Links 2/19/17

Readers, this is both longer and more chatty than it really should be, but needs must… –lambert

Mexico cave crystals host ancient microbes in suspended animation FT. Quite extraordinary.

Spontaneous expression of mirror self-recognition in monkeys after learning precise visual-proprioceptive association for mirror images PNAS. “We found that MSR spontaneously appeared in rhesus monkeys after training for precise visual-proprioceptive association for mirror images.”

The Surprising Reason This Scientist Wants to Resurrect the Woolly Mammoth NBC (Furzy Mouse).

Latest version of Dodd-Frank reversal bill would exempt a third of public companies from giving auditor warning MarketWatch


‘From bad to worse’: Greece hurtles towards a final reckoning Guardian

Greeks Turn to the Black Market as Another Bailout Showdown Looms NYT

Exiled in Exarchia Le Monde Diplomatique

Protesters in Barcelona urge Spain to take in more refugees Guardian

Le Pen Lures French Farmers Angered by Worst Crisis in Decades Bloomberg


Releasing water at Oroville Dam a lingering problem San Francisco Chronicle

Bob: “Both NWS radars for the Oroville area are down” (here and here). Odd.

‘Mass chaos’ of Oroville evacuation prompts worry over exit strategy Sacramento Bee

What the Oroville Dam Disaster Says About America’s Aging Infrastructure Fortune

Officials say damage to sewage plant in Discovery Park is catastrophic Seattle Times. Gruesome detail.


U.S. carrier group patrols in tense South China Sea Reuters

China’s Message to Trump With North Korea Coal Ban: Let’s Deal Bloomberg

China’s Exports Rebound Sharply as Global Demand Grows WSJ

Betsy DeVos’s Brother, The Founder Of Blackwater, Is Setting Up A Private Army For China, Sources Say Buzzfeed

Why Is Asia Returning to Coal? The Diplomat


Investors Urge Banks To Support Rerouting Dakota Access Pipeline HuffPo

Our Famously Free Press

Building Global Community Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook. Begins: “To Our Community,” the comma signifying a personal communication, as opposed to a business communication, which would use a colon. Sweet, really.

The Mark Zuckerberg Manifesto Is a Blueprint for Destroying Journalism The Atlantic

Trump turns against leakers as disclosures undermine White House FT. The hilarious subhead: “Obama bequeathed tools for crackdown but new team faces obstacles.”

The AP’s Flawed Immigration ‘Round-Up’ Scoop and the White House Response Simon Maloy, Salon. So, AP simply makes up the 100,000 figure for National Guard troops to be called up, puts it in the lead, and the best Maloy can do is “everyone screwed up a little bit on this one,” and “AP got out over its skis”?

Bernie Sanders just proposed a law to save millennials’ retirements Mic. If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…

Ryan Makes Emphatic Plea for Tax Plan Seen ‘on Life Support’ Bloomberg. I’ve gotta admit, I don’t know my Republicans the way I know my Democrats. Is Ryan effective at anything other than getting his name in the papers?

Trump Transition

True Fact of the Week from @matthewstoller, who you should consider following if you’re on the Twitter and haven’t done so already:

In Campaign-Style Rally, Trump Promises New Immigration Action, Obamacare Replacement HuffPo

Trump plucks ecstatic supporter out of the crowd to speak at Florida rally MarketWatch

What is the Legality Behind Trump’s “Endorsement” Tweets? The Fashion Law

* * *

Michael Flynn, General Chaos The New Yorker (Furzy Mouse). Obviously, $675K from Goldman could never buy a former Secretary of State, but just as obviously $40K from the Russkis can buy a former General. Good to know. Different shades of sh*t in the neoliberal manure lagoon matter deeply to some, I suppose.

Democrats are partying like it’s 1952, and they’re Republicans—or Birchers Mark Crispin Miller

US late-night comics fall into (anti-Russian) line WSWS

Fools Russians where angels fear to tread Ian Welsh (Furzy Mouse).

“That War You Ordered….” James Howard Kunstler (J-LS).

* * *

Leaked Emails: Dem State Leaders Think Obama’s New Organizing Army is ‘Grade A Bullshit’ Daily Beast

‘Yes, it sure is,’ Katie Mae Simpson, executive director for the Maine Democratic Party, replied. ‘OFA showed up in Maine, organized a press conference on saving [Obamacare], with one of our Dem legislative leaders speaking, all without ever mentioning that they were in state and organizing. They hired someone I know, which is somewhat helpful, but my god, they don’t have a very good alliance-building process.

Gee. I wonder if OFA mentioned single payer at all. The Democrat Party in Maine was flaccid and corrupt before the Obots showed up, and after that became insufferable, and kept losing elections (which is why Paul LePage, bless his heart, is our governor). I wouldn’t mind a genuinely independent OFA pushing the Democrats left, but it looks to me like Obama’s retooled OFA is going to push the Democrats liberal. Of course.

Dems launch ads aimed at driving protesters to Republican events McClatchy. Dems must be awfully confident they can co-opt restistance.

Why John McCain’s #resistance is bad for Democrats WaPo. If McCain can do it, #Resistance has jumped the shark.

* * *

Memos signed by DHS secretary describe sweeping new guidelines for deporting illegal immigrants WaPo

Brown: Neighbors joining together to block Trump deportations Chicago Sun-Times

* * *

Iowa Police Who Voted GOP Say The Party Has ‘Stabbed Them In The Back’ Inquisitr (MR).

Ivanka Trump’s Perfume Is #1 on Amazon, Thanks to Trump Boycott Backlash Racked

Are Liberals Helping Trump? NYT. Turns out shaming doesn’t work so well as a tactic beyond kindergarten. Or college. Read all the way to the end…

Class Warfare

How a Ruthless Network of Super-Rich Ideologues Killed Choice and Destroyed People’s Faith in Politics George Monbiot, Evonomics

Sorry, Trump, but America’s economy is already pretty great WaPo. To adapt William Gibson: “The greatness is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.”

The Deadly Reality of Construction Work In These Times. Elites like illegal immigration because it degrades the workplace, too, besides keeping wages low.

False fraud cases against unemployment claimants may hit 50,000 Detroit Free Press

Tear the Prison Down Jacobin. Of an Annie Liebowitz exhibit. “As the exhibit travels internationally, it has been accompanied by a series of planned ‘talking circles,’ non-hierarchical community-building discussions.” I’ve attended way too many facilitated “conversations” to imagine that sitting in a circle makes hierarchy go away….

Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide, dies at 69 WaPo

So you want to switch off digitally? I’m afraid that will cost you… Guardian

Dumb phone reveals uncomfortable truth for tech groups FT. It only takes half the article for breathless triumphalism to take over. The smart cosmopolitans at the FT just can’t seem to get their heads around the idea that there’s a market for a product that doesn’t try to sell your every waking and sleeping move to Orwellian data brokers. And that doesn’t break when you upgrade it because it never needs to be upgraded.

Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity By 2050 Forbes (PU).

The Polluted Brain Science

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. Foppe

    Here’s a wonky but worthwhile discussion of the future of the Eurozone by Mark Blyth from feb 5th.

    Retreads some familiar ground, but also includes interesting historical bits about Lockean-Humean liberalism, enclosure & private property, and the way they thought about debt vs. tax-financing spending. Imo it would be interesting if someone with a good grasp on MMT (and on explaining stuff in an accessible way) were to extensively comment on or ‘retell’ this narrative.

    1. Foppe

      Apologies for the double post, the post didn’t appear for minutes, with no ‘moderation’ warning, so I had assumed something had gone wrong between A and B. Feel free to delete either.

    2. Susan the other

      Blyth just distilled 200 years of economics; made it all relevant to class warfare; and provided a very fast-forward on the great recession. He failed to elaborate on how being the world’s reserve currency gets in the way of a globalism of equals (oligarchs) but said it was a super deal for the USA. Whereas the reality is it is only a super deal for very rich Americans; austerity for the rest of us. He discussed the German hatred of inflation but failed to consider how being an industrial exporting superpower itself causes inflation on so many levels; he failed to even define inflation – as all economists fail to do; he did keep pointing out the incompleteness of all economic theories because they don’t work, yet we continue to use them because they accomplish the most important goal – maintaining the rich. He didn’t say what I want him to say – that the US banking industry is the equivalent of modern industrial Germany like the rest of the US is the equivalent of the rest of Europe. He didn’t say anything about sane simplification of all this complexity, at least not that I understood, but it is implied he would like some, please. Blyth is genius in that he can recite this stuff and make you realize that maybe if we change globalism to nation states competing on fair terms, dedicated to sustainable living and peaceful progress; using our sovereignty for this progress, we might achieve economies that are not controlled by and for the rich. And that is where MMT logically steps in. No? I love Blyth. I wish he would bring his thesis home with a good argument about sovereign finance.

      1. Foppe

        Thanks for your reply. :)
        Yes, he said in some other talk that I’ve seen that it was only at some point post-2008 that he started to understand that all this talk of globalization has had rather dire consequences for real people (as opposed to seeing it all as a game of numbers — at least, that’s how I understood him).
        As for the ‘we’, he mostly seems to be using that to refer to the top 10% including him plus “national interest”, and national analogues elsewhere. That said, it was only because of the exploitation of Asia that so many Americans only really started noticing their wages having stagnated decades after that started. Not that this is a good thing, but the point is that this did soften the blow (or, conversely, allowed them to get away with it more easily than they otherwise would have.) Either way, I agree that it would be clearer if he spelled that out (even) more.
        The other main thing he by and large seems to ignore is the point that David Harvey points out over and over — that 3% compound growth forever is physically impossible. I overall prefer Harvey’s narrative explanations of the macro developments (who’s recently also been attempting to integrate finance and debt/money — as a value-antivalue pair into his work, I think apropos of his reading of Graeber’s book) because he’s much better on the non-financial developments, and much more attuned to the importance of geographical and demographical differences, and I’ve been immersing myself in MMT a bit of late, but my inner geek likes Blyth a lot as well because of the perspective he brings to the table, plus his obvious skill as an educator, and the details. But I think Blyth’s expectations are constrained by his not knowing MMT.

        1. UserFriendly

          He comes so close to getting MMT that it is almost frustrating. I keep yelling at my computer when he walks right up next to it.

          ‘The French gave away their printing press to Germany and that was stupid….’

          ‘If you had asked economists in 2007 what would happen if the central bank printed trillions of money they would have said a huge boom followed by hyperinflation, Where is the inflation?’

          An MMT economist should really reach out to him and see if he has considered it.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Just had someone threaten to unfriend on FB because, according to him, not getting all hysterical over such important issues as what it costs for Trump to go to Florida every weekend is “kissing Trump’s ass.” Well, okay, that one along with pointing out several other occasions of enthusiastically embracing every Democratic/media outrage incitement instead of, you know, focusing on important stuff going on like killing the requirement that school cafeterias avoid junk food and provide healthy food and allowing the coal companies to start dumping their crap into people’s water and whatnot.

      This would be the same person who felt free to launch an ad hominem attack on me for a link to actual news I posted on my news aggregator group. Need I mention this is a member of the comfortably established “creative class”?

  2. Foppe

    Here’s a wonky but worthwhile discussion on ‘The future of the Eurozone’ by Mark Blyth from feb 5th.

    He retreads some by now familiar ground, but also includes interesting historical bits about Lockean-Humean liberalism, enclosure & private property, and the way they thought about debt vs. tax-financing spending (from his book). IMO it would be interesting if someone with a good grasp on MMT (and on explaining stuff in an accessible way) were to (somewhat) extensively comment on or ‘retell’ this story, using the narrative framework he provides.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        This pod-cast with a brief video from the Dalkey book fair of might prove of interest to some.

        It features Mark Blythe & David McWilliams, the latter giving some interesting insights into the possible fallout for the Irish resulting from a Brexit vote. Former hedge fund owner Vikas Nath also contributes to a conversation that includes discussing the dreaded subject of immigration, in a manner that would become almost impossible three days later when the post vote hysteria kicked in :

        1. Foppe

          Disagree that talk about problems caused by EU (and UK) immigration policy became taboo 3 days hence — it’s been taboo for decades, because acknowledging and addressing those issues in a non-victim-blaming way would a. cost money, and b., expose TPTB to criticism, neither of which development they’re open to.

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            Agreed, but I do think that the chances of the topic being raised after Brexit were much lessened in the UK, due to that which I experienced through social media in terms of the even more pronounced shrieking of ” Racist ” in response to any dared attempt to pointing out that there might be a downside to the policy.

            The Dame Louise Carey report, although not perfect in my opinion, pointed out areas of real concern, but was cherry picked by the right & basically brushed aside by the Left which as usual steered well clear in the manner as stated by Carey, of not wanting to address certain issues due to an inevitable backlash led by the R word.

            I put it here in case it is useful for anyone who has the time to spare in order to slog their way through it:


            1. Foppe

              I dunno. I mean, they probably are, practically speaking, but nothing has changed between then and now except the intensity of the shrieks — the arguments you need to combat and the non-arguments you need to expose are the same; the emotive objections to one’s raising the topic in the first place are the same (so in both cases, you need to be able to address that), etc. But bravery — and being prepared for virtue-signaling professionals and millenial useful idiots — is required either way.

  3. timotheus

    Use of the singular form with the generic term media (“the media is”) has conditioned us to think of “the media” as a monolith, thus facilitating Trump’s attack. Luckily for us, the media are a diverse collection of entities–up until now. A little grammatical precision would help to preserve that happy state.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Yah, and “The herd stampeded” is likewise incorrect usage… And “The pack howled as it hunted…”

      1. clinical wasteman

        JT, I don’t think Timotheus was making that point out of petty linguistic snobbery. Whether the singular/plural usage has much to do with social perception of ‘media’ is debatable, but it’s not pedantry to raise these linguistic questions when the difference definitely changes the meaning of the sentence and maybe has wider social effects. People who mock others’ spelling or — most outrageously at all — pronunciation are trivial creeps trying to affirm their own social status. (The English upper-middle class are the worst offenders here by far. Who would have thought?) But it’s a public service to criticise, say, the way corporate motivational jargon mangles sentence structure and abolishes parts of speech, because that sort of language — which deliberately says nothing and is therefore immune to counter-argument — is directly coercive. For example, if your wage depends on assembling 500 car parts or flipping 5000 burgers a day, that’s too much, but it’s measurable and you can organize with other workers to lower the number. But if your ‘target’ is “to live by company values at all times”, whether you did that well enough to get paid is wholly at the boss’s discretion, because “that” doesn’t actually exist. (And no, this is not just a white-collar or even a first-world problem: this kind of non-language is running riot in low-wage ‘service’ sectors especially.)
        Also, for what it is or isn’t worth, the analogy between ‘media’ and ‘pack’ or ‘herd’ doesn’t work unless you’ve already decided that ‘media’ is singular like those collective nouns. If ‘media’ is still the plural of ‘medium’, then the corresponding plurals would be ‘wolves’, ‘Antidote buffaloes’ (buffalo?) or whatever: a plural word for individuals of whatever species makes up the pack, anyway. Personally I think ‘media’ as plural is worth keeping because it encompasses so many technically different sorts of medium as well as social/political polyphony (if you know where to look, eg. NC). But in that case perhaps we do need something more expressive than ‘MSM’ for the media (adj.) complex that really does try to act as a monolith. Sewersphere? Cloacachannel?

    2. Foppe

      Say what? Oligopolization leading to narrative and “journalistic” monocropping is only a problem once (“the”) people glom on, and will stop being a problem as soon as people linguistically signal their desire for a pluriform media [or: “journalistic”?] landscape? Or were you still laboring under the assumption that the “fourth estate” is interested in speaking truth to power, and do you (consequently, I guess) see Trump’s statements as ‘demonizing’, without acknowledging the former?

      (Note that I am not at all pleading for abolition of journalism — just trying to point to the fact that the patient has already (mostly) died.)

      1. timotheus

        Having lived in a real dictatorship for a number of years, I can attest that the current state of media diversity and freedom is extensive despite all the negative tendencies amply documented on this site. It could be a lot worse.

