2:00PM Water Cooler 2/2/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


Trump Transition

“At the time ― only about a month ago ― Obama administration officials thought the move was a swell idea; good for national security and a subtle way to twist the knife in the president-elect on the topic of Russian election hacking” [HuffPo]. “But it may have been the riskiest decision of the Obama years, opening a legal door to Donald Trump forces looking to control future access to the ballot box in the name of national security, and to a new president who decries millions of (phantom) ‘fraudulent’ votes he claims were illegally cast against him.” Holy moley. The framing “stupid and/or evil” covers pretty much everything in the Beltway, but this… Well, it’s orthogonal, shall we say (so we can avoid the hair-on-fire adjectives currently in vogue).

“The fourth possibility [to ‘get rid of’ Trump] is one that until recently I would have said was unthinkable in the United States of America: a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders” [Rosa Brooks, Foreign Policy]. Hoo boy. As I keep saying, this is a podcast I listen to — “Live! From the Heart of The Blob!” — and these people are bughouse (as in wanting war with Russia bughouse. Lovely people, very mellow voices, a lot of laughter).

“No matter what you call it, Trump’s immigration order will be tough to overturn, legal analysts say” [WaPo]. “Analysts across the political spectrum say that the president has vast authority to bar the entry of people to the United States, and to do so without the consent of other branches of government.”

“Polling data collected by Morning Consult among more than 85,000 registered voters since the election (but before the travel executive order) demonstrates why Republicans are likely to stick with the president even if others turn against him. Over all, 47 percent of registered voters had a very or somewhat favorable view of Mr. Trump, while 48 percent had a very or somewhat unfavorable view” [NYT]. The thing is, it’s extremely unlikely that Trump can fulfill the version of “hope and change” that he presented to his voters — as long as he sticks to Republican orthodoxy, especially fiscal discipline. So it’s only a matter of time for his weakness to become apparent. And what happens then? Will a return to “the good times” under Obama be enough to make Democrats stronger than even a weakened Trump? I’m guessing no.

2016 Post Mortem

“Every single Democrat is going to need to play a role in building a Democratic Party we can all be proud of. Before the DNC members vote on who will lead us through that process, let them know what you think is important in a party chair” [Democrats.org]. “We’ll share your feedback with party leaders from your state.” Not the DNC, ha ha.

Revolt of the Worker Bees

“At the EPA, a small group of career employees — numbering less than a dozen so far — are using an encrypted messaging app to discuss what to do if Trump’s political appointees undermine their agency’s mission to protect public health and the environment, flout the law, or delete valuable scientific data that the agency has been collecting for years, sources told Politico” [Politico]. I hope there’s a sysadmin in that group…. For more technical details, see here.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Says [Paul Sracic, political science professor at Youngstown State University], “Trump issues an executive order beginning the process of dismantling the ACA [Affordable Care Act], and Democrats respond by saying he is trying to ‘Make America Sick Again.’ People think, however, that the ACA needs to be improved. Where is the Democratic alternative?” [New York Post]. A lot of confusion about the internal dynamics of the Democrat Party, but on this point, the New York Post (!) is spot on. Again, what are Democrats for? Because you can’t beat something with nothing. As the Clinton debacle proved.

And speaking of being for something:

Nancy Pelosi explains it all to you (and Trevor Hill):

Trevor Hill’s reponds to Pelosi [HuffPo]. Worth quoting in full:

“I was actually surprised that she was so open about a lot of the flaws that she sees in the capitalist system ― at least, in her eyes a capitalist system that has arisen from an older, better system,” he said. “I didn’t expect that.”

But Hill said he was also “kind of disappointed” that Pelosi did not address whether the Democratic Party should adopt a more populist platform. “She just completely ignored that question.”

Hill, who is registered to vote in California, identifies as an “leftist independent” rather than a Democrat. He voted for Sanders in the primary and then Green Party nominee Jill Stein in the general election.

As a former Democrat, I had some stuff that I really did want to know about, like if they were going to make any effort to regain a lot of the voters they lost during the election cycle,” Hill said.

Although his recent voting pattern might make it tempting to dismiss someone like Hill as a lost cause, his personal story is not that different from many disaffected working-class voters whose support Democrats are so eager to win back. Hill used to be an enthusiastic Democrat and supporter of President Barack Obama. But he grew “disillusioned” with Democrats, he said, when their rosy rhetoric clashed with the economic misery his family was experiencing.

His parents declared bankruptcy three years ago after a drop in his father’s income as a construction contractor made it impossible for them to pay their bills. He can attend NYU thanks to a full scholarship he receives.

The bankruptcy “was during the best years of the recovery when everyone was singing [Obama’s] praises and saying ‘everything’s doing so well, America’s back on track.’ Meanwhile my parents were choosing between having the lights on and putting food on the table,” Hill recalled. “It was almost insulting really to feel ignored like that. And I know so many people who have the same story.”

That crunching noise you heard last summer was the Clinton juggernaut rolling over Hill’s prostrate body on its way into the ditch.

“Democrats are more fired up than Republicans: The [new poll of 18-29 year-olds by the Harvard Institute of Politics] found that among young Democrats, 33% say they are more motivated to get politically involved, compared to 19% of young Republicans and 20% of independents” [Wall Street Journal].

* * *

“These Are the Groups Behind Those ‘Spontaneous’ Anti-Trump-Ban Protests” [Daily Beast]. “Make the Road New York was just one of many groups, virtually unknown and unheard of nationally, leading the anti-Trump mass resistance and airport demonstrations that erupted all across the United States over the weekend.” I don’t think that “local groups,” “unknown and unheard of nationally,” merit the shudder quotes round “‘spontaneous’,” and I’m very glad to have the names. It’s really shudder-quoted “spontaneous” groups — funded by Brock or some squillionaire — that I’m worried about (making Neera Tanden’s horrid little “Resist” icon come true). So this article makes a prima facie case for good news. Not that the Democrat establishment won’t try to decapitate the movement’s leaders and exploit the movements’ energy. But you can’t blame them for being what they are, I suppose. Just clean house and get rid of them. (Oh, and the Women’s March isn’t mentioned.)

“Democrats are moving urgently to harness the wave of grass-roots protests that have greeted President Trump in his first weeks in office to reclaim the House majority in next year’s midterm elections” [WaPo]. “The DCCC’s organizing push is aimed at turning that activism into votes come November 2018. The new field operatives, Luján said, will be hired in most cases from within the targeted districts and who have previously worked on House campaigns there.” Well, good. They’re not hiring the actual activists, then. Had me worried there for a moment!

“Republicans are in control of Congress, but the House New Democrat Coalition does not plan to sit by and let the GOP generate all the policy ideas on issues like taxes, infrastructure and cybersecurity” [Roll Call]. “In continuing with their effort to be leaders on policy issues and find potential areas of bipartisan compromise, the New Democrats are launching new task forces designed to generate policy solutions for issues on the GOP’s congressional agenda.” Say, how about Medicare for All?

“House Democrats are rallying behind a plan to make President Trump’s first speech to Congress as uncomfortable as possible by inviting guests they say will suffer under new White House policies” [The Hill]. “The strategy means Trump will likely face a crowd including ethnic minorities, LGBT people, undocumented immigrants, the disabled and others when he addresses a joint session on Feb. 28” (musical interlude, for diversity of visuals). Oddly, or not, Americans who work for wages aren’t on that list of protected classes. Strange, considering that’s where the numbers are.

“‘[Fundraising] started on Nov. 9,’ said Democratic fundraising consultant Mike Fraioli. ‘They may not have scheduled an event, but if they won, they slept 24 hours and put together a program'” [Roll Call]. “A strong first quarter helps members achieve what’s known in consultant-speak as ‘winning in the off-year.’ A hefty haul helps deter challenges and gives incumbents a head start.” Ka-ching.

“Why We Support Keith Ellison for DNC Chair” [Editorial, The Nation]. ” Even as Americans fill the streets demanding resistance to the extremist agenda of Donald Trump, congressional Democrats often lack the numbers for the pushback.” The numbers? That’s the problem?

What Chris Arnade said. Conclusion of a good tweetstorm:

Stats Watch

Productivity and Costs, Q4 2016: “It took more hours to produce at a slower rate, that’s an unfavorable mix for productivity” [Econoday]. “Low productivity is a stubborn weakness of the economy, the result in part of a shrinking pool of available workers but also reflecting lack of investment in new equipment.” So, a capital strike? And: “The year-over-year analysis is consistent with costs growing faster than productivity” [Econintersect].

Challenger Job-Cut Report, January 2017: “January is often a heavy month for layoff announcements as it was this year,” although it’s better than last year [Econoday]. And: “The top four job cuts announced during the month occurred in the retail sector, with Macy’s leading the pack by reporting plans to close 68 stores and decrease its headcount by 10,000 workers” [Econintersect].

Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index, January 2017: “remained strong” [Econoday]. “The reading indicates that many more workers believe their employer is bringing on new employees than letting people go.”

Gallup Good Jobs Rate, January 2017: “not a statistically significant increase” [Econoday]. “Gallup’s measure of underemployment in January was 14.1 percent, up from 13.7 percent in December, and 1.4 points higher than the low point measured in October 2016…. Gallup’s U.S. underemployment rate combines the percentage of adults in the workforce who are unemployed (5.8 percent) with those who are working part time but desire full-time work (8.3 percent).”

Jobless Claims, week of January 28, 2017: “Initial claims continue to dig out a new plateau of lows so far this year” [Econoday].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of January 29: “[B]ack near its post-election high” [Econoday]. “Strength in consumer confidence readings ultimately reflects strength in the jobs outlook.”

Chain Store Sales, January 2017: “Chain stores are reporting mostly lower sales rates in January than December” [Econoday]. “Looking at the total retail sales report, unit auto sales proved very soft compared to December (data released yesterday) though gasoline stations likely got a January lift from a moderate increase in prices. Yet gasoline makes up only a small part of retail sales which on net, and despite very strong readings for consumer confidence, look to have underperformed during January.” And: “January Same-Store Sales as Cold as the Weather” [247 Wall Street].

Shipping: “‘It may seem a big surprise for a country whose industry is proud of green technology and engineering solutions, but Germany is responsible for the worst shipbreaking practices amongst all shipping nations when one compares the size of its fleet to the number of ships broken irresponsibly,’ the [Shipbreaking Platform Germany] NGO reported. German owners, banks and ship funds had 98 ships rammed up on the beaches of South Asia out of a total of 100 vessels sold for demolition last year, the organisation reported. Moreover, 40% of these were broken in Bangladesh, where the NGO says conditions are known to be the worst” [Splash 247].

