Links 2/16/17

Fossils Show Quick Rebound of Life After Ancient Mass Extinction Reuters (MR). You mean there’s hope?

Does an Octopus Have an Inner Life? The New Republic

Bets on Fortress placed before bid news yield 400% profit CNBC

Hackers demand $3.6m bitcoin ransom to unlock Los Angeles hospital medical records Boing Boing

Farage Expects Another “Big Shock”, Warns EP on “More Europe”: Elites vs. Underdogs French Style MishTalk

Accident Not Your Fault? Your Insurance May Still Go Up, Report Says NYT. It doesn’t matter if you’re innocent, you still get screwed. Not that I’m bitter.

Oroville Dam

California’s past megafloods – and the coming ArkStorm Fabius Maximus

Broken California Dam Is a Sign of Emergencies to Come Scientific American

Oroville Dam unprepared for climate change, critics warned years before crisis The Desert Sun. “Plumas and Butte counties, which surround the reservoir and stretch from snowy peaks in the Sierra Nevada to farmlands in the Central Valley, sued in 2008 to challenge an environmental review that was part of the state’s application for a new federal permit for the dam. The counties accused state officials of recklessly failing to take into account the impacts of global warming in their long-term plans for operating the dam.” Interestingly, both Butte and Plumas counties went for Trump, by 48% and 57.5% respecitively.

How Oroville went from drought to an overflowing dam in just two years Guardian

Oroville Dam’s flood-control manual hasn’t been updated for half a century Sacramento Bee and Oroville Dam: Crews work into the night to bolster eroded spillway as next storm approaches Sacramento Bee

The enormous scale of the erosion problem at the Oroville Dam site American Geophysical Union. From the 14th, pre-spillway repairs.

Judy Brandt, who lives next to the dam and has been tweeting her own photos and videos of the spillway and the repairs, on the press:

She’s not wrong, is she?


On inequality in China Thomas Piketty, Le Blog de Thomas Piketty (in English).

What dry bulk owners need to know about the internal dynamics of China Splash 247

China Inc hits brakes on foreign property investment FT

From ‘Made in China’ to ‘Made by China for China’ Bloomberg

India polio-free for three years: meet the people fighting to keep it that way Independent (J-LS).

Tata Motors profits plummet 96% after cash ban France24

Meet ISRO’s PSLV: The rockstar of Indian rockets Quartz

Health Care

IRS won’t withhold tax refunds if Americans ignore ACA insurance requirement WaPo. This undercuts the mandate, accelerating ObamaCare’s death spiral to an unknown degree (given that the mandate requirements were already pretty squishy). Of course, it’s always possible that Trump will replace the mandate with something worse, like a continuous coverage requirement, but in the short term, I’m sure there are plenty of taxpayers who will rejoice at no longer being penalized for failure to purchase a defective product.

Obamacare’s Original Sin Jacobin. Great on the history. Here’s a terrific quote from Ezekiel Emanuel, in 2014:

[O]nce the websites are fixed and working smoothly — certainly by 2016 — the exchanges will generate positive branding . . . That means the websites need to provide an engaging, ‘Amazon-like’ shopping experience . . . By 2016 the insurance exchanges will provide an attractive, informative, and engaging insurance shopping experience with an adequate variety of choices.

“[A]n adequate variety of choices.” Now there’s a hill to die on!

What is Single Payer? PNHP


Governor orders evacuation of Dakota pipeline protest camp Reuters

Dakota Access Builder Compares Pipeline Protesters to Terrorists Bloomberg

US veterans return to Standing Rock to form human shield to protect Dakota Access pipeline protesters Independent

Utilities vote to close largest coal plant in Western US (CL).

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

NSA analysts spied on spouses, girlfriends: documents NY Daily News. Film at 11.

If U.S. asks foreigners for their passwords, American travelers may face the same McClatchy. No duh!

Our Famously Free Press

Newspapers aim to ride ‘Trump Bump’ to reach readers, advertisers Reuters. Ka-ching.

Women’s March organizers announce date for general strike CNN. March 8, as discussed last week here.

Trump Transition

EPA staff told to prepare for Trump executive orders: sources Reuters

Trump’s secretary of labor pick Andrew Puzder withdraws nomination ABC

Yes, Donald Trump is a monster. But his agenda isn’t all bad Guardian (J-LS). “[B]y playing the man not the ball, the insults detract from the more important question of where on earth the leader of the western world is heading. A president can be a mendacious bastard – and often has been – yet can still be an effective leader.”

3 Ways Forward For Trump Corey Robin

* * *

Make the Flynn Tape Public National Review. Hmm. If a smoking gun existed, wouldn’t we already be having hearings? And when Buzzfeed — rightly or wrongly — printed Steele’s dodgy dossier, it was rapidly exposed for the pile of steaming dung it was. Grifter Steele couldn’t even sell it to Jebbie!

December 01, 1976 Ambassador A.F. Dobrynin’s Conversation with Averell Harriman (pdf) Wilson Center. Contacts between the Russkis and the Carter administration during Gerald Ford’s lame duck period.

The Dangerous Precedence Of The Hunt Against Flynn … And Trump Moon of Alabama. “Precedents.” That said, list of warnings on a “soft coup” from “across the political spectrum.” Lambert here: Not to strain my arm patting myself on the back, but I called my shot on this “change in the Constitutional order” back during the “faithless electors” flap, on December 13, 2016. Now my call is approaching conventional wisdom, at least for apartisans.

David Ignatius’ Curious Role in the Mike Flynn Story emptywheel

Harward favored for national security adviser job, if he wants to take it USA Today

* * *

We Asked an Expert if Trump’s Russia Scandal Could Lead to Prosecution Vice (Re Silc). An important and rare moment of sanity.

The NYT story on “Trump associates” and Russian spooks: some questions In Moscow’s Shadows (DK).

Trump levels dirty tricks charge against US intelligence community FT

Spies Keep Intelligence From Donald Trump on Leak Concerns WSJ (WB). WB: “Sources and means? Witness headline inflation. The real story centers around spy masters fretting that they haven’t been granted the ability to frame events via daily briefs, thus shaping the White House decision making process with their alleged ‘slam dunks.'” I’m loving the liberal nomenklatura’s view that relying on known torturers and professional liars to stage a soft coup is “saving democracy.” Perhaps their view of “democracy” is overly specialized for their particular niche?

KremlinGate Enters Uncharted Waters as Russian Links Overwhelm DC John Schindler, The Observer. Schindler calls CNN story “deeply sourced.” Really? I remain baffled that Schindler’s venue is Kushner’s paper. “The call is from inside the house”??

Carter Page, at Center of Trump Russian Investigation, Writes Bizarre Letter to DOJ Blaming Hillary Clinton The Intercept

* * *

Pentagon might propose sending ground troops to Syria CNN. “Might.” The Blob senses blood.

BLACK SEA BUZZ – THE US NAVY WAITS FOUR DAYS, THEN SENDS SOS TO PRESIDENT TRUMP Dances with Bears. Lots of, er, red flags in the detail here.

Where Is Rex Tillerson? Top Envoy Keeps Head Down and Travels Light NYT

Trump’s ‘Apprentice’ Factory Is Pumping Out Politicians Worldwide Bloomberg

2016 Post Mortem

The Confusion Candidate Jacobin (MR). Fun stuff, well worth a read. “[T]he people who deserve the blame never wanna play the blame game.”

Class Warfare

US labour market deteriorating – the losses from GFC will be long-lived Bill Mitchell. Lengthy but not prolix (not always the case with Mitchell). Well worth a read!

Workers at Boeing’s South Carolina plant reject union Reuters. Alec MacGillis: “Story of times that even as Dems rally around a buzzy win like Puzder, so little could be done (or was) for actual organizing battle in SC.” Indeed.

Score One for the Little Guys as W Hotel Drops Its Minimum Wage Surcharge in Seattle Daily Beast (CL).

Momentive workers vote for agreement that ends their strike Left Labor Reporter. A mixed victory against Apollo.

UAW steps up organizing efforts with automakers Detroit Free Press.

The World as Will The Archdruid Report

You are not in control Club Orlov (CL). Must-read.

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Chief Bromden

    The independent piece touting the wonders of India’s vaccine “success” was in the links two days ago. Is there a specific reason why it is back today?

    From my 2/14 Comments: India is not “Polio Free” unless you count Polio hiding behind the names AFP and GBS as some kind of magical eradication. But changes in diagnoses have been a clever trick by the vaccine industry for decades. The article is pharma propaganda.

    India has seen a 12-fold increase in Acute Flaccid Paralysis (NPAFP) since the introduction of the OPV. It now has over 50,000 new cases of AFP per year. In a 2012 article published in a medical ethics journal, the doctors stated, “Clinically indistinguishable from polio paralysis but twice as deadly, the incidence of NPAFP was directly proportional to doses of oral polio received.”

    I could go on about Mr. Gates’s ongoing live lab experiments on 3rd world children living in squalor and with poor sanitation and nutrition, for which no synthetic silver bullet can manufacture immunity, but I don’t want my comment to vaporize.

    he switcharoo paralysis problem isn’t limited to the OPV or communities with poor sanitation. GBS is listed right on Merck’s MMR insert as a side effect and is the number 1 compensated adverse event due to Flu shots settled in National Vaccine Compensation Court- set up by in the 1980’s to protect vaccine manufacturers from all liability…. no-risk profiteering, not a bad ‘Capitalist’ gig if you can get it. As the Supreme Court ruled “vaccines are unavoidably unsafe”…. and iron lungs are now just called respirators.

    The numbers on these and other vaccine injuries are suppressed due to a highly passive reporting system and a compensation program that many are not aware of, or have the resources to drag through years of legal battling.

    As Dr. Suzanne Humphries notes:

    “Prior to 1954, the following undoubtedly hid behind the name “poliomyelitis”: Transverse Myelitis, viral or “aseptic” meningitis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)- (what Franklin Delano Roosevelt had)[4], Chinese Paralytic syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, epidemic cholera, cholera morbus, spinal meningitis, spinal apoplexy, inhibitory palsy, intermittent fever, famine fever, worm fever, bilious remittent fever, ergotism, post-polio syndrome, acute flaccid paralysis(AFP).

