Links 2/26/17

Boy Named Oli Wardrope Wrestles Python Out Of Truck In Peak Australia Move Jalopnik (YY)

Conservation biologist warns that “cyber-poachers” could use tracking tags to hunt endangered animals Boing Boing (resilc) :-(

Young African penguins are dying because they can’t find the fish they need The Conversation (J-LS). More :-(

Tom Watson: Labour faces wipeout The Times

Who needs MPs?’ says UKIP Daily Mash

New Cold War

Tony Wood reviews ‘Return to Cold War’ by Robert Legvold, ‘Should We Fear Russia?’ by Dmitri Trenin and ‘Who Lost Russia’ by Peter Conradi London Review of Books (resilc)

Crimea’s revenues have doubled within three years since reunification with Russia SOTT (Wat)


Syrian Rebels Are Using Snapchat to Sell and Show-Off Their Weapons Motherboard (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How Peter Thiel’s Palantir Helped the NSA Spy on the Whole World Intercept (furzy)

Trump Transition

Witches cast ‘mass spell’ against Donald Trump BBC. On a solar eclipse, I might add.

Trump decides to skip White House press dinner Reuters. J-LS:

And high time at that. Nothing better exemplifies what’s wrong w/ the relationship between the media and the pres than the smug, self-congratulatory clips that emerge from this each year (well nearly–I did enjoy Colbert’s turn during GWB’s admin). Perhaps this dis will put a stake through the heart of this event? We can only hope.

Trump shock factor fading in Washington Politico (Wat)

Trump will likely sell out his working-class white base. Here’s how. Washington Post (djr)

Memo Restoring Use of Private Prisons Is Good News for One Company | The Nation (resilc)

How ‘New Cold Warriors’ Cornered Trump Gareth Porter, Consortiumnews

Issa: Trump-Russia probe requires a special prosecutor Politico

For Commerce Pick Wilbur Ross, ‘Inherently Bad’ Deals Paid Off New York Times (resilc). There are plenty of reasons for criticizing Ross, but his taking advantage of Nafta isn’t persuasive. I similarly know people in the hedge fund and private equity industries who say the carried interest loophole is an abuse and should be ended, and have put their money where their mouth is by backing candidates who have said they will work to end it (and I don’t mean Obama). Yet they make no bones about the fact that they will continue to avail themselves of it till it’s fixed. The much better line of attack is his long history as a private equity/distressed debt investor, and not Nafta in particular. Why should anyone believe he will do a Joe Kennedy? He’s had at least one instance of being less bad than others of his ilk (he not only did deep principal mods for a large portfolio of mortgages that he bought, he urged others who were buying discounted mortgages to emulate what he was doing as both profitable and better for homeowners). But one robin does not make a spring.

Trump’s silence about two Indians shot in Kansas speaks volumes. Slate (resilc)

Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture? Counterpunch (resilc)

What “the government” used to do YouTube (JTM)


John Boehner Says Republicans Will Never Repeal and Replace Obamacare Esquire (resilc)

Leaked House Obamacare Repeal Draft Shows Dangerous Work in Progress New York Magazine (resilc). A good summary


Keith Ellison Loses DNC Race After Heated Campaign Targeting Him for His Views on Palestine Intercept. So the Dems are fine letting Muslims live in the US but not have any political influence.

Tom Perez elected as first Latino leader of Democratic Party Washington Post

Statement from the former Pres. Barack Obama on the election of Tom Perez as DNC chair —> @desiderioDC. I’m sparing you an embed for those who need to manage their blood pressure. Lambert: “Vomit tweet”.

Key Question About DNC Race: Why Did Obama White House Recruit Perez to Run Against Ellison? Glenn Greenwald, Intercept. Important.

Be clear about what happened to Keith Ellison Matt Bruenig (Dan K). Also important.

Are Multi-Million Dollar Consulting Contracts Worth the Future of the Democratic Party? TYT

Democrats pile up election post-mortems Politico. Margarita: “Looks like they may never get it… one has to read to the very end to find someone who seems to understand at least some of the reasons (but still, message is not the same as action).” Moi: Thomas Frank documented the pathology in Listen, Liberal, without fully drawing out the consequences: the remarkable conviction of many in the 1%/10% of their virtue and inherent superiority, which means that in a properly functioning order, they and their elite technocratic fellow travelers not only have the right to make decisions on behalf of everyone else, but the result will inevitably be The Best of All Possible worlds. This is the root of the incoherent rage: a social order they see as correct and inevitable has been overturned.

Why President Al Franken Isn’t a Joke Vanity Fair (resilc)

Buoyed By Anti-Trump Activism, Democrat Wins Delaware Special Election Huffington Post

God help us if Chelsea Clinton runs for office New York Post (J-LS)

Muhammad Ali Jr. detained by immigration at Fla. airport Courier Journal (Chuck L)

How Our Expectations of Weak Economic Growth May Have Helped Cause It Wall Street Journal

Economists in Denial Robert Skidelsky, Project Syndicate (David L). On Brexit and forecasting.

Class Warfare

Uber Is Doomed Jalopnik (YY). Devastating. NC’s series gets a shout-out, and the author also got some quotes from Hubert Horan.

A Lawsuit Against Uber Highlights the Rush to Conquer Driverless Cars New York Times (J-LS)

More Trouble for Uber: 100,000 Drivers in India Went on Strike Motherboard (resilc)

Why a toxic workplace is now a much bigger liability for companies Washington Post. Doesn’t seem to have hurt Amazon…

Millennials may never get out their parents’ homes Boston Globe

How the Democrats Can Hijack the Tax Reform Debate American Prospect

Antidote du jour. Erpé took the photo of the ibex near Lac Blanc, Chamonix, France.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. integer

      I especially liked this part:

      “Guess who is using Uber?” Dolin said. “[Millennials] like the freedom and the ability to pick up the phone and order food from any of the 20 restaurants in town. But you cannot have Uber and a socialist-run health care system — it’s both or neither.


      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        To reason well, one needs (not a complete list):

        1. syllogism even a cat knows to use and so, young humans too:

        Every time I meow, the guy in the house gives me food.
        I meow now.
        Here comes food!!!!

        2. Connecting dots. It requires more work and patience. But people can do it at any age.

        3. Have many good examples (Look at the gal detained at the airport!!!…stuff like that).

        The last often favors older people (not a universal law, mind you). Young people have had fewer chances to be fooled than not-so-young anymore people. One can work hard to overcome the handicap, but it helps, in many cases, to just grow older.

      2. ChrisAtRU

        “You cannot have Uber and the vast network of state and federally maintained roads! It’s both or neither!”

        Oh, wait … here comes my #DroneCopterTaxi from Dubai … I’ll explain fully later …


      3. bob

        It seems “BUT” is the new rejoinder for nonsense.

        I’ve noticed it a lot lately. If you see a sentence that starts with “BUT”, watch out, there’s going to be a logic cliff.

        I wonder if it has its modern birth with what used to be called “TV”. Toward the end of its life, there were any number of shows that had stock footage rolling in the background and a very authoritative voice talking about something loosely related. They called this “documentary”, most often.

        *roll footage of money bring printed, and a flag burning demonstration in the ME*


        “Many theorize that problems with banks may have contributed to wholesale distrust of government institutions. But, it’s democracy, or communism, there is nothing in between.

    2. Uahsenaa

      I dunno, I see this as heartening. It’s a sign of just how powerful Sanders is now that CPAC felt the need to create an entire panel about how to counter him. They’ll keep offering freedumb all the while completely unaware that they’re the living embodiment of r/fellowkids.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Republicans always have these kinds of panels. They are better at politics than Team Blue or at least more honest about their positions and thus able to make pragmatic decisions about the body politic in a way Team Blue types can’t.

        If you want a laugh, you should read one of the flurry of “why blacks should vote Republican” articles.

        “Hey kids, do you remember the Gipper? Have you seen Marco Rufio? He’s a cool dude. He’s from Florida like Spring Break! Wait a minute, who is texting us? Clint Eastwood!”

        1. Patricia

          Yeah, nothing new about the right hating on socialism, by which they mean government for the people.

          The interesting thing here, IMO, is that it was posted at Vox the day after Perez.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            If Jeb was the nominee, we would have had dueling ads over who liked Spanish speaker the most.

            Jeb would probably pray in Spanish at every Catholic site he could find, and Hillary would have her staffers call her Abuela at every opportunity. “Hi, I’m calling to tell you about my ‘abuela’…whoops, she’s so down to earth I think of Hillary as my Spanish grandmother.”

            It would just get worse from there.

      2. BeliTsari

        Why should CPAC have to worry about stomping down Bernie’s nascent Keynesian Democrats? Isn’t that why Obama’s folks suddenly ran out and installed Perez? Stomping out democracy, since 1792!

        1. Deadl E Cheese

          The GOP is probably watching orthodox Dems descend into Russophobic gibbering and fanatically declaring their devotion to capitalism. Then they see the polls of Gen-Y rejecting capitalism and demographic postmortems of 2008 and 2012 and the growth of the Democratic Socialists. And any reasonably smart potato would have to be going ‘can these doofy dogs really do the job’?

          The Democratic Party certainly wants to completely dominate the left-of-center wing (fighting Sanders and Ellison with a viciousness they’d never fight the GOP with), but they’re also rather incompetent. The heart is there, but the brains are questionable.

          1. BeliTsari

            It’s their franchise: to keep stomping down anybody foolish enough to believe their BS, to try crawling out of the seething cesspool? It’s pretty much the only time they have to deal with the help any more; well maybe Uber when they’re too drunk to get into their autonomous i8? It’s been pretty outrageous to go from formerly yuppie neighbors in the UWS, to an old pipe mill, where folks are afraid to acknowledge climate change while their coworkers wait for ICE? Most of the folks I know in Manhattan are working 1099 contingency gigs, while the USWA deplorables are ever deeper in debt, buying ever more FLIR scoped, silenced auto-loading, concealable bull-pup rifles… & cowcatchers for their Cummins RAM 1600; both clinging, ever more desperately, to obvious lies.

      3. Deadl E Cheese

        I’d say that the Democrats embody r/fellowkids more than the GOP.

        At least the GOP A.) realizes that they’re seen as out-of-touch ghouls and B.) knowing they can’t really counter that, try to appeal to upper-middle class Gen-Y jackals also (for the not-so-fortune) to our hate-drenched lizard brains. The strategy of ‘better to be on the second-to-bottom rung of the ladder in hell than equals with God and Man in heaven’ is all sorts of vile, but it’s at least a strategy that can claim to have one foot in reality.

        Ebeneezor Scrooge will never be cool, but Scrooge is still less of a total cringey dork than, say, Bono, Lena Dunham, and Al Gore.

        The Democratic Party still sees itself as the idealistic defenders of Enlightenment and the Future, bravely doing battle with troglodytic forces of herrenvolk revanche and passing the torch to the next generation of multicultural youth. The idea that they’re viewed as doofy dog quisling sell-outs who are only slightly shorter barriers to human progress than the reactionaries is completely alien to them. They’re not even the GOP, who while like the Democrats are delusional about what’s best for the non-rich, aren’t delusional about who they are.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          Would do them a wealth of good to stop trotting out celebrity endorsers as if that moves the needle in any positive direction (It doesn’t…in rural America Lena Dunham is viewed as a pedophile – and one who gets cover from coastal media at that).

          “Hey look at these rich people you’ve seen on tv and heard in your iPod! Now listen to them tell you how you, your family, and friends are all hopeless bigots who need to fall in line with the orthodoxy that has impoverished you and everyone you know for 40 years! Clinton ’16!”

          1. Deadl E Cheese

            Speaking as an armchair psychoanalysist, I don’t think that the Democratic Party’s insistence on promoting Lena Dunham and the cast of Hamilton is so much bourgeois cluelessness as out-and-out Nietzschean ressentiment.

            Liberals, especially older liberals, love love love the fantasy of themselves as… well:

            see[ing] itself as the idealistic defenders of Enlightenment and the Future, bravely doing battle with troglodytic forces of herrenvolk revanche and passing the torch to the next generation of multicultural youth.

            So when John Oliver zingers and Negroponte endorsements pitched at the Heartland fizzle or even backfire, it still serves the primary purpose of soothing liberal neurotic ressentiment. That they see Dunham’s outspoken feminism as degenerate and elitist instead of empowering is just proof of how backwards they are compared to us.

