2:00PM Water Cooler 2/15/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Readers, this is another travel day for me. Normally, I’d come up with some topics for discussion, but frankly I’m gobsmacked, flabbergasted, flummoxed, dazed and confused, nonplused, thrown for a loop, dumbfounded, at a loss for words.

In fact, I’m verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves!

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (via):

This is not a vampire squid. It’s kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana).

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the very successful Naked Capitalism fundraiser just past. Now, I understand you may feel tapped out, but when and if you are able, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

About Lambert Strether

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


    1. Yves Smith

      My lawyer is still investigating where to file. This is not as trivial as you might think since there are multiple legal tradeoffs to be weighted. I am frustrated by the delay but this is what happens with pro bono representation.

  1. EmilianoZ

    I dont know if this has already been discussed here. There’s a recent study that shows that mortality has increased among young people too. Most affected are white women, native Americans and Alaskans:


    Sorry it’s in French, but they link to the Lancet paper (in English) that did the study. From the maps, the most affected areas are the southern states.

    1. Adam Reilly

      I feel like any attempts to compare this is AIDS in the 80s is very misleading though. There’s a substantial difference between a 3% increase in mortality across 20-40 year olds when the majority of that 3% increase is derived from just a few relatively small groups (meaning that the increase in mortality in those groups skyrocketed) versus a 3% increase in white women or men as a whole. Definitely not an apples to apples comparison.

    2. Yusu

      Lancet link


      “By contrast, increases in premature mortality in the early 21st century occurred in multiple age groups in white men and women and in all age groups examined in American Indians and Alaska Natives. Increasing rates of accidental deaths, primarily resulting from drug poisonings, and suicide have largely negated the substantial progress achieved in prevention of premature death from heart disease, cancer, and HIV.”

      “Unfortunately, substantial increases in accidental deaths, primarily resulting from drug poisonings, in the USA have completely negated the progress made in the prevention of chronic disease death in some groups; in Canada and England mortality from accidental deaths continue to decline. Worldwide, the USA has the highest per-capita use of prescription opioids. In 2013, the USA also had the fourth highest opioid-related mortality in the world among individuals aged 15–49 years, with rates more than twice those in Canada and England, although increasing rates of drug poisoning deaths have also been reported in these countries in recent years. Mortality due to drug poisonings in the USA more than doubled between 2000 and 2014; an average of 129 drug poisoning deaths per day were reported in 2014, with 61% of these deaths involving opioids. Mortality increased across opioid types from 2013 to 2014, including natural and semisynthetic opioid pain relievers (eg, morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone; 9% increase), heroin (26% increase), and synthetic opioids other than methadone (eg, fentanyl; 90% increase). In this study, we showed that increasing accidental deaths were the largest contributor to increasing mortality in white individuals and American Indians and Alaska Natives. For white individuals, this increase is consistent with data showing a high prevalence of past-year heroin use or dependence and prescription opioid use disorders, and more rapid
      increases in opioid-analgesic poisoning deaths compared with non-white populations. Increases in accidental deaths are seen across the USA, but trends in several states (eg, West Virginia and Kentucky) are particularly concerning. These results are consistent with geographical heterogeneity in opioid prescription patterns and substantial increases in county-level drug poisoning mortality.26,27 Although not examined here, results from a 2016 study have also shown notable geographical differences in life expectancy by income. We also found that suicide mortality has increased in white, American Indian and Alaska Native, and Asian and Pacific Islander populations across both sexes, and suicide is the only major cause of death that is increasing across sex and age groups in Asian and Pacific Islanders.”

      “In our study, mortality in middle-aged American Indians and Alaska Natives has increased for every birth cohort since 1948, consistent with a report showing increasing overall mortality since the mid-1980s following declines for most of the 20th century.”

      “Mortality increases of 2–5% per year are rarely observed in developed countries. The magnitude of such increases is as large as those in two public health emergencies in the past: the substantial mortality increases in Russia during the 1990s and increases in mortality in individuals aged 20–40 years at the height of the AIDS epidemic (mid-1980s to mid-1990s) in the USA.”

      “Our findings show that premature mortality trends in the USA are divergent. Although substantial success has been achieved in the prevention of deaths caused by chronic and infectious diseases, and in the reduction of premature mortality in Hispanic individuals, black individuals, and Asians and Pacific Islanders, large increases in mortality have occurred in young and middleaged white individuals and American Indians and Alaska Natives.”

      1. ewmayer

        Thanks for the Lancet link … but I find myself getting increasingly peeved by the “substantial increases in accidental deaths” framing, since it is beyond clear that a significant fraction of said deaths are in fact suicide-by-opioid-OD. Despair will do that to a person. Framing things as “accidental deaths” misleadingly implies that the public-health focus should be on preventing the ODs, when in fact the focus should be on the shitty economic prospects faced by the working class – of all races, not just “whites” – by decades of the glorious Neoliberal Looting Project.

  2. Altandmain

    This one is good – what is wrong with liberalism today:


    Meanwhile, we are reduced to political comedy:


    Let’s not pretend Obama was great either, as Ted Rall (the artist behind that cartoon) points out.

    Also this might be good:


    Universal healthcare now!

    Happy travels!

    1. shinola

      Thanks for the links Alt. The Rall cartoon gave me a chuckle. I would recommend the Medium article to anyone who might agree with this statement:

      “Although Trump and his cronies are guilty of holding some abhorrent ideas, the way to beat them isn’t by proving we can outdo them at their own game.”

      1. jrs

        Yea Rall seems so on the ball sometimes, and then I read in a Counterpunch article he is afraid Trump is the new Hitler and wants to flee the country, and I wonder.

    2. jrs

      First article:
      “I say, don’t try to ban Milo from university campuses—offer a counter point of view instead. Offer to debate with him live on stage. Offer to hold a talk of your own, debunking his falsehoods.”

      yes well he has a million dollar book deal and you are who a nobody? Yes you might even have vastly more to say (a low bar really) I’m saying there is differentials in POWER there. Win the battle of ideas yada yada. But have you noticed right wing ideas have most of the money behind them? And that’s why they dominate whole forms of media (like talk radio etc.). That’s one reason why they always win.

      Idealists don’t grasp it but you can be the Supreme Court does: MONEY IS SPEECH.

      Of course there is also the fact that any decent intellectual maybe doesn’t want to waste time debating celebrity professional controversy mongers.

      1. Binky

        If milo only had to face ladies in pink hats there would be no drama; with no drama, no sales; with no sales, he is dead in the water as another poseur with a gimmick. It costs relatively little to hire some “opposition” who will make sure the gag goes off to script. Who will be Marius Van Der Lubbe?

      2. oho

        Streisand effect.

        Milo was a just another internet columnist w/a very modest following until he became a target of the anarchist wing of the non-right.

        Now he’s a cause celebre w/a big, big book deal.

      3. hunkerdown

        Million dollar book deals aren’t that weighty any more. It’s pretty clear that it’s just shifting pulp around to cover for services rendered.

    3. Winston Smith

      Altandmain, thanks for the links, those are fabulous! The medium.com article was spot on and articulated exactly how I feel about things here and the attitudes here.

      What gets me is that so many have been bamboozled by the media and liberal elite and how they either forget or are blind to just how awful Obama was.

      It’s thanks to sites like Naked Capitalism we can have a serious discussion and debate without getting into extremist vitriol from either side.