    Included under the umbrella term “Acute Flaccid Paralysis” are Poliomyelitis, Transverse Myelitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, enteroviral encephalopathy, traumatic neuritis, Reye’s syndrome etc.

    Before you believe that polio has been eradicated, have a look at this graph of AFP and Polio. If you are wondering why there is no data prior to 1996, go to the WHO website for AFP and you will see that there is no data prior to 1996, and note that AFP conitnues to rise in 2011. Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) is just another name for what would have been called polio in 1955, and is used to describe a sudden onset of paralysis. It is the most common sign of acute polio, and used for surveillance during polio outbreaks. AFP is also associated with a number of other pathogenic agents including enteroviruses, echoviruses, and adenoviruses, among others. But in 1955, there was no attempt to detect anything other than polio in cases of AFP. Once the vaccine was mass marketed, the game changed.”

    1. Vatch

      Here’s the abstract of the article that says that Franklin Roosevelt probably had Guillain-Barre Syndrome:

      In 1921, when he was 39 years of age, Franklin Delano Roosevelt contracted an illness characterized by: fever; protracted symmetric, ascending paralysis; facial paralysis; bladder and bowel dysfunction; numbness; and dysaesthesia. The symptoms gradually resolved except for paralysis of the lower extremities. The diagnosis at the onset of the illness and thereafter was paralytic poliomyelitis. Yet his age and many features of the illness are more consistent with a diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune polyneuritis. The likelihoods (posterior probabilities) of poliomyelitis and Guillain-Barré syndrome were investigated by Bayesian analysis. Posterior probabilities were calculated by multiplying the prior probability (disease incidence in Roosevelt’s age group) by the symptom probability (likelihood of a symptom occurring in a disease). Six of eight posterior probabilities strongly favoured Guillain-Barré syndrome.

      Whether he had GBS or not, we can be certain of one thing: his disease was not caused by a polio vaccine, because the vaccine did not yet exist. Other researchers question the claim that he had GBS.'s_paralytic_illness#Retrospective_diagnosis

      Several aspects are in discordance with this retrospective diagnosis. FDR had an elevated fever up to 102 °F, which is rare in Guillain–Barré syndrome. Additionally, he had permanent paralysis which occurs in about 50% of polio survivors, whereas it occurs in only 15% of cases of Guillain–Barré syndrome. Furthermore, the onset of disease following a day of strenuous exercise and the eventual asymmetric paralysis of Roosevelt’s legs and arms is consistent with a study showing that motor neurons innervating muscles vigorously at the start of polio are those most likely to become paralyzed.[51] FDR likely would have been especially vulnerable to polio since he was raised on an isolated family estate[27] and had little contact with other children until he entered Groton at age 14. Thereafter he suffered from a succession of illnesses suggesting a weak immune system.[52]:38–40

      Further, the 2003 study mistakenly states that no analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid, the gold standard for poliomyelitis diagnosis, had been done in Roosevelt’s case.[4]:236[39][53] However, historian James Tobin located an unpublished manuscript by Dr. Samuel A. Levine of the Harvard Infantile Paralysis Commission that clearly indicates that a lumbar puncture was done August 24, 1921, when Dr. Robert Lovett saw Roosevelt. Tobin wrote that “Levine’s private note indicates that Dr. Lovett did examine the cerebrospinal fluid and knew very well that a high level of white blood cells was consistent with poliomyelitis.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > links two days

      Because I had a little collection of Indian news and I double-checked one day back, not two.

      Is there a reason you felt you had to duplicate your 2/14 comment, instead of simply referring readers to it?

  2. UserFriendly

    What’s Next For Bernie Sanders? Vermont Senator Rejects ‘People’s Party’ Campaign, Calls For Democratic Party Reform

    I Quit Life.

    I put money on Perez winning and no millennials voting in 2018.

    I think I should start putting my energy into making this government cease to exist. Since that is absolutely the only way I could ever effect even the smallest change in this pathetic oligarchy.

      1. epynonymous

        Michael Moore addresses alot of nuance, and arguably predicts Trump in 2016… all wrapped up with a celebration of womanhood and Hillary’s tough side.

        He ends the thing by saying we drag out Vince Foster and shoot him again to bid farewell to a crowd gathered in a Glenn Beck funded theatre.

        It’s surprising I never heard of it till two weeks ago, and it could have changed my mind. There was never a serious attempt to defend Hilary.

        Just to obscure the ugly side. I think the key thing for me was her symbolically having her aides lie about her having pnemonia. Michael tactfully (you might miss it!) addresses H.R.C.’s health… and it went right through the country without raising a peep.

        1. epynonymous

          Obviously, Bernie first, but Kuchinich didn’t work out.

          Or Howard Dean. Ah, the power the media had.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Howard had questionable positions that hurt him in Iowa long before the famed scream, and then there are issues with Joe Trippi and treatment of organizers. The kids on Dean and Edwards campaigns were basically dead by the end.

            Kerry and Edwards jumped ahead of Dean in Iowa before the media hits for these reasons. Primary Kerry would have been President, but the Clintonistas oozed their way into his campaign.

        2. fresno dan

          February 16, 2017 at 8:05 am

          I saw it before the election. I think for a lot of NC readers it was old hat – there was a lot of articles at NC that Trump COULD win* – what made it novel was that it was coming from a “lefty.” (“lefty” – I don’t know – has Michael Moore gone anti commie?)
          Moore had a follow up in which Moore gives Hillary some good advice…..and the result shows she didn’t pay any attention to him either.

          *and to be clear, when I first saw it I thought Hillary had the election locked.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Advice wouldn’t matter for Hillary short of denouncing Bill and third way politics and rejecting her entire foreign policy career. Once someone is perceived as dishonest, they will always be perceived as dishonest. It’s why divorced people never get back together. 25 years on the national stage is simply too long. She reinvented herself and relaunched the campaign on a weekly basis. She could have said she and Podesta talk to aliens and no one would have noticed or cared.

            Voter: That’s what Obama said
            Canvasser: Hillary is being super honest. She really supports single payer.
            Voter: she bungled Healthcare in 1993. Why should I believe her now?
            Canvasser: I truly believe the real Hillary is a good person.
            Voter stops caring at such nonsense.

            1. fresno dan

              February 16, 2017 at 10:04 am

              As usual, spot on NTG. I remember her saying she was now against TPP – it struck me as worse than when Kerry said I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              43 was installed, not elected the first time, but close enough to steal was still a sign of the quality of the Gore campaign and especially Donna Brazille.

            2. epynonymous

              I never quite got knew he’d win until shortly before the election this site posted that picture of “Trump” spray-painted on an abandoned house.

              It was an anger election. Myself included. I knew that Trump was “supposed” to lose, so I believed in that for longer than I would have otherwise.

              As I start getting older, I wonder more about Nixon. Sure, he was a faker (and by that I remember the ‘secret plan’ to end the Vietnam War… and the whole back-lash set to keep the war going that accompanied it… fake news epitomized.)

              I guess even the opposing Kennedy Sec. Def. McNamara might have truely gone anti-war… his old commander General Westmorland being ahead of the bloody end of that business.

              I hear Nixon was ‘crazy’ towards the end… a decision which the highest part of the nuclear COG shadow-government controls.

              The government will destroy itself, only to expand it’s powers into an even more destructive form… for a time.

              Trump will be fought every step of the way, and he’s basically incompetent. However, maybe he really will try.

              Sometimes, only your worst enemy can see or do what you cannot.

      2. Olga

        You cld get your wish – as Dostoevsky is said to have uttered: it is never so bad that it could not get worse!

    1. Roger Smith

      This is what all of his post loss decisions imply as well. He just doesn’t have what it takes to stand up to these fools. It’s the skipper captain who jumps onto the Titanic as it is sinking, “I am going to fix the damage!”

      Uh… yep.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Uh, you mistake which “fools” are the target the D party has long stood up against. What’s that poker saying? – if you don’t know who the mark is, it’s probably you. Considering there was no win with Ellison or any other on offer… that the party process itself by design and intent guaranteed failure and cooptation later when need be… the only reasonable choice is to kick over the game table before leaving or just get up and leave. Pretending they are possibly within the realm of redemption gives them more power/credibility than they should have.

    2. Faye Carr

      I quit too, about 5 years ago. Well, the national organizing activism (political & social) part of the program.
      Turned all that frustration and uselessness to a 50 mile (wobbly) circle around my town. Starting with backyard food production and 5 like minded activists.

      We’ve got a barter system going, a labor pool functioning, there’s a local seed saving organization, holistic health development, and a generous mutual support and resiliency community.

      In the early stages of planning: Community wide clean water access and a transportation network.
      Disappointed Bernie supporters and the Trump effect have sparked new and passionate interest.

      If we weren’t so busy actually doing the work I’d write an essay on how it got done.

      1. Carla

        I’m focusing on the local level, too — and along with countless others across the nation, could REALLY use your essay, Faye!

      2. aletheia33

        if you can say, where are you? if not your town, perhaps what state are you in? relative to the communities i know of where people are working on this kind of thing, this seems like a remarkable success. especially the clean water and transportation network–what do you plan on for the $$ for those? what do you mean by a “functioning labor pool” and a “generous mutual support and resiliency community”? how many people are participating in them? are you prepared yet to feed all residents from local resources if/when necessary? more details please, if you can. no essay needed. maybe there are local media reporting on this occasionally that we could look at?

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Yes by all means, let’s just go back to local little tribes, we can wear the skins of the animals we eat so we don’t have to get clothing from the outside, we can grow our own food and make our own soap, and somebody can keep armed watch on the perimeter.

          I think it’s helpful and all, but can we just notice that it means we’re entirely giving up on the idea that we can organize and operate something usually called a “civilization’?

          Seems to me a national consensus of what’s good for the 95% would not be that difficult to arrive at, given some uncorrupted and charismatic leadership. A giant wooden stake in the heart of the organization that purported to be for People vs. Capital would be a start. Mow them all down to the ground (Dems, that is)

          1. aletheia33

            So we just need some uncorrupted and charismatic leadership, a giant wooden stake, and some kind of mower to cut down the dems, and that will bring us to a national consensus. much more realistic than pie-in-the-sky localism!

