..but you knew that.
      Good luck.

      “After calling Massachusetts agencies I was told my coverage was cancelled because I did not respond to proof of residency requests sent by U.S. mail, and that there is a law barring the U.S. Postal service from forwarding these requests (aimed at immigrants and those who live out of state?”

      “….and that there is a law barring the U.S. Postal service from forwarding these requests (aimed at immigrants and those who live out of state?” How about a citizen who lives in Massachusetts and moves somewhere else in Massachusetts??? No body in the Massachusetts legislature is aware that people move? I find it hard to believe that not forwarding mail is anything but a scam to deny coverage.

      This is one of those things I really wonder about (well, not really – its designed to screw people)
      If one paid for coverage, wouldn’t a check or credit card provide an address?
      I get the impression that your insurance is somehow related to some kind of Massachusetts program? if so, how in the world with state taxes and auto registration could Massachusetts NOT know you were a resident? (unless of course…its designed to screw you)
      If its a completely private health care, why where you live matter if you are paying your premiums? ((for anyone who says where you live may affect your risk pool, and therefore your premium, shouldn’t that be settled when the policy is bought?))

      and OH by the way, my blood test costs have recently SKYROCKETED as well – – one reason I get SO angry when I hear about the low inflation rate. If it isn’t lying…..well, it is lying. The whole health insurance process – – – And how government monitoring health costs is very carefully crafted and designed to obfuscate clear, concise pricing to hide price increases and to be able to grift more money out of people.

      1. timbers

        Yes about screwing people. For example, didn’t mention that the hold time for MassHealth Customer Service was about 45 minutes and they told me I needed to contact the MassHealth Enrollment Center to get re-enrolled, and that took about another 45 minute hold.

        So I spend about an hour and ahalf dealing with this and it’s not done yet. Now I have to fax proof of residency and follow up with at least 1 more phone call (45 minute hold again?).

        Not something you want hanging over you as you start a new job.

  18. fresno dan

    Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg drops case to acquire Hawaiian land BBC

    Wasn’t a comment made that The Zuck trying to acquire land showed he wasn’t going to run for POTUS after all? So, now that The Zuck has dropped the suits, does that mean The Zuck is back in the running?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        He would have to get past the formidable ‘I vill bachhhhh!’ Hillary.

        “One more man to deny this woman’s rightful place in history.”

    1. ChrisPacific

      I don’t interpret it to mean he’s leaving, just that he’s going to take a more nuanced approach to traditional land rights than “show up in court to defend it or lose it”. Possibly even engage with the local community like they asked him to.

      It’s a good start, but I remain to be convinced that he can coexist with the locals. Hawaii has a long history with wealthy white businessmen adopting it as their place of residence. Generally they are totally down with the local culture until their business interests are threatened, and then the gloves come off. Zuck is not an agricultural baron and the land for personal rather than business use, so maybe he will avoid turning into Darth Vader.

  19. mad as hell.

    I am glad you are acknowledging that verbal attacks are frowned upon. If I want to hear verbal jousting I’ll go by my sister’s place. I can always find an argument there. Here I look for news, insights and controlled arguing over politics and finance. Obviously your recent mentions in the Washington Post has caused an influx of newbies( I hate that word but right now I’m to lazy to look for a substitute) who don’t know the rules of the game. Your board, your rules!

    I have enjoyed your site for years. I’m sure your success will continue to grow. You got a good site! Good luck to your group ( I hate the word team when it’s not applied to sports). I know you can keep the inmates from running the asylum. You have done it in the past.

  20. allan

    China’s Army of Global Homebuyers Is Suddenly Short on Cash

    If that ever changes into

    China’s Army of Global College Students Is Suddenly Short on Cash,

    then some segments of US and Australian higher ed are going to be in a world of hurt.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Am one block away from a house that is owned by a group of young Chinese flippers who look like they could be University of Arizona students.

      They are trying to sell the property for, oh, three times more than they paid for it. And it’s not selling. I suspect that the cash shortage may be the reason why.

      1. fresno dan

        Arizona Slim
        January 28, 2017 at 10:58 am

        Hopefully, as buyers become more sophisticated and can use the innertubes to research the previous sold price (you have to be careful as that price can be manipulated – if your locality allows you access to the local property documentation records, that will give you the true selling price without the shenanigans) maybe buyers will understand that slapping some paint, and putting in the ubiquitous stone countertops is not worth 3x the original price.

      2. carl

        There’s nothing about the Tucson real estate market which would justify that kind of flip. No bubbles that I could see when I was there visiting.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Near-college real estate is probably more relevant to his case than that fact that it is Tucson real estate.

  21. NotTimothyGeithner

    About calling your Republican Senators, it’s best to call your Democratic Senators too. The Mark Warners and Tim Kaines of the world will only ever do the right thing if they feel constant pressure. They do love an inane bipartisanship victory, so don’t give them the chance. Remind them to vote “no.”

    1. marym

      Yes to this. Also remind Schumer and Durbin that they are the minority leader and whip and we expect them to do their jobs in ensuring “no” votes.

    2. DH

      Strength in numbers. If the Democratic Senators never hear from anybody, then they will assume they are free to work deals at will. If they are deluged, they can stand up and say they have gotten XX e-mails and phone calls and it is clear their electorate is leaning one way.

      1. hunkerdown

        If they take their phones off the hook, like Feinstein did, they can pretend they heard nothing.

        Those who count the votes decide everything.

        1. jrs

          I know I keep hearing call Senators and thinking Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris and then: why bother? But Harris is at least less of a known quantity (although what we know is not good), Feinstein has been ignoring voters FOR DECADES by this point and been reelected for decades anyway, and what’s more if your write to Feinstein you get smarmy emails in reply from her that don’t address anything you have said but just smarmily justify however she has chosen to vote. The only thing that is going to stop her is the grim reaper eventually.

    3. Katharine

      Good principle always to contact both, even if you know both will probably be with you before being asked or couldn’t be moved by anything you said. The point is that they are paid to represent you (among others) and should hear where you stand.

  22. paul Tioxon

    Trump Cabinet Resistance
    What may seem an odd tactic to discredit Steve Mnuchin is to present his Hollywood portfolio of films he has helped to finance and in some cases is a credited producer in addition to his bank foreclosure breaking of the law. While One West, the reincarnated IndyMac bank is the focus of Senate confirmation hearings, the salvos of illegalities and the heartlessness and cruelties of taking people’s home away from them has a right wing free pass. As I’ve mentioned before and as it has been covered here on NC over and over again, the republicans have a canned theory of the banks being forced to approve mortgages in some sort of quota system, based upon the CRA, The Community Reinvestment Act.

    The mortgage crises according the right wing was the direct result of government intervention, forcing banks to invest in the “community”(read all undeserving types, mostly minorities, aka Blacks!). This forced approval of mortgages by the government, the weaponized mortgages of a NINJA variety into the hands of people who will not or can not pay them back, triggering the meltdown once the tipping point of too many bad freeloading borrowers was reached.

    As much as the democrats can beat him up for his short term purchase and then resale at a profit, a bank “flip”, his long term business on his own after Goldman Sachs, was the Hollywood company known as Rat-Pac Entertainment. And his association with Hollywood, which as we all know, hates America more the meanies in Thomas Frank’s book. As a matter of fact, Rat-Pac hates America so much, that one of its main film lines are documentaries. So, it is not bad enough that Steve Mnuchin finances the sky high paychecks of the most overrated actress, Meryl Streep, in The Devil Wears Prada, George Clooney in Gravity, and a host of Leonardo DiCaprio films, culminating in the most liberal and wacko of all Hollywood films, the leftist documentary.

    Yes folks, the Eco-Terrorist propaganda, the filthy hippie commie crap about climate change featuring DiCaprio going out across the planet and filming melting Arctic ice, smoke belching oil refineries was produced by Rat-Pac Documentaries.

    Imagine the awkward cabinet meetings with Sec of State Tillerson: President Trump: Steve, I’m reading here in Variety you got boffo box office for that Dicaprio Film… Mnuchin: Yes Mr President, it was YUUUUUUUUgg! laughter… Tillerson: Isn’t that cocksucker Dicaprio trashing me in that crap, and you paid him to do it, why I ought to cut your tongue out and use to paint my garage…. Bodies lunge towards one another in huge scrum, Secret Service hustles Midas, Trumps code name, into secure area.


    Trailer for “BEFORE THE FLOOD”, featuring Obama, The Pope!! and speechifying before the goddam UN!! Once the republicans know that Mnuchin financed this documentary, I don’t think it would be too hard to get some republicans to join with dems to prevent this Hollywood Menace from poisoning the impressionable minds of a youthful America, hornswaggled by these celebrity types.

