Links 2/2/17

Cats joining the fray at annual NYC dog fête AFP. O tempora o mores

Nation’s bacon reserves hit 50-year low as prices rise USA Today (Re Silc).

Private Banking Meets Cross-Selling for JPMorgan’s Wealthy Clients Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank Posts Loss as Litigation Costs Bite WSJ

South Dakota Senate sends ethics law repeal to governor Salon

The Depp Conundrum: Who Should Keep Tabs on the Money? NYT (J-LS). About fiduciary rules.

Innovative Direct-Current Microgrids to Solve India’s Power Woes IEEE Spectrum (RH). “To solve”? Really? Interesting tech, though. Very.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport hit by major computer outage Reuters (DL). “An initial reboot of computer systems in the morning had failed to resolve the issue.” A reboot? Who engineered redundancy out of that system?


MPs hand Theresa May the starting gun on Brexit The Independent

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: At last, it is all clear for Brexit’s lift-off Daily Mail

Questions sur les clients de la florissante société de conseil de François Fillon Le Monde (translation). A murky consulting firm. Via AL, who writes:

Apparently since 2012 Fillon has been and continues to be a “senior advisor” through his company 2F Conseil to the Ricol Lasteyrie group which provides financial advice to many companies including multinational corporations listed on the CAC40. This implies potential conflicts of interest.

As soon as the Fillon scandal was initiated by the first Canard enchaîné exposé (there have been 2 so far), I figured Fillon would go down. This is getting good. It is an uproar in France, and the right-wing party Les Républicains (LR) are still officially voicing support but everyone sees the ship is sinking. The polls will confirm it.


China labour unrest spreads to ‘new economy’ FT. Hmm…

Game-changers ahead on the (long) Maritime Silk Road Pepe Escobar, Asia Times (which has a nice new redesign).

What’s the End Game for Xi Jinping’s Political Moves? The Diplomats

China sends its billionaires a chilling message FT

Myanmar: the military-commercial complex FT

Our Famously Free Press

Iraq: A Deadly Deception Al Jazeera. Must read if your first vote was in 2008, since the Iraq War was a thoroughly bipartisan effort, and this will help with your decisions about good faith. And any remaining readers concerned about “fake news” or “alternative facts” should read this and ponder where important disinformation really comes from.

Covering Trump the Reuters Way Reuters

Does Journalism Still Have a Future? Harvard Magazine

Deranged And Deluded: The Media’s Complicity In The Climate Crisis Media Lens (CL).

Will Global Warming Make Hurricane Forecasting More Difficult? Jeff Masters, Weather Underground. Short… what?

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Cops use pacemaker data to charge homeowner with arson, insurance fraud NetworkWorld (CL).

Trump Transition

10 Ways to Take on Trump TNR. Democrats! Be for something! Stoller is #6:

Right now, Democrats are just panicking and whining and saying, “You have to say mean things about Trump on Twitter,” as if that’s a strategy. Instead, you should fight Trump on economic populist grounds. Today, farmers face monopoly power in the form of Bayer, Monsanto, ADM, and Tyson. People in urban areas face other monopolies, but they’re driven by the same concentrated financial power. The ideology of Democrats should be to break up that power.

Meanwhile, at #10, John R. Lewis — and I know this will surprise you — deploys the Blame Cannons: ” I believe the Russians played a major role in influencing the outcome of the election, and one day the truth will come out.” Oh, it’s not out already? All the leaks from that liberal pillar of good governance, the CIA, amounted to a steaming pile of dung Pathetic. Worse than useless. Part of the problem.

Liberals On the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown Politico. Excellent read, better than the headline. Word of the day: clinamen.

* * *

Immigration and Capital Zero Anthropology. Must read.

Multinationals have the power to beat Donald Trump on immigration FT

If Americans Truly Cared About Muslims, They Would Stop Killing Them by the Millions Black Agenda Report

H-1B: Why a new US visa bill is causing panic in India BBC

Google, Apple, Facebook, Uber plan to draft a joint letter opposing Trump’s travel ban ReCode. ” As you contemplate changes to the nation’s complex and interconnected immigration policies, whether business and employment-based visas, refugees, or DACA…” Guess which issue they really care about.

Corporate lawyers prepare for battle over Trump’s travel ban FT. Covington & Burling’s in? Where do I sign up?

Twitter Employees Are Donating $1.59 Million To The ACLU After Trump’s Travel Ban Buzzfeed. Matched by management.

Make North America great again Vincente Fox, Poltico

* * *

Four Democratic Defectors Join GOP to Confirm Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State The Intercept. I understand that partisan framing on this, and even the policy hook (Keystone; DAPL), but where, pray tell, was Trump supposed to find an SoS who wasn’t a card-carrying member of The Blob? I mean, outside the antiwar community, and that wasn’t on.

State of Irrelevance The American Conservative

Trump is right: Germany is running an illegal currency racket Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph. Yes, the Torygraph, but AEP is notably unscreechy.

The Uneasy Politician: Janet Yellen Is Struggling to Fend Off the Fed’s Many Critics WSJ

Scaramucci’s White House Role Now Uncertain WSJ

Big Pharma CEOs Met With Trump But They Won’t Give In to His Demands Fortune (BC).

Democrats’ goal with court nomination: Make it a referendum on Trump WaPo. Let me know how that works out.

EXCLUSIVE: Trump’s Supreme Court pick founded and led club called ‘Fascism Forever’ at his elite all-boys Washington prep school Daily Mail. Nice to see oppo still being planted on Fleet Street.

Trump’s Fast Start Likely Puts the House in Play in 2018 Stuart Rothenberg, Inside Elections. “In 2010, voters told President Obama that he had gone too far, too fast, with health care reform, a $787 billion economic stimulus package, the bailout of the banks, cash for clunkers and a generally liberal agenda.” Not in Massachusetts, where it was Obama’s failure to deliver on foreclosures that cost him the state and with that, the Senate.

Donald Trump is finally floating an idea liberals can love Quartz

Health Care

One thing red state voters don’t like about Obamacare is that it sucks Matt Bruenig. Good take:

It is absurd that someone whose income is 130% of the poverty line can go to a doctor but someone whose income is 140% of the poverty line cannot. Yet that is the reality the design of Obamacare has created. This design generates enormous resentment because it is actually bullshit that making a little more money makes health care unaffordable.

As we’ve been saying… On the “bubble” at the poverty line, see here from 2013: Bonus points to ObamaCare for program design, since Kaiser actually encouraged “consumers” to game their income when enrolling to be on the side the the bubble they preferred, with ObamaCare navigators helping them, thereby encouraging corruption. Because markets.

Class Warfare

NLRB Chips Away at Athlete Amateurism Inside Higher Ed. “Football players at private institutions in college sports’ most competitive level are employees, the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel stated this week, and will be treated as such if they seek protection against unfair labor practices.” I guess the general counsel decided to go out with bang? Good for him.

How Repressive Law Enforcement Crushed Minimum Wage Protests in Bangladesh’s Garment Sector The Wire

Why Do We Take Pride in Working for a Paycheck? JSTOR Daily (MT). Then again, it’s not easy being a peasant, especially when the crops fail.

Perched on the Wheel of Time The Archdruid Report

Antidote du jour (via):

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. Benedict@Large

      He’d make a good Presidential mascot, although they shouldn’t appear together lest confusion result.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            His eyes do seem to suggest (I am just guessing here) some Huns, Mongols, Tartars or Lapps in his family tree.

    2. Massinissa

      If I still had photoshop installed I would totally put a hat on that Platypus lol.

      I think Im probably the only person on NC to get your joke :P

  1. Synoia

    Innovative Direct-Current Microgrids to Solve India’s Power Woes

    an ordinary household vacuum cleaner uses anywhere from 500 to 3,000 W.

    0.75 to 4 Horse power motor? Really? On a Vacuum cleaner? Thats a 25-30 amp load, and many US household power sockets are fused (with a breaker) at 20 amps.

    1. Alex

      Um, not quite sure what point you’re trying to make… That their power consumption numbers for vacuum cleaners are wrong? Perhaps, but there are other loads in a typical home that can reach 3000 W. The numbers cited may also include shop-vacs, which are specified at those numbers.

      In any case, it’s an interesting approach, using AC or DC as appropriate for the device using the power. The thing to remember with anything efficiency or sustainability related is that there is never one solution – there are many solutions, each one appropriate to the given situation and need.

    2. Uahsenaa

      I think your math is off here.

      The typical vacuum motor runs at 120V, which would make the range 4.2-25 amps, not 25-30. At normal operation, the motor wouldn’t necessarily be drawing at the upper limit, though I have seen vacuums trip breakers, especially when clogged or otherwise straining the motor.

      In other words, those numbers don’t surprise me at all.

      1. optimader

        should make them all 480v.. even less amperage! .. just need to put on the arc-flash protective housedress before unplugging it

        1. skippy

          Three phase – !!!!! – all wall sockets would be Appleton connectors…. how steam punk would that be….

          “arc-flash protective housedress before unplugging it”

          Whats a little plasma in ones month… keeps you alert and on your toes….

          Just increased job flow by 1/3, reduced consumables by 1/4, increased quality by about 45%, reduced builder complaints by about 100% [quote – its perfect], company owner previous scowls and permanent PO’ed attitude has changed to – thank you – what do you need – no questions asked……..

          Disheveled…. best bit is old Czech tradie used the term master craftsman wrt myself… that and going to top dollar in a few months… could go for more but why be greedy…. eh… got to go… the pit beckons…

          1. Clive

            When I travel to the US (and Japan, which unwisely adopted the same standard) I am never more happily reminded of just about the one and only thing to guarantee to make me glad to be back home on my return — the redoubtable BS 1363 British Standard 13 amp plug.

            13 amps (single phase) at ~240v gives you 3kw load support — at every socket outlet. The ring mains (usually there’s two, one for “upstairs”, one serving “downstairs”) have 32 amp breakers.

            So we have no fear of monster power draws from domestic appliances.

            Those 100 volt 10 amp jokes you guys in the US stick on your walls (yes, I know heavier duty designs are fitted where higher loads are expected such as kitchens, utility rooms etc.) make me chuckle and groan at the same time.

            (sorry skippy, I don’t know about Oz, please forgive my inexcusable ignorance)

            Still, that doesn’t quite answer the original point about who, really, needs a 3kw vacuum…

            1. skippy

              I’ve got a 100A main breaker, followed by 32A for stove, 20A for water, 3 x 16A for the kitchen, bedrooms etc and the usual 8A for lights. Airconn usually goes on 3-phase. Also have Ground Fault Circuit Interupters (GFCI) – have a switch which is intended to cut the power when the Active and Neutral currents are different and/or current flows in the Earth.

              But as always when doing any electrical work, at home or on the job, I disconnect power and check for residual currant with a multi meter. I still remember working for a mob doing energy saving up grades in L.A. with old ballasts in them – PCBs lol. Supervised the subbies, so I went on the tools to get a better view of the job characteristics for a bit. Heaps of funny story’s, anywho….

              Fun facts….

              The Cleaning Lady and the Dog (A coautionary tale)

              Before GFCIs, in one hospital some surgeons were operating on a patient. They had an EKG monitor (for electrical heart pulses) connected to an electrical socket on one side of the theatre, and also an Intracardiac Blood Pressure monitor (with internal heart catheter) connected to an electrical socket on the other side of the theatre. Both were “Earthed” on the patient for safety.

              Suddenly, a 50Hz potential appeared on the EKG and the patient’s heart fibrillated. The surgeons quickly disconnected the monitors and the patient was revived. When they checked the monitors, the potential had disappeared.

              They reconstructed the senario with a dog on the table instead of a human. The strange signal had disappeared. However, after a fortnight of testing, suddenly the mysterious signal reappeared. They rushed out of the theatre (leaving the dog) and found a cleaning lady with an electric scrubber in the next room. Examining the scrubber, they found that it was leaking 1A into the Earth leads.

              This is how the mathematics worked out. Since they had connected the monitors to different electrical sockets there was 30m of Copper wire (radius 1mm) between the Earth connections of the monitors.

              The Earth wire had a resistivity of 1.7×10-8Ωm, a length of 30m and a radious of 1mm.
              It’s resistance therefore equaled 1.7×10-8×30/(π0.0012) = 0.17Ω.

              The 1A current through the wire produced 0.17V in the Earth wire between the two Earth connections. Between one Earth connection and the other Earth connection, the resistance through the heart was 3200Ω.

              There was then a current of 0.17/3200 = 0.05mA through the heart. As this was an internal flow through the body it was enough to produce ventricular fibrillation.

              Hospitals now have GFCIs that are much more sensitive than normal household devices, and other protective services.

              Other protective devices in general, include relays, circuit breakers and fuses and electronic monitoring devices. They are designed to protect against over-current, over-voltage, and reversing polarity (in a 3 phase system).

        2. Isolato

          I think everyone is a bit off here! I have lived on my little island here on solar and generator power for 20 years. Some of the loads are DC 24v but most of the power comes back out of the batteries and is converted to AC at about 92% efficiency. I looked at an all DC system when I designed the place.Like a boat. Not enough of our world was ready then or now. Everything DC is much more expensive. And, as for costs. These writers must be drunk!. By the time you figure in battery replacement our costs are closer to $2/kwh compared to grid power a few miles away at 10 cents for the same power. Our electrical usage is about 2 kwh/day, of course heat and the refer work on propane…so.

