Links 2/20/17

As Obesity Rises, Remote Pacific Islands Plan to Abandon Junk Food NYT (Furzy Mouse).

How will President Trump reshape the Fed? Gavyn Davies, FT

Austerity was a bigger disaster than we thought WaPo

Washington prepares to bring North Koreans to U.S. for talks: report Reuters

Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2016 (PDF) Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Belarus tax protests spread beyond capital Reuters

French weekly magazines review 19 February 2017 RFI. Election wrap-up from the French press.

French Election Wide Open After Weekend Everyone Stumbled Bloomberg

Ecuador vote down to the wire, leftist a whisker from first round win Reuters

Long-distance Uber, Lyft drivers’ crazy commutes, marathon days, big paychecks SF Chronicle

Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber Susan J. Fowler


Iran’s foreign minister mocks Donald Trump ‘putting him on notice’ Independent

Ex-officials: Israeli Leader Spurned Secret Peace Offer Bloomberg

Why Do So Many Americans Fear Muslims? Decades of Denial About America’s Role in the World The Intercept (Furzy Mouse).


Chinese Banks’ Off-Book Wealth Products Exceed $3.8 Trillion Bloomberg

Panic Over China Is So Last Year, With Market Swings Subsiding Bloomberg

A Lethal Bird Flu Returns to China CFR

Food label sell-by dates get simplified, here’s what to know Treehugger (J-LS).

Health Care

Kasich: Repealing Medicaid expansion is ‘a very, very bad idea’ CNN

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Market Stabilization (PDF) DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (71 pp). On a quick reading of the executive summary of these proposed rules, they look to me like an attempt to move toward continuous coverage by tightening the eligibility period. And then there’s this:

Third, we propose revising our interpretation of the guaranteed availability requirement to allow issuers to apply a premium payment to an individual’s past debt owed for coverage from the same issuer enrolled in within the prior 12 months. We believe this proposal would have a positive impact on the risk pool by removing economic incentives individuals may have had to pay premiums only when they were in need of health care services. We also believe this proposal is important as a means of encouraging individuals to maintain continuous coverage throughout the year and prevent gaming.

“[O]nly when they were in need of health care services.” In other words, those pesky consumers are treating the ACA is if it were about the delivery of health care, instead of being a vehicle for collecting insurance payments. Can’t have that.

2016 Post Mortem

Democrats Are Eager to See the End of the Race for DNC Chair CNN

Onetime Rival Endorses Ellison for DNC Chair Common Dreams (MR).

Samuel Ronan: Democrats ignored working class for years Al Jazeera. Oddly, Ronan didn’t make the cut for CNN’s DNC chair debate.

Bernie Sanders in Los Angeles: ‘We are looking at a totally new political world’ LA Times. Theoretically a book tour stop.

Trump Transition

The White House Needs an Injection of Calm Peggy Noonan, Patriot Post. Don’t much like the site, but I wanted the complete piece. Nooners: “But it may mean something that the other night in a speech in Trump-loving Oklahoma, I said of the president’s colorful aides, ‘They should get off TV,’ and the room burst into applause. They should go and sit in their offices and plan something. White Houses, which are always dramatic places that deal with daily crises, don’t need more drama. They need systems, order, process, calm. They need clear lines of authority and responsibility.”

Trump transition moves from detente to trench war FT

Republican leaders tire of Trump drama, but GOP activists close ranks McClatchy

Donald Trump’s Revised Travel Ban Would Cover Seven Countries From Prior Order WSJ

Russia, US should start with minor steps to restore ties — US expert TASS. Normally, I wouldn’t quote TASS, but this seems an obvious signal, along the lines of China stopping coal shipments to North Korea.

Amid Russia scrutiny, Trump associates received informal Ukraine policy proposal WaPo

More About Russia and Less About Flynn? Philip Giraldi, The American Conservative

President Trump’s motorcade hit by wood; 5 students face charges CBS. (A wood block, the “2×4” reports exaggerate.)

Protests are ‘a cry from America’s moral center’ Raleigh News and Observer

Stephen Miller’s and Trump’s Gross Re-Politicization of DOJ emptywheel

Treason! It’s a provocative charge being leveled against Trump, and one that rarely amounts to much LA Times

The Press is Trump’s Enemy, Not The Left’s Friend Ian Welsh

A Brief History of America’s ‘Love-Hate Relationship’ With Immigration The Atlantic

How The WWII Internment Camps Actually Happened Buzzfeed

SF reaches $400K settlement proposal in Nevada patient-dumping case San Francisco Examiner

Class Warfare

More families are struggling with poverty in Boston’s affluent suburbs Boston Globe

What happened when factory jobs moved from Warren, Ohio, to Juarez, Mexico LA Times

Viewpoint: The Boeing Vote Was Not a Referendum on Organizing the South Labor Notes

Is Finland’s basic universal income a solution to automation, fewer jobs and lower wages? Guardian (Re Silc).

Inequality in the Robotic Age The Wire (MR).

Meritocratic Myths Jacobin

Who Rules the United States? National Review

Our Miserable 21st Century Commentary

Politics Stressing You Out? You Aren’t Alone NBC

To take care of your heart, even little changes can help WaPo

Antidote du jour:

If only I could forget!

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. allan

    John McCain Becomes Critic in Chief of the Trump Administration [NYT]

    Senator John McCain has long had a reputation as a political maverick. But with the rise of a president who has vowed to shatter the old order, Mr. McCain has emerged as an outspoken defender of longstanding Republican verities on foreign policy and as one of his party’s most biting critics of the new commander in chief. …

    Michael Gordon and the editors of the Times send a belated Valentine to The Maverick™.
    Strangely, or not, there is no mention of McCain having voted for all of the procedural motions
    which cleared Trump’s cabinet nominees for final votes, and having voted `no’ on only one.

    1. OIFVet

      My liberal friends have been flooding my Faceborg feed with glowing praise for McCain’s “principled” stand. I have asked them whether a president Pence, SoS “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” McCain, and UN ambassador Lindsey Graham is a good idea. Crickets in response. Liberals forgot too soon their “principled” opposition to the “warmonger” McCain in 2008. Just like to they forgot how much they “loathed” the CIA for doctoring the Iraq WMD intel to enable Dubya’s landing on an aircraft carrier campaign commercial. Frankly I am conflicted about who is more despicable – liberals, the IC, or McCain and his ilk…

      1. Deadl E Cheese

        Let’s be clear on something: both contemporary and historical liberalism is completely compatible with imperialism and nationalism. And when you consider their worship of capitalism, those things are in fact necessary. There’s a reason why Western colonialism spiked massively during the age of Enlightenment. Liberal opposition to imperialism should never be seen as anything other than rank opportunism.