            I’d call liberal outreach to the kids (Chillary Clinton, Pokemon Go to the Polls, Abuela Clinton) bourgeous cluelessness. Liberal ‘outreach’ to Middle America is something much more sinister.

            1. WheresOurTeddy

              Agree with your entire post. One recalls the South Park episide “Smug Alert”…

              Don’t get me started on the absurd lionization of Hamilton these past few years. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

              1. Massinissa

                I like Hamilton alot, or used to at least, but I absolutely hate how hes portrayed in that damn play. Hes one of my favorite founding fathers, but that play nonsense is revolting.

            2. BeliTsari

              Hard, sometimes, not to see it as a unremitting family squabble we’ve not been invited to? When flabergasted & fahklempt Illuminati were smoking dope while miscegenatin’ back in some Iowa suburb, they doubtless did it to piss off parents, offend doltish peers. Working class kids, especially minorities, usually loved and emulated their hip, tough & wily parents, respected the heck out of their dear teachers, clergy and seldom gave much thought to coworkers or friend’s politics, religion, sexual preference, etc? I used to think it was the isolation of cars out in the boonies, my family never had a car until 1967 (and we still took streetcars?) Segregation, stratification and prejudice creates empty, dead-eyed hypocrites trapped in self deceit, projection & displacement. Theocratic kleptocracy is a tag-team affair. just try telling them you have to look at their haircuts, shoes, cars, work-out clothes & how much eye-liner they wear to tell them all apart?

              1. BeliTsari

                It’s certainly, nothing novel or unique. Just how many of our most beloved journalists, prescient playwrights, astute artists & provocative poets were borne of slave raping oligarchs, sweatshop/ slumlord bourgeois or casual dead-eyed bigots? I’m so grateful to everybody who took the time & effort or had the patience & ironic sensibility to attempt to TEACH silly-ass little jagoffs like me, to perpetuate some sentience & love of truth, of doubt, of unrequited inquiry! Asking the question is the only answer we’ll ever get?

    3. Paid Minion

      I don’t know what’s worse, this snake oil, or the fact that people actually buy into this crap.

      Typical Republican reframing the discussion to their advantage.

      In “Republican-Think”…….Demanding a more equitable distribution of the money = “wanting free stuff”.

      (Who “decides” what people are worth?
      The 1%ers?/people that own all the money? The ones that demand an 8% ROI, and don’t mind screwing everyone else in sight, to insure they “get theirs”? What are you going to do if they “decide” that you are getting paid 20% too much?)

      Out here in BFE, the kids have lived in Conservative-Capitalist Utopias for a long time. For the lowest paid 90% of the population, it sucks.

      2017 America is a completely different place than 1970 America.

      1. Grebo

        Who “decides” what people are worth?

        The capitalists do. That’s what makes Capitalism Capitalism. Letting anyone else have a say would be, um, Communism!, or sumthin.

    4. voteforno6

      So, both the Republican and Democratic parties are fighting Bernie Sanders. He must be doing something right.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Bipartisanship is Tweedledee and Tweedledum: they can finish each other’s lines.

          Looks like the awesome bipartisan achievements of invading Iraq and Afghanistan may endure for the entire 21st century.

          Boeing, Lockheed and Northrup Grumman are grateful … very grateful! :-)

          1. frosty zoom

            and it shows:


            1 Clinton, Hillary (D) $1,067,377
            2 Sanders, Bernie (D) Senate $417,605
            3 Thornberry, Mac (R-TX) House $393,850
            4 Cruz, Ted (R-TX) Senate $340,742
            5 Trump, Donald (R) $315,382
            6 McCain, John (R-AZ) Senate $312,365


            mr. sanders received more money from the deathmerchants than mr. trump; than mr. mccain!

            i guess he puts his wallet in his left pocket; that’s why he leans that way.

            1. Deadl E Cheese

              Sanders is a Cold War social democrat. He’s still light years ahead of the limousine liberals and warhawk liberals and Watergate Babies who have invested our polity, but he’s still objectively unacceptable. His vision is ‘Sweden, but significantly more violent’, which while better than the orthodox liberal vision of ‘Morlock work camp, but with rainbow flags and varying skin tones’, is not going to lead humanity into the 21st century.

              I appreciate him allowing Marxism to gain a foothold in American politics, but the man has outlived his usefulness. I’m glad he’s about to die soon, while he’s still a net positive contribution to the barbaric era of human sapience.

              1. windsock

                Did you really write “I’m glad he’s about to die soon”? Politics does really bring out the worst in people.

              2. Massinissa

                Uhhhh I don’t like Sanders much either but I sure am not going to be jumping for joy when he dies. That just seems kinda heartless. Hes not THAT bad.

                1. Deadl E Cheese

                  I don’t hate him. In fact, I like him a lot better than pretty much any American politician. But as long as he’s still serving as a sheepdog for the Democratic Party and wrecking what good he’s doing by copping for the orthodox liberals, he’s outliving his usefulness.

                  I grudgingly admit that FDR was a net good, but if he got revived and transported forwards in time and then offered to run for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, I’d be frantically stuffing him back into the time machine and telling him to never come back, for the good of humanity.

                  That’s how I feel about Bernie. Dinosaurs should stay in their era. Even the proto-mammals. It’s too bad that in a world where the Earth is ALSO overran with even more primitive trichordates, he’s still by comparison a great leap forward.

                  1. JTFaraday

                    bit harsh. On some level I agree with you, but I’d want to take some time to say why, which I don’t have time to do right now. I was a Sanders supporter during election.

              1. Deadl E Cheese

                Yes. I already compromised myself too much by supporting Sanders, considering that anti-imperialism is by far my most important consideration in voting for a candidate. Ultimately, I ended up voting for the ‘lesser evil’ because like with his tainted Marxism it was still a vast improvement over anything even proposed.

                The Democratic Party not only ratfucked by far the least violent candidate ever to break the 30% primary vote barrier but took its undeserved victory as an excuse to descend further into their American interventionalist fantasies.

                It’s hard for me to express my contempt for a party that not only forced me to compromise my greatest value but responded by installing someone who may be more against my greatest value than a billionaire clown rapist.

                1. RabidGandhi

                  Personally, I see no reason for considering oneself compromised for having chosen the lesser evil, be that evil Sanders, Trump, Clinton, Stein or anyone else. Voting is always strategic, it is always LOTE and it is always far less important than the real political work of grassroots organising.

                  1. Deadl E Cheese

                    Well, keep in mind that it wasn’t until fall 2016 that I realized that electoralism is only a small component of anti-reactionary politics.

                    If you’re in the mindset (like most modern left-liberals) that elections and the occasional mass protest are the only real time to engage in politics, then voting for Sanders Cold War Social Democracy is an agonizing showdown with your identity.

                    Obama pushing Bowles-Simpson caused me political agony for years. Disengaging from that mindset has been really relaxing.

                2. mpalomar

                  “It’s hard for me to express my contempt…”
                  -No, I think you nailed it.

                  “Well, keep in mind that it wasn’t until fall 2016 that I realized that electoralism is only a small component of anti-reactionary politics.”
                  -You’re just a fuzzy young thing! You’ve barely begun to experience first hand disappointment.

                  “Obama pushing Bowles-Simpson caused me political agony for years. Disengaging from that mindset has been really relaxing.”
                  -Hurts, doesn’t it? Maybe you need a relaxative. I find prunes work well. That a blunt and a shot of Robbie Burns.

            2. Vatch

              It’s not as simple as that. First, let’s restrict this to Presidential candidates:


              Note that Jill Stein of the Green Party got $19,802. For candidates like Stein and Sanders, these were not defense industry PAC donations. They were donations from people who happen to be employed by corporations in the defense industry. Some of the donors probably work in subsidiary companies that aren’t even involved in defense work. See this disclaimer on the Open Secrets web page:

              METHODOLOGY: The numbers on this page are based on contributions from PACs and individuals giving $200 or more.

              1. frosty zoom

                fully understood. but am i really lying with statistics? if i worked at starbucks, would i give my money to the anti-coffee candidate?

                1. Vatch

                  An executive at a defense company wouldn’t donate, but many people in the middle or lower level jobs might not care about their industry much. It’s just a place for them to work. They might be more interested in supporting whom they believe is the better candidate.

                  And as I said, they might work for a division of a defense company that does not do defense related work. Many electronics, software, and aerospace companies could be considered defense related companies. There are plenty of non-military groups within those companies. Take a look at this about Honeywell:


                  With more than 132,000 employees, Honeywell International is a major producer of aviation, aerospace and military products, as well as a range of other things from construction materials to various consumer goods. Founded in 1906, Honeywell is the sponsor of one of the more active political action committees in the United States, donating to politicians from both political parties. Honeywell International routinely spends close to $7 million each year on federal lobbying efforts aimed at dozens of agencies including both chambers of Congress, the Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration.

                  How could one tell whether an employee of Honeywell who donated to Sanders works in a military division of the conglomerate or not?

                2. lyman alpha blob

                  Why not? I’ve worked for a TBTF (except WAMU actually failed) bank and voted against bank friendly politicians. I work for a company now that is fairly dependent on the health of the oil industry and I vote against oil friendly politicians. I’d be pretty happy to find myself out of work as a result of the people I voted for actually winning and creating a better system.

                  Unfortunately most of us have to work to make ends meet. Doesn’t mean we like our jobs or what are employers do to make money.

                3. JerryDenim

                  Maybe,.. if you hated your job and your employer and thought the coffee industry business model was in need of a radical overhaul.

                  I’m not saying that profile fits every defense industry employee who self-identified and donated to the Sanders campaign, but it seems feasible to me that there might be a sizable chunk of defense industry people who feel guilty about their paychecks and believe the US should spend less time and money bombing/droning innocent brown village people. I have a friend (wife’s friend-second degree) that works for the company that builds Predator drones. Her and her husband were both big Sanders supporters.

                  Now I know Sanders isn’t perfect and he’s not some Gandhi-like pacifist, but he was the only candidate with a shot at winning that declined to deliver a hawkish speech to the AIPAC conference. Instead he skipped it and gave a dovish speech in a high school gymnasium in Salt Lake. Helluva contrast to Trump and Clinton. You internet flame throwers can say what you want about Sanders, but if Washington was full of guys like Sanders instead of Clinton and Trumps I can promise you the world, and especially the United States would be a much better place.

                4. freedeomny

                  Actually Frosty – Yes. I worked in banking for many years and gave money to pols who supported financial regulation…gave to Elizabeth Warren, Bernie, etc.

                5. Carla

                  Yes, you very well might. Who knows the defense industry and MIC better than those who feel they must rely on it for a living? Sometimes people do what they have to do to survive, while working to undermine the socio-economic-political order that has ensnared them.

                  What we really need is to get those people to help us build a new party, and that’s what we need Sanders to do, too. The Democrats are not just deplorable; they’re irredeemable.

              2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                It says, from PACs AND individuals giving $200 or more.

                Where do we go to find out how much of it is from the former (PACs) and how much the latter (individuals)? You mention for Stein and Sanders, these were not defense industry PACs donations.

                1. Vatch

                  I don’t think that Stein or Sanders accepted PAC money. I’m not sure where there’s a breakdown of individual and PAC contributions. You can probably find it at the FEC dot gov web site, but you may have to manipulate the raw data somewhat.

                2. philnc

                  Which kind of begs the question as to why those those amounts aren’t broken out into separate categories to begin with. Part of the answer may be to find out who benefits from the confusion. Is it really so hard to believe that line workers in a death merchant’s “right to work” state factory might have been moved to give $27 to Bernie’s campaign due to something other than their employer’s undying confidence that a President Sanders would continue to support American imperialism.

                  Still, there are serious problems with Bernie’s support for intervention, particularly when undertaken by Democrats, that have been well documented elsewhere. Fact is that apart from one vote on Iraq, he’s been pretty much in line with the establishment there (he backed Clinton’s regime change policy for Iraq in 1998), and actually had to be pulled leftwards by his supporters during the primary campaign. It was his relatively soft history on imperialism that kept some on the left sitting on the sidelines (at least that’s what they said). Some people said that for an avowed social(ist) democrat in the US to go all anti-interventionist would be electoral suicide, that only right wingers like the Pauls or Trump could get away with it — and then only on the grounds that empire is vaguely “bad for business” (which clearly it is not).