        1. Foppe

          Oh, sure, but is that due to the MSM, or due to the alternative media (who Trump isn’t talking about because he doesn’t care) writing about it for long enough that the MSM can no longer ignore it (due to being called out or w/e)? And I really don’t see other-than-alternative-media censorship happening in the US — a. they’d have to save face, and b., corporate interests want to be able to make money off “reporting” and the ad-space it creates.

        2. Emma

          It could be a lot worse, couldn’t it?
          What if we lived in a nation full of dangerous dictators instead?
          Like Sweden ( ;‑) )
          Right now, it appears the entire nation of Sweden is ‘dictating’ to Mr Trump:

          And see on Twitter: #LastNightInSweden
          Interestingly, the only recent ‘terrorist attack’ in Sweden was committed by Neo-Nazis on a Refugee center in Gothenburg.

    3. Steve H.

      These grammatical concerns have been occupying my mind lately. And since Lambert noted the difference between a comma and a colon, I’ll allow my inner korinthenkacker a bit of free range.

      In analyzing Shakespeare, explicit analytic attention is given to punctuation as a window into the perspective of the speaker, and as a guide to action. Wm (and the King James Bible) laid down a foundation during the synthesis of the English language. He played with grammatical rules, nounifying adjectives and adjecting nouns (‘unkinged’) at Will. And it’s been shown these manipulations have neurological consequences for our reactions.

      Now this commentariat has a high awareness of these usually implicit factors, and we draw explicit attention to them. Humor especially is a bright spot for these conversations. Lambert specifically has noted his self-imposed filter over mirth about girth, while David Jacoby argues ‘you can be mean if you’re funny.’ Yet funny is often the opposite of true necessary and kind.

      Must we always be taken both literally and seriously? When directing Bardic text, there are often deletions, but substituting words must be done with the utmost caution. It is possible to eliminate bits of information without eliminating content, yet still add meaning. So an alternate name I use for that social media platform is ‘Fcbk’ which has poetic resononance with ‘Zuck’ and a ribald mispronounciation. Even so, the high inference of ‘Faceborg’ carries an insight not to be ignored.

      So what is & ain’t acceptable? I used ‘Clintons’ as a lowball reference to their own comments about ‘two for the price of one,’ and a reminder you couldn’t have one without the other. But folks were warned off ‘cankles’ comments. Is the fundamental here not to ridicule what someone cannot change, such as race, but targeting rather where there is agency, such as who your allies are? Does this tread close to political correctness and identity politics?

      Some of the finest pithy summations from this site have been wonderfully clarifying. Likewise definitional insistence on differences such as ‘liberal’ v ‘left’ are taken seriously here. A particular wrangle has been taking issue with ‘Deep State’ and ‘Shadow Government’ as accurate indications of reality, with ‘Flexian’ being the higher valued substitute. Yet people must hear in a way they can listen, and to take issue with it can be divisive to the social cohesion which such conversations can lead to.

      So a generic term like ‘media’ or ‘Wall St.’ can be a cover to convey a lack of individual agency, but also a poetic reference to institutional power. Once again, the pivot point seems to be agency, the ability to chose, to understand the difference between what can and can’t be changed. As such, please reread my first paragraph here and consider the sense of agency and what a Musing is.

    4. fosforos

      Never, ever, say “the media” when you should say “the corporate media.” Remember that NC is a medium whereby we (as in you and me) communicate and therefore is an integral part of, and exemplar for, “the media.”

      1. Katharine

        Thank you for saying that! And our hosts speak truth to power, logically and incisively, and push us to think about the facts they present.

      2. grizziz

        Then we certainly need an abbreviation or acronym for “the corporate media.” Off the cuff I could suggest MIM for the “military industrial media.” Although I would happily adopt any additional denigrating quip to fortify the punch.

      3. WheresOurTeddy

        “Oligarch Media” works too. Capitalization of both words underscores that they’re your betters and should be heeded thusly.

  4. Carolinian

    Re Trump’ tweet–whether or not Trump is secretly smart, as some claim, he does have a knack for zeroing in on people’s vulnerabilities. The press have made themselves hugely vulnerable with their over the top leaks of Trump’s private conversations and those of his staff and Trump made a big deal out of this in his press conference. Even if the president’s name is Trump it doesn’t take too much exaggeration to depict this kind of thing as treasonous.

    Chuck Todd–one of the better ones actually–had a point when he said the country needs an independent press but the press themselves and particularly the editors of the WaPo and Times are doing far more damage to this concept than Trump. Time to fire these dummkopfs and restore our leading papers to a more dispassionate role where they can regain a measure of credibility.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Time to fire these dummkopfs and restore our leading papers to a more dispassionate role where they can regain a measure of credibility.’

      It’s revealing that we still use the term ‘papers’ to refer to entities such as NYT and WaPo, even though their print versions are being superseded by web-based content.

      Can they successfully make this transition, much less regain credibility? It’s at least equally likely that a whole new set of players who were “born on the web” — for instance (and as much as I hate to say it) Facebook — will leave the NYT and WaPo as the equivalent of vacuum tube makers in a transistorized market.

      I’m thinking about the NYT’s Nicholas Kristof, who covered China’s Tiananmen Square protest so dramatically in 1989. Now he thumps the tub with essays such as “How Can We Get Rid of Trump?” which rabbits on about “Putin stealing the election.” An ignominious end for what started out as a distinguished journalistic career, if you ask me.

      It’s the exorbitant sense of entitlement which astonishes — that these ink-stained wretches believe their bitter partisan prejudices should be amplified through the mighty Wurlitzer to educate and improve the mindless masses. Somehow this doesn’t sound like a successful business model.

      1. ambrit

        Actually, it might be a successful ‘business’ model, just not a very good ‘public discourse’ model. The “Nattering Nabobs” of alt-journalism appear to have solid and vocal support from those generally aligned with the views being propagandized. Steady numbers of viewers equals a reliable revenue stream, so, success!
        The real stinker is that “news” has become second fiddle to “revenues.” It wasn’t always so bad.

        1. Jim Haygood

          To paraphrase the great Hillary Clinton, “We’re going to put a lot of journos and media companies out of business.”

          It’s no coincidence that both lumps of coal and newspapers leave nasty black smudges on your hands. ;-)

          1. ambrit

            Ay caramba! Two things that come in “stockings” for Christmas: presstitutes and lumps of coal.
            Is that Santa standing in the Congress with a list in his hand? He’s pissed because Rudolph has a ‘Red’ nose and so, must be a Putin Stooge.

            1. JTMcPhee

              “Red.” Speaking of meanings and stuff, when I wore a younger man’s clothes, the phrase of the day was “Better dead than Red,” for those on the “conservative patriot side” of the great divide. And for disloyal Jane Fonda-loving hippies, the rejoinder “Better Red than dead” was a nice combination of virtue signaling and weak-kneed riposte. Nyah-Nyah-Nyah… (Though parsing, through the kinds of filters the creeps who pule for Politifacts, might tease out other meanings, none of which would likely carry any persuasive weight with the great mass of people.)

              This ain’t beanbag, and it’s beyond control by nuanced language, that is not how ‘the common tongue’ works. Some symbols carry weight (why does the reactionary group always get to be called “The Right,” with all the definitional weight and framing that totes around? Versus “The Left,” which associates with “sinister” and maladroit and minority)

              And when I got back from Vietnam, only hippies and other execrable wore long hair and beards; the guys with the flat-tops and buzz cuts (and a few pompadours, (among what were called “greasers,” who smoked in the bathrooms and majored in auto shop) would castigate or pound on a hippie. And then just a few veery short years later, you got “Duck Dynasty” and construction workers proudly sporting Rambo locks.

              And mirable dictu, what color now identifies, speaking of linguistics, the “conservative” part of the spectrum? Why, Martha, it’s “RED!” Red states, red beliefs, all that stuff.

              So is Rudolph a Dirty Commie Russian, since reindeer are known to breed in Russia’s north? Or a loyal American commercial icon and marker of yuuuge import?

              As to “the media,” maybe adopt the britishism, “the media are,” and call it good enough? Because for all the careful parsing we cognoscenti undertake, a whole lot of stuff, a YUUGe set of stuff that is out of control no matter what linguistic fillips are applied to it here, is happening. Like the fella said,

              “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

              Do people blogging in the “alt media” drive much policy? I really do not know. Some things, like maybe CALpers, but the FIRE still is being fed with the demolished homes of millions, and bombing and droning are heady-growth investments, and austerity still rules… Probably I am just not smart enough to perceive effects of what are we calling ourselves, “leftists” or something, the “5 to 30%ers”? Change is possible, maybe —

              1. ambrit

                Indeed, words have ‘weight’ in the human sphere. Not to get too Platonic here, or is it Aristotelian, are there “real” objects that throw those shadows we dimly perceive on the back of our common cave wall? Or are those “objects” also regressed shadows?
                The older I get, the more I know I don’t know.

          1. fresno dan

            February 19, 2017 at 10:51 am

            “reveNews” should be a word
            I agree – good work! Of course, it already is a concept, philosophy, and business plan, so its about time there be an accurate word to describe it!

      2. John Wright

        I archived the Kristof column of Aug 28, 2013 “Reinforce a Norm in Syria” in which he wrote:

        “President Obama’s policy toward Syria has failed, and it’s time to try a tougher approach.
        Obama reportedly rejected a proposal from Hillary Clinton and David Petraeus to arm rebels in Syria, because he feared getting dragged into the conflict.”

        “Yet there is value in bolstering international norms against egregious behavior like genocide or the use of chemical weapons. Since President Obama established a “red line” about chemical weapons use, his credibility has been at stake: he can’t just whimper and back down.”

        “Look, Syria is going to be a mess, whatever we do. The optimal window to intervene by supporting moderate rebels to achieve a quick end to the war may have closed. But if the coming clash gives us a chance to do more to arm certain rebel groups or share intelligence with them, that would still be worthwhile — all while backing the idea of a negotiated settlement.”

        Kristof also has some difficulty remembering his prior writings, as he asserts in this 2013 column that “I strongly opposed the Iraq war and the Afghan “surge.””

        But on August 27, 2002, he wrote “President Bush has convinced me that there is no philosophical reason we should not overthrow the Iraqi government, given that Iraqis themselves would be better off, along with the rest of the world.”

        No philosophical reason we should not overthrow a foreign government?

        The Times op-ed writers are ensconced on the bridge of the Times Titanic, while making sure their lifeboats are at the ready.

        1. Jim Haygood

          “Iraqis themselves would be better off, along with the rest of the world.”

          We had to destroy their villages in order to save them.

          Ain’t that America, home of the free, yeah
          Little pink-mist houses for you and me

          — John Mellencamp

        2. fresno dan

          John Wright
          February 19, 2017 at 10:43 am

          What is that word Lambert uses ?clarifying? – I like elucidating myself. Like I say, “liberal” is just a brand and these people only play liberals in commercials so they can sell stuff…
          :-o I didn’t even realize the pun….”sell stuff” (Iraq war)

        3. Timothy Barnes

          Giving Kristof the benefit of the doubt, I’m guessing what he meant was: no philosophical, but probably legal or other, reason. Certain things can be illegal and yet morally justified. But, contra Kristof, Iraq was obviously not such a case, and pursuit of a general principle according to which we are the arbiters of morality for the world, international law be damned (R2P?), is bound to be (and has been) completely disastrous.

    2. flora

      “…the editors of the WaPo and Times are doing far more damage to this concept than Trump.”

      Yes. Even to the extent that I’ve found myself re-assessing the Watergate take-down of Nixon. Never thought I’d ever consider that anything more that a straight forward crime/independent press investigation/resolution deal. Nixon was an old red-baiter. If it’s true that “only Nixon could go to China”, it’s also probably true that “only Nixon could establish detente with the USSR.” Now I wonder if Nixon’s 1969 policy of detente with the old USSR put him on someone’s “bad” list. Yeah, this is a nutty thought. However, given what I’ve seen the past few weeks I’m thinking this incredibly nutty thought. So that’s what the press has “accomplished” for me these past few weeks. The old snarks “Pravda on the Potomac” and “Izvestia on the Hudson” sound more and more like accurate descriptions instead of an inside joke.

      1. flora

        adding: if the press had gone after the Hillary unvetted private unsecured email server while she was Sec State, a server holding classified info, while the Clinton Foundation continuing to receive large donations from foreign entities during her tenure… if the press had gone after that story with the same fervor they are going after this story…. I wouldn’t now be having this nutty thought. I don’t think..

        1. Pat

          I never understood why the Press/Media/Journalists didn’t go after her. Seriously, there was no reason for a personal server EXCEPT to avoid scrutiny most particularly FOIA. And since they (Clinton and State) actually prevaricated since there was nothing on the State servers, it should have been clear to them what she was doing. While it may be ‘part of the game’ to try to avoid FOIA, it is both ignoring or outright breaking the law AND is subverting the public’s right to know and journalists’ right to report. One would think that would have trumped Clinton’s “right” for smooth sailing to the Presidency.

        2. timbers

          Yes. And imagine if the NSA/CIA or whoever leaked some choice Hillary emails like they leaked Flynn’s conversation.

          The leaks appear to be very selective to achieve the advancement of the careers of those who support aggression and war…in this case with Russia.

      2. fosforos

        So the old red-baiter wanted détente with Brezhnev’s USSR. But why should the deep state have objected? Hadn’t Brezhnev just invaded Czechoslovakia to suppress a communist-led democratic revolution? Hadn’t he gotten rid of Khrushchev, the ally of their worst enemy, John F. Kennedy?

        1. flora

          My point is that the press is so bad now that I question/doubt almost every report and frame they create, to the point of retroactively questioning reporting I once thought definitive and settled. For me, that’s an astounding change in my opinion of the press.

          1. flora

            adding: the press has a long history of “taking sides” in politics and policy. In the past there were so many independently owned papers that it was easy to read point- counterpoint. Larger cities would have 2 or more main papers that competed for readers and ad dollars, and might aim their editorials and political news slant at different parties. With today’s ownership reduced to a few billionaires there is uniformity (not necessarily accuracy) in political and policy reporting. The press is now useful for seeing which way the wind is blowing and what the DC bubble and its owners want. imo.

            1. WheresOurTeddy

              “Hearst” + “Spanish American War”.

              Who owns the newspaper your reading? More important than the words in it…

          2. timbers

            February 19, 2017 at 11:16 am

            So the old red-baiter wanted détente with Brezhnev’s USSR. But why should the deep state have objected?

            If I’m seeing right on flora’s logic, the answer is: For the same reason the CIA & Co want to derail peace with Russia today – trillions in military sending from NATO and the U.S. to “protect” us from the Russian “threat.” Those trillions will go the the corporations and ultra rich that Hillary, Obama, and the Deep State serve.

            1. WJ

              See Ford’s “Halloween Massacre” which resulted in Kissinger’s removal, and the elevation of Cheney and Rumsfeld.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Domestic politics matter. The Politburo had to worry about the views of the street too or even their own values (Hah!). U.S. support for right wing governments in the Americas and Carter’s political situation and his funneling of money and weapons to Bin Laden and friends put a kibosh on international cooperation. How would the Soviets react? Khruschev reacted to Kennedy’s arms build up and less than savory policies around the world. If the Communist Party won’t protect Communist abroad because there is international brotherhood of the proletariat, who will they protect? A Soviet citizen is no different than anyone else, maybe a bit more “woke” but the theories about the Communist Party as the guardians of Revolution mea so they are bound to preserve socialist style or sympathetic regimes.

          Reagan of course ran against Ford and needed issues to differentiate himself (much like how Obama dropped the healthcare mandate in 2007) and as a candidate in 1980, I don’t think he can concede Carter’s defense build up in light of Soviet actions in Afghanistan as an issue especially when American actions were secret. If Reagan in 1980 (I know, I know) said Carter is funneling arms to religious extremists, he would have been branded as a lunatic. Jimmy would never do that.

          1. fosforos

            You ask, talking specifically about the CPSU, “If the Communist Party won’t protect Communist abroad because there is international brotherhood of the proletariat, who will they protect?” A “Party” that had just crushed the Czech and Slovak Communists because they were democratizing their country. That “Party” is long gone (having revealed its true colors as the state-capitalist cocoon from which Yeltsin and Putin were to emerge) but it has its successor and counterpart ruling the Middle Kingdom, supporting every corruptionist who asks and pays for that support with his country’s farmland and mineral resources.