        At least conservatives and other reactionaries are honest about their fetish for putting the boot to brown people.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Big deal being made of this this morning on msnbs. Plenty of praise for mccain’s “principles,” and plenty of vitriol for Trump’s dastardly suggestion that “we should have taken the oil.”

        No mention of the fact that when “we” invaded, to save Iraqi society, we stood by and watched Iraq’s priceless antiquities being looted while the only ministry we thought to defend and protect was the Oil Ministry.

        Because shit “happens.”

        1. Pat

          Yeah, nobody is going to jump on his remark by saying Trump apparently didn’t realize the government was only there to make sure that private globalized entities got to ‘market’ the oil. Forget any value for the American public even in lessening the threat of terrorism. Much like decades of what our government has done in South America…

          I’m so tired. McCain is a disgusting piece of garbage and has been one for decades. So are most of the politicians behind #resistance. Trump just rips most of the mask off. I admit I have Trump Outrage Fatigue. I’m over the outrage, faux protests for nothing and the stupid delusion that not bothering to put a pretty face on things that you never noticed but are not outside the norm at all is so much worse than before.

  2. Adam Frederick

    LA Times summary of Bernie Rally buries the overwhelming tone of the speech. It was a huge repudiation and criticism of the Democratic party position. It was a complete de-construction of the DNC strategy of applying marginalisation and shame on Trump voters. A huge component of the speech is an empathic entreaty to the left to empathise with the concerns of Trumps base.

    As much of an anti-DNC rally as anti-Trump. To ignore this aspect is almost dishonest reporting.

      1. Ancient1

        The video contained the entire speech. I appreciate NC posting the link. What struct me most was Senator Sanders’ strong criticism of Donald Trump’s policies and so called administration. This is something that I have not heard from the Democratic leadership. All together it was an inspiring talk and I am glad to have experienced it. He is the only politician speaking about the conditions in this country of ordinary Americans and how to solve some of them.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Work together where there is common ground…remember that?

      Trump has reached out to him.

      He has not…much (that I can recall).

      Where was he when Trump tweeted ‘the media is the enemy of the American people?’

      I was hoping for a ‘yeah, they have continued to undermine me, even today.’

    2. different clue

      Dare one say that the LA Times’s strategic ignoring of this aspect of the Sanders speech is almost . . . fake news?

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      There’s a reason for that slant. The Democratic establishment is trying to divide Bernie from those who supported him by making him seem more and more like a sellout. Given there are far too many who already hold that position, and who have short attention spans so aren’t given to tracking down facts, it’s dangerous to the progressive grassroots movement.

      Less than a month ago, they were trying to undermine him by whining he was being nasty by not sharing his mailing list. Someone must have convinced them how lousy an idea that was because the true Sandernistas were quite vocal about not wanting the creeps at the DNC to have it. So, then he went on his book tour, which was in fact another campaign tour in which he repeated the facts and re-inspired the base, mentioning the book (which does the same thing) in passing. That story you cited is an example of what happened. When the stops were covered at all, the message was diluted to focus on anything he accidentally said that fits the establishment narrative.

  3. ambrit

    Re. the antidote:
    First elephant to the other two; “Churchill said it best, ‘Back to the Wilderness for another forty years.'”
    Second elephant; “But I don’t feel like a Child of the Book.”
    Third elephant; “Shut up and keep fund raising.”
    First elephant; “Where is Annenberg when we need him?”
    Second elephant; “He’s dead.”
    Third elephant; “That’s no excuse!”

  4. Eureka Springs

    Politics Stressing You Out? You Aren’t Alone

    Funny haha how the article and the polls relied upon for data focus on Dems and Republicans with a slight nod to Independents. Yet the overwhelming, as in beyond super majority – did not vote – (hat tip to readeroftealeaves for this fantastic map) are the elephant in the room.

    1. integer

      That is a good map, and this exchange in the comments section made me chuckle:

      – Your fictional ‘Did Not Vote’ candidate – more accurately named ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) – could easily be made real…

      – Going to the polls and voting NOTA is very different than “Didn’t want to bother putting my pants on.”

      – This is true, but I know a lot of people who would have bothered to put on pants if NOTA were an option, and a LOT who voted for Clinton as the lesser evil who all would have voted to invalidate both options.

      – I don’t believe many voted for Clinton as the lesser of evils. She WAS the evil. Evil vs. Idiot. I voted Idiot.

      1. Procopius

        I would have preferred to vote for NOTA, but what happens when NOTA wins? Which I think he would have done in this case. Are the parties required to re-run with new candidates? Does the old President continue in office until the new campaign is over? Has this proposal been fleshed out anywhere?

    2. different clue

      Too bad all those massed millions of people did not come out and cast blank ballots. Or come out and vote on agenda items, referendal items, and microlocal office seekers.

    1. RMO

      Not surprising. If a company is as sleazy as Uber is at the frontlines of the business, it shouldn’t come as a shock that things just get worse the closer to the high command you get.

  5. Olga

    On “Russia, US should start with minor steps to restore ties — US expert TASS. Normally, I wouldn’t quote TASS, but this seems an obvious signal, along the lines of China stopping coal shipments to North Korea.”

    I find this to be a troubling comment – and particularly, at NC. Why not quote TASS when the agency publishes worthwhile news items (which, btw, happens regularly). NYT, Wapo, and other US outlets that often relate (or parrot, depending on one’s viewpoint) US official views get linked to all the time. Chinese official sites also get linked to. So why not Russian? I think there are plenty of websites steeped in destructive and irrational Russo-phobia – there’s no need for yet another one.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As Japan’s Prussian advisor Major Klemens Meckel, per Wikipedia, put it to the Japanese, Korea was “a dagger pointed at the heart of Japan”.

      The First Sino-Japanese War was precipitated by events in Korea.

      Then, at the time, Qing China had suzerainty over Korea, Annam (Vietnam, including South China Sea), Okinawa, and Taiwan was a province.

      Today, these same areas are all potential flash points.