      The Buddha taught the Middle Way as this leads to liberation, not extremism which leads to annihilation.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Take this job and shove it
      I ain’t workin’ here no more
      My woman done left and took all the reasons
      That I was workin’ for

      — Johnny Paycheck

    2. Carolinian

      Latest Moon

      Kicking Flynn out of his office has hurt Trump. His standing is diminished. The efforts against Flynn, mainly by the “deep state” in the intelligence agencies, were designed to change Trump’s declared foreign policy aims. They worked. Yesterday the White House spokesperson said:

      President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to deescalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea.
      Today Trump tweeted:

      Donald J. Trump Verified account @realDonaldTrump
      Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?
      4:42 AM – 15 Feb 2017

      White flag much? One fears that Yves’ original statement on Trump many months ago (and in today’s Links)–all hat and no cattle–is coming true. B’s commenters suggest that Trump has said this sort of thing before, but I’m not so sure he isn’t beginning to wilt under the press battering. This will please the HIllbots no end until they realize Cold War 2 is not the happy picnic they were expecting.


      1. fresno dan

        February 15, 2017 at 4:17 pm

        The mid east, north Africa, and now let’s do Russia and the South China sea……
        I’m not going to be around on that much longer anyway, but now at least I don’t have to worry about affording my medi-gap insurance…..

        1. Carolinian

          The upshot appears to be that even if Trump were unwilling to give into the blob the IC are going to leak his administration’s private conversations like crazy until they get their way. It is about blackmail, but the blackmailers may be the investigators. The FBI was of course created by a man for whom this was a routine way of doing business.

          M of A quotes several insightful writers on the topic. Unfortunately Greenwald, who can be so good at times, says that the means used by the felonious leakers are justified by the end of exposing Flynn’s peacenik moves toward Russia. In this Glenn’s Omidyar slip may be showing. An Omidyar NGO was involved in the Ukraine fracas (as reported by Ames).

          As Joni Mitchell once sung–peace, it was a dream some of us had….

      2. Outagamie Observer

        Carolinian, this could always be more bluster. I hope it is. President Trump knows the deck is stacked against him, so the Crimea statement could be a temporary concession to calm the neocons surrounding him. Alternatively, the Flynn departure is a big deal, and this could represent a permanent shift in policy. The only thing to do is hold our breath and see.

      3. Procopius

        I can’t believe they really think this level of provocation can be kept to a cold war level. Russia is not in charge of the violence in Eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian Neonazis are. Russia would be insane to give Crimea back with the current regime in power in Khiev, and I haven’t seen anyone calling Putin stupid recently. The U.S. moving a brigade into Poland reminds me of Dulles telling the Czechs we would support them in 1956. This will not end well. The only bright spot, if they can keep it from going nuclear (by no means certain with this bunch in charge) we are still separated from the actual fighting by two wide oceans.

  3. John k

    Sad. Don’t think I’ve ever been verklempt while awake.

    Trump always willing to throw losers over the side, always looking at the balance sheet. Deep state might see this as a win, we will see.

    Ellison fight as proxy for Bernie clout and potential of remake of dems much more interesting. Beyond avoiding war with Russia, my fond hope was that her loss would bring about a progressive party… still hopeful on both counts…

      1. Marley's dad

        Shortly after he got into the race for DNC chair, Perez said he didn’t want Obama to be forgotten.

        Seems pretty likely the Democrats are going to need another good kick in the face or elsewhere before they get it.

        1. Altandmain

          Oh I suspect that Obama will be compared to President Buchanan right before the US Civil War, who inherited a bad situation and made it worse.

          1. Marley's dad

            Sounds about right.

            I consider Obama to be the worst president in my lifetime (all 72 years of it), even worse than W.

      2. Pat

        I would be surprised if he didn’t. You have to remember that the people who get to vote on this are those most wedded to the status quo, both for salaries and ‘perks’. Just moving closer to the Sanders side of the political spectrum by electing Ellison,weak tea though it is, still upsets a lot of apple carts.

        My hopeful outcome of this is that in rejecting Ellison, the DFH/old school left of the party old and young realize they have to clean house from the bottom up and start working on ousting the state party representatives in even greater numbers.

      3. B1whois

        Near the end there’s a great quote about third parties,

        the point is that the idea of new alternatives is no longer absurd, especially in light of the profound absurdity of the status quo.

      4. freedomny

        You may want to check out Jimmy Dore on Youtube – specifically his talks with Samuel Ronan – a 20 something vet who is running for DNC chair. He basically told the entire DNC that the Dem primary was rigged and the Dem party nds to own up.

        If they choose Perez – my hope is that.Sanders will go Lincoln on us. I think it could definitely happen….I don’t underestimate him. Not with his passion.

        1. Oregoncharles

          He had his chance at the end of the primaries. If he didn’t then, I don’t think he will.

          You just might be on your own. Could be a good thing.

          1. Adamski

            If he ran as independent or Green (as was offered) at the end of the primaries, he would have split the non-Trump vote two ways. If Trump won, the Dems would have reacted the same as to Nader. Instead of moving left in response to the lost votes they would have painted the left as spoilers. Sanders may have figured Trump wanted a bigger-than-W tax cut for the rich whereas Clinton conceded a big increase in federal funding for primary care for the poor and free college for 85% of households was worth it.

    1. Richard

      Could anybody possibly tell me what this strange word “verklpft” means? If it is indeed slang used by 2% of the population, it would be thrilling to have it translated. Thanks. Lambert used it, too.

  4. paul Tioxon

    Can I recommend an emotional break? I know you are running a daily blog site. But seriously, being enmeshed in a toxic shit storm is no way to live. Here is my small offering to draw your attention to my own form of antidote ju jour. I will name it: THE MARCH OF PROGRESS

    Here there is hope, that humanity will continue to make material progress in living a more and more civilized life, as brief as that life may be, because you know, tempus fugit.


    In honor of this historic satellite launch, the Prime Minister of India, Modi tweets”India Salutes our Scientists”. Listen to cool Indian electronica music, gasp at the payload delivery of 88 American satellites from a company called Planet. This company now has the capacity to image the whole planet on a daily basis.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Bubble III live blog:

    U.S. stocks on Wednesday were looking at their longest record-setting streak in 25 years as the Dow industrials, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite all climbed.

    If all three indexes close higher on Wednesday, it will mark five consecutive days of all three setting record highs at the same time, the longest such streak of simultaneous records since a six-session string ended Jan. 3, 1992, according to Dow Jones data.


    Normally, this morning’s overheated CPI report (which makes the Fed more likely to hike) would be a downer. It’s a sign of resilience that apparent bad news is simply shrugged off.

    A longer-term interpretation is that after eight years in which the predominant fears have been economic weakness and a slide back into deflation, these risks are out of the picture for now.

    J-Yel’s normalizing, and all’s well with the world.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Fourteen million — seriously?

      Didn’t know there were that many Democrats. /s

      But still. If true, that’s a flat-out meltdown.

      1. Eureka Springs

        I’d like to know what data is behind such a claim.

        Nevertheless…it’s a party and unless you are one of about 400 people meeting mostly in secret this week to determine its future… you aint in it. And I doubt you accidentally tossed so much as a poll asking your opinion (much more, counting your vote) on said leadership in the trash last week.

        1. Foppe

          So would I, but the gallup website isn’t very navigable, and since I’m not from the US, I don’t really know of how these figures come about / if/where/how they are listed/registered in the first place, and this isn’t really a question that’s easy to google. (I mean, I know that you have an insane voter registration system that mainly serves to disfranchise, and I know that untold millions don’t get to vote because of felony disfranchisement, but how it’s all rationalized and institutionalized is beyond me.)

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        My sense is Gallup has reweighted the numbers in light of the election. The Democrats should have lost the numbers last Spring or some time before the election, but in the absence of the old tracking polls, the aren’t producing accurate numbers. I would bet a good deal of people were students who reregistered between he primary and the general, and the people who said they want drop the registration in the spring.

        Polling was done according to 2008 baselines whereas the LaTimes operation was using a census based focus group which although a smaller sample probably has more accurately reflected the trends.

        If a proper poll is done today, it will look different than anything using a polling baseline from eight years ago.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Maybe there’s an anti-Soros out there who would set up a party deregistration website.

          Fill out the form, we do the rest! :-)

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I’m guessing.