Shipping: “Tanker owners have been hit with a deluge of new deliveries in the first month of the year on a scale never seen before, heaping further pressure on an already weak freight rate environment” [Splash 247].

Shipping: “Seoul Central District Court will pull the plug on Hanjin Shipping, almost six months after the container carrier filed for court receivership.The court will grant a two-week period for appeals before declaring the company bankrupt, with the most likely bankruptcy date being February 17” [Lloyd’s List].

Shipping: “Demolitions of chemical tankers could accelerate towards 2020, but it is questionable whether this will have a major impact on market fundamentals because scrap candidates are in the smaller size categories, warns shipping consultancy Drewry” [Lloyd’s List].

The Bezzle: “Facebook’s virtual-reality subsidiary and two of its founders are facing a sobering reality after a jury hit them with a $500 million bill for violating the intellectual property rights of video-game maker ZeniMax Media” [AP]. “The verdict reached Wednesday in a Dallas federal court represents about one-fourth of the $2 billion that Facebook paid two years ago to buy Oculus, a developer of virtual-reality gear and software. The jury concluded that Oculus and co-founders Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe infringed on ZeniMax Media’s copyrights and trademarks as they built their products. Oculus vowed to appeal the decision.”

The Bezzle: “Massive Price Hike for Life-Saving Opioid Overdose Antidote” [Scientific American]. “Called Evzio, it is used to deliver naloxone, a life-saving antidote to overdoses of opioids. More than 33,000 people are believed to have died from such overdoses in 2015. And as demand for Kaleo’s product has grown, the privately held firm has raised its twin-pack price to $4,500, from $690 in 2014.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 49 Neutral (previous close: 52, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 58 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 1 at 11:27am. That fluttery feeling…


“Depressed Groundhog Sees Shadow Of Rodent He Once Was” [The Onion].

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“When Electronic Witnesses Are Everywhere, No Secret’s Safe” [Singularlity Hub]. “I think Amazon is great, and we have no reason to doubt them. That said, they say Echo is only recording when you say the word “Alexa,” but that means that it has to be constantly listening for the word Alexa. For people who believe in privacy and don’t want to have all of their conversations recorded, they believe Amazon that that is actually the case. But how many people have actually examined the code? The code hasn’t been put out there for vetting by a third party, so we don’t actually know what is going on.”

Class Warfare

“For-Profit Colleges: Rough Times Ahead for Working-Class Students” [Working Class Perspectives]. “It appears that for-profit higher education programs will flourish again under the Trump administration, likely to the detriment of working-class students and taxpayers.”

The sharing economy in Mexico: “Apli’s business model is relatively straightforward. Job seekers register with the app. When businesses — mostly restaurants in gentrifying areas looking to reduce their costs and minimize their social and labor obligations — request a temp worker, the app offers the shift to one of its registered partners. When the partner agrees, her ‘service provision contract’ begins. The contract, as the Apli receptionist reminded us, grants no labor rights or social security, only the payment of wages” [Jacobin].

“Life Is Hell for Tenants of Giant D.C. Slumlord Sanford Capital” [Washington City Paper]. “Sanford Capital has been buying apartment complexes that are home to the city’s working poor for more than a decade. In extensive reporting on the company’s practices, City Paper found that Sanford employs a systematic strategy for allowing buildings to become so squalid that residents are forced to leave. The company also files for evictions in bulk.” We’ll always have Paris… If we have sans culottes. Eh?

News of the Wired

“Spam Accounts for Two-Thirds of Total Email Volume” [MarketWatch]. “Cisco attributes the rise in spam primarily to the rise of large spam-sending botnets, and that between 8% and 10% of global spam ‘could be categorized as malicious.'”

“The “wisdom of the crowd” is a simple approach that can be surprisingly effective at finding the correct answer to certain problems” [Ars Technica]. “This process has some pretty obvious limits, but a team of researchers at MIT and Princeton published a paper in Nature this week suggesting a way to make it more reliable: look for an answer that comes up more often than people think it will, and it’s likely to be correct.” I’m trying to think of a contemporary example…

“Physics: The wave catchers” [Nature]. “In an age of strongman politicians and outright despotism, this impassioned call for a ‘beacon of values’ is more important than ever. ‘We desperately need science to rescue democracy from greed,’ [sociologist of science Harry Collins] writes. “We need that even more than we need gravitational wave astronomy.'”

“The psychological benefits of giving up on cleaning and embracing the mess” [Quartz]. Filers vs. pilers. I am most definitely a piler. If you keep everything in one pile, you never lose anything. You just rotate the stack ’til what you want comes to the top.

News you can use:

* * *

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 (JM):

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. kj1313

      The anarchists are antifa.

      “The history of anti-fascism in 20th-century Europe is largely one of fighting squads, like the international militant brigades fighting Franco in Spain, the Red Front Fighters’ League in Germany who were fighting Nazis since the party’s formation in the 1920s, the print workers who fought ultra-nationalists in Austria, and the 43 Group in England fighting Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. In every iteration these mobilizations entailed physical combat. The failure of early-20th-century fighters to keep fascist regimes at bay speaks more to the paucity of numbers than the problem of their direct confrontational tactics.”


      Reading twitter, some on the left feel that since there has been no push back to the rise of white nationalism, this is a valid tactic. Now yes it is fraught with an escalation with authorities but they see appeasement from liberals and are willing to take up violence.

      1. RudyM

        Whatever their reasons for what they’re doing, I consider them the enemy. It’s not just the authorities that they need to worry about, it’s also the majority of the US population, many of whom are armed.

        If your revolution includes an attack on free speech, I’m not interested. That’s a classical liberal value that is too dear to me. I’d rather put up with Republican economic policies than yield to the regime these antifa thugs are trying to impose. (At least Republicans always end up deficit spending anyway, one way or another.)

        1. kj1313

          According to the left it’s not about free speech, Milo trolls as he has revealed the identities of trans student.


          According to the SFgate article “The UC Berkeley letter warns the Republican hosts of the event that Yiannopoulos could target individual students — holding up their photos or revealing personal information about them — during the speech that will be live-streamed, “putting students at risk.”


          I consider that incitement. You can have a reasonable debate but Yiannopoulos doesn’t do that. He wants to spread fear.

      2. that guy

        Yeah, nah, that’s gonna make things worse. You really think legit no-BS neo-nazis won’t get it up to really organize and fight? And if, by some miracle, they don’t rise to the bait, conservatives get to tie leftists to violent protesters who just like to run amok and burn stuff. You might see it differently, but that’s exactly how it looks to people just watching this stuff on the evening news. That looks like a lose-lose proposition to me.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I’m familiar with the trope, but I’ve yet to see evidence. At the most basic level, it’s a color revolution without color; the pink pussy hats, for example are (so far) pretty much silo-ed.

    2. marym

      He’s a spokesman for white supremacists. At his last college speaking engagement one of his supporters shot someone; and at another he himself outed a transgender student. Harassment of marginalized demographics occur in his wake. So to answer your first question, no.

      Since I’ve yet to see either an argument or an outcome showing that breaking windows or setting fires is an effective tactic against oppression, I can’t disagree with your second point, though whether the “anarchists” are leftist anti-fa or rightist provocateurs is questionable.

      1. The Trumpening

        In he U of W shooting incident, the non-white shooter justified his actions by saying he was shooting a white supremacist. So the shooter was most certainly not a Milo supporter, but perhaps the shooting victim was.


        Milo is far from a white supremacist. Whether he is even a member of the alt-Right is doubtful. Determining membership of the alt-Right is tricky. It is kind of like determining which bands are heavy metal. For example 100 out of a 100 people would say Black Sabbath is heavy metal. But what about Journey or REO Speedwagon (LOL!). Milo is basically REO Speedwagon during their song Ridin’ the Storm Out. At one point during the campaign perhaps Milo could have been considered alt-Right. But after the Trump victory, the white nationalists reclaimed ownership of the alt-Right. No white nationalist considers Milo, the gay, supposedly Jewish, supposedly receptive partner to plenty of black men, supposed long term boyfriend to a Muslim, as a member of the alt-Right. In fact they rail against him. And Milo strongly encourages them to do so…

        Is this heavy metal? Is Milo alt-Right?


        1. marym

          Thanks for the link to the Seattle story and thanks OP for the additional link. What happened in Seattle isn’t clarified by that story (perpetrator claims to have been assaulted; vicitim’s friends claim victim not a racist). Probably not a good example of anything for either side of the argument, so I’ll drop it. As far as sorting out alt-right, white nationalist, white supremacist – I just don’t know. My feeling is that there’s an attempt all this terminology to gloss over something far too dangerous and provocative to be glossed over, and I tend to use the most critical of the terminology choices. With the Breitbart-Bannon point of view now prominent at the highest level of government, we do need to talk it through. However, I’ll restrain my own language for NC comments. OP if I went too far, I understand if you delete.

          1. Waldenpond

            Well, after the alt-right apologia, it’s kind of hard to tell what’s too far.

            Performative bigot MY applied for alt-right membership but was rejected. MY article on the alt-right….(Not, actually MY, his name just there) The alt-right are delightful intellectuals.

            **The ‘death metal’ deflection is a common tactic of the alt-right. So yes, marym is correct about the terminology being used to (gloss over something) white wash the bigotry of the far right.

            Besides the repeat of the ‘death metal’ comparison (those darn kids), in the article you’ll see terms like human biodiversity and the crisis of white men. The Bosnian genocidists are just like those 60s kids! This one’s really brilliant……. 1488 ers are just like third wave feminists!

            [They have no real problem with race-mixing, homosexuality, or even diverse societies] As MY’s rejection shows, yes, they do have a problem with this( see Anglin’s response in daily stormer, I’m not linking to that). MY shares the values and beliefs of the alt-right, and though he’s demonstrated he can be an effective grifter, they just won’t let him be a member.

            The alt-right is racist. (this from an appreciation of aspects of what they do)

            The alt-right is racist. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/call-the-alt-right-movement-what-it-is-racist-as-hell-w436363

            MY: Trump as ‘daddy’ meme is more alt-right racism.https://www.salon.com/2016/09/22/exclusive-watch-milo-yiannopoulos-show-his-true-colors/

            The ridiculousness that MY can’t be racist because he ‘sucks black’ is just the latest version of I can’t be racist because I have a black acquaintance. “I’ve worked out why there are so many Black girls here…cause I fucked their brothers” and “I give it 20 minutes; the statistics of Black incarceration are about to go up.” I am not linking to MYs racist videos. He on youtube if you’re so inclined.