      1. Olga

        If I recall, it did not end too well for the Koreans (they still deeply despise the Japanese, particularly since that was not the first incursion) – and eventually, not so great for the Japanese…

        1. stefan

          The personage on the Japanese 1000 yen note is Japan’s first prime minister Ito Hirobumi. If you go to Korea today, you can find a plaque commemorating his assassin, the Korean nationalist An Jung-geun, reading something along the lines of “Here lies An Jung-geun, who shot Ito Hirobumi, the atrocious Japanese.”

    2. Yves Smith

      Where were you when we got called a Russian propaganda site? Does it not occur to you that we are at risk of being blacklisted? Have you so little concern about our survival? If Google were to de-index us, and they have done that to some sites, it would be as if we didn’t exist. We would not come up in a Google search even if you put in our name.

      We’re already being pretty un-cautious in continuing to quote sites like Moon of Alabama regularly. Don’t tell us to press our luck. This is our call, not yours, to make.

      And the comparison isn’t apt. Western sources regularly quote Xinhua. They didn’t regularly quote TASS even before the escalation of hostilities.

      1. Karen

        That reply actually took me by surprise, and I’ll guess Olga had no idea either. But on further reflection I do see the validity of your concern. So many from all sides of the political spectrum seem to have forgotten our core principles, including the importance of free speech.

        Pretty grim.

  6. Jagger

    Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the WHO, warned her agency’s executive board, “Since 2013, China has reported epidemics of H7N9 infections in humans, now amounting to more than one thousand cases, of which 38.5 percent were fatal.”

    IIRC, H1N5 from a few years back had an even higher mortality rate. It seems over the last 10-15 years, we are seeing a lot of bugs with high mortality rates which fortunately haven’t broken into mass epidemics. I wonder if these numbers of highly lethal outbreaks fit with the historical norm or are an unusual spike.

  7. notabanker

    WaPo austerity article:

    Strangely, I’m picturing Jon Lovitz saying “Interest rates, yeah, yeah, interest rates, That’s the ticket.”

    1. RabidGandhi

      Totally. Here is the relevant quote:

      Cutting spending, you see, shouldn’t be a problem as long as you can cut interest rates too. That’s because lower borrowing costs can stimulate the economy just as much as lower government spending slows it down.

      Right, if ZIRP/NIRP stimulated any economy it was certainly not one in this solar system. Perhaps they saw 5% growth in Alpha Centauri?

      But at the Daily Bezos, solutions must be monetary, never fiscal. So essentially O’Brien does an effective job preaching against the evils of austerity but then rejects the most effective policy tool to counteract it, because religion.

        1. different clue

          I have read that elephants have a great deal to remember. Where are the waterholes? The best food plant zones? The safest footpaths from here to there? Which waterholes have water even after 2 years of drought? 3 years? 4 years?

          I have read that for African elephants, the Herd Matriarch is the Keeper of the Memory and leader of the herd. Her younger female relatives learn the ropes over several decades and one of them ( chosen how?) eventually becomes Herd Matriach, carrying forward the knowledge and adding to it.

          Is it different for Indian Elephants?

  8. notabanker

    “A cry from America’s moral center”
    1. Lambert, the link is to the Raleigh News and Observer, not Charlotte, which would be the Charlotte Observer.
    2. “Democrats lack the political power to stem the tide of extremism.” Could that be from the moral decay of it’s Neolib leadership?

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Protests are ‘a cry from America’s moral center’ Charlotte News Observer

    I guess you’ve got to be a man of “faith” to suggest that america has a “moral center.”

    “Faith” being defined as strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof and all.

    Although in the event that 17 intelligence agencies expressed with high confidence that america has a “moral center,” I’d have to eat my cynical words.

    1. ChrisPacific

      Article with the Kalanick memo to staff in response:

      Says it’s been a rough 24 hours and “the company is hurting.” Announces that Eric Holder will be leading the probe due to his demonstrated ability to help powerful businesses avoid consequences for criminal behaviour impeccable credentials. Wants to “heal the wounds of the past” and support those who experience injustice. It’s ambiguous throughout whether he is talking about the women who suffer from this kind of behaviour or the men who are accused of it, but given the “24 hours” comment I suspect it’s the latter.

      I expect a highly elaborate and public episode of contrition theater and little or no real change. Maybe I will be proven wrong, but it’s pretty clear from this memo and numerous other past reports that the problems with Uber begin at the top.

  10. Ulysses

    Ian Welsh makes a lot of sense when he tells us:

    “Trump: not your friend. Media, not your friend; intelligence agencies: not your friend.”

    Way too much energy is wasted in following the ebb and flow of factional wrangling between rival kleptocrats. We need to focus more on developing robust networks of mutual support, where citizens help each other to solve real problems in the real world. Occasionally this will require consciously choosing not to collaborate with established power structures. Yet, very often, we can accomplish good things without drawing any attention, positive or negative, from the corporate state.

    I think Henry Giroux summarizes our current situation very well here:

    “We don’t need tepid calls for repairing the system; instead, we need to invent a new system from the ashes of one that is terminally broken. We don’t need calls for moral uplift or personal responsibility. We need calls for economic, political, gender, and racial justice. Such a politics must be rooted in particular demands, be open to direct action, and take seriously strategies designed to both educate a wider public and mobilize them to seize power.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “The world has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.”

      Perhaps a savior can be a permanent friend.

      Or one positions to appear like a savior.

    2. jrs

      The fractional wrangling between rival kleptocrats is very educational, about how power works in our government etc.. Of course it is not a power we have any access to. The strings we have access to are definitely not attached to that. So all we can be is spectators of that.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I do love to see these people fall flat on their faces. The old guard types won’t tolerate this, and the only other way is to be a perceived man of the people. It’s largely why there are very few if any successful Obamalings running for office.

      An Obamaling and Kainiac ran for the Lt. Gov nomination in Virginia a few years back with this same line.

    2. KurtisMayfield

      He hopes to modernize the workforce by retraining workers whose jobs could be lost to computers and robots, and hire young techies.

      Retrain the old workers, but not hire them? Does he also specialize in retraining and releasing zoo animals on the side?

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      He hopes to modernize the workforce by retraining workers whose jobs could be lost to computers and robots, and hire young techies.

      Speaking of robots, in principle, I believe we have to looking into taxing robots.

      Should we tax computers as well?

      Is the loophole to avoid robot taxes by disguising them as computers or self-driving cars?

      Is a computer a robot? Is a self-driving car a robot? Is the answering machine a robot (from the perspective of a human receptionist)?