    1. fresno dan

      paul Tioxon
      January 28, 2017 at 10:08 am

      I am shocked, shocked and appalled, appalled and shocked, to learn that despicable greedy repubs are using our pure and virtuous Hollywood stars to make profits. Please, please, somebody inform Meryl, George, and Lenny that Hollywood is being financed by evil despoilers…..because they can’t possibly know, and I am sure, would refuse to accept any profits, residuals, product endorsements, or other emoluments, foreign or domestic, from such wicked use of the sacred use of film….

      AND, reported in ‘People”
      “Mischa Barton (Hollywood ‘star’) is revealing that she was drugged while celebrating her 31st birthday with (Hollywood) friends — and is encouraging women to learn from her personal experience.
      In an exclusive statement to PEOPLE on Friday, Barton confirms that she has been released from the hospital — and says that someone gave her GHB while drinking on Wednesday night.

      “On the evening of the 25th, I went out with a group of friends to celebrate my birthday. While having drinks, I realized that something was not right as my behavior was becoming erratic and continued to intensify over the next several hours,” Barton said in the statement.”

      I add that as I get absolute sick of the self aggrandizing bullsh*t that comes out of Hollywood, one of the pre-eminent exploiters of young women. As noted by me as well as many others, despite the endless self promotion of virtue by Hollywood stars, producers and associate financiers, apparently only dem presidential candidates understand that no one takes what Hollywood types say seriously.

      1. paul Tioxon

        De nada. Upon rereading, I think it is the best part of the whole post. Who knew? I am glad it lead to that one perfect nugget. Like a rug that pulls the whole room together. But enough about me.

        1. fresno dan

          paul Tioxon
          January 28, 2017 at 5:51 pm

          Midas was great…but not perfect because I believe everything Midas touched turned to Solid gold, and Trump just has everything gold plated… ;)

  23. Jim Haygood


    Trump signed an executive order Friday prohibiting entry by people from seven majority-Muslim nations for 90 days. Citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya would be banned from entering the U.S. for the period, while the government determines what information it needs to safely admit visitors.

    The Department of Homeland Security issued a directive on Friday afternoon ordering the Customs and Border Control agency to enforce the order, the New York Daily News reported. Late Friday, some green card and visa holders were already being blocked from boarding flights to the U.S., the newspaper said.

    Some Google employees were traveling abroad and were trying to get back to the U.S. before the order took effect. The company asked them to reach out to Google’s security, travel, and immigration teams for assistance.

    Green card [U.S. residency] holders blocked from entering the US solely because of their nation of origin? How can that be, when they’ve already gone through extensive vetting and are legally entitled to residency?

    Seems like Trump’s executive order was badly drafted. Shoot from the hip, blow off your own foot. Small hands make for bad aim. :-(

    1. DH

      None of the 9-11 hijackers, Boston Marathon bombers, or San Bernadino shooters were from the listed countries. This order would not have had any impact on our biggest radical Islam terrorist incidents. It is wreaking havoc in many people’s lives so that Trump can check a box next to a campaign pledge. Playing to the base.

      1. David Carl Grimes

        Does someone have a list tallying up the terrorists by the country of origin/nationality and size of the attack. Maybe we can put this in map form to contrast Trump’s list with the real list of terrorist havens.

        1. marym

          Suspension of visas

          Foreigners from those seven nations have killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and the end of 2015. Six Iranians, six Sudanese, two Somalis, two Iraqis, and one Yemini have been convicted of attempting or carrying out terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Zero Libyans or Syrians have been convicted of planning a terrorist attack on U.S. soil during that time period.

          Refugee ban

          This is a response to a phantom menace. From 1975 to the end of 2015, 20 refugees have been convicted of attempting or committing terrorism on U.S. soil, and only three Americans have been killed in attacks committed by refugees—all in the 1970s. Zero Americans have been killed by Syrian refugees in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. The annual chance of an American dying in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee is one in 3.6 billion. The other 17 convictions have mainly been for aiding or attempting to join foreign terrorists.

      2. wilroncanada

        “Coincidentally”, Islamic countries not on the banned list, including Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, are countries in which Trump has (he claims had) business interests, such as hotels, golf courses, or resorts. Interesting coincidences.

    2. oh

      It looks like DJT admin took the list made by BO admin in 2015. Excerpt from the executive order is shown below:

      … to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals, pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

      Link to 8 USC 1187:

      These countries were designated under President Obama:

      Under the Act, travelers in the following categories are no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States under the VWP:

      Nationals of VWP countries who have been present in Iraq, Syria, or countries listed under specified designation lists (currently including Iran and Sudan) at any time on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited government/military exceptions).
      Nationals of VWP countries who have been present in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, at any time on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited government/military exceptions).
      These restrictions do not apply to VWP travelers whose presence in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen was to perform military service in the armed forces of a program country, or in order to carry out official duties as a full-time employee of the government of a program country. We recommend those who have traveled to the seven countries listed above for military/official purposes bring with them appropriate documentation when traveling through a U.S. port of entry.

      While I agree that this kind of an executive order is deplorable especially when it affects green card holders, it looks like the presstitudes are not telling us the whole story.

  24. alex morfesis

    Not to seem foily or to veer off usual topics…but…paul ryans former home base cardinal, raymond burke, seems to be getting awful close to be trying a coup against the pope and ryan is awful quiet about it…it has gotten from ugly to nasty these last few weeks…

    (If the topic is taboo or gets hot, Kill it…oh, & full disclosure for what it’s worth, attended jesuit hs for a couple of years…no natural born females…was not gonna last)

    1. TheCatSaid

      Interesting about Cardinal Burke–is there a link you’d recommend?
      Is it difficult to track Vatican power plays?

      1. savedbyirony

        The Tablet has been running a series of articles concerning the Knights of Malta, the Vatican/Francis and the not so good Cardinal Burke. (It appears Francis has taken control of this situation for now.) There is also the “restorationist” movement churning out priests from seminaries with a pre-Vatican II love of clericalism which is against Francis and has been causing havoc in some Parishes as well which Burke and a number of other prominent US Bishops/Cardinals support. The National Catholic Reporter in the past was a good source of in depth and critical Roman Catholic coverage but unfortunately not so much anymore.

        1. TheCatSaid

          Thanks. Interesting article. For all the Vatican’s wealth and power, it’s rare to come across news of this kind.

  25. fresno dan

    Federal Reserve Bankers Mocked Unemployed Americans Behind Closed Doors Intercept (MF, MS). Also from UserFriendly: “I for one am shocked, shocked! That FED officials think that 9% unemployment is all because we are lazy junkie slobs.” Randy Wray had a similar reaction: “Unfortunately not shocking.”

    Yet according to transcripts released this month after the traditional five-year waiting period, Federal Reserve officials in November 2011 were debating whether unemployment was caused by bad work ethics and drug use – rather than by the greatest financial crisis in 80 years. This debate then factored into the argument over setting monetary policy.

    “I frequently hear of jobs going unfilled because a large number of applicants have difficulty passing basic requirements like drug tests or simply demonstrating the requisite work ethic,” said Dennis Lockhart, a former Citibank executive who ran the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank. “One contact in the staffing industry told us that during their pretesting process, a majority—actually, 60 percent of applicants—failed to answer ‘0’ to the question of how many days a week it’s acceptable to miss work.”

    “One contact in the staffing industry told us that during their pretesting process, a majority—actually, 60 percent of applicants—failed to answer ‘0’ to the question of how many days a week it’s acceptable to miss work.”

    Let me fix it:
    “in talking to my friends —actually, 60 percent —failed to answer ‘ALL’ to the question of how many FEDERAL RESERVE Bankers should be burned at the stake.”

    Unfortunately, I have too many soft hearted, not economically rational friends who do not understand the necessary disincentives needed to alleviate the problem……and who fail to recognize that FEDERAL RESERVE Bankers are space aliens trying to destroy humanity ….that must be destroyed with FIRE.
    Sheesh….the market will never work right if you don’t get your incentives/incineration’s correct!

    1. griffen

      The article is confirmation basis, see we think they’re A holes and they just proved it !

      A different tune woulda been sung had a Citigroup failed as it should have.

      (To add, losing 2 positions inside of 3 yrs within the financial sector, after the crisis “ended” as it were, a bit of an eye opener to say the least).

    2. HopeLB

      Yes! Especially YES to the part about the FED being run by space aliens.! I wrote about my very
      rational/highly probable or as the CIA would call it, “high confidence assessment” theory on this a few days ago. The aliens are in charge. It is the only reasonable deduction.

  26. moving left

    Yves, thank you. The commentariat is a big reason I became a regular reader of NC, even though there is much that I don’t even understand! That said, I’m going to throw out a question because I bet someone(s) will have a good answer.