                  But there were also serious deficiencies in Bernie’s approach to dealing with the capitalist framework of the global economy. Some would say that he focused deliberately on preliminary, practical steps to give people relief where they were because that would achieve the most good in the least time, and garner the most votes. This election, every election, isn’t about vindicating political-economic theory, it’s about helping those in need. Anyone who wanted an idea of where Bernie stood on theory could go read his remarks at the Vatican.

                  1. JerryDenim

                    “Some people said that for an avowed social(ist) democrat in the US to go all anti-interventionist would be electoral suicide, that only right wingers like the Pauls or Trump could get away with it — and then only on the grounds that empire is vaguely “bad for business” (which clearly it is not).”

                    Count me among those people. Look at big, tough, ethno-nationalist, mega-capitalist, I wanna “rebuild” the military Trump. He had no desire to take on the MIC and strip it down to a weak ineffectual pacifist defense force. He was all for outsized military spending and graft. All he wanted to do was turn the ship of state five degrees to the left on Russia and for that he was slapped down and kowtowed by the deep state inside of a month. Not quite a coup d’etat, but not exactly a democratic state with an independent civilian commander-in-chief. I think Sanders has been very shrewd with his support of the military. He’s always been against foolish wars of conquest and imperialism but he’s always been very keen to help veterans and generally support high levels of military spending. A full-blown, anti-military President could probably never be elected in this country, but if one ever was he would be assassinated, overthrown or impeached faster than General Flynn left Washington. Anybody who wants to lead a genuinely re-destributive left on a class crusade in this country better damn-well have the full support of the police and military or the revolution will be very short lived.

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      Wouldn’t that shrewd military support be equally applicable, in Trump’s case, to a similarly shrewd strategy of no full blown Medical-for-all or other domestic reforms, or cabinet appointments, lest there be another coup, this time by Wall Street or other as intimidating industrial complexes?

            3. freedeomny

              I believe that is not necessarily the case. Sanders could have received the donations from “individuals” who worked at companies in that industry and not necessarily from PACs….

    5. Mel

      Yeah. It’s interesting. The best argument seems to be “Tell them about the Soviet Union.” I suppose it’s got to work some day.
      The most realistic line, for me was

      “The old story used to be, ‘Wait until they have a mortgage, and then they’ll become conservative,’” said Timothy F. Mooney, an attendee who is a partner at the Republican political consulting firm Silver Bullet. “I honestly don’t think that’s true anymore.”

      Because they would have to be able to get a mortgage. And after the mortgage was foreclosed from under them, they might become socialists again.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        When not enough crumbs fall off the table the dogs tend to get hungry, and “progressively” louder.

    6. RenoDino

      How would they know “Socialism Sucks” if they’ve never tried it? Why not “Global Capitalism is Awesome” or “Student Debt Works for Me”?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Capitalism was born and grew up with being molested by Socialism.

        It’s only fair to let Socialism grow up without being menacing by Capitalism’s arms race and opening up markets.

        Perhaps we can try it alone on Mars, with the help of good lawyers, isolated from Capitalism.

        1. philnc

          Re-reading Robinson’s “Blue Mars” today. Just got through the part where Vlad Taneev, one of the original colonists in the trilogy, schools a room full of native born Martians on why their planet needed to part with Earth’s old economic ways.

    7. Benedict@Large

      What a waste of time. The Democratic Party will take down Sanders just fine. The conservatives don’t need to waste a breath on this one.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Totally. Not to mention the Dem machine is more effective at achieving victory, since they successfully stymied their insurgent populist. The Repubs, however, were unable to overcome theirs, thus President Trump. Although, this is not exactly fair as Trump is obviously a far lesser threat than Sanders.

    8. TiPs

      Rather than read articles about what conservatives think, I like to “hear” it straight from the horses mouth. If you are on Facebook, I suggest joining the “Thomas Sowell Foundation” page. This group went from several hundred to over 30,000 in the past six months–the Trump Effect. It is both enlightening and frightening to follow. The right, especially libertarians, have done one hell of a marketing job.

      1. kgw

        Tell you what: the Yemenies already know we are worse than anything the Third Reich could muster…

        Ward Churchill was totally on point when he said that most U.S. citizens are exemplary examples of “good germans.”

    1. Paid Minion

      The “5% Unemployment rate” is aka “The Big Lie”

      Of those actually working, the majority haven’t received a raise in five years. All of the millennial jobs seem stuck at the $15/hour level.

    2. HBE

      Yes, That article was a an extremely poor analysis of the economic disadvantages millennials face. And the first paragraph was a head to desk moment.

      “Young adults continue to move back home with their parents, even though the United States has enjoyed seven straight years of economic growth, pushing the unemployment rate below 5 percent.”

      You can paint quite a rosy economic picture of babied millennials if you ignore the underlying data.

      95% of new jobs created under the Obama administration were / are temporary and the unemployment rate is 9.4% if you use the more accurate u6 and is likely higher than even that.

      Also past generations didn’t require a loan and degree ( it’s cost, up 1800% from 1978) to make a go at independence.

      Ignoring all that and more this tripe, comes to the conclusion that millennials are just jumping on some kind of “we love living at home bandwagon” because everyone else is doing it.

      It must have been hard papering over all that economic hardship and instability, to state “Maybe young adults are staying at home because their parents — and society at large — have simply grown more tolerant of the idea.” This guy must be an economist with all those ignored externalities.

      But right on, millennials are staying at home because they’re parents are more tolerant of it, and they’re doing great economically /s.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Who wants to have their own life, with independence and self-sufficiency to instill pride in one’s self and the society which allows him/her to reach their potential?

        Mom’s got the cereal I like.

        I suggest that after the apocalypse everyone has to wear their job from the old world on a nametag. Imagine what would happen to those with a nametag that says “Economist”…

        1. WJ

          Millennials just need a good war to sign up for. The bigger the better. That’ll fix a lot of things. WWI, WWII, Vietnam, that kind of war.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      The Boston Globe’s article cites a working paper recently published by the Boston Fed and repeats almost verbatim the speculations made by that paper’s authors in a short video clip posted at the Boston Fed site. Referencing the Boston Fed’s working paper [] — full of measured variables and regression analysis of their statistics — I was reminded of an old joke:

      A team of scientists trained a large group of spiders to jump up when given the spoken command “Jump Spiders Jump!”. They carefully measured the height each spider jumped and did statistical analysis to arrive at a measure of spider jump-compliance. Then they anesthetized the spiders and carefully removed one leg from each spider. After the spiders recovered they were again commanded “Jump Spiders Jump!” and the scientists carefully measured the height of each spider’s jump and derived a new figure for jump-compliance. As the experiment proceeded the scientists noted a strong correlation between the number of legs remaining on the spiders and their jump-compliance. The experiment proceeded to its end when all the spiders were legless. The legless spiders did not respond to the command “Jump Spiders Jump!” From this the scientists concluded spiders must have some kind of ear in their legs.

      1. Greg Gerner

        The variant of this joke that I heard involved frogs and scientists measuring how far they would jump when a loud clap was sounded behind them. The four-legged frog jumped eight feet, and a leg was cut off. The three-legged frog jumped six feet, the two-legged frog jumped four feet and the one-legged frog jumped two feet. When the final leg was cut off, and the loud sound occurred, the frog didn’t move. The scientist was perplexed, and made the loud clap one more time. Same result. With this data, the scientist concluded: Four legs cut off, frog goes deaf.

      2. RabidGandhi

        Depends on the scientist. An economist would conclude: “Leg cut-off reform provides greatest confidence stimulus for trickle down return to leg equilibrium”

        1. clincal wasteman

          Translated in policy speeches and op-eds as: “without this tough approach they’ll never learn to pull themselves up by their spinnerets”.
          Elsewhere from the same speechwriters,
          “Your house was foreclosed and bulldozed yesterday while immigrants pitched a tent on the bulldozed plot next (former) door. See how immigrants cause foreclosure and bulldozing!”

  1. Foppe

    Wrt Frank’s Listen, Liberal: I’m quite grateful to him (and to you/Lambert for pointing me in his direction) for finally waking me up to the fact that “meritocracy” is just as pernicious a basis for a moral system as is (and combinable/overlapping with) the moral system that informs the reactionary mind that Corey Robin points out informs ‘conservatism’.
    While I’d been aware of the problems with elitism/technocracy/specialized-knowledge-based discrimination/access-/voice-denial for a few years now, I’d never really thought it through and recognized that it’s actually a moral system (first sold to us by Plato in his allegory of the cave, and his Republic more generally). Just goes to show, I guess, how easy it is to miss the blatantly obvious just because it’s widely accepted as normal/acceptable.

    1. David

      Yes, it’s worth recalling that “aristocracy”, from the Greek, originally meant “rule by the best people”, and Plato’s Guardians, of course, were specially selected from those with the necessary abilities and personal qualities to be rulers. Nothing much has really changed, except that these days fitness to rule can no longer be justified as an inherent characteristic, so it has to be established through some seemingly-objective process of rational selection, with a few of the non-elite allowed in from time to time to keep the hopes of ordinary people alive.

      1. Foppe

        Not only that, the people who bubble up wouldn’t remotely qualify as “meritorious” by my definition. So yeah, quotes.

        1. UserFriendly

          That meritocracy garbage really is at the core of everything that went wrong with this election. This was my reaction to Perez winning:

          There is a saying, progress is made one funeral at a time. People tend to cling to what they believe in and there is way to much weight given to expertise. So if anyone has a master plan to kill off the DNC leadership class I fully support it. I honestly didn’t think I could hate this country any more then I did when Bush got reelected, but the utter contempt that every elite has for everyone else has no bounds. The leadership class is insular, elitist, and completely incapable of introspection. They think that we live in a meritocracy and they got where they are because they are the best, no one could have done a better job, any compromise was necessary.

          That is what Trump leached onto. The fact that our leaders are a bunch of incompetent narcissists who surround themselves with sycophants who praise them as they destroy the country for corporate profit all the while everyone else’s life becomes increasingly more precarious and that is met with nothing but empty promises and cliches. The right wing has an inherit distrust of leadership which is why Trump could win in his primary. Liberals have a fetish for expertise and since Clinton has been a political figure forever they assumed she knew what she was doing. She certainly paid enough pundits to push the “Most qualified person to ever run for president” poll tested, panel approved line.

          You can’t fix something that doesn’t think it’s broken. All the Popular vote, Comey, Putin garbage has let democrats pretend they did everything right and were cheated. Things will need to get much worse before they even admit there is a problem, much less look for solutions. All we can hope for is a lot of early funerals.

          1. Harry

            So what you are saying is same old same old only more so.

            Maybe Im being too cynical. Its a common problem I have. However I can imagine the degree of incompetence might just be a little worse than usual.

            1. UserFriendly

              I’d hardly call my view optimistic. Short of sitting around to watch boomers die I don’t see much changing any time soon. Of course if they keep provoking I might just consider helping some of them along.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      +1. Like so many, I’ve always taken the notion of ‘meritocracy’ as self evidently a good thing without actually giving it much thought. I’d no idea until the last few years (thanks NC!) its philosophical roots and how its been used for such malign purposes.

    3. Katharine

      Yes to your last sentence especially. The more ingrained a belief, the harder it is to recognize as a belief and not an attribute of reality. It is a good, and hard, intellectual exercise to question the things you habitually take for granted. Even if you decide you’re quite prepared to go on believing what you believe, you end up more aware of its status as belief.

      1. Anonymous2

        I am not bothered by the idea of government by the best. The problem IMO is that we have government by the greediest.

        1. Foppe

          The point isn’t that it’s bothersome that they’ve gotten an education and invested in that, and are good at what they do / learned, the problem is that this way of thinking about (“personal responsibility” for) education comes hand in hand with lots of ideas about how people who don’t get a similar piece of paper, or those less able (for whatever reason) to keep learning / retraining themselves are morally worse, and are less “deserving” (as determined by those around them) of a decent life.
          I’d never really realized that they took the flip-side seriously as well, and that there are “progressive” people who are willing to defend and create a social system in which large swathes of the population are unable to live decent lives, just because it might cost them money. (Not that it necessarily would cost them a whole lot, but given that they have all taken Econ 101 rather than MMT, that’s what they believe.)

        2. Carla

          The problem is the greediest are the BEST this society, given our priorities, can possibly offer up.

          BTW I’m reading Morris Berman’s “Why America Failed” — per the recommendation of someone in the commentariat here.