          1. Anon

            Good for you, Isolato. Here’s a link to an fully off-grid, passive solar Eco-Home that was designed and built nearly 30 years ago:

            Today’s AC to DC inverters are very efficient, but would be prohibitively expensive for the project in India. Focusing on small scale DC systems for small, agrarian communities is likely a wise choice.

      2. Procopius

        I think the only country where you’ll find 120v. electricity is the U.S., maybe Canada. Every other country I’ve lived in the current is 220-240v. Do vacuum cleaners usually have step-down transformers built-in?

  2. timbers

    Just a quickie before heading to work:

    A couple of days ago on NPR Nina Totenburg said towards the end of her commentary and analysis of Trump prospects of getting what he wants with a matter-of-factly delivered “and Republicans can aways eliminate the filibuster anytime they want with a simple majority vote.”

    So different from eight years ago.

    1. Uahsenaa

      It’s interesting how Republicans can always get what they want through whatever means avails them, but when it comes to something even remotely progressive (ahem, with broad public support), then all of a sudden we need a broad, bipartisan coalition for reasons that never get explained. That way, when the whole thing falls apart, they can insist that it was just never meant to be.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Whatever you may think of him, it’s amazing to watch Trump’s raw wielding of power, remarkable what one guy can do when he has actual convictions he actually gives a sh*t about. Monkey say (on the campaign trail), monkey do.

        If anything, a certain community organizer had even more of a “moment” to exploit 8 years ago, too bad he had no courage and no convictions other than hamming it up for an 8-year long selfie.

        I’m in Australia and it’s fair to say the entire nation is stunned about yesterday’s phone call where Trump apparently hung up on the PM. A brilliant lesson in the exercise of power: how do you think our PM will react next time they talk? Yes, sir, no, sir, Jump? How high, sir?

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          He got to play a lot of golf, too.

          Another book deal is probably in the works. Will probably outsell Hillary’s 5-1. And there’s always lobbying…

        2. integer

          I’m in Australia and it’s fair to say the entire nation is stunned about yesterday’s phone call where Trump apparently hung up on the PM.

          Hahaha. Things were so much simpler when all Australia had to do was periodically pay tribute to the Clinton Foundation. I have said before that Turnbull got a lot more than he bargained for when he scraped over the line in the last (Australian) election. Pretty sure he thought he’d be spending 4 years implempenting the IPA’s* agenda and basking in feelings of importance.

          * The Institute of Public Affairs. A heinous yet highly influential corporate funded Australian conservative think tank that essentially write the LNP’s policies for them. Funded by Murdoch, among others.

        3. wilroncanada

          Ah come on! Trump’s a goddam drama queen. The only one looking phonier and more insincere in the last 10 years has been Hillary Clinton. He’s not even as good an actor as Shrub Bush. And hanging up on someone, if it really happened and wasn’t just more hot air from Steve Bannon, his brain, is the way to conduct diplomacy? The bully pulpit? Really?

          1. Barni

            Wrong! Trump has an aggressive anti Wall Street/big bank agenda. Currently, the Wall Street/big bank’s thugs have almost destroyed the American middle/working class. Trump is trying to dismantle their strangle hold on the American economy, and they are viciously fighting back. They have- through ownership of all of the huge American media machine; and the fact that they own a large number of local, state and national legislators who inform the media choir promoting the Wall Street agenda- of stopping Trump from breaking their economic socio-political agendas and reversing many of their legal agendas; and can also provide the constant anti Trump monologue which in combination with their bought and paid for media/political allies who produce the media wall-to-wall manufactured anti Trump dialogue.
            Corporation’s overwhelming control of the media, political and social establishments; means that in order to reverse this anti democratic establishment socio/political control, Trump has to move quickly and effectively. The best chance for the corporate agenda to stop Trump from ending the Wall Street ‘elitist’ control and freeing and empowering the working majority; is a non stop wall-to-wall assault. Having 100% of the media to control the public dialogue for corporate interests and against the vast majority and Trump’s agenda to free them from corporate control means that Trump has almost no way to fight back except to dismantle the anti-democratic social/political and corporate structures as quickly as possible. As they have shown in the past with Lincoln and Kennedy they are very comfortable using social decapitation and even murder as a final solution to prevent change which would free and benefit the vast majority. Trump is very far from the corporate agenda projection of him.Contrary to the corporate owned and controlled illusion Trump is actually out to end their increasing strangle hold on wealth and the means to produce it.

            1. zapster

              ROFL. Which he is dutifully solving by filling his cabinet with deregulation-addicted Goldman Sachs con artists.

    2. WJ

      Maybe I am just depraved, but the phrases “just a quickie before heading to work” and “Nina Totenberg” involuntarily gave rise to a horrid image in my mind.

    1. RWood

      Thank you.
      “the provision of local public goods may be negatively affected by market integration and climate change.”

  3. Pat

    So wait NOW the Democrats really really care about the Keystone Pipeline? As in that is the big objection to Tillerson. I realize that the Intercept article is really about why certain Democrats voted FOR him, but still.
    Mind you that in tandem with the American Conservative piece about the waning role of State, probably does mean it is all about a ceremonial advancement of a largely unwanted pipeline.

    But at least it means that Tim Kaine, VP wannabe, finally found a Trump nominee he couldn’t vote for.

    It is going to be a long day of me pondering how most of the so-called liberals I am surrounded by are living in denial about our corporate Democratic leadership, and how little Gaius Publius’ question of the previous post on NC will even occur to them.

  4. Leigh

    Today’s Antidote – He’s running for president in 2020, well suited for traversing the Swamp!
    He’s got my vote…

  5. Anne

    Maybe one day – probably one day too late – the Dems will consider playing offense instead of defense. This would be the perfect time to lay out a vision in contrast to what Trump/Bannon/Pence and the GOP in general are putting out there, but I’m not seeing that except from a limited few people (among them Bernie Sanders – and I mention him because he may also be among the few people who genuinely believes in what he’s saying).

    Instead of making a hilarious meme out of “alternative facts,” Dems should be pushing an alternative, positive, forward-thinking vision, with issue-specific legislation and proposals. They should be taking advantage of people being willing to be out in the streets by making them partners in that positive vision.

    And we should be pushing these politicians harder than ever; I kind of like “Get it or Get Out” as a short and incisive expression of where many of us are.

    1. SpringTexan

      Yes, I saw Sanders on “offense needed as well as defense” and he is SO RIGHT. You have to give people something to vote FOR.

      Sanders is tireless. Don’t know how he does it, I’m not as old as him and it’s unimaginable. But I’m so grateful.

      He’s going to debate Ted Cruz on the ACA on CNN town hall next week.

      1. Roger Smith

        He’s going to debate Ted Cruz on the ACA on CNN town hall next week.

        And what a complete waste of time that will be. Unless his opening statement condemns the ACA as the insurance racket it is and he spend the rest of his time outlining a universal medicare for all program he intends to file legislation for in the next week.

        Sanders defending establishment Democrat nonsense is not doing anyone a favor.

        1. nycTerrierist

          It will be depressing to see him defend the Unaffordable Care Act.

          I was hoping he’d make a forceful case for single-payer.

          1. UserFriendly

            I would be shocked if Bernie didn’t mention single payer. He wouldn’t agree to it if he couldn’t.

        2. WheresOurTeddy

          Indeed, let’s hope he goes rogue and CNN has to have “technical difficulties” with his microphone.

          Or will Cruz get the questions ahead of time?

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      The “dems” are playing offense. How else would you characterize unambiguous accusations against large swaths of the population like deplorable, racist, xenophobic, ignorant, stupid etc.? Or the violence that erupted in Berkeley yesterday?

      You are going to have to get over it, Anne. The “dems” are neither who they want you to think they are nor who you so desperately want them to be.

      The worm has turned.

      1. Anon

        Or the violence that erupted in Berkeley yesterday?

        I’m uncertain what you mean? Are you fully informed at what took place at UC Berkeley? That the non-violent portion of the demonstration were students and the more violent actors were non-students.

      2. hidflect

        The Dems aren’t any party I identify with, or can afford. When was the last time anyone saw Nancy Pelosi without paying money?

    3. Eclair

      OMG, yes, Anne! “…. the Dems will consider playing offense instead of defense.”

      Right now, everyone I talk with is concerned with health care; retired folk, self-employed people who can afford only high deductible ($10,000) policies from the ACA market, young ones with precarious jobs and health problems. Medicare for all would seem to be a natural for a progressive platform.

      But I attended an informal breakfast meeting last Saturday, of concerned Democrats in our small city, where the big question seemed to be, who can we get to run against our very conservative Congress person. Again. No discussion on platform, or vision. Just, what can we throw up against the wall one more time and see if it sticks. I will keep going to the meetings, until they kick me out.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “They” want you to worry, to be all stressed out.

        Then, ‘they’ can extract more (or what is left) of you healthcare money.

        “Gotta pay our doctor first, before reaching that $10,000 deductible limit. In the meantime, you can squeeze more blood from that turnip by buying fruits with a lot of glyphosate, instead of ones with just a little (labeled Organic).”

      1. Waldenpond

        Follow or get out of the way.

        Remember Franken when he cast his superdelegate vote against Sanders as he knew better than the voters? They are employees, treat them as such.

        1. PhilM

          Good old Franken. What a tragedy. Thank you, Waldenpond.

          Government is a service. If you don’t like what you are getting, find another one.

          Sadly, it is a monopoly, so finding another one is more involved than yelling at a call-center employee.

  6. Chromex

    “It is absurd that someone whose income is 130% of the poverty line can go to a doctor but someone whose income is 140% of the poverty line cannot.”
    Sorry- while this is technically correct, the reality is MUCH different.
    It is highly likely that neither will actually go to the Doctor, except for preventive care because of high deductibles and copays.Even with preventive care, unless the Doctors code it right, the offshoots ( time for your colonoscopy- time for your shingles shot) will come out of your first 5k that you are supposed to pay. And we know that the majority of americans have less than 4K in savings- and have seen what the 1k and 2k deductible premiums cost?
    What is the most likely is that those who are hovering in the 130% -140% range treat the policy as a insurance against er costs should they get hit by a bus. It is not much of a leap to suggest that if one’s income is 130-140% of the poverty level , then that person is more likely to be among the majority of Americans who have less than 5K in savings- often much less.
    And its obvious that this was more or less planned ( the famous “skin in the game” comments of the architects). Everyone associated with this should be damned ashamed. Expanded medicare for all is the only way out. No, I do not think it will happen but anything short of it will be just as bad or worse than the current status quo.

    1. Pat

      Actually, no it doesn’t. people who are at 138% of the poverty line qualify for expanded MEDICAID in states that accepted it. Yes, the government can claw back assets,if they have any after a certain age, but there is no immediate payment required. So it wasn’t even just technically correct, if they live in a state with expanded Medicaid they are right and you are incorrect.

      So the person in the article griping had a legitimate point. As do you. Both or you want a health care policy that provides health care for everyone. ACA did not as it hollowed out a huge middle to give a whole lot of private interests profits with no health care attached.

      1. Anne

        I think what most people want is a system where the insurance industry is no longer able to act as a barrier to actual care. If a married couple with 2 kids is paying $1,000/month for insurance, and has a $6,000 annual deductible to meet, that is almost $20,000/yr that is coming out of their pockets and going…where, exactly? Because the couple in question is my daughter and son-in-law and their two kids, and I can assure you that even if the well-child/adult visits, screenings and immunizations were not covered at 100% because of the mandates, they would not have had to pay anywhere near that for care in an average year.

        Okay, so what they aren’t “using” of their premiums is likely going to pay for someone else whose premiums don’t cover what the insurance is paying out in claims, but what is being built in isn’t for the insurance companies to get to zero in terms of dollars paid in v. dollars paid out, but for a third category – profit – to jump the line ahead of “dollars paid out.” I guess these companies subscribe to the “pay yourself first” philosophy: they take their cut and people just have to make do with whatever they decide is left over to pay actual claims.

        It is money that isn’t going into the general economy, money that can’t be set aside for retirement, or a 529 college plan. or even into savings as an emergency fund. I guess this is the part where I am reminded that the GOP wants my daughter to take that money and put it in a health savings account. Which is all well and good, but it isn’t solving the essential problem, which is that the insurance industry is more interested in enriching itself and its stockholders than it is in actual health care. How this is not obvious, i will never know, but I expect it has something to do with the fact that the people who have the power to restructure the system to put the emphasis on care, as opposed to insurance, have not faced the kinds of choices average people do, and many of them benefit from the current design.

        One wonders how much better our physical, mental and economic health would be in a system that puts care as a priority over profits.

        1. Chris M.

          And it’s not just a matter of deductibles. In our area (NE Ohio) the only semi-affordable plans, even after subsidy and a $5-6,000 deductible, have extremely narrow networks. The 2 major hospital systems are excluded, as are their docs. You are relegated to public or charity hospitals – mediocre, farther away, and accessible to the uninsured even before Obamacare. Medicaid patients have a broad network, including the two major systems. I’m convinced Obamacare put Trump over the top in Ohio. It did with our votes.