            MY’s whole schtick is defending racists and bigots from being accurately called racists and bigots. It’s his niche. He finds a bigot (outbreak) parade and tries to get in front even when it’s contrary to his own opinion. The only criticism MY holds of the far-right is only to the degree that they won’t let him in. The poor guy was suspended then banned from Twitter (even Westboro Baptist can manage to stay on Twitter) and has sadly been relegated to posting from Gab that women’s suffrage was a mistake. He’s so ineffective at what he does, he has to keep claiming it’s satire (which is actually funny)

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Or I can’t be racist because I’m a woman…

              All this reduction of racism to personal characteristics (“deplorables”) is a recipe for (a) permanent outrage and (b) never addressing systemic racism.

              So we’re looking a self-licking ice cream cone.

              Ya know, Milo and the Liberals would be a great name for a band. I’m picturing something post-modern… But not too pomo. Edgy, but could get a write-up in the Times.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Milo’s a creep, like all Golden Dawn supporters.

          And the whole alt-[fill in reified tendency] framing leaves me cold.

          Personally, I’d rather define victory for the resistance in terms of (say) Medicare for all, but liberals and conservatives are doing a fine job of suppressing the left as they escalate their death match inside the neoliberal cage….

      2. allan

        Whoever they were, even in their ski masks they definitely didn’t want to be filmed by the media.
        I was watching live on KRON and the reporter (who was there with security) described being
        threatened/forced some distance back from the action on Bancroft and Telegraph.

        What can be read into that I’ll leave for others to decide for themselves.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Yes, they do threaten the press and especially independent, branded streamers (who in times of great upheaval, are our only reliable information source.

          No, they don’t destroy CCTV cameras.

          Yes, the masks make it incredibly easy for cops and agent provocateurs to operate.

          Add it all up…

      3. John

        “Since I’ve yet to see either an argument or an outcome showing that breaking windows or setting fires is an effective tactic against oppression,”

        It’s about scale, marym. I think the firestorms over German cities worked rather effectively against German oppression. Just as Sherman’s March thru Georgia was rather effective in our own Civil War.
        I think it’s about who can deliver the most fires and broken windows. That can be hard to tell.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          In what sense could black bloc operations scale to night bombing campaigns over Germany or Sherman’s march through Georgia? Do you really think that anarchists are about building an industrial base or enormous military organizations? Dear Lord.

          It’s like saying a herpes outbreak “scales” to a stroke. It’s not a different in degree, it’s a difference in kind. A little Silicon valley jargon doth not analysis make.

        2. Fried

          I think you’re vastly overestimating the contribution of firebombing German cities to the outcome of the war. Yes, it killed a lot of people, but as far as I can tell, it did little to disrupt the industry and it didn’t destroy German morale the way the British had hoped.

      4. Oregoncharles

        They DID prevent Milo from speaking at Berkeley, and I believe somewhere else, too; small victories, potentially self-defeating.

        1. Waldenpond

          Just curious as to what the self-defeat is? Historical to the type of movement or contemporary. Trump has said he could defund Berkeley…. do you see that as a negative?

          1. PhilM

            Re: self-defeating: to prevent a man from speaking because you don’t like what he is going to say. That is by definition self-defeating. The Catholic Church, for God’s sake, let Hus speak in his own defense before they burned him. Every time someone like Milo is muzzled, the people lose. Here’s another one for your growing reading list: John Stuart Mill, On Liberty.

            Edmund Burke vs Tom Paine in 1790-1791. See who the winner was. Of course, Burke was right in the end; but Paine was the immediate winner in sales by orders of magnitude and political response. Above all, the reading public were the winners, because they were able to read both tracts and consider them. Londoners were toasting Burke–because he had incited Paine’s brilliant response.

            1. marym

              He used his platform at the University of Wisconsin to out a transgender student. His current tour is to oppose sanctuary universities, and a few days ago at the University of New Mexico he encouraged students to report illegal immigrants to ICE.* He’s not there for a healthy exchange of ideas.

              As I said earlier in the thread, I don’t see breaking windows accomplishing anything positive, but people have a right to protest the incitement of hatred, cruelty, bigotry, and informing against each other. What do the people lose if they don’t protest?

              * The UNM story is on breitbart. I won’t link to it, but it’s easy to find.

      5. Anon

        marym, some clarification:

        It wasn’t one of his supporters shooting someone, it was actually one of the attendees that got shot by a protestor, as seen here: Man Shot by Protestor

        Further, it is the highest level of irony for an openly gay man to be the spokesperson for white surpremacists, especially given his stated preference for black men.

        Finally, there is this piece written by the man himself here: Milo Not a Supremacist

        1. marym

          Thanks. The link from TT from Seattle times seems to have been written originally at a “he said/they said” point in the reporting. From your link:

          Victim who chose not to press charges:

          The victim is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, a leftwing union, who attended the protest “to oppose Milo’s hateful speech”, according to a statement from the IWW. The union said that the victim is a 34-year-old man and “long-time anti-racist and anti-fascist activist” who was “unarmed and attempting to de-escalate conflict” when he was shot.


          The shooter was a Trump supporter who sent a Facebook message to Yiannopoulos asking for an autograph while waiting in line for the controversial event, according to the Seattle Times.

      6. alex morfesis

        Milo the Athenian self proclaimed demigod, formerly known as milo wagner of “the kernel”, does not believe in anything except getting attention…there is an entire industry of paid college speaking tours where “activities” fees are used to help publicists and publishers sell books and other media on the college students dime…

        Even the evil “brock turner” is trying to get into the act and business of “college speaking tours”…

        Considering how close to san francisco he was when that “publicity stunt” of setting fire to some garbage can under a tree was filmed from 8 angles to make it look like a riot…

        Surprised he didn’t have his crowbarista friends bring some marshmallows for the crowd after they started the campfire…

        But as long as everyone remembers his last name is spelled with two n’s…all will be well in the garden…

          1. Fiver

            The ‘black bloc’ is entirely about discrediting legitimate protest. It is just so pathetic that people cannot use the knowledge they do have and think:

            Police have never been shy about cracking heads or pepper spraying or jailing young peaceful protesters, but never, ever go after the organized smashers when they are in action, whether they are readily identifiable as ‘black bloc’ or similarly masked groups, or otherwise dressed, obviously organized groups anyone can observe watching tapes – the ones methodically going at it. I think various State policing agencies are to the ‘black bloc’ what the DEA or CIA are to ‘the war on drugs’, i.e., the key enablers.

    3. I Have Strange Dreams

      The elites and their liberal enablers already unleash devastating violence on the working and middle classes. Opioid epidemics, obesity, ptsd, police violence, the largest prison population on the planet, debt, alcoholism, house foreclosures, unaffordable healthcare, anti-worker laws, etc. And you’re crying about a bust window?

      1. Eclair

        The devastations you list above are structural violence, tolerated if not actually devised by the elites and the government they control. So, it’s all good.

      2. Fiery Hunt

        Actually, I live and work in the East Bay…and yes, the fricking idiots who destroy locally owned business windows and block highways directly impact working people negatively.

        Here in the Bay Area, these protests, whether its for local thug Oscar Grant or just to break shit, are overwhelmingly despised by both the latte liberals AND us working stiffs.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Heard exactly the same during Oakland Occupy and I believe it.

          If these clowns were serious, they wouldn’t be smashing bank branches on Telegraph Avenue, which I’m sure are all covered by insurance at this point, the ritual is so formalized. They’d be seizing a FOX news station, maybe broadcasting from it. We’re looking at ego-driven soccer hooligan-level dilettantism, not heroism on the level of the Spanish Civil War, if and when we’re not looking at cops self-organizing overtime and a bigger budget for weaponry.

          Lordie, with a level of self-regard like we’re seeing, these guys should join the Clinton campaign. They’d fit right in. Always some clown in black leather raising a fist…

          1. I Have Strange Dreams

            From News.Berkeley.edu‘s site:

            An early estimate of campus damage is around $100,000, according to campus officials. There are broken windows at the MLK Student Union, a generator that caught fire and was destroyed, concrete steps at the student union that need sand blasting, graffiti to clean up and some pavers and trees on Sproul Plaza that may need replacement. One particular tree on the plaza was badly singed by fire.

            A badly singed tree! Oh God, the inhumanity!

            The city of Berkeley’s Downtown Business Association is reporting damage to more than 10 businesses including several banks, a Starbucks, a TargetExpress and Sprint and T-Mobile stores.

            My heart bleeds.

    4. JTMcPhee

      Trump learned from Roy Cohn, famous closet scumbag.

      Let us fondly remember that other famously conservative “right” gay man, Roy Cohn. Sorry, have to plug in a couple of links to cover the territory:

      “What Donald Trump Learned From Joseph McCarthy’s Right-Hand Man,” https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/21/us/politics/donald-trump-roy-cohn.html

      “The man who showed Donald Trump how to exploit power and instill fear,” https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/former-mccarthy-aide-showed-trump-how-to-exploit-power-and-draw-attention/2016/06

      “Trump’s Mobbed Up, McCarthyite Mentor Roy Cohn — Donald Trump’s brash and bullying style was learned at the heel of Roy Cohn, one of America’s most infamous lawyers.” http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/23/trump-s-mobbed-up-mccarthyite-mentor.html/16/e9f44f20-2bf3-11e6-9b37-42985f6a265c_story.html?utm_term=.b6a9657c92f3

      Just because you’re gay that doesn’t mean you’re all good…

      Given the “oppo” sh!t that was smeared on Sanders, where were “Dem” folks when it came to Trump’s “schooling” and provenance? Could have maybe used some of this in the campaign? Oh nooos, cannot say critical stuff about anyone LGBTQ, whatever their “character…”

    5. Brad

      Yes the anarchists are tactically stupid children, no this has nothing to do with “liberal free speech values”.

      This is a rifle-counting exercise. Bannon’s alt-right movement needs to build a mass base beyond the one they have now among cops in the big metro areas. That’s what the Milos tour is all about. Trumpism won’t last on the basis of rural voters, declasse former industrial workers, and the usual greedy Republican exurbanite managerial and market-bureaucratic crowd, this last the mainstay of the Congressional and statehouse snakepits, all ideologically tied together by guns, God and capitalism.

      Organize counter-demos, but make it possible to let the crypto-fascists come out in the metros where we can identify and *count them*. And take constructive action against them. Which will depend on whether the left can get beyond schizoid 70’s politics of supporting democrats / trashing the town.

