Links 2/4/17

Photo: Great gray owl finds balance TreeHugger (resilc)

The Computational Foundation of Life Quanta (Chuck L)

Math and the Best Life — an Interview With Francis Su Quanta (Chuck L)

Radiation Levels Are Soaring Inside the Damaged Fukushima Nuclear Plant Gizmodo (Selva)

FCC rescinds claim that AT&T and Verizon violated net neutrality ars technica (Dan K)

Back to the 40s! Why rationing is making a comeback Guardian (Joe H)

Veg crisis, what veg crisis? If we can’t have courgettes, then let us eat kale Guardian (Joe H)

Our research in China’s estuaries offers glimpses of a dire future: a world without effective antibiotics The Conversation (J-LS)

The cost of leaving the euro is rising every month for Italy Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. Important.

France’s Fillon sees support drop as calls rise for election pullout DW

IMF – The secret documents, or how they destroyed Greeks and keep doing it Defend Democracy


>U.S. Hits Iran With Sanctions, Drawing Threat From Tehran Wall Street Journal

Crazy Ideas About The U.S. Attack In Yemen Moon of Alabama

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Returns From Syria with Renewed Calls: End Regime Change War in Syria Now Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. She’s not backing down.

Trump Transition

Trump travel ban: Seattle judge issues nationwide block BBC

Vincent Viola Withdraws as Secretary of Army Nominee Bloomberg

Trump issues orders to review banking law and retirement advice rule Reuters (allan)

Trump Turns Attention To Sweeping Dodd-Frank Revamp FinAlternatives. The Dodd Frank part of the order was basically a press release and has no real authority. The Department of Labor had already finalized the fiduciary duty rule but implementation was delayed until April. As Steve Lubben at Credit Slips correctly said, “At heart, it says nothing. The press will probably make it into a big deal.”

Three Ways to Protect Your 401(k) If Trump Kills the Fiduciary Rule Bloomberg

Washington reels from Trump’s tornado of executive orders Financial Times

More Evidence that a For-Cause Removal of CFPB Director Corday Would Be Pretextual Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner worked to sink LGBT order Politico

Japan readies package for Trump to help create 700,000 U.S. jobs Reuters (KF). We warned that if Trump created jobs, he would be forgiven for a lot of sins.

What Does Steve Bannon Think? BBC (KF)

Howard Stern Discusses His Friendship With Donald Trump, Why Trump Ran For Office Real Clear Politics. Better than I expected.

Businesses grow concerned about Trump after early excitement Politco

California Just Threatened To Stop Paying Taxes If Trump Cuts Federal Funding Over Sanctuary City Status Portside. From last week, and I haven’t seen any other reports like this. Readers?

DeVos YouTube (Doug S)

Former Norway PM held at Washington airport over 2014 visit to Iran Guardian (Joe H). Lordie.

Sanders reopens Dem primary wounds The Hill (altandmain)

Progressive Cities vs. Conservative States Atlantic

57 Years Ago Today — How Four College Students Started a Revolution Smirking Chimp (Judy B)

67,000 People Urge Accrediting Body to Reject Work-Hour Proposal That Would Endanger Resident Doctors and Patients AMSA

House Colloquy on the Affordable Care Act C-SPAN (Kevin C)

U.S. veterans vow to block construction of Dakota Access Pipeline Inhabitat

When a mosque burns, a Texas town defies national divisions Minnesota Public Radio News (Chuck L)

Fake News

Russian tech exec sues Buzzfeed for publishing unverified Trump dossier CNN (furzy)

Had Muslim gunmen killed six white Christians, half the world would have Canadian flags as profile pictures New York Daily News (Sid S). From earlier in the week, still germane.

The cult of the paranoid Medium post Washington Post (furzy). Pot calling the kettle black….