        2. Pat

          I don’t disagree with you.

          But I think it is simpler than that. It isn’t about the specific obstacle. Regardless of whether the obstacle is Insurance, or Big Pharma or Private Hospitals, most people just want a health care system where they can go to the doctor if they need to, get care if they need it and don’t have to bankrupt themselves either before or after going to the doctor. And they sure as hell don’t want to have to wade through sales marketing bull to pick a plan/doctor/hospital and examine long bills with outrageous prices that aren’t the same for everyone to make sure they aren’t being overcharged at any point in the process.

          They also don’t want to see someone else with a system that appears simpler and fairer to them because they aren’t poor enough or fortunate to be a CEO.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The scary part is I don’t know how much more expensive and worse it will get when it comes to health care.

            Another double digit premium increase next year?

            Few doctors in the network?

            “Run your projections. Imagine where you will in a couple of years…healthier or more stressed, in this world or another universe.”

            1. Tom

              Here’s my own little projection based on my ACA experience.
              My premiums went up from $410 in 2016 to $505 in 2017 (Bronze, $5,000 deductible)
              Here’s the next 5 years at that 23% rate of increase:
              2018 = $621
              2019 = $764
              2020 = $939
              2021 = $1155
              2022 = $1421
              Hmmmm, $17,060 annual premiums by 2022. I don’t think “signature program” means the same thing to Obama apologists as it does to me.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                But hey, premium hikes add to the US GDP, so get with the program, soldier, don’t you want the economy to grow? Are you some kind of communist? Of course it’s OK for the Federal government to mandate by law that its citizens purchase a certain service from private companies with billionaire CEOs.
                (As an immigrant to single-payer Australia I’ll just say one thing: it works really well. Any politician or pundit proposing or apologizing for anything else should be immediately shouted down to the curb and kicked out with the trash).

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Wish this country would move left, first to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, then to Australia.

                  That’s what I visualize when I read, let’s move more to the left.

                2. Tom

                  Oh, the GDP would grow just as much if I didn’t spend as much on insurance premiums — I’d find somewhere to spend any surplus, believe me.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        The most often cited figures are that 20 million people are participating in obamacare. Of those, 15 million “benefit” from Medicaid expansion while 5 million get “coverage” through insurance purchased on the exchanges. To date, 31 states plus the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid. By far the state benefiting the most from the expansion was California, with 2,113,000 residents gaining Medicaid coverage, followed by New York (631,000) and Illinois (572,000). No surprise there.

        Most of the obamacare miracle “success” stories seem to come from those individuals who have gained access to “healthcare” through the Medicaid expansion, and most of the horror stories seem to come from those mandated by the “law” to purchase individual coverage on the exchanges.

        It really seems almost pointless to “debate” obamacare generally, since it is really two very different “programs” experienced and paid for in very different ways by participants, depending on which side of an arbitrary economic line one falls.

        Unfortunately for the clinton cohort of obamacare defenders, however, one thing does seem to be undeniable. The geographic distribution of obamacare screwees was inconsistent with an electoral college blowout last November.

        1. Anne

          If we want to get technical about it, aren’t all of us with insurance, whether purchased on an exchange, purchased on the individual market, obtained through ability to be covered via Medicaid, or who have employer-provided insurance, participating in “Obamacare?” So, it’s not like those of us with employer-based insurance won’t lose anything if the ACA is repealed – we will still have insurance, but many of us (probably depending on where we live) won’t have the mandated coverages the ACA required.

          As a proponent of single-payer, I was never a supporter of the warmed-over GOP/written-by-industry-lobbyists ACA or the long, slow implementation that allowed insurance companies to have years of lead time to raise premiums, and figure out how to game the parts they didn’t like, but to the extent that it has benefited millions who otherwise would have nothing, I can’t bring myself to cheer for its demise, especially knowing that whatever monstrosity “replaces” it is certain to provide even less benefit to all of us in one way or another.

          Insurance companies are a barrier to care, not a facilitator: they want you to have it, but they’d really rather you not actually use it.

          1. jrs

            Another thing is that more and more employers while they may still help to pay the costs (it does help, it’s hardly nothing) are kicking employees on to individual type programs. It helps to have the metal tiers to even evaluate these, and know there are some standards for the various tiers (not good enough and very slippery standards with things like balance billing, as we know but … how is absolutely nothing better? It’s not)

            On the other hand the ACA is part of why employers are kicking employees on to these plans, the Cadillac tax etc..

          2. Katniss Everdeen

            ….mandated coverages the ACA required.

            See hobby lobby.

            Those “mandated coverages” are only as good as the employer-who-doesn’t-want-to- provide-them’s supreme court argument against providing them is bad.

        2. Jim Haygood

          5 million get “coverage” through insurance purchased on the exchanges.

          After all the political Sturm und Drang, and who knows how many hundreds of billions spent, 5 million is all of 1.5 percent of the US population.

          As the Latin expression goes, the mountains labored … and brought forth a ridiculous mouse.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            I know. Every time I do the math I can’t believe how minuscule the answer I get is.

            I think the real issue here is the one rarely mentioned. If you want access to “healthcare” in america, you must become a customer of a private business, pay whatever it demands for its product and accept the terms it dictates.

            By law.

        3. jrs

          Yes the big Obamacare fans are often those who suddenly find themselves Medicaid eligibille thanks to the ACA, as mediocre a program as Medicaid is.

        4. NYPaul

          A good start would be to send every voter in America a copy of Michael Moore’s documentary, “Sicko.” It would not only show how the rest of the world’s democracies provide health care, it might also make them less leery of the term, socialist.”

    2. From Cold Mountain

      I find this true for me. I am on Medicare and Disability and I cannot afford to go to the doctor. They all want a $30 copay (monopoly collusion?). So if I went to the Docs how much I needed to so they can find out what the hell is wrong with my nervous system I would have little money for healthy food which has helped me more than any doctor has.

      A doctor once diagnosed me with MS but said I could not afford the MRI since it would cost me $900 out of pocket. =/

      1. PhilM

        Once diagnosed, many still cannot not affort the treatments for MS, which are minimally efficacious unless experimental, in which case they are exorbitant. Be comforted; there are a great many neurological problems that have no real diagnostic studies, and if they did, they have no effective therapies; we are all in this together, and the gentleness and mercy of our fellow man are the only comforts.

        The American health care system was not designed; it was “evolved” through “markets,” by sadists, for sadists: as a lesson in what Adam Smith warned us all about. Each step into the chamber offers an additional opportunity to torture the helpless. The patient’s total assets are already forfeit, after all; so the complexity of the system has evolved merely to distribute those proceeds according to the predators’ ranks, inflicting a random sum of suffering at each stage to make the point how lucky the patient is to have anything at all; because being painless leads to a sense of entitlement.

        The only compensation for all of us here is that the perpetrators face the same pain, when they reach the end of their lives, to enjoy their experience at the hands of people who have grown used to mercenary torture as a way of life.

    3. kgc

      Not about the ACA, but prices are (as Crazy Eddie used to say, for those of you of my vintage) INSANE!!!

      Went to an urgent care facility while visiting my daughter in a different state because she had an under-one-year-old and I had a resurgence of a cold sore (herpes); spent a long time waiting and maybe 5-10 minutes not with a doctor but with a nurse or equivalent. The bill was $303! That’s $1,818-$3,636/hour, for a nurse-practitioner and no fancy tests! I’m paying $40, which would be fair, probably even low (though it’s ($240-480/hour), if it were the whole price. But my insurance (Medicare Advantage) is paying $263. Who’s going to reimburse them (plus profit)?

      Has anyone explained why prices are so high, using actual costs rather than generalities about, say, the cost of technology?

  7. Yusu

    This French election is surprisingly interesting. Fillon’s demise opens the door for Macron, Hamon, or Melenchon to join Le Pen in the second round. Macron is polling at 20% on very similar policies to the extremely unpopular outgoing government (admittedly in ‘aspirational’ packaging). Hamon and Melenchon represent two alternatives for the European left. The former, who just won the socialist party primary against ex-prime minister Valls, is close to Varoufakis’ Diem25, which for economic reasons naked capitalism readers will be familiar with, stands for a new EU treaty to avoid a break up. Melenchon on the other hand is part of plan B, which considers Lexit an option in the short term. They also present two responses to unemployment, Hamon basic income and Melenchon increased government employment. Although it is still early, it seems unlikely that either left candidate can go through if both stand. A single left wing candidate would have a real chance.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’m not familiar with how the French nomination system works, but would it be possible for the mainstream right to dump Fillon and nominate someone else? Or are they stuck with him?

      It would seem the question now is that if they are stuck with Fillon, then the centre right voters have nowhere to go, so would whichever way they break could decide things. I would imagine that someone as slippery as Macron would be tempted to veer right to try to grab their attention.

      1. european

        I think they can still change the candidate. Xavier Bertrand is rumoured to have chances for that (don’t know him).

        Does anyone else think that Fillons problems are bad news for Le Pen? I know the polls said he would be her toughest opponent in the second round, but i never bought that. He is such a far right Thatcherite that the Left could never vote for him, not even against Le Pen. Macron is easier to swallow for the Left (not easy, easier!) and of course the neoliberal media love him.

      2. David

        That’s the question being furiously discussed now. There’s nothing in the party’s statutes to cover this kind of situation, which, as far as I know, has never arisen before in a French election. There seems to be no way in which Fillon can actually be forced to go, and, whilst most people now think his days are numbered, the longer he stays the worse it will get. But getting rid of him is only stage one. The more important question is who would replace him, and there is no natural candidate. Juppé, who was decisively beaten by Fillon in the primaries, has repeatedly said he won’t run. This could conceivably change, but even if he eventually does agree to run he’ll be typecast as the substitute introduced at the last moment. The other possibility is of course Sarkozy (whose people may be behind at least some of these leaks) who disappeared from public view after the primaries but is just starting to edge back into visibility again. There are three or four younger potential candidates but they don’t have much name recognition. But how would you go about deciding? Again, there are no rules about this. With less than three months to the election, organising another primary is impossible, and so the decision will have to be made by the grandees of a bitterly divided and shell-shocked party which only ten days ago was confident of victory. And many of the decision-makers have a personal stake, because they face their own electors for parliamentary seats shortly afterwards.
        Fillon’s core constituency is the provincial, rather old fashioned middle class, many of whom are in a state of shock right now. Some may stick with his replacement, some may defect to the FN, some to Dupont-Aignan (who picks up a reliable 3% or so each time) and possibly some to Macron, but he represents everything they dislike – young, arrogantly clever, wealthy merchant banker, and most of all a cynical opportunist of no fixed convictions. So long as Mélenchon and Hamon are at odds, the Left will probably not make it into the second round. As a result of recent events, the main Right-wing party may not either. A second round between two of Le Pen, Bayrou and Macron looks a real possibility.
        Oh, and it will get more complicated than this before April.

          1. David

            Yes, Fillon himself admitted this in an ill-judged attempt at transparency, saying that two of his children were “avocats” – i.e. practising lawyers – with special technical knowledge. It later turned out that they were just law students and no-one is quite sure what they did. It’s typical of the man’s unforced errors: he seems to be constitutionally incapable of telling the truth. By rights he ought to be gone already but he’s still desperately clinging on, partly because no-one can agree on a replacement.

            1. Sue Madden

              Agree, Fillon has handled this all through breathtakingly badly. However, hanging in there hardly seems an option, all the more so since this evening on “Complemente d`enquete” on France 2 they showed a clear video of an interview with Penelope Fillon for an article for the Sunday Telegraph from the crucial years (when she is now shown to have been paid a considerable salary by the state for her services) describing her modest house-wifely private life, saying very clearly that she didn`t work for her husband in any capacity.

    2. Ed

      David Lindsay, who is an excellent blogger that NC readers should be more aware of, wrote that whoever makes it to the second round who is not Le Pen will win, so it might as well be Melenchon.

      If Fillon has to drop out, the Socialists and the establishment right for the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic will effectively not be fielding presidential candidates, both due to the completely avoidable error of holding US style primaries. Hamon is effectively the Green candidate.

      If Fillon has to drop out, the establishment right might as well back Bayrou, who is an idiot, but at least a right wing politician. Otherwise figure out a way to bring back Sarkozy. Macron, the other option, seems a bit too Tony Blair like and if the establishment right backs him they risk alot of defections of their voters to the FN.

  8. Pat

    Anecdote to connect to the Bruening article on ACA. Acquaintance who was one of the biggest supporters of ACA is young, an artist, and has an ongoing and expensive medical condition. One of my questions about how unwavering this support was was answered when they came out and admitted that they had made sure to put the full amount into an IRA so they could be sure they qualified for expanded Medicaid. IOW, once again that was the only thing that meant they would have the coverage they needed. Even with a subsidy, they couldn’t have afforded their health care with an exchange policy. Another acquaintance just had some needed heart surgery on Medicaid (I knew about how ACA worked for them.)

    I believe in single payer. I also believe that even with that, sometimes people will need more help from the system. I fought against the inequities of ACA from the beginning because it was clear that except for the very rich or the poor, ACA meant less and less health care for more and more money for everyone else. My problem with my acquaintance is that they couldn’t manage being grateful that it was good for them but notice that essentially having to use strings to remain on Medicaid obviously means that it is beyond inadequate as a national health CARE policy. And I found a lot of that kind of “I’m okay, so it is great!” mindlessness. Especially when trying to figure out why people didn’t like the policy.