      1. Outis Philalithopoulos

        Brad, are you saying that Bannon is going to build a mini-army by recruiting from among College Republican types who come to listen to Milo talks? What sort of “constructive action” do you have in mind against the “crypto-fascists” once you “identify” and “count” them?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Good point. I’m thinking that the liberal hysterics have conflate symbol manipulation — very big in the world they come from — with actual violence. See under micro-aggression… Not that Milo is any slouch at symbol manipulation himself.

  1. Tim

    Massive Price Hike for Life-Saving Opioid Overdose Antidote” [Scientific American]. “Called Evzio, it is used to deliver naloxone, a life-saving antidote to overdoses of opioids. More than 33,000 people are believed to have died from such overdoses in 2015. And as demand for Kaleo’s product has grown, the privately held firm has raised its twin-pack price to $4,500, from $690 in 2014.”

    Wow, they get you coming and going…

    The only potential saving grace would be the makers of Oxycontin buying them out and selling the drug for free so they can maintain their base of addicts, I mean customers. Then they could parade around saying how good they are trying to right a wrong and they really had good intentions all along.

  2. Tom Stone

    Does anyone really expect the Dem elite to alienate large investors by calling for the kinds of change that would benefit the public at large?

    1. PKMKII

      Depends on how much they enjoy not winning. The entrenched, coastal blue state ones (Schumer, Pelosi, Booker, etc) will keep their fingers in their ears and pretend everything is fine. Heartland Dems may start to sing a different tune, especially if they start getting primaried.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      FDR did (New Deal). LBJ did (Medicare).

      Depression and despair are (literally) static emotions. But in the current volatile, dynamic situation, the opportunities are, er, huge.

      Conservatives and liberals are playing for keeps (which is what the military coup talk is all about). Will the left?

  3. Baby Gerald

    Re Trevor Hill vs. Nancy Pelosi:

    ‘His parents declared bankruptcy three years ago after a drop in his father’s income as a construction contractor made it impossible for them to pay their bills. He can attend NYU thanks to a full scholarship he receives.’

    It seems like bankruptcy couldn’t have come at a better time for Mr. Hill’s parents. No mention of what sort of scholarship Mr. Hill has. If it is need-based, had his parents been solvent I would presume NYU would be going after their wealth instead.

    Mr. Hill needs to understand that the system is fixed against him, his parents, and the middle class to which they (and most of us) precariously belong. His interaction with Nancy P. proves that she’s not going to lift a finger to help him as long as her pockets are being lined. In better times, she would have been run out on a rail for a remark like that.

    1. fred

      What ever made you think Mr. Hill is middle class? NYU is one of the country’s most expensive school with tuition and fees running $46,170 USD (2014)a year. It’s not like he’s down at the local community college.

      On the other hand poverty stricken NYU has an endowment worth 3.576 billion USD. They at least must appreciate the Trump bump.

        1. aab

          I am very impressed with him from what I’ve seen and read, but it’s a myth that smart kids get full scholarships. They don’t. And NYU is notorious for its very stingy needs-based financial aid.

          I’m thrilled he got his fine aid, but some part of this story is missing. I’m not saying it’s nefarious. Just…doesn’t add up. Maybe he’s a National Merit Scholar that NYU bribed away from some place else. I only mention this because I have spent a painful amount of time talking to the parents of really smart kids who were shocked at how little that matters when their child needs financial aid.

          1. JTFaraday

            Yes, all of that is true, and NYU considers itself highly tuition dependent, but there are undergraduate (not graduate) students with very good merit + need based financial aid packages at NYU.

    2. Tvc15

      Pelosi to proles, go F yourself, we are capitalists, no other system exists and I already got mine.

    3. mad as hell.

      “His interaction with Nancy P. proves that she’s not going to lift a finger to help him as long as her pockets are being lined. In better times, she would have been run out on a rail for a remark like that.”

      People have to start accepting that the Democratic party is not about to give them any significant help when they have a cash cow to milk. People like Pelosi, Booker,Warren, Schumer are all show, actors and good enough actors to convince some of the population. It will not be until the Democratic party is demolished that any real honest change can happen.

      Do you actually believe that he is going lead the party to victory? Wall street’s favorite senator. Schumer’s the guy that said

      “I will fight with every fiber of my being until this executive order is gone.” pertaining to the immigration stoppage.

      What he should have added is that as long as that fiber is connected to leather and as long as that leather is in the shape of a wallet and as long as that wallet is stuffed with cash then I will fight for immigrants.

      I don’t expect any of them to fix the country when there is mounds of cash being shoveled into their coffers

      1. Vatch

        People like Pelosi, Booker,Warren, Schumer are all show

        I agree with you about Pelosi, Booker, and Schumer, but I disagree about Warren. I’m not satisfied with her performance as a Senator, and I wish she had endorsed Sanders, but she’s better than the other three in your list.

        1. NYPaul

          “…..I wish she had endorsed Sanders”

          Yeah, there’s the rub. I don’t expect my representatives to be 100% lily-white pure, but all transgressions are not equal. Shoplifting, and murder are both criminal violations, but, certainly not equal. Warren, at that moment in time, when our country stood at a pivotal, transformational point in time she, cravenly, succumbed to, imo, her unforgiveable personal ambition, instead of what was good for the country . She chose to support pure evil rather than taking the somewhat riskier position of standing with Sen Sanders. I can’t help but to think what that one decision meant for our country. She was an extremely popular power in the Democratic Party, and the country at large. She was sought after by the pivotal players in Presidential politics i.e. Molloy, Sanders, Biden, and, of course, Clinton. Just think about what might have been had she chosen to support Bernie Sanders, and, probably been his Vice Presidential choice. A Sanders/Warren ticket might have been the beginning of the end of the war-mongering, Capitalist, Corporate, Neo-con, Neo-lib Party that exists today. And, certainly, the idea of a Trump Presidency would have been left as a distant, macabre, dismal memory.

          I know I’m daydreaming. But, it’s my country too and thinking about what might have been is still allowed.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Bernie would have won.

            There’s a very good chance Bernie would have won the primary, had Warren endorsed him. Warren would have given permission to Clinton voters to give Sanders a second look. (Her base wouldn’t have shifted, but not all Clinton voters are Clintonites.)

            Warren didn’t come out of 2016 with her reputation intact, that’s for sure. Can’t look to her for leadership on anything other than her (pet) issues. Not that her issues are trivial, but…

        2. m

          If you watch her at the cabinet hearings and for that supreme court justice she did a really good job. The republicans dismiss her because she understands the financial nonsense they engage in and can call them out. I am sad about Bernie. Trump is a mess and totally caved to his evangelical backers that are behind Conway & Bannon. 2018
          But Susan Sarandon is right he will bring on the war.

    4. Emma

      Look, had Pelosi taken into account her relationship to Trevor Hill and placed value on asking what Hill really wants, we might all be in a more progressive place………You know, headed in the right direction for a change. Instead, in this particular instance, it’s as if she’s turned herself into a ‘put-down merchant’ for she kicks Hill downwards here. When we forget or fail to recognize what good, effective, and constructive leadership entails, it causes more harm than good. It ain’t easy and I’ve no idea what the background or life-experience of Pelosi is, but we are all capable of changing our behavior.
      For something troubling for us all which Edward Lucas says in ‘The New Cold War: Putin’s Russia and the Threat to the West is: “If you believe that capitalism is a system in which money matters more than freedom, you are doomed when people who don’t believe in freedom attack using money.”

      1. jawbone

        What Pelosi’s answer to Hill showed me is that she fears losing Wall Street’s approval and money more than she fears losing Hill.

        It’s still “Where ya gonna go, huh?” with the Dem leadership.

        They beat back Sanders so they think they’re going back to their good ol’ ways of treating the “little lefties*”.

        *A nod to Obama’s putdown of single payer supporters way back when he held a town hall on his health insurance profit protection scheme: “I see the little single payer supporters are here,” and adding something about “liberal bleeding hearts.”


      2. mk

        the people who fill pelosi’s pocket’s were watching CNN, she was performing for them. i’ll bet pelosi gets a bonus for being more selfish than she needed to be.

    5. integer

      Did anyone else notice that in her answer to the question prior to Hill’s, Pelosi stated that “Wall Street comes out en masse with its money against House Democrats every election”?

      Here is Politifact’s take:

      We rate her statement Mostly False.

      1. integer

        Here is the question and Pelosi’s answer. It is cued to the beginning of the relevant question. Worth a watch if you only saw or read about the question from Hill.

  4. Katharine

    You cite Post:
    “No matter what you call it, Trump’s immigration order will be tough to overturn, legal analysts say” [WaPo]. “Analysts across the political spectrum say that the president has vast authority to bar the entry of people to the United States, and to do so without the consent of other branches of government.”

    And I offer FAIR:

    In a Los Angeles Times op-ed (1/29/17), Chemerinsky stated flatly:

    To start, it’s illegal to bar individuals from entering the country based on nationality. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 explicitly says that no person can be “discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence.” This act was adopted to eliminate the prior practice of immigration quotas from specific countries. Indeed, in signing the legislation, President Lyndon Johnson said that “the harsh injustice” of the national-origins quota system had been “abolished.”

    Absent a specific authorization by Congress, the government cannot discriminate based on nationality or place of residence, which is exactly what Trump ordered.

    There’s more worth considering if you want to take the time. The short version is, the President’s authority still lies within the bounds of the law.

    1. Praedor

      That list of what CANNOT be used as a basis of discriminating doesn’t list religion so if Trump decides it IS a Muslim ban then it passes the words the the Nationality Act.

        1. JTMcPhee

          “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”

          Gee, does the First Amendment now apply to people who are neither citizens nor in the country? That’s news to me… (corporations excepted, of course). Some background and context? http://civilliberty.about.com/od/firstamendment/tp/First-Amendment.htm

          “It’s a free country.” NOT.

          1. nowhere

            Green Card Holders

            Claim protection under all laws of the United States, your state of residence and your local jurisdictions. In general, all the safeguards and legal avenues available to U.S. citizens are also available to permanent residents, and this is true anywhere in the country.

      1. Xihuitl

        Well, then, if it’s a Muslim ban, he would have to ban bajillions of people, including people from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and a bunch of others who probably live in his Trumper Towers, or would like to.

        1. Brad

          It can be a religious ban without those countries on the list, if the reports are true that the Trump people exempt Christians and Jews coming from the countries on the list.