Attack on Fed casts doubt over global bank rules Financial Times

Higher Jobless Rate Suggests U.S. Economy Has Room to Run Wall Street Journal

Shocking Fact in Today’s Job Report: Employment Stalls Michael Shedlock (EM)

Guillotine Watch

Billionaire Peter Thiel makes fortune after ‘sweetheart’ deal with Government New Zealand Herald (Richard Smith)

Class Warfare

The Face of the Enemy: Dupes, Deplorables, Opportunists and Democrats Counterpunch

Antidote du jour (Robert H):

And a bonus, also from Robert H. Please note that only the dignity of the chicken suffered. Cats also get huffy when they recognize you have made them look silly.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Jim Haygood

    More on travel ban injunction from The Hill:

    In an interview with CNN Friday evening, [Washington state attorney general Bob] Ferguson said he “expected win, lose or draw” that the case would move “fairly quickly through, up to the Ninth Circuit” Court of Appeals — “just because of the magnitude of the executive order.”

    “I’m prepared for this case to go all the way to the Supreme Court whichever way the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals goes,” he said, anticipating a challenge to Robart’s ruling. “It’s a case of that magnitude, it’s a case that frankly I think will ultimately end up before the U.S. Supreme Court, so that would not surprise me one way or the other.”

    Constitutional confrontation: let’s rumble.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Somebody needs to make a Downfall parody video of Führer Trump suffering a meltdown after being informed by his aides that there are in fact three branches of government, not just the Oval Office.

      This is not what he signed up for at all. :-(

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        General: Herr Don, something Is happening (i need more coffee)
        Trump: Well, I’ll simply fire them.
        Goering/Bannon: General, Arnold terminates them now.
        Trump: What? You told me he was fired.
        General: The judge has told me…
        Trump: Why are people watching? Lies it must all be lies.
        Trump: You’re terminated. You’re terminated. Your terminated.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Over the years, I have come to suspect we don’t get the second FDR, the second Kennedy, the second Genghis, the second Attila, the second Son of God, etc.

          Everyone or most people would say, “I am me.”

          I know, because the girl whom I worshiped as the second Marilyn said to me, “I am me, not Ms. Monroe.”

          1. fresno dan

            February 4, 2017 at 11:36 am

            “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” was a remark made during the 1988 United States vice-presidential debate by Democratic vice-presidential candidate Senator Lloyd Bentsen to Republican vice-presidential candidate Senator Dan Quayle in response to Quayle comparing himself to John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States.

            So, to paraphrase:
            “El Presidente, you’re no H*tler” was a remark made during the 2017 United States media – Trumpo kerfuffle by Democratic stalwart uncle Joe Biden, who scaled the cliffs at Normandy along with cousin Ron Reagan, in response to snowflakes comparing Trumpo to the big H.

            I know, because the girl whom I worshiped as the second Marilyn said to me, “I am me, not Ms. Monroe.”
            AND you said, ‘of course not – your much, much better looking, and in every other way.
            and you lived happily ever after….

    2. Jim Haygood

      The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” — President Trump

      Trump’s “so-called judge” dig is going to antagonize and embolden the federal judiciary into ruling against him more often than they would have otherwise.

      He doesn’t get it that even judges he nominates are going to overturn his orders sometimes. This isn’t some reality TV show where he can just go, “You’re fired!”


      It’s gonna be a long four years, unless you enjoy banana republic style thrills and chills.

      1. readerOfTeaLeaves

        There’s a whole #so-called President hashtag happening on Twitter.

        Meanwhile, Sen Elizabeth Warren is telling the Dem’s to ‘grow a spine’ ;-)

    3. Kukulkan

      What’s the legal precedent at issue here? What is the case about?

      As far as I know, when one country is at war with another, immigration from the enemy state is blocked. This seems to have been an accepted aspect of conflict between states since time immemorial.

      Five of the seven countries affected by Trump’s executive order — Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya and Sudan — have been the target of US has military operations for the past decade or so. The other two — Iran and Somalia — has been subject to sanctions. In effect, the US is at war with all seven.