            Two things:

            -the LaTimes poll was highly publicized over two elections. They weren’t just right. They were right for the right reasons which the explained. Both cases were different. They predicted the high black turnout in 2012 and the decline for Team Blue everywhere else.

            -the election is like the census. Pollsters are by nature conservative. They are trying to boil down irrational people into numbers. Even though the LaTimes and other metrics are flashing warning signs, they won’t change until they are forced to.

          1. aab

            I was just about to go get this info. Affiliation vs. registration is significant. The Ds have been rationalizing their ever-decreasing registered base by saying lots of people consider themselves affiliated with the party and vote D without registering as a D.

            If only 25% even consider themselves affiliated with the Ds, that’s HUGE, I think. I mean, I’m a registered D — but I only came back to help the Berniecrat revolt inside the state party. I will never again march compliantly to the polls for a neoliberal.

            So that 25% includes people who are working to change the party and won’t vote for the neoliberals if they lose that fight, and people who would vote for a New Deal party but are staying home instead of voting for the neoliberals.

            That means the active Democratic base aligned with party leadership is very, very small.

            1. Adamski

              Dems plus Dem leaners are 43% today on the same page, Rs and R leaners are 44%. Not so alarming.

              In the table at the top Dems fell as low as 27% during the Obama presidency, which was the same low as during the Bush years. Mainly in the 30s under both. The Draft Bernie guy is suggesting the fall to 25% since November is something abnormal but it is not.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      May the Democratic Party continue losing members 14MM at a time until it goes the way of the Whigs. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

      1. B1whois

        The video is a Redacted Tonight show where they dish about the Bernie campaign, our Revolution, and then get into the guest’s concept of drafting Bernie for The People’s Party,
        The guy says he’s got everything laid out on the website to do it based on the path followed by the Democratic Party as it formed out of a decrepit Whig party.


        1. Oregoncharles

          That would be the REPUBLICAN party out of the Whigs, just to avoid confusion. They mention Lincoln several times.

        2. Adamski

          That thing only had 14 500 signers when I looked yesterday although the ex-staffer was full of big talk on the Tim Black show. Now it’s 14 800. Basis for a new party??

    3. KurtisMayfield

      So we are almost at the point where the independent voters are the majority. The first part of the video is 100% correct, this Democratic party is never going to let change come from within. If you want to go left, it’s time to move on and vote for a new party that supports candidates at every level.

    4. Oregoncharles

      In response to the “what does this mean?” discussion below: I recognize the numbers Brana mentions. It’s Gallup, so it’s from the poll (NOT registrations) that asks people their party affiliation. Previously, around 30% said they were Democrats (and 21-25% Republicans – I’ve quoted these numbers over and over). Now it’s only 25%, and that reflects 14 million people leaving the party. IOW, the party loyalty numbers that have been falling since 2006 (what happened in 2006?) continue to fall. Brana didn’t mention the numbers for the Republicans; what with winning the election, those might be up a bit.

      Look for “party affiliation” in the Gallup poll – but a lot of polls ask this question, with similar results.

      The 2-party system isn’t just collapsing; it has collapsed. Brana is trying to get Bernie to lead a new party based on his supporters. If he did, I think the Greens would, at least, ally with it. Kshama Sawant is attempting something similar, I think without Bernie.

      My first thought, while watching the interview, was “beware the hero worship.” Feet of clay, you know. what do you do if Bernie won’t go along? Because, as I posted somewhere in here, he had the chance after the primaries and refused. He’ll be 78 by the time the next presidential race rolls around.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Footnote: registrations are distorted by the states with closed primaries and others that don’t register by party. For a handy example, the Oregon Green Party has about a fourth as many registrations as it can get in votes just by appearing on the ballot. Closed primaries; people want input in the (mostly) Democratic primary. But a lot of them don’t consider themselves Democrats.

      2. Adamski

        As I pointed out too, his refusal was understandable because splitting the non-OP vote two ways would have made him a hate figure if Trump had won and the party would use it as an excuse to refuse to move left. They’d have Nadered him

      3. Procopius

        I’m 79, and I sure wouldn’t want to run for office, but my Congressman is 85 and he seems to love it still. My father was once business partners with a guy who won a seat in the House from Akron, Ohio. He came to visit us in Michigan a few years later, after he lost office, and explained he intended to stay on as a lobbyist, not just for the money (which was very good even then) but because the game was so exciting. I think most people would prefer a candidate younger than 78, unless the Vice Presidential candidate really, really excited them.

      1. Procopius

        I got about a third of the way through The Big Lebowski and just can’t stand any more of it. I don’t know why. Normally I should love Walter, but something about him turns me off. The Dude is OK, but … I dunno.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Who would impeach exactly? Hillary’s popular vote total lead was largely dependent on running up scores in very safe blue districts. The Republicans in the House will be threatened by their own voters over this.

      The impeachment predictions are about as grounded as the predictions of Hillary winning 40 states or South Carolina being Jeb Bush’s firewall.

      I’ll give you this. Even if it was possible to get every Democrat, you need to get 29 House Republicans. Find 29. I doubt there is one.

      While people make breathless predictions about Trump imploding and hailing the glorious Pence Presidency, they kind of miss that Trump could care less.

      1. Geoff

        It’s not that they want to impeach, they are going to have to eventually when Trump’s ignorance puts him in a mess that he can longer babble his way out of. Of course, you are correct, you get Pence, and some house cleaning, but the Republicans would love that. All conservative without half the instability. They might actually get something done. You can see that the incompetence now is sucking all of the air out of the policy space. They are going to have a first 100 days with nothing accomplished but scandal. That cannot continue. And you know this guy has the potential for epic f-ups.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Not their voters.

          If you have a short memory, you might have forgotten some of the events of last year when those same Republicans were ready to dump Trump including the famed “p***you grabbing” audio. What happened? Republicans, even guys like Newt, denounced Trump. Paul Ryan was appalled. Then the went home and found the Republican Id which is based around despising Democrats is still the Republican Id, and those same Republicans tripped all over themselves to apologize.

          59 MILLION PEOPLE voted for McCain/Palin because they had “R”s next to their names and eye the top dogs that year. Palin was a trumped up nitwit in a wild ride who was praised by people who despised her because the knew that even in an election where they would lose the White House Republican voters would remember.

          The criticism in these parts is Team Blue types have rediscovered policy but Ignored it when Democrats held power. Republican voters do the same thing. I know the “deplorables” and our cosmopolitan “Girls” viewers are basically clones when it comes to how they treat their leaders.

          I know this might be troubling, but often times, “deplorables,” who seem like put together friendly people who are just misguided, think the same about more liberal types. They aren’t going to change. The whole “oh that person was really nice in person” seems to be an evolutionary quirk as we are semi-domesticated near apes. Those nice Republicans at book club or where you work who are just worried about the national debt or feel really bad about the unborn babies may not even appear to be blithering idiots. MDs, IT people, and engineers are very Republican professions, and they voted for Trump. Republican elites who move against Trump will meet their voters.

          There is no mess to great for Trump to avoid. Their Is no opposition. The leaders of the party formerly known as the Democratic Party have borrowed from Disney Star Wars and used “the Resistance” moniker as their new strategy. Ooh, the media. Media trust is at all time lows.

          1. Synoia

            IT people, and engineers are very Republican professions

            I’m both of those, and unfortunately you are correct.

            But in my discussions both groups get MMT. Especially when one points out it is already a republican specialty (MIC).

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          I should add one thing.

          There are two kinds of people, maybe three. People who are the President (one person at a time), everyone else, and maybe the opposition candidate. Every Oscar speech could be about how awful Trump is, and the most that will happen is Q ratings will collapse.

          I know it seems like ancient history, but before Bill Clinton was President, the Democratic Party enjoyed pretty much sixty years of Congressional majorities with one chamber exception. Nixon resigned, but he was facing a different party. Reagan had Iran Contra, seven years after the hostage situation. The contras shot up nuns.