      3. fresno dan

        February 19, 2017 at 10:50 am

        Yeah….once you go down the rabbit hole, its hard to imagine where one will come up.

        As I’ve said, Trump’s problem may be that he actually believes he tells the IC what to do, instead of understanding that the IC tell him (Trump) what to do…..

  5. JeffC

    I assume Trump has Mar-a-Lago and Trump Tower swept regularly?

    And who do you suppose does the sweeping?

  6. David

    If you haven’t see it, Noah Smith’s bizarre blog-post on why liberals should buy guns is worth a look. Beyond the specious arguments (it would make gun control easier!) the real key to understanding it is the definition of liberal as “anyone on the American left.” In other words, liberals are the Left and anyone who disagrees is to be cast out. And the “Left” in this sense needs guns to protect themselves against the working class whites who might come after them. I know America is a nation of gun nuts, but even so….

    1. John Wright

      This is a great piece advocating for if you can’t beat them, join them and then you might be able to influence them.

      It closes with:

      “Anyway, remember, always safety first. And if you do have mental illness, I’d say don’t buy a gun, even if the law allows you to.”

      One can wonder if someone with a mental illness (paranoid schizophrenia?) will read this advice and respond as Smith suggests by not purchasing a gun when inclined to do so.

      One can view Noah Smith being confronted by a delusional gun owner and trying to assert, as a practicing authoritative academic economist, “you are obviously mentally ill and should not have a gun, now hand it to me.”

  7. craazyman

    If anybody has an hour to kill wasting time on the internet — as I evidently did last night after returning from a rather diappointingly cloudy star gazing session — this is absolutely remarkable — once again a Youtube Miracle!

    Evidently James Baldwin and William F. Buckley in 1965 debated at Cambridge University the proposition that “the American dream has been built at the expense of the Negro”. This was over 50 years ago so the word “negro” is an anachronism, but the absolutely extraordinary unrehearsed articulateness and intelligence by both speakers — Baldwin and Buckely — is mind boggling by today’s standards of “debate”, particularly the newsreaders/Political hack buffoons shouting at each other you see if you’re unfortunate enought to watch TV. I somehow surfed onto this and watched it absolutely transfixed.

    This truly is incredible. This debate. The civilized exchange of impeccably articulated ideas reaches a narrative poetry that essay writers themselves, with days to think about their words, rarely achieve. I’ve read alot of Baldwin’s work and he was a genius to be sure. I haven’t read much of Buckely, since he never really spoke to my sensibilities, but in this debate I think he’s quite good.

    I’m not sure if this ability is a lost art or what. I can’t hardly imagine this level of intelligence and constrained and impeccably jeweled rhetorical skill mounted to confront today’s issues.

    1. allan

      Many snippets of the Baldwin-Buckley debate, and much else, are in the documentary about Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro, which is making the rounds at art houses. One of the best movies I’ve ever seen on race relations in this country, and one of the best movies of the last year.

      OTOH: run, do not walk, away from Toni Erdmann. You have been warned.

    2. Uahsenaa

      It’s worth noting that both men made their bones by going out into the public and making their case before oftentimes hostile audiences. Sure, in time, Baldwin and Buckley found their respective allies, but that doesn’t change how they had to make their way by addressing people who were not fundamentally like them in most ways.

      Contrast that with the contemporary media environment, where pundits are hired to either spout talking points (i.e. they have no real convictions) or speak solely to those who are politically identical to them, and it’s not hard to see why someone like Baldwin would be hard to come by. I think there are exceptions–the late Christopher Hitchens, regardless of what he became, was an amazing public speaker, and I recall being very impressed by Sanders when I saw him speak to 300 people in Iowa City long before he was a “revolution”–but in the main, there are so many people nowadays who spout so much noise, it’s hard to find the signal.

    3. Susan C

      I think it might be a lost art. Gore Vidal was another one who could articulate his thinking in a way that could make your mind sing. Watched a video of Moynihan speaking in the Senate about a cabinet nominee – another one. There was an innate courtesy and respect in those days, and they knew linguistically how to present a polished argument.

      1. Katharine

        I doubt that it was innate, but it was well and truly learned. To me, it bore little relation to the current calls for civility, which I think have more to do with privileging the forms of communication of one group than with actual courtesy. Real courtesy, as you say, goes with respect, and you can find it in people of any social background who have been taught to treat others with the same consideration they would want for themselves. It doesn’t matter greatly what words they use, because they make clear that they have a regard for the other person.

    4. integer

      I watched it and found it quite interesting. Thanks. I found Buckley’s accent and/or intonation to be slightly disconcerting though. His Wikipedia page has this to say about his unusual style of speech:

      [Buckley] spoke English with an idiosyncratic accent: something between an old-fashioned, upper class Mid-Atlantic accent, and British Received Pronunciation, with a Southern drawl.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Yet Buckley had the nerve to skewer Baldwin for affecting a British accent — an ad hominem barb which probably contributed to Buckley’s loss, along with his argument being not that coherent and perhaps not even entirely serious.

        1. craazyman

          I had no idea what Buckley was talking aboout there. I though Baldwin was speaking pretty much normally.

          Buckley alwas struck me as a hubristically condescending ass, which is why I never paid him much mind. But that’s not to say he coouldn’t make occasional reasonable points.

          1. Katharine

            Perhaps it was part of Buckley’s unthinking prejudice, expecting that “Negroes” should sound a certain way and if they did not were being affected. (And of course, if they had the expected accent they were dismissed as ignorant, “not even knowing how to speak right.” I’ve heard that within the past twenty-five years even. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t trick.)

            1. craazyman

              I don’t believe that at all. Buckley was far too intelligent to honestly believe that kind of a delusion.

              But he was supercillious & arrogant enough though perhaps to unconsciously project his own impulses onto Baldwin.

              It was amusing to watch Baldwin’s face when he heard that accusation. His eyebrows raised in surprise and he was like “WTF is this cracker talking about???””” Hahahhhah

              I heard a James Baldwin story many years ago. A frend at the time’s family had money and circulated in somewhat upscale circles in the New Yoark area. They went to a party where James Baldwin was a guest. When they were introduced he, apparently very drunk, said “Hello you white mother fkkkkers!” Hahahahahahahah. It’s a true story!

              1. MichaelC

                Follow up the Baldwin/Buckley debate with the Buckley/Gore Vidal debates.
                Fascinating exchanges for all the reasons you were blown away w in the one you watched, plus you’ll witness the inevitable self destructing immolation Buckley was destined to suffer.
                He never recovered.

        2. beth

          I remember watching Buckley and Jesse Jackson debate. Buckley used many, many ad hominem barbs that had the affect of negating the real issues in their debate. Even though I usually disagreed with Buckley I had some respect for his argumentation until I saw that debate. His arrogance and meanness came through loud and clear. He used his wit to show that he had far more education than Jackson. He did that and more.

          1. Jim Haygood

            The crux of Buckley’s debate with Baldwin came when he was challenged on the exclusion of black voters in Mississippi.

            Buckley’s riposte? He would institute a tougher literacy test to exclude two-thirds of the [dumb-ass cracker] white voters there.

            Thus the brilliant Buckley anticipated Hillary’s “deplorables” remark, half a century earlier, while garnering some laughter from the audience. But as the vote tallies showed for both Buckley and Hillary, it’s not a winning strategy.

            1. craazyman

              That was pretty hilarious. Buckely at least had a semi-objective standard of erudition in mind, to sort the wheat frm the chaff.

              On a Dantean scale of sin, it’s certainly in an upper circle relative to the tribal bufoons whose only benchmark is allegiance to their particular form of self-elevating predation.

        3. integer

          Yes, Buckley essentially used the tactic of “playing the man, not the ball” as the foundational structure of his argument, hence there was not much substance to it. Baldwin set a very high bar, and Buckley just strolled right under it.

      2. montanamaven

        In the business, we call this “Long Island lock jaw”. It also gives the appearance that one is just too too bored to have to articulate well.

    5. Octopii

      Can’t wait to watch that. There is another relevant documentary I highly recommend called ‘Best of Enemies’ about the Buckley-Vidal debate series broadcast live on ABC during the ’68 presidential conventions. It was essentially modern conservatism debating modern liberalism in an elegantly brutal fashion – if there could be such a thing.

    6. cm

      I also find it fun to go back to the 60’s to watch their late night shows — pre Johnny Carson (Steve Allen & Jack Paar). Lots of surprisingly intellectual discussions.

    7. Jane

      Standford has put nearly all of Buckley’s show, Firing Line, online; they are fascinating to watch. There’s one from 1966 with David Susskind called ‘The Prevailing Bias’ with Buckley insisting academia doesn’t have enough conservative professors…which the right still whine about today.

      Then there’s one from 1998 with Ann Coulter where you almost feel bad for Buckley, you can see him mentally struggling with her Tea Party view of the world, so different from his own.

      1. Matt

        Nobody summed up Buckley like Alexander Cockburn:

        “It’s astonishing to read the funeral paeans from liberals, flush with homages to Beckley’s “urbane civility”. Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, issues a warm eulogy in Newsweek. John Nicholas echoes these kindly sentiments in The Nation itself. The supposedly left Portside site promptly reprints Nichols. What are these people thinking? All this is evidence of the decay of liberalism. Do they have any memory? Buckley wore urbanity like cheap make-up, badly applied. At the slightest challenge it disappeared and we were left with the hiss and venom of a true reptile. Coulter and the other yahoos descend in part from him. Here’s Buckley confronting the AIDS crisis with an advisory of Nazi lineage: “Everyone detected with AIDS should be tattooed in the upper forearm, to protect common-needle users, and on the buttocks, to prevent the victimization of other homosexuals.”

    8. mpalomar

      I watched the Baldwin Buckley debate about a year ago and was impressed by Baldwin and embarrassed for Buckley, who had the misfortune to follow Baldwin’s thoughtful eloquence with his vacuous pedantic affectation. I wonder what the Cambridge crowd made of Buckley; Oxbridge where peculiar affectations were something of a hobby. Coals to Newcastle?

      As his career evolved Buckley’s affectation took on an ever more aggressive aspect of glaring facial grimaces that to me resembled nothing so much as a male monkey asserting dominance over a rival.

      For entertainment value there is of course the 1968 election coverage sideshow with Gore Vidal and Buckley when the author of ‘God and Man at Yale’, threatened, “Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in your goddam face, and you’ll stay plastered.” How often in a lifetime does one have the opportunity to roll out the phrase, “stop calling me a crypto-Nazi?”

      Buckley repeated this about a year later hosting a nerdy Noam Chomsky on Firing Line, again threatening to smash him in the face, for making a calm coherent argument against the Vietnam War.

    9. neo-realist

      Ta Nehisi Coates is getting the hype as some sort of Baldwin 2.0, but while Coates is a good wordsmith technician, he doesn’t bring anywhere near the depth of understanding of the black experience nor the poetry, nor the self depreciating humor of Baldwin. Baldwin, if he were alive, would never, unlike Coates, have written such hagiography on Obama knowing that a lot of black people are still living in hell in America and a Black President did little to nothing to address their problems, but served as nothing much more than a psychological cushion.

  8. integer

    I took Lambert’s advice and had a look at Matt Stoller’s Twitter feed. He has some interesting insights. Also, I found a link to this:

    Elizabeth Warren Gives Progressives In Congress A Rousing Call To Arms Against Trump

    “Our moment of crisis didn’t begin with the election of Donald Trump,” she said. “We were already in crisis. We were already in crisis because for years and years and years, Washington has worked just great for the rich and the powerful, but far too often, it hasn’t worked for anyone else.”

    “People don’t just wake up one day and elect leaders like Donald Trump because ‘hey, everything is awesome, but what the hell, let’s roll the dice and make life interesting,’” she added.

    Democrats frequently enabled or participated in these trends, Warren said.

    It really seems hugely hypocritical for her to be saying these sorts of things after refusing to endorse Sanders. Also:

    “In November, America elected Donald Trump.
    Yes, the Russians helped.
    Yes, the FBI director helped.
    Yes, he lost the popular vote by three million.”

    The article contains a full transcript of her speech.

    1. John k

      She might have included,
      “Yes, I helped by not doing everything in my power to help Bernie get the nom and win the general… I confess I am one of the dems that enabled and participated in the trump election.”

      Before Bernie ran I was a big fan of warren. She is anti corrupt banks, good, but not a progressive. She is an opportunist, so making progressive noises hopefully means the progressive wing is gaining. We will get a better sense after the Dnc election.

    2. mpalomar

      Warren’s extended non-endorsement of either Clinton or Sanders when most party hacks were already on board the Clinton express was, I thought telling.

      I’m speculating wildly but I think she favored Sander’s. I wonder how much her endorsement would have changed events. Sanders was a long shot and Warren may be playing a longer game. That and of course she is operating in the political arena

      Checking for stories on her slow endorsement turned up this.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Didn’t want to go to hell for not supporting a fellow woman, like Madeleine Albright said. Or maybe she was just taking time to “do her own research”? Or maybe she didn’t want to be seen as going “where the boys are”?

        Forgive me, it was difficult to keep track of all the myriad ways Clinton condescended to women before over 50% of the white ones voted for Trump…

        1. integer

          Don’t forget the whole “nasty woman” thing. Warren’s involvement in that seemed like poor judgement to me and came across as being undignified. From npr:

          Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren ripped into Donald Trump on Hillary Clinton’s behalf at a rally in New Hampshire on Monday. Warren was playing the role of a sassy friend with the snark to say the things Clinton either could or would not say…

          Warren has become a sort of attack-dog surrogate on the Clinton campaign, insulting Trump both on the stump and on social media. She’s also the darling of the progressive left and fundamentally more animated on the campaign trail.

          Where Clinton is wonky and private, Warren is populist and energetic. She’s not shy to throw some shade at Trump, even seeming to relish her role.

          Ugh. While failing to endorse Bernie could possibly be written off as a strategic decision, I think Warren’s no-holds-barred support for Clinton in the general election will end up doing irreparable damage to her political career.

          1. integer

            Hmm, it seems that “undignified” is not actually a word. All of you literary types around here are making me feel self-conscious! Hahaha. I’m learning though, albeit slowly.

      2. aab


        You’re giving her far too much credit. She’s not progressive. She doesn’t want progressive policies. She wants slightly less rapacious neoliberalism, so the “good people” (middle to upper middle class managers and professionals) have an easier time.

        I don’t have time to look for it, but there’s an email in the Wikileaks dump (Podesta dump, not DNC dump, IIRC) that proves this. She never intended to endorse Bernie. She told Clinton’s people very early on that she supported Clinton and intended to endorse Clinton. Waiting to do it was part of her role as an official sheepdog, using her unearned and phony status as a progressive to herd the disappointed back to Clinton, the party, neoliberalism, and their exploitation and demise.

        1. Outis Philalithopoulos

          I just looked around quickly and found this and this. They don’t discuss an email like the one you mentioned but do provide some additional detail.

          1. aab

            I’m thinking of a different email. I just poked around a bit and didn’t find it, either. All these people using numerous unofficial email addresses and forwarding things back and forth to each other makes it harder.

            It was literally something along the lines of “as if I was ever going to endorse that guy,” in classic smug New Dem style, and included something about how she was waiting to announce her endorsement to bring the Berners along. If I can figure out a better query, I’ll try again. It’s not in the Podesta leaks from her gmail account, which is the address she used to congratulate Podesta on the mid-March primaries.

            1. Foppe

              This is a bit more anodyne than what you say, but directionally relevant:

              Can’t find anything in the podesta dump that seems relevant, just 3 emails from her ‘personal’ gmail.

              Also ran across this CTR account. It’s awesome to see how strongly they believe in triangulation as their main “value”:

              1. aab

                Thanks, Foppe. I remember that Politico article. I think this one quote from it proves my point:

                In early 2015, Warren sent a major signal that she would ultimately endorse Clinton, telling a senior campaign aide, “I’m getting a lot of pressure to endorse Bernie, but I’m not going to do it.”

    3. SpringTexan

      I don’t think it is hypocritical. She expected Clinton to get the nomination and win the election, and she wanted to influence her appointments as much as possible, focusing on “personnel is policy.” I don’t fault her, I think it was a reasonable strategy, though one can disagree with it.