      If people want to allow immigration from those countries, shouldn’t the first step be to establish peace — or, at least to stop military action against them and lift the sanctions? Once that’s done, then you can allow immigration.

      This attitude that it’s perfectly okay to declare countries enemy states, bomb them, send in special forces to shoot up their towns and kill their populace, and impose sanctions limiting medicines, spare parts for vital infrastructure, baby formula and like, but it’s not okay to also bar immigration from those states just comes across as weird. It just makes no sense.

      Seriously, what’s the basis for attorney general Bob] Ferguson’s objection?

      1. YankeeFrank

        Our nation is not at war with any of these countries. Yes, we do have military operations going on in most of them, despite the wishes of much of the populace of the nations involved. However, that is not the same thing as an outright declaration of war. You may think its mere semantics and perhaps it is from a layman’s perspective. But in issues of legality and diplomacy so-called semantics often makes all the difference.

        As I understand it, the issue is whether or not a president has the right to ban immigrants from specific nations by executive order. I don’t know the answer to that of course, but its a complex legal question than can only be answered via the judicial process.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          This is the problem, the Cheney/Obama regime decided that flinging bombs at another country somehow no longer means we are in a state of war with that country. The legal memo supposedly justifying that position is secret, and is kept in a locked safe where it does not have any of those pesky “democracy” or “transparency” or “oversight” or “Constitution” types peering in.

      2. UserFriendly

        Minneapolis’s large Somali refugee community, that came here mostly after their civil war, is not happy about the ban. Here is a story about a 4 year old that the ban tripped up. It’s not like the process for coming here before Trump was a cake walk. These people were in a refugee camp in Kenya for a decade fleeing Al Shabab before getting approved, and then turned around by Trump.

        Now we have people who have been living here for a long time, settled in with a job and family, who effectively can’t leave the country for any reason or they won’t be let back in. Not a death of a relative, or any other emergency. And now all those programs that were aimed at making sure youth were not getting radicalized can’t take federal funding and remain credible in their community. So That’s making us safe….. or something.

      3. uncle tungsten

        There are permanent 24/7 military operations in Australia and no travel restrictions from that country. Just take a peek at Pine Gap and you will get the picture. There are lots of muslim worshippers here too.

        1. Kukulkan

          I live in Australia.

          The US has not done any bombing here. US Special Forces have not kicked down any people’s doors, invaded their homes, trashed their stuff, and killed assorted family members and pets. Australians getting married don’t have to worry about Drones blowing up the wedding and killing the participants and the guests. Can the same be said for the countries on the banned list?

          If the US isn’t at war with these countries, it’s in the same sense that the US doesn’t do torture. They just rename it “enhanced interrogation”. So they just call the ongoing attacks on these countries something other than war and that apparently makes them okay — because I sure as fuck don’t see any of the people protesting the immigration bans complaining about the killings and sanctions.

          1. JacobiteInTraining

            Odd, isn’t it? I mean…the lack of antiwar protesting. But don’t be surprised if some true grassroots protests eventually get started. And, even if not, don’t be too quick to assume that the ‘God Guns Guts and Glory’ crowd is anywhere near as blindly jingoistic and warlike as they were post-9/11.

            I hang out with a diverse group of people…mostly rural types – typical Trump voters – ex-veterans from Vietnam to Iraq/Afghanistan, a few hippies, some anarchists, leavened with some recent immigrants, and a few stodgy tinfoil hat wearers like me.

            Almost to a person, these folks are all vehemently antiwar in the ‘fool me one, shame on you – fool me twice shame on me’ vein, will never volunteer for the armed forces again, are advising their children, siblings, and nieces/nephews to not volunteer either.

            They may not be burning effigies in the street, but the quiet rumblings of mutiny on their lips do not augur well for the future of the all-volunteer military. They have seen themselves and their own die and be maimed on foreign shores, for the shadiest of reasons, for lies, and for the banksters benefit….and they have no intention of making that mistake again.