    2. David Carl Grimes

      I’m trying to wrap my head around this: If Trump manages to deport the 2-3 million illegal immigrants who were convicted of crimes, that would represent a quarter of the 11+ million illegal immigrants in the country today. Would that be inflationary or deflationary for the economy at large? It would be inflationary because industries like the restaurant, construction, and agricultural sectors will have to raise wages to entice native-born Americans to do the work these illegals once did. It could be deflationary because of reduced consumption: the illegals will no longer be here and will not spend a portion of their earnings here in the USA. But then again, these illegal immigrants mostly work for low wages, so the impact might be minimal. I would like to hear the opinions of my fellow readers.

      1. Gareth

        I worked a low wage job in an order fulfillment warehouse in 2008. Half the workers were probably undocumented and all of them worked at least one more low wage job. Some worked a third. So yes, a labor shortage.

      2. Dr. Roberts

        Also a significant portion of those wages are repatriated to their home countries. The inflationary effect would probably prevail, but I think it would be rather slight, even if the number of workers is large.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > community will miss out on a cheated low wage worker with 1-3 crappy jobs, but some huge corp will get a slave for ?a few months a federal tax dollar expense.

              You say that like it’s a bad thing!

      3. andyb

        DCG: I’m glad that you added the + sign to the 11 million; which is the same number estimated in 1980. I would imagine that over 40 years the number has increased to at least 40 million. California alone probably has at least 11 million illegals.

    3. Ranger Rick

      I imagine they parsed the executive order specifically to avoid making any reference to visas.

      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.

      This is why the media are careful to call this a “travel ban” and not an “immigration ban.”

        1. Ranger Rick

          Yes, that’s what the section is called, but nowhere in it does it actually say that immigration visas are being denied, merely “entry,” the actual physical act. Legal parsing is an art.

          1. Katharine

            Yes, there’s a reason we sometimes refer to letter-of-the-law liars. It’s one of many that I sometimes prefer to see juries find the law, because they are apt to say the heck with that word-mincing, what’s right is what’s right. Doesn’t always work, of course, but it’s sweet when it does.

    4. diptherio

      Hilarious, and totally out of touch with the reality of the situation. I’ve tried to help Nepali friends get visas to the US and it’s impossible. If they want to travel to the US, they have to apply for the visa lottery and hope…then they still have to pass interviews at the embassy. In practice, plenty of people are discriminated against because of their nationality…here and everywhere else too (Nepalis are not allowed to leave the airport in the majority of countries, even if they have a 24 hour lay-over between flights).

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > it’s illegal to bar individuals from entering the country based on nationality

        In other words, we already do what the liberals are so upset about? Just less crudely?

      2. AnnieB

        Another anecdote to support this: my Costa Rican tour guide said he was rejected for a US visa a few times, despite his full time job in Costa Rica and his fluent English. He found it very frustrating that he couldn’t visit the US; he had no desire to emigrate.

    5. todde


      (f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President
      Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate. Whenever the Attorney General finds that a commercial airline has failed to comply with regulations of the Attorney General relating to requirements of airlines for the detection of fraudulent documents used by passengers traveling to the United States (including the training of personnel in such detection), the Attorney General may suspend the entry of some or all aliens transported to the United States by such airline.

      1. Katharine

        Thank you! It seems like a remarkably broad authorization, with nothing in the way of checks and balances if the President appears to be acting arbitrarily and without sound basis. Can you give it a date? I can’t figure it out from the notes.

        1. todde

          Its the Code, so it isn’t one date.

          Every year it is updated and every 6 years it is completely revamped.

          Its the accumulation of every law and court decisions that affect those laws put into written form.

          I’m not making sense.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        It’s always good to have primary sources, but in this case, given that the atmosphere is so tendentious, I think we need to be wary of amateur lawyerin’.

        The plain meaning of a statute isn’t always its meaning, unfortunately. That’s why we have lawyerly parsing.

      1. sgt_doom

        Another point, and most important, to ponder is the legal use of words like “refugee” and “immigrant” — as refugee is someone allowed entrance who is being persecuted, not one of the persecutors, and many of those highly educated types coming from Syria are Alawite Muslims, the persecutors, while Trump’s Executive Order is geared to granting preference to legal refugees, the persecuted, i.e., Syrian Christians.

        Also, both the Fake News and others continuously refer to foreign visa replacement workers, subsidized by American-based multinationals and India jobs-offshoring companies like Infosys and Tata, as immigrants, a wrongful usage of that word.

    6. The Cleaner

      The 1965 act applies to immigrant visas. For non-immigrant visas, the President does have the power to do almost anything.

    1. Katharine

      Nice, even though probably just a tactical retreat. It’s worth noting the allies are not necessarily people progressives normally think of as allies: time to learn better recognition skills.

      1. Praedor

        You may not care for hunters but they are your ally on this. I think the worse, more harmful crowd are the 2- and 4-wheeler users that like to tear up the land (and desert tortoises) by roaring around on their toys. They too are allied against selling the land.

        As far as “tactical retreat” I suspect the new effort to come from this will be an effort to hand the land to the states (indirect sell-off since once in state hands, some will be tempted to sell them off for quick money). The endpoint is the same so this Chaffetz asshole, plus his buddies in Congress, need to be watched closely.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Yeah, “watched closely.” As they go on creating the new realities that can also be watched closely, and studied judiciously… “See what we did there?” “See what we did next over here?”

      2. cocomaan

        I’m a member of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, even though they are mostly western centered in their operations and I’m hunting in the midatlantic. Besides the rally by BHA, which happened early on, hunters from across the spectrum chased this bill down and slew it. I saw a lot of hunters going activist over the bill, from all over the country.

        As you say, these are people that Democrats and progressives generally aren’t interested in courting, even though they’re the biggest donors to conservation in the country through permitting sales and sales taxes on hunting equipment.

        1. Dr Duh

          This sort of gets back to the definition of a limousine liberal. Those with means are relatively indifferent to the outcome, they’re in it for the virtue signaling.

          Compare and contrast with the native american DAPL protestors, who are deeply invested in the outcome and didin’t turn up their noses at veterans groups who came to support them.

  5. Altandmain

    Trump’s military spending could be bad for his infrastructure plans:


    I’d say that the US parallel to the final decades of the USSR are striking. War in Afghanistan, too much military spending, and declining real living standards.

    Then there’s Trump’s other pandering:


    It will be a long 4 years.

    1. Vatch

      Oh, goody. A manifesto from the zygote rights advocates. You’re right — it will be a long four years.

    2. Gareth

      Premarital sex is wrong? Does that apply to only the first marriage or all of them? What about between marriage sex?

  6. I Have Strange Dreams

    Nancy Pelosi: “We’re capitalists, and that’s just the way it is”.

    Translation: “We’re a nation of hustlers driven by our lizard-brain’s basest impulses, so f**k you.”

    What a disgusting pos that evil hag is.

    1. Katharine

      In the old method of consciousness-raising, try substituting another term and see whether anyone thinks the statement is acceptable. The first that comes to mind is “slave-owners,” which I’m sure Pelosi herself would repudiate with horror. “Just the way it is” is a nonsense framing. Things can, sometimes should, change from what they have been.

      1. PhilM

        I’m game. What should she substitute? Because right now, there is no alternative. The Communist Chinese are capitalist; the Russians are capitalist; the only regimes that are not capitalist are the real totalitarians, which are mostly Islamic.

        What is the option, again? And please don’t say “socialist” without actually defining it.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I’d rather argue ends — universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class — than means. Plenty of people called FDR a socialist. The loony right called Obama a socialist. Definition games… “How many bearded Marxists can dance on the head of the Washington Monument?”

          1. PhilM

            There it is: a positive, constructive recommendation to improve the political discourse. And as I said, I’m game, so here goes.

            I’m for single payer health care, high corporate tax rates, low personal income tax rates with progressive levels on a nearly asymptotic curve, radical simplification of the tax code, the elimination of all policy-related deductions, high sales or VAT taxes on discretionary purchases, low property taxes.

            I’m for a freeze on all non-personnel related military budget increases and weapons procurement, assimilation of established migrant laborers with or without documentation, and rationalized immigration and refugee policies to admit groups that will assimilate to the benefit of the whole nation-state. I am for ending the American imperial project.

            I’m for making secondary, undergraduate, and graduate education affordable, without debt, for every American qualified to attend.

            I’m for Glass-Steagall. I’m for utility banking at the state level.

            I’m for restoring the 30,000:1 ratio of representation in the original Constitution, and if that means a federation of federations, so be it.

            I’m for prosecuting wrong-doers within corporations, to restore some semblance of the liberal ideal of the rule of law. I’m for massively reducing the criminal code, and bringing the definitions of a felony in line with current standards of valuation, not “uninflated” ones.

            I’m for ending public service unions and massively strengthening private-sector labor unions.

            I’m for legalizing drugs, almost all of them, and letting the chips fall where they may. I’m for handing out heroin to terminal cancer patients and to heroin addicts because it is cheaper and safer than the alternatives. I’m for comprehensive sex education early and often, and for ending the non-profit status for religious institutions.

            I’m for instituting ostracism, so those who have become to wealthy and powerful to be here constructively can be asked to go live elsewhere; until people wise up to how they must present themselves to the republic.

            I am for universal service, military or peaceful, for two years, for all those not disabled.

            I am for a lot more things, too, probably. Any ideas?

    2. Tom

      I thought she actually gave a pretty good summary of one of the causes of inequality. Of course, she presented it as if it were a solution, but still.

      1. curlydan

        It is important to look at her full comments. The problem to me is that she acknowledged a move away from companies and labor sharing gains to gains only going to shareholders. Her solution? A big nothingburger. The Dems are totally hamstrung. They can’t admit their past policies (NAFTA, Obamacare, foaming the runways) were failures.

        For the Democrats as they say in the addiction game: The first step in recovery is to admit that YOU (not THEY or _HE_) have a problem.

        Pelosi and Schumer refuse to admit they’ve not been listening or doing anything. That’s the way institutions work until someone comes in a cleans hosue.

        1. Tom

          I listened to the whole clip and what’s really glaring is what wasn’t said, which I think you are saying too.

          No question, instead of acknowledging the merits of the question and outlining some steps Democrats could take to address inequality, she gave a non-responsive answer and she was stalling.

          But at least she wasn’t wrong in her diagnosis, as far it went. That’s pretty good for Democratic leadership these days, isn’t it? I guess my outrage has gotten such a workout lately, I’m willing to call this one a draw.