          What is Trump’s crime going to be? Droning U.S. citizens, illegal wars, the revolving door. Illegal spying. Screwing up disaster relief?

          Impeachable offenses haven’t bothered Democrats for the last eight years. Why will Trump’s behavior bother Republican voters? I cannot stress this enough Republicans hate Democrats.

          This blind faith that the universe will Team Blue to power because of hope is mind boggling. Your whole argument Is predicated on faith Trump will screw up In such a way Republicans will get rid of him because they now have standards or something.

          1. RUKidding

            Agree with all of your points. At this time, I simply see nothing that Trump’s done that’s impeachable, and the Republicans in Congress don’t want to do it. they’d have to reach across the aisle to get it done, and their constituents would go nuts.

            It’s lose-lose for the R-Team, although probably most Republican pols would love for Trump to just magically disappear. But he’s their guy now, and I don’t see them backing down from him, unless he does something so egregious that it cannot be ignored.

            Everything so far has been bs, in my opinion.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I suspect “front row” kids are starting to face opposition and can’t understand how their grand, but infantile plans went awry. Everything they learned in the West Wing isn’t coming true. How could my sixth grade civics class have been so wrong?

              I do believe people want to be “good” people, but Hillary’s failure was predictable based on previous election experience and a few other indicators. By choosing to ignore really obvious stuff, they can’t pretend to be “good” people without contrition. Instead it’s easier to await Republicans to wake up and do work for them.

      2. PKMKII

        It’s not impossible. The question is, how bad would it have to be to get an impeachment vote? Late-night phone gabbing session with Putin doesn’t even get close. I’m going to set the bar at, video evidence of cheeto benito directly engaging in human trafficking.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I believe the old joke goes along the lines of being caught In bed with a dead black girl or a live boy.

          The Democrats aren’t retaking either house this cycle. Their 2020 efforts will be hampered by a nomination contest as energy is expended there. They aren’t a threat to elected Republicans.

          What Is the crime that will make 29 Republicans feel confident enough to impeach Trump? Trump did win white women after his “p***y grabbing” comments and Obama more or ones accused Trump of being a Soviet mole.

          These Team Blue types don’t even seem to live on the same planet as the rest of us. This stuff didn’t happen three hundred or three years ago but five months ago.

  6. Clive

    Oh, I love it when we can talk about any old stuff.

    I’ve been wondering for a week or more now (sufficiently so that I found it on YouTube) just how far back our current predicament / malaise has really been with us. One of the greatest influences on my world view as a kid — especially of the US — was the movie “Fun With Dick and Jane”. The opening title sequence sums it all up nicely.

    Is it just me?

    1. human

      “In all times some must be rich some poore, some highe and eminent in power and dignitie; others meane and in subjection”

      John Winthrop to the some 700 members of his Expedition to the New World, 1629/30.

      And this just compliments English Colonial history, a single grain in the sands of time. How far back you wanna go?

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Congratulations to your brother! Getting published is a major accomplishment these days unless you’re an established author with a following, a prominent politician, or a highly visible public personality with marketing resources behind you. His book looks interesting and resonates with the issues of our time. Thank you.

    2. Pat

      Congratulations to your brother, and a big pat on the back for being a proud sibling! May it catch on and be seen in public places everywhere because it has to be read!

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      “…Hollywood will hurry to capture.”

      That sounds promising.

      Interestingly, Adm Harward who may or may not be the next national security advisor, was also over there at that time. Is he in the novel?

      1. voxhumana

        I read the first version of it some 20 years ago and I know it has changed a lot so… He just sent a personalized copy (inscribed me as his favorite singer and curmudgeon!) and I’m only reading it now. Deno – my childhood hero – is a traditional liberal compared to his radical little brother and I don’t expect he goes too CT in the narrative. But he tells a fine story and the historical background will surely hold the attention of any reader who remembers the hostage crisis. Of course, I’m not biased in any way…

        Thanks Beef! I’ll let u know if Harward appears.

  7. verifyfirst

    The people I know who marched with the pink hats were marching against Trump, and for the things they think Trump will endanger–choice, environment and LGBT. They are fifties and older, highly educated, white, professional, urban and well off. They have never marched before and rarely pay close attention to politics or issues.

    They always vote, they always vote Democratic, they inform themselves about ballot initiatives, judges, etc., and vote the whole ballot. Occasionally they might sign a petition or send a small check to a cause or a candidate.

    This they consider makes them good, fully participating citizens. They didn’t notice the Democratic party cruise ship had done a U-turn while they were busy enjoying their bubble and all the on-deck amenities. They think everything would have been more or less ok under Hillary. They thought things were pretty ok under Obama. They do think the people who voted for Trump are deplorables.

    They don’t know what neo-liberalism is–have never heard of it. They have never stopped to wonder why the Democratic party does what it does on economic and other issues (economics is something they try to avoid, like math).

    There are a lot of them, they have time, energy, money and generally mean well. How do we make this a “teachable moment” and harness them to fight, not just against Trump?


    1. HopeLB

      Number one, teach them about neoliberalism. Two, get them to attend political/economic/philosophy lesson time by getting Progressive leaning musicians/comedians to play live sets in between talks. We could get great economists to either give the talk in person or play a recording on a large screen. Bill Black, Yves herself, Michael Hudson, Ellen Brown, Steve Keen, Naomi Klein, Nomi Prins would probably contribute.


      1. shinola

        Thanks HopeLB – great article.

        Social Darwinism is/was a term that is somewhat disreputable because it was usually associated with the KKK or Hitler but it has reared its ugly head anew with the ascent of neoliberalism; or perhaps in its’ current form it might be called social-economic Darwinism since it is more about economic class than ethnicity

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      On one hand, they are informed, but on the other hand, they believe things were okay under Obama, when child poverty is all time highs. It would be more accurate to say “they got theirs to hell with everyone else.”

      They might seem friendly and never miss Maddow, but you presented the problem. They are marching in hopes of getting people to go out and canvass for them. Tell these well off and Informed people to hit those black neighborhood and present their case.

      As far as their concern about some of these other issues, where were they? They seem like the kinds of people who said that Lt. Choi is embarrassing Obama.

    3. Chauncey Gardiner

      Why don’t you ask the question in your final paragraph of those who actually marched? The individuals I know who participated in the march are not low information voters, nor are they interested in projecting their personal virtue. They are issue-oriented thoughtful people. The two I know best are not particularly affluent, nor do they live in a bubble.

      In my view, support for basic human rights, our environment, and an appreciation of diversity are not politically incompatible with reducing economic inequality, supporting employment initiatives and wage growth, and rebuilding the American middle class. These need not be mutually exclusive political objectives.

    4. ChrisPacific

      Good question.

      The first priority is to break them out of their complacent world view. You can recommend NC articles all you like, or suggest they read ECONNED or watch Inside Job, but if they are not at least open to the possibility that something might be wrong, they aren’t going to do it. This requires a light touch. Some of the concepts that are considered established and proven at NC (Obama was not a good president, Big Finance is control fraud on a massive scale) are anything but to them, and if you lead with them you risk being written off as a conspiracy nut.

      I suggest using their weaknesses against them. By and large they are proud of their education and their ‘liberal’ credentials. This means they think that they are:

      1) Rational: They base their opinions on reasoned arguments and science, and avoid unsubstantiated beliefs
      2) Compassionate: They care about those less fortunate than them, and about ideals like equality and fairness.

      If you can catch them making arguments that are irrational, or that lack compassion, and highlight it in a way that makes it obvious to them, then their self-image requires them to engage with your argument and take you seriously. But you can’t just tell them outright, or they won’t believe you. You need to have a discussion with them and then highlight inconsistencies in their position as they arise.