            Instead, where any are still militant, they are saving their weapons and ammo for the equivalent of local militia use – to protect their friends, families, and _local_ communities from….well, whatever *may* come.


          2. Procopius

            Yes, it is odd, but it’s still the case. “War” is a specific legal condition, and depends on certain forms being followed. The Supreme Court made a specific exception for Vietnam, but has not been asked to do so for Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Djibouti, Chad, Liberia, … Australia, too? I’ll add that one to the list.

  2. savedbyirony

    I wake up to a similar sight every morning, except that it’s an inquisitive German Shepherd nosing around.

  3. Wade Riddick

    It’s easy enough to deal with bacterial infections. Switch to bacteriophages or use the parasitic Bdellovibrio, which breaks up biofilms. Wait. That would mean doctors custom tailor treatments on site in bioreactors. Big pharma can’t have that. They have to make a profit pushing pills, even if we all die from infections one day.

    Or better yet, stop unraveling our innate defenses with sugar-rich, fiber-free junk food; sunscreen (which knocks our vitamin D3), lack of exercise, antibiotics themselves, and a million other changes to our environment. (All four deplete cathelicidin production, giving bacteria an easier time forming biofilms).

    No, no. That would mean journalists actually read medical journals to understand a subject instead of the handout from the lobbyist/PR flack.

    1. Moocao

      Please cite the evidence that states your ‘facts’. There is research into phage therapy, and that may be a bullet to the scourge of multiple antibiotic resistant bacterial infection, however the other suggestions you have made (other than exercise) do not seem to be backed by facts

      1. Wade Riddick

        In the future, please do your own literature search before assuming your own “facts” are correct.

        For the role of ecological diversity in repelling gut infections, see

        (And phage therapy for infections is more than half a century old now.)

        Stimulants of cathelicidin synthesis in the human body: exercise (HIF-1alpha), vitamin D3 (UV light), fiber (butyrate/HDAC inhibition), probiotic bacteria. I leave you to find the original sources on PubMed.

        1. Moocao

          I have already agreed to your phage therapy points, as do I agree to your exercise point. I have stated, however, that your first sentence “It’s easy enough to deal with bacterial infections. Switch to bacteriophages or use the parasitic Bdellovibrio, which breaks up biofilms” is not backed by facts.

          Your point about parasitic Bdellovibrio: it lacks research into in vivo studies. You can state it exists within human gut, but this would be very very different than intravenous infusion into the bloodstream. Our current therapy for sepsis/septic shock therapeutics consists of intravenous antibiotics, and this organism is NOT tested for that purpose.

          Onto the discussion of gut microbiotia: we can agree that high fiber diets are useful, and probiotics are very helpful in protecting vs C. Difficile. Whether this decreases biofilm formation: besides the point as there are no in vivo studies showing that the use of LL-37 is useful in treating life threatening infection such as sepsis/septic shock

          Most bacterial infections eventually becomes severe enough to cause sepsis, and that is where intravenous anbitiotics are most helpful. None of the links you have shown me prove that your suggestions would improve survival outcome in these type of patients. You have proclaimed, however,

          ” That would mean doctors custom tailor treatments on site in bioreactors. Big pharma can’t have that. They have to make a profit pushing pills, even if we all die from infections one day.”

          Your overgeneralization is what I have a problem with. Whether you know how to dig facts, I believe most NC commentariat is relatively educated and are able to research those points on their own

          1. Wade Riddick

            You jumped straight from generic infection to sepsis. That’s quite a leap.

            I said we could improve infection rates if we stop undermining our innate immunity and we avoid broad-spectrum antibiotics which kill the friendly flora competing for ecological niches with the pathogens. These are all true statements supported by evidence and practice.

            This is an enclosure fight similar to the damage seen with air pollution. Industries in America make money depleting innate immunity by selling junk food and broad-spectrum antibiotics. They transfer that risk onto the rest of us the same way fossil fuel companies do when they dump carbon in the air.