      1. ChrisPacific

        Good thinking. Once the robots try to fill out a US tax return, they won’t want our jobs any more! (Unless it triggers the Great Robotic Uprising and the extermination of the human race, which I would rate a better than even chance).

  11. Uahsenaa

    re: Sanders’ ostensible book tour

    I would also note that several others involved in the Sanders campaign have been on “book tours” of their own, but when you actually watch the meetings on C-SPAN, it’s pretty clear that what they’re actually doing is political organizing. This is flying completely under the radar, and may be one possible source of so many people calling their Congresscritters to task. That and Trump being a bigot…

    1. Vatch

      Just one of the many things that a citizen can do is to insist that one’s Congressional Representative actively support H.R.790 – the Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2017. Here’s a list of the co-sponsors:

      If your Representative isn’t on the list, ask him or her why not? It’s time to restore the Glass Steagall separation of responsible banking from risky speculation. You won’t be able to call their offices today, since it’s Presidents’ Day, but starting Tuesday, February 21, we’ll be able to call them. The Representatives are supposed to be working for all of us, not just the giant banks and the ultra-rich campaign donors.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Apropos of the discussion awhile back regarding how many in Congress really do deserve support, I though the list of co-sponsors here might be revealing. Pocan is my rep and he seems to have his heart in the right place even though I’m not convinced he will lead the resistance (not that Resistance!). There are 30-ish on the list, including most every rep I have ever heard a good thing about. I would be curious if others think this is a good kernel to build from. Or if some are imposters. Interesting that none of the leadership is on board.

        Note: there is one R on the list, Walter Jones from NC (not this NC!).

        Sponsor: Rep. Kaptur, Marcy [D-OH-9] |
        Rep. Lynch, Stephen F. [D-MA-8]*
        Rep. Ryan, Tim [D-OH-13]*
        Rep. Pocan, Mark [D-WI-2]*
        Rep. DeLauro, Rosa L. [D-CT-3]*
        Rep. Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC-At Large]*
        Rep. Schakowsky, Janice D. [D-IL-9]*
        Rep. Doyle, Michael F. [D-PA-14]*
        Rep. Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [D-NY-25]*
        Rep. Jones, Walter B., Jr. [R-NC-3]*
        Rep. Welch, Peter [D-VT-At Large]*
        Rep. Watson Coleman, Bonnie [D-NJ-12]*
        Rep. Serrano, Jose E. [D-NY-15]*
        Rep. Lipinski, Daniel [D-IL-3]*
        Rep. Garamendi, John [D-CA-3]*
        Rep. Speier, Jackie [D-CA-14]*
        Rep. Ellison, Keith [D-MN-5]*
        Rep. Conyers, John, Jr. [D-MI-13]*
        Rep. Gabbard, Tulsi [D-HI-2]*
        Rep. Grijalva, Raul M. [D-AZ-3]*
        Rep. Tonko, Paul [D-NY-20]*
        Rep. McGovern, James P. [D-MA-2]*
        Rep. DeFazio, Peter A. [D-OR-4]*
        Rep. Lee, Barbara [D-CA-13]*
        Rep. Capuano, Michael E. [D-MA-7]*
        Rep. Pingree, Chellie [D-ME-1]*
        Rep. Fudge, Marcia L. [D-OH-11]*
        Rep. Cohen, Steve [D-TN-9]
        Rep. Lowenthal, Alan S. [D-CA-47]
        Rep. Davis, Danny K. [D-IL-7]
        Rep. Khanna, Ro [D-CA-17]
        Rep. Yarmuth, John A. [D-KY-3]

        1. MtnLife

          I’d be wary of Welch. He’s something of a neo-gressive or maybe just a neoliberal who votes progressive every once in a while. To put things in perspective: he was atop both the D and R ticket this past fall – generally not a progressive marker.

          1. Vatch

            He has a good League of Conservation Voters rating. Perhaps he just needs to be nudged by his constituents to support good banking legislation. Here’s his contact information for several locations:

            2335 Rayburn House Office Building
            Washington, DC 20515
            phone: (202) 225-4535
            fax: (202) 225-4403
            hours: M-F 9-6:00pm

            1923 Main St.
            Higginsville, MO 64037
            phone: (660) 584-7373
            fax: (660) 584-7227
            hours: M-F 8-5:00pm

            211 West Maple Avenue
            Independence, MO 64050
            phone: (816) 833-4545
            fax: (816) 833-2991
            hours: M-F 9-6:00pm

            101 W. 31 Street
            Kansas City, MO 64108
            phone: (816) 842-4545
            fax: (816) 471-5215
            hours: M-F 9-6:00pm

      2. jhallc

        Thanks for the link. I just checked to see if my Rep. (Tsongas) was on the list. She was not. 3 other MA Rep’s. (Capuano, Lynch, McGovern) were Co-sponser’s. I just sent Tsongas a request for her position on the bill. I’ll see what kind of response I get. She was a big supporter of HRC and a superdelegate, so I’m not overly optimistic she is for it.

        1. Uahsenaa

          I write Loebsack all the time, but his seat covering Iowa City means it’s generally pretty safe. This then translates into him being [family blog] when push comes to shove.

          Grassley and Ernst might as well be brick walls…

          1. jhallc

            Yup, I’m pretty sure that I’ll get some canned response back that doesn’t really say much. A phone call to an aide, assuming I get past the voice mail box, may at least let them know we are watching her. I’m hoping that she will have someone oppose her next primary. Perhaps someone like State Senator Jamie Eldrige who was an active Berne supporter.

            1. Vatch

              I always get a canned response. But if they’re competent, despite the annoying generic responses, they’re keeping track of what their constituents are telling them.

    2. dontknowitall

      Publisher’s Weekly reports Obama’s lawyer Bob Barnett has almost finished negotiating the deals for Obama and Michelle’s new books probably running in the millions for (yet!) another biographical work. Like a cat Obama probably is good for seven biographies…so expect an Obama and Michelle tours on all the TV shows all the time before long (Summer maybe) so Sanders will have some competition soon.

  12. Chris M.

    “Third, we propose revising our interpretation of the guaranteed availability requirement to allow issuers to apply a premium payment to an individual’s past debt owed for coverage from the same issuer enrolled in within the prior 12 months. ” . . . . So if I don’t pay my Nov or Dec premium unless it’s beneficial, and the insurer eventually cancels me retroactive to 10/31, then I enroll with same insurer eff Jan 1, they can bill me for Nov and Dec (and presumably change the cancel date to Dec 31)? This will maka ACA even more hated by healthy people and will penalize people who only have one insurer to select from.