  9. gsinbe

    Agree that the Zero Anthropology article is a “must read”. A teaser quote, “‘I won’t vote for a racist or bigot” can easily be translated as “I am saving the oligarchy”.

    1. Peter

      Also: “Liberal democracy, a system of power, was only permitted once politics were divorced from economics, and voting did not appear to threaten the economic system (Macpherson, 1965, pp. 12, 13, 51).

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Also too:

        An oligarchic system that is in trouble, looks for solutions of course. Having rendered the majority of existing workers disposable, the key lies in finding ways to also make them disposable as voters.

        Perhaps clinton “misspoke” when she used the word “deplorable.”

        1. MtnLife

          Well if she called them a basket of disposables it would insinuate that they had some sort of value at some point before being tossed aside whereas deplorable has no redeeming valuation and showed her true feeling towards them.

          1. Enquiring Mind

            Disposables, similar to the people, uh, life forms, in The Matrix that were farmed for their electrical potential and then flushed when defective or used up.

          2. jinbaltimore

            Is there something wrong with calling racists, etc. “deplorable?” We looking to work with them now?

            Here is the actual quote, so often mischaracterized here in the comments at NC:

            You know, just to be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up

            1. Aumua

              The quote kinda supports the backlash against it though, if you read it carefully. Saying HALF of trump supporters are these things is a gross mischaracterization. The quote even apologizes in advance for being brutish and stupid, and then goes ahead with it anyway.

              I guess it’s all justified when you’re on side of the “good guys”, eh?

              1. jinbaltimore

                I think she was erring on the side of kindness to limit the deplorables here to only half of his supporters.

            2. Kurt Sperry

              What she said was to some extent true; but that in no way diminishes how politically stupid it was for her to say it.

            3. MtnLife

              Actually, to be honest, I try not discount an entire human being based on one characteristic which can be displayed to varying degrees on a spectrum. Would I invite a Klan member over for dinner? Not at all. Would I accept their assistance in mitigating climate change or reducing economic inequality? You betcha.
              I find it absurd that liberals seem to take any hint of racism and throw that person in the deplorable basket, never to be seen again. Racism may be deplorable but that doesn’t make them irredeemable.

              1. PhilM

                OMG, you have won the internet. I wish I could put this comment at the masthead of every forum I have ever read.

              2. jinbaltimore

                More power to you, I guess. I wouldn’t trust their motives or look to them for follow-thru.

    2. Eclair

      Well, yes. And this teaser quote reflects what I have been screaming to the TV news presenters (my husband is celebrating his retirement by watching all the news programs he can find … oy!):

      “Once a portion of the region’s refugee populations began to move northward, into the European Union, the ruling political elites effectively transferred the costs to the working class, by crowding them out of already reduced social services that have shrunk under austerity, and expecting them to be accommodating. Protests from the working class were then labelled “racist” and “xenophobic,” especially by supposed “progressives”. The point here ought not to have been whether those who can least afford making room for refugees and migrants should be welcoming or hostile—the point is that Western nations should not have created those refugee populations in the first place, as they did with their invasions, occupations, and bombing campaigns.”

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        ……. and expecting them to be accommodating.

        I would change that to demanding that they be accommodating, and vilifying them from every direction and in every way imaginable should they resist.

  10. Uahsenaa

    I watched most of the confirmation hearings and have to say that Tillerson seemed like the least wack-a-doodle of the nominees Trump put forth. Certainly when Lindsay Graham threw a temper tantrum over Jerusalem being the true capital of Israel (yes, this was the subject of an entire line of questioning), Tillerson looked like the adult in the room. And if Graham is against him, he can’t be all bad.

    DeVos and Mnuchin, on the other hand, were complete weasels.

    1. Pat

      I didn’t watch, but truth be told after reading some of the transcripts I agree with you. Although I would add Price on the unacceptables for generally being an asshole just more upfront about it than DeVos and Mnuchin, weasels AND assholes.

      1. Uahsenaa

        Price was bad as well. He constantly evaded–and not very deftly at that–questions concerning a whole host of issues, most notably the Repulican desire to block grant Medicaid funding, when the Medicaid expansion was one of the few genuinely good things to come out of the ACA.

        DeVos has no business being anywhere near public education in the US. She has no clue what is actually involved in teaching, and if she weren’t filthy rich, no one would pay her opinions on the matter any mind at all. Perhaps because I am an educator myself, this one hits particularly close to home. And Mnuchin actually tried to make it seem like foreclosing on people was the only honorable thing to do in the situation!

    2. Lynne

      Honestly, it seems to me that the Democrats concerned with Bannon and Trump, not to mention the uproar over immigration bans, would rush to get Tillerson approved, to counterbalance Bannon’s noxious influence.

  11. Sam Adams

    Re: fiduciary duty and Depp.
    . I rely on my investment advisor (who I have trusted for decades) to read and understand the investments he recommends. I understand he makes his living from fees and commissions because he has knowledge and time to evaluate them. I don’t expect every investment to be a winner and some may even lose money, but I do expect that when he invests for me it is for my best interests and not his.

    1. Jim Haygood

      I understand he makes his living from fees and commissions because he has knowledge and time to evaluate them.

      There’s a difference between fees and commissions. An adviser who charges only a fee (say 1 percent of the amount managed annually) isn’t paid to favor particular products. Whereas commissions create biases — toward particular products, toward churning.

      The Labor Dept’s fiduciary rule was supposed to end such bad incentives for retirement accounts. But Wall Street delayed it so they can keep ripping off the public.

      1. kgc

        Not to mention incentives (neither overt fees nor overt commissions) to steer clients to products favored by management, often issued by affiliates of the asset manager. Or just paying higher fees (though the SEC does – currently – require disclosure of after-fee returns, which helps). Or… or… so many possibilities, so little time!

        But trying to manage your own investments takes more time, including learning the industry and the many different scamming structures, than most people have. I spent more than 20 years in the industry and can grok most scams (i.e., products posing as high-yield that actually benefit the issuer/adviser) in a few minutes. But even now, in semi-retirement, I don’t actively trade or watch markets. I don’t have the time.

  12. PlutoniumKun


    Immigration and Capital Zero Anthropology. Must read.

    One thing I’d add to this analysis is that the left has always in my opinion been hamstrung by the Marxist insistence on the international unity of the working class. This has always resulted in the left having a very contradictory and confused approach to nationalism. This can be seen most overtly in countries like Ireland, where the left wing has always been completely divided between the ‘internationalist’ strand represented by the mainstream left (both soft and hard left), which completely rejects the notion that it is progressive to support Irish unification on the basis of working class unity, and so frequently found itself implicitly supporting British colonialism and imperialism. The ‘nationalist’ strand of the left, represented by Sinn Fein and smaller hard left splinter groupings end up having a firmer grip on the working classes, while the ‘internationalist’ left finds itself working happily with the establishment. It was an old joke in Irish left wing circles that the Left loved national liberation movements, so long as they were at least 5,000 miles away from Europe. You can see similar splits in other countries with nationalist questions, such as in the Basque or Catalonian parts of Spain.

    Ultimately, it comes down to confused thinking. By insisting on an international working class struggle and anti-racism, the left has found itself with the millstone of being pro-immigration and anti-nationalist (in the broadest sense) around its neck. Working class people who care about their communities find themselves excluded from this narrative at best, or at worst accused of being racist, when all they want is to keep their communities intact and to maintain some strength in negotiating with the bosses.

    Of course, anti-immigration policies can be racist. If you look at 19th Century American labour history the conflict over business bringing in cheap biddable Chinese labour resulted in a very nasty racist backlash against all Asians. In mining towns like Butte, Montana, Japanese-American small business owners were driven out by a backlash against coolie labour – and this was orchestrated by mining unions. There is I think undoubtedly parallels in the way the modern IT industry is using Asia as a cheap recruiting ground for biddable workers, just as the construction and mining industry did 150 years ago. But the lesson has to be learned that it should be possible to oppose this, without being racist. Its a tricky balance, but if the left doesn’t find a way to do it, it will repeatedly be outmanoevered in working class communities by right wing populists.

    1. Ted

      “The Left” is not an essential political identity. As the article argues, a political left that has as a central logic the idea that labor has interests in direct opposition to capital is the only left that can make a difference for working people (e.g., all people who are not capitalists, no mater where they hail from). Most of “the left” today are liberals or “progressives” of one stripe or another who seek to further the growth of capital and hopefully one day count themselves among the ranks of capitalists (although as aspirant capitalists they would be in favor of all of the most popular humanitarian causes of their day should they ever find themselves with a seat in the executive suite). For this “left” the growth of capital under a veneer of magazine inspired liberal humanitarianism is the very definition of “progress”…and has been since the 19th century Victorians made this sort of thing a high art.

      The “left” that has nearly died from the suffocating pressure of having its neck stomped by the jackboots of “progrssives” everywhere, is a left that keeps the conflict between labor and capital in the modern world system its central feature.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Hear hear, there’s a very simple litmus test: is it good for labor, or good for capital. “Good for labor” should be defined as “increases wage income as a share of national income”, not “adds to my pathetic 401k”. The idea that tiny crumbs in a 401k somehow offset the unimaginable gains by the rentier owners of the means of production with their assets held tax-free offshore with a bought-and-paid-for crony state protecting their monopolies is a joke. An article ran yesterday about “The World’s First Trillionaire”, coming soon to an eviscerated country with skyrocketing Gini scores near you.

      2. OregonChris

        I have been reading NC since 2008-2009 as a law student trying to understand the financial collapse, and I learned much and am grateful for that. The curated links have been my primary new source for more than half of my adult life. Our country is beginning a whole new kind of crisis, and I badly want to understand and find common ground. But I don’t even recognize this place anymore. Your “must read” seems glad to pit “our” poor against “their” poor, and minimize our country’s very real racist past and present. I truly hope for a better future for our country and our world than that. Good bye NC, I’m promising not to come back, so don’t worry about offending me in the comments.

      3. Waldenpond

        Repeat comment:

        I guess it isn’t an outsiders business to which degree neos, liberals or progressives are ascendant in the Democrat party coalition. I just notice that the base seems annoyed with it’s neos and agree with the Rs that liberal is a dirty word so the base has adopted the term progressive. People are going to look up what progressive is.

        First peek is usually wiki:
        5 aspects of progressivism? Nobility of Western civilization; worth of economic/technological growth; scientific/scholarly knowledge obtained through reason over faith; the intrinsic importance and worth of life on Earth.

        In other words: imperialism, economic growth, technocratic, separation of church and state (that’s laughable), worth of life

        Progressivism….. is a strategy not an ideology. It is grounded in history as a method for advancing liberal ideals. An ameliorating strategy of conservatism not an opposition strategy. It is still a corporate philosophy… unionization and regulation as strategy – is an acceptance of corporations as the base structure.

        Conservatism: Here’s a convo on conservatism with a definition I find accurate:
        [maybe you have heard the definition of a neoliberal: a liberal who has been mugged by reality but refuses to press charges. In any case, one of the salient developments of the late 1960s and 1970s was the intellectual journey of various liberals and social democrats toward conservative positions and affiliations. By the early 1980s many of them were participating in the Reagan Revolution.]

        What’s the difference between a liberal and a progressive: very little.

        Additional….Progressive:… Progressivism… having pragmatic discussions with the center-right.

        Even when some recognize that, in ways, liberalism has morphed into liberal rights for capital and identity politics, there is the forgotten aspect of progressivism as, with it’s own historical debate (which I find problematic) a strategy for advancing liberalism.

        R 25 of the vote and D 26% of the vote. If I am asked to pick sides, the answer is no… let’s you and him fight. Neos 8.6 liberals 8.6 progressives 8.6% of the vote. If I am asked to pick sides, the answer is no…. let’s you and him and him fight.

        Based on what I am seeing, the argument isn’t to move left, but merely in-fighting of the appropriately defined 3 branch coalition of the Democrat party. Imperialism, economic growth, technocratic, separation of church and state, worth of life? No thanks.

        Which brings me back to:
        Republicans/conservatives have a five plank ideology/platform.
        Democrats are Republican-lite.
        Neo-liberals are conservative-lite.
        Liberals are neo-liberal-lite.
        Progressives are liberal-lite.

        Stated it once, will state it again…. the only way to get rid of a neo-liberal is if a progressives hands are wrapped around their neck… it’s a cold-dead hands situation.

      4. b1daly

        I fear some scathing comments here, but i think there is room between “true left” and “jackbooted thugs doing the bidding evil capital”. If there really isn’t, then I doubt any left wing movement will ever be established in the US. If SHTF, it’s going to be an ugly ride, and I don’t see a significant amount of US citizens holding hands and singing the Internationale.

        Personally, I think this oversimplified formulation of class struggle is just another ideology, based on wishful thinking. An abstraction so leaky, only desperate absolutism can even start to fill it. In other words, good luck with that.