            Telling kids they have to risk diabetes, obesity, allergy or arthritis after killing their friendly flora with a broad-spectrum antibiotic is a bit much simply because they’ve got a recurrent sinus infection. Plenty of infections occur below the level of sepsis. Reducing the rates of these infections can be as simple as changing diet, exercising and getting sunlight. Yes, the Bdellovibrio data I gave you indicates it’s depleted in diseases of the gut associated with chronic biofilms. I also provided data on the use of helminths to clean up G.I. infections. Helminths stimulate innate immunity in the gut lining. This may not be sepsis per se but leaky gut can induce low-level endotoxemia all the same.

            Sepsis is one of the hardest infection problems to treat – but, okay, let’s tackle it. The data show, where vitamin D3 and cathelicidin levels are low, patients have more severe sepsis. Vitamin D3 improves outcomes in mice with sepsis [PMID 26746575] and prevents intestinal barrier dysfunction in a mouse model of endotoxemia. D3 also reduces vascular leakage. It also improves plasma 25(OH)D concentrations in mechanically ventilated adult ICU patients and is associated with shorter hospital stays [PMID 27419080].

            “Lower 25D levels on ICU day 1 are associated with lower hCAP18 [cathelicidin] levels, which are in turn associated with a greater risk of 90-day mortality” [PMID 25887571]

            “Levels of most [antimicrobial proteins and peptides] AMPs and antibacterial activity in preterm breast milk were higher at day 7 than at day 21. Lactoferrin was the only AMP that limited pathogen growth >50% when added to formula at a concentration equivalent to that present in breast milk. Levels of AMPs were similar in the breast milk fed to infants with and without LOS (late-onset neonatal sepsis), however, infants who developed LOS consumed significantly less breast milk and lower doses of milk AMPs than those who were free from LOS” [PMID 25643281].

      2. Wade Riddick

        I did post a reply with a host of URLs. They have not let it through.

        Cross-reference the following searches in Pubmed:

        “(cathelicidin or LL-37) (biofilm or quorum)”
        “(cathelicidin or LL-37) (VDR or butyrate or HIF-1alpha or (lysosomal probiotic))”
        “Bdellovibrio biofilm”

        You should learn
        1) LL-37 is antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial
        2) LL-37 retards biofilm formation
        3) UV light -> vitamin D3 -> VDR -> LL-37
        4) probiotics + fiber -> butyrate -> HDAC inhibition -> LL-37
        5) exercise -> HIF-1alpha -> LL-37
        6) probiotics + lysosomes -> LL-37

        If you dig around enough, you’ll find that human helminth eggs cure GI infections in rhesus monkeys with IBD.

        Ergo, lack of ecological diversity in the gut (deworming, antibiotics, bad diet) leads to GI infection. Check out recent Ars Technica summary of Bdellovibrio work for yet more confirmation.

        Phage therapy is 50+ years old. Give me a break.

        Next time, look up your own facts before accusing me of being wrong.

        1. susan the other

          also fight fire with fire in estuaries and humans – introduce natural enemies of these resistant varieties; also too they say that every single day viruses kill 40% of all the bacteria in the oceans (my son in law, a biologist). resistant bacteria are certainly a problem that might be growing exponentially, but we’re not dead yet…

        2. JE

          I worked as a scientist in both biotech and big pharma – for 20 some odd years or less. This including a stint in one of the few firms founded to target bio films. This on top of 12 yrs of grad school and college.
          And all those numbers led me to one conclusion – a scientific publication means nada – zilch, zippo. Most can’t be reproduced. So though I appreciate the articles you’ve linked, please, please understand, most are going to prove worthless over time.
          Why such skepticism is warranted is hard to convey in few words but here’s the jist- a scientific publication is an argument meant to persued and little different than a legal brief. Very frequently the individual experimenter and/or reagents introduce immeasurable bias. Multiple publications from the same lab propagate the same experimental error. Pressure to advance a particular point of view is enormous.
          And though I agree with you wrt the US medical establishment, I wouldn’t rely on pubmed to provide any more useful course of action.