    What can someone (not very educated in the field of econ) read that explains “taxes don’t pay for gov’t spending.” I understand (I think correctly) that gov’t spending is “paid for” by debt (Treasury bonds?) and we can always pay off that debt because of sovereign currency. But where do taxes go, then? (After all, when I write that check to the IRS, “money” goes out of my account.) Would ECONNED fit the bill?

    Taxes, spending, debt, deficits- we have been hearing nothing but the neoliberal dogma for so long, it’s become an ingrained belief, like a belief in a god, that it’s hard to get people to think differently, which I’m trying to do with people I know who are liberals but could become more lefty!

    1. Mark Alexander

      What can someone (not very educated in the field of econ) read that explains “taxes don’t pay for gov’t spending.”

      Being somewhat ignorant about MMT and related issues (which is why I read NC), I have trouble with this concept, too. But perhaps this article would be a start.

    2. allan

      Slightly off topic from your question (since it doesn’t discuss the issue of what funds government spending),
      but I recently read a new book by James Kwak, called Economism,
      about the use of Econ 101 oversimplifications to brainwash journalists, politicians and judges
      (through the Law and Economics racket) and to shut down any discussion of changing the way things are.
      TINA with an academic gloss. Highly recommended.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      This article is pretty good – What are Taxes For? The MMT Approach.

      Read the whole thing but this part has a good synopsis:

      Where do the taxes payments go? Nowhere—a bank account is debited.


      All of this was recognized by Beardsley Ruml, a New Dealer who chaired the Federal Reserve Bank in the 1940s; he was also the “father” of income tax withholding and wrote two important papers on the role of taxes (“Taxes for Revenue are Obsolete” in 1946, and “Tax Policies for Prosperity” in 1964). Let’s first examine his cogent argument that sovereign government does not need taxes for revenue, and turn to his views on the role of taxes.

      In his 1964 article, he emphasizes that “We must recognize that the objective of national fiscal policy is above all to maintain a sound currency and efficient financial institutions; but consistent with the basic purpose, fiscal policy should and can contribute a great deal toward obtaining a high level of productive employment and prosperity.” (1964 pp. 266-67) This view is similar to that propounded in by MMT.

      He goes on to say that the US government gained the ability to pursue these goals after WWII due to two developments. The first was the creation of “a modern central bank” and the second was the sovereign issue of a currency that “is not convertible into gold or into some other commodity.” With those two conditions, “[i]t follows that our federal government has final freedom from the money market in meeting its financial requirements….National states no longer need taxes to get the wherewithal to meet their expenses.” (ibid pp. 267-8)

      Why, then, does the national government need taxes? He counts four reasons:

      (1) as an instrument of fiscal policy to help stabilize the purchasing power of the dollar; (2) to express public policy in the distribution of wealth and of income as in the case of the progressive income and estate taxes; (3) to express public policy in subsidizing or in penalizing various industries and economic groups; and (4) to isolate and assess directly the costs of certain national benefits, such as highways and social security. (ibid p. 268)

    4. moving left

      To Mark, Allan, Lyman, JEHR:

      I knew the answer would be MMT and now you’ve given me places to start. Thank you.

    5. Oregoncharles

      “But where do taxes go, then?”
      Let’s see if I understand it. I think the problem is two different meanings of “pay for.” Taxes go into the federal treasury, from which the money is, indeed, used to pay the government’s bills – ALONG WITH funds from various other sources, like selling bonds or “printing” money. The point is that taxes aren’t NECESSARY for the purpose; the government could just “print” all of it. The result of that depends on the state of the economy.

      Hence, the real use of taxes is in giving the money value (along with settling contracts), adjusting the amount of money in circulation, as well as various forms of social engineering. They’re very effective at directing economic activity. “The power to tax is the power to destroy.”

      Obviously, this doesn’t apply to the states, because they can’t “print” money.

      If I got it wrong, (I left out more than I included) someone will correct me.

  27. marym

    Muslim ban

    The Bloomberg post is misleading, as legal residents and people with visas are being denied re-entry. A legal group including the ACLU has filed a challenge in NY and is seeking class certification.

    In addition to Bloomberg’s quote from Sen Chris Murphy (D-CT)

    “We bomb your country, creating a humanitarian nightmare, then lock you inside,” Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, said in a statement on Wednesday. “That’s a horror movie, not a foreign policy.”

    he’s posted at HuffPo and Twitter:
    “Can’t totally agree with everything in this post, but at least he’s speaking out.

    To my colleagues: don’t ever again lecture me on American moral leadership if you chose to be silent today.

    This is pure hate enacted by executive order. And apparently among Trump’s many areas of total ignorance is the already existing vetting process for refugees.

    1. voxhumana

      If by “we bomb your country” Murphy means Barack Obama’s Administration then, indeed, there’s much to talk about…

      1. tgs

        I am amazed at all the outrage that refugees from Yemen are banned, given that almost no one cared that Obama backed the Saudi’s savage bombing campaign and siege that has created a famine.

        Obviously Obama’s actions didn’t fit the narrative.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      How about we just stop creating refugees? That needs seems to be an option for solving this problem.

      1. DH

        Whoa.That is radical. Next you’ll be doing crazy talk about not destabilizing Latin American countries so their economies can be stable and not export illegal immigrants to us.

    3. Jim Haygood

      ‘This is pure hate enacted by executive order. And apparently among Trump’s many areas of total ignorance is the already existing vetting process for refugees.’ — marym

      Quite right. Having helped someone through it, I can tell you that obtaining US residency is an arduous, multi-year process involving background checks and personal interviews.

      Some of the green card holders being excluded solely on the basis of national origin have homes, jobs, spouses and kids in the US. Now they’re locked out by arbitrary fiat — amateur hour at the White House.

      ACLU is likely right that this executive order is illegal. Where is Trump’s attorney general Jeff Sessions?

      I’ve got a welt from the Bible belt
      Dealing with the hand that I’ve been dealt
      Sitting in the grip of a killing fist
      Giving up blood just to exist

      Rub me wrong and I get pissed
      No I can not get to this
      People in pain I do not dig it
      Change of brain for Mr. Bigot

      — Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Power of Equality

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps it hinges on the length of time of the order – 90 days.

        Moreover, unless it’s expedited, it will be a month, 2 or 3 months before a decision.

        1. Hen Kai Pan

          And it’s ok to be detained at the airport for 2-3 months, without even access to a lawyer?
          I am so disgusted. Every other country in the world has a transit zone at airports where people can at least eat something, or walk around, but not the US. When visitors, and I mean from Europe, get into second inspection, the border agents search their phones – where else is this done? Having worked in international tourism, I know cases when people were turned around and had to leave on the next plane. But someone whose papers are in order, to detain them in a cell at the airport? Very civilized. Years ago, when someone threw a tomato at a US consulate in Switzerland, each time one day later innocent Swiss middle class tourists were excessively grilled at immigration, as if the tomato had been their fault.

          1. DH

            Should be good for movie rights. If they play their cards right, they can get Steve Mnuchin to negotiate the rights contract while they are still trapped in the airport.

            BTW – Canadian border guards and police have the right to ask you to unlock your phone for them. Not everyone has the robust Fifth Amendment rights of the US.

      2. RabidGandhi

        Hey remember back in the day when civil servants solemnly affirmed that they would refuse to enforce illegal Trump orders?

        Those were the days.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To my colleagues: don’t ever again lecture me on American moral leadership if you chose to be silent today.

      Mr. Murphy, isn’t that challenge, like, um, years too late?

      Would have been more powerful at the time of the first innocent drone victim (if not earlier).

      By the way, where are we on the slippery moral slope?

      1. Synoia

        By the way, where are we on the slippery moral slope?

        Good question, let us analyze:

        Are we at the top: No. Guantanamo, etc.
        Are we at the bottom? No. This new ban is not all encompassing.
        Are we ascending or descending? This is a new ban – therefore descending.

        We have a vector, but no absolute position.

        Do we have concentration camps? Not for a mass of citizens based on race. No. We are better than those guys.
        Do we have rule of law? Maybe, those in Chicago might disagree, as might many Black Citizens.
        Do we have an accountable parliament? No. See Health Care. We are worse than those guys.

        Hey we are both better and worse than those guys – does that put us in the middle?


        1. We are on the slippery slope, in motion (not stationary) and sliding downwards.
        2. The position is sort of in the middle of the slope (with considerable uncertainty – measured by rights lost and gained)
        2. The velocity is not measurable, because the unit scale is not defined (How many named rights do we have, and how many rights per week abridged).

        Process to measure the system:

        1. Name and enumerate the rights
        2. Measure how many abridged by whom from what group on a time line
        3, Deduce velocity and acceleration
        4. Invent brakes? This may have something to do with elections and corruption.
        5. Apply brakes! Stop the descent.
        6. Climb back up slippery slope – needs a solid push from below (Typically considered as climbing over corpses).