  13. sleepy

    The money quote from the CNN article on how the dems are eager to get the DNC chair election over:

    And some Democrats have jealously watched the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups rake in tens of millions of dollars from anxious progressives during the early days of Trump’s presidency and wonder how much money their party may be leaving on the table without a fully operational finance machine.

    1. Ranger Rick

      You’d think the other lesson they’d be learning is that in the democratic capitalism that is American politics, these Americans are voting with their dollars. And those votes are going to an organization they believe can accomplish its goals.

      1. ChrisAt RU

        “You’d think …”

        They’re stuck on the “3rd Way” … quietly hopeful the next four years will relegate them to irrelevance.

        1. Code Name D

          Thing’s may be worse than that. Information I am getting from TYT Politics is revealing that the Democratic Party is in a state of finachal meltdown. Therea lot of contracts to rent extractors that need to be satified. And because the Dems suddenly lost influence, corpreate donations are down. So money is starting to disapear from accounts where they shouldn’t. Attempts to even crack open the books has so far failed. A task made harder becaudes the Democratic Party exists outside the law regarding finachal regulations, as far as the courts are concearned.

          1. ChrisAtRU

            ” … the Democratic Party is in a state of financial meltdown”

            You say that like it’s a bad thing … ;-)

            I’d have to look for the comment now, but on a discussion yesterday (?), someone was saying that the heir apparent to this fallen Dem edifice is non other than #BHO. I’d give that some credence. I suspect that once vacation time is over, you will begin to see #44 actively helping to rebuild the #Neolib mansion from the ruins. In that regard, one litmus test for whether establishment Dems can regain the reins will be whether #BHO can ride in and rescue the corporate wing from the end it truly deserves. All those erstwhile anxious rent extractors might do better if they can have #BHO for the ride along, right?

            Hav no doubt, the fight within the Dem party is going to be immense. My money’s still on Democratic Socialism eating all in its wake – one way or another (inside or outside DNC).

            But we shall see …

            1. Old Jake

              But what’s in it for him (BHO)? I don’t see what he has to gain by participating in Dem activities. Does he need support for his foundation or library (slush) funds? I figured he’d go on the speaking circuit, cash in and retire.

              1. ChrisAtRU

                You have to remember that to much of the outside (liberal) world, everything was fine UNTIL TRUMP. To use Lambert’s turn of phrase, there is a lot of Obama hagiography that ultimately signals a desire to have him be involved somehow. Also, #BHO will not necessarily be immune to the call to have him rescue the Dems from the depths (plays into aforementioned hagiography). At the very least, he will want to exert influence on the future direction of the party – as he has already done w.r.t. the DNC Chair. He’ll get his library and foundation etc. … but is he going to get the Dems to win elections? Is he going to be able to help architect a winning Dem vision for 2020 by reaching back into a neolib bag of tricks? I say no. So yeah, maybe he should take the money and run. All I see following establishment Dems is #EightYearsOfTrump

                1. different clue

                  Obama expected to get a lot of money based on getting Obamacare, making the Bush Tax Cuts permanent, getting some Free Trade Agreements, etc.

                  It looks like Trump might reverse some of these achievements. Perhaps Obama’s owners and sponsors have quietly told him that he won’t get any Obamacare reward money if Obamacare gets repealed. Perhaps Obama is still working for his money.

            2. Code Name D

              Its a bad thing because the national dems are bascly steeling money from state level operations, and there seems to be no accountability at all.

              The rep are basicly just short of three state houses away from the 2/3rds majority needed to edit the consttution. Not only is this fact off the table for the DNC chair debate, but the money issue is also not being discused eather.

              Yes I call that a bad thing. I do not care one wit about the dem party itself. But the consequences are still very concerning.

              I also care in that watching these events gives us the ability to gain insight into the inner workings of the dem party.

            3. Code Name D

              Its a bad thing because the national dems are bascly steeling money from state level operations, and there seems to be no accountability at all.

              The rep are basicly just short of three state houses away from the 2/3rds majority needed to edit the consttution. Not only is this fact off the table for the DNC chair debate, but the money issue is also not being discused eather.

              Yes I call that a bad thing. I do not care one wit about the dem party itself. But the consequences are still very concerning.

              I also care in that watching these events gives us the ability to gain insight into the inner workings of the dem party.

  14. fosforos

    “By 2013, according to a 2015 report by the Drug Enforcement Administration, more Americans died from drug overdoses (largely but not wholly opioid abuse) than from either traffic fatalities or guns.” And, let us note, not a single one of those drug overdoses resulted from use of a cannabis product. But somehow, in a the long and tedious Commentary natterings the words “cannabis” and “marijuana” are never mentioned. Even though cannabis is a safe and effective pain reliever in the vast majority of instances where opiates are now used for that purpose.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If it’s not safe to drink alcohol or smoke marijuana, and drive, it needs to be regulated and controlled.

      And if smoking is bad for one’s health, there needs to be warning about smoking and it should be banned in public places, and (as some progressive cities have shown the way) in apartments (with shared air ducts).

  15. human

    Long-distance Uber, Lyft drivers’ crazy commutes, marathon days, big paychecks

    My back-of-the-envelope calculation indicates that this 5 day excursion (including the 1 day of travel to and fro) yielding the gross of $1,700 less GAAP expenses of $0.50/mile for 1400 miles (400 mile commute and 200 miles per day) of $700, nets her about $1,000 or $14.00/hour, (72 hours of driving time, including the commute), less of course, personal expenses like food.

    An extremely demanding, stressful and soul-eating way to make a mediocre buck.

    1. oho

      throw in that driver’s gross revenue is cited as **up to** $1,700/week. I’d like to see average/median.

      And throw in paying both sides of FICA as a 1099-er.

      And throw in no workers’ comp/disability insurance, and likely no commercial liability insurance.

      Innovation at its finest.

  16. Katharine

    I don’t see any exaggeration in the reports of the wood thrown. A 2″ x 4″ is a 2″ x 4″ whether it’s 10′ or 10 cm long. It might have been better to say it was a short piece, but surely no one would imagine it was a full commercial length: the idea of kids attempting a sort of amateur caber toss without being immediately noticed and stopped would be ludicrous.

    1. Yves Smith

      Yes, but let us not forget how minor threats to Official Persons are not tolerated.

      The woman who threw a shoe at Hillary at a speech was escorted out and charged.