        2. Faye Carr

          I don’t think the moderators would appreciate a lengthy sub thread. But suffice to say this, I’m in Gainesville Fl. The larger main organizing group is Grow Gainesville (NOT a 501(c)3.
          Currently using with a hate/love necessity, Facebook. You can find us and me there.

          Seems impossible, be we work together with several registered non-profits, 15 or so affiliated groups. All of this, mostly supported by day jobs, and a small faction of ‘financially comfortable’ people. Nobody is getting a living wage from the work. Maybe that’s why it works?

          If Lambert or Yves would permit I do have a general outline that could be polished up a bit.
          It would be a great conversation. And I’d really appreciate getting some fresh perspective on setting up a small scale economy. Some of our people are very interested in providing micro loans for homestead startups. Others would like an alternative to CSA’s.

          Both way above my skill set.

          1. aletheia33

            i would like to see your presentation if our hosts consider it appropriate for NC, and the ensuing conversation. will check out the FB page (with great reluctance i must add).

            are you in dialogue with other scenes of such activity around the country? there are many, but their access to one another’s ideas does not seem to be optimal. people seem to get so busy in their own area that they have no time to search out and make ties with those in other areas, especially outside their own state and region.

    3. kj1313

      As mentioned before, there are inherent structural advantages in being part of one of the 2 parties from Fed, state to local races. In that environment it might be easier to use the example of the teaparty and start primaring useless Dems.

      1. Carla

        “and start primarying useless Dems” — that’s the trouble. We would have to primary ALL of them.

        Seems to me that until we get the guts to expose how the most “progressive” Dems sell us out every single time, and primary THEM, we’ll never get anywhere. So in Ohio, for example, that would mean starting with Senator Sherrod Brown and Congressman Tim Ryan. I just don’t know any “progressives” who have the stomach for it.

        I will never forget meeting Sherrod and his wife Connie Schultz at a backyard meet ‘n greet for then-candidate Ted Strickland (who had just started running for Ohio governor). This would have been in 2004. I bent Sherrod’s ear about single payer for a few minutes; he listened politely and was noncommittal.

        Then I moved down the informal “receiving line” and while chatting with his wife Connie, again brought up the need for single payer. She said, (swear to God) with exasperation: “You people never give up, do you?” It kind of took my breath away, but I managed to recover after a split second and replied, looking her right in the eye: “No. We never do.”

      2. Oregoncharles

        Are you planning to run? Where?

        (I’ve been recruiting candidates for hopeless races for some 20 years now.)

        If you really enjoy beating your head on a brick wall….

    4. cybrestrike

      The Democratic Party is impossible to reform in the ways Bernie Sanders wants it to be. The neoliberals are burrowed in and will not yield any of their power and influence at the DNC. Remember, Clinton losing to Trump was a much preferred outcome of 2016 rather than Sanders going again and possibly defeating Trump (I think Bernie would have obliterated Trump in the general). Sanders was an existential threat to the current structure of the pay-to-play system of lobbyists and lawmakers.

      So Tom Perez will win the DNC chair by a mile. Keith Ellison never stood a chance, because the Dems are a private club and they don’t want anyone not towing the pure neoliberal line in charge. The Dems will allow a false choice for their voters (the ones still registered, anyway) in 2020: Cory Booker, Tim Kaine, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Julian Castro. Oh, and someone on the Left to be a sheepdog for Sanders types–but not as potentially popular. Or, horrifically, Hillary Clinton again. And they will probably lose.

      The Democratic Party is dead. They just don’t know it yet. It’s time that they’re abandoned.

        1. UserFriendly

          I’m not talking about the evil neoliberals. I hate absolutely everything about this country. I hate that citizens have essentially no influence on the government. I hate that Billionaires and multinational companies can legally bribe politicians with no consequences. I hate that my entire generation will be nothing but debt slaves for our whole lives and no politicians but Bernie even pretend to care. I hate the way the MSM is infected with stupid and manages to propaganda that out over the TV 24/7. I hate that the people with all the money and power have made it absolutely impossible for anyone else to have even a modest amount of success in their lives. I hate how stubbornly resistant to learning almost everyone is. I hate the complete absence of peoples ability to think for themselves. I hate that no matter how much you try to be good, do the right thing and try hard it is completely irrelevant. I hate the arrogance of everyone pretending Climate Change doesn’t exist or is someone else’s problem. And SOOOO much more!!!

          But what I hate the most is that the solutions to almost all of those things is that they are so incredibly easy to fix. If you made me ( or about 95% of the other people on this site) king of the world for 6 months it would all be fixed or at least well on its way to being fixed.

          1. WheresOurTeddy

            Oui, mon ami. La solution est la guillotine.

            Change is coming. It can look like Philadelphia 1787 or Paris 1789.

            Right now the latter looks more likely.

          2. broadsteve

            Forgive me UF, but your last paragraph reminds me of a certain creatively coiffured president I’ve been hearing so much about :-)

        2. polecat

          Yes .. even spirochetes die off eventually, burrowed in or otherwise. The demorats (and their repub brethren) are no exception.

          Will we (the host) expire before they do ….. ??

          Well, that is THE question now, isn’t it !

      1. neo-realist

        If Trump sh*ts the bed very badly in the next 4 years—–doesn’t bring back the jobs, oversees another financial crash while his appointed cronies in government steal every which way they can, and ushers in another military conflict that gets a lot of Americans killed, then even a potential semi competent neo liberal Democratic figurehead would look good by comparison. I’m not saying neoliberal dems are good, but I’m not going to allow projection of my contempt for them to color potential reality if Trump screws up bad, which it looks likes he’s going to.

        Now the congress on the other hand, will still be GOP precisely because of tone deaf third way neolibs who won’t give the 99% what they want in economic policy and health care.

      2. WheresOurTeddy


        Sanders winning was the darkest timeline for DNC Third Way scum. Trump winning much more preferable. Bernie would have beat Trump by 10+.

      3. todde


        They were supposed to be dead after the Bush election in 2000

        Then Obama came and the Republicans were supposed to be dead

      4. Oregoncharles

        Latest Gallup: down to 25% affiliation – that is, people who will admit to a pollster that they belong to the party. The same poll showed 28% Reps, a recent high. They did win, after all.

      5. Dita

        All of this. Watching the dems trying to suck sustenance from every tweet and unsupported allegation while continuing their attack on the left reminds me a lot the zombie apocalypse. Maybe one day Chuck Schumer or Cory Booker will raise his head from the trough and exclaim “WE are the walking dead!”

    5. Vatch

      I understand your frustration; I feel it too. Probably not in the same way that you do, but I feel very frustrated by the political events in the U.S. Pushing back against the oligarchy leads to few successes. There was one success yesterday: the cartoonishly anti-labor Andrew Puzder withdrew his name from consideration as the next Secretary of Labor.

      Tomorrow there will probably be another vote for a cartoonish public official: the Senate will consider the nomination of Scott Pruitt to be the next Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. This is easily one of Trump’s worst nominations, so if you haven’t yet contacted your Senators to voice your opposition, please do so soon. We don’t have a lot of time. Here’s the Senate contact information:

      For those who are feeling a bit ambitious after the win against Puzder, we can also ask our Senators to vote against tea partier Mick Mulvaney’s nomination to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Whatever you do or don’t do about Mulvaney, please actively oppose Scott Pruitt.

      1. Vatch

        The latest on Pruitt:

        The conclusion of the article:

        If the judge does order the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office to immediately release the records, the race will be on. Senate Democrats are holding the floor, running down a 30-hour procedural clock ahead of the confirmation vote.

        Delaware Senator Tom Carper says he personally asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to delay the vote by ten days in order to give time to review the documents, but was told no.

        “In my gut, I feel that these emails, the nature of these emails and the entities with whom they were sent and received, will help us understand the truth,” Carper told reporters at a Thursday press conference. “In honor of the truth, we won’t make a mistake, but that opportunity is going to be denied to us. Sometime, a week from now, maybe days from now, we’ll have some idea what the truth is. My fear is that a number of members, especially on the other side, would have been put in a very bad position and asked to vote for a nominee that they otherwise may not have supported, had they known the truth.”

        The Senate floor vote on Pruitt is expected to occur at around 1pm Eastern Time Friday. Multiple media outlets are reporting that EPA staff have been told President Trump plans to sign executive orders affecting the agency if and when Pruitt is sworn in.

        A related topic:

        The same day that one Trump nominee withdrew his nomination amidst growing controversy, another one of the president’s picks faced some staunch backlash from a group not particularly well known for making a splash in the political arena: brewers. A coalition of 32 craft breweries—including seven from Illinois—delivered a letter on Wednesday to the U.S. Senate urging lawmakers to vote against Scott Pruitt, a climate change denialist and Trump’s submission to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

    6. footnote4

      @UserFriendly – Even keeping up with news here can be exhausting, but your insights are heard and appreciated. I have an Econ comment of yours in my quotes file:

      You miss that Bio isn’t Chem at bigger scale which isn’t Physics at a bigger scale. So why insist Macro be Micro at scale? Knowledge about what chemicals will react which ways can be informed by knowledge of physics, but it isn’t required.

    7. Oregoncharles

      Completely predictable. Kshama Sawant’s approach is a much better bet. Too bad, as Sanders would give any new party a huge head start.

      The now-perpetual calls for “reform” (or “take-back” or “hostile takeover”) of the DP have been going on for a long time – about 30 years, IIRC. Through that time, the DP has moved ONLY, and very far, to the Right; more precisely, to the big money. Even Bernie’s (and before that, Dean’s) demonstration of the power of small money has had no effect at all. They really enjoy being corrupt. And yes, I’m accusing Bernie of being, at best, naive. Apparently the Presidential run was quite enough; at 74, I wouldn’t want to try anything completely new, either. (At 71, I think age is a big factor.) However, he was approached by the Green Party several cycles ago and expressed satisfaction with his place in Congress and in collaboration with the Dems. As we saw last year.