      Economics and neoliberalism are a great starting point for #1. Most people have no idea how deeply they have internalized the odious concept of ordering their lives around market principles. Look for examples (you shouldn’t have to wait long) and challenge them. Maybe they think globalization makes everyone better off. Why? How? On what basis do they say that? Sooner or later you will get an appeal to authority (“because economists say so”) at which point you can move to the deficiencies of the economics profession. If they studied science, talk about how science relies on predictions in order to validate theories. Ask them how economists have done at predicting major world events like the GFC. I like to mention that I knew the GFC was coming for years in advance (which was true, if not precisely when). I can quote some of the sources that put me onto it. Ask them whether they can say the same? If not, ask why economists and the media didn’t sound the alarm. Mention economics-as-science as opposed to economics-as-religion, and invite them to consider how you would prove it was one or the other. If you like, go into the specifics of why neoclassical economics is bunk (relies on unrealistic assumptions, oversimplifies everything, has mathematical mistakes and flaws, resists criticism, rejects real world data in favor of ideology…) Quote Steve Keen or ECONNED if you like. They will probably cut you off pretty quickly, but you at least establish the idea that neoliberal economics should be subject to the same kind of critical verification as any other science. Get them looking at economic news with a critical eye and you are halfway there.

      Another approach to #1 is to discuss the current Democratic resistance to Trump, and the various attempts to delegitimize him or remove him from office (faithless electors, portraying him as a Russian stooge. Ask them whether America would be a better place if the EC wasn’t obliged to follow the will of the voters, or if the CIA had veto power over the appointment of an elected President with no burden of proof. Ask them who decides who the president will be if it’s not the American people. Ask whether it would be fair to Trump voters if he was removed from office, how they might experience that, and what they might do. For all that many of them are onboard with the current attempts to subvert American democracy, most aren’t particularly self aware about it, and will get uncomfortable once you point out that’s what they are doing.

      On point #2, I like to refer them to personal stories that are outside their world view, are empathetic and compelling, and highlight some of the injustices and problems that they habitually overlook. James F’s article on flyover country is one I’ve used with some success. The Guardian story on evictions from Links a few days ago would also work well. If they read them, then discuss what they thought of them. Look for neoliberal tropes like “deadbeat borrowers” emerging, and challenge them as above. Ask them how they reconcile the stories they have read with the tale of economic recovery being presented in the media. Talk about the bank bailouts, foreclosure crisis and rise in inequality after the GFC. Ask if they know what “robosigning” means, and describe it if they don’t. Mention that G.W. Bush put corporate criminals in prison and Obama didn’t.

      If you get them to rethink any of their positions this way, or admit that they were wrong, ask them to think about why they held their previous (incorrect) view in the first place. Did they hear it from somebody? The media? A politician? Friends or family? Why do they think that person was telling them wrong things? Did they hear it from someone else? What might the original source have been? What motivation would they have for spreading this kind of misinformation? This is a good point to mention the revolving door concept for government positions, the influence of corporations on government policy, or invite them to reconsider the significance of Clinton’s six figure fees for speaking engagements.

    5. freedomny

      I seem to remember reading about a dem group that was proposing “train the trainer” programs. The purpose would be to get a group of folks together and educate the public about “politics” and how it affects their lives. I thought it was a great idea only because early in my career I was a consultant and we often did train the trainer programs. Can’t remember where I read this, but going to look for it again as I think it is a wonderful idea.

  8. Pat

    Bwahahahaha. I just saw the headline on Yahoo about Mika refusing to allow Conway on Morning Joe because “I don’t believe in fake news…” This so-called serious journalist has sat next to Joe Scarborough spouting BS for years now making nary a peep and finally she doesn’t believe in fake news. I’ll believe that one when she quits. Mind you when it comes to BS it isn’t as if Mika doesn’t believe and spout it often as in she isn’t there for her looks even as she is posing in a short skirt, stilletos and with her leg in the air while Joe Scarborough sits in a regular chair in a suit in Vanity Fair. Standing behind the chair would have been insulting enough, but seriously.


    1. RUKidding

      Yeah. Ain’t that just too rich?

      And right on target, a bunch of supposed “lefty” sites began quoting Mika as if she uttered something super specially amazingly meaningful. I guess now all of the “Democratic” voters will be clueless Mika worshippers, just like they lined up to worship horrible lying War on Xmas Megan Kelly when Trump was so “Mean” to Megan.

      What a bunch of tools.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t believe in fake news.

      “I am just a messenger…delivering fake news I don’t believe in.”

      Believing is for brainwashing subjects.

    3. OIFVet

      Russell Brand destroying the Spawn of Brzezinski still ranks as one of my favorite TV moments evah. Watching her squirm is priceless.

  9. toolate

    Despite all the handwringing on all sides of the Flynn fun, isn’t it possible that these signs of serious infighting coming to the surface are a GOOD thing? If nothing else maybe it will keep all these loons pre-occupied…

    1. Art Eclectic

      I thinkn the best we can hope for at this point is that internecine warfare grinds this administration to halt. Given their lack of progress on the ACA, that seems likely. Trump is NEVER going to get an infrastructure package through this lot.

  10. PKMKII

    On the always-present issue of the unemployed/underemployed rural, white, manual laborer: I know someone decently high up at the NY MTA. Not so high that you would see them in the press conferences or releases, but high enough to regularly be in the meetings with those people. According to this person, the MTA is desperate for electricians, maintainers, metal workers, etc. They pump out a lot of advertising material aimed at getting those sort of workers. Yet, I know the workers with those kind of skills in “flyover” country can go months without work, travel across state, or multiple state, borders to find work that’s often temporary. Our “flyover” country worker isn’t even going to think to check openings at the MTA, probably has zero family or friends connections in the area that can help facilitate a move. MTA’s scope for employee-seeking doesn’t extend outside the metro area; they would have no idea what the routes would be to getting the word out in “flyover” country.

    Leads me to think that a Jobs Guarantee would have not just provide a job to someone who wants it, but also provides the social assistance (in a literal sense, not code for welfare) to bridge the literal gap between where the workers with the skills are, and where the jobs that need those skills are at.

    1. Divadab

      How many community colleges are there in the MTA’s area? Have they made any partnerships with tech schools to recruit and train apprentices? These to me seem more practical and salient to solving their staffing issues and also building local community coalitions. And providing work for local young people.

      Germany does this at all levels and in all work areas. And they are the economic powerhouse of Europe. Maybe we could learn something?

      1. PKMKII

        Are there a lot of community colleges in the metro area? Yes. Do many of them focus on the tech/industrial trades? No. They tend to be focused on producing people with associates degrees and menial office skills to work in skyscrapers in Manhattan.

        Yeah, the MTA could be doing a better job of reaching out. And there’s plenty of incompetency and iguanas in the MTA’s HR. But there is a fundamental lack of a culture that emphasizes going into the trades in the area.

        1. Paid Minion

          Ask a mechanic/technician/fixer, whether he’s drawing a paycheck,or owns the shop, if he/she wants his kid to “follow in their footsteps”.

          The percentage will be Whale Shit low. Especially compared to pilots, football/baseball coaches, cops, firemen, etc.

          And of the minescule few who say yes, their kids grew up watching their (usually) dads deal with the bullShit, and say “Eff that…….I’ll be a micro-brewer. A helluva lot less hassle, for just slightly less money”.

    2. KurtisMayfield

      Fun fact: I know two tradesmen who were working for the LIRR and became Engineers because the pay stank. I understand ithat the salary thing is probably a union issue, but maybe they should be throwing money at local tradesmen.

    3. Paid Minion

      – Nobody pays relocation expenses anymore. There is definitely a “local candidates only” bias. Along with a more pronounced “age bias”.

      – Nobody in Flyover can afford to buy a house on either coast. Even if the house is paid for, the difference between the Flyover house and the coastal “bubble house” is a half million bucks or more.

      – The coastal job may pay more, but not enough to justify packing up and moving/starting from scratch.