      Thought that was a really good speech of Warren’s.

  9. Alex Morfesis

    Today is the 75th anniversary of the great California land grab, commonly cloaked as executive order 9066, where the Hawaiian population of japanese decent was hardly effected, but those in California had to sell their land to the future winery industry, etc…

    Democracy…what a concept…

    1. LifelongLib

      Arguably it was a good example of what a tyranny of the majority looks like. A true democracy doesn’t just mean majority rule, but protection for the rights of minorities. Sadly the U.S. historically hasn’t done too well on either count…

  10. oho

    Is this Black Trump supporter representative of a latent sentiment in the African-American community?

    Trump support lashes out at sanctuary city policies at a local town board meeting. As always, veracity not independently verified.

    the “Left”/Team Dem. should reflect if saying to the black community that there’s-no-alternative to superpredator Clinton helped sowed the seeds of 2016 turnout—as the relations between Team Dem. and African-Americans have been glossed over in pundit-land since November.

    (don’t blame it all on voter suppression). (not wanting to start any flame wars). just saying.

    1. Dita

      The need to earn a real living income in a system that’s made a fetish of wage arbitrage that’s designed to reduce our relations with each other to a death match so 10%rs can save a few spandoliks.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Latent sentiment? I have that sentiment here in AZ. Many times, in fact.

      Believe me, there is no love lost between longtime AA residents of AZ and, ahem, undocumented immigrants from Mexico.

    3. kj1313

      Problem is that her idea that African Americans were destroyed by illegal immigration when there has been decades of public policy (i.e. drug war, housing policies etc) that have devastated their communities.

    4. ChiGal in Carolina

      Not so latent. Predating the last election cycle, heck, predating Obama, plenty of folks in the hood were resentful of immigrants. Partly jobs, but also they were perceived to be exploiting the community (corner stores with jacked-up prices and caged cash registers indicating mistrust of the locals).

      Remember the scene with the Korean shop owner in Do the Right Thing?

    5. N tTimothyGeithner

      I think the Team Blue hive mind decided they had become “totes woke” and would simply receive the votes of all minorities. The “magical negro” concept is part of this madness of Team Blue. The Democrats are “good guys” therefore the “magical negro” will come to their aid. Evidence such as low black turnout in 1996 or low 2010 and 2014 results isn’t as relevant as how Team Blue types feel.

      There isn’t a hidden pro-GOP or Trump sentiment for obvious reasons, but record black turnout carried Obama to victory in 2012 and all those voters got was a party that nominated Hillary with her less than “woke” past.

    6. Andrew Watts

      It really shouldn’t shock anybody that poor non-whites aren’t big supporters of immigration and open borders. Immigrants, whether they are legal or not, deny economic opportunities to young and poor alike to better their future prospects. The destabilizing effect this has on the inner cities and the lower class was once considered a leading cause of crime. As a result of identity politics underwriting the political legitimacy of neoliberalism this is no longer the case. In reality, it’s mostly a class issue that white liberals refuse to understand and economists are unwilling to. They’d be forced to either stop supporting their current policies or surrender the moral high ground in the class war. It would also require them to debase themselves by spending time in the gutter with all the other deplorable trash.

      Gang-affiliated drug dealers on the street don’t actually make much more money than a lowly Wal-Mart employee. Guess which job is less dangerous but not actually available to inner city kids?

    7. WheresOurTeddy

      I used to live in southern California fro several years last decade.

      If you want to know what race relations are like there between African Americans and Latinos, find out what the second group jokingly says COMPTON is an anagram for.

    8. neo-realist

      I seriously doubt that a President that nominates a racist like Sessions for the AG is getting or will get much sentiment from Black Americans. It’s a big country and while blacks are not monolithic in their views, I seriously doubt Trump is going to get black majority support.

      1. aab

        He doesn’t have to get majority black support. He can hobble the corporate Democrats’ ability to regain power merely by eating into black and Latinx support a little bit more, while others simply stay home rather than come out for the Ds. He already has majority white support (as do the Republicans generally), and whites* are the majority population still. For the Democrats to overcome that advantage, they need MASSIVE percentages and turnout from minorities. Their 10%er real base is too small and too concentrated in a handful of cities for them to be enough to obtain national governing power.

        I’m not saying he WILL do this. Only that it’s feasible.

        * I’m using the word “white” here as it is generally used in the political media. This, of course, includes groups that were not, in the past, categorized as “white,” since race is a social construct.


  11. Tom

    Came across this article discussing the fallout from the Feds decision to bail out Wall Street after the financial crisis.

    How the Fed went from lender of last resort to destroyer of American wealth

    Mindblowing quote from section about deleterious effects of near-zero interest rates on pension funds and retirement savings:

    With interest rates on CDs near zero, the average boomer household would need $10.6 million in principal to safely earn $15,930 in interest, the annual income at the federal poverty-line level for a family of two.


    1. Roger Smith

      A penny saved is .0000000000001 penny earned!

      At this point saving coupons for cash value seems like a better investment.

  12. meme

    When I read the Washington Post’s story Trump family’s elaborate lifestyle is a ‘logistical nightmare’ — at taxpayer expense a few days ago, the thought occurred to me that Trump could be staying away from the usual Presidential digs to keep his privacy from leaking spooks. The complaints about cost may have been more about an attempt to get him to stay where he can be monitored than about keeping him safe.–at-taxpayer-expense/2017/02/16/763cce8e-f2ce-11e6-a9b0-ecee7ce475fc_story.html?utm_term=.14579f064a23

    1. meme

      And regarding privacy, in a recent Hannity interview attorney Jay Sekulow discusses how Obama made a change, 17 days before he left office, which made it easier for raw data collected from the NSA to disseminate among the other 16 intelligence branches, making it much more difficult to identify where leaks occur:

      While previously the N.S.A. filtered information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency, like the C.I.A. or the intelligence branches of the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration, and furthermore N.S.A.’s analysts passed on only information they deemed pertinent, screening out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information, following passage of Obama’s 11th hour rule, “other intelligence agencies will be able to search directly through raw repositories of communications intercepted by the N.S.A. and then apply such rules for “minimizing” privacy intrusions.”

      1. DH

        The GOP has been slobbering over the prospect of having the government intercept as much as possible and use as many intercepts as possible for years, with the PATRIOT Act being the first major push. Of course, it was not possible for the government to misuse this type of data in any way against citizens, because the government is there to protect us. Presumably this means they would only use these powers against bad people like Muslims, not good (by definition) white rich people, and certainly not white rich politicians.

        It appears that they may discovering how indiscriminately governments will abuse privacy if they are allowed to. Maybe they will want to put this genie back in the bottle, although they will probably want to pass a law saying that everybody’s privacy can be invaded except Congress, the President, and his cabinet.

  13. Bugs Bunny

    “Le Pen Lures French Farmers Angered by Worst Crisis in Decades”

    I spend a lot of time in the countryside and it has been decimated. Closed cafés, restaurants, post offices, mini markets. You have to drive to get any basic services because at the village level, there’s no more viable commerce. Lots of desperate peasants trying anything to hold it together.

    Marine is the only politician I hear spoken about in a positive light. Five years ago it was taboo to say you were voting FN unless you were in the right company. Now peasants say “I’m not ashamed to say that she’s got my vote”

    Imo, and perhaps David will weigh in here, it will be very difficult for the PS or Macron to win. That said, if Le Pen does win, she’ll have all of urban and suburban Paris firmly against her and very little support in the Assembly. It could be a real mess.

      1. David

        It should. A lot of the analysis in the Bloomberg piece is very good, although the crisis has actually been going on for some time. But notice the vocabulary. Farmers (who may well have degrees in Agriculture these days) are actually a bit stupid. They are being “lured” by Le Pen and “seduced” by her claims that the EU is to blame, although, as its own report demonstrates, that’s partly true. Le Pen, who has had the presumption actually to visit small towns in “La France Profonde” and talk to people about the their problems, has genuinely promised to do something about them. Of course it’s stupid of them to vote for her when they could vote for one of the establishment parties whose candidates live in the Parisian politico-media bubble all the time.
        Europe is a problem for French agriculture for lots of reasons, but one, not mentioned in the article, is simply unfair competition. French orange growers are being forces out of business by cheap imports from Spain, where farmers employ illegal seasonal immigrants at a fraction of French wages and pay non social security charges. Whereas the French system is effective in clamping down on such practices, the Spanish one isn’t.You can fill in the rest for yourself.
        I’m sure we’ll talk about the election many times but I agree with Bugs Bunny that the PS are effectively out of it, and that Macron is actually a lot less solid than he appears. He’s never fought a campaign in his life. I’m sticking to my prediction of a 75% chance of Le Pen in the second round, and a 50% chance of her winning.

        1. OIFVet

          Dunno, I know a lot of Bulgarians who are seasonal farm laborers in France, as well as in Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, and Germany. Granted, they don’t count as illegal labor because Bulgaria is in the EU, but they work for a small fraction of Western labor’s wages, sometimes they get cheated out of their wages entirely, and otherwise do not have many of the protections enjoyed by their Western counterparts. So I am not convinced that French farmers’ problems are entirely or even largely due to unfair competition using cheapee labor.

          1. David

            Agreed, it’s not just that, and I was giving one very specific example where EU policies of mindless competition have worked against agriculture in higher-income countries. More generally, though, French farmers are having to resort to the kinds of methods you describe, and so putting French workers out of a job, if they are to remain “competitive”. I must say I begin to wonder whether agriculture actually lends itself to “competition” in the sense that the ideologues in Brussels see it, or whether all attempts to impose it don’t wind up making things worse for everyone, including the itinerant workers you mention.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Wants to get rid of dual-citizenship too, except for EU nations. So no France/USA duals, no France/Israel duals, etc. You’d have to choose.

      Trump could learn a thing or two.

      1. DH

        US law generally doesn’t recognize dual nationality. You are a US citizen or not. As a US citizen, you can’t go into a US legal proceeding and claim any rights based on having another nationality, such as having a foreign embassy intercede on your behalf.

        People with a second nationality are because they did not go back and go through the formal steps to renounce the other citizenship or they were born with another citizenship because they were born in another country (e.g. Ted Cruz) or one or more of their parents was a foreign citizen when they were born. Ted Cruz was a Canadian citizen but that was meaningless legally as long as he was in the US, but he would have been able to move to Canada without filling out any immigration paperwork, although his wife and children would have need to go through an immigration process..

  14. Ed

    “Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity By 2050 Forbes (PU).”

    This is a remarkable article, not least because it was published by Forbes. But Forbes has very good movie reviews, so I may be selling the magazine short.

    Its clear that humans are heading towards some sort of ecological disaster and population crash, but the timing is important and its impossible to get a grip on the timing. But I keep seeing “by 2050” in these articles which unfortunately falls within my likely lifetime.

    1. Mark Alexander

      The article stated the problem clearly. But I am having trouble understanding how changing corporate ownership to co-ops is going to solve the problem, as the article seems to suggest. Co-ops are great, but how can they slow down the continued destruction of the ecosystem and depletion of natural resources in any significant way?

      I also think we’re heading towards some kind of eco-crash, or as the Archdruid suggests, a series of crashes and declines. It may take a long, painful time for humanity to come down from its oil high.

        1. Mark Alexander

          Thank you for the links. I’m a part-time organic farmer now (nearly full time in the summer!) so these issues are part of my thinking these days. I just wonder if these efforts are a bit too little/too late, given the huge momentum of Big Ag and Big Oil.

          1. mpalomar

            It may be too late in terms of inertia and power structures but given the will to turn to sounder, saner sustainable agricultural practices, the alternative exists. Rodales been around a long time.
            The film is great, it demonstrates sustainable solutions to some of the big problems agri industry’s strategy of throwing oil and chemicals at has not solved, like depleted water resources and irrigation.

      1. LT

        Yeah, but I thought this was the best economic system ever created in the world?
        Why would they have to enforce all this fabulousness at gun point?

        It doesn’t sound like plans for a place having an economic recovery or that will be made great again.

        Or maybe its also a way to ramp up weapon sales?

        Either way, it’s systemic rot.

        1. aab

          It’s helpful to remember that the country’s owners have no interest in in a recovery, because they live in a fantasy world where neofeudalism will super-fun for people whose wealth is tied up in electronic digits, something that’s been categorized as “high art” and land that was available for purchase mostly because it’s isolated and not because it’s arable or has easy transportation options that are not fossil fuel based.


  15. Vatch

    While looking for other things, I started noticing complaints in articles and letters to the editor about how fearful of their constituents many members of Congress are. So I briefly searched specifically for that, and here’s a sample of what I found:

    Montana Sen. Daines

    New York Rep. Stefanik

    Illinois Rep. Roskam

    Texas Reps. Thornberry, Arrington, and Conaway

    “According to data gathered by Legistorm and reported on by multiple news outlets, about 90 in-person town hall events have been scheduled by the Republicans in Congress this year — and one representative from Wisconsin has done 35 of them. For comparison, there were 222 in-person town hall events during the previous Congress’ first two months.”

      1. Arizona Slim

        Here in Tucson, our Congress critters are very wary of town hall meetings. Especially since the Congress on Your Corner massacre in 2011.

        1. Jim Haygood

          On November 8, 2012, Jared Loughner appeared in front of U.S. District Court Judge Larry Alan Burns in a court in Tucson. He was sentenced to serve seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in prison without parole. — Wikipedia

          Taking US male life expectancy as 76 years, Loughner’s sentence can be estimated as (7 x 76) + 140 = 672 years

          No prob for Methuselah. But you wonder what they are trying to prove with these absurd three-digit prison sentences.

          1. Lynne

            What are they trying to prove?

            Each victim matters.

            He needs to stay in prison, no matter how good time and early release are calculated.

    1. allan

      Syracuse Post-Standard takes Rep. John Katko to task:

      Rep. John Katko has a problem. When he first ran for the 24th Congressional District seat in 2014, Katko attacked incumbent Democrat Dan Maffei over his “weak record regarding open meetings.” Maffei had stopped holding town hall meetings with constituents after some became contentious, instead opting for smaller gatherings behind closed doors.

      Now, the second-term Republican finds himself on the receiving end of the same criticism. He’s not taking it well.

      Progressive activists are pressuring Katko to hold an open town hall meeting to hear their concerns. Katko says he won’t be dictated to by “a group fueled by outside, progressive interests.” …

      Katko feels he’s hearing plenty from his constituents through the highly managed channels he offers them, such as telephone town halls and issue-based “listening sessions.” Clearly, many of his constituents feel otherwise. In this swing district, he tunes them out at his peril.

      1. DH

        Katko won handily in the past election. However, whether or not he can do that again is really going to depend on what this Congress does. Jim Walsh represented this area for decades as a moderate Republican difficult to track specific seats due to redistricting). Democrats win when Republicans go hard right and do stupid stuff – 2008 and 2012 are the only times Democrats have represented Onondaga County in over 30 years.

        1. bob

          ” 2008 and 2012 are the only times Democrats have represented Onondaga County in over 30 years..”

          Which means that it is possible, correct? I have to ask because it seems this is another lost cause myth.

          The rest of that time, it was WALSH, not “republicans”.

          Walsh is at the center of the Consensus to merge the county and the city. His son is the heir apparent to the Mayor’s seat, which he may be the last to sit in. He and his have made fortunes while watching jobs leave the area. I can’t think of anyone more “center” to the decay than him. Look at the Walsh tenure. How can any bit of that be called “success” by any measure?

          He’s doing fine, playing center for King Cuomo, another “centrist” who seems much more at home with Republican Royalty and their lackeys.

    2. bob

      Watch out for Stefanik. She’s dangerous, and bought completely by the Koch’s.

      Stefnaik can’t be bothered to meet with her constituents because she can’t be bothered to live near her constituents. She’s spent the few years of her adulthood in the DC think tank world, and still lives there.

      It was a seat the dems had. They ran an asshole who couldn’t be bothered to campaign after the D that was in the seat abdicated.

      In the parlance of our media overlords it was a red seat. Why bother?

      The stinking pile of puss that is the DNC can’t be bothered with that stuff. Pussy hats for everyone!