        1. Expat

          What is rarely mentioned is that the US is largely responsible for the situations in all the countries in the ban. If Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Afghanistan put a reciprocal ban in place,the world would be better off.
          In fact, if the ROTW put a ban on US travel, I think we would all be better off.

    5. OIFVet

      Where was Chris Murphy when 0bama’s, and Hillary’s interventions and regime changes unleashed the tsunami of refugees and migrants? Oh yeah, he was making a trip to Bulgaria with McCain to order the colony to scuttle South Stream. For all I know, he might have negotiated an arm deal or two for the CIA, seeing how prodigious quantities of Bulgarian-made weapons ended up in takfiri weapons caches by way of the CIA and the Saudis. Just because Murphy happens to be right on the issue does not excuse his hypocrisy in remaining silent as his party’s leader bombed countries and armed head-choppers and heart-munchers.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps hypocrisy…I don’t know the senator that well.

        But the problem indeed is how to distinguish real and fake sympathy.

        A. welcome newcomers.
        B. Most newcomers are likely to gain me economic or partisan political (they will vote for me) power.

        The potential conflict of interest issue starts at the very top (why is someone staying at a particular hotel) all the way down to my job as an interpreter (potentially, of course) and other jobs (it will competitively keep the workers I supervise in place).

        1. aab

          He’s a big hypocrite.

          Having said that, blocking people from re-entering the country who have established lives here and have already been extensively vetted on no notice seems objectively horrible.

          One of the most frustrating things about our current political situation is how the Democrats who need to be purged from the system for their corruption, deceit and incompetence are going to be offered opportunities like this to be on the right side performatively over the next four years, and I think we’ll have no choice to pat them on the head when they do it. Then I guess we go back to hitting them on the snout with rolled-up newspapers. This is not my style, so I find the whole process unpleasant.

          I think blocking one or two ghastly Trump nominees would be an objectively good thing, and DeVos sounds unfit along numerous parameters. But if she’s the only one, I’m going to be tempted to side emotionally with the Hillbots and think, “Really? JUST the unfit woman? None of the unfit men could be stopped? Not ONE?” And again, I find myself conflicted because I do not want the corporate Democrats to get away with doing the actual bare, functionally unmeaningful minimum and be rehabilitated for it. They’ve got to be purged. They’re like villains clinging by one hand to a tall building, but their confederates are even now moving a crane into place to rescue them. We have to stop this somehow.

  28. bob k

    “In a vote pitting current workers against retirees, the retirees in the Iron Workers Local 17 union in Cleveland lost. Starting next week, their pension payments will shrink, some by half or more.”

    clear case of correct workers with no class consciousness. not their fault. there is no viable left. but as long as the elites are able to produce results like this they will stay, well, elite.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Does the pension’s problem have anything to do with near 0% interest policy by the Fed?

  29. diptherio

    On comments:

    We have shut down comments entirely in the past when trying to manage them has become too stressful and too much of a time sink. Don’t force us to do it again.

    It occurs to me that this would be a desirable outcome for any of the many enemies you have made yourself with this site. I mean, I wouldn’t put it past CalPERS or Correct the Record to contract people specifically to try to destroy the comments section through filling it with hateful bile. Just saying…although I have no idea what you might do to combat this kind of directed attack, it doesn’t seem entirely paranoid to consider that it might in fact be going on.

    1. shinola

      I guess I missed yesterdays mud fight. Out of curiosity, which article generated the hostilities?

      I would guess it was James F’s but that’s only because of the unusually large number of comments on a single article.

      (Not trying to stir up anything – just wondering about the subject matter that led to the problem)

    2. Waldenpond

      There are political groups, government groups and just the generic sadists … they specifically park in the feeds and comment sections of those they don’t like (or just for entertainment) to repel commenters and readers and to get others to stop communicating. If cussing is shut down, there is name calling, if name calling is shut down there is dump and runs, if dump and runs are shut down, there are those that derail….

  30. ambrit

    Hmmm… Fifth Columnist Trolls, or 5CT.
    Garden variety trolls don’t “cut the mustard” on this site. As people here are saying with regularity; “Better trolls please.” That sounds like a request for a development project from one of the Think Tanks. If that’s the case, where do I sign up to be one of the “controls?” (I’ll throw in a percentage to the NC budget just for “s—s and giggles.”) This should qualify the program for 503 A through Z status with the IRS.

  31. Isolato

    Not sure if this got noted elsewhere, but we have lost one of the great English actors, John Hurt. Whether as “The Elephant Man” or as Winston Smith in the remarkable performance in “1984” (which was also Richard Burton’s last performance) he was one of the finest in an incredible lineage that stretches back to strutting and fretting one’s hour upon the stage.

    1. fresno dan

      January 28, 2017 at 11:58 am

      I saw him in the Elephant Man, and he gets to visit the home of the doctor (Anthony Hopkins) who is caring for him, and he tells the doctors wife how disappointed his mother must have been to have borne him. It is the most heart rending scene I have ever scene in a movie. Even as I write this the tear ducts gush….

      Of course, later in the movie as the hospital investors are going to toss the elephant man into the streets, and Anthony Hopkins is beside himself when he learns this, a serene John Geilgud (hospital administrator) counsels patience. Later, as Hopkins is unable to convince the greedy bastards that the elephant man should stay at the hospital, but who should walk in but the Queen of England, inquiring about the care of the elephant man, and than the Queen is surrounded by these toadying and obsequious bastards, who fall over themselves in pledging eternal gratis care for the elephant man. In the thousands upon thousands of movies I have seen, I have never seen a more satisfying scene of evil being vanquished….

      1. Isolato


        If you haven’t seen “1984” (which they made in 1984…) it is a riveting translation to the screen, nearly perfect. Both Burton, with his impeccable calm, and Hurt, with his destroyed visage, you too will believe that 2+2=5.

        But, fair warning, it is just the opposite of evil being vanquished.

    2. savedbyirony

      John Hurt as Caligula in “I, Claudius” was magnificent and, well, he did hold his own with the scene stealing chest buster in “Alien”. Always an actor to watch out for.

    3. Buttinsky

      I’m surprised that two of his most memorable performances — in Love and Death in Long Island and as Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant — are not at the top of the obits. Both are unique films, expertly crafted, with flawlessly charming performances by Hurt.

      1. Ann

        +1 on Love and Death on Long Island. Fun film.

        John Hurt was one of those actors I could never get enough of. So sorry to see this news today.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre


          I am glad you listed ” The Naked Civil servant “, which was groundbreaking when the series was first show in the 1970’s Britain.
          It was one of those rare moments when television is capable of shining a light upon a barely known or experienced world through drama, while transcending the stereotypes of the time. It also taught me as a teenager that true courage, was not the sole preserve of the heroes that up to that date, had been fed to me.
          Occasionally I chance on dust coated furniture, which immediately brings John as Quentin back to me.

          1. Buttinsky

            Yes! — The Naked Civil Servant permanently affected my housekeeping. “After two years the dust doesn’t get any worse.” ;-)

  32. CoffeeGeek

    The snark about “Gotta have those H1-B visas” is pretty unwarranted in my opinion.

    They are literally tearing apart families by denying re-entry to legal citizens coming back from vacations; people who have been here forever; people who have helped the US in Iraq:

    Of course, from Muslim-majority countries where Dear Leader doesn’t have business interests, not ones related to terrorism (eg NOT Saudia Arabia, and so on). Scary, scary times.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Of course, from Muslim-majority countries where Dear Leader doesn’t have business interests, not ones related to terrorism

      You fail to give the full context. The countries that are notably omitted are the ones where Washington has compliant repressive regimes in place: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Egypt… which ironically (ok not ironically) are the same countries where most of the perpetrators of terrorist attacks vs. the US hail from– as opposed to the countries now banned from visas that never had terrorists attack the US. These countries were already singled apart by Bush and Obama for visa restrictions because they are Washington’s enemies.

      Trump’s business interests thus logically followed the pattern set by Washington. (Futhermore, could you imagine the liberal teeth that would be gnashed if Trump had bucked the trend and invested in Iran, Libya or Syria?).

      Once again, Trump should be held accountable for expanding Bush/Obama’s rancid policies, but it is disingenuous to pretend his actions are some sort of departure from the past.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A family is first torn apart when

      1. boss sends mother-worker, father-worker, husband-worker, wife-worker, domestic-partner-worker to another city, another state or another planet.

      2. when one’s country is bombed so one becomes a refugee

      3. when one’s country is wrecked by neoliberalism so one becomes a refugee

      4. when one’s hired by H1B visa issuing overseas company

      5. when one’s town is in the Rust Belt, so one moves to Hollywood.