          1. Wade Riddick

            You made an allegation of fraud in published medical research. Given the vivid history of high-profile reversals on dietary advice, the skepticism is understandable.

            However, what’s your experience dealing with fraud?

            Do you know how to detect it? Do you know what’s impossible about it to conceal? Do you know who’s paying to pervert science?

            If one study is correct, it has to be consistent with other correct results spread out all over other published research. It’s very hard to coordinate fraud against so many disparate teams. Gene studies have to be consistent with the epidemeology. There may be more complex variables intervening, but the usual laws of logic and consistency haven’t been repealed.

            I didn’t make these statements about innate immunity because there are only a few single studies. I came to these conclusions because of the vast preponderance of consistent evidence at both the macro- and the micro-level.

            1. JE

              Fraud is an intentional misrepresentation made to deceive. Please reread my comment, I suggest no such thing.
              Bias is an innate human response very frequently misleading an investigator into concluding success when unwarranted. It comes through poor experimental design, lack of suitable modals, temperamental reagents, pressure to publish, etc., etc. Keep in mind too there is frequently far more art to experimentation that cold calculation.
              Bottom line, it is not “easy” to deal with bacterial infection – though elegant and seemingly simple, bacteria have an astounding ability to adapt. A paper, a few papers, sometimes even a mountain of papers frequently bark up the wrong tree.

              1. Moocao

                I agree with this statement. Again, I would like to correct the overgeneralization that bacterial infection can be easily treated with phages/vitamins and increasing this ‘LL-37’. We do not want to go through the activated protein c debacle again

    2. DorothyT

      Few people have the knowledge or the interest in learning what we need to know about antibiotic resistant bacterial (and fungal) infections. So this comment is appreciated, Wade, as is the link by Yves.

      Among those without the knowledge or interest are doctors and journalists. Wait until this ‘superbug’ crisis hits.

      1. DorothyT

        Postscript to discussion of antibiotic resistant bacterial (and fungal) infections: The ‘cure’ for those infections that are antibiotic resistant is a healthy immune system. Know that even if you have such and are not diagnosed but recover — or if you are diagnosed and go through the process of identifying your infection and then testing which antibiotic(s) may be effective in treating it — you may not be ‘cured.’ Research shows that persister cells can remain, seemingly dormant, putting you at risk for something that previously could be cured by antibiotics but now can be deadly. Of special concern is any procedure/surgery/accident that causes the ‘superbug’ to invade your circulatory system. For those who are interested and take this seriously, look up “sepsis.”

        I welcome Wade or anyone else’s comments that can add valuable information to this subject.

        1. scott 2

          I was doing research on resistant staph and saw a paper on how naturally occurring staph can out-compete the resistant strain (this had a lot to do with the formation of biofilms, but that’s a different topic). Tests were run on minor surgeries where the skin wasn’t disinfected first so that the naturally occurring staph was in the wound along with the hospital strain. If an infection did develop, it was almost exclusively the non-resistant strain.

          A good gut biome and skin with a collection of old-school bacteria are the best defense. IOW, go play in the dirt, sweat, and don’t shower for a few days. No antibacterial soaps.

        2. Moocao

          The superbug crisis has already hit. Please see the CDC review case: Pan-Resistant New Delhi Metallo-Beta-Lactamase-Producing Klebsiella pneumoniae — Washoe County, Nevada, 2016

        3. kareninca

          Our dog had a series of UTIs (she is on prednisone and has a recessed vulva as a birth defect so she is prone to them). Each time the bacteria tested as treatable with Amoxicillin. Nonetheless, each time we stopped giving her Amoxicillin, the infection symptoms came back. Our local vets (including a local dog urologist) said she would simply have to be on Amoxicillin every day forever. We took her to a dog urologist at UC Davis, and he told us that the problem was tissue penetration. Although technically Amoxicillin would kill that bacteria, it did not penetrate tissue well enough. He put her on Baytril for ten days and it worked. Our other vets would have been horrified at the thought of using a wide spectrum antibiotic for something that tested treatable with Amoxicillin; they had no idea.