      1. bob

        Just adding that Bernie did VERY well in the dem primaries in her district, which then switched to voting overwhelmingly Trump in the general.

        “Those stupid hicks”

        Upstate NY is a great place to look at in terms of the DNC rot, and their general policy of retreat. The 2008 vs 2016 red vs blue county maps tell the story. The prez election vs the primaries are very clear- Red isn’t a given, but given no choice, it’s hard not to choose red.

        They know hillz well there, She paled around with all the local reds while running for senate. She made it a point to campaign there, which downstate dems had never, ever deemed worthy of their presence.

        That’s what is most infuriating about the DNC under hillz. They know the plays, they just won’t do it.

          1. bob

            Did you look at the map before you linked to it? WAY up north, where hillz was campaigning and where Stefanik currently sits. Those big blue counties?

            1. bob

              PS- look at the turnout % in the counties that Bernie won, vs the counties that Clinton won.

              Clinton wins are in the 30’s. Bernie counties were in the 50’s

              1. aab

                Yeah, it’s both inaccurate and unjust to pretend that she won downstate because “stupid” liberals” were conned.

                She won downstate because the New York Democratic Party carefully and comprehensively suppressed probable Bernie voters, particularly in Brooklyn. There’s evidence they also flipped votes in various places, but the suppression is better documented.

    3. allan

      New York: Progressive protest movement swarms into town halls of Tom Reed’s district [Buffalo News]

      One congressman, 4 town halls in the Southern Tier of NYS on Saturday.

      The progressive protest movement that has confronted federal lawmakers from around the country swept into Western New York on Saturday, as Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, encountered hundreds of protesters and loud voices everywhere he went during four town hall meetings in the western Southern Tier.

      Standing outside a senior center in Ashville, in a veterans hall in Cherry Creek, in a firehouse in Great Valley and outside the Allen Town Hall in Fillmore, Reed heard the same message again and again from crowds that often seemed to not want to hear him:

      Don’t repeal and replace Obamacare.

      Preserve Medicare and Social Security

      Investigate President Trump and his ties to Russia.

      And: “Do your job.” …

      But it was a grassroots presence. Of more than 15 protesters interviewed across the four town halls, all were from Reed’s district, and only one hailed from Tompkins County, the liberal bastion where Indivisible has an especially strong presence. …

      1. bob

        Tompkins county “liberals”

        Just like Illinois nazis. Make sure to bring all of the people with shit drilled into their face into long forgotten red towns, in what used to be an oil patch. It REALLY impresses them.

        “Investigate President Trump and his ties to Russia.

        And: “Do your job.” …

        But it was a grassroots presence.”

        What is the point of that “But”? Because, it seems, there is no grass anywhere. Just vindictive after the fact in-your-face assholeishness. And Putin.

    1. meme

      I see they too decided to take the ‘blow the Ruskies ship out of the water’ quote out of context. Is that an effort to spread propaganda/scare people?

      From your link:

      Referring to a Russian warship apparently on a surveillance mission off the US west coast – something which the US and NATO routinely and incessantly do to Russia – Trump says, “The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles off shore right out of the water. Everyone in this country’s going to say ‘oh, it’s so great’… If I was just brutal on Russia right now, just brutal, people would say, you would say, ‘Oh, isn’t that wonderful’.”

      Then, Trump went on to explain the implications: “We’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. I have been briefed. And I can tell you one thing about a briefing that we’re allowed to say because anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it, a nuclear holocaust would be like no other.”

      One shudders at the very thought of it – that a potential nuclear war between the US Russia has been the stuff of a briefing taken by Trump.

      Actual Trump quote:

      If we could get along with Russia, that’s a positive thing. We have a talented man, Rex Tillerson, who will be meeting with them shortly. I told him. I know politically it’s probably not good for me. The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles offshore right out of the water. Everyone will say, “Oh, it’s so great.” That’s not great. That’s not great. I would love to be able to get along with Russia. Now, you have had a lot of presidents that haven’t taken that tack. Look where we are now. Look where we are now. So if I can, now — I love to negotiate things. I do it really well and all that stuff. But it’s possible I won’t be able to get along with Putin. Maybe it is.

      But I want to just tell you, the false reporting by the media, by you people, the false, horrible fake reporting makes it much harder to make a deal with Russia. And probably Putin said, you know, he’s sitting behind his desk and saying, “You know, I see what’s going on in the United States. I follow it closely. It’s going to be impossible for President Trump to ever get along with Russia because of all the pressure he’s got with this fake story.” And that’s a shame. Because if we could get along with Russia and … it would be a positive thing, not a negative thing.

      1. meme

        Sorry, the rest of the piece goes on to point the finger at the Washington insiders, defending the “upstart president’s” impudence in wanting to drain the swamp:

        Look at the extent to which the military-industrial complex and the intelligence establishment in Washington goes to thwart any attempt by Trump to improve US-Russia relations. It’s a sickening scenario that without wars and bloodshed America cannot have a future — that the prospect of detente, peace and co-existence becomes so abhorrent a proposition for the Deep State as to stage an insurrection against the elected head of state.

        No, this is more than about swamps. What we see here is nothing else than metastatic cancer. The cancer cells in America’s body polity have broken away to enter the bloodstream and the lymph system. Doctors call it “stage 4” cancer.

        I understand their not wanting to include the whole rambling Trump quote, I should have finished reading before commenting.

        1. Yves Smith

          Maybe you think thats funny but it comes off as agnotology. And Trump’s presidential campaign DID hurt his hotel business, but that didn’t deter him.

    2. fresno dan

      February 19, 2017 at 9:53 am

      From the article:
      “Look at the extent to which the military-industrial complex and the intelligence establishment in Washington goes to thwart any attempt by Trump to improve US-Russia relations. It’s a sickening scenario that without wars and bloodshed America cannot have a future — that the prospect of detente, peace and co-existence becomes so abhorrent a proposition for the Deep State as to stage an insurrection against the elected head of state.”

  16. Watt4Bob

    It would appear that after almost fifty years of Republican efforts to Tax-Anybody-But-The-Rich, we’ve finally ended up at our inevitable destination, and in the inevitable condition.

    The American middle class is threadbare, our infrastructure is dilapidated, our cities are bankrupt, we’re embroiled in mindless wars, and our people, finally putting two-and-two together, have kicked over the apple cart by voting against the same old same old.

    In response, both the democratic, and republican wings of the republican party are earnestly test marketing new and improved dog-food recipes, all of which feature 100% pure, thoroughly beaten, dead-horse-meat.

    But all is not lost, picking his way through the crowd is that fresh-faced boy from Wisconsin, Paul Ryan, who proudly announces that he has a plan, for tax reform!

    Thank God, for a moment I was beginning to be worried.

    1. fresno dan

      February 19, 2017 at 10:06 am


      now, if they can only connect those dead horses to the internet, and make them “smart” – that’s like…WARNING – Friedmanism ahead:

      riding two ostriches with one saddle on flat air…or sumthin’

    2. DH

      Both corporations and the rich are continuing to pay way too much in taxes unlike the bottom 50% who need to pay more. Paul Ryan has a plan to solve that problem and ensure increased median household income, healthcare for all, and increased military spending at the same time.

  17. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Dumb phone reveals uncomfortable truth for tech groups FT.

    I suspect the same could be said for “smart” refrigerators, thermostats, cars, televisions and all the other devices that “we” suddenly can’t live without after having done exactly that forever. Call me a Luddite, but I can’t remember a time when the inconvenience of turning on my own lights or remembering I was out of eggs even entered my mind, let alone caused me to long for someone to invent something to do it for me.

    A couple of years ago the local electric company wanted everyone to switch to a “smart” meter. I could have kept the old one, but would have had to pay extra for the privilege. Big Brother has ways to convince the recalcitrant what “need” really means in the 21st century.

    1. Katharine

      I paid the extra. Then the amount of the monthly add-on was halved. Then the company started begging the state for permission to raise rates to cover the expense of the smart meters that were supposed to save money.

  18. ambrit

    The article about the Seattle area sewage treatment plant’s woes mentions that that system is a combined sewage and storm runoff system. This is evidently mainly an older type of system, restricted in the U.S. to the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Pacific Northwest regions. Elsewhere, most drainage systems are segregated. Storm runoff is a separate series of pipes from the sewage system. Thus, the overwhelming volumes of water that enter the combined system when rainfall becomes severe is not generally a problem. This failure of the treatment plant seems to be a failure in design, not nature.
    A good overview:

    1. Jim Haygood

      Older indeed:

      At over 2500 years old, the Cloaca Maxima is one of the world’s oldest functioning wastewater and stormwater systems.

      Robust parts of the underground channel remain functioning in downtown Rome, near the Tiber River. It still treats storm and sewage overflows during very heavy rain storms.

      Even in individual residences, one can segregate gray water (from showers, sinks, and laundry) for plant watering.

      1. polecat

        Yeah, but only if the local PTB sanction such grey water usage ….. which many don’t !

        Let’s not EVEN broach the subject of ‘compost toilets’ …. to the ‘authorities’, they don’t exist … or shouldn’t !!

        1. ambrit

          Just about everywhere that I have done plumbing requires ‘grey’ water to be combined with ‘black’ water. An added complication to this is the amounts of phosphates and nitrates in ‘grey’ water. There are a lot of near industrial strength chemicals in basic everyday soaps and cleansers. This concentration of chemicals can wreak havoc with septic tank efficiency. Many exurban and rural dwellers split off the ‘grey’ water sources from the ‘black’ water sources just to preserve their septic tank’s ‘working’ microflora. If push comes to shove, and one were to want to use ‘grey’ water for plant watering, sub-segregate the clothes washing machine from the rest and treat it’s effluent as a toxic substance. Dump it in a sand pit, away from anything to be eaten. (I’m skirting close to “giving advice” here, but the subject needs airing. If I’m wrong, then cite scientific evidence, not regulations, to rebut my claims. Many regulations are set with political aims in mind, no matter what the relevant science may say.)

          CYA boilerplate: For entertainment purposes only.

          1. Isolato


            I thought I was going to water our greenhouse w/the greywater from the new laundry. UH UH!.While we use the mildest of soaps and cleaners it just was not going to work out.But we DO live (and have for 20 years) with a Sunmar composting toilet and water collection off our roof. Not dead yet! That said, we are on a remote island w/o much in the way of “officialdom”

            1. ambrit

              Be still my beating heart! Tell the rest of us what the Elysium fields are like from time to time as an intellectual ‘antidote.’
              Good. For. You.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Why would you tell them? I believe our county does permit composting toilets. At least, there are a lot of them around.

    2. bob

      “Thus, the overwhelming volumes of water that enter the combined system when rainfall becomes severe is not generally a problem. ”

      BS it’s not a problem. It’s a huge, ongoing, costly problem that is mitigated, at best, with piles of money.

      1. ambrit

        I believe you misconstrued my statement. I meant that, when segregated, the storm runoff was not a major problem, for the sewage treatment system. Then, the system continues to handle an “average” load, regardless of the rainfall amounts. Storm runoff itself is then a separate matter.

      2. DH

        Please see my post below about how some communities are focusing on reducing the amount of stormwater runoff instead of just treating it.

    3. DH

      Combined sewer overflows (CSO) are problems in old cities, including some city cores in the south and southwest. However, until air conditioning became common, not too many people lived in the South and Southwest so their big urban expansions occurred once separate systems were common.

      Onondaga County in NYS was building secondary holding plants in the 1990s and early 2000s to hold storm overflows of the combined sewer system and was sued under environmental justice because they were being built in the low income areas. That forced a rethink of the whole approach that was quite beneficial because the county changed their approach to reducing the stormwater going in to the sewer system in the first place. They called it “Save the Rain”. Doing this meant they didn’t have to build the new plant at all.

      The sewer systems are a key infrastructure area that is greatly neglected at this time. The rains in California are exposing the deterioration of their sewer system – those sinkholes you see on TV swallowing cars are failing storm sewers that are allowing the soils under the pavement to erode into the sewers.

      1. bob

        You can’t hold onondaga county up as any sort of example for CSO abatement. They still allow new drains to be connected to the sewers.

        They also did build a new plant. More correctly, they built more capacity in the same place.

        “At least 7 million gallons of sewage spewed into Onondaga Lake after pipe break”

        Further underlining the CSO non-abatement-

        “The surge of record-breaking rain last week broke a sewer pipe near Onondaga Lake, spilling at least 7 million gallons of raw sewage into the lake.”

        “Pipe break” makes it seem like it was removed from the shit plant. It wasn’t. It was at the shit plant.

        It helps that onondaga lake is a superfund site, so who’s paying attention anyway? Build an amphitheater! Buy a gondola! Monorail!

        1. DH

          Please note that the pipe was 50 years old. Boring maintenance and replacement has been the single biggest missing element in infrastructure. But the headlines go to the sexy high speed trains etc. until people realize that water isn’t coming out the tap, sewage spills into lakes, lights don’t come on. Once the storm is past, then they forget about it until the next time things don’t work.

          Regarding Save the Rain, it is making a significant difference but it takes a while to change the impacts of two centuries of development.

          1. bob

            First up, this is in a area with no real population gain.

            So why build more?


            “At the same time, the region suffers from costly sprawl. From 2001 to 2008, while population remained flat, the community added 144 miles of new water mains, 61 miles of road and 10 miles of sewer lines.”

            We can’t fix what’s broken, but we keep adding costly infrastructure. Consensus!

            That’s also a net deficit of 134 miles of sewers, that will have to be built at some point. Is that in the budget?

            “save the rain!” It has such a nice ring to it! In the overall picture, it doesn’t amount to a drop in a bucket. But, it’s a good way for the CE to get some green cred, while implementing and presiding over giant subsidies to builders and developers to encourage them to built out further, while leaving behind HUGE legacy costs.

            Why didn’t they fix the pipe that was 50 years old, next to the shit plant, instead of building 116 new miles of water main?

    4. Isolato

      Could be worse, Ambrit. I worked on the massive West Point Expansion project.I feel for the cleanup crew though (and can only be reminded of the wonderful scene in “Brazil” where “Central Services” gets the ol’ switcheroo) At the time (and to this day) The City of Victoria, B.C.(Provincial Capitol) continues to pump its raw sewage straight into the waters around me. Once upon a time I had a reputation as your “go-to” guy for sewage treatment plant photography. One fish, many ponds.

      1. polecat

        Occasionally, Mr. Floaty makes a fleeting appearance in Vctoria, to try to bring the issue to a head ….

      2. DH

        Victoria has been having a major brawl about which communities don’t want the new sewage treatment plant.

  19. Teejay

    Re: Is Ryan effective at anything other than getting his name in the papers?
    A straight response to a soft ball right down the middle; yes he is. He’s been wildly effective
    (at least initially) at convincing the Washington establishment, the insiders, and political talk show hosts that he’s a VSP (very serious person) with very serious ideas to deal with very serious problems. By doing that he was effective at getting his name in the paper as well.

    1. Pat

      Yeah, remember Obama praising him and his acumen… But then Washington insiders consider McCain and Graham to be foreign policy experts.

      1. polecat

        Yeah .. foreign policy experts ….

        the Mouth .. and the Anus

        One ..

        maybe Ryan’s the third leg of the stool …

    2. fresno dan

      February 19, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Remember when Daryl Strawberry played for the Mets, and the bleacher bums use to serenade him with
      D A R Y L D A R Y L !

      I am kinda thinking it won’t be too long before Ryan is going to be serenaded with B O E H N E R B O E H N E R !

    3. Benedict@Large

      Ryan is effective at spouting wack-a-doodle ideas from Austrian economics, the school which is the wet dream of arch-Birchers like the Koch brothers. The Koch brothers are also major advertisers in the US news media, which means their ideas will be aired, regardless of how much trash they are.

      Trump may be an ass, but when he says “fake news”, he’s right on target. The news, economics or otherwise, is whatever the rich want it to be. Because money.

    4. bob

      Ryan was great at representing the interests of his sponsor, Credit Suisse. I bet you can’t find a branch in his state.

      In 2008 he was great at getting on TV, playing the VSP, and BEGGING for the banks to be bailed out, in the name of retribution on “lazy homeowners”

      Why those CNBC tapes aren’t run 24×7 around his election is another mystery, if you still pretend that his “opponents” are any different..