  17. DH

    Re: WW II Japanese-American internment

    The irony behind the racism of the Japanese-American internment was the US had actual experience in WW I with German spies and saboteurs, especially on the East Coast.

    Several German immigrants were also spies during WW II:

    Despite the known past espionage and sabotage by Germans in WW I, the US didn’t do anything to inter German-Americans in WW II.

    The feds just busted a white, non-Muslim sex offender who plotted to put bombs in ten Target stores up and down the East Coast. We are more under siege from angry white guys than radical Islamic terrorists.

    1. Tigerlily

      Despite the known past espionage and sabotage by Germans in WW I, the US didn’t do anything to inter German-Americans in WW II.

      You do realize that German-Americans are the largest ancestry group in the United States? If you interned them all who would have been left to fight the war?

      Not Carl Spaatz, or Chester Nimitz, or Dwight Eisenhower…

      1. RWood

        Linda Gordon offers Dorothea Lange’s record of this crime:
        “The photographs were impounded because they were unmistakably critical. They unequivocally denounced, visually, an unjustified, unnecessary, and racist policy. ”
        “The manipulation of news and the distortion of reality are the most powerful weapons in the hands of power.  They can make a whole reality disappear. ”

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      Who do you fear more:
      1) The scary Muslim plotting your demise in a cave
      2) The scary Angry White Male plotting his revenge fantasy
      3) The All-Surveilling Big Brother apparatus with unlimited resources that can kill anyone legally — including American citizens — for any reason it sees fit or can declare you an enemy combatant and put you in “indefinite detention”.

      Think long and hard, even though you shouldn’t have to.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        P.S. When you post stories about the heroic Feds smashing another terrorist cell or picking up a hopeless white guy who we will know by his full 3 names, you’re doing their freedom-crushing consent-manufacturing for them.


      2. jrs

        Well what statistically is more likely to lead to death? I think #2 and #3 are probably high on the list if #3 includes killer cops.

    3. rowlf

      Need a do-over?

      “A total of 11,507 people of German ancestry were interned during the war. They comprised 36.1% of the total internments under the US Justice Department’s Enemy Alien Control Program.”

      People of Italian ancestry were also interned.

      1. howard nyc

        11,507 is not 36.1% of the 110,000 to 120,000 Japanese Americans interned by a different USDOD program. Just two paragraphs below the number cited in your very misleading post:

        By contrast, an estimated 110,000-120,000 Japanese-Americans were forcibly relocated from the West Coast and incarcerated in internment camps in the interior run by an agency of the Department of Defense. Some Japanese Americans were investigated and later detained in DOJ camps under its Enemy Alien program

        Two paragraphs lower. I hate it when people pull this cr@p.

        1. rowlf

          You may want to zoom out some more. There were other detainment programs going on at the same time. The number that you don’t like is from one program but works well for IdPol purposes.

          1. Alex Morfesis

            No comparison of japanese and german ww2 internments…only 11 thousand of the 35-100 thousand dues paying members of the A-O nazi party usa were interned…

            Dues Paying members…

            These were not common german americans who were caught up on a dragnet and hysteria…

            But as I burped out yesterday, the act was really a land grab against japanese living in and on valuable land in california…the japanese in hawaii for the most part had no issues come up at all…there was no questioning their loyalties despite their being a much larger percentage of the strategically important Hawaiian islands…didn’t realize it myself until I did some research on mark david chapmans japanese-Hawaiian wife and seeing what, if any conections she might have had to yoko’s connections to japanese elite and royal family…one of my rabbit holes on a rainy day things

    4. Dita

      The consistent focus on the internment of Japanese Americans during WW2 smacks a bit of identity politics. German and some Italian Americans were also interned, but that fact shifts the narrative. Canada also interned the same groups during that time. I don’t want to be misunderstood here, the internments were wrong. But interesting to see which facts are included and which left out.

        1. Dead Dog

          We interred a small number of Japanese in Cowra, NSW. The ruins of the camp and the graves are still there.

          I seem to recall there was a famous breakout too – although just where they were going to go…

    5. todde

      Um… Germans were also interred. As were Italians.

      For decades there was a man from Hillsboro, IL who kept wanting to get paid for being sent back to Germany during World War II.

      His story was
      “I wasn’t German, I couldn’t speak German, and when I arrived in Germany, we bombed the city I was at that same day”

      Can’t find anything on the actual guy, but he’s been bitching about it since Ive been alive

    6. Yves Smith

      That is not true. Germans were interned, but no where near proportional to the population.

      And you seem unaware of this:

      President Woodrow Wilson issued two sets of regulations on April 6, 1917, and November 16, 1917, imposing restrictions on German-born male residents of the United States over the age of 14. The rules were written to include natives of Germany who had become citizens of countries other than the U.S.; all were classified as aliens.[3] Some 250,000 people in that category were required to register at their local post office, to carry their registration card at all times, and to report any change of address or employment. The same regulations and registration requirements were imposed on females on April 18, 1918.[4] Some 6,300 such aliens were arrested. Thousands were interrogated and investigated. A total of 2,048 were incarcerated for the remainder of the war in two camps, Fort Douglas, Utah, for those west of the Mississippi, and Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, for those east of the Mississippi.[5]

  18. David

    The title of the Bloomberg article is fair enough, but the analysis is as superficial as you would expect. Macron’s mention of colonialism was deliberate, as a signal to the (very powerful) anti-racist lobby in the Socialist Party that they should get their supporters to vote for him in the second round, when he expects to be facing Le Pen. It’s not aimed at the immigrant vote as such, much of which wants desperately to live in France and doesn’t give a monkey’s about colonialism now. Macron is trying to establish himself as the natural consensus opponent of Le Pen and the only barrier to her winning.
    He may well be right. The Hamon/Mélenchon split shows no signs of healing, so there’s a good chance the Left will be knocked out in the first round. Fillon, incidentally, continues to plumb depths of unpopularity: 65% of those questioned recently said they though he should withdraw. Although about two thirds of his party (the Republicans) thought he should run, but it’s hard to see how that would translate into enough first-round votes to get him into the last two; he might be in a police cell by then anyway. So if an election were fought today, it would probably be Macron vs Le Pen, but since this is French politics, virtually anything can happen.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I was thinking that – Macron seems to be running a very controlled campaign, I suspect he did lots of research on Obama’s campaign. He’ll do just enough dog whistling to the left as needed while maintaining a broadly centrist campaign (If HRC had been smart enough to do that, she’d be POTUS now). He knows the eventually winner will be the one who gathers up the most ‘stop Le Pen’ votes, not the candidate with the biggest initial base.