          1. Foppe

            That, too. :)
            Being best at social climbing (and accepting stupid rules, hazing ceremonies, etc., concocted by others) does not necessarily make you the best at governing in a way that is desirable (as defined by me ;) )

          2. WheresOurTeddy

            Or the BEST figured out at an early age that they live in a broken system that punishes virtue and richly rewards all of the seven deadly sins except sloth.

            Sloth profitability is reserved for bureaucrats.
            Pride, greed, lust, gluttony, envy and wrath – that’s where the money is.

            Maybe we should change our motto from “E Pluribus Unum” to “Pride, greed, lust, gluttony, envy and wrath”.

            To our “leaders”, morality is for the weak & stupid. On Wall Street they call you a Muppet and plan how to rip your face off.

        3. RabidGandhi

          Compare “government by the best” with the attitude displayed in today’s post on Democrat Party hubris. In order to justify HRC’s blatant rejection by most voters, the Dem operative in the thread scorns the idea that the general populace could be rational; no, they rejected HRC because they are all sexist. Irredeemable deplorables clinging to guns and bibles, voting against their own interest. The elitism is inbred into this line of thinking: we the elite know what is right, so STFU and let us govern.

          Of course there is absolutely nothing new in this oligarchical blindness, and one need not go back to Plato to see it. Just sticking to US history, both Walter Lipmann and Edward Bernays talked about the “meddlesome masses” whose role should be to not interfere in government. Not to mention the Trilateral Commission in the 1970s that complained about the “excess of democracy”. And here I only mention the liberals.

          What I would emphasise in all of this is not the fact that the elite wants all power for itself. That is to be expected. What is of real note is the way it’s engrained. That they can say that most of the populace is an irrational mob and not be run out of civil discourse on a rail says much about all of us.

          1. Foppe

            RG: my reason for mentioning Plato was that the Republic, and the allegory of the cave, are a central part of pretty much any/every liberal, apolitical “philosophy” curriculum, and therefore a wholly normalized idea (that is fed to students). Of course there are many more variations on the same idea, but it is my sense that Plato is its earliest & most prominent/successful promotor.

            1. David

              Yes, and it’s also behind those constant demands that government should be entrusted to “non-political technocrats” who would know what’s good for us. This is an equal opportunity phenomenon (HG Wells wrote about the idea a lot) but has led directly to what I call the “depoliticization of politics”, where sensitive political issues are re-cast as purely technical ones, which only those with the right technical knowledge have the right to pronounce upon. This of course, is one of the rocks on which the EU is currently foundering, but my personal recollection goes back at least to the decision of the Blair government to make the Bank of England “independent” (i.e. without political oversight) and have unelected, allegedly apolitical, bankers set the interest rate, as though that were not a highly political decision.

            2. RabidGandhi

              No disagreement whatsoever, Foppe. You are completely right about Plato’s elitism and his prevalence in liberal education. I was just trying to add further examples closer to home.

            3. Vatch

              Plato certainly believed in rule by the best, but he would have been horrified by the extreme levels of inequality that we see today (and in much of history). In The Laws, he said that the maximum income should be no greater than four times the minimum income (I think he’s referring to income, but maybe he’s referring to wealth). From the Jowett translation (Book V):

              The form of law which I should propose as the natural sequel would be as follows:—In a state which is desirous of being saved from the greatest of all plagues—not faction, but rather distraction;—there should exist among the citizens neither extreme poverty, nor, again, excess of wealth, for both are productive of both these evils. Now the legislator should determine what is to be the limit of poverty or wealth. Let the limit of poverty be the value of the lot; this ought to be preserved, and no ruler, nor any one else who aspires after a reputation for virtue, will allow the lot to be impaired in any case. This the legislator gives as a measure, and he will permit a man to acquire double or triple, or as much as four times the amount of this (compare Arist. Pol.). But if a person have yet greater riches, whether he has found them, or they have been given to him, or he has made them in business, or has acquired by any stroke of fortune that which is in excess of the measure, if he give back the surplus to the state, and to the Gods who are the patrons of the state, he shall suffer no penalty or loss of reputation; but if he disobeys this our law, any one who likes may inform against him and receive half the value of the excess, and the delinquent shall pay a sum equal to the excess out of his own property, and the other half of the excess shall belong to the Gods. And let every possession of every man, with the exception of the lot, be publicly registered before the magistrates whom the law appoints, so that all suits about money may be easy and quite simple.

              I haven’t read The Laws; I think I learned about this from one of Branko Milanovic’s books, but I can’t find the reference. The Jowett translation is online:


              1. Foppe

                So would Adam Smith, and many others. (And don’t forget Plato only counted male Athenians as “deserving”.)
                Question is, would he have worked alongside the rabble to help them organize against his class interests (and updated his political and moral theories)?

                1. Vatch

                  2400 years ago he would not have been interested in working along side the rabble. Even as recently as 200 years ago, only a minority of educated people would have been interested in doing so. There are still plenty of conservatives alive today.

                  1. witters

                    Plato: ‘ “the state whose prospective rulers come to their duties with the least enthusiasm is bound to have the best and most tranquil government, and the state whose rulers are eager to rule the worst”.’

          2. WheresOurTeddy

            Everyone should know who Edward Bernays was, and at the very least read “Falsehood in War Time”, if not his entire oeuvre.

            One of the greatest enemies of representative government that has ever lived. I spit on the ground whenever he comes up in conversation.

            1. clincal wasteman

              Wealth of Negations [.org] version for what (zero exchange-value) it’s worth:
              MERITOCRACY (n.) […] 2. Perfect and perfectly empty circularity: personal “success” is retroactive proof of meriting it. Whatever is, is right, wrote Alexander Pope in 1733, since when the applause of the owners of merit has been unbroken.

    4. SpringTexan

      Yes, the Obama tweet was a truly disgusting example of how they want us all to rally around a “banner of opportunity”, e.g. elitism with some tokens.

      1. Foppe

        Thanks, I’ll have a look at it later. :)
        Still, it’s helpful to see the case made using contemporary examples. :) (If only to keep people from bullshitting about how we’re more civilized these days, and/or how they’re not going to read it because “dated”.)

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        Good article, and I do not deny that things were already starting to go downhill by that point. They started fighting the New Deal before Roosevelt was even dead (1944 Truman-for-Wallace swap at convention, truly a dark moment in American history – and NEVER TALKED ABOUT).

        Talked to my dad the other day. He was born in ’38 and I was born in ’83. He used to tell me growing up how there’s opportunity everywhere and America is the best etc etc etc…
        I told him for the last 15 years that he lived during the Golden Age of the US (1945-1965), where if you graduated high school (he’s class of ’55) and could speak in complete sentences you slid right into a job with upward mobility toward the middle class…

        After 16 years of Barack W Bush and 40 years of failure by the Actor, the Spook, the Good Ole Boy, Spook Jr, and NoHopeNoChange, he’s come around…even uses the word “Oligarchy” now…

    5. fosforos

      As usual, complete misunderstanding of Plato’s “allegory of the cave.” Nobody ever seems to ask what it was an allegory *of*, even though Sokrates makes it totally explicit: the “cave” is an allegory for the Divided Line (that he has just described but that Glaucon is quite unable to comprehend), an abstract epistemological schema of the relationship between perception and the ultimate constituents (the so-called “forms”) underlying the perceptual world.

      1. Foppe

        I am aware of that, yes. But that’s not the reading that people take home with them, if only because nobody takes the theory of the forms seriously anymore. And it’s certainly no accident that Plato — the consummate stylist — chose to “explain” the idea that way — involving the liberal application of violence to those who say things that don’t fit other people’s (portrayed as an unstructured large group of people) mental schemas.

        1. juliania

          There are many interpretations of what Plato meant in his dialogues. I simply take it that he meant it was a good thing to question the knowers and those wishing to rule over others, and especially also the sophists, who were people whose ultimate aim was power and riches. His hero throughout the dialogues is after all, Socrates, who walked the streets of Athens barefoot and never charged for the lessons he gave.

          Best thing is to go read the dialogues themselves, and if you have the time I would suggest the website of the amateur Platonist, Bernard Suzanne, he has a lovely theory that the dialogues were structured to answer the question ‘What is Man?’ or ‘What is the best man?’

          I agree with him. And by the way, Glaucon sticks with Socrates through the entire dialogue, Politeia, which becomes more and more complex as it goes along – it’s supposed to reveal to us the qualities of a virtuous man, not to create an oligarchical state. Others fall by the wayside as the conversation progresses; Glaucon hangs on till the end. That counts with me.

      2. kgc

        And the Guardians (philosopher-rulers) had to be so enlightened that they only reluctantly agreed to rule as a matter of civic duty. To prevent corruption, they were to hold all things in common, including spouses, and not even know who their biological children were. Women were eligible to be Guardians, and were admitted into Plato’s Academy.

        It was a pretty radical scheme. Though it’s not clear whether Plato meant it as a realistic proposal or an idealistic goal or a means of forcing people to think.

    6. Oregoncharles

      (Jumping in late, as usual) I was horrified when I first read the “Republic.” This is the foundation of Western philosophy (it isn’t really, but that’s the way Plato is presented)?! Plato was the original fascist, judging by that book. (We don’t really know who Socrates was, because we see him only through the lens of Plato. In any case, the Dialogues have some terrible fake logic.)

      Granted, authoritarian thought was the norm then, but Athens was supposed to be the birthplace of democracy. I think Plato didn’t approve. He may have had reasons. It’s wrong to judge people from the deep past on modern values; the real problem is that it’s still taught as some sort of exemplar.

      1. juliania

        I’d suggest that anyone interested in the Dialogues go to the following:

        I studied them in college, and I’m still fascinated by them. And by the way, I voted for Jill Stein.

        There is a school of interpretation that began with neoliberals and distorted the message of the dialogues. Leo Strauss is a name that to me represents this school. I prefer Bernard Suzanne’s careful analysis.

        1. juliania

          Here’s the conclusion of Mr. Suzanne’s most recent essay “Can We See the Sun?” I present it to give an idea of what the dialogues are about:

          Can We See the Sun?
          In conclusion, knowledge for Plato is not limited to knowledge of abstract ideas and, according to him, our prime concern should be to learn to better know ourselves (gnôthi sauton). We don’t become most excellent, godlike human beings, by fleeing outside the cave of men to ruin our eyes in contemplating the sun, forgetting our fellow human beings deep inside the cave, but by climbing toward the cave of Zeus while drawing laws to bring order to the city we are a citizen of and allow as many of our fellow citizens as possible to be as happy as possible within the limits set by their own common (anthrôpoi) and individual (Socrate, Plato, you or me) nature and by the universe and the city they happen to live in. But, in so doing, we must never forget the power and limits of human logos (reason expressed through words). This is what the journey through Plato’s dialogues is supposed to make us understand by helping us to climb as close to the sun as allowed by human nature and ours. No answers in them, no “theories” (of Forms, of reminiscence or you name it), only a guide to accompany us in that trip that we have to make by ourselves and remind us that we must eventually return to the cave.

      2. juliania

        OregonCharles, try reading ‘The Apology’. ‘The Republic’ is a really hard one to start out with. I still get lost in it.

  2. allan

    Millions May Lose Coverage in Obamacare Repeal, Governors Told [Bloomberg]

    Policies supported by Republican congressional leaders to repeal and replace Obamacare could lead millions of people to lose their health coverage, according to a presentation given to state governors meeting Saturday in Washington.

    The presentation, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News, estimates that the number of people covered by Obamacare through the individual insurance market could be slashed by as much as 51 percent in states that chose not to expand Medicaid coverage under Obamacare and by 30 percent in those that did expand the federal-state health program for the poor. The presentation was made by consulting firms Avalere Health and McKinsey & Co. …

    The presentation is based on a plan by Republican leaders to eliminate income-based subsidies under Obamacare that help people afford insurance and replace them with age-based tax credits….

    Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, a Democrat, told reporters that Republican state leaders are considering a deal with the Trump administration that would lower the income limit for Medicaid to 100 percent of the poverty level from 138 percent. His remarks came after a meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. …

    In other words, to bring back a phrase from the days of St. Ronnie,
    change the criterion for Medicaid from truly needy to very truly needy.

      1. Paid Minion

        That’s commie-socialist talk there, young lady…….

        You should be thankful we get to pay twice as much for a “free market” system.