  20. Catullus

    Re: The old executive office building…

    Ancient Rome is one of my loves. When I read that commentary about the old executive building mostly empty and Lambert’s commentary on it…

    I immediately thought of the old Roman Emperors. The later ones. They stayed out of Rome as much as possible for safety reasons. Ancient Rome in the latter days were a swamp – full of dangerous people and dangerous intrigues. It was easier to run the Empire on the road – cuts out as many people so to get things done faster without being bound up in intrigues. Avoids the rotten mentality stuck in Rome. Louis the Sun King could control things at Versailles but D.C. is beyond that so just run the country elsewhere and avoid the intrigues and mentality helps to get more stuff done.

    Trump may be the first President to run the US outside D.C. since George Washington and John Adams. Washington DC was being build up during Washington’s time so it was John Adams who was the first President to run the country from D.C.

    I am certain Trump is running the government in nondescript offices elsewhere in the country. Certainly a good way to minimize D.C. involvement!

    1. Ed

      Since state capitols tend to be in podunks, governors of large states usually have their offices elsewhere and are in the state capitol when the legislature is in session.

      It would make alot of sense for the President of the US to adopt the same model. Trump owns an office building in Manhattan, so if he worked from there is would be perfectly accessible to the rest of the players. He only needs to be in DC to deal with Congress.

      This also cuts down on the traffic stopping motorcades that happens whenever the President moves around DC. The President really should be traveling mainly by helicopter.

      1. Pat

        Please, please, please do not suggest that Trump work out of NYC. You think the traffic stopping motorcades are bad in DC….

        Not that I can even imagine Trump working out of some smaller city, it actually might be better to take the government to someplace that would benefit from the traffic. More people working there, renting there, buying their food and essentials there… They might not mind the traffic as much.

        1. Foppe

          Who would it affect, if Trump were to go to NYC? And, relatedly, would it increase the demand for better PT?

          1. Pat

            You do realize that out of the over 8 million people who live in NYC, probably half or more of which work in Manhattan, the average weekly income is less than $1500/week? And that is averaged against a whole lot of people who think of that as chump change.
            There are a whole lot of people here who work two or three jobs, who struggle to keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables, clothes on themselves and their kids. And who use public transportation to get to and from those multiple jobs. If you are dependent on buses, you can figure that Trump being in town means that your commute route can possibly double in time. That your tax dollars instead of going to getting rid of the rats in your neighborhood park goes to providing the extra security necessary for the President.

            You are right that the people I’m assuming you are thinking about will have little or no disadvantages from Trump being in town. But they are not the majority of the people who live in NYC, work in NYC or even pay most of the taxes in NYC.


            1. Foppe

              I do realize that, yes. But afaik, car ownership (esp in the cities) skews ‘white’ rather heavily, so it’s mostly a question of how it would affect the quality of public transport (PT).

              That aside, I don’t really understand why NYC would have to finance his security, esp. if this would become a structural thing. Wouldn’t the tab go to the fed?

              1. Pat

                Unfortunately, not so much. We spend a fortune every year on security and traffic control for the UN and any and all Presidential visits. I know the City was going to try to hit the Federal government up for the millions in costs of the police in place around Trump Plaza in the months up to his officially taking office. This was for traffic, security and crowd control for the protests, I have yet to hear if anything has come from it.


                Hell we pay even when he isn’t in town. As to quote an article complaining on how much it costs when Trump goes to Florida, the NYPD estimates it is costing around $500,000 a day to secure Trump Tower, where the First Lady is still living.

                As for public transportation, a large portion to most of the traffic in Manhattan is some form of non private transportation. The streets are filled with taxis, car services, and yes, buses, during the day there are also delivery trucks, private cars as someone just driving from one place to another is not most of what I see. There is a massive bus system in Manhattan, and some of us need to use them for various reasons. I know when Trump is in town because my non peak traffic bus trip goes from being half hour/forty minutes to taking about an hour and a half. Yes, his sitting at home in Trump Tower can still slow traffic that much because the moment you mess up traffic on one street (say by having police cars and armored vehicles taking up a lane) it causes problems on adjoining or parallel streets here. And when any President is in town, they are known to shut down a street to regular traffic period depending on how much they have been able to secure the area around him. So yes, it does affect public transportation.

                1. Alex Morfesis

                  Ed Koch purposefully created the traffic gridlock to spur the appearance of activity…the city never readjusted his purposeful disallignment of traffic…

                  the city could easily mandate truck deliveries only take place between midnight and 5 am and the city would begin to flow properly again…and it could reduce by one third the number of streets that have commercial parking available…it could also take direct control of traffic lights and adjust patterns based on back ups, by installing green blinking into the light changing sequence to give drivers a 10 second notice of the lights adjusting to yellow and red…

                  But that would require politicians being concerned for “das little peepullz”

              2. Yves Smith

                No commuter with an operating brain cell uses a car. Daily garage charges are way over $40 and you have to drive in very very early and pay attention.

                A lot of people use busses. There are many express busses from the far reaches of the five boros, particularly Staten Island. Trump in midtown is a disaster for them.

                1. Foppe

                  Fair enough. Still sounds like a bizarrely bad status quo even without Trump around, but I guess that’s par for the course.

        2. Oregoncharles

          St. Louis or Denver, near the middle of the country. But I’m sure Trump, a quintessential New Yorker, would consider them podunk-ville.

      2. José

        The medieval kings in Europe didn’t really have a capital city. They traveled across their respective countries most of the year – one month in city A, two weeks in town B, issuing decrees, listening to the local population’s complaints, keeping regional barons in check, administering justice etc.

        What if President Trump could find inspiration in that model and adapt it to the US of the 21st century?

        1. witters

          The real champion here was The First Emperor (Qin Shi Huang). He went all over China, constantly. And he built roads to do it (I believe he built more miles than Rome ever did). That’s one big infrastructure.

        2. Tigerlily

          Why not take it to the next level and do the same for Congress? Everyone complains it is out of touch with ordinary Americans. They could spend one session in Boise, the next in Eugene, and the following one on Galveston. And put them on a strict spending account budget so they can’t take a retinue of servants aides to wait on them hand and foot like in Washington. It would get them away from the lobbyists and bureaucracy and allow them reconnect with the people they represent by eating in the same restaurants and shopping at the same big box stores. They could judge local beauty pageants and pie eating contests and confab with citizens about single payer while waiting in line at Starbucks. The Chinese wall between rulers and ruled could finally be breached.

          Of course it’s not going to happen. Members of Congress are America’s aristocracy and they would wither and die if removed from their natural habitat of billionaire donors, sycophantic lobbyists and the whole infrastructure of luxe living that exists in DC to pamper them. Where the heck are you going to get decent Beluga Royal in Boise?!

          Still, I think it’s a fun thought experiment in part because it illustrates just how wide the gap between rulers and ruled really is. Often it seems that the only real innovation of American “democracy” is that the sheep are granted a highly circumscribed role in deciding which pack of wolves is going to devour them.

    2. human

      GWB was out of DC for over 900 days during his administration. Debate still rages over whether he was actually “running” anything then, however.

    3. armchair

      How much comfort is there for a bleeding heart when Trump’s actions are comparable to emporers and absolute monarchs? Will vast wealth be a prerequisite for future presidents, because possession of a privately owned infrastructure will be the only viable way to govern? Maybe we can die hoping for the Koch brothers or Mark Cuban to save us?

    4. Jomo

      Please, the notion that Trump is somehow running the government from nondescript offices is a nonstarter. I worked for the US Department of Labor for almost 30 years. All contracting by competitive bid of Public Office Space is through the General Services Administration and is a process that takes YEARS! Not to mention the contracting of infrastructure for secure designated data lines, etc. If no one is at home in the Executive Office Building then no one is at home. Government is not a startup family business.

      1. Catullus

        Jomo – careful, the old rules you was used to may no longer apply. Try thinking out of the box. It’s fun and you get less surprised if certain things happen.

        It’s often said that the true decisions were made at restaurants or golf courses then finalized at the official place.

        President Trump may be paying people in non descript offices to work on proposals and so on – nothing actually official, therefore not necessarily required to be operated on normal lines of process or authority. If any questions arise, Trump can always claim he had people discussing theory only aka think tanks. Nothing official.

        Trump’s Trumpers may be at the moment working elsewhere then when the work is ready to be official, it gets brought into the old executive office to then become part of the process. There probably are still a few souls at the old executive office building to do this. Then it gets brought to Congress or to the President or whatever to get finalized.

        Ancient Rome still had a huge bureaucracy and it did run the Empire. But the major decisions by the Emperor or these near the Emperor was often done elsewhere.

        I have to admit that Trump calling D.C. a swamp was a bit ridiculous because… Trump himself is a gigantic crocodile from another giant swamp called NYC. There are lots of complex laws and regulations. Trump Tower is a perfect example. It’s too tall for its location and requires parks. Trump got around that by buying air rights, shaping the tower in a certain way and have mini parks with trees up high on the tower itself. Getting things done in NYC real estate can require real swampland mentality. Trump himself may rival the best lawyers in terms of finding loopholes even though he is not officially a lawyer himself. Time will tell but I suspect D.C. Insiders may have met their swampland match in Trump.

        Anyway, there are always unofficial parallel systems and I am certain Trump et al is making full use of them. Necessary if the system is against them…

      2. grizziz

        My take on the empty offices is that that the Trump administration wants to follow their libertarian ideology and simply leave them empty. Instead of trying to drown the government in a bathtub like Grover Norquist desires, drain the swamp by holding back the personnel required to execute the administrative state and watch the government wither.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hamilton wanted it to be in New York, but Jefferson preferred the capital someplace rural.

      The compromise was the Assumption plan and the District of Columbia.

      In that spirit, it’s time to move the capital again. Today’s DC is like New York in the 1790s.

      1. Katharine

        I thought there was also some concern that it should be relatively central, as the country was then constituted. The Mid-Atlantic region was a reasonable choice on that basis.

          1. DH

            Lebanon, Kansas is the geographic centroid of the United States. It would be the ideal place to move Congress to. Of course, Brownback will ensure that there are no public roads or airports to serve it and the politicians’ and lobbyists’ kids will have to go to private schools (but they do that in DC anyway) , but that should be fine with Donald Trump and this GOP Congress.


      1. Jim Haygood

        It’s also a good strategy for Trump to become the fifth face on Mt Rushmore, though Obama still believes he’s a lock for the spot.

    1. Watt4Bob

      Here’s a helpful link if you’re interested in reality-based reporting.

      From the Snopes link;

      Sweden does indeed have far more reported cases of sexual assault than any other country. But it’s not because Swedes — of any colour — are very criminal. It’s because they’re very feminist. In 2005, Sweden’s Social Democratic government introduced a new sex-crime law with the world’s most expansive definition of rape.


      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Any breakdown of the number of cases according to the previous definition and according to the expanded definition?

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      This Sweden reference is being characterized on msnbs this morning as baseless “conspiracy theory” and just more Muslim / immigrant bashing of the racist kind.

      Looking forward to mika brz…..’s take, if any, tomorrow on the always well-informed morning joe. Her brother is the u. s. ambassador to Sweden, her aversion to fake “news” well, if unconvincingly, established and thus her utterances, however incoherent, will undoubtedly be taken as gospel.

    3. Lee

      Reporting norms and social pressures affecting reporting and enforcement differ widely between countries and cultures. Not that this may or may not be an important issue in Sweden but the stats may be misleading as noted in the BBC article linked below. For example. official stats indicate that Canada and Australia have the highest kidnapping rates in the world, much higher kidnap rates than Mexico, which is highly unlikely. As is India’s rape stats that indicating only 2 per 100,000, while the U.S. rate is 27.2/100,000 (2010 Wikipedia).

    4. DH

      My understanding is that rape victims actually report rape in Sweden because the victims are not viewed as criminals there.

  21. a different chris

    Well, if you need a grim chuckle — on the sidebar of Fortune’s Oroville Dam Disaster article is a link to “Leadership: What Bill and Melinda Gates see that Donald Trump Doesn’t”… as of now, when you click on the link you get “We could not locate the page you requested”.

    Yeah, didn’t think so.

  22. fresno dan

    “He [[McCain]] would bankrupt the nation. We’re very lucky John McCain’s not in charge because I think we’d be in perpetual war,” Paul added.

    McCain in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” warned that the suppression of a free press can lead to a dictatorial regime. He made the comments after Trump tweeted on Friday that the media is “the enemy of the American people.”
    Paul argued that McCain has a history of being wrong major foreign policy questions.

    “I would say John McCain’s been wrong on just about everything over the last four decades. He advocated for the Iraq War, which I think destabilized the Middle East,” he said.

    “If you look at the map, there’s probably at least six different countries where John McCain has advocated for us having boots on the ground,” he added.

    I would just say that McCain saying that the Washington Post and the like, who are engaged – if not a conspiracy, than a corporate MIC cabal, i.e., propornot – to assure “right” think, are the last people who are acting to assure a vigorous and free press and are the LAST group that should be defended. WP and NYT are the epitome of the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil coverage of the MIC and the enthusiastic proponents of the indispensable nation crap.

    1. Paid Minion

      We are “indispensable”

      Think about how much money the globalists would have to spend to accomplish the Master Plan, if Uncle Sugar and the wretched refuse weren’t picking up the tab.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Seeing the same signs here in Tucson. Personally, I don’t care where my neighbors are from. I do care if they’re quiet and well behaved.

    2. lambert strether

      If you want to see real hate, get a liberal ten per-center started on the working class. All done in the most civil manner possible, of course.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Then they’ll accuse you of wanting to start a class war if you say anything about Oligarchical capitalism being parasitic.

        My usual refrain is “I’m not starting anything. I’m trying to get the working class to recognize the war was already well underway before their grandfathers were born.”

  23. Kurt Sperry

    “Bob: “Both NWS radars for the Oroville area are down” (here and here). Odd.”

    Neither of those links* specify an area of radar coverage. The following link will take you to the Nexrad radar imagery for the Oroville area, which is currently working just fine-

    *both links point to ” ” which defaults to Dallas-Ft. Worth.

    1. bob

      They weren’t the links I sent. The radar stations are Sacramento and Beale AFB

      They both seem to be working now. Last night when I went to check, they were both out.

  24. jfleni

    RE: U.S. carrier group patrols in tense (we make it that way!) South China Sea.

    Meantime, dams, roads, and much other infrastructure falls apart, and the super-rich neocons in doggie-patch DC say, “Up yours, Pilgrim, tough luck”!

    Time to tie up at least half of these tubs and take care of our own problems!

    1. Paid Minion

      Gee, you would think that if anyone was going to be clamoring for “freedom of the seas” in the South China Sea, it would be the Phillipines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, etc.

      But the last I heard, those guys were more influenced/compromised by China’s economic power. Economic power they achieved with the generous help of our political and business leadership.

      The saber rattling by both sides is just so much kabuki. The military leaders on both sides haven’t figured out that the 1% ers/oligarchs have too much money at stake to let them screw it up.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If the goal is to tie up half of those tubs and take care of our own problems, go for the ones in South American and a few in the Middle East, and you would still have that carrier group in South China Sea, to keep company with China’s tub.

  25. rich

    Cerberus’ Steward Buying Eight CHS Hospitals

    Health care officials in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida will have an opportunity to ask questions about the deal. Steward’s integrated care model in Massachusetts had the system selling its hospital facilities to a REIT for $1.2 billion and leasing them back. This deal returned Cerberus’ initial investment in Steward and more. Cerberus made more money off Steward by charging annual management fees, deal fees and likely bled the hospital system via dividends/special distributions.

    State health officials should ask about the potential impact of Steward enacting these same strategies on the eight CHS hospitals. KKR’s ownership of hospital giant HCA added $15 billion in health care costs from additional interest expense and dividends alone.

    Neither party has shared the price or how Steward/Cerberus plans to structure/finance the deal. CHS will need to share information with Wall Street analysts and shareholders so I expect a number will be revealed.

    There are few economies of scale in having hospitals spread out over four states. However, Steward will hire more overseers for their growing healthcare plantation:

    De la Torre said he didn’t expect there to be layoffs as a result of the acquisition, though the health system will be hiring more people in both Massachusetts and each state to help oversee the operations.