      -This is not new. Ten years ago, the company my buddy worked for decided to shut down the Flyover base, and move all of the crews and airplanes to SFO. Only one guy out of the six took it. And he was originally from California. For the rest, the small “payroll adjustment” didn’t come close to covering the actual expenses.

      -The suits just can’t get it thru their thick heads that a big percentage of wrench turners/fixers with experience/skills are making six figures, or close to it, even out here in Flyover. And they sure as hell aren’t going to take pay cuts, just for the “opportunity” to deal with the hassles of living on the coasts

      If someone offered me $150-200K to relocate to “The City”, I’d think about it. A $5K raise? Don’t make us laugh. What a joke. Especially for any kind of government job, where the Republicans are getting the Astroglide ready, to use on government jobs/pay/benefits.

  11. allan

    Winston Churchill’s 1939 essay on alien life found [Nature]

    Winston Churchill is best known as a wartime leader, one of the most influential politicians of the twentieth century, a clear-eyed historian and an eloquent orator. He was also passionate about science and technology.

    Aged 22, while stationed with the British Army in India in 1896, he read Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and a primer on physics. In the 1920s and 1930s, he wrote popular-science essays on topics such as evolution and cells in newspapers and magazines. In a 1931 article in The Strand Magazine entitled ‘Fifty Years Hence’1, he described fusion power: “If the hydrogen atoms in a pound of water could be prevailed upon to combine together and form helium, they would suffice to drive a thousand-horsepower engine for a whole year.” …

    Despite all this, it was a great surprise last year, while I was on a visit to the US National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri, when the director Timothy Riley thrust a typewritten essay by Churchill into my hands. In the 11-page article, ‘Are We Alone in the Universe?’, he muses presciently about the search for extraterrestrial life. …

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Being a keen rof human nature, he also added, “Either that for a whole year, or to incinerate an entire city in just a few seconds.”

      Unfortunately, that part is lost now.

    2. craazyman

      He would have ended up in Santa Fe channeling.

      There is good science news today. The uuuge exoplanet spotted by internet astronomers martha r and Yves has been identified by scientists as Nibiru. The Niburu threat is over. No more panic in the night skies. If you know nothing aboout Nibiru you’ve been living in blissful ignorance.

      Churchill said something funny about the Indians. He said they were the most beastly country except for the Germans. Hahahah. Oh man. I guess it’s a matter of perspective. It can get quite personal, who is a beast and who is a saint. But you gotta admit it must have been a pretty funky place. Back then. Today, I don’t know. No matter how bad it gets, I’d rather be laying around drinking red wine and watching youtube in the You Ess Aaa. I know that sounds awful but I’m just being honest. I don’t care. Who cares? Not me. It is what it is. Nobody tells the truth about much anyway. They just give you their psychotic yada yada that streams out in noisy vibrations of meaningless nonsense.. Some people call that “communication”. Other people call it “leadership”. It’s nearly all complete vacuous unconscious total horseshale. Easy for me to say! Haha. Maybe me to. OK, me too. I admit it — but they don’t. That’s where you know who’s for real and who’s a fake.

        1. craazyman

          Cecil Rhodes said, and I quote, “I would annex the planets if I could.”

          The coloniial project. The white man’s burden. Can you see the Union Jack flying on Mars! That’s a big idea. When Elon Musk gets there he can rip it up and plant the Tesla flag. But no matter how many flags they plant and no matter what they say, the flag of Magonia is towering over all of them.

          The white man’s burden was heavy indeed. Especially when they had to tame the wilds of both Germany and Russia. That would not have been fun at all. I don’t pretend it would have been. They sent a baseball player to shoot Werner Heisenberg when he ran the Nazi’s physics program, but the guy didn’t havve to shoot Heisenberg because he said in the lecture they weren’t building the atomic bomb. This is a fact. If he had mentioned it he would have been shot. Later in his life the dude couldn’t even find a job. How weird is that. I wonder if he put it on his resume “Secret U.S. Agent in Switzerrland, Prepared to shoot Werner Heisenberg but didn’t have to. Expert with pistol” Still no takers though. That is weird. The U.S. guy joked after that sitting there watching the lecture was his own “uncertainty principle”. I bet even Heisenberg laughed about it — years later. Things are weird all over the place. Even now and especially now. But fortunately they are only weird in the mind and not, yet anyway, completely in reality. Let us hope it stays that way if it can, since it would require a lot of unpleasant work if it doesn’t.

    3. Synoia

      Churchill was an independent, and rare thinker. He also had the British Admiralty build the first Tanks, because the British Army High Command was too enthralled with the “If we kill one of them for one of us, “There more of us and we will win.”

    4. Mark P.

      Re. Churchill: ‘In a 1931 article in The Strand Magazine entitled ‘Fifty Years Hence’1, he described fusion power: “If the hydrogen atoms in a pound of water could be prevailed upon to combine together and form helium, they would suffice to drive a thousand-horsepower engine for a whole year.”

      Churchill and H.G. Wells were pals and Wells wasn’t just responsible for THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, he was the first person known to have imagined an atomic bomb in a 1914 novel, THE WORLD SET FREE.

      In 1933, Wells’s idea did in fact stimulate physicist Leo Szilard to figure out how the trick could be done in reality. Szilard in late 1939 wrote the letter sent to FDR with Albert Einstein’s signature that resulted in the Manhattan Project.

  12. ProNewerDeal

    Anyone know what is the ConManD0n Admin’s intent on the US immigration status quo? ICE has arrested & deported people, “75% of which were criminals”, but I’d guesstimate that D0nnyTinehHandz is lumping victimless “crime” people in the criminal 75%, like the 35 yr old Mexican national mother in the US for ~15 yrs who was charged with using a fake SSN in 2008 to work & was deported to Mexico.

    OTOH, I haven’t heard of C0nMan changing any status quo re Illegal Employers, certainly no talk of steep fines or felony charges.

    AFAICT, C0nMan’s policy will be to reduce the undocumented workforce by say 5%, scare the remaining 95%, & still allow Illegal Employers a reserve army of the more-scared undocumented workforce at the same ultralow wage, because the infinitisemal possible increased bargaining power due to the 5% workforce reduction will be offset by the increased fear of the remaining 95% workforce. As far as for US citizens or perm residents who might be working or interested in applying for low wage jobs currently also staffed by undocumented workers, I doubt there will be any statistical change in employment or pay rates.

    Pres C0nMan talked about reducing H1-B abuse. However IIRC C0nMan also campaign-talked about auto-perm resident for grad degree new grads in STEM majors, independent of H1-B-style company sponsoring. I guesstimate there is a lack of info yet to see if C0nMan will change the status quo for BS degree holding US citizens/perm residents in STEM & other occupations, currently abused by the H1-B program.

    What do yall think, re C0nMan’s effect on the US employment & wages?

    1. Yves Smith

      More facts, less speculation.

      A colleague who lives in a Boston suburb said his local grocery store employed a lot of Colombians. One day they were all gone. He asked one of the managers what happened. He was told that the store chain was told that the INS was going to start cracking down and they’d better get their house in order. And oddly, this took place after the election but before Trump took office.

      1. ProNewerDeal

        I am just guesstimating/speculating due to the lack of facts. I am interested in if policies will change the 0bama post-2008 GFC status quo here in Murica.

        Interesting anecdote re the Boston grocery store. If you had to guesstimate, do you think the recent Trump ICE raids are status quo 0bama policy, or a harsher policy on undocumented workers?

      2. duck1

        Wish we could go back to calling a Trump a Trump etc. These labored attempts at turning peoples name or position into some kind of expletive often leave me scratching my head. If you want to say fuck ’em, just say it. Also pearl clutching re Flynn–the guy’s signature is “you’re fired”.