  7. Praedor

    I suspect the “encrypted messaging app” being used at the EPA is the one I use: Signal. Get it. Use it.

    End-to-end encryption between signal messaging app users by default. No backdoor keys for the NSA or FBI.

  8. cm

    “At the EPA, a small group of career employees — numbering less than a dozen so far — are using an encrypted messaging app to discuss what to do if Trump’s political appointees undermine their agency’s mission to protect public health and the environment, flout the law, or delete valuable scientific data that the agency has been collecting for years, sources told Politico”

    Will be interesting to see how they comply w/ FOIA retention requirements.

    1. Oregoncharles

      They’ll call it purely private, since what they’re doing would get them fired if known.

      Granted, there are interesting parallels with Hillary – but she was privatizing official documents; these are about as unofficial as you can get.

    2. JTMcPhee

      When I worked at US EPA and the Reaganauts swept in and started trashing the place (which did have its small share of dirty corners, I’ll grant) there was a resistance too. But it was conducted on a certain amount of paper, a significant amount of face-to-face, some telephone calls and stuff…

      1. wilroncanada

        In Canada, about three to five years ago, Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister, set out to destroy Scientific history, His government ordered the closure of several repositories of scientific information, claiming an intent to digitize what was not already automated, and move some of the rest to more centralized storage. What was actually happening in some cases was that papers and books were being thrown into dumpsters.

        Some staff, when they could not rescue all the information, began to triage, taking home as much as they could of what they considered important to their various fields. For some sciences, especially environment, historical information is important, such as: fisheries, crop science. Fortunately, the government has since been defeated, but some information will forever be lost.

        That is why one of the groups working to collect and archive information in the US in case, or before, it is destroyed, is from the University of Toronto. they know the drill. One of the tenets of authoritarianism is the erasure of history.

  9. Dave

    Trump’s “demonizing of Muslims” got me thinking about disfavoring or favoring one group of refugees over another.

    Remember the Lautenberg Amendment?
    Soviet Jews were admitted to the U.S. in large numbers along with some Evangelical Christians.

    Three conflicting versions of the same story. It’s entertaining to read the tripolarization of history here.




    1. PKMKII

      Or go back another couple generations, and look at the difference in the way Displaced Persons were welcomed with open arms versus how Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis were turned away. It’s always been politics with basic humanity being a very distant second.

  10. Vatch

    Surprise! A freshman Republican Congressman is a nutjob.


    Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has drafted a bill to “completely abolish” the Environmental Protection Agency, according to an email obtained by The Huffington Post.

    The freshman congressman sent the email on Tuesday morning to lawmakers who might co-sponsor the legislation, which would shutter the EPA by the end of next year.

    1. dbk

      Actually, the person who has just been passed out of committee for a Senate floor vote to become Director of the EPA isn’t very fond of the agency, either. As AG of OK, he sued the agency 13 times (some cases still pending).

      Apparently abolishing the EPA is quite popular among some circles.

      1. Jim Haygood

        If you believe the “alternative facts” of the NYT, Hill’s celebrating her 3-million vote popular victory, finalizing her shadow cabinet, and triaging an avalanche of public speaking requests.

        Good times in Clintonville! :-)

      2. shinola

        Hmm.. Kinda interesting that the infamous “Daisy” commercial from 1964 was an anti-Goldwater(R) ad that could have been resurrected as an anti-Clinton(D) ad in 2016…

    1. katiebird

      There is a newspaper with that name, World Tribune, distributed to members of the Nichiren Buddhist Group. But their WorldTribune uses a .org address….

      The World Tribune at your link (about page) claims a sort of affiliation with: DrudgeReport.com, Middle East Newsline, GertzFile.com, Breitbart.com,The Washington Times, Hoover Institution, NewsMax.com, Geostrategy-Direct.com, Hudson Institute, WorldNetDaily.com, East-Asia-Intel.com, Int. Strat. Studies Assoc.

      Which I think makes it potentially unpleasant.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I looked at the About Page, which is always my first step when vetting a source (as, may I say, it should have been for you). Content partners like Brietbart and Drudge make it a must-to-avoid (as opposed to a pick-to-click). Roy Cohn as a house lawyer might also give one pause.

      Please don’t pollute the comments section with questions about questionable sources when the answer to your question is very easy to find all on your own with a smidgeon of effort. There’s enough disinformation floating around as it is, and if the comments section is filled with “stopped clock” links there will shortly be no comments section worthy of the name.

  11. Pelham

    Pelosi’s harkening back to a more sane and humane capitalism of 40 years ago is a familiar refrain among many. But if that’s as far as they look, they’re deeply mistaken.

    That little golden age of capitalism from the late ’40s to the late ’60s was merely the afterglow — if you can call it that — of the fevered production and labor shortages brought about by the heavily industrialized global conflict we know as World War Two. Capitalism in all its decades leading up to that point was a brutal system with a gross tendency to grind working people everywhere and at all times into commodified dust. That was the norm, and it’s the norm we have been returning to over the past few decades.

    So when we speak of capitalism, let’s look at the whole picture and not just selectively at that little slice of the stuff that the French correctly isolate in history as the “trentes glorieuses.”

    1. PKMKII

      Also, to paraphrase Richard Wolff, if we turned back the clock, metaphorically, to a prior iteration of capitalism, what would stop history from repeating itself, and we just end up on the same neoliberal path?

    2. DH

      As far as I can tell, that previous time when America was great and people could work for a company for their entire career and then retire with a good pension was basically 1950 to 1980. Prior to that, the Civil War was probably disruptive of work environments while the 1870s through 1930s were a series of rolling depressions culminating in The Big One with massive unemployment and fortunes lost. Then there was a world war that was slightly disruptive.

      Ironically the 1950s and 1960s had some of the highest public debts as WW II, Korea, and Vietnam War resulted in lots of debt. This period also resulted in very high marginal income tax rates. Despite those factors that crushed the economy, this seems to be the period that resulted in high GDP and income growth rates for many years.

      So the obvious solution to generate high rates of growth with a great middle class are to initiate a Great Depression and Financial Crisis, engage in a world war, wrack up really big national debt, and increase income tax rates. The two parties have been able to successfully incorporate some of these objectives into their policies and platforms over the past 15 years, but they have failed to go all the way to date. There is still hope.

    3. JohnnyGL

      Pelosi gave a brief description of what’s wrong, but offered no road map to fix it.

      Important, but forgotten part of the “golden age” of capitalism was that there was a LOT of strikes, work stoppages. Lots.

      The soldiers/workers that fueled the arsenal of democracy had just saved the ‘free’ world from nazis and commies and they wanted their fair share of the spoils….and they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer!

      Look at the chart…


      1. HopeLB

        Maybe the neccesary ingredient is ex-soldiers in solidarity with the rest of us? Maybe just keeping a divide and conquer/remove all secular ME leaders/ramp up the Sunni-Shia rivalry/keep the low boil chaos going in the ME, isn’t really about the opportunities this opens up for us and Israel, shock doctrine-wise, but about keeping the soldiers away in far off lands where they cannot impact our political structure?

        Where is Craazyboy? He would write some good verse.

  12. voteforno6

    Re: 3 Ways to Get Rid of President Trump Before 2020

    She’s certainly dancing a fine line there, not exactly calling for a military coup, but, you know…

    There were rumors that, towards the end of Nixon’s time in office, that the Secretary of Defense issued a directive to the military to run any of Nixon’s orders past him first. Apparently he was concerned enough about Nixon’s state of mind at the time that he considered it a possibility that Nixon, with his back to the wall, might resort to drastic measures.

    More recently, the author of that article didn’t seem too concerned about the “accidental” bombing of the Syrian army under Obama, that torpedoed the agreement between the U.S. and Russia to cooperate against ISIS. At the very least, someone should have been fired over that one. I don’t see any indication of that, though.

    Speculating about a coup now, though? It seems people like this are descending further into their Trump-induced hysteria. From where I sit, I see no indication that anything like a coup is remotely possible. Rather, the administration seems to be disorganized. They’re certainly way behind in getting their team into place.

    1. oho

      with all these inklings of coup talk, the Anti-Trump ‘resistance’ has gone full retard. (pardon my pig latin).

      All of urban Cali’s water is in Trump-land. The vast majority of food for the entire Northeast flows through a discrete number of mountain passes and Mississippi River bridges in Trump-land. NYC bread shelves get emptied with something as innocuous as 12 inches of snow. good luck in a genuine crisis.

      Anyone pundit who whispers the talk of coup clearly has no grasp about the scale of flyover-land and needs to take poli sci 101 and read up about the consent of the governed.

      1. Carolinian

        Thank you for the sensible reminders. And the 25th amendment nonsense had been suggested earlier in–where else?–Huffington Post but for it to appear in Foreign Policy is a step up in derangement. Of course some have been saying the CFR crowd are nutjobs for some time. Before there was Trump Derangement Syndrome there was Putin Derangement Syndrome.

    2. froggy

      In Thailand, the elite bureaucrats of Bangkok (yellow shirts) agitated for a coup, in the belief that the military would turn over power to them afterwards. It turned out that once the military seized power, they kept it.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > She’s certainly dancing a fine line there, not exactly calling for a military coup, but, you know…

      These “folks” are so passive-aggressive, you wouldn’t believe it. Listen to the podcast, you’ll see.

      > their team

      Geithner took forever to get slots in Treasury filled in 2009. There may well be analysis comparing the two administrations, but I haven’t seen it, if so.

      1. aab

        Maybe I’m over-reacting to the liberal hysteria (and concomitant constant lying) but is the administration really that far behind in staffing up? Both party elites are refusing to work with him, and he and his team have had to put down how many coup attempts since the election? And whether he had no serious transition team before election day or he gave the task to Christie who screwed up, Trump was busy in the fall actually winning the election instead of already having his cabinet picked and all that. Which suggests he had his priorities in order. (I realize this will now be taken out of context in bad faith by our visiting trolls, but underestimating one’s enemy is a bad idea, you know. I’m sure Sun Tzu or Machiavelli, or Karl Rove or James Carville or someone said that at some point.)

        I’m not arguing the Trump administration is a model of efficiency or anything, but I think this claim is kind of a variant of calling Shrub dumb. Like, he got most of the Democratic leadership to self-immolate their political futures by backing his war, so who was really dumb there?

        And they sure are getting stuff done, so… (I realize the travel ban is really small ball as are a lot of the executive orders, but he’s only completing Week 2 now, he’s a non-professional politician, fighting most of D.C. and its media arm, which is most mainstream media.) Isn’t it wishful thinking to claim they’re behind?