    Fifty eight percent of CHS employees approved of CEO Wayne Smith. They may be disappointed to learn only eighteen percent of Steward employees approve of CEO Ralph de la Torre.

    That’s a 40% reduction in leadership respect. CHS employees will learn how their new boss earned this level of disdain.

    just what every patient needs…..a multi head dog to prevent you from leaving.

  26. jfleni

    RE: Why Is Asia Returning to Coal?

    “Clean Coal” is like heroin and coke! Feel good now, pay later! Good Luck!

  27. diptherio

    I’ve attended way too many facilitated “conversations” to imagine that sitting in a circle makes hierarchy go away….

    No, it doesn’t…at least not on it’s own. Consciously organizing horizontally is a necessary but insufficient condition for creating healthy social space for all involved (read “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” for an in-depth analysis).

    However, there are additional things that you can do besides “sitting in a circle” that actually do a lot to create non-hierarchical space, and keep people from inadvertently re-creating the myriad social oppressions of the society-at-large. Sociocracy (aka Dynamic Governance) is one way that I have found amazingly effective at counteracting unintentional hierarchy by structuring the conversation in a way that guarantees a level of horizontality. We’ve posted quite a bit of practical info on this “system” recently. I’ll link to just one of them — a case study from a worker-owned co-op bakery.

  28. Polemos

    Rumor mongering:

    Radars near Oroville Dam are down due to weather-modification related activity (e.g. HAARP, other tectonic weapons, &c.), either to obscure the use of such technology or because the technology took them offline. Something like that.

  29. voxhumana

    Apologies if this link has already been posted… Oliver Stone produced (not directed) this doc – Ukraine On Fire – that promotes a long-ranging historical timeline regarding Ukraine. It also gives a good explanation of how color revolutions work. It’s worth watching, imho. The details offered are quite different from the western narrative. It’s a doc so I won’t argue it’s unbiased… but it does make a strong case against the aggression Russia is being charged with. Best way to watch is to make sure the subtitles are on then turn down the volume…the Russian-over-English dubbing is distracting.

  30. Jane

    “I’ve attended way too many facilitated “conversations” to imagine that sitting in a circle makes hierarchy go away….”

    lol…what? those round board-room tables don’t make us all equal? c’est dommage!

  31. rich

    VA Waste By Full Measure Staff Sunday, February 19th 2017

    VA contractor under Lockheed Martin:

    February 14, 2017 — Born in Iran, David Vatan attended medical school and came to live in the U.S.

    David Vatan: This country I believe based on my observations is one of the best countries in the world.

    He got a job in California working for a VA contractor under Lockheed Martin: QTC Medical Services.

    Vatan’s job was to review medical files of Vietnam vets to see if they’re eligible for payments for injuries from Agent Orange, a toxic herbicide used to remove leaves off trees in jungles where the enemy hid.

    David Vatan: By reviewing their files, I was honored and I felt that there is a purpose in what I do and at the end of the day every day I felt so good if I reviewed a file and I found the evidence that could benefit our veterans, that’s the least I could do.

    Sharyl: So their ability to get payments or benefits hinged on the reviews that people like you were doing of their medical files?

    David Vatan: Absolutely.

    But Vatan says

    he quickly saw major problems at QTC:

    large numbers of vets denied benefits after he says their medical files weren’t properly reviewed.

    Sharyl: What made you think that something wasn’t right?

    David Vatan: I noticed that some of my co-workers are reviewing claim folders a lot faster than I did and then I realize some of them do not have the necessary background to review and understand the highly complex medical records. And, much to my surprise, some of them had only high school education.

    QTC got $300-$350 per file. The faster the analysts worked, the more money QTC made.

    Sharyl: How many files do you think could reasonably be reviewed in a day?

    David Vatan: Uh, five or six based on my observation.

    Sharyl: But some people were doing 50?

    David Vatan: 50 and 60.

    QTC staff emails confirmed the files were being pushed through in what Vatan sees as impossibly fast. “We are running behind” The staff were told. “We were 30 short.” “We did not do well yesterday.” “We need to make it up today.”

    Vatan reported his concerns to QTC’s senior leadership and parent company, Lockheed Martin.

    David Vatan: I approached the management, and I was challenged, and then I approached the

    Lockheed Martin Ethics Office.

    Sharyl: How did you tell Lockheed Martin what you thought was going wrong?

    David Vatan: I told them I believe it’s unethical, unprofessional and as a result based on the statistics that they have released, it’s unacceptable.

    Sharyl: The company was getting a huge amount of tax dollars to conduct these reviews?

    David Vatan: Absolutely. I think it’s close to 50 million dollars.

    That’s your tax money.

    Sharyl: What would they say?

    Nothing like making money on denying benefits to those that are sick and served our country. What a disgrace. Trump your move.

  32. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The woolly mammoth:

    “By allowing cold resistant elephants or mammoths to repopulate the tundra,” Church says, “they will punch down the snow in wintertime allowing cold air to come in, and in the summertime they’ll knock down trees, which are very absorbent.” This will help the dead grass start to grow, he explains, and slow the release of carbon from the soil into the atmosphere.

    “When you simulate this with a real ecosystem in Siberia,” he says, “the temperature drop is 20 degrees, which is really big deal in terms of delaying the release of carbon by melting.”

    “…knock down trees, which are very absorbent.” – not sure what that means. Absorbent of what? Why knock down trees that are absorbent of that.

    In any case, nature is complex and interconnected in ways we can’t imagine. We aim to re-introduce something that lived in that area a long time ago. We assume it’s not an invasive species – it lived here before. But the here now is not the here a long time ago. Maybe it is an invasive species now.

    1. DH

      We are struggling to deal with exploding deer populations. Just wait until we have car-mammoth collisions.

      1. Foppe

        Deer/fish/other ‘game’ animal populations are in large part created / maintained by the state because their “over”population drives demand for hunting licences, which is big business.

    2. Edward E

      Trees are very absorbent of carbon and when they die much of it goes into the atmosphere as they decay. He could also mean sunlight, I suppose.

      The reintroduction of the wooly mammoth would be very expensive. Claiming that the mammoth would save us from global warming is clever at attracting funds I would think. Read somewhere that there’s now only small areas left that are suitable to sustain them, unless they can eventually knock down enough trees and bushes to expand suitable habitat.

    3. LT

      Maybe they are going to use the Woolly Mammoths to invade Russia?
      The scientists should throw that out there. The Pentagon probably has a few billion laying around between sofa cushions.

      1. Edward E

        I don’t think we can wait that long, Russia is now just a mere 85 miles from NATO… we’re sending equipment to Alaska.
        Seriously, Can you imagine Russia and China had built up a lot of military equipment 85 miles into Mexico from our border. We’d be writing rants on cave walls by now.

      2. meeps


        Haha. Maybe they are Magic The Gathering nerds? War Mammoth does have 3/3 (power/toughness) AND Trample. ;)

    4. Oregoncharles

      ” Absorbent of what? ”
      Solar heat. Making the Arctic darker is a multiplier of global heating. Apparently he thinks the mammoths would make it whiter in the winter.

      Of course, mammoths didn’t prevent the end of the Ice Age.

  33. LT

    Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity By 2050 Forbes
    • Human activities are behind the extinction crisis
    • Because they (start-ups /cooperatives) are private rather than public, they measure how they are doing using performance indicators (such as how many products they have produced) rather than elaborate accounting standards.
    What if institutions and governments are pre-occupied with other existential threats to humanity and the ability of just enough of humanity to survive those threats? Large-scale inequality will remain unaddressed.

    I did not know this, but there is a project/institution called “The Future of Humanity Institute” at Oxford. It exists to deal with existential threats to humanity. This institute has the ears of academia, the State Department, and other scientists. Nick Bostrom, the director of this institute, would disagree that “inequality” and the quality of life for those alive today are the paramount concern.

    Excerpts (especially notice the last one):
    “Bostrom attracts an unusual amount of press attention for a professional philosopher, in part because he writes a great deal about human extinction. His work on the subject has earned him a reputation as a secular Daniel, a doomsday prophet for the empirical set. But Bostrom is no voice in the wilderness. He has a growing audience, both inside and outside the academy. Last year, he gave a keynote talk on extinction risks at a global conference hosted by the US State Department. More recently, he joined Stephen Hawking as an advisor to a new Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge.”

    “ ‘There is a concern that civilizations might need a certain amount of easily accessible energy to ramp up,’ Bostrom told me. ‘By racing through Earth’s hydrocarbons, we might be depleting our planet’s civilization startup-kit. But, even if it took us 100,000 years to bounce back, that would be a brief pause on cosmic time scales.’
    It might not take that long. The history of our species demonstrates that small groups of humans can multiply rapidly, spreading over enormous volumes of territory in quick, colonizing spasms. There is research suggesting that both the Polynesian archipelago and the New World — each a forbidding frontier in its own way — were settled by less than 100 human beings…”

    “It is this proper accounting of extinction’s utilitarian toll that prompts Bostrom to argue that reducing existential risk is morally paramount. His arguments elevate the reduction of existential risk above all other humanitarian projects, even extraordinary successes, like the eradication of smallpox, which has saved 100 million lives and counting…”
    I would love know if Bostrom considers Capitalism or profit-seeking an existential threat.

    Much of the interview ponders what the existence of life on other planets and in other galaxies would mean. Additionally, there are many problems with assumptions and questions in the article – such as all the focus on Darwin and natural selection without the acknowledgement that all of us exist today as a combination of natural and a good deal of ARTIFICIAL selection. Our individual positions in society and economies are a result of artificial selection, propelled by heavily promoted cultural “norms” rather than biological ones.

    The profit motive and its effect on humanity is not questioned by the institute (at least not in interviews contained in the Aeon article).
    Could the profit motive be the existential threat to humanity surviving on a mass scale?

    The Forbes article approaches “going there,” but it is just an approach. Start-ups/Cooperatives still exist in a world where government sustained corporate monopolies are circling like sharks and these corporations are beholden to the short-term profit seeking of stock market traders. What are the solutions to that?

    The writer of the Forbes article, Drew Hanson responds to a TINA commenter:
    • Michael Hermens a year ago
    Capitalism is a pretty bad system, except for all the other systems devised by man.
    I read the comments on this board and wonder what economic system would one replace capitalism with? Government dictatorship based socialism? Total government ownership of everything? I’ve been to Russia and Greece and frankly, I feel more environmentally safer and more economically empowered here in the US than either of those countries. Perhaps Capitalism will starve people in 2050, but North Koreans are starving today.
    Scott has a great point – its difficult to see how empowered employees would have the impact that Drew states. I am interested in a discussion about what system would be actually better for everybody than free market Capitalism.

    • Drew Hansen a year ago
    I think our challenge is redefining success in a way that doesn’t jeopardize profitable enterprise yet incorporates sustainability and human health.

    Should there be some kind of “Goodwins Law” for economic discussions? Along the lines of, if any criticism of Capitalism occurs someone will eventually holler TINA with the only alternatives being (cue scary music) North Korea or the Soviet Union?

    Still, we must confront a mindset that may not be prioritizing the survival of mass populations. These articles exemplify competing views.

    P.S. – the Aeon article notes that there have been no “forever” species. One could get even more philosophical and see Bostrom’s concerns as the very human fear of death. Is his philosophy just a coping mechanism for dealing with the inevitable, despite all attempts at immortality through reproduction?

    1. LT

      And full disclosure:
      I believe that since we are not immortal, we need to do the most to make life better for people that exist in the here and now, for as long as we can sustain a “here and now.”

    2. Oregoncharles

      ” the Aeon article notes that there have been no “forever” species.” There are some very ancient ones, though. Modern humans are roughly 200,000 years old, a blink in time. (The distinction between “modern” and Neanderthal may be false, since there is evidence of extensive interbreeding. That would make humans a lot older, but still relative newcomers.) As LT implies, Hanson is guilty of a false alternative – there are other options, one being co-ops co-ordinated through markets.

      The equation of markets and capitalism is a pet peeve of mine. It’s actually propaganda. They aren’t even the same kind of thing. Markets describe a mode of exchange, based on feedback. Feedback regulation is a fundamental principle of life. Capitalism is a mode of OWNERSHIP; it describes the units trading – and not necessarily through a market. It separates ownership from production. Worker co-ops correct that – consumer co-ops are similar but not the same.

      Struggling to keep this brief: I think markets are worth keeping, an indispensable (and probably ineradicable) tool for managing a complex system. Capitalism, which preserves a feudal type of relationships and excels at concentrating power, is then the problem. Worker co-ops are an example of market socialism. One implication is that Bolshevism/Communism is non-market capitalism – ownership is separated from the workers. Hence the very Industrial Revolution quality of the Soviet Union.

      That said, markets are no panacea. For one thing, being rather like living things, they’re potential Frankenstein’s monsters. And they have requirements, which means that market failure is quite common. They make useful servants and bad masters, like most social tools.

      That’s a very brief take on a very complex subject, but I think the distinction is extremely important, and it’s been suppressed for the benefit of both capitalists and communists.

  34. Nakatomi Plaza

    Interesting Uber story out of SF today: Long-distance Uber, Lyft drivers’ crazy commutes, marathon days, big paychecks

    This confirms what I’ve been suspecting about Uber: you can make money, but only if you’re willing to totally dedicate your life to driving and you know every little trick to game the system. Plus, you’re got people willing to drive long distances to poach fares from hot markets, making the prospect of making “side gig” money even less likely.

    1. oho

      >>Working 12 to 16 hours a day, she can pull in up to $1,700 after Lyft and Uber take their cuts, but before deducting for gas and other expenses.

      a) This is not safe. Truckers are capped for a reason. I’ve Ubered 10 hours straight too (with one 10-min break). It’s 100% absolutely not doable long-term.

      b) This *might* be fake news as I absolutely 100% guarantee that drivers get kicked off the app if you’ve been online too long in a 24-hr period.

      c) **up to $1,700** —- this is gross revenue with an obvious disclaimer. i’d like to see her math on her net profits.

      1. oho

        edit: one can drive >10 hrs/day if you game the apps —e.g. drive 10 hours on Uber and then 3 hours on Lyft in a day.

        I absolutely would not share a car w/a driver who boasts about 15 hour days. Not a fan of unnecessary tail risk.

        1. oho

          and i’m empathetic to people who gotta do what they gotta do to make ends meet—-

          which is why I shake my head as to why that driver went on-the-record w/her situation—it’s supposed to be an open secret what drivers do.

          Not on the record.

          1. Nakatomi Plaza

            Hopefully the mythology of Uber is starting to break down. Ride sharing was supposed to cut down on traffic and pollution, too. That’s a little hard to argue when you’ve got hundreds of additional vehicles coming into the city to work for 15 hours at a time.

            And SF seems to be the only city in CA where this practice makes sense, which doesn’t bode well since Uber seems unlikely to attract very many additional customers unless there is a major industry shift.

    2. Jen

      “Plus, you’re got people willing to drive long distances to poach fares from hot markets, making the prospect of making “side gig” money even less likely.”

      I was in Austin a couple of years ago a couple of days before SXSW. The cabbie who took me to the airport told me he was taking the weekend off. He said that with all of the Uber drivers flooding the area for the weekend, nobody made any money.

    3. KurtisMayfield

      My favorite part of the article:

      A dense concentration of affluent, tech-savvy passengers

      I know the Uber app is extremely difficult to use, so therefore you have to be “tech savvy” to use it.

      More like a dense population of people who don’t have cars who don’t mind their rides being subsidized by a local tech company. But it’s OK keep buttering up your readers Chronicle.

  35. Oregoncharles

    From one of the articles on the Oroville dam: “The hillside unexpectedly eroded,”

    “Unexpectedly”??? Is that a joke? It isn’t funny.

    You dump millions of gallons of water down an unprotected hillside, it erodes. Fast. Every time, unless it’s bare rock (and probably even then). That’s just a backwards way of saying it wasn’t really a spillway.