  13. Joe

    I didn’t vote (for DJT or I’mwither). I’m not pleased by the current holders of the reins of power. But these 5 things keep coming to my mind:

    FAKE NEWS — what does anyone who lived thru late 2002 and early 2003 think we got to push us into the 2nd invasion of Iraq? Seriously? If you were alive and awake at that time, what the F do you NOW think that all was? Are you incapable of learning from History?

    How dare “the media” (NY Times, etc.) point a finger at anyone else? Kelly Conway is a problem, of course — as are Joe Scar and his girlfriend — but did it start with them???

    ALTERNATIVE FACTS — in 1991, before the first Iraq dust-up, the government used Hill + Knowlton to manipulate public feelings about the Iraqi army’s “Bayonetting of Babies” (in hospitals). This was blatant. I’m STILL mad about it . . . SOMEONE might have been prosecuted for this.

    OBAMA ADMINISTRATION — when are those of us on the “liberal” side of the equation, where I like to reside, going to come to terms what how awful 8 years of these people were? First of all, you can’t list all of the shortcomings (there are gazillions). Second of all, you can’t NOT blame what happened in those 8 years for the voters who stayed home (i.e., me) and those who ran out and voted for Trump against their own best interests. THIRD: This is not a racial thing. The fact that idiots on the right are having trouble taking apart Obamacare doesn’t mean the people who put it together did well for the public. If you paid attention as they assembled that legislation, you knew from jump that it was NOT going to work.

    FOREIGN INFLUENCE IN U.S. ELECTION — has everyone forgotten about China’s apparent effort in the 1996 elections? It’s possible everyone didn’t catch that one. To my way of thinking, THIS is the serious thing Clinton did that should have gotten him impeached (not the mucking around with the young woman).

    WORST FEARS: My worst fear is that the Trumpites succeed at some of the things on their list, and get credit for it. This could really muck up the 2018 Senatorial elections (and the country). My 2nd worst fear is that Trump resigns — maybe even soon — and we get Mike Pence as President. Has anyone who wants impeachment even given a 2nd thought to THAT?

    Summary: Instead of constantly being astounded by the present, perhaps at least some of us should try learning from the (recent) past. None of the events cited above are from the Aaron Burr or Teapot Dome eras!!!!

    1. RUKidding

      All good points, and thanks for the reminders with links.

      I simply do not “get” all my so-called “Liberal” friends who are shrieking for Trump to be impeached. Firstly, impeached for what? He hasn’t done anything that’s close to impeachable, notwithstanding the incessantly inflamed rhetoric – which is all I think it is – about Russia. Since when did Russia really present such a ginormous threat??

      Moreoever, whyever would you want to have President Pence?? IMO, he’s a much worse bet that Trump.

      I’m sick of it. No amount of discussion seems to sway some of my friends. I do my best not to talk too much about it anymore. They remind me of Tea Baggers. And these are not dumb or ignorant people, but boyohboy talk about brainwashed. They all watch way too much tv. I tossed out my tv years and years ago… one of the best decisions of my life.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Well I wish taking out American citizens (Yemen, If in fact Trump ordered it) or keeping tortures in charge of CIA or anywhere else were impeachable as a high crime. And I don’t think fear of someone worse should keep us from urging it on these matters.

        But yes, the hair on fire people need to get a grip or at least st*u jump in a cold shower.

  14. Katniss Everdeen

    Could use a little help from the community.

    Have a very sweet, very sick little doggie–Max. He’s a 6-year-old Bichon Frise, 16 pounds, normally healthy.

    He had emergency surgery on Monday afternoon to remove a foreign body from his duodenum–he ate a “palm nut” that got stuck. Lots of vomiting and regurgitation. His esophagus must be pretty raw. He’s been in the hospital since the surgery, and seems to be regressing. All kinds of pharmaceuticals including fentanyl patch, which sets my teeth on edge. Visited earlier today and it was quite upsetting.

    Vet says he can’t understand why he’s not doing better. Feels he may just need to be home, and we’re planning to fetch him as soon as they get his electrolytes under control later this evening.

    He won’t eat, and hasn’t for about four days.

    Anybody have any experience with a certain controlled substance that could be blown into his face, and reportedly reduces nausea and increases appetite in humans? Or any other canine experiences like making oil with the aforementioned controlled substance?

    Not that I’d do anything illegal you understand.

    1. Wyoming

      My wife and I have had lots of dogs and we were breeders for some years as well.

      Having a dog which reacts really badly to surgery and being in the “hospital” is not that uncommon. Sounds to me like the vet is blowing smoke….

      One never knows which way things turn out and I hope the best for you as I know how much this can hurt.

      If it was me I would get that dog away from that vet as fast as I can. Forget the damned drugs as they are the most likely cause of a lot of the problems. Dogs get side effects even more severe than people often and getting the right amount of drugs into a dog is more difficult than it is for a person. Many very large dogs will simply just die if you give them a calculated does of narcotics as, for some reason, they are extremely sensitive to such drugs. We have had vets not listen to us about this several times and they have almost killed our dogs. And how do you accurately calculate drugs for a very small dog? In our experience dogs don’t need pain killers except during the surgery and recover quicker when they are not given them for days afterwards.

      Another big factor is your dog loves you and has been abandoned. It lost its pack. It does not care if it lives any more. Get it home and give it the love and belonging that are essential to its being and it will probably come around in short order. Every time I go on a trip our dog won’t eat for days too because it is so upset.

      And I might not have any idea what I am talking about too I guess.

      Best of luck.

      1. Old Jake

        Another big factor is your dog loves you and has been abandoned. It lost its pack. It does not care if it lives any more. Get it home and give it the love and belonging that are essential to its being and it will probably come around in short order. Every time I go on a trip our dog won’t eat for days too because it is so upset.

        A trenchant observation. And the dog will be happier with you than anywhere else, regardless of the outcome.

    2. Oregoncharles

      All I know is that when I was in college, MANY years ago, a roommate’s dog, about the same size, ate his entire stash. Doggie slept the rest of the day, otherwise none the worse. A little sleep would do your friend a world of good.

      1. Old Jake

        Now that you mention it, I recall a dog (named “Wierdo,” what do you expect from hippy grad students in 1970?) who ate a significant amount of hashish, also slept a lot for a while, none the worse so far as anyone could tell later.

    3. Anne

      I think it’s possible he’s reacting either to the anesthesia or to post-surgery medication.

      We had a lab that had a pretty bad reaction to anesthesia (or to the Rimadyl she received after her surgery) – she was almost manic, anxious, acted like she didn’t know where she was or what she was supposed to be doing; I felt like she was having a non-stop panic attack. A couple days of a really mild prescription of vet-prescribed valium and she returned to being herself, but we’d never had an experience like that before.

      Sounds like your vet has your little guy on a lot of drugs, which may be the problem – fentanyl is an extremely powerful drug, for one, and if he’s listless and depressed, that can’t be helping.

      Hope he gets back to being himself soon – please keep us posted on his progress.

    4. OIFVet

      I hope that he gets better very soon, Katniss. Back in college my friend used to exhale his MJ smoke in his black lab’s face. She was very chill to begin with, so I don’t know if it really had an effect on her. In any case, there were no discernible bad effects, and she definitely would beg for her fair share of THC when she felt left out.

    5. hreik

      Why are his electrolytes wacky? That’s not right.
      Try to get him off the drugs. If he can come home, bring him. Feel him his favorite food, or people food, or anything you think he’d like. ANYTHING at all.. Mashed potatoes, meatloaf, whatever he ADORES.

      Wyoming is right. We have only ever had huge dogs (newfies) and thankfully our vet knows they need very little anesthesia, to which they are extremely sensitive. Your doggie may just be getting too many meds for his size and age. If your buddy is okay to come home tomorrow, bring him home.