        (Well, thats what they call it…..I’d call it a “Monopolized, Med/Insuro/Narco Industrial Complex myself, but I digress……)

      2. JTMcPhee

        Do I remember right, that she subsequently corrected that to “Medicare,” which for all its induced flaws (f___ing corporate capture, and the Nature of Bureaucracy) is by my observation, as a nurse to doctors who still take Medicaid patients and thus are endangered themselves, and a “consumer” (that rotten misdirection) of medical services, a much superior “program”?

        An understandable misstatement, given that so many people in Flyoveria can at best spend most of their penurious lives with the hope of Medicaid and its limits (harshened by the Rulers who love the screams that come with every tightening of the screws).

        It’s a vain wish, but could I put in a plug to everyone to STOP CALLING IT “COVERAGE,” which predisposes all thinking and subsequent discourse to fall into the “UNsurance” modality, that grotesque horror?

    1. Paid Minion

      The Republicans threw the red meat of “Obamacare = Evil” to their base for eight years.

      After eight years of “chasing the car “, they caught/own it. Their base wants it eliminated, period. And screw all of the 20 million people who use it.

      They are scrambling for a “market based” solution. But guess what? Obamacare IS the market-based solution. Especially if the solution requires that the Medico/Insuro/Narco Industrial complex maintain their Vampire Squid like dominance.

      The plan is easy enough to see. Don’t overtly “kill” Obamacare. “Improve” it by eliminating/reducing the subsidies, and it will die, hopefully without many stories in the media of people dying due to lack of health care. Or bankrupted/losing their homes because they got health care.

    2. Katniss Everdeen


      You’d have to be pretty naive to think that a “law” that is fabulously expensive and “helps” relatively few people wouldn’t feel the budget ax at some point, especially in the current austerity-for-all climate.

      If the goal had been to provide access to “healthcare” for all americans at a reasonable cost, instead of to rescue an industry that was pricing itself out of the market and embarrassing the hell out of the most wonderful third-world nation on earth, obamacare would have been, at best, a hilarious bad joke.

      1. Jim Haygood

        “… fabulously expensive …”

        From CBO:

        To separate the effects of the ACA’s coverage provisions from those broader estimates, CBO and JCT compared their current projections with estimates of what would have occurred if the ACA had never been enacted. In 2016, those provisions are estimated to reduce the number of uninsured people by 22 million and to result in a net cost to the federal government of $110 billion.

        Dividing $110 billion by 22 million produces a figure of $5,000 per capita. That’s more than many developing countries (some with life expectancies comparable to the US) spend on ALL health care. CBO’s figure is just the government subsidy, not including what individuals and third parties pay.

        Until the US figures out WHY it spends several percentage points of GDP more on health than any other country, there is no way to put a Band-Aid on this bleeding fiscal wound.

        Expecting the R party majority to take on such a challenging inquiry is like expecting a pack of feral dogs to write a novel.

        1. RabidGandhi

          100% right about the ridonkulous costs, and I think it’s always important to add that those exorbitant expenditures are all paid to get health statistics similar to Albania’s.

          That said, I understood Katniss as referring not to the costs paid by the government as you referred to, but rather the costs to users. We’re the ACA providing phenomenal care to all at zero patient cost, it would be more than worthwhile to allocate copious federal funds for it. It’s not.

          1. fresno dan

            February 26, 2017 at 11:55 am

            Exactly. In a captured system, it should not surprise us that “reform” is first, middle, and last ALWAYS making sure them that gets paid is paid more, and more, and….more.
            In our vaunted “FREE MARKET” health care, what has gone down in price???

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          Not to mention the costs imposed on those not directly participating in obamacare, but forced to deal with the system that obamacare props up.

          Just like unpayable student loans enable ever-escalating higher ed costs, ridiculously “exotic” mortgage loans support ever-rising house prices, and increasingly longer term auto loans and leases make $50,000 pickup trucks seem “affordable” to those whose income hasn’t risen in decades, obamacare subsidies and federal financial support promulgate the fiction that it has made healthcare “affordable” and available to anyone.

          While more and more people are slowly drowning in the ocean of ever-rising costs its mandates paper over and foist on ALL americans.

        3. frosty zoom

          using stats, i’ve taken per capita health care expenditure and divided it by life expectancy to come up with a dollars/year ratio. i thought of using cuba, but that would have been cruel, so i compared the u.s. with the bête noire of all that is capital, venezuela.

          venezuela $555.09 ÷ 74.33 years = $7.47/year
          the united states: $8,607.88 ÷ 78.64 years = $109.46/year

          thus, we can extrapolate that a venezuelan spending the u.s. amount would live to be 1152.33 years old, while an american spending the venezuelan amount would live to be 5.07 years old.

          1. fresno dan

            frosty zoom
            February 26, 2017 at 12:31 pm

            I have grave doubts about any infant in the US making it to 5 years old at $109.46 per year – I’m pretty sure the ‘ prevention of throwing babies into the trash compactor fee ‘ is $346.73….per day.

          2. clincal wasteman

            How I wish this (frosty zoom) could be inserted as the ‘statistic of the day’ on the front page of tomorrow’s FT.

            Think of the job opportunities for North American mayflies changing the diapers of 800-year-olds in Venezuelan retirement citadels as big as Miami!

        4. Lee

          So, what are the cost drivers that makes our healthcare so much more expensive? How hard could it be to figure this out by comparing and contrasting costs between various countries? OTOH, trying to make sense of things by perusing my healthcare bills is crazy-making. I have a bill from a provider for a diagnostic procedure of $4K. Medicare paid $400. Provider accepted this as payment in full. This is but one of many similar examples.

          1. RabidGandhi

            Between you, me and the internet, if the US healthcare system were truly market based (ie, with perfectly informed participants making rational choices) then the main cost driver would be airfare to other countries with functioning health systems.

            For example, take the USD 3600 you had to shell out for your diagnostic procedure. In my own (admittedly highly dysfunctional) country, we have what yanquis call a “public option”: you could get your diagnostic procedure done in a public hospital for free or you can go to private care and get it done faster (and perhaps better). But the fact that patients can go to a public hospital for the same procedure means that private providers cannot charge exorbitant prices because otherwise their clientèle would just go to the public option instead. Thus most procedures that cost USD 4000 in the US (eg, a recent MRI I had) cost around USD 100 from a private provider. By contrast in the US there is really no free public health, so insurers are free to charge whatever their regulatory-captured, propagandistically mesmerised market will bear.

            Were consumers truly informed about this (Dr Friedman, white courtesy phone) they would crowd the airways to cheaper countries ($3600-$1000 airfare-$100 MRI=$2500 savings), and this would be the true cost driver. As things stand, the “cost driver” (even we can even use that term here) is actually a small group of rent seekers with an ideologically trapped public whom they can rape for all their worth.

            1. dcrane

              For what it’s worth, I don’t think that Lee meant that he was made to pay the $3600. He said that the provider accepted the Medicare payment as a full payment. I have experienced this complete disconnection between billed and insurance-reimbursed amounts as well. The outrageousness of the situation really becomes apparent (I think I have read) when one gets hit with the bill for $4000 as an uninsured individual.

              Otherwise I think your post is an excellent one. Oh how I do hold it against Obama that he failed to support a public option.

      2. Isolato

        A point I often try to make. The ACA doesn’t provide care, it provides insurance to hospitals against the cost of your care. Good luck w/ the first $10,000.

  3. tgs

    re: How ‘New Cold Warriors’ Cornered Trump

    Excellent reporting by Gareth Porter on what appears to be a soft coup.

    “Trump may think Flynn is the sacrificial lamb,” she [Susan Hennessey] told The Guardian, “but the reality is that he is the first domino. To the extent the administration believes Flynn’s resignation will make the Russia story go away, they are mistaken.”

    So, the IC, MSM and the Democrats are conspiring to prevent better relations with another nuclear power. In what possible way could that be construed as in the interests of the average american?

    1. susan the other

      Yes. Gareth Porter is really good on this. That Russia is no longer a communist juggernaut, doesn’t seem to be the point, so we can almost assume it never was. Russia is still a top down organization and as Kruschev once said (we will bury you capitalists) can command better results. We seem not to be able to even define the results we want. Russia is reindustrializing and developing its vast resources; it is becoming the statesman of the world by opposing us in peaceful negotiations with other countries; it is looking squarely at trade and good neighbor relations with Europe (probably the most vexing thing for us), and has prevented us from destabilizing the ME to our advantage. Russia has more realistic policies and has a talent for implementing them. We don’t. And for the old cold warriors the threat is clear. The apprehension about being buried by Russia goes all the way back to JFK who didn’t see “how we can stop them.” For starters we can get our act together and join the rest of the human race.

      1. John Parks

        “opposing us in peaceful negotiations with other countries”

        Based on tone of rest of your statement I am guessing that you meant to write something like
        “opposing us by their engagement in peaceful negotiations with other countries”

        I was at a loss to come up with examples where the US was in any sincere peaceful negotiations. That was why I came up with that conclusion. You are more than welcome to correct me and tell me to mind my own business.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          I too would love to know where on Earth the US uses the table to sit around rather than slam their fist down upon.

          When you have the world’s biggest hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.

        2. ChrisPacific

          A better phrasing might have been “participating in negotiations with other countries to achieve a peaceful outcome, in opposition to the wishes of the US”. I assume that’s what Susan meant.

      2. John Wright

        There is some ambiguity attached to the “we will bury you” statement from Khruschev in 1956.

        The statement may have referred to Communism burying Capitalism, not to an implied military threat.

        The statement could also appear prompted by poor diplomatic relations, similar to what the MIC is pushing for currently.

        “”Khrushchev said: “About the capitalist states, it doesn’t depend on you whether or not we exist. If you don’t like us, don’t accept our invitations, and don’t invite us to come to see you. Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you!” The rant prompted the envoys from twelve NATO nations and Israel to leave the room.”

        Interpreting “we will bury you” from a military standpoint could have been worth real money to many in the USA.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Yes, the “New Cold Warriors” is excellent. Another wonderfully clarifying episode, in that it makes clear the incestuous merger between dominant factions in the IC, the press, and the Democrat Party. A “well-oiled machine,” as it were.

      It will be interesting to see how and when Perez demands fealty from Ellison on this “issue.”

  4. justanotherprogressive

    Well, I am a bit queasy right now but I was warned. I clicked on that Desiderio tweet link…..
    But it is so wonderful to know that everything is going so well for the elite, that they now have all the opportunities in the world……..kind of wish that applied to the rest of us…..
    Maybe more black coffee will help…..while I can still afford it….

      1. Pat

        The bubble will NOT burst. Although the old adage about how difficult it is to get a person to recognize something if their well being is dependent on ignoring it might apply. Admitting that he is and was a failure, that opportunity does not exist for most people AND ignoring the fact that sliming Ellison was done to keep one deep pocketed Israeli first America scraps if anything donor was also necessary will just not be noticed.

        Frankly Trump’s tweet was more honest and accurate if not as superficially articulate. But my friends who still refuse to understand that Democrat does not mean better and Obama and his policies is and was a huge impediment to advancement for much of this country will just mourn that he is no longer our President.

          1. Pat

            Nah, one of the reasons it is ridiculous that my friends don’t understand that Trump did not come out of nowhere and does not exist in a vacuum with no relation to the past is that they most certainly have all lost ground over the last thirty years and could no more afford to migrate to France than they could migrate to Canada which is much closer. And yes, the Canada fantasy does exist for them. I’m still waiting for one of them to figure out that Canada does not want them.

            1. wilroncanada

              There is no wall, but there are drones on the US side, and if the number of refugees fleeing the US by sneaking across the border through farmers fields in minus 30C weather, or simply showing up at one of the border crossings in rural Quebec, there won’t be any more space for them. Mind you, we’re all losing ground. Neoliberal and neocon greed are worldwide. It’s been your major export for generations.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I’ve got to try growing that, but haven’t found a good source.

        It’s the North American version of yerba matte in S. America, also an ilex. Sometimes grown as an ornamental.

    1. Annotherone

      Last evening we saw our local community theatre’s production of “Into the Woods” – in which a witch plays a central part. These words from the lyrics of the rather dark finale came to mind after reading about this spell on Trump:
      “Careful the spell you cast,
      Not just on children.
      Sometimes the spell may last
      Past what you can see
      And turn against you……..”

      (As in President Pence!)