      1. Felix_47

        When your paternalistic misogynistic society produces an average of 6.8 children/woman for a few generations and no increase in resources. Look for the root cause. Take a trip to Afg or Iraq or Yemen.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      H1-B visas do not give someone the right to bring their family over.

      I am snarking because Trump’s botched initiative will enable Silicon Valley to conflate permanent residents and green card holders (a path to permanent residence) with H1-B visas (a temporary work visa). You proved it by not knowing the difference

      1. mahleria

        H1-B visa holders can certainly bring their families–see H4 visas. Until Obama’s executive order spouses had no right to work in US, but now they technically can, though I hear it’s still very difficult to obtain the paperwork. Presumably, Trump will revoke this shortly.

        I have plenty of friends on H1-B visas who’ve made roots here. They have bought houses and are otherwise full members of the community. Do note that there is a path from H1-B to green card, though it requires being effectively an indentured servant to a single employer for many years. H1-B visas are terrible policy, but there is no reason to make the people suffer. They too are sometimes victims of the policy too, particularly in the way that employer has power over them. See above regarding the green card process. Even more directly, the fact that the visa is temporary means leaving your employer puts you at risk of being kicked out of the country on short notice. Hence, one won’t have much leeway negotiating salary, arguing against bad working conditions etc.

  33. Altandmain

    Check this out:

    The Democrats are blocking minimum wage increases. They have become increasingly indistinguishable from the GOP. Perhaps it really is no surprise that they got low working class turnout.

    Between their patronizing professional class contempt and their class warfare, they really have nothing to offer.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      With unhappy current subscribers, and you’re losing them, it’s best to get or import new subscribers.

      1. Altandmain

        If you are referring to the Democrats losing people, maybe they are trying to appeal to conservative GOP people. That’s the only way this makes any sense.

        The problem for the Establishment Democrats is, the election showed they won’t back the Democrats.

    2. aab

      It is the Democrats who blocked single payer in California and Colorado, and blocked the proposition this past election to get prescription drug prices lowered in California.

      Yes, they have nothing of substance to offer to anyone not already protected by wealth or executive status in a protected industry.

    1. MDBill

      This doesn’t surprise me. Seems as though Jimmy’s often talking about something that has been discussed on NC.

    2. B1whois

      He opens his show by saying that a friend tweeted him the link to naked capitalism. I don’t usually watch his show because he’s so shrill and I don’t need extra riling up. I went over there and congratulated him on finding naked capitalism, extorting the site’s virtues.
      Perhaps others would also be willing to do this? We need more than lonely silo’s of truth, we need more linkages. He has almost 200,000 followers and they could only benefit from his show being more informed by NC…

      1. Altandmain

        I watch Jimmy Dore regularly and its pretty good.

        I think that Jimmy Dore followers would be a good asset. It might be tough though if you want to expand to others.

        I’ve been on the Reddit forums – the Sanders sub-reddits regularly link to NC. Right now the Clinton sub-reddits sound like the Democrat establishment. They attack everyone and we Bernie supporters are especially an object of blame.

        Trump supporters have a North Korean-like cult around the man. I suspect if Clinton or Trump supporters came on in decent numbers, the comments would indeed have to go offline.

      2. hidflect

        Jimmy Dore has a good slant on his show. His whole point is that progressives let Obama slide on every vile thing he did but now Trump is in power he’s sure to be called to account for even the slightest retrograde act. He also campaigns hard against the corporate democrats who have poisoned the left.

        1. David Carl Grimes

          I loved it when Jimmy Dore showed that Clinton couldn’t even fill up a high school auditorium with enthusiastic supporters while both Bernie and Trump could fill up entire football stadiums to the rafters with screaming followers. If I had seen that video before the election I would have shared this with all my Clintonite friends.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can Robert Mercer take over the CIA, NSA, or the rest of the world, or will they take over him, should he try?

  34. fresno dan

    Stegosaur plates for thermoregulation, revisited, again. One of those things that everyone seems to know about stegosaurs – or, rather, about Stegosaurus in particular – is that the plates may have functioned in thermoregulation. Given that most organs that stick out from the body can absorb and radiate heat (the most oft-mentioned ‘facultative thermoregulatory structures’ are the horns of bovids), we might say with some confidence that stegosaur plates and spines had some thermoregulatory role.

    I admit to being sceptical of such explanations because it seems to me that people try too hard to find ‘functional’ explanations when confronted with flamboyant biological structures. The latter could just as well be flamboyant because they’ve evolved under selection for, well, being flamboyant.
    I believe that the plates could have been used for sailing – they are perfect for tacking and jibing. Add to this that the plates were probably colored and you can only conclude that they were flamboyantly colored sailors, …. and it follows that the only possible conclusion is that the stegasaurs were the gayest of the dinosaurs.

      1. ambrit

        Brightly coloured plates? That suggests that they were “Herb”-ivores. (Hides head in faux shame.)

  35. MightyMike

    “Mr. Obama had the chance to close the chicago shipping canal and didn’t. I guess the world’s largest freshwater eco-system is small potatoes when you have other countries to fry.”

    Trump would have said that Obama was putting blue collar workers out of work for the sake of fish. It would be seen as pandering to the elitists, the people that Chris Arnade calls the front row kids.

    1. integer

      From the article:

      But they have turned up more often in recent years and the threat of a full-fledged invasion appears to be rising, he said.

      I think one would really have to be incredibly credulous to believe that 0bama foresaw Trump winning the 2016 election years ago and held off from doing anything due to a desire to not be criticized by Trump.

  36. Bullwinkle

    The link to the CounterPunch article “Double Standards….” is most appreciated. I hope it gets a wide audience.

  37. Tom Stone

    Yves, I suspect a few of the worst offenders came over from “Calculated Risk” after Bill McBride was forced to close down the comment section due to the abusive behaviour of a few individuals.
    This site now has the most valuable and insightful commentariat regarding the political economy available and it is my hope that you and Lambert will be able to keep it open.
    There is an effort to shut down the free flow of ideas and information and as long as you continue to provide the kinds of information you have in the past you will be a target.

  38. DanP66

    I have to say that despite being the product of private school education myself, I always supported the idea of good public schools.

    Well…then I had children. To describe my experience with the public schools and my daughter as mixed would be fair.

    Ultimately though, when I realized that the public school teachers were sending their own kids to the local Catholic schools and when my daughters 4th grade teacher told my wife and I that we should get our daughter out before 5th grade and when the school told us they could not challenge her without skipping her ANOTHER grade….I had to pull her out.

    Ended up in a Catholic middle school and a private prep school.

    The differences were like night and day. She BLOOMED. I wish we had pulled her sooner and her younger brother has never been in public school.

    Apart from the overall educational experience, there are a lot of other nice things about the private schools. A lot less PC BS to deal with. A lot less issues with unruly students or kids that cannot keep up or speak the language well enough to stay with the class material.

    I hate to say it, but it just might be time to look at school vouchers. Everything else we have tried for the last 50 years has not worked. We still have too man lousy public schools. Part of me thinks that this is because we have too many special interests pulling on the schools and that the schools do not have the necessary bandwidth to deal with kids of either above or below average intelligence nor the ability to actually expel kids who are failing. If you cannot expel failing kids or kids that are trouble, then there are not real consequences.

    At my daughters school, they expelled one junior last year for doing drugs off campus and sharing with a freshman girl.

    Couple things on private schools.

    1. The kids and their parents are invested and parents hold the kids accountable. The kids know that failure means expulsion. Mom and dad don’t take well to wasting tens of thousands of dollars. Also, almost all the kids and their parents are committed to a top notch education. You do not spend that kind of money and jump through the hoops you need to unless you are determined and have high expectations. Hence, your kid is surrounded by kids who have the same ambitions, expectations and commitment to education. Did not see that in the public schools. Just did not.

    2. The teachers have a lot more bandwidth to deal with issues of behavior and with fewer students they have more time for one on one time between classes and after school.

    1. human

      “Everything else we have tried for the last 50 years has not worked.”

      Has increasing funding to public schools been tried? I’m happy that private schools work out for you, however, de-funding public schools is not the answer.

      1. John Parks

        I look back, a long way back, to a 3rd grade class that I was in that, at the time I left, had 51 students crammed into our one room. There was no discipline problem. It was on the west coast, Oceanside, Ca. and the increased population was due to the returning vets from Korea joining their families and the lack of schools on the local base, Camp Pendleton. This was not a normal cross section of society as most students, including me, were the children of the veterans and the discipline that came with military life. Our teacher relied on the students themselves, put into small distinct groups, to make sure that everyone in their group was supported, encouraged, and taught/caught up to the level she required.
        Our little microcosm back then reminds me of the Chinese educational system today. It worked.