      Its infuriating to see Hamon/Melenchon hack away at each other. Its idiotic to split the lefts vote when there is a realistic chance of one candidate getting to the second round, and from there anything could happen.

      1. dontknowitall

        Hamon was in Lisbon, Portugal, yesterday in talks with socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa to try to figure out how the Portuguese socialist party managed to put together a successful left coalition in only 54 days that has been able to roll back in its first year in power austerity policies and increase growth without busting the budget to the great distress of the austerian right parties. It is clear they are looking for a similar mechanism to unite the left.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I suspect Duncan will remain a more effective evil. Devos has the potential to create kinetic blowback. Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston created a mass student walkout with his naked cuts to school funding and donations to GE. The coward couldn’t even talk to the kids and ran away from them. Most people are products of public schools. There will be backlash, not a Saturday feel good walk.

      Shrub understood you had to at least buy people in the short term much like how NCLB did at first seemingly providing new funding. I don’t think the current GOP grasps this or at least in sufficient numbers to govern.

      Then there are the teacher unions. They are too aligned with Team Blue to be a force when the President is a Democrat, but they’ll react now. After all, the leadership has to act like it has a reason for being paid.

    2. tongorad

      My report from the front-line (I teach in a public school, in a city that has a high concentration of charter schools that is mentioned in Ford’s article):

      Recently, I have have a number of new students enter my class, all from charter schools.Why the sudden uptick?
      Well, high-stakes testing season is right around the corner, and I surmise that these students have been “counseled” to leave their charter schools, so as not to have their low scores reflect badly on the charter.
      Data-driven instruction and all that jazz…

  19. Jim Haygood

    From John Mauldin’s Thoughts from the Frontline, which is distributed by email (thus no link):

    It should be clear to everyone that Brexit and Trump and all the other nationalist movements are not happening in a vacuum. Trump is not the final expression but the harbinger of a swelling trend that will be felt throughout the world.

    Those who are left out of participating in future economic abundance are going to be pushing back; and while this time the Republicans were able to take advantage of the situation, the next time it will be the Democrats or some other group that does so, if the Republicans don’t figure it out. If we don’t learn how to more evenly distribute the benefits of accelerating technological changes and globalization, we are going to see ever more pushback, not less. And the next time it will not be the Democrats who are worried about the end of the world, but the Republicans.

    I just want to say that it is really, really, really, really important that we get it right this time. The cost of screwing this up will be far greater than you can possibly imagine. Conservatives may not have another shot for a very long time. Think Herbert Hoover.

    While Mauldin tilts Republican, he thinks their proposed border adjustment tax (which he characterizes as a “half-assed VAT”) would cause an ugly economic shock:

    The problem is that the importers and exporters don’t all operate in the same states and counties. So the people who lose their jobs because of the import tax will end up having to move to where the exporting jobs are. How did that work out for the Rust Belt when the steel jobs left?

  20. ChrisAtRU

    Comment From Ian Welsh Article

    “For folks who think things would be better had Bernie won, this Russia phobic hysteria would still be occurring. It seems no mistake that just as a socialist is ascendant, the well to do start seeing spies everywhere. Please keep that in mind when the bastards are trying to press your fear buttons.”

    I dunno … I have a hard time agreeing with this. I’d like to think that if Bernie had won the Dem Primary, the red-baiting would have been largely from the GOP side, and that the Deep State would not have felt the need to intervene on their behalf. But even if it did, what would they have? Trump being an amoral opportunist* (with global reach) has no doubt provided plenty fodder for those with prying eyes (and ears) to exploit. The primaries didn’t provide much fodder for #HRC. What would a full election cycle have revealed? Another way to look at it is: what if it were not Trump, but Pence or Cruz? Would we find ourselves and this warped junction?

    Ik denk zo niet.

    *Disclaimer for Trumpies: Plenty of amoral opportunism to go around on both sides of the aisle.

    1. John k

      You didn’t notice Msm was in the tank for the anti Russia warmonger? They did and still do hate Bernie and all he stands for. Remember Bernie rails against billionaires as a class, who own Msm. They would pick trump over Bernie in a heartbeat.
      Woulda been just like Fdr.. Dem and rep elites would join with Msm in opposition, though his big win over trump, and pop policies, woulda been enough, again like Fdr.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        This was discussed the other day, i believe, but I think a Sanders presidency would be easier to neuter than a Trump one.

        All they would have to do is to manufacture a Trump for him to respond in a lesser of two evil fashion by endorsing a Hillary-esque position to counter that Trumped threat. The formula worked and will work again.

      2. ChrisAtRU

        “You didn’t notice Msm was in the tank for the anti Russia warmonger?”

        Well ;-) … my comment assumes Bernie having won the Dem Primary. In such a case, the subsequent assumption is that any warmongering tropes would have duly fell victim to the real issues of economic belligerence towards the American worker. And remember – to be fair to voters on the right – the same tropes that found favor on the left fell on deaf ears on the right. Again, my point is: if #DemCoronation2.0 fails, that sets the stage for an alternate set of acts/players to evolve. Further, I don’t think those events would have followed the same narratives, because there wouldn’t be much in the offing from any #DeepState rabbit hole on Sanders. MSM calling Bernie a ‘socialist’ is not the same as them asserting that ‘Trump in a Putin puppet’. IMO, there wouldn’t be much to build on if MSM tried to build a ‘red scare’ around Sanders.

        1. flora

          Well, just to play devil’s advocate here, I assume if Bernie had won the Dem Primary the Clinton camp and msm would have immediately declared that Putin hacked the primary. heh.

          1. ChrisAtRU

            The #Maddow segment would be weak, though … Hahaha!


            But it may very well have come to pass, so … I’ll Allow It … ;-)

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    America’s Love-Hate Relationship…Immigrants.

    Love-Hate implies variability.

    Variability as in sometimes greatly needed, sometimes not.

    I suggest immigration be connected to labor participation rate (it’s true that we can have many loca people not working because they don’t possess the skills necessary, and some immigrants do – that’s 1) rare and 2) should come out the total immigrant quota).

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Politics stressing you out?

    As if the expectation is politics should be different from many things you do in life. If different, perhaps it’s optional then.

    “Get out if it’s too stressful.”