    1. DH

      One of the problems was that they had ignored maintenance of the hillside and allowed trees to grow on it. It should have just been grasses. Trees provide resistance to water flow and when they are toppled by water flow, their root balls are ripped out and pretty quickly you have massive erosion. They were chain-sawing some trees just before the release of water, but the stumps would still have made for resistance and turbulent water flow with erosion and root ball ripping. Grasses would have bent to the flow and provided a smooth surface. Their deep roots would have helped the soils together for a longer period of time

  36. Oregoncharles

    “The AP’s Flawed Immigration ‘Round-Up’ Scoop and the White House Response Simon Maloy, Salon”

    Maloy is one of Salon’s core of dedicated Dembots. The only one more dishonest is Marcotte, just because she essentially lost it during the campaign. I never read his stuff, even though I visit the site frequently. That’s why his response to AP’s own anti-Trump lie is so inadequate: he sympathizes. At least he’s talking about it. I’m surprised.

  37. LT

    RE: Sorry, Trump, but America’s economy is already pretty great WaPo

    “With the economy at near full employment, workers have felt the benefit. The Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta reports that wage growth has picked up to around 3.5 percent per year, up from less than 2 percent at the start of this decade. The Census Bureau reports that median household income rose in 2015 at the fastest rate on record . The number of people living in poverty fell 8 percent…”

    Apparently, that’s a no-no: “workers have felt the benefit.” The article soon follows with ways to reverse any gain, no matter how minor: raise the retirement age (cut benefits) and more immigration (to increase the labor supply in order to lower wages.)

    This article is correctly filed under “Class Warfare.”

    A commenter on to the Wash Post also hit the nail on the head:

    3:23 AM PST
    Repeating the same things that are the reason why Trump won.

  38. Oregoncharles

    Sanders’ proposal on Social Security makes sense, though it’s a half measure. SS is presently quite regressive, BOTH because of the cap (which Sanders would merely raise) AND because it taxes only earned income. If we eliminated the cap and extended the tax to returns to capital (not actually in my own interest, but there you go), the rate could be greatly reduced, which would help reverse inequality.

    I found the article itself problematic. For one thing, ” Social Security is funded through a 6.2% payroll tax” is untrue. Employers pay the other half – I think 7.5%, the old rate. In principle, that ultimately comes out of employes. If you’re self-employed, you pay both halves.

    Furthermore, there is an element of scam to Social Security. It’s generally described as an insurance system, but it’s really a transfer payment – current payers mostly cover current recipients. There’s the famous trust fund, but that draws on the general fund (because the general fund “borrowed” the money), making the system much more vulnerable politically. Sanders’ proposal would solve that by keeping payments current. (One implication of MMT is that shenanigans like the trust fund are largely illusory). Conservatives like to call SS an “unfunded liability,” in reference to it being supposedly an insurance system, but it isn’t “unfunded” any more than any other obligation in the budget: all depend on future taxes, or, of course, the power to print.

    1. Gary O.


      It’s a myth that Social Security, not to mention other federal “obligations” or payments, “depend on future taxes,” in the sense that the US would become insolvent if it failed to balance spending with taxes. In 1946, Beardsley Ruml, President of the NY Fed, wrote “Revenue for Spending is Obsolete.” Taxes are necessary for other things, e.g., to drive the acceptance of the dollar as money, but not to maintain the solvency of the US government.

      In 2006, Alan Greenspan corrected Paul Ryan’s contention that Social Security would become “insolvent” in the future.

      PAUL RYAN: “Do you believe that personal retirement accounts can help us achieve solvency for the system and make those future retiree benefits more secure?”

      ALAN GREENSPAN: “Well, I wouldn’t say that the pay-as-you-go benefits are insecure, in the sense that there’s nothing to prevent the federal government from creating as much money as it wants and paying it to somebody. The question is, how do you set up a system which assures that the real assets are created which those benefits are employed to purchase.”

      1. Foppe

        Does my eye spot Alan G. dissing/second-guessing the functioning of markets, there? I better take a seat, before I hurt myself while fainting from shock.

      2. Oregoncharles

        @ Gary O: The issue with SS is political: it’s supposed to be a dedicated funding source for a specific use. Yes, the government could just print the money (and technically, that’s what it does), but it would then be subject to the same political vagaries as the rest of the budget. Reliability is the point.

        That’s why Social Security, and similar dedicated funds, are a partial exception to the logic of MMT.

        Of course, this reality is lost when the discussion is driven by hostility to the whole idea.

    2. Jim Haygood

      [Social Security] isn’t “unfunded” any more than any other obligation in the budget.

      Actually it is. In the annual Financial Report of the United States, both Social Security and Medicare are treated as off balance sheet obligations — just like Enron’s Special Purpose Entities were.

      This is a prima facie manifestation of premeditated bad faith. The Supreme Court has ruled that Social Security benefits can be reduced or terminated by Congress — there is no enforceable contract, as there would be in any ERISA-regulated plan.

      Frank Roosevelt wanted America’s seniors to be forever dependent on the kindness of Democrat politicians. Unfortunately, they ain’t in charge no more.

      1. ambrit

        Au-contraire Comrade Jim. Ol Frank was trying to stop the generally clueless Oligarchs from causing their own destruction, by angry mobs. The Bonus Marchers were still a strong reminder of the social forces straining to break free of civility and wreck anything and everything. Besides, the business community wasn’t going to do anything to help those no longer exploitable by them. Someone had to step in to handle the problem, and Government was the obvious choice. If only someone had had the foresight to understand the long term effects of better health policies and improved medicine. The “wise” oligarch would have segregated the health advances away from the ‘hoi-polloi.’ Something like what is happening now with the health care field, eh?

      2. Foppe

        I’m not sure I follow how you think B follows from A. What good is an ‘enforceable contract’ in the realm of the legislative?
        Something similar goes for FDR: regardless of what he wanted, the consequence of the creation was vastly expanded autonomy for those at the bottom, who were no longer wholly reliant on the “charity” of people who only give you something when they think you “deserve” it.

      3. John k

        What kindness?
        Obama put SS on the grand bargain table. No rep has ever dared to do that, and not clear today’s reps would either.
        Nixon went to china, Obama (wanted to) gut SS… and all the other auto stabilizers.
        Give it all to Wall Street in exchange for modest bribes!

  39. LT
    Maybe people will stop viewing intelligence agency programs as some sort of “monolithic plot” when those agencies stop viewing society as having a “monolithic plot”.

    For instance, if one crazy individual decides to be convinced that he should make his shoes into a bomb and board a plane, then we all have to take off our shoes at the airport.

    If one member of the “elite” goes off the rails, we are constantly reminded it is some outlier and not a problem with the system as a whole. If one person who is not of “elite” status goes off the rails, we all have to pay the price and suffer consequences.

    Who is it that’s conspiracy-minded again?

    1. LT

      Another way of putting it:
      We can all be now viewed as being potentially “radicalized,” but pearl clutching ensues if institutions are all viewed as potentially corrupt.

    2. DH

      It’s why they want to deregulate the banks again. Just because they went insane and did stupid and illegal stuff a decade ago is no indication that they would ever repeat this again.

      1. John k

        The fact they want to lose the already loose regulatory shackles is prima face evidence they would do it all over again. And why not? Last time huge bonuses and nobody went to jail. Kind of like a kid wanting to get back on the roller coaster, except that he gets a load of candy after each ride.

  40. allan

    Left finds new online tools to fight Trump [The Hill]

    Liberal groups are turning to new technology to help organize their fight against President Trump’s administration. …

    Organizers of high-profile events, including the demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the record-setting Women’s March on Inauguration weekend, are using a new platform from the nonprofit group The Action Network to improve communications with members and organize on the fly.

    Another new digital tool is Hustle, a growing mass-texting app, that lets groups better communicate directly with supporters on the ground. …

    “I think [Facebook is] a great way to get a message out, but I think when you’re trying to facilitate a network approach. Action Network enables you to do that,” …

    A facilitated network approach.
    Your modern professional left – snatching annihilation from the jaws of defeat.

      1. bob

        I couldn’t make it past the first part-

        “Another new digital tool”

        Better than a hammer! It’s a box of hammers!


  41. Oregoncharles

    From the Kunstler article: “The Russia paranoia frenzy is serious business because it indicates that a state-of-war exists between the permanent bureaucracy of government (a.k.a. the Deep State) and the new Trump administration.”
    Shades of “A Very British Coup” – which was the permanent gov’t and the military vs. a socialist PM. This time the polarity is reversed, but the problem is the same. Assuming we aren’t just succumbing to the general hysteria.

    I don’t know anyone who’s actually prepared to deal with a coup, and I don’t see signs of preparation even here on NC. How serious are we? What would we do? (And since I’m too old for anything military, I admit to a tinge of “you and him go fight.”) I was just talking with an old college friend, a lefty but not a Green, who’s in a serious panic. We had a good time reminiscing, but the political talk was pretty depressing.

    1. Jim Haygood

      An alternate formulation to consider is that the coup already happened, about 15-1/2 years ago.

      Life goes on under the martial law of the USA Patriot Act, and the comprehensive illegal domestic spying of the NSA.

      That’s freedumb, son.

    2. aab

      I don’t see anything we can do except keep pushing left for concrete material benefits, to engage enough of the citizenry to change the overall power dynamic.

      I am grateful that once again, the right wing has intervened and done something important for the wrong reasons. They insisted on taking drafting women off the table, which is now enshrined in something that’s been passed already for this year. Not only does this protect my daughter, I’m under the impression it helps protect against launching the Russian land war generally. Our volunteer army is already severely strained, with our terrible political economy creating young people who can’t qualify for service on health or education grounds, even if they want to for economic privation reasons. If they only draft guys, they’ll have to go pretty high up the socio-economic chain to get past that problem. Why, it might even touch the 10%.

      Doesn’t protect any of us from nukes, of course. Thanks, Obama (and Hillary, and Victoria, and Joe, and Neera, and Samantha, and Ash, and…)

      1. Oregoncharles

        A war with Russia would be extremely short and extremely final. I don’t think the draft would have much to do with it.

        Of course, exempting women isn’t very feminist; but I don’t want anybody drafted.

  42. Oregoncharles

    “Rumor is that the Old Executive Office Building, where most WH staff work, is virtually empty. ”
    “True Fact,” or just a rumor, as Stoller says? Anybody been there lately?

  43. barrisj

    Dear God, the Walrus is back in the picture! John Notlob Bolton, the neocon fav previously mentioned for a prominent role in the Trump Administration, now has advanced to the interview stage for Flynn’s NSC replacement. Eliot Abrams was flushed down the crapper, so up floats Bolton…at least Rand Paul is giving him two thumbs down. This is all a very baaaaad dream.

  44. Synapsid


    The idea makes no sense. When wooly mammoths lived in Siberia and Alaska the area wasn’t tundra, it was semi-arid treeless grass and sagebrush (wormwood in Eurasia) plains. It’s tundra today because of permafrost, permanently frozen ground, which prevents infiltration of precipitation and causes a waterlogged landscape. The water is low in oxygen and acidic; the result of that is that dead tundra vegetation doesn’t decay but builds up and forms peat.

    We can’t build a grassland on peat, and mammoths couldn’t live on tundra because they were grazers. Tundra vegetation grows slowly (short growing season that far north) and is well protected, with toxic compounds, from herbivores. It’s also lousy footing for large mammals. Put these factors together and we see why horses and bison, both grazers and both of which used to live there and in Alaska, don’t live on tundra in Alaska today; they live on permafrost-free land that drains, near rivers.

    Warming at the end of the last ice age allowed increased moisture into the region and the development of tundra. That’s why the big grazers–horse, bison, wooly mammoth, wooly rhino (in Asia)–were under such stress, and disappeared, especially in areas where people moved in.

  45. bwilli123

    Uber and female employees
    And so it begins
    “After the first couple of weeks of training, I chose to join the team that worked on my area of expertise, and this is where things started getting weird. On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.”
    More from the comments at Hacker News

    1. bob

      That link to hacker news is well worth reading into the comments. It doesn’t seem to be the rank and file techs that have a misogyny problem.

      Just like everything else the rot is at the top, where the air is clean and any morality and decency is left to the market.

    2. aab

      That was a depressingly familiar, and yet still pertinent and interesting read.

      Misogyny is a tool of hierarchical oppression, just as racism is. One reason I oppose framing “men” as the enemy is that most men are also harmed by misogyny, in countless ways, and can and should be our allies in making the world a more just and egalitarian place.

      On a lighter note, it always amuses me how women are advantaged in open relationships in accessing additional partners, and it always seem to come as a surprise to the men involved, who often seem to be the ones pushing for “open” status.

      For those who might want to comfort themselves with the fantasy that this is about lust, I was sexually harassed by a gay man, who tried to use his power to force me to sleep with a straight man he was attracted to, who instead wanted me. Controlling and demeaning me, undermining my authority with my peers, and using his power to turn me into a commodity he could trade was what drove this, not his desire.

  46. Dave

    “So you want to switch off digitally? I’m afraid that will cost you”
    Screw you and your corporate robothood.

    “Please go to our website to pay your bills, register your product, give us your mileage.”

    Wanna bet? I love calling my insurance agent’s office to give them the mileage on the car, chatting with the gals on the phone, asking about their kids, how things are doing. Their voices brighten up as it may be the first human contact they’ve had that workday. Whenever they mention the website that I could, should,ought to go to, I tell them,
    “Are you trying to destroy your job? I’ll never go to it, and if this call is being recorded for quality control purposes, now hear this, you force me to a website, I take my business and my money to your competitor.”

    Love paying bills by check. “Save a stamp” says the return envelope. Let’s see almost half a dollar for postage to send me the bill, that’s 6 bucks a year times ten million customers. Do we get a discount for paying our bills electronically?

    1. SpringTexan

      I love paying bills by check too. My checks are pretty, the stamps are pretty, I don’t need to spend computer time, it’s very satisfactory!

    1. bob

      Thanks for the video, there’s been a whole lot less of it this week.

      Check out the pile of rock bags that are downhill from the parking lot, all the way to the left. I gotta figure the conversions went something like this-

      “we have all these helicopters, and bags of rocks, and the TV cameras seem enamored by them. What should we do with them?”

      “keep that stuff away from the equipment that’s ACTUALLY doing something. Protect the parking lot. With helicopters. You’re just going to get in our way.”

      1. bob

        Along those lines-

        The helicopters had to stop, because of the night. TV correspondent, standing in front of a GIANT truck, being loaded up, for movement of the material to the underside of the dam.

        “we’re winding down now, the helicopters have had to stop and work is grinding to a halt with nightfall”

        No, it’s not. Trucks can still work at night. The are still working at night. You’re standing right in front of one being loaded, with 10 times what a helicopter can carry.

        “the parking lot protection airforce will return to work in the morning”

          1. lemore

            I told them to stop. I said, I said it a lot before I went on camera.

            The helicopters have gone home! You can all go to sleep now!

            I was yelling. No one heard me because of all that noise they were making.

            Did they listen? No.

  47. DH

    Re: Iowa police

    Its pretty clear they assumed that it was other people on the menu, not them. They really should pay attention to what the pols say in their election campaigns.

    1. KFritz

      Yep. Hoist by their own petard and whining just like blatantly guilty perps when they’re arrested.

      If they believe they can wriggle out of their trouble, or that their bargaining position is too strong for the legislature to wreak havoc on them, they need to read up on Reagan vs the Air Traffic Controllers.

      If they’ve actually been stabbed in the back, let’s see crime scene photos–how’s that for Schadenfreude?

    1. Yves Smith


      The Blob won a skirmish in getting Flynn to resign.

      Trump said he was going to have Sessions prosecute leakers (not in those exact words but that was the message). If he does that, and I see no reason why not, we are not close to done.

      Plus he just handed over the torture report to a judge. That is not gonna make the CIA look very good. Obama obligingly sat on it and was gonna destroy it.

      1. Foppe

        Was going to? Imagine that. Another case of him running out of time / being blocked by congress, I take it?

  48. Mereprabhu

    Maloy is one of Salon’s core of dedicated Dembots. The only one more dishonest is Marcotte, just because she essentially lost it during the campaign. I never read his stuff, even though I visit the site frequently. That’s why his response to AP’s own anti-Trump lie is so inadequate: he sympathizes. At least he’s talking about it. I’m surprised.

    Vastu tips for home

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