  5. integer

    Like Saudi Arabia, Israel Has a Soft Spot for Sunni Extremism

    In another example of Israeli establishment sympathy for Sunni terrorism, an Israeli think tank, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (known as BESA), contended in a paper published in August that the United States should stop short of fully eradicating ISIS.

    Why? In addition to claiming that doing so would create a diaspora of fleeing terrorists who would bring fresh havoc around the world, BESA emphasized the fact that Iran-allied Hezbollah “is being seriously taxed by the fight against (ISIS), a state of affairs that suits Western interests.”

    Talk about obfuscation: Iran may be the chief regional rival of Israel, but it certainly isn’t the main enemy of the United States—and probably shouldn’t be considered an “enemy” at all (which is certainly not to suggest that the Iranian government is virtuous).

    In seeking to counter Iran and its Hezbollah allies, however, the Israeli government is incentivized to lead U.S. policymakers and citizens to regard Iran as a great menace to America and to cultivate false allegations about Iran’s nuclear program—supported by counterfeit intelligence that has plausibly been attributed to Israel.

    It’s a repeat of the pattern observed in 2002, when Benjamin Netanyahu (at that time, both a former and future prime minister) and the Israeli government urged the United States to launch its disastrous regime change invasion of Iraq to eliminate a non-existent nuclear weapons program.

    “Do I need to tell you what the f*ck you can do with an aluminum tube?”
    Black – Bush | Chappelle’s Show

    1. RabidGandhi

      From a pure realpolitik perspective, one has to see this as much more sensible than the last 15 years’ strategy, which effectively consisted of destroying Iran’s regional enemies (Baathist Iraq and the Taliban). At least this latest (atrocious) strategic turn is consistent with the neocon lietmotif that Tehran is the Great Satan.

  6. JTMcPhee

    I hope those witches who got together to cast a mass spell at Trump also invoked whatever powers they summoned, with whatever intention, to also do whatever it was they hoped to visit on Trump, to visit the same on Pence and the rest of the succession. And the Banksters and Warlords and Captains of Industry. And maybe the equivalents in other nations, and Supra-post-national “non-government organizations” (Erik Prince, maybe?) who are such a telling part of the social cancer that’s killing ordinary people and the habitability of the planet and so many other species, all for the vast immense personal pleasures and thrill of “victory” and dominance and whatever other dark horrors there are that move the people who end up ruling billions because the most of those billions are foolish enough to concentrate on their own little lives (and also, it must be mentioned, see e.g., tera-tons of plastic trash in the oceans, deforestation, Big Macs) participation in the mass breeding and consumption that fuels so much of what from my many perspective is wrong with everything, and my uncomfortable sense that it all has only one vector to follow…

    This reminds me of a short story in “Analog” Magazine maybe 55 years ago — can’t recall the author, but the notion was that some Lever-Brothers-type corp was peddling a cleaning produce called “Witch Clean,” and somehow the advertising jingle became “Witches Of The World Unite, To Make It Clean, Clean, Witch Clean Now!” And some live-broadcast news reader, sickened of the crap he had to report, said it was time to clean up the stables, and recited that jingle with a pointed invitation to actual real withches to put a spell on the then president. And so all the witches of the world united to put a spell of miseries like those first visited on Job on “the president.”

    The story was written, as I recall, as a memo to the president from the FBI or Secret Service, with the history, and then commiseration (“We-re so sorry, Mr. President, that you are suffering those boils and bone-cracking joint pains and headaches and all that, but we don’t seem to be able to locate a single cause, and as long as you are in office and we get the corner you are in since nobody else wants the position in this circumstance, and carry forward the policies these people are harmed by, you unfortunately appear to just have to suffer…”

    Good luck with the spell casting, all you Wiccans and whoever — do you have any positive policies you agree on, that could be used as a carrot to move the Blob and the FIRE in a healthier and more sustainable and decent direction? Maybe you could send the PTB a note saying that the spells will continue until the policy improves?

    1. tony

      If you read the invocation, it’s meant to bind him from doing harm. Every action POTUS takes harms someone, so it can’t conceivably work, even if you believe in this stuff. It can however cause the spellcasters to adopt a more positive attitude towards Trump if they believe he can do no evil.

      Interestingly though, conservative Israeli Jews still use curses against their political opponents.

  7. Tom_Doak

    re: Uber, I’m in China this week, and heard a good story tonight about Uber’s failure in this country. They were competing against two similar Chinese-backed ventures who eventually merged. The Chinese firms cracked the market by including taxis as part of their service, and paying them a pittance more to take rides directed from their new overlords … to the point that cab drivers stopped picking up regular rides in favor of assignments with the small bonus. So then everyone had to start using the Chinese platform, and the cabbies quickly became dependent on it … but now they have to pay a fee instead of a bonus.

    Uber’s reaction? They saw the handwriting on the wall, caved … and took a small piece of the new Chinese monopoly. And probably took notes on how to succeed in business.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The Chinese app that beat them was based on a system popular in the UK and Ireland which works like Uber, but only for licensed taxis, and at standard rates. In other words, just like Uber, but working within the law and not involving abusive work practices. I’ve no doubt that those apps will continue to be used and be financially successful long after Uber has burned up all its cash and disappeared. Sometimes, the good guys (or at least, the not completely unethical guys) win.

      1. oho

        >Sometimes, the good guys (or at least, the not completely unethical guys) win.

        The incumbent American taxi industry in most major cities is nearly as rotten as Uber.

        Pick your poison: regulatory capture by medallion owners of City Hall or regulatory capture by Uber of City Hall.

        a pail of pee versus a pile of poo.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “A chicken in every pot and a personal rickshaw with a robot runner in every garage.”

          The latter promise is possibly a solution here.

          1. oho

            One thing not mentioned in prestige media/blogosphere—-Uber will absolutely destroy the current concept of public mass transit.

            At the current rate, I’ll bet that the future is a constellation of robo-cars for those who can afford it. Leftovers for everyone else.

            1. RabidGandhi

              This is an excellent point. Perhaps all of the stupid money keeping über afloat isn’t so stupid after all: it’s rather akin to Koch-style political contributions to destroy public services.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > just like Uber, but working within the law and not involving abusive work practices.

        In other words, leaving out the Silicon Valley Randroid ideology and consequent criminal practices.

    2. Dead Dog

      Interesting. Here in Australia, uber has demolished the taxi landscape. Even though what they have been doing was largely illegal – carrying fare-paying passengers without license or drivers authority, most governments have rolled over.

      Even now, there is widespread talk in some of the states of de-regulating the industry completely. Most towns and cities license cabs (and hire cars) and keep a ceiling on them to ensure viability for the industry – not perfect but the cabs have to be roadworthy, the drivers sober and with some skill tested to show they know the routes, and the aircon has to work, meters calibrated etc. No such rules for Uber.

      So, the cabbies are going on strike. Uber has devalued their cab licenses and the govt is offering sufficient compensation:

  8. PlutoniumKun


    Be clear about what happened to Keith Ellison Matt Bruenig (Dan K). Also important.

    Should be circulated widely. This is a far worse example of blatant islamophobia than anything done by Trump. Politics is a rough game, but this type of baiting goes beyond any reasonable bounds.

    1. ambrit

      The “writing on the wall” says that we have gone well past the point of no return concerning “reasonable bounds.” The recent “Press Wars” as a proxy for “real” politics indicate that the concept of “bounds” is being nullified. The cautionary tale that best fits these conditions would be one of the many and various stories about conjuring up the Devil and trying to beat him in a deal. (The Devil always wins.)

    2. Stormcrow

      Glenn Greenwlad makes it eminently clear that Ellison was not targeted merely by big corporate money, but also and all the more by billionaire Anglo-Zionist interests (represented by Haim Saban).

      Greenwlad: Saban has a long history not only of fanatical support for Israel — “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel,” he told the New York Times in 2004 about himself — but also an ugly track record of animus toward Muslims.

      It seems that the “support” and the “animus” are not unrelated.

    3. Jim Haygood

      From The Intercept:

      Ellison — a black man, a Bernie Sanders supporter, and the first Muslim elected to Congress — earned initial support from many Democrats until a strong backlash from the Obama and Clinton camps and prominent pro-Israeli activists.

      Haim Saban, the entertainment tycoon who is one of the Democratic Party’s largest donors, called Ellison both “anti-Israel” and anti-Semitic. The Anti-Defamation League called on Democrats to reject him. On the eve of the vote, prominent Democrat Alan Dershowitz proclaimed that he would leave the party if Ellison were elected chair; Jack Rosen, who leads the American Jewish Congress, emailed DNC members the day before the vote decrying Ellison’s views on the Middle East, concluding that he threatened the U.S.-Israel relationship.

      These are the tactics that former Rep. Paul Findley described 30 years ago in his book They Dare To Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby. Namely, smear, fund an opponent, and destroy.

      The Lobby is utterly unprepared to tolerate political actors who advocate fairness toward Palestine, or any deviation from the “Israel right or wrong” bipartisan consensus. Who’s our daddy?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Foreign interference is different from foreign-policy interference on a public or private election.

        I believe for a private election, both are permissible.

      2. OIFVet

        So I asked my liberal friends where is their outrage at the DNC islamophobia, and would they support FBI investigation into DNC and the Democratic Party’s money ties with a foreign power, namely Israel. I was told that I am coming dangerously close to flirting with anti-semitism. That, after many issued heated denials that they are Russophobes.

        1. Massinissa

          I like how “criticism of Israel = ANTISEMITISM” these days. Its a state just like any other, isnt it? Why then is criticism of its policies and foreign lobby (many countries have lobbies, Israels just happens to be more powerful) completely verboten?

    4. wilroncanada

      Maybe not worse, but different. Trump’s Islamophobia is long-term. and politically a fulfillment of AIPAC and son-in-law. DNC’s is fulfillment of AIPAC and mega-donor bribery.

  9. edmondo

    Buoyed By Anti-Trump Activism, Democrat Wins Delaware Special Election Huffington Post

    “Volunteers were greeted at the Middletown campaign office in the afternoon by a steady parade of elected officials. Sens. Tom Carper (D) and Chris Coons (D) …”
    Hey, aren’t they the two guys who recently voted to keep the ban on Canadian drug imports?

    ” Hansen’s win maintains Democrats’ 44-year hold on the chamber.”
    And as we all know, Delaware has been at the forefront of the class struggle for generations sending such leftists as Joe Biden, Bill Roth and Tom Carper to man the ramparts to fight for the status quo.

    Such drivel. Anti-Trump is all they got. They don’t want to be for anything.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      A Democrat beat out a Republican in a district that is deep blue, and by only a slightly bigger margin then every other Democrat elected there in the past. As someone noted in the comments on a Down With Tyranny post on that election, much ado about not much; and certainly nothing to indicate “anti-Trump” had anything to do with it except maybe bring a few more voters than usual out from in front of the TV.

  10. Katharine

    The Globe article on millennials living with their parents has its dumb moments, among which:

    Today’s young adults are also different from their predecessors: Generation X and baby boomers. They’re more racially diverse, for one thing. And they also have a different worldview and different preferences.

    Different wordlview and preferences. Right, just “explain” it all in those vague terms and you can blame the millennials for the faults of their worldview. Of course, their worldview might have been shaped by the economic realities of the past decade, but maybe Globe staff writers didn’t notice those. Given that the author talks about recent economic growth and ignores employment data, that seems likely.

    I wonder about those homes and how best to preserve them. My first thought was some kind of well-timed title transfer to the younger generation, but then I wondered if that could render them vulnerable to the demands of debt, and if so whether transferring title to a trust would be safer and what drawbacks it might have. I wonder if more aging parents are starting to ask estate lawyers about this.

    1. Lee

      My millennial son lives at home. As the first member of my family to have a college degree, I despaired of his choice not to go to college and opt for construction work. The thing is, he actually loves physical work. It has always been my preference as well but I opted for higher pay in white collar work in part due to workplace injuries. I’ve put my home in a trust to avoid the considerable probate costs when it passes to him and hope I live long enough to pay down the mortgage to a point that he can refi and handle the payments on what he earns. He is a great comfort and help to me during an extended period of ill health. He is also a self-taught gourmet cook. I think stigmatizing adult children living with their parents is absurd and even destructive of what can be excellent, mutually beneficial relationships. People have been living this way since forever. What’s the big worry?

      1. Massinissa

        Agreed. People dont seem to realize that children NOT living with their families is farther from the historical norm than the opposite. Why is it considered necessary for families to be separated over vast distances across the country?