  23. allan

    Air France Pilots Vote to Accept Principle of Low-Cost Unit [NYT/Reuters]

    Air France pilots have voted to accept the principle of creating a new low-cost subsidiary, the SNPL pilots union said on Monday, removing a hurdle to detailed talks on the management proposal. …

    Pilot costs would be cut by 15 percent and cabin crew by 40 percent under the proposals, which were greeted with scepticism by pilots’ unions when presented by Air France last week.

    Course vers le bas.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Treason! A charge being leveled against Trump.

    How far is that from the other charge that some websites are Russian propaganda sites?

  25. grizziz

    From the FT article Trump Transition Team:

    There is even increasing recognition that some of the new rules, such as collateral requirements, appear to be creating unintended systemic risks.

    The author John Dizard inserts this item without explanation. Insiders to whom Mr. Dizard is writing to may know specifically to what he refers. I do not. Therefore, I will speculate freely and suggest that the cost of capital, the collateral, is eating into profits and the systemic risk for the “asset management industry” is not to the financial system generally, but only to the risk that profitability of the “asset managers” is at stake.
    One might think that the run up is bank shares since the election would obviate the need for more capital. Unfortunately for the banks, unless there is a large amount of the bank stock in their own treasury, the higher price will force even more profits to be paid out in dividends. Thus the need to loosen the regulatory collar on the asset managers to expand their liabilities by seeking dodgier loans to sell to an unwitting public.

  26. Rhondda

    I thought this was quite funny. You could almost mistake it for The Onion.

    Trump Team Fosters Fears He’ll Adopt Alternative Economic Facts

    President Donald Trump complains regularly about what he calls “fake news.” What’s got some statisticians worried, though, is the risk of doctored economic data coming from the administration itself.

    While there are government directives in place to prevent that from happening, the number crunchers worry that the president’s occasionally cavalier comments on the economy and economic statistics, and his apparent disdain for economists in general, could mean trouble ahead.

    One month into his presidency, Trump has yet to nominate anyone to the Council of Economic Advisers, established in 1946 to provide presidents with objective economic analysis and advice. Indeed, staffers at the council complain that the White House seems to be giving short shrift to the regular reports they produce on the economy, a person familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity…

  27. JTMcPhee

    Re the link on “repoliticization of DoJ:” Jeebus, has anyone been paying attention? When I dealt with DoJ as an EPA enforcement attorney particularly after the Reaganauts took over, the politicization went from more of a silk glove to a pretty clear iron fist. And in the intervening decades, John Yoo? Airport ramp meetings? Firings of US Attorneys and replacement with corporate shills? US Attorneys squelching allkinds of enforcement and investigation activities that are in the public interest? C’mon, people, catch up with what is in the regular news, at least.

    All that might accurately be said, I would say, is “ramping up of the patent, blatant politicization.”

    1. Alex Morfesis

      No more faking, just taking was intended to be a +++ to JT mcP the sage…my not so smartphone has not been playing nice with nc today…

  28. cripes

    A ground’s-eye view of the “Resistance” at work in Chicago:

    The local alderman, a democratic party twit, had the state director of ACLU come to speak to a full house on civil liberty issues.

    As the ACLU does, she listed the usual, and deserving, subjects: immigration, reproductive rights, voting rights, etc.

    However, she opened-and closed-the talk with her opinion that it was the low-information voters who were “fooled” by Trump and needed more education that brought us to the dilemma we face today. Nothing about the failures of the democratic party and their wars, service to banks and abandonment of working people. Then they passed around the basket.

    The dispiriting event had an overflow crowd of maybe 500, average age about 60, 98 percent white, largely affluent if disheveled looking. I counted no more than a dozen African-american, Hispanic and likely middle eastern faces.

    Apparently the were planning to protect the rights of immigrants without their participation.

    I’ve thrown rhetorical monkey wrenches at Obama victory rallies, campaign meetings, etc., but couldn’t bring myself to say what amounted to “are you fucking crazy?” this evening. Maybe I should just look around the neighborhood to see where berniecrats are drinking their sorrows away. Or the socialist workers party.

    Some resistance.

  29. Oregoncharles

    A report back:
    I was at a town hall by Sen. Ron Wyden this morning. (Note: Wyden is not, IMHO, trustworthy.) Very blue town in a very blue state. The turnout was huge – the biggest I’ve seen. And the tone of the “questions” was disgustingly adulatory. Lots of desperate Democrats in that hall. At least one question both my wife and I thought was a setup.

    The alarming bit: Wyden, who is the ranking member of the “Intelligence” Committee, was asked about Russia, and played it up vigorously. Some of it made sense: witnesses should be under oath, and the investigation, if there is one, taken seriously. But he was blowing up the Russia issue alarmingly, and the crowd ate it up. Got the loudest applause of the morning.

    That’s bad news; this is a local, sophisticated audience baying like wolves for Russian blood (so to speak). It was full- blown McCarthyism, from people who should but didn’t seem to grasp the dangers, or the thinness of the evidence. I think we’re in worse trouble than I thought before. And the Democrats are even more desperate for reassurance than I realized.

    At the same time, the pot has been very thoroughly stirred. People are paying far more attention than usual to politics, and they will continue. Despite what I heard in that town hall, it is only one of the directions they’re going in. As in the old Chinese vocabulary, crisis is opportunity. But I’m afraid we’ll be challenged to fend off a war, at least a cold one.

  30. Swamp Yankee

    Re: increasing poverty in Boston suburbs

    This definitely synchs with what I’ve observed locally. I’d say the trend has intensified over the last 5 or so years. Tony suburbs, commuter towns/bedroom communities, tourist towns/Vacationland (you posted a story back in September about poverty in Wareham, MA, down the street from my old house here in cranberry and clams country) — all are suffering from opium and gentrification. Urban gentrification is well known, but rural gentrification is also a thing, like when the grove of pine trees with cranberry pickers’ cabins gets turned into McMansion tract housing. People also forget post-industrial “rust belt” (hate that term) conditions prevail in a place like Brockton, MA or North Plymouth, MA, where most of the rope in the world was manufactured through the mid 20th century, employing a third of Plymouth’s workforce or more.

    All gone now.

    A situation much like old Europe or pre-1850 America; urban core owned by elite, same elite enclosing countryside, many people driven from both directions — urban and rural — into the suburbs (banlieues?) as servants of the “Service Economy” (they put it pretty openly, don’t they — servitude is the goal, not a side affect!)

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