          I have an elderly neighbor who was put on every-day-forever antibiotics for chronic UTIs. Unsurprisingly this caused her to develop a resistant strain. I wonder if her doctors really know anything about prescribing antibiotics.

          1. DorothyT

            Kareninca — Glad you commented on this. As an aside, I’ve read articles in British publications that suggest that antibiotic resistant bacterial infections can be passed from humans to dogs (and perhaps the other way around).

            But mainly I want to comment on the UTI association with these infections. Maryn McKenna wrote a National Geographic piece titled “Why It’s Crucial the New Superbug Was in a Urinary Infection.

            I believe the E.Coli bacteria has been subsequently found to be invaded by a gene that makes it antibiotic resistant when it is a source of infection. The literature points out that researchers were most afraid of that happening as E.Coli is ubiquitous to all of us, and while it can be distressing, it didn’t have the potential to be as serious, even deadly, as it is now.

            It’s late and I just saw your comment. Hope you see this. And hope others with more expertise comment on it.

            1. kareninca

              hi DorothyT – thank you for the link; I will read it. You may find this interesting:

              E. coli love d-mannose; if you take it in water the e. coli will grab onto it in your bladder and be urinated out. It is totally safe; it is just a sugar; you can buy it on Amazon. This attribute of e. coli would not be affected by its gaining an antibiotic-resistence gene. So, maybe d-mannose will save us all from antibiotic-resistant e. coli (at least in our urinary tracts).

              Unfortunately our dog is sensitive to sugars so we can’t give it to her.

    3. kareninca

      You can actually go to Phage Therapy Center in Tbilisi, Georgia and get Phage Therapy, right now: Or have them test your bacteria and have them send you phages (I know this is Prevention Magazine, which is in general ridiculous, but they somehow published a real article).

      I was on the point of contacting them two years ago when my brother (a 400+ pound diabetic) had had to have loads of infected tissue surgically removed and the infection was looking like an extra bad one.

  4. Martin Oline

    I just read the Face of the Enemy piece by Andy Levine on the Counterpunch site. It seems to be a straw man rant. I subscribed to Counterpunch for a decade back in 85 – 95. I now feel justified in letting the subscription lapse. Cockburn died so there was little reason to continue.

    1. Paid Minion

      He is doing exactly what many people who voted for him hoped he would do…………..create chaos.

      When you think about it, he actually makes the US less likely to launch a pre-emptive strike, but more likely to be pre-emptivly zapped ourselves.

      Is anyone sitting in a missile launch center, or in a “boomer”, going to turn the key if they get a “launch” order from Trump, or are they going to stop and ask a lot of questions?

  5. Jim Haygood

    Yet another way to arbitrage Venezuela’s out-of-whack administered prices:

    The PNB [Venezuelan National Police] raided a warehouse in the city of Valencia last Friday with 11,000 bitcoin mining computers.

    Rodrigo Souza, the founder and CEO of the company that runs SurBitcoin’s exchange platform, said, “When it was found that there were 11,000 mining computers consuming the energy to power a whole town at a time when there are severe electricity shortages, it triggered a reaction.”

    Bitcoin mining, an energy-intensive process in which computers solve complex equations and get rewarded in newly minted currency, is unusually profitable in Venezuela because electricity is heavily subsidized by the socialist government.

    Time for Venezuela’s bitcoin miners to vertically integrate into aluminum smelting, another business that thrives on ridiculously cheap electric power. Viva el presidente Maduro!