        1. LT

          The separations often occur because nuclear families may not always foster understanding and giving. The area may also not provide for the skills and aptitudes of all its residents.

      2. RMO

        I’m a member of generation X and I currently live at home too. I had my own place for several years but when my father did and my mum moved back to the Vancouver area (they had retired up the coast) we moved in together in a new, slightly larger house. The price of houses in the Vancouver area (even out in the suburbs and back in the early 2000’s) is such that it was the only sensible option. I got married recently and the three of us share the house and get along very well together. It works for us but I know many families where the dynamics would be much worse. The non-emotional reason to worry about this sort of arrangement becoming a trend is that it indicates that millennial’s income and employment situations are getting worse and housing costs are impossibly high for many. I have mentioned before in posts that I am fortunate enough to come from a family that did fairly well in business, bought their first house when prices were more reasonable (and we had a mortgage locked in before the early 80’s surge in interest rates in Canada), I’ve obtained both an academic education (in business – accounting for the most part) AND graduated from a trade school (aircraft maintenance) – both without having to go into debt. Despite this, I still find it difficult to get any steady paying work and can’t afford to live on my own. I can barely imagine what it’s like nowadays for someone who didn’t have this sort of head start.

  11. Roger Smith

    Pres. Al Franken is not a joke, but an absolute complete joke. This is a guy who spent the primary working against a material gains candidate for corrupt Clinton only to turn around and decry Universal care during cabinet nominations. Franken can be president of the local Elks lodge.

    1. freedeomny

      Thanks for that reminder. Obama is such a bser…

      I was driving my car today with some friends. Always a bit tricky in the NYC area. Anyway – I’m cursing at folks/bad drivers – waving my arm out the window, and one of my friends says “Wow – you’re really angry”. Of course then I started laughing. But later on I realized I have been absolutely outraged since 2008. I meditate, eat right…blah blah blah – but there is still this nugget of anger and moral outrage that will never go away.

      Anyway – a You Tube video from my past below,..The Chase Morning Huddle. These were a series of videos done by Chase Employees after Dimon became CEO of what it was like to work at Chase Branches and the kind of intense-unethical sales pressure they were under. Some of them are really funny – but sad that Chase didn’t get called out in the same way that Wells was.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Cyber poachers…tracking tags…endangered animals.

    It seems, for every constructive use of an innovation (the tracking tag in this case), there is a destructive one*.

    Maybe, even if we don’t condemn, or say, fear innovations, at least we should refrain from praising them…at least not for a while – because humans (the dark side of humanity like greed, etc).

    Who is working on innovating the human heart, to make it less dark? We should encourage it.

    *Technically, it should be admired for this creative application…some kind of award or recognition of high IQ or being quite smart (Hey, I only did pure research and never knew it could be used to make mass weapons of destruction). Morally, of course, we denounce it.

    1. cocomaan

      I read the articles and dug down a little bit. There are three cases in question here: one in Australia, where the government used tracking tags to then cull sharks to reduce human-predator interaction, another in India where someone tried to hack a bengal tiger tag, and a group of fishermen in Minnesota who requested, but were denied, access to telemetry data for fish.

      Considering the amount of tagging and the immense conservation successes brought about by it, I’d say that this paper is not at all concerning. Look at the twelve caribou here in the lower 48. They are able to keep that tiny herd alive because of this tagging. There’s not a single instance in the article of someone poaching an animal (ie, an unauthorized take).

      The headline is unnecessarily alarmist.

  13. PJ

    I’m a “millennial” who gave up car ownership (first temporary, now long-term) due to finances, despite having a full time job.

    My student loans are a meager $220 a month, down from $300 due to putting every cent toward paying off one of the loans that was costing 80/month. My rent is a bit more at 550+utilities. The problem is that all these years after graduating, my pay is still below what many college graduates start out at.

    I’m lucky enough to live in a modest urban area that allows me to take a bus to work every day. I’m surprised more young people haven’t tried to do the same thing, because the amount I’m saving is in the hundreds of dollars a month when you take all the factors (fuel, insurance, parking, interest on the car loan, as well as the amount of the car itself) into account.

    1. HBE

      Wow, I think we might be financial twins! Nearly the exact same circumstances, and monthly cost.

      I to am lucky enough to live in a mid sized urban area in northern Minnesota with great public transportation, which I take advantage of, and at $40 a month for unlimited use vs. the $561 a month for a low end sedan (that includes the cost of depreciation), I view anyone who works in town and owns a car to be financially irresponsible (and more importantly environmentally irresponsible).

      I would say in my experience more don’t take the bus because of the negative stigma that is still attached to it, which I admit to not fully understanding. Instead many in my cohort choose eat away at their financial security with a car loan and all the incumbent costs of car ownership to avoid that stigma, the area is certainly not rural enough to make a car a necessity.

      1. UserFriendly

        Duluth? or Saint Cloud? That has to be the only thing north of the cities with enough population for public transportation. My ex was from Virginia (well, Mount Iron technically) and the few times I was up there I didn’t notice any significant public transportation.

        You guys are lucky if that is all you pay for loans. Out of state tuition at the U of Mn had me up over $100k at graduation in 2008. 3 years to get a job. Minimum payments on all my debts are about 70% of my income. I really don’t have any desire to live anymore.

        1. HBE

          Duluth, it actually has the best public transportation in the country for a city of it’s size, 18 routes (alot for Duluth which is very dense, not sprawled) nearly all running every 30 minutes during the week and hourly on weekends.

          As to student loans, they are facking ridiculous, inhuman, and one of the worst forms of extractive Capitalism in existence (and Fack you Joe Biden, one of the worst human beings alive it’s a tie with cheney I would say).

          What keeps me going is the knowledge, that as this entire neoliberal system becomes more extractive and continues to eat its way through the population and up and up the income scale more voraciously every day, its choking itself.

          While it may not happen soon (or it will) I believe we are at a unique position in history to witness the self canabalization of a failing system. I find myself feeling a perverse sense of glee as the technocrats in the top 20% are being slowly, steadily and ever more rapidly devoured by the same system the helped to build and maintain.

    2. Altandmain

      Depends on where you are living. When I worked in rural Ontario, there is no way to get from one town to another except a car.

      It is not always possible to be without a automobile. Mass transit in North America is crap compared to Europe and East Asian. Plus as I alluded to, those living in rural areas must have a vehicle.

      Even the system in NYC, is not as good as the rest of the world. Apparently the subway is frequently late.

  14. oho

    >> I’m surprised more young people haven’t tried to do the same thing,

    Aspirational advertising doesn’t want frugal turtles, only spendthrift hares.

  15. David

    In the generally sensible article by Skidelsky, I was struck by the bizarre suggestion that

    “You don’t need much economics to know that if the price of your preferred brand of toothpaste goes up, you are more likely to switch to a cheaper brand.”

    Maybe economists do that, but the rest of us don’t. I buy a tube of toothpaste perhaps every month or two and I have no idea how much it costs because it is hidden in a large grocery bill with fifty other items. It’s statements like those that make me think that perhaps economists should be kept locked in cupboards and only let out, with promises of good behavior, to answer exclusively technical questions.

    1. RabidGandhi

      I don’t understand your point. We have more than 50 items in our weekly groceries list and I watch their prices like a minnow watches a nearby shark. Any price increases are certainly likely to force me to favour a cheaper brand.

      1. todde

        True – but “More likely to switch doesn’t mean you will.”

        The economist assumes you and many, many others will, which is again the equivalent of ‘assume a can opener’.

      2. oho

        keeping track of prices takes some effort.

        track Bounty paper towels in an OCD way as net promotions, one Mega Lo Mart consistently sells them for less—but at varying prices each week.

        and paper product brands obfuscate things by offering different sizes/different # of rolls, etc.

        Keeping a log also tipped me off to the fact that 8 giant rolls of Bounty now yield 373 sq ft versus 419 sq ft in the past while the MSRP remained the same.

        I like spreadsheets and trying to beat manufacturers/retailers at their own game too much.

        1. ambrit

          Oh yes, and don’t you love the way the square footage per roll is made difficult to figure out? That total sq. ft. is at a different spot on every different sized package, and printed in the most eye-wateringly hard to read font. The rather mercenary way that the stores “auction” off their shelf space to the vendors adds to the costs as well.
          I wonder if Home Economics will make a comeback as a high school course any time soon. It should do so.

          Since the “average” standard of living is retreating towards the 1950’s levels, it is only logical that socialization retreat to those rather pragmatic standards as well.

        2. fresno dan

          February 26, 2017 at 1:57 pm

          “keeping track of prices takes some effort.”
          They don’t have to fool you – just the people at the bureau of labor statistics…. [CPI]

        3. wilroncanada

          Re: keeping track of prices.
          We are one of those families sharing a house with a child. One of our daughters is single.(The other two are married in two-income relationships, and grandchildren). We share a house, two distinct suites, with our single daughter, but in a situation where she is the owner–we supply half the mortgage, half the utilities, and I do most of the upkeep and repairs. She could not qualify for a mortgage by herself, even in this semi rural area of Vancouver Island, even though she is a newspaper editor.
          I do our grocery shopping (not my daughter’s, we have separate kitchens) and buy very little from supermarkets. There is a local market wholesaler that sells produce, often seconds, much cheaper than the supermarkets. In addition, there is a thriving local farm market which runs every Saturday, all year. There are two local butchers, one a part of a local farm growing local beef, pork and poultry.
          We also have, since our first home more than forty years ago, always grown a veggie garden. We put away cherries, plums, apples and pears; raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and cascade berries. My wife,the major planter, harvests many veggies. We had kale and kohlrabi tonight from our garden. We still have onions, garlic, pumpkins and squash in a cool room from last fall. All of these allow us to save a substantial amount on our grocery bill. All on half the backyard of a city lot. It can be done.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        Many people do obviously, but I’d say you are in a minority in that (I say that as someone who takes a nerdish interest in looking at other peoples shopping baskets in checkouts). A lot of people, and I’m not talking about the wealthy, buy lots of things out of habit without really looking at prices. Which in many ways can be quite sensible – it makes more sense to save money by focusing on big-ticket expenditures than worrying whether another supermarket would save you a few cent on your favourite cheese.

        Personally, I tend to buy my ‘weekly basics’ in a discount German supermarket – I sort of assume its cheaper than most, and i don’t worry too much about looking at the price tag of weekly things, I only pay attention if the total bill looks to be growing. I’d suggest I’m pretty typical.

        1. RabidGandhi

          With all respect, I think whether one obsesses with grocery costs is less a function of OCD than it is a function of poverty (the occasional shopping basket snooping economics nerd notwithstanding). Most people in the world have precious little money and they pay studious attention to where it goes– as a plain matter of survival. By contrast, the small minority of the world’s population with more disposable income– for whom basic grocery price increases are not an existential threat– tend to worry less.

          1. ambrit

            Don’t feel alone RG! These Nortenyos around my region are slipping back towards the “World Average” pretty d— fast.

            Both of my parents, products of Depression Era England, remembered having backyard vegetable gardens during and after WW2. We’re starting to do the same here, on a more tentative scale. American yards don’t seem to have been planned with such in mind. Lots of trees and bushes leave less area for growing space.

            As for your point about the “more disposable income” cohort, well, look no further than World Market and it’s clones here in the EEUU. The opposite side to that coin are the Save A lot’s and other stores that sell plain basic foodstuffs at basic prices. Not much fresh produce and little choice in higher “quality level” products; basic industrial foods. We used to shop there until we moved inland, to a town that has lots of poverty, but no really “cheap” stores.

  16. Pelham

    Re the LRB reviews of books on the current Russia-US hostility, note this bill of particulars that the West lists against Moscow: “From the Western point of view, the charge sheet includes Russia’s suppression of internal dissent and rigging of the electoral system; attacks on the principle of private property (most notably with the dismembering of Yukos); the invasion of Georgia; the annexation of Crimea and military incursions into eastern Ukraine; as well as the more recent signs of interloping in the US elections.”