    2. Lee

      The nation state is the largest, most powerful jurisdictional unit over which citizens currently have even a long shot at controlling. Given nation states’ monopolies on currency production, the means of coercion, and as a source of widely shared sense of individual and group identity, wielding their power is an absolutely necessary step toward any possibility of workers of the world ever uniting. A country like the U.S., which is large, powerful and containing enough human and natural resources to achieve a high degree of autarky and therefore independence, could serve well as a positive, progressive exemplar to the working classes of other nations. I won’t hold my breath but one can dream, can’t one?

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I would go further and say the US is almost the only country large and potentially autonomous enough to actually put “a positive, progressive exemplar to the working classes of other nations” into practice against globalist opposition. If anything remotely resembling the true economic left ever took power in the US, the the (good) shock waves would circle the globe. Not to get exceptionalist but, like the USD as the only viable global reserve currency, the US political process is probably going to have to be the tool that pries the labor/capital balance back to a more even footing. Size matters here.

    3. Foppe


      But the lesson has to be learned that it should be possible to oppose this, without being racist. Its a tricky balance, but if the left doesn’t find a way to do it, it will repeatedly be outmanoevered in working class communities by right wing populists.

      The way the Dutch SP tries to do it is by emphasizing the fact that we shouldn’t encourage the destruction of foreign communities by inviting those who are of use to us to emigrate; and to discourage emigration by arguing for development programs ‘there’. It’s a hard sell, though, even within the party, because of people’s associations with being “welcoming”, and the refugee discourse. Also, no money, so only a long-term ‘solution’, which makes it seem like a cop-out.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’ve always found it interesting to contrast the approach of the Danes. The left wing there has traditionally been much more anti-immigrant than in Sweden or much of the rest of Europe in that they seem to have believed that it is impossible to maintain a strong social safety net if there is a large inflow of poorer immigrants. I suspect they are right about that – but it still hasn’t stopped Denmark from having a strong populist right party. I’ve always suspected that the perception of the size of immigration is as important as the reality in politics.

  13. PlutoniumKun


    H-1B: Why a new US visa bill is causing panic in India BBC

    Google, Apple, Facebook, Uber plan to draft a joint letter opposing Trump’s travel ban ReCode. ” As you contemplate changes to the nation’s complex and interconnected immigration policies, whether business and employment-based visas, refugees, or DACA…” Guess which issue they really care about.

    Corporate lawyers prepare for battle over Trump’s travel ban FT. Covington & Burling’s in? Where do I sign up?

    I think many IT companies were already planning for this. Ireland has very liberal visa rules for technical work visas (an essential in a small country with a small pool of specialists) and Apple among others have been quietly shifting much of their IT work (the iTunes team, to give one example) here. Its was widely reported here yesterday that the Irish government (and probably other European countries) have been actively promoting Europe as a more ‘open’ country for qualified workers and investment in Arabic countries. I can see many IT companies as responding to Trumps moves by hedging their bets and spreading their tech teams more widely internationally.

    1. Pat

      Very probably. Although that is still not a reason to allow the continued abuse of the H-1B system. Not that I’m sure this is an attempt to correct that, rather than a good propaganda promotion where little changes but for a few cosmetic things.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Ireland has very liberal visa rules for technical work visas (an essential in a small country with a small pool of specialists)

      Why doesn’t a small country like Bhutan or Nepal do that?

      Or they can go big. Perhaps Indian can issue lots of technical work visas.

      Then, Apple and other IT companies can all shift 100% (or something close to that) their IT work to India.

      1. Enquiring Mind

        Bhutan values gross national happiness. There is wisdom in that policy that may not be rented with transient work visas. The IT scenarios are another incarnation of the property tax abatement or similar short term gain and long term pain inflicted on communities just trying to survive.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        If you go to any major work site (such as the major hydroelectric schemes which provide most of the countries foreign revenue) in Bhutan, almost all the technical staff are Indian nationals. Bhutan, famously, has only one psychiatrist for the whole country, and I believe he recently emigrated to Australia! The country has a special visa arrangement with India, the tight restrictions on other foreigners do not apply to Indian nationals.

        I’m not so sure about Nepal, but I believe they are also quite dependent on Indians for technical know-how.

  14. Milton

    Re: Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport – you can’t just turn the power off, then on – sometimes you have to unplug it from the power strip and wait 10 seconds …

  15. crittermom

    RE: “Private Banking meets cross selling for JPMorgan…”

    I think this sentence kind of sums it up:
    “Bankers’ compensation “scorecards” measured how much revenue they were generating, these bankers said, but didn’t address how their clients’ investments were performing.”

    Ah, yes. Business as usual. Screw the investors. It’s all about the BANK. No surprise there.

  16. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Nation’s bacon reserves hit 50-year low as prices rise

    Has anyone checked to see if Goldman Sachs has purchased any bacon warehouses recently? /s

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I was surprised to read about such reserves.

      Do we have other reserves – kale or quinoa reserves?

          1. alex morfesis

            Banana reserves turning to mush=banana wine futures…

            Can’t let a good crisis pass you by…
            (or keep you sober…)

  17. cocomaan

    Loved the “Liberals On the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown” article. The title is awful. The writing is top notch.

    A nose-holding visit over to Democratic Underground or Reddit Politics fully supports the idea of Kremlinology/Donaldology, where every other article cites anonymous sources or claims to lay out true meanings to actions that are likely pretty mundane. For instance, I don’t think Trump intends a coup by issuing exec orders on immigration, I think he’s doing exactly what he said he was going to do months ago!

    The final section, “It’s almost comforting, in a way, to imagine yourself as a pawn. There’s no moral duty involved”, reminds me of work done by Judy Butler and others about the dangers of reliance on critique in the academy. It seems as if we’ve made ends of the means provided by the Frankfurt School: Adorno and others praised criticism, but I doubt they’d see the way most engage with criticism as constructive. Stop critiquing, come up with new ideas!

    1. Patricia

      Yes, more new ideas, please!

      To re-quote from politico article: “It’s almost comforting, in a way, to imagine yourself as a pawn. There’s no moral duty involved: The evil plan is grand and inscrutable; it gives a sense of order in what looks like disintegration, and tells you what your place is in it. But there is a moral duty, and we need to face up to it. And maybe, just maybe, sometimes the people in charge are just as blinkered as we are.”

      IMO, one part of our problem is that we are too familiar with novels, tv shows, and films. In art, nothing happens that is not later found to be important. Details are clues that affect story plot and help determine the conclusion. But life isn’t that way. Life’s tales are many, contradictory, overlapping. In life, one needs to stay loose, recognize happenstance, be ok with uncertainty, not indulge magical thinking.

      Another aspect regarding the stories we’ve been told is how evil is handled. It’s often given more 3-dimensionality than the good to make clear its fearsomeness and to produce some adrenalin flow. To serve this, evil people/groups are often played as geniuses while the good people/groups are ‘common folk’ who win by the skin of their teeth or by lucking out just because they are good. This is disempowering–our stories need to do better on this.

      Art is not life.

      1. cocomaan

        I really like your observation about how evil is portrayed as having an enormous amount of cunning. George RR Martin’s book series, made into Game of Thrones, has a number of conniving characters who are wholly evil and seem always to be successful (moreso in the show than the books). There’s a little movement in fantasy circles against what they call “grimdark“. I don’t wholly share the impulse, but it’s an interesting foil to popular culture.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Greed almost always has far better organizational competence than altruism. Greed is an obsessive, all-consuming beast with fangs; altruism and empathy are more like distracted puppies. No contest.

          1. Patricia

            Yeah, greed is an endlessly driving beast. I wouldn’t say that altruism is its foil, though. Empathy might be, although it’s a tool used by successful sociopaths as well as, say, SJWs.

            Maybe greed’s foil is ‘loving neighbor as self’—humans need it to be healthy (so it contains drive), and part of its power is that it broadens/spreads rather than absorbing/narrowing. The problem with this kind of love is that it makes people happy/comfortable, which can minimize drive, until threatened.


          2. witters

            From the great French philosopher of affliction:

            “Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.”
            ― Simone Weil

            1. Outis Philalithopoulos

              Great quote, witters. I’m not sure if it’s wholly true, but it’s a great quote.

              1. witters

                Indeed. And an eternal voice, so always untimely.

                Consider this:
                “The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say, “What are you going through?”
                ― Simone Weil

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        From Wiki entry of that movie, the film ends like this:

        Pepa returns to her home, which is a mess with a burnt bedroom, broken windows, a telephone ripped off the wall, spilled gazpacho on the floor, her collection of animals running around loose, and several unconscious visitors all overdosed on sleeping pills. Pepa sits on her balcony where Marisa has just woken up. The two women share a moment of tranquility at the end of a crazy 48 hours, and Pepa finally reveals what her big news for Iván was: she’s pregnant.

        Many of those close to liberals (or those invited into their big tent) will be unconscious???

        And a liberal is pregnant, not with ideas, but many future liberals???

    2. fosforos

      Speaking of Kremlinology. My favorite instance was when a photograph of Politburo members at the opera omitted a particular member. The whole press was awash with Kremlinological speculation to the effect that this particular person had been purged. But one newspaper, the New York Post, ran a snarky little editorial stating “Maybe he just doesn’t like opera.”

      By the way, that politburo-member’s name was Lavrenti Beria.

  18. Pavel

    The state of NYT commentary — Charles M. Blow on the SCOTUS nomination:

    So the “president,” who was “elected” under the fog of Russian interference (now under investigation by both houses of Congress) and with a boost from the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (now under investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general), has just made a nomination to the Supreme Court: Judge Neil Gorsuch of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in Denver.

    [My emphasis]

    Fruit of a Poison Tree

    These liberals aren’t going to let that Russian thing go, are they? If the evil mastermind Putin did leak the DNC and Podesta docs, he deserves whistleblowing credit for revealing the rigged Dem primaries and other corruption. And Blow should blame Obama for sitting on the “evidence” for weeks before the election.

    This is all so tiresome. Meanwhile I see that “anti-fascists” are burning things in Berkeley to protest Milo’s appearance there. Have they not heard of the Streisand Effect? They are playing right into his hands.

    Christ, what a world. I keep thinking about deleting my Guardian and NYT bookmarks… one of these days soon at this rate of bad news and stupidity…

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘So the “president,” who was “elected” …’

      In the waning days of martial law in Taiwan in the late 1980s, the English-language China Post enclosed the titles of all mainland Chinese officials in scare quotes, to signal their status as illegitimate usurpers — the “premier” of Communist China, the “foreign minister” from Beijing, etc.

      That’s a pretty low bar for the NYT to limbo under. But the “journalists” of the former newspaper of record have undershot our lowest expectations. Probably the NYT will reach maximum shrillness just before its Chapter 11 filing.

      1. flora

        “maximum shrillness” heh. Maybe the MSM needs color-coded ‘shrillness’ alerts, a la color-coded ‘terrorism threat’ alerts from 10 years ago. e.g. “Today’s MSM shrillness level is Orange.” /s

      2. alex morfesis

        well…it was 70 years this week that USA pulled out 12000 troops from china, cut off chang kai-sheks arms and basically handed china to mao…we needed an enemy…but the china lobby never died…and never forgot…

  19. UserFriendly

    Does Journalism Still Have a Future? Harvard Magazine

    The article is largely a bunch of self congratulating BS, but enjoy the one and only comment on the article ;-)

      1. bwilli123

        The comment referred to above does deserve to be read more widely

        UserFriendlyyy • 9 hours ago

        ” God you bunch of insular elitist morons. You do nothing but bend over backwards for power. You thought Clinton was going to be the next President so you pack of hyenas savaged Sanders day after day until she won. Then you had no clue why Trump had any traction. Here is why: Obama screwed over the entire country by fixing wall street and letting the rest of us twist in the wind. Of course to find out about how bad he screwed us over you would have to find real reporters.

        Rather than condemn his selling out to wall street he got nothing but praise from the mainstream. He dropped more bombs than bush and got heaps of praise for that too. Just how far were you willing to go to avoid criticizing him because of his race? White guilt. He can be a good person who does bad things and that does not say a damn thing about any other black person in this country. I have never regretted voting for someone so much in my life.

        Journalism challenging power, that’s a good one. Challenge them to get more and more powerful while screwing over everyone else? Where were the daily editorials asking Obama why he wasn’t preparing to lock up someone for destroying the worlds economy? Hell, Wells Fargo just defrauded tons of people and I didn’t see a single article calling for Stumpf’s head to roll or to lock him up.

        The problem is you idiots think you are objective. Billionaires decide when you get a promotion, billionaires control how much you make, Billionaires pay for advertisements. I wonder if you have been selected because you are so completely non threatening to existing power structures. Almost 100 years ago Upton Sinclair published ‘The Brass Check,” a look into the subservience of journalism to the robber barons; go read it and think have you really progressed much past that? (no, you haven’t)”

      2. integer


        A rule of thumb: Any event, with the exception of those devoted to stand-up comedy, whose organizers think its audience will benefit from having an opportunity to listen to William Kristol speak, is guaranteed to be wrong about whatever it is that they are discussing.

    1. JohnnyGL

      LOL! I wonder if you’re the only one who read that thing? :)

      Wanna rebuild trust? You can start by cutting out the lying, diversions, and mis-information!

  20. Lynne

    Re Supreme Court pick, Indian Country Today notes that Gorsuch is versed in sovereignty principles and has ruled for tribes in several cases, including one against financial looting by the Blob.