        1. voteforno6

          They’re behind, compared to Obama, at least with the large federal department to which I’m exposed on a daily basis.

  13. allan

    Republican-led FCC drops court defense of inmate calling rate cap [Ars Technica]

    The Federal Communications Commission’s new Republican leadership has decided not to defend FCC inmate calling rules that place a cap on intrastate calling rates.

    Chairman Ajit Pai and fellow Republican Michael O’Rielly repeatedly opposed attempts to cap the phone rates charged to prisoners while Democrats held the FCC’s majority. Republicans argued that the FCC exceeded its authority, and commission attempts to enforce rate caps have been stymied by a series of court decisions.

    As a lawsuit filed by phone company Global Tel*Link heads for oral arguments on Monday in the DC Circuit US Court of Appeals, an FCC lawyer informed the court that the agency will no longer defend an intrastate calling cap. …

    Surely there are quite a few back row kids in jail or prison who are being price-gouged by these monsters.
    Go figure.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      You mean Trump will betray them, exactly as did Obama? Film at 11.

      > Go figure.

      I’m really a little amazed at a comment that appropriates Chris Arnade’s “front row”/”back row” trope so as to convert it to the liberal “non-liberals are stupid” trope, when (a) that’s utterly against the thrust of Arnade’s work, and (b) it’s has worked so well, as a rhetorical tactic, that liberals have lost all three branches of the Federal government, and most state legislatures and governorships.

      Surely you didn’t mean to do this.

      1. allan

        I meant that many (not all) of the back row kids have been betrayed by politicians who have made promises to them, just as many (not all) of the front row kids (and their parents) have been betrayed by a (mostly) different set of politicians who made promises to them.
        But in this case the speed of the betrayal is a little amazing.

        In a downwardly mobile society, the difference between the back and front rows grows hazier with time.

  14. Pelham

    You’ve been calling for Medicare for All forever, but only now does the genius of it strike me.

    If the Democratic Party simply abandoned all their other whining and wonkery and came out in forceful, emphatic, blazing unison for THAT ONE THING, they’d win the republic. Just that, and a weary, indebted electorate would fall into their arms. And the shame of it is, it’s so obvious — and so obviously out of the question for the party.

    1. Oregoncharles

      The Green Party has been calling for that for a long time. I don’t see it doing us any real good.

      Americans do NOT vote based on issues. I wish.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Americans do NOT vote based on issues.

        Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit.

        The issues espoused by Sanders, Trump, and (in her excremental and tone-deaf way) Clinton were all very important to voters. Yes, the issues were encapsulated by personalities in talking points. And the motives of both voters and the politicians are almost always less than pure. That’s politics!

        “Medicare for All” (Sanders) is an issue.

        “The Wall” (Trump) is an issue.

        Even “Will breaking up the banks end racism? No!” (paraphrasing Clinton is an issue.

        I’d say, in it’s own horrid way, that 2016 was far more about issues than 2012, or even 2008.

      2. Yves Smith

        You don’t like to hear this but the overwhelming majority of Americans have no idea what the Greens’ detailed positions are, so your observation is not relevant.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      too much rice bowl destruction, and for what? power? they get that every 8 years anyway.

      the proles will eat whatever gruel we give them, or eat rats if we run out of gruel.

      “The Democratic Party: Because screw you, we have elections to pay for.”

    3. Optic7

      Yeah, I would love if that were the case, but unfortunately it didn’t exactly work for Bernie. If people were really swayed by that idea like you said, he should have won the primaries despite the DNC shenanigans.

      1. The Cleaner

        It will be a persuasive argument when most people no longer have employer sponsored health insurance. Until then, for a significant percentage of the voters, it is someone else’s problem. Sadly.

      2. aab

        For heaven’s sake. He DID WIN — or rather, would have if people had been allowed to cast their votes and those votes had been counted. It wasn’t “shenanigans” — that sounds cute. It was extreme levels of rigging, cheating, suppression and propaganda being pumped out by the ENTIRE corporate media. Last time I checked, he was the most popular politician in America. You think that’s because of his fly fashion sense and cut physique?

    4. aab


      But they won’t. Because they don’t want to win like that. They don’t want Medicare For All to actually happen, and they don’t want to have to fall in line behind that rumpled old hippie. They hate hippies.

      I’m worried they’ve muzzled Bernie to the point he won’t even talk about it in the CNN/Cruz thing. I hope I’m wrong about that.

  15. Jim Haygood

    Man, this sounds pretty apocalyptic:

    On Thursday, only two days into February, the coroner’s office in Dayton, Ohio, had already handled 25 deaths — 18 caused by drug overdoses. In January, the office processed 145 cases in which the victims’ bodies had been destroyed by opioids.

    Now, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office is so crammed with corpses that it has asked a local funeral parlor to take in four bodies for “temporary storage,” the first time it has had to make such a request.

    The number of bodies from accidental overdoses that have come to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office in the first 33 days of the year — 163 — is already more than half the yearly totals for the past two years.


    How’s that War on Drugs workin’ out for us?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s like War on Greed.

      Do we step up from just Small Time Greed to include Big Time Greed or do we just legalize Greed?

    2. Greg L

      We’re told they’re accidental but I imagine there are some that are suicides. If I were to seek the final solution the preferential method would be by opioid. If access is limited then I’ll have to fall back on the plastic bag over the head. As it stands my retirement funds dry up at 72 years so will have to decide on the street or the bag.

    3. wilroncanada

      Carfentenyl (I hope I’m spelling that right), an “elephant” sedative about 1000 (or is it 10,000?) times more potent than fentenyl, has been found in street drugs in Vancouver, BC. The staff at the Vancouver safe injection sites are take minute samples from each of the clients they monitor, and sometimes have to revive.

      1. UserFriendly

        Who in the hell would let carfentanyl anywhere out of a lab? Just so you people can have an idea of scale…. Regular fentanyl is potent enough that you would be totally out of it from a dose that fits on George washington’s nose on a quarter. Literally a few grains. Carfentanil is 100 times more potent.

    1. DH

      uhh….that is Berkeley. They would firebomb their own living room to protest their partner’s choice of cuisine.

  16. Synoia

    For people who believe in privacy and don’t want to have all of their conversations recorded, they believe Amazon that that is actually the case. But how many people have actually examined the code? The code hasn’t been put out there for vetting by a third party, so we don’t actually know what is going on.”

    No one has put a sniffer or LAN traffic analyzer on Amazon Echo? Hard to believe.

    1. Optic7

      I would bet it’s all encrypted traffic (as it should be). No way to tell what data is being sent. However, it may be possible to determine when it’s actually talking to the cloud or not, if the voice recognition / sound processing is being done locally. If that’s the case, you would expect that it would only start talking to the cloud when it actually recognizes an Alexa command. I would guess it probably talks to the cloud constantly though.

      1. carycat

        With the amount of cheap storage available these days, it would be quite easy to stash whatever it is snooping for and wait till there is a “legitimate” need to exchange information with the mothership (e.g. an Alexa command) to piggy back the purloined data with the legit.

  17. allan

    Shorter UK Minister for Silly Walks Trade and Investment: Brexit is one country, one vote, one time.

    It’s not in Britain’s interests for other countries to quit EU, minister says [Reuters]

    Britain’s Minister of State for Trade and Investment said in a newspaper interview that Britain did not want other countries to follow its lead by quitting the European Union.

    Britons voted in a referendum last June to leave the EU and the British government is aiming to begin exit negotiations with the bloc by March 31, which would kick off two years of divorce talks.

    “It’s not in Britain’s interests for other EU members to follow our example and leave the EU,” Greg Hands told German newspaper Rheinische Post’s Friday edition. …

    It’s time for some game theory.

  18. JTMcPhee

    Serious people caution everyone else not to analogize to the natural world that human political economies are, clearly, just not part of, in trying to frame and understand what’s happening as things go from one state to another. But I can’t resist (pardon the pun), and some concepts that at least echo behaviors one notes in the circuits and flow of political and monetary energies and particles:

    “Short Review of Resistance, Reactance and Inductance,” http://electrical-engineering-portal.com/short-review-resistance-reactance-impedance

    Yah, yah, people are not electrons…

    But interesting how words slop over into various disciplines that try to parse what’s happening:

    “eactance is a motivational reaction to offers, persons, rules, or regulations that threaten or eliminate specific behavioral freedoms. Reactance occurs when a person feels that someone or something is taking away his or her choices or limiting the range of alternatives.

    “Reactances can occur when someone is heavily pressured to accept a certain view or attitude. Reactance can cause the person to adopt or strengthen a view or attitude that is contrary to what was intended, and also increases resistance to persuasion. People using reverse psychology are playing on at least an informal awareness of reactance, attempting to influence someone to choose the opposite of what they request.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactance_(psychology)

    So Dems are a closed circuit, or something? I’m not smart enough to draw out the analogy.

  19. Stormcrow

    Bad news on the anti-torture front.
    Trump’s CIA Chief Selects Major Torture Operative to be Agency’s Deputy Director (theintercept.com)

    CIA Press Release:

    For Immediate Release: 2 February 2017

    Gina Haspel Selected to be Deputy Director of CIA

    CIA Director Mike Pompeo today announced that President Trump has selected Gina Haspel to be the new Deputy Director of CIA.

    “Gina is an exemplary intelligence officer and a devoted patriot who brings more than 30 years of Agency experience to the job. She is also a proven leader with an uncanny ability to get things done and to inspire those around her,” said Director Pompeo. “We are fortunate that someone of her intellect, skill, and experience will be our Deputy Director. I know she will do an outstanding job, and I look forward to working with her closely in the years ahead.”

    Ms. Haspel is a career intelligence officer, having joined the CIA in 1985. She has extensive overseas experience and served as Chief of Station in several of her assignments

    From the Washington Post:

    She had run a secret prison in Thailand where two detainees were subjected to waterboarding and other harsh techniques. She later helped order the destruction of videotapes of those interrogation sessions.

    After running the “black site” in Thailand, the female officer returned to headquarters for a senior job at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. Former colleagues said she lobbied for several years to have the videotapes taken in Thailand destroyed.

    From the AP:

    The officer briefly ran a secret CIA prison where accused terrorists Abu Zubayada and Abd al-Nashiri were waterboarded in 2002, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials. She was also a senior manager in the Counterterrorism Center helping run operations in the war on terror.

    She also served as chief of staff to Jose Rodriguez and helped carry out his order that the CIA destroy its waterboarding videos. That order prompted a lengthy Justice Department investigation that ended without charge.