      I suggest contacting Kshama Sawant’s group, Socialist Alternative. She’s trying to put together a broad left coalition, Occupy but electoral. I get emails from her group – I’ll post the email when I get a chance. She supported Dr. Jill Stein in the last election.


    The myth of the WTO option

    This is not just a mindbogglingly complex technical matter, although it is surely that, but also entails potentially acrimonious political negotiations not just with the EU but with other WTO members. Depending on which good is under discussion, different countries – some friendly, some hostile to the UK – will have significant interests at stake. If Brexiters complain about the difficulties of the UK ‘getting its own way’ with 27 other EU countries, they are in for a nasty shock when dealing with the 160+ WTO members.

    1. vlade

      Yves and others on this site (me included), repeatedly said that there’s no WTO option. Hell, even WTO said so themselves.

      Remainers might have run Project Fear, but Brexiters (including May right now) run Project “Blind Hope”. The problem with that is that when (and I say when, not if) it implodes, they will have to find a scapegoat, and the situation will get worse, not better.

      1. PKMKII

        We’ll see some blaming of the EU for not being fair in the new trade agreements, as if the EU has any reason to be. I’m sure we’ll see some attempts by the Tories to blame it all on UKIP. Question is though, if the UK ends up reeling from the bitter pill that new agreements with the EU will be, probably with some other players in Europe as well, what are the negotiations with the US going to look like? Trump has made a big selling point of making America more of a winner in bi-lateral trade agreements. So Trump comes in wanting to dominate, UK comes in trying to salvage up something better than what they’re getting with Europe. US-UK relations may take a hard hit from all this.

        1. Anonymous2

          I could see a “free-trade” deal in some sense being agreed between the US and the UK. As it would probably open UK markets to US firms more effectively than the other way round, the UK would probably end up as the net loser. I doubt the UK government would care much at that point as they would present agreeing with somebody about something as a great triumph. Brexit has never really been about benefiting the UK so much as extending the power of the Murdochs anyway IMO.

      2. theinhbitor

        Who cares. In 5 years, the EU will be a bunch of failed policies in the dustbin of history.

        Look at all the opposition to the EU. 80% don’t want the immigration policies. Italy’s banking infrastructure is crumbling, alongside the ruins of Spain, Greece, and Portugal. France is looking like its going to get Marine Le Pen, the Dutch, Geert. EU has been a trumpet of austerity, only to see the vast majority of Europe outright reject them. They already have one forgotten generation, the 20-30 year old college educated who cant find work.

        And economically, let’s be honest: Europe is a no-growth market. Its been oversaturated for some time and with their lost generation, the future doesnt look very bright. What happens when Deutschebank starts absorbing more funds from the EU to keep afloat? You think the Greeks and the Poles and the French and the Italians are going to sit by idly, making some anti-Brexit statement by giving Britain the worse end of the stick because Merkel says so? It is already too late. The alt-right movement is going to sweep across the EU, and leave behind very little, because when the funds stop flowing, so does the entire bureaucracy.

        1. Yves Smith

          Did you miss the UK has no where to go? The EU is its main trade partner. The UK has comparatively little trade with the US. And it will get shellacked in any negotiations with the US. The US dictates terms in trade deals, and the UK need to get a treaty in place in haste will put in an an even weaker position than usual.

          The UK has managed to eke out more growth than the US recently, or did you miss that?

          Honestly, you are acting like the peasant in the classic joke that Lambert mentioned last week. A genie appears and tells he can have one wish. He thinks a long time and finally says, “I want my neighbor’s cow to die.”

  4. Kukulkan

    Spies Keep Intelligence From Donald Trump on Leak Concerns

    I think I see a flaw in this plan.

    If the CIA isn’t doing their job and providing intelligence, then it would be valid for Trump (or any other government official) to conclude that they are just a useless drain on the public purse. It would be solid grounds to dissolve the agency and fire the lot of them. I mean, it’s not like there aren’t sixteen other intelligence agencies. Maybe some of them can step in and actually do the job they’re paid for and provide the president with useful daily briefings.

    I mean, given their track record of getting things spectacularly wrong, missing major developments, and just making stuff up, in any sensible system, they’d be skating on very thin ice.

    Of course, they believe themselves to be the Praetorian Guard and think they should have veto power over who does or doesn’t get to be president, so I can see that they may well consider themselves immune to such a development. Maybe they are.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They are just demonstrating to reform candidates thinking about running in the future…Tulsi, Sanders, or whoever.

      “This is what you can expect. You do what we say.”

      And whatever the candidates say will be just for entertainment.

      1. Olga

        So this will be the line for trying to impeach Trump – he is having unauthorized (and continuous) contacts with those evil russkies. Boom – outta white house he goes!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You meet a lot of people at DC parties.

          You meet foreigners ordering take out, say, Twice-Cooked pork.

          Or taking a taxi.

          The list is long.

          All unauthorized.

          It can be used on any out-of-line presidential candidate.

          Anyone too clean – you start wondering….

          1. Olga

            The political movers and shakers did not rein in IC after the assassination of JFK – and lost the game at that point. It is too late now to do anything about it… They will always be at the mercy of IC (and whoever joins it).

  5. fresno dan

    The Dangerous Precedence Of The Hunt Against Flynn … And Trump Moon of Alabama. “Precedents.” That said, list of warnings on a “soft coup” from “across the political spectrum.” Lambert here: Not to strain my arm patting myself on the back, but I called my shot on this “change in the Constitutional order” back during the “faithless electors” flap, on December 13, 2016. Now my call is approaching conventional wisdom, at least for apartisans.

    Trump will now cave in on foreign policy: on Russia, on Syria and everywhere else the borg demands it. He has been put “on notice” and will either do as he is told to do or he will be the prey in an even bigger hunt.

    It is alarming that the so-called left part of the U.S. policy is lauding the “deep state” for this open attack on the elected government. They are now justifying the methods that will one day be turned against themselves. Why do they fail to see this?
    “so-called left”
    As I say, the branding of the parties serves their electoral interests. There simply is no anti war party or even occasionally restrain war party or voice in the US. It strikes me that the anti Russia propaganda is worse now than during McCarthyism.

    So I see this Senator Chris Murphy (D) from Connecticut. And he makes McCain look like a dove as far as Russia goes. How much is his anti Russia vehemence dem opportunism? I don’t really know, but their are plenty of Diane Feinstein dems who are full on with the IC running the country. Which in my view means impeachment is a possibility – but I think Trump, to whatever minor extent he was going to do anything differently, is making it clear he will do ANYTHING to stay in the big white house.

    And yes Lambert – this is why I come here. Now, MORE prescient insights!

    1. Eureka Springs

      In a sea of lunacy in which we once again are presented with massive manipulation by the intel community upon all who diverge from the script, it’s not at all tin-foily to wonder if all these politicians are blackmailed by IC into promoting false enemy/war/boogieman memes. Little else makes sense for such overwhelming numbers on matters such as Iraq over the last 30 years, Israel, Iran, Russia, etc..

      That said, I got a laugh out of the NYT article titled:

      Where Is Rex Tillerson? Top Envoy Keeps Head Down and Travels Light

      We find out about halfway down where he is. I wonder how the theme name passed through the filters?

      The official theme of the gathering in Bonn is “Foreign Policy Beyond Crisis Management.”

      Of course irony will be lost almost immediately because Tillerson meets with:

      Mr. Tillerson will also be meeting in Bonn with the foreign ministers of Britain, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Korea, Argentina, Brazil and Italy. Meetings are planned to discuss the conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

    2. PKMKII

      It is alarming that the so-called left part of the U.S. policy is lauding the “deep state” for this open attack on the elected government. They are now justifying the methods that will one day be turned against themselves. Why do they fail to see this?

      Blind political opportunism. Works for them at the moment, so no questioning of the long-term consequences. Political equivalent of corporations chasing maximized quarterly profits.

      It strikes me that the anti Russia propaganda is worse now than during McCarthyism.

      It’s nowhere near as bad as the Cold War, just exponentially more overblown. Every Russian molehill is now a mountain (see: paranoia over Russia parking a ship, a ship, 30 miles off Connecticut, well in international waters).

  6. ambrit

    That looks like a baby Mockingbird in the antidote. They will often leave the nest before they perfect their flying skills. The sudden frenzied flying about and screeching of the mommy and daddy birds is often them tracking and trying to protect a wayward youngster. Once caught and in hand, the babies are often quite docile. I’ve had to put a many a one backup in a tree to “save” it from the cat.

    1. Katharine

      Interesting. I would have guessed something like house sparrow, but I haven’t seen a lot of baby mockingbirds.

      1. ambrit

        Now you’ve got me reconsidering. Baby Mockingbirds have white patches on the wing feathers whenever I’ve caught them. Trouble is, baby sparrows, in my experience, aren’t easy to catch and nearly never docile. What I really want is a Norwegian Blue Parrot.
        As in today’s politics, confusion reigns.

  7. scott2

    Re: Auto Insurance. Back when Progressive (among others) was using FICO scores to rate drivers my wife had an at-fault accident and our rates actually went down slightly. The “not-at-fault” accident scam has been going on for 30 years. An inattentive driver that stops quickly has a high probability of being rear-ended, but not at fault.

    Dash cams can be a life-saver, especially if the police aren’t there.

    1. crittermom

      RE: NYT “Accident Not Your Fault…”

      You said it best in your comment following the link, Lambert.

      This part of the answer to the first question says much to me: “Ms. Worters said your insurer may incur costs, even if you are not at fault, as a result of “subrogation,” or the process of seeking payment from the other driver’s insurer.”

      So apparently the premiums we pay don’t cover the cost of the insurance company doing their daily job?

  8. Bunk McNulty

    Re: You Are Not In Control. All that is required is a complete transformation of the American landscape, and the relocation of of millions of people from the sprawling suburbs, with the attendant need for new housing, expanded utilities, etc. All this, were it to be attempted any time soon, with the backdrop of a seriously polarized electorate. Teslas For All would cost less.

    1. BeliTsari

      Still, this is the most astute, concise synopsis of ‘Murika I’ve seen in ages. From coal-steel based streetcar suburbs to petroleum based suburban sprawl; razing urban minority neighborhoods, necessitating multiple contingent/ temp/ 1099 jobs to keep several vehicles on the road. white flight based anthropogenic climate change shock doctrine… sounds so conspiratorial?