    “Indeed, the harm to tribal sovereignty in this case is perhaps as serious as any to come our way in a long time,” Gorsuch wrote, referring to the prosecution of Lesa Jenkins, an Ute citizen, who the tribe claimed was racially profiled. He ultimately ruled that state court prosecutions of tribal citizens for offenses committed on tribal lands “strongly suggest[ed]” county officials in eastern Utah were involved in “a renewed campaign to undo the tribal boundaries [already] settled” by higher courts.

    “Gorsuch also wrote a 2013 decision that renewed a historical accounting lawsuit aimed at benefitting Osage Nation citizens.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can we redo NAFTA?

      Can we redo all treaties that created all those tribal sovereign* lands?

      *Can one be prosecuted by a (foreign?) state in the Union on one’s own sovereign tribal land?

      1. Lynne

        Well, the jurisdiction to prosecute gets very messy. Let’s just say that sovereignty in this (or indeed, any) context doesn’t mean what most think. I’m just saying that it appears to me that some of the criticism of Gorsuch may be because he hasn’t spent his entire adult life living among and catering to the Washington/New York power establishment, unlike the last nominee. That’s not how they will say it, however…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


          I suspect there is more; otherwise, those sovereign tribes would attempt to become members of the United Nations.

          Still, all of this nation was theirs. (Can you own air? Can you own sunlight? Can you own land? Yes and no. If another nation tries to hunt on our ‘land,’ there will be war. So, yes. But it’s also no, like air, water, sunlight, etc). It was theirs. And it was not theirs.

          Then came the treaties and a new united nation.

          Can they renegotiate those treaties?

    1. Pat

      So this is all about the release of the hacked DNC and Podesta emails to the public right? So here are some very important Questions for you:

      What 17 agencies “investigated” the so-called Russian interference in our elections? How did these investigations fit into their jurisdiction?
      How many of those 17 agencies and which have been involved with the forensic examination of the DNC server?
      Private corporations investigating have a legal obligation to tell the truth to the American public right? Or is their obligation to the entity that hired them and so they are under no obligation to report anything but what their employers which?
      The DNC has no reason to lie or obstruct about this, right?
      Yahoo has never been hacked by non government bad actors, right?
      If the goal of the Russian government is to guarantee that Hillary Clinton does not get elected how does the mere release of these emails which received less coverage than the iconography of the Beyonce pregnancy announcement today accomplish this?
      And how did the Russian government convince Clinton and the Clinton campaign to ignore the power of the electoral college and limit their ground operations and campaign appearances in states they needed?

      Here’s the thing, I’ll get up in arms about Russia interfering in our election when people who haven’t repeatedly lied to the public about such important things as weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, mass surveillance of Congress AND the public, and their programs to render and torture people provide more evidence than “these things that could all apply to bad actors not attached to the Russian government really do mean the Russian government were behind this, trust us!”

      1. A

        You know, it’s possible to believe both things – that Hillary ran a flawed campaign AND that Russia was involved. Emails didn’t get coverage, are you kidding me? Both the HUGE scandal of Hillary using a private server (how quaint when compared to Trump’s hidden tax returns just for starters), and the content of the hacked DNC and Podesta emails were covered constantly.

        Which agencies? I don’t know all 17, but isn’t FBI getting FISA warrants and then signing onto the assessment enough? The fact that CIA was wrong on Iraq and WMD – though wasn’t it Cheney’s shadow intelligence – doesn’t mean they’re wrong on everything. And the ongoing investigation goes beyond hacks – it’s Trump’s campaign’s collusion and taking Russian money.

        Here’s a cute video of Sam B interviewing Russian trolls. They along with those ridiculous fake news changed more minds than you think (I know people who believed the pizza-gate and ‘Huma Abedin is a terrorist’ stories personally):

          1. jinbaltimore

            and also in a “rigged Democratic Primary” and a Hillary that “wanted to start 3rd world war!” Other popular myths.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          You know, it’s possible to believe both things……..

          Please, please, PLEASE produce some evidence.

          This is not religion class.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              information received from other people that one cannot adequately substantiate; rumor.
              “according to hearsay, Bob had managed to break his arm”
              synonyms: rumor, gossip, tittle-tattle, idle talk; More
              the report of another person’s words by a witness, usually disallowed as evidence in a court of law.
              “everything they had told him would have been ruled out as hearsay”

            2. Kurt Sperry

              There’s no evidence on offer, it’s all just appeals to authority obviously targeting a naively credulous audience that is fine with a lack of evidence.

        2. alex morfesis

          so do you have a sag-aftra card or is slipping in some promo for tbs part of your internship…nice slide in…as to $hillary…and her bell-bottomed “groovy” krewe…the world has passed her by…she and the same old stale bread are so useless, they did not even think of a simple retort to the wikileaks email disclosures…

          honeypot….that is all they had to say…that it was an elaborate honeypot and now wikileaks and the Legacy Advertising Platforms (fka msm) had “ruined it” for the acelanistanis…

          but $he and they are from a different era…

          the world has passed her by….

          and now we say…

          bye bye…

            1. alex morfesis

              It is quite easy to burp out a hail ming…but…adolphoh had the backing of royalists, industrialists & the military…he had tens of thousands of people who would show up not because he had that “power”…no because others had the power, the payroll & network…

              his speaches were actually quite long and boring…you will find no one who was actually watching any of his speeches making any notation in a diary where it was even mentioned in passing that his speeches were mesmerizing…

              it was all Leni and editing of film…

              El douche also was a bag of wind with similar backers…and no the trains never did run on time…evah

              El donaldo is a loudmouth ass who may get a few things done in between all the looting…

              He had crowds but they were not “his”…

              He might be americas Berlusconi…but adolphoh he ia not…

              1. A

                So he gets a pass for looting, just like that, while Hillary is $hillary. The double-standards are amazing.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Anne, just stop. I do not think people here are Trump-lovers, but instead are mostly trying to ascertain just how we got him and how not to have that happen again. When something fails, you do not blame someone and anyone else: you have a deep, hard, painful look in the mirror at what failed and why. In our case that was the Bush/Obama/Hilary continuum and the ongoing saga of the party that used to represent the interests of the great swath of Americans, not just billionaires and foreign countries. That party just re-appointed a leader who then stated “I don’t think the people want change”. They are in the process of rolling over for Trump’s appointees, and voting in the interests of Big Pharma billionaires. “She” wasn’t “with” us, and only by painful awareness of that immutable fact would there be any hope for different outcomes.

                  1. Ulysses

                    “She” wasn’t “with” us, and only by painful awareness of that immutable fact would there be any hope for different outcomes.”

                    Well said!

                  2. Anne

                    Uh, Hal, dear…you are responding to someone posting as “A” – and that is not me; I have not been participating in this particular sub-thread.

                  3. Outis Philalithopoulos

                    Hal, Anne has nothing to do with A. She has not been participating in this subthread at all. Please try not to jump to conclusions about other commenters.

            2. integer


              Whether intentional or not, this is reminiscent of how YYYpropornotYYY highlighted so-called Russian propaganda outlets.

        3. Pat

          First off no Russian official or spy told Hillary Clinton to try to avoid FOIA by using a private server that was her own stupidity, entitlement and yes incompetence. Coverage of that was totally inadequate if only because most of America still doesn’t know about the lack of encryption for the first months she used it and still haven’t realized that yes it was to avoid the public’s clear legal right to know what she was doing as State that she did it in the first place. Oh, and that without a full forensic examination of the server itself it was impossible for any investigatory agency to truly say it had not been hacked by outside forces – yes Russia. Oh, and China, Israel, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Great Britain, etc because if they didn’t their spies weren’t doing their job.

          Two. Seventeen agencies didn’t investigate. The office which speaks for seventeen agencies released the first public notice that this was happening and was conflated by Clinton herself (in apparently a failure of reading comprehension not to mention knowledge of security protocols) to seventeen agencies investigated and said. Most of them would have little or no jurisdiction in these matters.

          Three. No public investigatory agency has examined the DNC server. That was done by a private company hired by the DNC themselves. They denied access to the server to the government. See the comment above about hacking.

          Four getting FISA warrants is pretty much pro forma anymore. And no their signing on to the assessment doesn’t mean diddly to me. Give me something other than cyrillic keyboards and Russian holidays. As for lying, I didn’t just mention Iraq. I mentioned a couple of recent things one of which the FBI was right in the middle of. And I didn’t even get into the whole long FBI history of manipulating people and evidence.

          Show me where there is any evidence of this investigation into Trump collusion and taking Russian money. Facts not speculation. So sources and ones that aren’t talking about rumors and preferably have more than one source.

          As for full coverage, when you can show me two voters who either stayed home or didn’t vote for Clinton who were intending to do so before the releases who can tell me five revelations from the hacks that changed their minds that were actually in the releases. Pizzagate and Terrorist Huma do not count. Although I do have to wonder if those people you know were ever intending to vote for Clinton.

          The Russian thing is an excuse. Period. Clinton lost because she was the wrong candidate at the time, with the terrible instincts who ran an incompetent campaign. Putin didn’t force her to cheat. Or to ignore and insult Sanders supporters. He didn’t tell her to try to win the election by campaigning for moderate Republican voters. He sure as hell didn’t tell her to run against Trump not for anything that the public might want. Clinton did NOT have this election stolen from her SHE LOST and doesn’t want to admit to herself that she is the reason. And the people who didn’t bother to leave the beltway bubble that put all their support on her are trying to find anything that means they didn’t fall for the con that it was her turn and she was inevitable.

          We have much bigger problems than the Russians. Or giving Clinton an out.

          1. A

            Yesterday the Democrats sent a letter demanding Pentagon investigate Flynn taking money from Russia (for an appearance on RT *and on other separate occasions*). We shall see if anything comes out of this. But if FBI getting warrants and signing onto the assessment doesn’t mean anything to you, then why would any evidence presented by them in the future?

            I’m not denying any of what you said about Clinton’s campaign. But I don’t see how anyone can deny that multiple factors caused her to (barely) loose, that Russian hacks & trolls, the FBI letter, AND voter suppression all played a huge role.

            Our biggest problem right now is that we have an insane person in the white house.

            1. Foppe

              No, the biggest problem right now is that we live in a historical context in which all except the corporate and status-quo-endorsed candidates can win.
              Creating alternative organizational structures, news media/communication platforms is far more important than pondering the relative (in)sanity of the dude about whose election both parties are mostly sanguine, if you ignore the fact that he/his winning broke lots of rice bowls. (Again, if the Dems really consider him a protofascist, why did they put up a hack as their preferred alternative? Why did they allow Her to suck all money/energy from all down-ballot races, thus guaranteeing 2/3 branches of govt would be in GOP hands?)

            2. Pat

              The Democrats sent a letter. Waaa waa. So after almost a year being told that speaking fees that totaled well over a million for MULTIPLE speaking engagements with Goldman Sachs meant nothing, NOW the Democratic leadership is concerned about speaking engagements. So we get a letter asking about a speaking engagement in Russia with Putin from 2015 by the RETIRED Flynn, linking it to the emoluments clause because in 2015 Flynn knew Trump would run for President, slaughter 17 other candidates to get the nomination and the Democrats would be stupid enough to nominate Hillary Clinton so he might have a job in the government again.

              Let’s get this straight. No, she did not barely lose, she lost big time by the only count that matters – 304 to 166. Do you get that, she lost so many states that despite winning a few big ones she lost by 138 votes out of only 470. If you take out California from the vote totals, Trump also had the majority of the cast ballot votes. One state and one state alone accounts for her entire popular vote lead. Yes, it was close, but not as close as many Clinton supporters would like. It wasn’t barely lost. She blew it.

              Stop making excuses. Russia is not and was not the problem here. Not paying attention to the real state of the Union and what voters want and need was. If Trump worries you so much go after his actions, try to make Democrats act like they oppose him. It took how many confirmation votes for not Vice President Kaine to say no? But more importantly try to get them to actively change direction and providing real leadership by offering alternatives to what is going on here and letting people start demanding that – similar to the demands to repeal the ACA…

              Focusing on Russia is not going to accomplish anything but allow Democrats to ignore their massive mistakes and continue business as usual of blaming someone else for their failure to lead and represent their voters.

              1. A

                No, it is not a violation because he is part of Trump’s campaign but because he is a retired general who always needs to clear foreign payments, for the rest of his life. And he didn’t. And my emphasis was on payments on other separate occasions, not the speaking fee.

                Why take away Calfironia?? Didn’t realize a huge state can just be thrown out but every rural vote is precious and significant. Why don’t we take away Texas and count the EC votes then!

                Focusing on Russia will accomplish them not thinking they can get away with meddling in our elections without consequences. You bet the focus will continue.

            3. lyman alpha blob

              Why waste taxpayer dollars investigating whether Flynn got paid by RT? Let’s just assume he did. Where exactly is the problem? Do all the Dem talking heads go on the teevee giving their $.02 for free? Is it a crime to be paid for one’s opinion on TV? And if your argument is going to be that RT is state owned propaganda as opposed to CNN, MSNBC, etc. maybe you should do a little research about who those outlets really answer to.

              A tip for you – read the leaked emails and see who it was that asked the media to support Trump in the Repub primary in the first place, which the media proceeded to do like the good little pro-establishment lapdogs that they are. By your logic, Clinton ought to be investigating herself for interfering with her own election.