    Note that each of these is either a Russian internal affair and no business of the West or they involve a Russian response to hostile Western actions:

    1) “Russia’s suppression of internal dissent and rigging of the electoral system” (not nice but it’s Russia’s business)

    2) “attacks on the principle of private property” (debatable, but again, Russia’s internal business)

    3) “the invasion of Georgia” (instigated in response to NATO efforts to expand up to Russia’s borders after the US explicitly promised nothing of the sort would happen)

    4) “the annexation of Crimea and military incursions into eastern Ukraine” (after the West instigated the illegal overthrow of a democratically elected government in Ukraine and, again, tried to expand NATO up to Russia’s borders in violation of a promise)

    5) “signs of interloping in the US elections” (only after the US twice flagrantly meddled in Russia’s first two “free” elections in the 1990s to ensure Yeltsin’s victory and continued looting of Russia’s economy)

    So there’s hardly any balance here between missteps by the West and Russia. The great burden of bad faith lies with the West, mostly with the US.

    1. vidimi

      the article is good but contains a number of small inconsistencies, most importantly this:

      The Ukraine crisis clearly showed these dynamics in action. As Trenin again points out, the EU was the prime mover in Western policy towards Ukraine, but it was shockingly cavalier in its approach. Brussels ‘failed to appreciate the geopolitical, economic and even psychological importance of Ukraine to the Russian leadership and people and pursued its Eastern Partnership project without much thinking about its wider implications’; then, when the crisis deepened, it ‘essentially withdrew to the background’ as Washington stepped in. This time, the aggressiveness of the Kremlin’s response was in part driven by fear that the Maidan would encourage protesters at home. But equally important was Moscow’s awareness that although it had decided that it couldn’t allow Ukraine to become more closely integrated with the EU or join Nato, it lacked both the resources to make Kiev a genuinely better offer and the power to convince the West not to absorb Ukraine into its sphere of influence.

      but moscow did make ukraine the better offer which is why yanukovich ultimately went with the kremlin offer instead of the EU offer. It was this that resulted in the maidan putsch and the installment of virulently anti-russian pols at the top of ukraine’s political power structure.

      it also repeats the lie that russia invaded georgia. russia responded to georgia’s aggressive overture into south ossetia and abhkazia. the UN even sided with russia in the conflict.

    2. tgs

      So there’s hardly any balance here between missteps by the West and Russia. The great burden of bad faith lies with the West, mostly with the US.

      Couldn’t agree more. However, your 2) is incorrect. Georgia attacked South Ossetia and some Russian peace keepers there while Putin was at the Beijing Olympics. Russia just finished what the Georgians started.

      1. Bill Smith

        South Ossetia was part of Georgia. They tried to quit. Georgia objected. That wasn’t like a bolt from the blue. For now they are ‘quit’.

  17. Donald

    As far as I can tell this started in 2000 with the Nader campaign. Any criticism of the Democrats was seen as treason. The argument was that Nader should have run in the primaries, made his points, and if he lost, supported the nominee. 16 years later Sanders did exactly that and for many he and his supporters were still traitors.

    Also, for all those years we were told it was the far left who were the puritans, the fanatics and the people too lacking in pragmatism and compassion for the victims of Republican policies. After awhile it dawned on me how fanatical these self described pragmatists are. Do pragmatists insult people whose votes they need? No, but fanatical puritans do. And as for empathy, it has become a point of pride to feel none for people who live in Rust Belt communities destroyed by neoliberalism. Vote the wrong way and you deserve every bad thing that happens.

    It took me awhile to see this. I accepted some of the critique of the Nader campaign, but the sheer hatred expressed for anyone who criticized the Dems was obviously motivated by something more than just political pragmatism. It might be interesting to keep track of how many posts at a blog like LawyersGunsand Money are about issues and how many are assaults on people who criticize the Democrats from the left.

    1. Altandmain

      They are like religious fundamentalists ideologically committed to the party.

      The sad reality is that the Democratic Establishment existed mostly to co opt the left. Now they are unable to even pretend on that one with the past year or so worth of events.

      They may have at one point set into motion the New Deal, but that was a long time ago and the current party is little more than the party of Wall Street, trying to use identity politics to distract voters from the dirty truth.

  18. allan

    Father of slain Navy SEAL wants investigation [The Hill]

    The father of the Navy SEAL killed in last month’s raid on an al Qaeda compound in Yemen wants an investigation into his son’s death.

    “Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation,” Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens’s father told the Miami Herald, referencing President Trump’s response to those who have criticized the mission.

    “I want an investigation. … The government owes my son an investigation,” Bill Owens said. …

    Sadly for Mr. Owens, the GOP’s core values are tax cuts and hypocrisy.
    The chances of a congressional investigation of the botched raid and his son’s death,
    a la Benghazi, are less than the odds that the Senate majority leader will march in this year’s Pride Parade.

    1. Dave

      How about Seal Team Six, killed in a helicopter crash after supposedly getting Osama Bin Laden, then following that long standing tradition of desert nomads, burying him at sea, after forgetting to collect a DNA sample?

      What about those guys’ parents?

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Wilbur Ross (and many others in the same situation):

    I similarly know people in the hedge fund and private equity industries who say the carried interest loophole is an abuse and should be ended, and have put their money where their mouth is by backing candidates who have said they will work to end it (and I don’t mean Obama). Yet they make no bones about the fact that they will continue to avail themselves of it till it’s fixed


    You might have wanted to reform the health care plan for senators (being better than what people had…”Elect those who are like us????”), but you waited till Obamacare to give up.

  20. Dave

    Curiouser and curiouser,

    Chelsea moves from her $10,000,000 Park Avenue condo, abandoning her failed Hedge-Fund Money- Mensch, into a new mansion next to Mommy and Daddy, in the whitest town in New York so that she can run for office to “represent minorities?”

    Start building your Chelsea Files now, for common human decency and the future of the republic.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      If she runs, she’ll be the Marie Antoinette candidate

      “I tried to care about money, but I just couldn’t” should be repeated 500x a day. Makes me mad every time I read it or see her face.

      1. fresno dan

        February 26, 2017 at 2:32 pm

        I guess what makes me so d*mn mad about the line is that it implies she is so well off because of….extraordinary brains? talent? beloved by God?
        Never acknowledgement of the “merit” of being born to the wealthy….

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Our expectations of weak economic growth…may have helped cause it.

    That sounds very quantum physics…a mere observation will change it.

    “Time to get back to no-mind.”

    1. Altandmain

      Apparently it is a self fulfilling prophecy of weak economic growth.

      The cruel reality is that the political system is owned by Wall Street and the rich. If they wanted growth, they could end austerity, increase worker wages for working class Americans, resort to Keynesian stimulus, and enact some real taxes to prevent rent seeking. They won’t. Ideologically they want a banana republic with a few rich people on top and the rest of us struggling to get by.

      Michal Kalecki, the well known economist once noted that capitalism prefers a high level of unemployed to minimize worker bargaining power.

    1. Sandler

      It’s not the lack of affording a car that’s the injustice here. Car ownership and running costs are too much to expect of lower wage earners in any country. The injustice:

      (a) Lack of any real urban environment, with affordable rents, for working class, close to jobs (sprawled out Texas)

      (b) Walking on a highway – no sidewalks. Very unsafe. Clearly he lacks walking infrastructure available to him.

      (c) He has to drive to work! No reasonable public transportation available. What are poor people supposed to do?

      Drop him in a European city? He’d be far better off, and safer, at the same income rung.

      The story isn’t “he can’t afford a car,” cars are expensive and should be seen as a luxury good. The story is “we expect everyone to have a car to get to work in America, even minimum wage earners.”

    1. wilroncanada

      Re the Politico story.
      I don’t read a lot of the links because the comments here most often make clear the gist of the links. In addition, I don’t have the inclination to try to bypass the paywalls. Besides, I’m Canadian and many of the articles are redundancies or sideshows. But wow, talk about framing. The dastardly Sanders people were demeaning the poor progressive candidate in favour of their radical leftist candidate. They even went so far as to threaten a Congress critter with primary-ing. Oh, the shame!
      Then to end with “Just shut up and vote.”

      1. Foppe

        Yeah, they’re certainly out to discourage people by running roughshod over their interests/wishes, in the hopes that the children will once again quiet down.

  22. Oregoncharles

    Worthwhile article: Long-winded, but poses an important dilemma. My comment on it serves as an introduction:

    Actually interesting; congratulations. It’s too bad he never actually defines fascism (that I saw, I skipped some of the verbiage) – it’s a chameleon of a word. If it just means “neoliberal authoritarianism,” Obama was nearly as guilty as Trump, and considerably more powerful – as the article documents. For the most part, and except for his rejection of “free trade” (neither free nor really about trade), Trump is just applying the tools Obama forged. Funny how Democrats thought it was all hunky-dory, or made only pro forma objections, when it was their guy, but now are freaked out when it’s a Republican – and worse, a very uncool one. Yes, he’s a jerk, and probably a dangerous one.

    I agree absolutely with Shivani that the Democratic Party is a big part of the problem, especially since the Clinton regime (which hasn’t exactly ended, as the DNC election made clear). The left has no chance as long as it’s attached to the graveyard of social movements, and attempts to “reform” the party merely make the neoliberal grip stronger, as the last 30 years have made crystal clear.

    I don’t agree with Shivani that passivity is the best or only strategy. For one thing, given the nuclear realities, we will not be rescued by a war. For another, Trump has not consolidated power – yet. He may not understand government well enough to do so. Remember that he lost the election, and won some states very narrowly. At this point, he’s a very weak president, much at odds with his Congressional party. So popular arousal and resistance is valuable, as long as we don’t allow it to be captured by the fascists in the Democratic Party.

    1. LT

      I also believe the writer of the article made an unfortunate choice in using the word “passivity.” I read it as the author trying to articulate a very active reorientation of values. If enough people do not value what the establishment/meritocracy/status quo values, then the power of the establishment over your life diminishes. All “-isms” are nothing but a belief system and those are always subject to change. Belief systems are as fluid as borders in the larger picture of human history.

      The writer mentions that the young and/or single are examples of individuals with more options for change. He chalks this up to more ability to be mobile. But he’s also getting at the point that so many relationships (personal and professional) and beliefs about the world are entered into based on a value system that has gone unquestioned. It’s been sold to us through a very potent form of marketing that has spanned generations and so many still think they are behaving in a natural way.

      I clearly see his point about leaving the Democratic Party (ahead on that one). I understand his questioning of the effectivenss of the previous forms of protest. His “drop out” strategy makes sense when you look at mass marches in DC as a form of protest. I say, find another form of action other than mass gatherings (especially DC).
      Those types of gatherings foster economic activity. That is part of the value system that has us trapped in a profit over people mentality. Why have a mass march in DC and bring that region one more iota of their glorified “economic activity?”

      As for the musings on fascism, he was trying to find a diplomatic way to say America is already fascist, especially in its workings abroad, and that is not something to be blamed on the Trump administration. That’s true enough because the tension in this country now is that the economic plunder model is now turning its fangs on its very own citizens – we are calling this “neo-liberalism” and its main weapon is the over-financialization of the global economy (rent seeking and extractive wealth).

    2. LT

      Another note…
      The article was wasted on the Salon commentariat.
      The threads devolved into the typical, deluded blue team vs red team insanity.

  23. european

    Brillant talk from Rainer Mausfeld (Psychology Professor) about how the elites are exercising power over the people. In German.



    Over 200.000 views in a few days is quite a big deal.

  24. allan

    The job creation tsunami begins:

    Trump Administration Seeks to Loosen Hiring Requirements to Beef Up Border Patrol [Foreign Policy]

    The Trump administration is seeking to loosen some security requirements for hiring Border Patrol agents in order to meet a dramatic surge in immigration enforcement, according to internal memos obtained by Foreign Policy and analyzed by five current and former officials in the Department of Homeland Security.

    Customs and Border Protection, part of DHS, is seeking approval to relax some stringent standards that have made it difficult for the agency to meet recruitment targets in recent years. That includes a request to potentially loosen congressionally-mandated requirements such as a polygraph, as well as an entrance exam and background check. …

    What could possibly go wrong?

  25. George Phillies

    Interesting polling number courtesy

    anger at elites in Washington

    One sentiment that unites the fractured nation is fury at the establishment in Washington. Fully 86 percent of those surveyed said they believe that a small group in D.C. has “reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.”

    That includes 88 percent of Republicans and 85 percent of Democrats.

  26. landline

    The two party system in a nutshell.

    Democrats: Rich people telling poor people what to think.
    Republicans: Rich people telling poor people not to think.

  27. ewmayer

    R.I.P. actor Bill Paxton, 61. (Complications of heart surgery).

    Bill’s memorable “game over, man!” line from Aliens just took on a decidedly unfunny double meaning.

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