    2. susan the other

      orlov is good on this – but we’ve been over it a thousand times. One thing that will get the ball rolling on transportation is decentralization – of trains, of the grid, the ability of people to work at home using the internet; growing and eating locally; a clear federal policy of building any new factories in a suburb or rural town and hiring those people; new industries like recycling and forestry… the thing is – the solution needs to be in place before the old ways are severed. or else we wind up with policy so bad it crashes the old economy and has no clue how to replace it because the mantra is that the free market will take care of everything – it’s enough to make you sick, literally.

  9. fresno dan

    So, I am drinking and watching the Discovery Investigation channel (I am way too fixated on crime and autopsy shows) when this commercial comes on for V.I. Poo

    And I’m like: WTF! Its another ….method for dealing with….odors emanating from the bathroom. At first, I’m thinking I’m so drunk I’ve inadvertently changed the TV to an old Saturday Night Live parody of a commercial….but no, its an actual commercial.
    For some reason, this strikes me as …pretty bizarre.
    And any connection to modern governance is pure coincidence….

    1. Baby Gerald

      Thanks for sharing this weirdness. I love the guys who enter the bathroom after the woman leaves and waft the air to their noses. Something kinda creepy about that. And the animation showing how the product works was pretty funny– what sort of creature poops ring-shaped turds? A princess?

      My next question would be what is this stuff made of? Is it harmful to the environment and if not, can it be made at home easier and cheaper. And doesn’t striking a match do the same thing?

  10. russell1200

    The quick recovery, is quick in geological terms: 1.3 million years ago homo habilis had just been replaced by homo erectus. So a 1.3 million year “recovery” is not a blink of the eye.

    1. Darius

      And it’s like those movies about time travel where you alter the past slightly and come back and everything is different.

  11. A

    The dossier’s not been debunked and is only growing more and more plausible – the most important parts, that is, regarding Manafort, Page, and Flynn (all under investigation now) and Trump’s collusion with Russia during the campaign.

    Why is Trump refusing to even acknowledge the “did your campaign have contacts with Russia” questions during pressers (when they manage to slip through the sycophants he calls on)?

    Also, grifter? Didn’t Steele give the info to as many people as he could, including the FBI? And he had to go into hiding. You know, like you normally do when you compile totally dodgy info for money.

    1. voteforno6

      What’s making it more and more plausible? Citing the same anonymous sources over and over again doesn’t make it any more believable.

      1. Roger Smith

        The way I see it, Clinton (most likely advised by the same central IC neocon, clandestine, etc… people) primed the Russian conflict months ago as a double dip to deflect her own campaign issues and now everyone is praising her prescience as they scrambled to confirm their bias by plugging in all of these anonymously source, tabloid stories into the framework. No kidding, I saw multiple people on twitter sharing the debate clip where she brought out the Russian drivel for the second or third time, while talking about how “she always knew”. Mass hysteric hallucinations.

        It is a pure propaganda play that was obvious when Clinton first started it. Now as Sanders said and also subscribes too, it is “widely accepted.” Oh okay… sounds good then. (this is also one reason I think liberal climate arguments fail – “but all the smart people [scientists] say so!”)

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Show some empathy. You have to look at it from the perspective of a delusional butthurt Clintonista with no connection to reality.

        Then, If you beat the dead horse long enough, it might turn into a unicorn.

    2. Gareth

      Manafort worked for the Podesta Group in Ukraine. What did the Podesta brothers know and when did they know it?

      1. susan the other

        this whole screechy flap about russia makes me rethink nixon and kissinger – were they (both) railroaded to keep the cold war going?

    3. Bill Smith

      Reading thru the dossier how many specific dates are in it? Almost none. That makes it hard to prove anything one way or another. “in late July 2015” someone said something to someone. I’m sure NSA has lots of those conversations on tape.

      Can’t rule out that the Russians fed this stuff to the West to cause more trouble.

      1. Andrew Watts

        I’m not sure but that July 2015 date probably refers to Flynn. I recall he foolishly made a trip to Moscow that year for an event where a picture was taken of him with Putin. I think it was sponsored by RT and you just know that’s going to drive the US IC nuts.

        Probably why they did it in the first place.

        Can’t rule out that the Russians fed this stuff to the West to cause more trouble.

        I think it’s highly likely this is the case.

    4. shargash

      This is starting to remind me of the Lewinsky scandal. Smelling blood in the water, the press just keeps going after the issue again and again, while the partisan peanut gallery keeps asking “why won’t he answer the questions?” Except, in the Trump/Russia case, it is not clear there is even as much there as Clinton’s sex with an intern.

      The anti-Clinton insanity damaged the Republican party, and there is evidence the Democrats are making the same mistake:

      Since the election the Democrats have managed to make themselves the minority party, despite the fact that they should be increasing their support on account of Trump’s horridness. But by all means, keep harping on “what about those Russians!?!” I’m sure it will work out for the Ds eventually.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s like “Beghazi” for the Democrats. The GOP neared on “Beghazi” because they needed a scandal confined to Trump that could not hamper their actions down the line. For some reason, Democrats think “OOGA BOOGA Russia” will work for them. I suppose a certain amount started with Obama who hated being embarrassed by Putin over Syria.

        When there are so many better things to criticize (Libya in general, gun running, not talking to Gaddafi despite the UN charter declaring that a war crime), the Republicans focused on a glorified gun runner not having enough security. Now the Democrats are ping the same. The choir loves it, but everyone else is confused. It’s interesting because Obama, the sitting President more or less accused Trump of being a KGB spy a day it didn’t work in the Fall. The “front row” kids have reached a point where their ability to regurgitate what a teacher just said is running into the need for actual solutions and they have no talent or intellect just the facade.

    5. Praedor

      NOTHING the CIA or MI6 (or MI5) says is believable. They LIE for a living. They lie to the President or the American public or the UK Prime Minister or UK public…all to fire up their latest preferred invasion and war. They created out of NOTHING a pretense to invade Iraq. They created out of nothing a “revolution” in Ukraine to overthrow an ELECTED leader only only a couple months from an election! They decided that Gaddafi had to go for some reason (likely his intent to go off the dollar and use an independent currency and fund to help develop Africa) and made up reasons.

      NOTHING they say can be believed under any circumstances. Under Reagan, CIA Director Casey DID say “The CIA’s disinformation program will be complete when everything the American people believe is wrong”. That can NEVER be walked back or unsaid. It was fact and remains fact today.

    6. Yves Smith

      Yes thanks for calling out A as a troll. Cleverly chosen handle and refuses to provide a real IP address, and always runs Dem talking points, and ones that are a real stretch. We will delete all future comments.

      And if you try after that, we will rip out your entire comment history.

      The dossier is BS and has been debunked here and elsewhere in detail. Agnotology is a violation of our written site policies.

      Readers do NOT respond to A in the future. I ripped out most of the thread, and apologies to those of you (as in all the other comments) that took him on. He was also engaging in bad faith, for instance, shifting the argument when challenged.

  12. RabidGandhi

    Great moments in MMT parenting: last night our five year old asked me where money comes from.

    NC is the only place worthwhile for sharing that news, so thanks y’all for listening!

      1. RabidGandhi

        Well I started by talking about the difference between fiat and commodity based currencies and then moved on to ForEx reserves and dual ledger accounting. Turns out this works much faster than a glass of milk and Goodnight Moon.

        BTW anyone know where I can get an illustrated copy of Mitchell et al, Modern Monetary Theory and Practice: an Introductory Text? One with pop-up pics would be ideal.

        1. JohnnyGL

          I’m not one to criticize, but I can relate. I’ve got a curious 6 year old who probably knows more about plants than most her age as she’s eagerly joined me in my new gardening hobby :)

          I would suggest a answer that is both simple and correct by MMT standards would be that money is created by the printing presses and mints in Philly, Denver, San Fran, etc.

          Government can create money, but only society (both public and private) can create the real value that makes the money valuable (or not).

        2. ChrisPacific

          Congrats on getting the conversation started. If I tried this with my four year old I suspect it would go the way of most such conversations, and end with him saying “dual ledger accounting!” 50 times in a row and laughing hysterically each time.

  13. Marco

    Minor frustration…I understand the technocratic phrasing for always using “Single-Payer” but use that term with your typical jobless 25yo about to lose their parents insurance and their eyes glaze over. Tell them they should have the same insurance that “gammy” has. Medicare For All!! “Yeah…DUDE…Gammy’s insurance is DOPE!! I Want That!!!”

    1. Katharine

      I know what you mean, but the drawback is that Medicare has been tampered with enough that it is not as good as a true single-payer system (currently involves three different bills: CMS, Medigap (the “gap” is telling), and Part D for prescriptions, and depending on what you can afford, still sometimes large deductibles and co-pays). In a real single-payer system life is simpler and more equitable.

      Incidentally, the PNHP article includes a link to their 2013 table comparing single-payer and ACA. I just got an email from National Nurses United with a link to their recent table comparing past, present, and alternative futures in some detail:

      1. katiebird

        This. Plus that expense is for EACH member of the family. Which would get as expensive as any other solution pretty fast if it was ported to us as is. And what a mess. We’d have to write out 3 separate checks for each family member?

        So rather than Medicare for Everyone. It has to be HR-676, Expanded & Improved Medicare for Everyone. Which also expands coverage to things Medicare doesn’t currently cover (Dental, hearing, vision) and cost is set by income.

        Single Payer is compared to all that much easier….

      2. Carla

        I think “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All” works fine. And if people don’t get that, describe EINO healthcare — Everybody In, Nobody Out.

      3. jrs

        and of course since many seniors are low income and thus CAN NOT and NEVER WILL be able to afford Medigap, they go to ACA type Medicare (Medicare Advantage that is) as well, as that’s the only way to avoid deductibles otherwise is my understanding.

      4. Praedor

        Ugh. People point to the problems of Medicare as if they are writ in stone. As if the issues with Medicare CURRENTLY are organic to any such single-payer system. No. Not even remotely.