              And then please quit with this nonsense you’re trying to spread. It’s a big interweb – I’m sure Brock pays equally as well for posting gibberish on other websites.

              1. A

                Thanks for the insult of implying I’m paid – a tactic repeatedly used by many posters here, indicating extreme paranoia. Bye.

                1. alex morfesis

                  Implying you are being paid was snarcish from me…if my thoughts were truly that you were a troll-op, this party would have just ignored you…

                  jim crow(at least officially) is no longer the law…

                  100 years ago it was illegal for “whites” in california to marry japanese folks and “asians” could not own land for more than 5 years…and this is the state the motion picture industry chose to hide in to attempt to circumvent the patents of edison…the liberal state of kalipornia…

                  Trump obviously sets off triggers on a large segment of the population who have had bad experiences in their lives…and he rhymes with those bad events…but he is not those bad events…

                  The nazis lost the election of 1933, which is why they did a Jeb Bush and suspended the counting of the votes…

                  we had no such craziness…

                  we have a well established system which $hillary used to block any chance bernie had to become the people’s choice and then is crying those same rules were used to deny her her coronation…

                  Russia manipulates elections by having an army and missles, and germany bribes and lobbies american politicians to spend american taxpayer resources so they can keep germans working, stealing american jobs by not having to spend german govt money on defense…

                  china interferes in american elections by destroying american unions who fifty years earlier were being mccarthy’d for defending “communists”

                  The british interfere in american elections by supporting a network of “island tax havens” and allowing american companies to use the “special relationship” to increase the govt spending burdens of the average american…

                  The french literally get away with murder as on nov 22nd, de gaulle gave himself a nice birthday present and the nov 17 organization in greece was supported and trained by french intelligence looking to reduce american influence in europe and taking the life of a cia station chief rather publicly…

                  The sauds manipulate american elections by playing games with the price of oil & spreading their misogyny throughout the muslim world…

                  If the russians were so incompetent to have left all those “signatures” pointing back to themselves, we can reduce our nuclear weapons by 99% and turn the navy into a series of floating museums to spur tourism…

        4. Foppe

          Oh come on — how gullible can you be? Do you really think that if they had meaningful proof that Russia *determined* (as opposed to the meaningless verb “influenced”) the outcome of a US presidential election, they would use the “we can’t say more because that would harm our sources”-excuse not to show it?

          1. A

            No one is saying *determined* and I definitely don’t believe it. If FBI is criminally investigating Trump’s campaign for collusion or espionage, it doesn’t matter whatsoever whether the hacking had any effect. Btw today he relaxed sanctions against FSB. Why?

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Because poking Russia in an attempt to start WW III (as your favored candidate stated unequivocally and repeatedly that she would be doing with a no-fly in Syria a massive NATO tank deployment on their borders and a military response to any hacking allegations) is INSANE

      1. Kurt Sperry

        The DNC is certainly an exponentially larger threat to my interests than Putin or the Russians.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      How did they interfere? Did they hack voting machines and change vote tallies? Did they knock people off the rolls of registered voters? Did they campaign inside polling stations like Bill Clinton did during the primaries causing hurdles to people actually voting?

      Hillary lost to Donald Trump. She was simply the loser she has always been.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      How exactly did Russia interfere? By not expressing abject hatred for Trump?!?!?

      How many times have US officials demonized Russia in the last year or so? Wouldn’t that be considered interfering in their government? Why is it OK for the US to interfere in elections and overthrow governments all of the world for decades on end but not OK for other governments to express any opinion whatsoever?

      Show some proof that there was actual interference. And “the spooks can’t tell us the details because it would interfere with national security” doesn’t count.

      Do you really think perpetuating this establishment-led stupidity is going to convince anybody here? Seriously, take your Blue Team BS elsewhere.

    4. Skip Intro

      The dead-enders who fabricated that story to excuse their corrupt and incompetent campaign should be let go. That includes, of course, David Brock and his trained monkeys. Sorry.

  21. B1whois

    Here is some thinking outside the box of northern hemisphere eurocentric English language thought.

    This is an interview with Boaventura de Sousa Santos of Portugal, which introduces a concept new to me, social fascism.

    “The democracy we have has no future, because the social and economic forces that now dominate and manipulate it are possessed with such a voracity of power that they can not accept the uncertain results of the democratic game when they do not suit them.”
    “The [new] political system will have to combine representative and participatory democracy, economic pluralism will be the other side of political pluralism, ecology will be the measure of economic growth and not the opposite as it is now, and education will be the main priority, aimed at democratizing, Decommodifying, decolonizing and depatriarcalizing the social relations.”
    “But fascism does not only have a violent face. It also has the benevolent face of philanthropy. In philanthropy, who gives does not have the duty to give and who receives does not have the right to receive.”

  22. Vatch

    Here’s a disturbing article about the failure of the Utah Senators and their staff to listen to their constituents’ concerns.

    The article begins:

    Over the past week, Jessica Steele has tried calling Sen. Orrin Hatch’s office three times to voice her concerns about President Donald Trump’s administration. Each time, after a series of rings, she reaches the same message: “I’m sorry, but that mailbox is full. Please try again later.”

    And then the call disconnects.

    It’s a hurdle that purportedly hundreds of Utahns have faced in recent weeks, trying to reach the senator’s office. With a flood of new executive orders from Trump — including the controversial refugee-and-immigration edict — and Cabinet nominee hearings, many residents hoped to give input to Hatch, R-Utah, that he might take into account during votes. But most haven’t been able to get through.

    Later in the article, Sen. Hatch blames the problem on robocalls. Maybe, but I’m skeptical.

    When The Salt Lake Tribune tried phoning Hatch’s Washington, D.C., number, the line went to the full voicemail message and hung up.

    1. Katharine

      Maybe this is evidence he really doesn’t plan to run again? Otherwise it would be a really dumb way to treat constituents.

  23. Vatch

    Here’s a bill in both the House of Representatives and the Senate that seeks to preserve disparities in access to affordable housing.



    From the text of the bill:

    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal funds may be used to design, build, maintain, utilize, or provide access to a Federal database of geospatial information on community racial disparities or disparities in access to affordable housing.

    All I can say is, Wow!

  24. Tom

    The Zero Anthropology article is well worth the time to read carefully all through way through.

    I don’t know if it covers ground that is already familiar to many NC regulars, but I find that certain articles (maybe this one in particular) could almost stand alone as the sole link of the day, with comments focusing just on all the tangents and topics it touches on — sort of like an online version of a book club meeting.

    Now that’s just me, of course, but I find myself playing catch up (from waaaay behind) every day due to the sheer volume of interesting Links and Water Cooler items. There are scores of articles every week that flash past before I have an hour or two to devote the kind of time I need to read them along with any associated links or background and then formulate an intelligent comment.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good problem to have. I guess what I mean to say is thanks to Yves, Lambert et al for putting together such great daily reading lists, and thanks to all the NC commentators who somehow are up to speed on so many of these topics and can weigh in so quickly with great insights — also funny, profane and silly ones — which all combine into a site that is greater than the sum of its parts.

    1. meeps

      I’m challenged to read, reflect and respond adequately to the wealth of information presented here, too.

      And I’m no policy wonk, but The Zero Anthropology critique is a thorny one.

      Take the inscription, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Its meaning differs depending on the frame of reference. From a straightforward, humanitarian perspective, these are qualities of charity and mercy. From the point of view that capital manipulates immigration policy (among other things) to castrate labor, the quality of mercy is…strained.

      Grant for a moment the premise that current immigration policy sustains neoliberal capitalism. Suppose it’s desirable to foster an alternative policy that is more humane. What kind of policy can restrict human freedom of movement and make such a claim? Lack of human agency is one of the most egregious consequences of neoliberal capitalism. Equally problematic are the mass migrations caused by war and habitat loss. The debate over immigration does need to be more honest, but when does policy need to be more restrictive as opposed to more accommodating? When it’s more restrictive toward labor and more accommodating toward capital? I suspect that’s where this leads because that’s where it usually does. Vigilance…

  25. DH

    Re: Difficulties in hurricane forecasting

    Fortunately for Texas and Florida, they don’t have to worry about this because they don’t have climate change and sea level rise. However, Louisiana is quite concerned about the climate change and sea level rise they have, so this is a real problem for them.

    1. Computer speed and resolution – Moore’s Law continues to churn away on this as computer speed and memory today are far better than they were a couple of decades a go and are continuing to improve.

    2. Theoretical models – better models usually come out of better data so you can start to sift out the noise from the signal. Better quality data with more granularity allows for models to be better calibrated so that you can see when your empirical coefficients are working or not. When your empirical coefficients have to big a spread on their possible values, then you know you need a secondary model within them.

    3. So the data are the key. It is critical to continue to focus on getting more and better data. Only data can help calibrate the models and point out shortcomings. This is tough, gritty work that costs money, takes time, and needs to be planned and funded years in advance. Faster computers will just give more precision to wrong models if the data is not there to support and calibrate.

    The unique geography of the United States gives a dual threat of coastal hurricanes and interior thunderstorms and tornados unlike pretty much anywhere else in the world. Both are difficult to model and need lots of research and data to improve predictions.

    1. DarkMatters

      “Will Global Warming Make Hurricane Forecasting More Difficult?“
      What delicious irony: an article predicting future difficulty of prediction!

      I agree with DH’s call for improving our technical resources and meteorological data, and fully expect this to be done. However, hurricanes seem to be one of the unwarranted sources of alarmism in the climate change controversy. I do mean controversy: the climate “consensus” is misrepresented, and corporate anti-warming research money pales into insignificance compared with pro-warming research funding; which side is more tainted, I mean influenced, by financial incentive is moot, and at this point, irrelevant. Having vented a little, I’ll call attention to a 2011 article by well-known hurricane researcher Christopher W. Landsea.

      Under his Climate Change is Real heading, he describes how he interprets this phrase: “there is substantial evidence – in my view – that mankind has caused a significant portion of this warming through greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide and methane. I do not know whether the human contribution toward the warming is relatively small (~a quarter) or large (~two-thirds), but do agree that there is quite a bit of evidence that mankind is altering the global climate and will continue to do so in the future.“ Hardly one of the chicken-little flock.

      His tepid level of anxiety persists throughout this comprehensive article. At the end of a carefully enunciated discussion, he presents his conclusion: With “business as usual emission”, he estimates a 2-3 C temperature rise by 2100, and that this will change hurricanes as follows:
      Frequency: Numbers may see a moderate decrease (~25%)
      Wind (Intensity): Small increase (~3% stronger)
      Storm Surge: Small increase (~3% higher) produced by the hurricane (but also must add on additional amount from overall sea level rise)
      Rainfall: Moderate increase per cyclone (~10% within ~325 km [200 mi]), but reduced overall numbers may offset increase per cyclone
      Genesis Location/Track: Somewhat uncertain, but no indications of large changes

      These conclusions, based on status-quo inaction, are hardly apocalyptic.

      I would like to see more open debate between parties on climate issues (especially on feedback mechanisms and cloud behavior). It’s often possible to judge the merits of an argument by the rhetoric brought to bear. But such public arguments seem to be scarce: climate sceptics have accused advocates of flat out refusing to engage. Perhaps, but I really don’t know whether the accusation is justified.

      1. reslez

        So according to that guy we don’t have to worry about hurricanes. Cool. Of course sea levels will be 20-30 feet higher. I don’t know if that counts as apocalyptic but it might be prudent to move away from the coasts.

        1. alex morfesis

          Seas rising on florida is not a problem…we are well prepared…if you are here long enough and keep your eyes open, you will notice there seems to be two or three boats, canoes and kayaks for every home that no one ever seems to use…and ten fishing poles in every garage…

          No need to try to sell any of that online zombie apocalypse end of the world stuff down here in florida…

          Although those pythons in the everglades…they dont like being called monty…

      2. nowhere

        No, the consensus is not misrepresented. Greater than 90% of climate scientists subscribe to AGW. If anything, they have recently come out saying the forecasts have been too conservative.

  26. JohnnyGL

    Article has several quote from company execs complaining about a skilled labor shortage. Bloomberg is very kind to act as a mouthpiece for them and repeat what they say without critique.

    Hey execs, here’s a crazy idea: you can train them yourself and offer raises to keep them from leaving!

    To a degree, this is a problem that employers have greatly contributed to themselves by slashing jobs and training at the first sign of a slow down so they can hit their numbers for a quarter or two.

    1. Jim

      from the article:
      “While the tech sector is offshoring to plug the skills gap, U.S. manufacturers have relied even more heavily on another trend: automation, which helps them to compete with lower-cost foreign labor markets. Large employers are also using contingent workers, who work on-demand, as a way to stay nimble. One-third of companies predicted that 30 percent of their workforce will be flexible in the next year.”

      It takes years to develop skilled machinists and other tradespeople necessary for industrial manufacturing. That sure as hell isn’t going to happen when “30 percent of their workforce” will be contingent. The jobs have to be real, the “tribal knowledge” has to be passed along, the institutional memory has to be intact. Based on several decades working at the largest airplane manufacturer in the US, I’d say the chance of your typical MBA understanding that is pretty low.