      2. Felix_47

        We spend a lot more on public schools….the teacher and administrator salaries and benefits are much higher. They are simply too political. The good ones are supported by parents. Our local school was quite good but then the district ruled that donations by parents in money, equipment and time violated the law and we had to pull away or else donate everything to the district to allocate as they saw fit. People were not going to come in and man the library or donate books or raise money when the school they were sent to is 10 miles from the school their kid goes to and they have to get child care to volunteer. A lot of the achieving kids went on to private schools. That was LAUSD years ago. It might be different now.

      3. bob

        50 years you say?

        Says the person who couldn’t be bothered to look into what the schools were up to before he sent his kids there.

        Public schools are a mixed bag. To pretend that “private” would be better in all instances is a fallacy.

        “But he’s only suggesting that maybe…”

        Nope, he’s saying that public schools are bad, based on his own very limited experience, with private schools.

    2. Tigerlily

      The kids and their parents are invested and parents hold the kids accountable…Did not see that in the public schools. Just did not.

      That’s an apples and oranges comparison though.

      It’s like having one sports league composed of elite players who are the product of a rigorous (and expensive) development program and who are provided with the best facilities and coaching staff
      and another league composed of anyone who wants to join and where there are no expectations other than showing up once a week for a pickup game. Public education is much like the second league in that it is necessarily geared toward catering to the lowest common denominator.

      That doesn’t mean it has to be bad however. Other countries get a lot more out of their public education systems than the US, in part because in the US politicians routinely push education “reform” as stalking horse for looting public assets and privatization (Betsy DeVos take a bow…). In other words it’s not really about improving public education but about creating returns for wealthy investors, while preserving a system that effectively restricts social mobility to those with access to private education.

      1. Liberale Mole

        My kids go to a public school district that is 70% black and hispanic minority. We have several lower income housing projects in our city and several private schools as well. We also have an extremely high, over 20,000 a year per student school budget, nice modern schools, small class sizes, arts, music, and foreign languages. The kids do well, most graduate, and almost all expect to go to college and do so. But just look at that price tag, what every underperforming school in America might need to educate children dealing with poverty, english as a second language, mental and behavioral issues, family strife, drugs and alcohol, and whatever else makes the teacher’s job so difficult and the student unprepared to learn. As Cyndi sings, “Money changes everything.”

      2. bob

        Just a few edits-

        while preserving a system that effectively restricts public finding to those with access to private education, and a stable of well paid lobbiests.

  39. craazyman

    Spel much?

    I can’t believe in today’s internet age, when a dictionary is just one click away on every smart phone or laptop — and you don’t even have to be careful to spel words rite — that they misspelled “Lizard” on that sign.

    That’s a Highway Sign! Thousands of people see that sign every day! That’s really bad.

    Oh man. I wonder if this is crapification, carelessness, drug induced cranial coma or just an honest mistake by an otherwise responsable highway system employee.

    It’s tempting to see this is a metaphor but it may just be an honest mistake. You can’t fly off the handull too easily — you need to get your facts strait first and then fly off the handull.

      1. craazyman

        I don’t read every Post or every comment but I didn’t notice any intemperateness in recent comments. It seemed pretty normal to me. The usual mixed bag of yada yada interspersed with quite remarkable insights and observations.

        People need a thick skin if they want to rant and not get ranted back at. If they do get ranted back at, then the standard I would apply is “Is it a good rant? Is it funny and clever and well composed? Or is it just a verbal vomit of irredeemable and embarrasing stupidity?

        I would never get angry or upset. AYFKM? If somebody flamed me I wouldn’t care at all. If they said, for example:

        “If you think channelling is a reliable source of factually substantiated truth, and you actually believe it, then you’re probably more confused than a dope-smoking redneck clicking at his TV looking for re-runs of NASCAR races at 3 a.m.”

        That’s not very funny but I’d give it a “pass” for effort. I woudln’t give it an “A” or even a “B”. I have to maintain standards!

        People are too thin skinned. If somebody said to me “Well, I guess you want Donald Trump to be a dictator then. I hate oil drilling and the earth is going to be 190 degrees in three months unless we stop carbon. That’s just the facts.” I have to be honest, I’d fall asleep. About half way through the comment.

        You can tell a wacko from the first few sentences. You can tell they’re not really thinking at all, they’re just reflecting something they’ve read on the internet. They’re like a glass wall and you look at it and you see something, but it isn’t them or their mind — it’s a reflection of something outside of both, both them and their mind. What is it? LOL. That’s for you to figure out. That’s interesting! If people talk about that, then they have my full attention.

      1. craazyman

        Wow. I never thought of that! That’s true, You get them home about 4 a.m from the bar and do your business, and then it’s not entirely clear when they’ll leave. Sometimes you don’t even want them too! That’s maybe what they’re talking about — just be careful if you’re, say, a Bernie Bro who got lucky at the Million Woman March last week, and you’re not sure what’s up. I guess that’s why there’s no time shown on Sunday.

        Wow. You almost have to be a mathematician to figure this stuff out. That was subtle.

    1. DH

      If you notice, there is not a single “B” on the sign.

      Mindless sequestration budget cuts probably forced them all to remove “B” from their keyboards, so they are just doing the best they can under trying circumstances.

      Hint: It’s not a misspelled “Lizard”. It is a partial “Blizzard”

      1. bob

        Yup, and it’s upstate NY. No money for signs, or any infrastructure really.

        But, we’ve got a gov to run for prez.

        Carnival rides for everyone!


        God rest Phil.

    2. ambrit

      “B” grade comment? Don’t get saur, jes say’n.
      Does this mean Jim Morrison lives, and only comes out at night?

    3. Kokuanani

      I thought they meant to say “Blizzard,” and the B somehow got omitted.

      Of course an overhead highway sign is a rather strange way to announce a blizzard.

      1. bob

        It’s lake effect snow, if I’m right about the location. Probably near Buffalo. Very localized, and if the state were half way serious about keeping things up, it might be a good way to notify people.

        Snow doesn’t garner much attention.

        On roads like that, highways, you’re literally traveling on bare pavement at 65mph, then, all of a sudden, 3 feet of snow.

  40. fresno dan

    In this vein, I have been unhappy to see some of the attacks leveled by people for whom I have considerable respect, notably Paul Krugman. In a post yesterday, Krugman makes the case that the basic tax proposal would be a subsidy for domestic production and therefore inconsistent with free trade principles.

    Poor Dean Baker – how many times has he pointed out where he believes Krugman is wrong, but just as people who believe in God are unwilling to accept that their is no virtue in allowing suffering if it was in your power to end it, Baker won’t acknowledge that Krugman’s views often don’t make sense, especially when it comes to “free” trade.

  41. none

    If you are in a state with one Democratic party senator and one Republican, be sure to call your Republican senator.

    Thanks for this advice. I’m in California so I guess I better call Feinstein.

  42. fresno dan

    But the news from Moscow may explain how the agencies could be so certain that it was the Russians who hacked the email of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Two Russian intelligence officers who worked on cyberoperations and a Russian computer security expert have been arrested and charged with treason for providing information to the United States, according to multiple Russian news reports.
    The virtually simultaneous appearance of at least four prominent news reports on the arrests, citing numerous anonymous sources, suggested that the normally opaque Russian government wanted the information out, though it was unclear why.

    The report said the investigation led to Mr. Mikhailov, a senior officer involved in tracking criminal computer activity in Russia.

    The hints suggested that the Russian government may be signaling that it might, however indirectly through a treason trial, reveal details of election hacking, which would have the potential to damage Mr. Trump’s administration.

    But there is another explanation, if something of a counterintuitive one: Documenting a Russian role in the electoral hacks could also serve Moscow’s foreign policy interests by underscoring the extent and power of the Kremlin’s reach in the world.
    First of all, one has to get straight what the Russians are REALLY up to. If the Russkies were trying to help Trump, than there was no good reason to make this public.
    Could it be that the Russkies just want to drive Amercan against American, and now that Trump is president, WHETHER the Russkies helped him or not, act as if they did to so to sow discord?

    The problem with spycraft is that you never REALLY know WHY anything happens. And once you end up in the rabbit holes, you can work your self into so much paranoia that you can never get out of. You can have the Salem witch trials, or you can have the Washington Putin trials…

    Maybe, just maybe, the solution is good computer security with people with passwords other than “password1” and …..paper ballots. And than you won’t have to worry what people on the innertubes are doing.