        EVERYTHING that is a problem now with Medicare can be just as easily removed as they were put in by politicians. A donut hole of funding for prescription drugs? Simple. Close the hole and simply pay for all prescription drugs. Ta-da!

        ALL problems with Medicare were created by politicians, and can just as simply be removed/corrected.

    2. Marco

      Good points all…Single Payer it is!

      And Katharine is right about the crapification of both Medicaid AND Medicare as my other nephew is on Medicaid (in Michigan) and getting the run-around about a much needed prescription that the state doesn’t want to pay for and the physician is clueless.

    3. heresy101

      Single Payer doesn’t convey what is really being proposed. One of the takeaways from the single payer initiative that we put on the ballot in about 1995, was there needed to be a better term. You can’t get people to slow down to sign a petition unless they already know what single payer is.

      Medicare for All is clear and people understand it, both young and old. Once you have people’s attention, then you can go into detail about how HR 676 is a great program that costs less and you receive much more.

      1. Marco

        My initial comment and concern had more to do with issues of “brand recognition” than the deficiencies and intricacies of policy wrt Medicare / MediGap / Part B / Part D. I only suggest that Medicare-For-All is the better hook.

      2. aab

        I agree with you completely. One problem with left messaging is that it doesn’t have the power of corporate propaganda to push it — in fact, that pushes against it, HARD — which means the messages need to be strong, simple and clear. “Global warming” was very bad messaging; who doesn’t like to be warm? That doesn’t sound scary. And people under economic stress aren’t going to have the capacity to worry about the whole globe. “Climate crisis” is much better, but it started being used about 20 years too late.

        Medicare For All is smart for that reason. If someone then says, “Well, my gran has to pay for her medication,” then you get to say “It’s expanded AND improved! No deductibles or premiums!” And then you’re done. The other conversation has a weaker hook and a lot more explanation.

  14. fresno dan

    Oroville Dam unprepared for climate change, critics warned years before crisis The Desert Sun.

    “How well was DWR prepared to deal with what is really not an unprecedented flow?” Rossmann said. “Why was the dam kept so full that it would suddenly get to this crisis point?”

    “From our point of view up here, the biggest change is we don’t have the snowpack that we used to. And the snowpack is your second reservoir,” which used to be more of a buffer against rapid runoff from storms, Wills said.

    In Plumas County, located in the mountains upstream from the dam, Wills explained that snowlines have been creeping upward and the snowpack doesn’t usually freeze as hard due to the higher temperatures, “so when it’s rained on and when it starts to melt, it does it all faster.” And that can quickly send more water coursing downhill toward the reservoir.

    In addition to the damaged spillways, other problems with the dam itself may have contributed to the situation. Like many other dams in California, Wills said, Oroville has had an accumulation of sediment and debris over the years, with heavy erosion from wildfire-damaged areas adding to the load. She said the dam’s lower valve, one of its three main outlets, appears to be abandoned and has not been opened for years, partly due to concerns about not being able to close it due to the accumulation of debris in the reservoir.
    “How well was DWR prepared to deal with what is really not an unprecedented flow?”

    1. Tom

      Yes. All the discussion about infrastructure investment needs to go hand in hand with deciding what kind of infrastructure makes sense given the shifting patterns in the environment: More heat or less heat, More sun or less sun. More cold or less cold. More rain or less rain. More even rain or more catastrophic rain. More snow or less snow, Higher sea levels. Higher high tides. More hurricanes or fewer. More forest die-offs. Expanding or contracting arable lands.

      Add to these variables the human side: more suburban sprawl or more walkable communities. More factory farming or more local production. More mass transit or more personal vehicles. More telecommuting or more office towers. More centralized energy production and wide distribution grids or more distributed energy production.

      Our aging and crumbling infrastructure actually gives gives us an opportunity to have a fascinating national discussion about how the country should look and work, and what priorities we should support with infrastructure investments.

      1. Carla

        “Our aging and crumbling infrastructure actually gives us an opportunity to have a fascinating national discussion”…

        But not the TIME. It doesn’t give us the TIME to have that fascinating national discussion.

        1. polecat

          Look on the bright side … some day we’ll all be able to visit those fascinating new national treasures …….. man-made waterfalls.

      1. RUKidding

        I was hiking on the Feather River which flows into the Oroville Dam on New Year’s Eve day, which isn’t all that long ago, and there had already been some significant rain in Nov and Dec. On Dec 31, believe it or not, that dam looked really low to me. Most of the dams around this part of the state have been super low for the past several years.

        So I don’t think the dam had water that was kept too high, at least up through the end of the year. I don’t know how they handle the release on a day by day basis. We have had a very wet January and February. As the article states, though, the snow pack no longer stays as cold and packed hard as it used to and melts much more quickly.

        So perhaps the dam could have been lower in late Dec, but it’s really hard to determine what’s going to happen next.

        The big issue is having enough money to continue repairing/working on/replacing our failing infrastructure. The spillway worked fine for 50 years, and now it’s broken. Not a huge surprise, but there’s been no money to fix it.

        But hey: let’s spend billions upon billions on Wars and a Mexican Wall! That’s JUST what we need.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Records show that the lake was at 57% capacity on New Year’s Eve:

          Then it leaped to 80% capacity in the second week of January. The remaining 20% of capacity was not enough to handle the early February rain without overflowing.

          Question is why the lake wasn’t lowered more from mid-Jan to Feb 5th. Apparently their guideline says 20% spare capacity is enough for a typical rainy season. But this one’s not typical.

          1. Katharine

            What about snow melt, too? Odds are their guidelines haven’t been updated to consider the effect of more rapid melting of large volumes in this era of sharp temperature swings, which from my reading of weather news before this incident blew up was the reason for the flood warnings.

              1. Katharine

                I must be missing your point. Previous comments appeared to indicate the guidelines had proven inadequate, that 20% was a poor number to rely on and they should have acted sooner. I’m not sure how your distinction regarding money applies.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  There are 2 problems.

                  1. Lacking money to repair or maintain (see above, RUKidding, big issue comment)
                  2. Failing to update guidelines (as you pointed out) and (see below) overestimating the capacity of the emergency spillway.

                  1. Katharine

                    Thanks! Now I see where you were coming from. I was not oblivious to the money issue, but focused on the guidelines, as I saw more incompetence than hardship in what I had read of that story.

    2. DH

      Don’t buy the hype on all of the climate change etc. discussion related to Oroville Dam. That is people trying to hijack the real problem to fit a different agenda.

      The main spillway doesn’t appear to have been inspected and maintained properly and therefore it failed at below design flows. This required them to divert flow to the never-before used emergency spillway (that tells us something right away), that should never have been required for a low level event like this.

      This is not a climate change problem. This is the same issue as bridges not getting refurbished and replaced when they get old, old roads getting lots of potholes, century-old water pipes not being relined or replaced, etc. The spillway is 50 years old. It functioned well in the past for these types of events, but clearly had degraded to the point where it would not survive this event. Effectively nobody was doing anything to monitor and replace the roof on the house to save money and are then surprised when it starts to leak in a rainstorm.

      This is simply basic inattention to aging infrastructure with inadequate funding and everybody hoping that the dam will survive their term in office so somebody else can find the funds. There may be fundamental issues out there related to sediment behind the dam, climate change etc., but this spillway problem has nothing to do with any of those.

      We need to segregate our thinking and funding of basic functioning of infrastructure on a daily basis under the original design conditions from evaluations of long-term resiliency and adaptability under climate change etc. The latter doesn’t matter at all if the infrastructure won’t even work under the past conditions.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not just inadequate funding. Not just inattention. But also experts being wrong.

        Jim Haywood posted this Monday, from San Jose Mercury News:

        Three environmental groups — Friends of the River, the Sierra Club and the South Yuba Citizens League — filed a motion with the federal government on Oct. 17, 2005, urging that the dam’s emergency spillway be armored with concrete, rather than remain as an earthen hillside.
        Federal officials at the time said that the emergency spillway was designed to handle 350,000 cubic feet per second and the concerns were overblown. [Others] urged FERC to reject the request to require that the emergency spillway be armored, a job that would have cost tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars.
        On Sunday, with flows of only 6,000 to 12,000 cubic feet per second — water only a foot or two deep and less than 5 percent of the rate that FERC said was safe — erosion at the emergency spillway became so severe that officials from the State Department of Water Resources ordered the evacuation of more than 185,000 people.

        1. DH

          The agency were wrong about the emergency spillway. However, the water should never have had to flow over the emergency spillway in the first place. The emergency spillway is there for a design case that will likely never occur (the probably maximum flood). The main spillway is supposed to handle the flows that have been happening over the past couple of weeks.

          The environmental groups were asking them to spend money on the wrong thing. They should have been focusing on making sure that the actual commonly used elements were safe and prepared to go for another 50 years. Spending money improving the emergency spillway instead of the main spillway is like upgrading the air bag but not doing maintenance on the brakes.

          Like most of these infrastructure failures, people are assuming that something that has been working will continue working in the future. That is an optimistic view that more and more is turning out to be wrong as our infrastructure gets older. In many cases, our infrastructure is not getting the inspections, repairs, and refurbishments that were assumed would occur when they were designed.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That’s what it looks like – the agency was wrong and the environment groups were wrong.

            That part I am not familiar with is the philosophy behind this particular emergency spillway design. You are saying, it was designed for a case not likely to happen (as I understand structure design, it depends on the how unlikely – 100 year event, 50 year event, etc), and that what happened last week was not the maximum probable event.

            Given the upward creeping snowlines upstream, it’s reasonable to look into whether the faster inflows will impact the adequacy of the main spillway outflow capacity.

            How does last week compare with the original engineer’s 50 or 100-year event?

    3. Sluggeaux

      The poor maintenance of the Oroville Dam spillway is typical of the short-sightedness of Californians, who seem to have come here to re-invent themselves and live in denial of the past and delusion about the future. I have lived all of my 60 years in California, and have seen the cycle of deluge and drought that requires our infrastructure to be in a constant state of readiness. As I write, my home in Santa Cruz is virtually cut off from the rest of the state, with major mudslides and road erosion on all routes out of the county. These roads were all built before the Second World War, and have always suffered from being under-maintained in view of the weather events and earthquakes that come along every few decades. We had a similar deluges in 1956 and 1982 — rather than dredge the river, they raised the bridges.