      Good luck

    6. 5 dog life

      A few years ago, I fed my sick non-eating dog a canned specialty (for very ill dogs) food that is placed in the mouth with a plastic syringe. The food is by vet RX only. The food is very moist as you can imagine if it has to come out of a syringe so might not hurt as it goes down and could even be soothing. No chewing by your dog is required.
      I also agree that your vet may be over medicating your dog.

    7. katiebird

      Katniss, When our little Yorkie, Tommy, had a lump removed from his throat and stopped eating, we successfully hand fed him baby food and dog vitamins through a baggie with the corner cut out. He loved it. My husband also mixed in ground leftovers from our own meals.

      I am sure he was in pain from the surgery (how could he not be?) but he didn’t seem to mind that too much once he got home.

      We lost him a month ago (although I see him everywhere) but I am sure the food and love he got through the process is what kept him going nearly a year beyond the doc’s prediction.

      1. katiebird

        Grr. That sounds morbid …. I didn’t mean it that way. Our guy had cancer — a totally different problem. Except for the post surgery appetite and pain issues…

    8. UserFriendly


      If he’s been on fentanyl then he is very likely constipated. If he is really backed up that could make him not not to eat too. I’d recommend looking into stool softener suppositories. Opiates all the moisture come out of the stool so even some vaseline might do the trick.

  15. Brad

    News flash: “Andrew Puzder withdraws nomination for labor secretary”, WaPoo

    https://tinyurl.com/joa6ngl If that doesn’t work, go to WaPoo

    Out without even a hearing. National Review nails it: “The case for his confirmation has diminished to the point of disappearing,” the publication wrote in an editorial. “Not only is Puzder a representative of the worst reflex of corporate America on one of Trump’s signature issues, he is now significantly weakened.” Repugs want to win elections in 2018 & 2020. So they threw the The National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation and the International Franchise Association under the bus.

    What is interesting is that the Senate Repubs find it useful to appear to be against all immigration, legal or otherwise.

    1. JohnnyGL

      That’s a win, right there. Dems needed to show they could land a punch and draw some blood by getting a scalp. DeVos would have been a better scalp, Mnuchin would have been a really great one to bury. But, hey, they got one.

      DC Blob may have gotten a bigger win with Flynn, though.

    1. Tom

      I’ve just started reading up on Syria and was horrified to learn that the US-led coalition used more than 5,000 rounds of Depleted Uranium munitions in Syria on November 16 and 22, 2015, according to CENTCOM officials.
      That’s not as bad as when the U.S. fired more than 10,000 DU rounds (possibly as many as 181,000) at civilian areas during the Iraq war in 2003, but that’s not saying much.

  16. allan

    Feds probing Fox News for not disclosing sex harassment payouts [NYDN]

    The office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is conducting an investigation relating to possible violations of federal law at Fox News, an attorney alleged in court today Wednesday.

    Attorney Judd Burstein — who is representing former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros in a suit against the network and its ex-chairman Roger Ailes — said one of his other clients received a subpoena Monday to testify before a federal grand jury. …

    The subpoena noted “alleged violations of criminal law by Fox,” Burstein said. He said the securities unit was leading the investigation. …

    Burstein suspected that the federal investigation revolved around Fox News’ settlement offers in arbitration to employees making claims of sexual harassment. Such payouts are not disclosed in Fox’s SEC filings, Burstein said, leading him to suspect that could be a violation of federal securities law. …

    Will Trump let Sessions let Preet Bharara go there?

      1. allan


        Are you aware of other networks that have paid tens of million$ of hush money, not reported to shareholders, to cover up the serial sexual harassment by a top executive, enabled by other top executives? Please do tell.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re right, strictly on the payout part.

          A broader ‘it’, when expanded, should include sexual harassment probes.

  17. AnnieB

    Boulder County, CO commissioners have held a fracking moratorium for almost five years that was to end this May. But in Jan state attorney wrote them a letter saying the moratorium must end immediately. The Commissioners declined, saying May was soon enough and they needed the extra time to finalize new county regulations given that fracking companies are planning now to build much larger well pads with 20-40 wells on each pad.
    The attorney general refused to agree and is suing the county.

    The frack wells will be drilled at the perimeters of residential areas within sight of houses and schools, which is not new for Colorado or other places. But drilling will happen even on county open space, paid for by taxpayers.
    Some of us have been doing what we can to push back; we had a state ballot initiative that failed which would have allowed cities to ban fracking near residential areas (with various stipulations). But citizens seem determined to remain ignorant of the short and long term consequences of fracking. There are now people who are shocked that fracking has come to Boulder County. *sigh*

  18. ewmayer

    BTW, the proper spelling is ‘verklemmt’, which is German for ‘uptight, inhibited, repressed’.

    Und jetzt reden Sie bitte unter einander!

        1. ewmayer

          You mean ordinary English like you were taught starting in Kindergarten? Hey, if that’s your Weltanschauung, fine – but hopefully you’ll understand if not all of the rest of your Mitmenschen in the Lumpenproletariat feel so constrained. :)

          1. Richard

            I really apologize, Mr. E. W. Mayer but there are just a couple of people left in the United States who don’t happen to speak Yiddish. I apologize on behalf of the two of us.

        2. RMO

          Why use big words when arrangements of graphemes in a meager quantity are often reasonably sufficient to achieve successful communication?

  19. dao

    This just in from RealNews® network CNN. “Pentagon might propose sending ground troops to Syria”. The tone of the headline is alarming, but the key words are “might” and “propose”. It looks to be just another one of those propaganda/psyops articles to drum up support for war with Russia.

    RealNews® site MSNBC still has it’s “Allepo’s Children” page link on its front page, but looks like the page hasn’t been updated since December. Looks like they’ve given up on using children as an excuse for war and are now back to the ISIS/terrorist argument.

    In a sign that anti-Russian sentiment is everywhere you go and unavoidable, I was listening to Sirius radio today when I heard the female DJ comment on how “cute” the Canadian prime minister is. She followed up by saying “unlike Putin”.

  20. Robert Hahl

    No school today! Music:

    Imarhan – Tahabort 0:30

    Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate – Wonamati 4:51

    A song in Spanish by Linda Ronstadt. She must have had a parallel career in Latin America.

    Linda Ronstadt – Adonde Voy 3:30 (Studio)

    A British version of a trucking song, by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits. The name refers to old time highway robbers in Scotland.

    Mark Knopfler – Border Reiver 4:35

    Music from Brazil which owes nothing to rock or hip hop, probably because Brazil has its own empire.

    Bossa Nostra – Kharmalion 4:41 (Brazil)

    Mariana Aydar – Casa de Marimbondo (2:30) (Brazil)

    A song from Brazil in Portuguese that I heard many times on the radio in NYC in the 1970’s. The English version is well known as The Waters of March.

    Elis Regina & Tom Jobim – “Aguas de Março” – 1974 (3:30)

    Sylvain Luc is a French guitarist playing with Iranian percussionists.

    SYLVAIN LUC Nomad’s Land 8:15 (1:15 to 9:30)

    1. Oregoncharles

      “A song in Spanish by Linda Ronstadt.” Her mother was Latina – I think she did a whole album in Spanish.

      Great singer.

    1. voteforno6

      Indeed. I saw him speak once, and I even have a signed copy of his book. He was an interesting person.

  21. allan

    Mary Jo White to Rejoin Debevoise & Plimpton [CNBC]

    Mary Jo White, the former top government securities law enforcer, is returning to Debevoise & Plimpton, the New York-based law firm where she previously headed its litigation department.

    Ms. White, who announced plans in November to leave the Securities and Exchange Commission as its chairwoman, will serve as senior chairwoman of the law firm, focusing on counseling boards and representing clients on significant and delicate legal matters, including companies facing crises involving multifaceted government investigations and cases. …

    One of her chief lieutenants in that effort, Andrew J. Ceresney, also rejoined Debevoise after serving with her as director of the S.E.C.’s division of enforcement. …

    Mission accomplished.

Comments are closed.