  27. Ulysses

    From the ZeroAnthropology piece linked above:

    “You will see your capitalist bosses keeping wages down and workers cowed and oppressed by (among other things) hiring immigrants whose experience of extreme poverty, violence, and other forms of misery in their lands of origin make them more than ready to work obediently and without outward complaint for $10 an hour or less in ‘modern manufacturing’”.

    The reality is far worse. Cowed workers from Honduras are a pretty cheap source of labor– but they can’t match the practically free labor available to U.S. capitalists in US. prisons: that house one in every four prisoners worldwide.

    “The 13th Amendment still allows for slavery and involuntary servitude if it’s used as punishment for a crime. According to the Marshall Project, federal work programs pay up to $1.15 an hour while wages at state prisons average 20 cents an hour. In some state prisons, including Texas, inmates don’t see a dime”

  28. Jim Haygood

    From the Telegraph article:

    EU law is clear, or should be. Persistent surpluses (three years in a row) above 6pc of GDP are illegal. Germany is not even close to compliance, and the picture has been getting worse, not better.

    Germany’s structural surplus is a different and separate issue from currency manipulation. In a world of irredeemable fiat currencies, they’re all manipulated.

    Criticism of Germany from Britain, whose pound sterling has shed 15% of its value vs the USD since last June, is particularly rich. It’s like one sex worker denouncing another as a prostitute. Shocking, shocking!

    1. alex morfesis

      no no no seynior…by crushing their fellow inmates inside the euro with “surpluses” funded by landesbanks, the euro is talked down and kept down with the help of frankfurt, which magically makes it harder to pledge southern european sov notes…holding down the euro under the “imminent threat” of collapse…

  29. cm

    Today, farmers face monopoly power in the form of Bayer, Monsanto, ADM, and Tyson. People in urban areas face other monopolies, but they’re driven by the same concentrated financial power. The ideology of Democrats should be to break up that power.

    Tell that to these Democratic Senators in the pocket of the drug & bank monopolies

    Between 2010 and 2016, a handful of the Democratic senators who voted “nay” were amongst the top Senate recipients funded by pharmaceutical companies: Sen. Booker received $267,338; Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) received $254,649; Robert Casey (D-PA) received $250,730; Michael Bennet (D-CO) received $222,000. As the former mayor of Newark, Cory Booker faced corruption scandals and increased crime and unemployment levels as his star power outside the state rose. He is heavily favored by Wall Street, with securities and investment firms donating $1.88 million to Booker during the 2014 midterm elections; their second-favorite candidate was Mitch McConnell.

    1. Ed

      Aligning with the Democrats and not the Republicans was the historical strategic error of the American left.

      1. Vatch

        What? Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover almost destroyed the country in the 1920s. Are you saying that the left should have aligned with them? The left had two choices after 1929: the Democrats or a third party. The Republicans were not an option.

        1. Lynne

          Sticking with people who cheat and exploit you with no recognition based on something that happened over 80 years ago hasn’t exactly worked out well.

          1. Vatch

            Quite true, but Ed implied that the left should have aligned with the Republicans. That would have failed even worse than the alignment with the Democrats.

    1. Ed

      On the Mike Whitney article, as Matt Stoller has pointed out, the statistic that life expectancy fell is all you need to know.

      In my lifetime, the media has always been over-hyping the American economy, turning what on the face of it are mild upturns into booms and turning declines into “recoveries”, and this dates back at least to the Reagan administration. Trump has actually already tried to correct that by having the government publish the accurate unemployment figure. He already found out that the government already publishes the more accurate unemployment figure (U6 instead of U3) but the media just ignores it and publishes the rosier one anyway. Of course, the fact alone that Trump is President will likely change this.

    2. Lynne

      I know retirees who are desperate to see rates rise. Right now, their savings gets minuscule returns and Wall Street gets fat. And anytime I mention the economy to Dems, they proudly proclaim that the stock market went up “thanks to Obama.” How can so many people believe that the stock market is the economy? That’s a serious question. I don’t understand.

      Of course, now we’re no longer supposed to care about the stock market since it didn’t crash upon inauguration. That will change as soon as there is a correction, no doubt.

  30. Ed

    “Liberals On the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown Politico. Excellent read, better than the headline. Word of the day: clinamen.”

    This was highlighted, but I want to re-highlight it. This is a seriously good article. There is really nothing there that you haven’t read, well, on this site but its very well written. My opinion of Politico has just gone up considerably.

    Here is the link again:

    1. Arizona Slim

      Liberals on the edge of a nervous breakdown? Yeesh! That sounds like my Facebook feed.

      I just had to unfollow another “friend.” Said “friend” is a recent retiree who has found a new career: Posting anti-Trump links on Facebook. As in, dozens per day.

      1. Dave

        At last, they have a real piece of meat they can sink their ever longer teeth into that once snapped in the air with Bush and just sat there in their mouth under Obama.
        The subconscious sense of betrayal they felt with Obama knew no outlet but indigestion and lots of pharma. Now they have a real target that all the really big money, the Military Industrial Complex, the MSM, the radicals, the feminists and the magazine stand intellectuals can agree to hate along with them.
        “One, Singular Sensation…” Bob Fossie couldn’t have written it better.

        Their outrage is Trump’s fuel however and the louder and more ridiculously they protest and the more video they help create, the stronger his changes of reelection.

  31. Vatch

    The Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee have approved the nomination of Scott Pruitt to be the next EPA Administrator. So the full Senate will vote on this in the near future. Pruitt is easily one of the worst of Trump’s nominations. A few weeks ago, people were saying that we should wait until Trump has done some things as President before criticizing him. Well, at that time, he had already stated his intention to nomination Pruitt, Mnuchin, DeVos, and other unqualified or unethical people to high office, so it was quite appropriate to criticize him then. Now, it continues to be appropriate to criticize Trump for the terrible things his is doing.

    1. Anne

      And not only could we end up with Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary, it looks like we are getting Jerry Falwell, Jr. to “reform” education regulations:

      The Trump administration has asked Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. to lead a panel on reform of higher education regulations, the leader of the evangelical Christian school said Tuesday.

      “In the Department of Education, there’s too much intrusion into the independent accreditation,” Falwell told The Washington Post in a telephone interview. “There’s too much intrusion into the operation of universities and colleges. I’ve got a whole list of concerns. It mainly has to do with deregulation.”

      I read his comments as code for, “how are we supposed to devise new and better ways to scam and cheat students if we have the government breathing down our necks?”

      1. Jim Haygood

        Ayatollah Falwell: “There’s too much intrusion into the independent accreditation.

        Translation: They won’t let us teach that the earth was created 5,000 years ago, with “predated” carbon that leads heretics to think it’s billions of years old.

      2. DH

        The new curriculum rules will show up on engraved gold tablets to be held in an ark.

        Kind of like the Book of Mormon that Joseph Smith received from the angel Moroni.

    2. DH

      This will impact the red states much more than the blue states. Many of the “liberal” states have strict environmental regulations at the state level. It will be the Trump supporters that will receive the benefits of more lax environmental regulations.

      At least the EPA will have the right person to fight the Flint lawsuit as Pruitt will certainly not believe that the USEPA should have had anything to do with making sure that Flint residents have clean water.

  32. Tom Stone

    Anyone who expects the Democratic party to change ( The iron law of institutions) or a successful third party to emerge has been smoking hopium.
    Republics devolve into tyrannies, it’s not a reversible process.
    Do what you can locally to reduce the pain and have hope that things might get better a few generations ahead.

  33. LT

    Re: Does Journalism Have A Future….

    Hollywood producers, PR, execs, etc weren’t invited?
    Nothing has influenced the change in journalism more than the desire to be more entertaining in order to attract readers and watchers.
    The entertainment industry has provided the running narratives in people’s minds more than journalists. And we are in the age of E! and TMZ…for better or worse and some perspective is needed.
    Not saying that is good, but the industry should have been included because much of the talk is about shaping narratives.
    The two industries have a lot to square.

  34. mk

    One thing red state voters don’t like about Obamacare is that it sucks Matt Bruenig.
    They are all comparing their cost and coverage of their ACA plans to what people get with Medicaid and complaining that the Medicaid coverage is better and doesn’t cost anything. That is not correct.

    People who are on Medicaid in my state of California between the ages of 55 and 65 get those managed care costs clawed back from their estates, 100%. That can be $40,000 annually. That’s ok if you don’t own anything, but for those who own homes and hope to pass on to family when they die can forget about it. That’s why I turned it down, will pay the fine, and hopefully won’t experience critical health problems before I’m eligible for Medicare.

  35. Jim Haygood

    New tricks from old dog D-ploracrats:

    House Democrats are rallying behind a plan to make President Trump’s first speech to Congress as uncomfortable as possible by inviting guests they say will suffer under new White House policies.

    The strategy means Trump will likely face a crowd including ethnic minorities, LGBT people, undocumented immigrants, the disabled and others when he addresses a joint session on Feb. 28.

    Some are also eyeing another form of protest during the speech: When Trump walks down the center aisle of the House chamber on the way to the dais, they’re hoping no Democrats scramble to get in the picture for the traditional handshake.

    Why would “ethnic minorities, LGBT people, undocumented immigrants, [and] the disabled” make Trump or anyone else uncomfortable?

    This has an excellent potential for blowing up in their fool faces, as the D’s treat minorities like, well, minorities. :-0

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Actually, to be honest, it will be a good show.

      Perhaps Democrats should be in Hollywood, not DC.

      “All show, no substance.”

    2. Dave

      The more extreme the antiTrump protests, the more satisfaction there is among Trump voters who know they made the right decision and who will work even harder for his reelection.

      The trashing of U.C. Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza last night, the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, by the enemies of intolerance with their hammers and barrel bombs preventing the appearance of a gay activist who likes Trump is the ultimate irony.

    3. ewmayer

      My reuters daily-roundup from Tuesday included this item:

      Trump vows to continue LGBT workplace rights protection

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump vowed on Tuesday to continue to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people working for federal contractors under an executive order signed by his predecessor President Barack Obama in 2014.

      I sense another winning – as in, for the other side – move from the geniuses running Team D coming up here!

  36. DH

    Re: Insanity of 140% vs 130% for Obamacare coverage

    Is this any less insane than working 131 hrs per month or 31 hrs per week requires employer provided insurance while 129 hrs per month or 29 hrs per week does not?

    US healthcare insurance coverage is simply insanely complex – a huge Rube Goldberg machine with lots of complex parts. Obamacare was just another Rube Goldberg machine for one part of the bigger health insurance coverage system.

  37. Dave

    Clinamen? I don’t get it? Does it mean Clinton aids? Or a Clinton Amen?
    Are you sure that’s not a typo in the original article?

    Can we also call them Clinks?

  38. Oregoncharles

    The Great Bacon Shortage: Many years ago now, when I still lived at the coast, there was a big corn-crop failure that led to huge price rises on meat (incidentally, my family was cleaning up, as we owned a farm then). I personally couldn’t afford bacon any more, but discovered that the local fishmonger offered “assorted” smoked/kippered fish, cheap – I think they took what was left at the end of the day and tossed it in the smoker. Smoked fish was cheaper than bacon, and yes, it makes a truly great FLT sandwich.

    So now that I’ve tantalized all who don’t live at the coast: smoked fish makes a really good alternative to bacon.

  39. dbk

    In other news, it would appear the President announced at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast that he intends to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment. Three guesses as to whose interests that would serve…

    Whoa, didn’t see that one coming.

    Logging on to the old laptop each morning is now accompanied by a certain frisson. OTOH, it’s a huge learning experience, I have to admit.

  40. Waldenpond

    10 Ways….
    1. (Resistance comprised of establishment Dems and existing PACs.) Remember: We won the popular vote by an enormous margin. …… (sigh, California.)
    2. This is not the time for reconsidering what the Democratic Party stands for.
    3. California. (CA doesn’t track industrial/agricultural water use. CA just voted to make the death penalty easier. CA Harris v Sanchez.)
    4. Hitler. We need a new, constructive vocabulary. caring, caring, caring
    5. Use vivid language. Obamacare is socialistic (wtf) Trump is grotesque, fascist, creepy, asshole.
    6. Revamp the D party. (See#2) “We’re going to deny you federal contracts if you’re offshoring jobs and you’re profitable.” (The Ds don’t have votes to do this) “This money is just going to be used to pay off shareholders and pay for more mergers and acquisitions so that companies can lay you off.” (Strategy: facts have a liberal bias) New Deal.
    7. Labor. Unions. Like using social media and texting platforms. (oy) AARP for workers (pssst…AARP is an insurance corporation) Immigrants, poc, women (identity politics)
    8. Eliot Spitzer.. use the courts. “Oops, we didn’t mean it”? (Oops?oy)
    9. Resistance… When he saw how militarism, materialism, classism, and racism still had such a hold on the body politic (excluding religious ideological hold on politics)
    10. Look to John Lewis, don’t despair. The election results were shocking. I truly believe that something went wrong, that outside forces intervened. I believe the Russians played a major role in influencing the outcome of the election


  41. Waldenpond

    Nations bacon reserve…. I swear this pisses me off more than anything. Stop using bacon as sprinkles on your ice cream. It’s not an effin’ condiment. Put it on your burger as was intended.

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