      This is nothing new in central California. Salinas native John Steinbeck wrote in 1966,

      I feel very strongly about water. In Salinas we lived by a cycle of weather. I think it was one of 17 years. Then we had five to seven years of dryness. The earth died and the earth burned up and we became very poor. So, you see I am emotionally grounded in this theme. [from On Reading The Grapes of Wrath by Prof. Susan Shillingslaw (2014].

      1. DH

        I lived in Southern California for a couple of years. I never saw so much water wasted in my entire life. It was really clear these people did not understand that they live in a desert.

        The big rains only come every decade or so in California. The slopes throughout the state are designed for the rest of the time because distances are large and real estate is expensive. Very few other locales will build slopes as steep as California because those slope angles fail in the annual rains that those other locations get.

  15. B1whois

    From the Scientific American article “Broken California Damn is a Sign of Emergencies to Come” I didn’t understand this sentence:

    Northern California rainfall totals hit more than 79 inches in a 24-hour period, he said.

    Are they adding up totals from different areas? Or are they actually saying that 79 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period as measured by one rainfall gauge? Because that’s certainly is what they’re inferring without providing further information.

  16. RabidGandhi

    So, remember back in WWI when the German soldiers were bayonetting all those Belgian babies? Yeah neither do the editors of Bild:
    Mass sexual assaults by refugees in Frankfurt ‘completely made up’

    But police confirmed on Tuesday to the Frankfurter Rundschau that their investigation of the allegations had led them to believe that they were spurious.
    “Interviews with alleged witnesses, guests and employees led to major doubts with the version of events that had been presented,” the police said.
    “One of the alleged victims was not even in Frankfurt at the time the allegations are said to have taken place.”
    The police were indeed unequivocal in how they understood the events to have unfolded.
    “Masses of refugees were not responsible for any sexual assaults in the Fressgass over New Year. The accusations are completely baseless,” the police said.

    The Gefälschte Nachrichten story was repeated in various news agencies and on social media, and despite the debunking, it is no doubt already part of the accepted conventional wisdom regarding the “cultural incompatibility” of Muslims in the West.

    You’d think the Germans’ history would make them leery of fabricated casus belli, but as Carlos Santana famously said “Those who do not learn from fake news are bound to repeat it”.

        1. Anon

          …and a diatonic, descending four note bass line gets you to the resonant “fifth” of the “tonic”.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Masses of refugees were not responsible….”

      That’s distinct from ‘not one single incident occurred.’

      The reader is left wondering, where in the middle between ‘masses’ and ‘not a single one.’

      Ideally, it’s ‘two such incidents and that is the same percentage as the general population, no better, no worse.’

  17. RabidGandhi

    Helmer ends his piece with this bombshell:

    Moscow sources in a position to know believe the Porter incident was staged to send a message to only one incredulous member of the US chain of command – Trump. “If that happened in the Russian Navy,” comments one of the sources, “Putin would consider it mutiny.”

    At which point it should be remembered that the Pentagon already got away with sabotaging Obama’s Syria ceasefire: so the Praetorians are emboldened and now have added motive with outsider Trump as C-i-C. If the Moscow sources are right, will Trump go to war with the Pentagon or acquiesce as his predecessor did?

    1. Carolinian

      Mutiny eh? Hang them from the yardarm?

      Interesting that when a Russian ship is off our coast it’s a “spy ship” but sending our ship into the Black Sea is “routine operations.”

      1. RabidGandhi

        Helmer quotes Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov, who made precisely that point:

        Konashenkov… added a reminder of whose warship was near whose territory.“If the US destroyer, as the Pentagon official claims, conducted a ‘regular’ patrol mission in the vicinity of Russia, tens of thousands miles away from their own shores, it is strange to be surprised about the no less regular flights of our aircraft over the Black Sea.”

        If it weren’t so dire for the survival of the species, I’d love to see Vladdie float a carrier off the coast of Boston, just to watch the Blob OD on its own hysteria.

        1. Carolinian

          Think Vladdie just has the one carrier which last I heard was off Syria. However he does have lots of missile equipped submarines….something to think about.

    2. fresno dan

      February 16, 2017 at 9:43 am

      Hard not to conclude that Trump just doesn’t understand what the other presidents knew: the president doesn’t give orders, he takes orders….

  18. LT

    Re: “You are not in control” (article about technosphere and cars).

    With car ownership, the real master you are serving is not the fossil fuel industry, it is the financial sector. Loans and insurance, baby, all day long.
    I buy my cars with cash, no payments. Insurance is kept as minimal as possible ( and auto insurance can actually go down over time, if one avoids accidents and moving violations. Also, by purchasing car for cash, no loan is created for the financial sector to bundle up into one of their toxic exotic financial products.

  19. DJG

    The TNR article about our octopod fellow earthlings: A wonderful piece for its criticism of Aristotle’s obtuseness and the endless cheesy radical dualism of Plato and their toxic after effects: Christianity is infected with radical dualism to the point of outright hatred of the body. Current transgender theory echoes cheesy Platonism. And so it goes for humans. But then you have the octopus in all its glory. (Too bad that they are so tasty–I will have to offer a prayer next time I have one for dinner.)

    The poem by Marianne Moore, “The Paper Nautilus,” also comes to mind, with its elegant writing and its elegant insights into love.

    1. susan the other

      I thought it used simplistic analysis to slip in a new theme about all animals. That part I liked. But the examples were tedious. First: binary is not necessarily simple. Second: mind v. matter, they reiterated that hack without any new insight. But it was on the right track bec. it expounded on how the brain codes thoughts – and used thoughts – as a synonym for consciousness. maybe. some thoughts can be extremely obtuse. The best explanation for consciousness was defined here in the Links a few days ago: consciousness is the result of layers of experimentation. So clearly octopi are very curious and conscious creatures. Evolving intelligence is prolly a factor not of ordinary experimentation (is it hot or is it cold) but from solving complex contradictions from previous experiments – I think we call that “science”. Is science layers of experimentation?

  20. RenoDino

    Here’s a tip to keep your car insurance rates down. I was rear-ended last week with no personal injury and minor damage. I got the all the pertinent information from the driver. Police won’t respond to a minor accident where I live. I called in the claim to his insurance company who needed to confirm the details with the driver. A week later, the driver who is their insured, won’t return their calls. Therefore my claim was denied. The insurance claims person said that’s the way the system works and it’s something they admit, but don’t like to discuss. So if you want to keep your rates from going up even it’s your fault, don’t return your insurance company’s calls. As long there is no personal injury or police report, they will not penalize you in anyway and will renew you as if nothing ever happened. The representative said the insurance companies love it. Pretty sweet, unless you’re the one who was hit.

    1. Old Jake

      Sounds like a small claims court lawsuit might be in order. Assuming you have some evidence such as photos, an eyewitness (tall order, at this point, I know) and maybe dash-cam footage.

    2. kareninca

      Have you called your own insurance company? Can you file a claim with them, and have them “make you whole,” and then they would go after the driver’s insurance company to get the money back? I wouldn’t take the word of the insurance claims person concerning how this supposedly works. Have you called the agency that regulates auto insurance in your state?

  21. LT

    To the people cheering on the deep state’s attack against an elected official: If they do this to a President or official you don’t like, they do this to the elected officials you do like as well.
    In essence, it is a sign of the death of a representative Republic.

    1. RUKidding

      Yep. It ain’t pretty, and I, for one, am not celebrating. Those that are sowing the wind… and we know what happens later with the whirlwind. Makes me loath the D Party even more, which I thought wasn’t possible.

    2. barrisj

      Whoops, there’s that “deep state” allusion again…seems as it’s now the de rigueur term on NC…with no dissent from the moderators…times change, I guess.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          No. “Deep State” is explicitly a theory of the state. “The Blob” is a name for a powerful faction (seeking war). It’s from Ben Rhodes, Obama’s national security (IIRC) advisor. Different levels of abstraction.

        1. LT

          Call ’em what you will…you know the agencies I’m talking about.
          The ones staffed with people who always need a crisis to address in order to move up in the gov’t…seen or unseen, your untouchables of the intelligence and surveillance communities. Mince words over it if you like, you know exactly who it is.

        2. Vatch

          In that comment you say that “ruling class” is the preferable phrase. I don’t entirely agree — I think of the ruling class as comprising people who are very influential but who may not actually be doing any ruling. Their status as members of the ruling class is persistent, though they can be dislodged by bankruptcy or imprisonment. The deep state comprises influential people who have career positions in government or military bureaucracies who may lose their influence if they quit, retire, or are fired.

          1. Grebo

            Factions within factions… Overlapping classes and intersecting interests.
            Someone comes up with a cute name for part of it and people use it not knowing exactly what was meant originally, if the coiner even defined it.
            ‘Deep State’ seems pretty self-explanatory though:
            Some members of the ruling class are right there in front of us, and some aren’t. You can vote some of them out, but not all of them.
            Ditto the state.

      1. LT

        Is it an “allusion” that each administration can lay claim to “inherited” problems from the previous one, without fail?
        That is your unelected deep state of the national security and DC insiders that will do whatever it takes to hold power.
        Love how suck ups try to be dismissive of attention called to a decaying system of insiders.

  22. Carolinian

    A helpful reminder from Phil Weiss

    Israel tried to interfere in that 2012 election, as Chris Matthews sensibly reminded his audience recently: Benjamin Netanyahu tried to help Mitt Romney beat Obama. Sheldon Adelson held a fundraiser in Jerusalem for Romney.

    Netanyahu didn’t stop there. After Romney lost, Netanyahu came to Congress to tell the Congress to reject President Obama’s nuclear deal. That was an unprecedented interference of a foreign leader in our policy-making, enabled by the Israel lobby; but there were never any investigations about that. Subsequently Chuck Schumer said he was torn between a Jewish interest and the American interest, before voting against the president, and he paid no political/reputational price for it; while President Obama said that it would be an “abrogation” of his constitutional duty if he considered Israel’s interest ahead of the U.S.; for which Obama was called an anti-semite.