    1. alex morfesis

      The Chinese hacked the DNC…if the “information” is even half true, then it was the chinese slipstreaming via pron operations of Solntsevskaya Bratva(who have operations in russian & ukraine as a base)…bear with me for a moment…

      Vladimir Fomenko, arrested for setting up a simple reseller website, which does not even seem to advertise his purported “server farm” in his two room home apartment HQ of King-Servers…really a top line dude…as he claims, most of his clients are pron operations…

      photos of his previous attempts at opening his big mouth in september and october, show his one room with old green wall paper and the other, his bedroom, with old wood paneling…all this in a town in the middle of nowhere…at the foot of the Altai mountains, where russia, china, mongolia and kazakhstan come together… a town of 200 thousand people, whose mayor, the beautiful “lydia” has a grandmother known for being the announcer in the famous Wendy’s svimwear commercials…

      he is a reseller for hurricane electric in Freemont, CA and an outfit in the netherlands, Serverius, who openly shows its reseller program commission ranging from 4% to 20%…

      hurricane lets you basically self certify some certification capacity…which our “dangerous” kommie tovarich, didn’t even bother trying to use to make money

      Users say that the Hurricane Electric Free IPv6 certification service is both entertaining and educational.

      We aim to provide you with something to do after your first IPv6 ping

      the legacy american media was already at his “HQ” yet the narrative does not even bother trying to laugh off this snowboarding kid…

      if this is the best the russians have…have them park that aircraft carrier in baltimore and let them roam around for free with 10 thousand spies…we need all the help we can get if we are going to use russia as “the enemy”…

      they are not putin on a very good show right now…

      as to the chinese…just the short distance from the border where 4 countries connect…the weak link of russia is east of the urals…lots of space, hard to control…just a hunch… but…

      the public has been fed all types of nonsense jargon about the hacks and hacks in general…the most fun one was this noise about APT-28 APT-29

      Advanced Persistent Threat was a marketing scheme by AirForce officers who created the term while working on the taxpayer dime and then privatized the term when they formed Mandiant
      (although it was probably Greg Rattray who coined the term)

      but once the guvmint stepped in and named other players including our good friend france conduction activities against american interests,
      then the blame and term had to slide off of china and include others…

      but…who benefits from bad press against russia the most…

      the usa has worked on playing china against russia against china for decades…

      if the russians are really this incompetent, we can reduce our nuclear arsenal to zero and park our navy as floating museums…

      who benefits…the chinese…

      or maybe the germans…could be the ukranians…brazil could use a breather off the front pages of the news…although…there is always the old A-O abhwaristas in argentina trying to keep the front pages from looking at the disaster that has fallen on her with the new fearless leader…

      finally, the nonsense of the “hackers” probing the arizona and illinois voter databases…how silly is that…the information is easily available from dozens of services…no need to hack…
      either way, this is a weak story if it relies on this 26 year old snowboarder with a tattoo on his neck to be part of this “government” hack, or worse, american counterspy operation…

  43. kareninca

    “notice no life expectancy gains for women, even upper middle class women, only for the richest”

    Being an upper middle class woman is not what it used to be. Yesterday our house call vet (61 y.o., widowed ten years ago, no kids) told me that she did not intend to do anything to prolong her life; she did not want the FIT tests that I offered her when she said she does not get colonoscopies. Her only plan is to see her 96 y.o. mom (who has colon cancer) out of the world. Part of it is her bills; she gets calls all the time about them. And she owes the IRS money.

    The thing is, her education and profession and income and home ownership in Silicon Valley (she bought the house long ago, but maybe she remortgaged?) would put her into “upper middle class” on most measures. But I’m guessing that she will not be one of those cheery old ladies of generations gone by; she will be adding to the new stats.

    I think her economic situation is not uncommon for professional women of her generation (from my limited observations). I’m not sure the housewives are doing any better, but you’d expect someone with a real income to not be in this situation; it is scary.

    1. aab

      This made me cry. She probably voted for Clinton in November, and if we interacted in person or online, we’d fight. But I ache for everyone being harmed by this profoundly unjust, immoral system. If I am one of the people who has gotten too combative, I will try to handle myself better. But I may just have to discipline myself to stay offline more. I have a big project I need to focus on, so I have a good way to redirect my energies and focus.

      It doesn’t have to be like this. We don’t have to live this way. There ought to be a way to manage human society so that the most greedy and selfish can’t dominate, exploit and destroy to this degree. We have a lot of flaws as a species, but we evolved to cooperate; we’re not just hierarchical herds.

      1. Katharine

        Over twenty years ago I read a newspaper story (op ed?) which told of a middle-aged woman, formerly middle-class, then homeless, visiting an emergency room wearing some remnants of her former respectable middle-class clothes. Within her hearing, a resident told a med student, as near as I can remember, “Says she’s homeless. Probably a drug addict. You can never believe anything they tell you.”

        Setting aside the abysmal rock-bottom stupidity and bad manners of that resident, it’s a warning to us all. The army, though not my favorite institution, got it right: ASSUME makes an ASS out of U and ME.

      2. kareninca

        I found it very upsetting. I don’t know what I can do. I can’t solve her economic problems; I am already helping relatives who have never had any sort of decent income. I can/will buy her more See’s chocolates, that’s about it; at any rate she does like See’s chocolates.

    2. flora

      My god. I heard the exact same financial service’s “advice” (sales pitch) mantras that I expect she has heard during a her lifetime. The advice was , in order

      Youth: borrow more than you can afford (for college), borrow more than you can afford (for housing), borrow more than you can afford (for business). For your income will always go up and you will pay back in cheaper dollars, your income will always go up, and you will beat the system!

      Middle age: Mortgage and reverse mortgage again, you can beat the system, for your goal should be to die broke. The system will be left with your unpaid debts. haha, you win!

      Old age: Pay up!

      There, but for the grace of god, go I.

      1. flora

        adding: her situation is completely unknown to me. She may have borrowed heavily to pay for her mother’s health care. Respect for the self-reliance and dignity she has in a difficult situation is maybe the best one can do. Respect is much in this society.

        1. kareninca

          I think her mom’s health care is paid for by Medicare. But I think that you are right about the rest of it; I bet that she borrowed in the optimistic ways that you described, especially for her business. So many people are natural optimists and believe that sort of terrible advice.

    3. alex morfesis

      kareninca…about your 61 yr old vet…as to her bills, all she has to do is answer her phone and without acknowledging the debt, get the information from the party claiming to represent someone she owes money to…basically act like she is looking to pay…asking, who exactly is she talking to…do they have a fax number…name of actual collection firm…THEN inform them you will be sending them a do not call/contact ftc letter…and you insist they stop calling…and then just hang up if they keep babling…and make a note as to when the call came in on some type of ledger…

      and if they call again, and they will, or if some new collection firm claims they are calling but for the same debt…she has a right of action and there are plenty of lawyers out there who understand how to handle it.

      she can get a grand to 1500 bux PER call if they are calling her cell phone, as i am guessing that is what she uses as most do today
      (Osorio v. State Farm / Telephone consumer protection act)

      as to the irs, depending on how much she owes, there are automatic payment plans she can invoke which will stabilize her outflow…if she owes 50 grand or less, she can pay out over 6 years without asking for the irs to approve…if it is more than 50 grand and/or she thinks she will need more than 72 months, she can still apply for a written agreement…

      the irs is not the evil organization it used to be…

      no one has to hide from the creditor calls…in fact, considering how disorganized the collection firms are, and the compensation structure they have with collection callers, one could make out quite well…

      and if for some reason bankruptcy is in the offing, do not use any lawyer unless they have gone through the max gardner boot camp or online training…he has a graduates list on his website…warning…most of the lawyers probably only absorbed 10-20% of what max teaches…but that makes them 1000 x better than anyone else…his teaching covers the esoteric parts of the bankruptcy code…and in some cases, if the debtor pays attention and does what they are supposed to, often, the collection people will keep contacting you and “haylow”…they can be liable for thousands of dollars in payments to you and your attorney…because they ignored the bankruptcy stay rules…or post bk rules…

      so, tell your vet to snap out of it and lift her head up a bit…besides…she can buy a 2 br home(convertable to 4br if you enclose the porch and convert the garage) for under 90 grand(might even have a pool) within 15 minutes of the beach down here in sunny middle florida, and there are plenty of folks with horses and cattle for her to see if she still wants to keep plugging away…

      there is always a solution…

      1. kareninca

        Thank you, Alex. Those are great suggestions. One thing though is that the protections of the FDCPA doesn’t apply to business debts; that may be a problem. I am guessing that the debts she has are business debts. And I am hesitant to suggest bankruptcy; after all her years of work I don’t know if she could face that, but I could see it coming to that; I will check out the Max Gardner site. I will see if she has a decent payment plan with the IRS; I agree that they are not the monsters they used to be. The inexpensive house in Florida sounds wonderful. I don’t think she should completely retire ever; she is a wonderful vet.