  20. ewmayer

    Re. Politico’s “Liberals On the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown” — good piece, but I think they need a different adverb here:

    “But now, with Trump sprawling lugubriously all over the White House…”

    He doesn’t strike me as glum at all – perhaps author intended ‘luxuriously’? (Mayhap even ‘uxoriously’, though his spoiling of Melania would seem unconnected to his ascent to the WH).

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      Thanks, ewmayer, I was starting to think I was the only one bothered by that adverb. The possibility that occurred to me is that he treated the word as if it were related to “lubricate;” elsewhere he often expresses his repulsion at Trump using physical, visceral language.

      1. Jim Haygood

        … he treated the word as if it were related to “lubricate”

        “Lubriciously” has a rather different connotation than lubricate, but could be what the writer intended.

        Please tell the president to keep his toga on in the public areas. It’s not the Playboy mansion.

          1. Annotherone

            I heard the word ‘ludicrously’ used while watching a film tonight – thought , ah – I bet that was what the writer intended but got his fingers in a twist!

  21. petal

    Mr. Hill, it wasn’t “almost insulting”, it was insulting and continues to be insulting. It’s on purpose. Two days in a row this week I’ve been insulted and reminded of my place/class, that obviously I’m not good enough and am stupid because I’m not one of them. I could not possibly know! It is definitely happening a lot more often, for example, over the past year, and is increasing lately. Today’s event was by a graduate student that did her undergrad at Wellesley. I quickly and sharply set her straight, but this seems to be a pattern with the D’s-crapping all over the working class, people who have had to work so hard to get where they are, have worked against the odds, people who didn’t have connections and advantages to get ahead like they did. Before, I would’ve stayed quiet, but no more. It is hardening those they are insulting and ignoring. If they think things are bad now, if they continue down this path, their “nightmare” is going to get a heck of a lot worse before they know it. They seem to enjoy it and cannot help themselves. It is the height of arrogance and short-sightedness. They are happily sowing the seeds of their own destruction and it will take the lot of us down with it. Sorry for the rant, guys. It’s been a rough few months. It feels like watching a train wreck while being kicked in the teeth at the same time. Thank you, though, NC. Y’all are keeping me sane. Such a haven!
    And last night I saw a woman in a pink pussy hat at Joann fabrics looking at more yarn. I had a good chuckle.

  22. freedomny

    I’ve always thought that this was just a Republican plan. They would get Trump elected with Pence as VP – and then they would get him impeached. So we would have Pence and Ryan. Would not be surprised.

    1. savedbyirony

      My sister is a long time children services social worker in N.E. Ohio. From 2015 to 2016, she saw her agency’s case loads more than double; primarily drugs, drugs and drugs. I’m not saying there isn’t a strong economic aspect to this, but drugs are literally killing parents and sending more kids into foster care. Just last night she called me almost in tears because the mother of one of her foster care kids (well, he is a mature 15) died from a heroin overdose after just having been released from prison a day before (drugs charge) and he had been talking for months how he was looking forward to seeing his mom and helping her get on with her life. She and another worker were the ones who told him the painful news. She has been doing this job over twenty years, and she has never seen the drug carnage so widespread with no abating in sight.

      On an added note, last December her own 16 year old had his wisdom teeth removed. There was no telling the Doc that her son didn’t need or want a Vicodin prescription. Kept insisting it was necessary for the pain management. My sister, with her son’s agreement, tore it up. He had lost a school friend to a suicide two years before after his father O.D.

    2. Jim Haygood

      It’s looking like Russia in the 1990s — different drug of choice there, but the population just started dying off from poisoning, to the point that male life expectancy was lowered into the high 50s.

      Jimmy Carter’s “malaise speech” of July 1979 seems like a golden era by comparison. What have we done?

      And why is there no comment from the Drug Enforcement Administration, with its $2 billion budget and 10,000-plus employees? One can reasonably conclude it is irrelevant, if not actually engaged in trafficking itself.

    3. habenicht

      Interestingly, I saw a new add for naloxone on the side of an MTA bus today in NYC. I guess the manufacturer needs to charge more now that they have this ad campaign to fund…

  23. Jim Haygood

    Someone finally convinced the president that Israel is playing him and owning him:

    President Trump, who has made support for Israel a cornerstone of his foreign policy, shifted gears on Thursday and for the first time warned the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold off new settlement construction.

    “While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal,” the White House said in a statement.

    The White House noted that the president “has not taken an official position on settlement activity,” but said Mr. Trump would discuss the issue with Mr. Netanyahu when they meet Feb. 15, in effect telling him to wait until then.


    Thanks, Yahweh! ;-)

    1. Brad

      Coupled to the shot across Russia’s bow in the UN. Mob boss just letting the other wiseguys know they aren’t to get too far out ahead of the game.

  24. allan

    Poor John McCain, Principled Conservative™, cleaning up after the alpha male makes a mess:

    McCain calls Australian ambassador to express support after Trump exchange [The Hill]

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Thursday that he spoke to the Australian ambassador to express support for the nations’ relationship after a heated call from President Trump.

    “I called Australia’s Ambassador to the United States this morning to express my unwavering support for the U.S.-Australia alliance,” McCain, who’s frequently criticized Trump, said in a statement. …

    Since McCain has zero influence with the administration (see “there will be no more torture”),
    the ambassador would be well-advised to put McCain on the embassy’s call-block list
    to avoid such cringe-worthy phone calls in the future.

  25. PhilM

    Most people who protest are “students.” Most people who take power when those protests are over are “lawyers.” Virtuous people who have worked and suffered have nothing to add to that dialogue, which is about exhibitionism, not personal worth.

    1. nowhere

      I wonder about the demographics for Occupy. A very large protest supported by this site for many years.

        1. nowhere

          And it largely seems that this site’s opinion of all recent marches are for virtue-signaling or some such. Not people that firmly disagree with Trump, for a myriad of reasons. Was OWS virtue signaling? Is BLM?

          It’s easy to throw these labels around, and maybe I missed it, but how are you drawing distinctions between the various protests during the last administration and the current rounds?

          What tactics must a “real” leftist civil action contain that will sufficiently prove their bonafides?

          1. PhilM

            They must cause inconvenience to somebody other than the forces of order (police, fire, small shop-keepers, innocent bystanders trying to get to work): they must inconvenience specific bodies of wrong-doers and cost them money in legal, and socially sympathetic, and preferably pacifist ways.

            The tactic to use is not the “protest,” which, in general, is nothing more than gregarious exhibitionism, generating a polarizing noise: it is the strike.

            Trying to organize effective grass roots efforts by means of “protests” is like cooking a turkey using a hair dryer, because you have no oven.

  26. Dean

    Pelosi insists: “We are capitalists” and then proceeds to show what that means: vast income inequality. She contrasts the past twenty years with prior performance of capitalism. But those prior years – at least 25 more of them – *also* saw worker productivity rise, without such a rise in pay. She wants to go back to another time when exploitation was malignant and unsustainable. Useless.

    In her defense, Pelosi is considered a great fundraiser for the Democrats. I imagine that allegiance and deference to the capitalists among her clients must be important. I don’t imagine there is a burgeoning Dem-Soc attitude amongst that class. Actually it is plausible that there never will be. Is Paul Ryan Pelosi’s Rep. counterpart? Their joint liberalism-seeking-consensus image makes sense if they routinely have to court the elite.

    Perhaps this means it is time for monetary contributions by large private donors to congresspeople to be banned. The congress is supposed to represent the people on equal footing. Foreign contributions might disrupt that, but domestic, corporate contributions do in a much more explicit and direct manner. Congress has no sovereignty in foreign states (lets ignore NED and things like that for now). Congress legislates to manage the resources and gov’t of the US, so those who can benefit from exploiting that power – US corporations – should be banned from that influence.

  27. Darthbobber

    “Although his recent voting pattern might make it tempting to dismiss someone like Hill as a lost cause,”
    Followed by the description of him as enthusiastic about Obama, then involved in supporting Sanders, then backing Stein out of inability to see the wonders of Clinton.

    If its tempting to dismiss all such people as a “lost cause”, this demonstrates that the dismissers are a lost cause.

    Multiply Hill by millions and millions. People who expected (for reasons that still evade me), that Obama and the huge Dem majority would actually side with them and those like them in a meaningful way. Some voted for Stein, some voted for Trump, some stayed home, some held their noses and voted for Clinton.

    And his comments about the tone and the celebration of the awesome recovery get to the heart of it. These fools weren’t satisfied with failing to address the most basic problems. They chose to portray them as non-problems. Remember when they went into the 2010 election cycle touting the much-anticipated “summer of recovery”? Long after their own data should have told them that wouldn’t be happening?

    Their record at that point could have included a higher minimum wage, the PERMANENT expansion of unemployment benefits and coverage of some kind for the kazillions now consigned to eternal temping, and much more. As opposed to a wonkish band-aid of a health insurance plan which nobody understood and which in any case had benefited nobody yet, because it hadn’t taken effect yet. But no.

    I won’t even mention their decision to side with the bankers at every decisive point during the foreclosure mess and related issues. Most of which was the President’s discretion and couldn’t be blamed on Republican obstruction.

    And this nonsense continued to prevail throughout 2016. The countless memes touting the performance of the frigging STOCK MARKET, of all things. The stubborn refusal to acknowledge the real meaning of the unemployment and wage data. You could practically hear the band in the background playing Happy Days Again! But propaganda isn’t effective if the disconnect from people’s lived experience is that palpable. And tens of millions of people weren’t able to see themselves, their communities or their co-workers as living in this ostensibly awesome economic paradise. Go figure. Aargh.

  28. VietnamVet

    The plots of the sifi TV shows I watch “Incorporated”, “Colony” and “The Expanse” are getting to awfully close to reality TV. Deplorables struggling against collaborators of Alien Invaders or the corporate elite living high in Green Zones protected by mercenaries. Clearly Democrat data miners don’t realize that their party has been framed by Steve Brannon to be middlemen for foreign overlords forcing economic despair upon mid-America. This image is close enough to reality to put Nationalist Oligarchs in the position of being able to seize power in the West forever. I would not be surprised that Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Mark Warner and Joe Manchin III are intense negotiations to get a majority of Congress to invoke the 25th Amendment to elevate Mike Pence. A mini Civil War in the Capitol may be the last chance for corporate Globalists to regain power they lost because they believed the polls that their candidate would win. This would explain the intense corporate media campaign against the President. Something I have never seen in my lifetime.

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