    The press sees what it wants to see.

    1. Jim Haygood

      If Russia formed an ARPAC (American Russian Public Affairs Committee) and held an annual convention in DC with two-thirds of Congress and many cabinet members present, then it would all be transparent and okay! /sarc

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Wouldl it, then, be OK for a presidential candidate to visit Moscow or talk the Russian president then?

      2. fresno dan

        Jim Haygood
        February 16, 2017 at 10:55 am

        So Israel has 100 senators, Russia would have 66…..where’s my one senator???

  23. flora

    re: moon of alabama

    Eli Lake’s report contains this interesting bit:

    “Flynn was a fat target for the national security state. He has cultivated a reputation as a reformer and a fierce critic of the intelligence community leaders he once served with when he was the director the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama. Flynn was working to reform the intelligence-industrial complex, something that threatened the bureaucratic prerogatives of his rivals.”

  24. Knot Galt

    The enormous scale of the erosion problem at the Oroville Dam site American Geophysical Union.

    I have a proposal. The US Government should take the pipes from the DAPL and repurpose them as a controlled emergency spillway for the Oroville Dam. Given the geological conditions of the site, the only solution is going to be piping any excess water over the hillside into the river below.

  25. joe defiant

    Fake News/How I started reading naked capitalism.
    Just want to say thank you to all the admins, writers, and commenters here. This site is amazing. I am so in love with the writer/commenter relationship here. It’s like cooperative spirit in action where the comments are just as informative and a part of the articles. Anyway, i was reading about the Wash Post fake news article on The Intercept and saw a comment about naked capitalism fighting the people who put one of the fake news lists together and ended up here. I read intercept, counterpunch, truthdig, FAIR etc. but for some reason I always had the impression naked capitalism was a an-cap/rand site for the financial community and never gave it a shot. I love thinking the scumbags who put that fake news list together have led people like me to great sites and their plan backfired. I just want to thank everyone who participates on here. It’s become the first thing I read daily now. I will comment more in the future just trying to learn the lay of the land before I begin. Thanks again for everything.

    1. fresno dan

      joe defiant
      February 16, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Welcome aboard. We few, we merry few (actually, we cantankerous, cynical few)
      Like Allan Greenspan, I had to reassess my ideology when the Great Recession hit and so much of all that bull I learned in econ 101 and watching CNBC just didn’t match reality. And all that US history as well. I stumbled upon NC and it has changed my view point in so many ways.

      and I don’t mention “The Matrix” facetiously – we really are in an all encompassing world that is carefully, ceaselessly crafted to disadvantage the many in subtle and myriad ways, and advantage the few relentlessly.
      NC really is the red pill.

  26. allan

    GOP leaders provide new details about ObamaCare plan [The Hill]

    House Republican leaders on Thursday presented to their members the most detailed look yet at their plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, though some key elements remain to be worked out.

    A packet distributed to lawmakers at the meeting and obtained by The Hill says the GOP bill will include tax credits, an expansion of Health Savings Accounts, money for high risk pools to care for the sick, and a major restructuring of Medicaid to cap federal payments. …

    Tax credits, expanding Health Savings Accounts and a cap on Medicaid.
    Definitely what the back row kids thought they were voting for.

    And all to be paid for by tax cuts for the 1%. /s

    1. allan

      Also too:

      The proposal, still under development, would limit the amount U.S. employers can exclude from workers’ taxes for the health insurance benefits they provide.

      (From [Bloomberg].)

      File this under I Want My Neighbor’s Goat To Die (or whatever the punchline is to your favorite version of that joke).

  27. RudyM

    This really makes me want to return to the Democratic party (not that I’m not still technically registered as a Democrat):

    We need to know if President Trump’s foreign policy represents the best interests of this country or the best interests of Russia.

    And not that I’m feeling particularly confident in the likelihood of Trump significantly changing the direction of US foreign policy at the moment.

    Trump’s nonsense talk about Russia returning Crimea not good enough for Bernie?

    1. jrs

      Well considering foreign policy in the U.S. is never about the interest of the little people (which might well be peace) … uh … why should we care specifically if it’s the best interest of Russia or our own homegrown oligarchs? Maybe it represents the best interest of Exxon.

      I could see a tweet about if DOMESTIC policy represents the best interest of the country, that’s an important question, but what would a foreign policy that represents the best interest of this country even mean, when for years the oligarchs and the corporations have used that phrase to mean THEIR private interests. Until that is defined what is he even talking about?

      1. fresno dan

        February 16, 2017 at 7:17 pm

        “We need to know if President Trump’s foreign policy represents the best interests of this country or the best interests of Russia.”
        It is an astounding statement because it either shows ignorance of the CIA activity with regard to Ukraine, and that whole “exceptional” nation BS used to justify our interference everywhere with the incredible poor results – or it shows Sanders is on board with it.

  28. Hana M

    So it’s Alexander Acosta for Labor Secretary. Much better optics: Trump’s first Latino cabinet member. Also there is this:

    MARCH 29, 2011

    1. fresno dan

      February 16, 2017 at 1:26 pm

      “The deep state, although there’s no precise or scientific definition, generally refers to the agencies in Washington that are permanent power factions. They stay and exercise power even as presidents who are elected come and go. They typically exercise their power in secret, in the dark, and so they’re barely subject to democratic accountability, if they’re subject to it at all. It’s agencies like the CIA, the NSA and the other intelligence agencies, that are essentially designed to disseminate disinformation and deceit and propaganda, and have a long history of doing not only that, but also have a long history of the world’s worst war crimes, atrocities and death squads. This is who not just people like Bill Kristol, but lots of Democrats are placing their faith in, are trying to empower, are cheering for as they exert power separate and apart from—in fact, in opposition to—the political officials to whom they’re supposed to be subordinate.”
      In fact, Michael Morell went to The New York Times, and Michael Hayden went to The Washington Post, during the campaign to praise Hillary Clinton and to say that Donald Trump had become a recruit of Russia. The CIA and the intelligence community were vehemently in support of Clinton and vehemently opposed to Trump, from the beginning. And the reason was, was because they liked Hillary Clinton’s policies better than they liked Donald Trump’s. One of the main priorities of the CIA for the last five years has been a proxy war in Syria, designed to achieve regime change with the Assad regime. Hillary Clinton was not only for that, she was critical of Obama for not allowing it to go further, and wanted to impose a no-fly zone in Syria and confront the Russians. Donald Trump took exactly the opposite view. He said we shouldn’t care who rules Syria; we should allow the Russians, and even help the Russians, kill ISIS and al-Qaeda and other people in Syria.

      So it is pretty apparent that we are back to the “consensus” foreign policy, and that voters are not to know what it is, and not to influence it….

      1. fresno dan


        “Now, I happen to think that the Trump presidency is extremely dangerous. You just listed off in your news—in your newscast that led the show, many reasons. They want to dismantle the environment. They want to eliminate the safety net. They want to empower billionaires. They want to enact bigoted policies against Muslims and immigrants and so many others. And it is important to resist them. And there are lots of really great ways to resist them, such as getting courts to restrain them, citizen activism and, most important of all, having the Democratic Party engage in self-critique to ask itself how it can be a more effective political force in the United States after it has collapsed on all levels. That isn’t what this resistance is now doing. What they’re doing instead is trying to take maybe the only faction worse than Donald Trump, which is the deep state, the CIA, with its histories of atrocities, and say they ought to almost engage in like a soft coup, where they take the elected president and prevent him from enacting his policies. And I think it is extremely dangerous to do that. Even if you’re somebody who believes that both the CIA and the deep state, on the one hand, and the Trump presidency, on the other, are extremely dangerous, as I do, there’s a huge difference between the two, which is that Trump was democratically elected and is subject to democratic controls, as these courts just demonstrated and as the media is showing, as citizens are proving. But on the other hand, the CIA was elected by nobody. They’re barely subject to democratic controls at all. And so, to urge that the CIA and the intelligence community empower itself to undermine the elected branches of government is insanity.”

        1. meme

          Looks like you are responding to freedomny’s 1:24 pm post, quoting Glenn Greenwald’s interview on the Democracy Now link, not Shilo’s post

  29. Portia

    file in the, “Well, never mind then” department:

    Phoebe Hopps, the Michigan coordinator for the Women’s March, said there’s still a lot of internal discussion under way about what this call to action will mean.

    “I know a lot of state leaders and a lot of women are strongly disagreeing,” said Hopps. “It’s disproportionately unfair for women who are low-income and hourly workers. Calling in sick or striking would mean unpaid days of work, or trouble like write-ups. It seems to be a very privileged type of request.”

    A conference call is planned for later this week, she said, to discuss the issue with state leaders.

    “I think they’re going to pull back on it,” she said, adding that people also might be interpreting it incorrectly. “It might be a strike on spending.”

      1. integer

        You really curate this sort of stuff?

        I’m not really sure what you mean, but I ended up drinking (too much) with some unknown yet highly impressive musicians last night and they introduced me to Bibby’s work, and I thought I might as well share it here. To be honest I am slightly surprised to see that it made it out of moderation.

  30. juliania

    I’m late on here, sorry, but thanks for the link to the emptywheel/Ignatius post. One commenter there, mister lady, really got my attention with his/her suggestion that all the fuss over Flynn might well be a red herring. Here’s just part of the comment:

    “…This all has to be viewed in the context of ICC’s imminent decision on referral of CIA torture to the Pre-Trial Chamber. UN Special Procedures have characterized CIA torture with the term of art “systematic and widespread.” That means it is a crime against humanity, that is, legally, what the Nazis did. The Nuremberg Principles get invoked and it’s open season on CIA torturers in any jurisdiction in the world, with no statute of limitations. Torture is unique because of US accession to the Convention Against Torture. The treaty body has indicated unsatisfactory response to urgent issues and could make public the results of a confidential investigation. Italy and Portugal are cooperating on the international criminal law obligation erga omnes to prosecute and extradite suspects. Two treaty bodies have insisted on command responsibility as a requisite for treaty compliance. CIA can’t just lock up a couple hillbillies. CIA heads are on the chopping block.”

    Makes sense to me.

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