        1. alex morfesis

          But if she uses her cellphone…or if we want to be interesting…shuts off everything and forces the calls to her personal cell number…

          as to business debts…would suggest if she has a structure where she is a sole proprietor then she needs to see if that applies…all laws are local so she would need to find a lawyer locally for that…

          Bankruptcy is hardly ever needed…just working deals where one can…and then taking the pre bk course and then faxing it to creditors and asking how they want to handle things…the certificate is good for 6 mths….most creditors will blink and cut deals once someone has taken the course…taking the course does not create any requirements to actually file bk…

    4. BeliTsari

      Our very dear friend and next door neighbor died the morning after the election. I’m still in tears every time I think about it. She was born, lived & died in the UWS and rescued feral cats, one of the most genuine, sweetest, best grounded people I’ve had the great luck to meet, and she too basically decided against the options presented to her, upon diagnosis. I still see here, sometimes, performing some totally selfless act (i’m accumulating a LOT of ghosts recently). I have no idea whatsoever how some of these folks are surviving in the first place.

  44. different clue

    About that Arizona Tribe which won’t allow the Trump Wall on its Sovereign Nation Land . . . I will risk my redibility by “predicting” before I read the article that the Nation in question is the Tohono O’Odham. If I am right, my credibility just went up a little. If I am wrong, my credibility just went down a little.

    ( The Tohono O’Odham are miscalled “papago” by some . . . )

  45. fresno dan

    I was watching CNN the other night, and there was a discussion on the immigration executive orders, and two guys who really LOOKED expert. And one says other than 9/11, there has not been one terrorist attack from a foreign born person in the US. Neither the host or the other guest said anything. Later in the discussion, he amended to say there had been just one, the wife in the San Bernardino case. That change got me to thinking….weren’t the Boston bombers immigrates?

    One can certainly argue the utility of the Trump orders or that they are counter productive, but I have to say, when your “experts” get something that I believe many people would know off the top of their head, they really are too uninformed to be spouting off on TV, or they are purposefully trying to mislead to bolster their case.
    Really, the complete lack of quality control….

    1. ambrit

      Yep, the Tsarnaev brothers are foreign born. From an American Indian perspective, most of the “settlers” were foreign born as well, and what they participated in was terrorism of an official sort.
      What’s the problem? This is the new “flexible truthyness” era. Now “news” is judged by “presentation,” not “content.”
      I harken back to the old “Star Search” television program with it’s “Spokesmodel” category, who the first “winner” was Sharon Stone in 1983. A ‘light entertainment’ program was proudly forging the way ahead.

        1. Vatch

          Ashley Judd appeared on two episodes of “Star Trek The Next Generation”, but that featured Captain Picard, not Captain Kirk.

  46. Vatch

    For those of you who aren’t sure whether you have only one Republican Senator, here’s the list, alphabetical by state, so you can call to oppose DeVos. Please also oppose Mnuchin, as Yves recommends. And I hope that people will call to oppose Trump’s EPA choice, the dangerous Scott Pruitt.

    Gardner, Cory – (R – CO) Class II
    354 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
    (202) 224-5941

    Rubio, Marco – (R – FL) Class III
    284 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
    (202) 224-3041

    Young, Todd – (R – IN) Class III
    B33 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
    (202) 224-5623

    Collins, Susan M. – (R – ME) Class II
    413 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
    (202) 224-2523

    Blunt, Roy – (R – MO) Class III
    260 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
    (202) 224-5721

    Daines, Steve – (R – MT) Class II
    320 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
    (202) 224-2651

    Hoeven, John – (R – ND) Class III
    338 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
    (202) 224-2551

    Heller, Dean – (R – NV) Class I
    324 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
    (202) 224-6244

    Portman, Rob – (R – OH) Class III
    448 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
    (202) 224-3353

    Toomey, Patrick J. – (R – PA) Class III
    248 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
    (202) 224-4254

    Johnson, Ron – (R – WI) Class III
    328 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
    (202) 224-5323

    Capito, Shelley Moore – (R – WV) Class II
    172 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
    (202) 224-6472

  47. RMO

    In the report on the Fed bankers being jerks in private (shades of Enron “freezing grannies” “joking”) I particularly enjoyed the bit about hearing that the reason some places weren’t hiring was due to being unable to find applicants that would pass a drug test. Seriously? Unless there’s legislation demanding passing a drug test for those positions why wouldn’t the companies simply remove the requirement if thy really were hurting badly from a lack of personnel? It’s B.S. just like the assertion that the only reason a company isn’t hiring is because of a lack of skilled applicants. I know of an aircraft maintenance company that instituted drug tests. They lost their paint department employees because of it. They also couldn’t find new painters when they tried to replace them because of the drug test policy – the pay and working conditions weren’t a lot better than the painters could get at many other places which didn’t require drug tests. In the end management had to remove the drug test requirement for the paint department in order to get it up and running again!

    1. marym

      Thank you very much for the links and comment. As a white, middle class woman, I wanted to think we’d come further than this.

      1. mk

        I’ve been thinking, would it be productive to start a “white women listening” movement? Form groups of white women who attend various actions to support the struggles of our brother and sisters of color and demonstrate what empathy really looks like? Quiet listening demonstrated for our unconscious white sisters?

        My comment is probably too late to be seen…

        1. marym

          Some thoughts:
          Actions led by POC, no matter how great their own commitment to non-violence, are always dangerous to them because of potentially violent police response. A group of listeners would be a burden and an added danger. Also, attending an action as a listener, and striving for empathy make it about the listeners/empathy seekers. I’ve seen instances of actions led by POC where white allies were expected to be out front to discourage the initial police over-reaction; to step back and explicitly let others speak, lead, decide; or to provide a specific function. For example, IIRC when Bree Newsome climbed the flagpole at the SC statehouse to take down the Confederate flag, the spotter on the ground for her safety and the person who filmed it were white.

  48. John

    On the question of what Trump wants from Putin for calling off the Russian sanctions: Don’t call in the loans…give me another six months to pay you back? Don’t send the guys with the polonium, I’ve got a good gig now and can get you your money? The golden rain thing was obviously fake…but please don’t release those photos (you know what I’m talking about) until the rubes have a little more outrage exhaustion?

  49. marym

    The ACLU has obtained a national stay against the Muslim ban.

    There have been huge protests and gatherings of lawyers at international airports across the country all day and more had been scheduled for tomorrow.

  50. alex morfesis

    Federal Jurist, the Honorable Ann Donnelly in brooklyn tells POTUS fuhgetaboutit…aclu wins emergency order/injunction…those with a visa get to stay…those with discover card can wait in the airport lounge…master card to file a motion to intervene…

    claims of the order being nationwide…possibly, although she would seem to only have jurisdiction for JFK airport, so not sure how it holds as a nationwide emergency injunction type order…

    but, for now, the door is open…

    1. alex morfesis

      ah…just noticed, the claim for class action status by the aclu, which was granted by the Honorable Ann Donnelly, allows it to roam across the country…the govt could, in theory, rent a few love boats and float these folks in the caribbean for a while to bounce the issue of impending danger, since it seems the court hanged its hat on people being sent back to syria, even though they may have come from some third country as refugees…and only for those with approved visas already or existing green cards…

      1. marym

        While none of the detainees will be sent back immediately, lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case expressed concern that all those at the airports would now be put in detention, pending a resolution of the case. Inviting the lawyers to return to court if the travelers were detained, Judge Donnelly said, “If someone is not being released, I guess I’ll just hear from you.”

  51. Jay

    turning away people at our border, at great inconvenience to them given most are flying in
    the screw turns

  52. LT

    On comments:

    I saw an issue with replying, but it appeared under the wrong person. Can’t remember which day.
    That could be causing confusion …

  53. LT

    Re: Greece’s creditors…

    The other Eurozone countries will be watching.
    But they could still be susceptible to parties that talk a good anti-Eurozone game, but have their own austerity agendas.

  54. LT

    Mnuchin vs Davos to go down…

    I can see why they’d pick the fight against Davos. Kids in schools is a subject more easily grasped than finance by most voters and when kids are in school, they are not under the parents’ supervision. Whatever problems a treasury secratary causes can be dealt with together at home.
    And we also know the politicians are lapdogs for the fiancial sector anyway. No guts to battle them, so any pick is going poison in that area.

  55. Hen Kai Pan

    Spiegel online says that according to Dep. of Homeland Sec, 35 Thousand Iranians visitied the US in 2015.
    Also, airlines are in trouble because some of their crew inc. pilots come from these countries.
    A family of six Syrians were turned around and sent back. Maybe the cost of lost tickets would not bother a billionaire. Others were stuck in the Middle East during stop overs. Oh, and as a Green Card holder, I would not know if I could return to my property, job and family? Oh I am so glad that I left for good last fall.
    I don’t know if one should be glad to know early on that this president is not capable to do sensible things. The arbitrariness of his actions are just so reprehensible. Advised by his oligarchical clan and a nutcase named Bannon.

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