  6. scott 2

    Wow. That Counterpunch article doubles down on the “Trump voters are Nazis, even though they don’t know it yet, and must be ‘gotten rid of'”. Of course no one would say that incites violence would they?

    1. oho

      If there are any “Westworld” fans—-astroturfing by Soros and other ‘liberal’ oligarchs are like the “Judas steer” mentioned by Dolores.

      Popular anti-Trump energy is being channeled to ends that suit the CTR crowd, not you.

    2. Arizona Slim

      I spent part of yesterday morning with a Trump voter. Although I did not vote for Trump, I found myself agreeing with much of what this voter had to say.

      We, as a country, need to listen more and talk less.

      1. Paid Minion

        One thing for sure, he’s really raised the level of “uncertainty” for the “upper crust”.

        “Damn government,……..back in the old days, when you bought a politician, he stayed bought…….”

      2. marym

        Commenter allan posted this in yesterday’s Water Cooler. It’s a link to a twitter commentary on a poll of Trump voter preferences. Similar to what you report of your conversation, on a number of issues. The twitter commentary also contains a link to the poll.

      3. JMM

        “Strangers in their own land”, by Arlie Russell Hochschild. The author spent several months in Louisiana talking to hard-core Tea Party followers. Worth every cent.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Be comfortable in one’s own skin.

      Experience life, observe the world, think things through and come to one’s own positions – if they are labeled progressive, so be it, and if they are labeled moving-to-the-right, so be it.

      Either one obeys what is deemed ‘progressive’ and does everything what those around says is progressive (without questioning) – in that case, one is hardly progressive – or one does what is said in the above sentence.

      (Better not to fit oneself into an -ism. That’s top down. The way to go is from the bottom up, draw from the particulars of your life, directly or indirectly from reading, observing.)

      A Nazi, maybe they will call you.

      That’s to intimidate you. You are, or you are not intimidated.

    4. jrs

      well many Trump voters actually ARE Republicans though. Now I’m not saying that has anything to do with Nazis, it’s bad in it’s own way. It’s just that Republicans aren’t that easily going to be won over to anything leftish. Especially as the left comes with baggage they don’t want and it’s NOT just or even primarily about identity politics, like the left is very anti-authoritarian for instance, but many voters are authoritarians. Just the reality of things.

      1. integer

        the left is very anti-authoritarian

        This may be premised on the assumption that most people, left to their own devices, act with decency towards their fellow citizens and therefore communities will reach a suitable equilibrium without being subjected to any arbitrary rulings from outside authorities. I’m not sure that scaling anti-authoritarianism upwards to encompass markets is a good strategy for the left though. Personally, I would like to see capital, especially multinational corporations, subjected to a highly authoritarian, ethics-based regulatory environment, as any freedoms given to capital have the capacity to disproportionately impact the lives of others.

      2. hunkerdown

        jrs, authoritarianism-libertarianism is orthogonal to left-right on every political compass I’ve seen. Collapsing them to a single axis is an error and a sign of liberal dispensationalism.

    5. ChiGal in Carolina

      What is objectionable about this (excerpted from the article, emphasis mine)?

      This being the case, all-of-the-above may be the only way to go: working with Democrats when they are not too awful, while taking care not to make the problem worse by becoming like them; working against Democrats, Tea Party style; and building alternatives to the Democratic Party whenever and insofar as one can.

      In a large enough Resistance movement, these ways of moving forward need not conflict; quite to the contrary, they can actually complement one another.

      In the end, there is no other choice.  Whatever stands a decent chance of holding Trump back – or, better yet, of getting rid of him and his people altogether — is worth pursuing. The more secure he is, the bleaker our future will be, even if we somehow manage to have a future at all.

      The multitude of comments like yours on this site are why it now reads (as per Waldenpond yesterday) far to the right of what it did about 5 or so years ago when I started reading daily.

      A couple of years ago I worked up the courage to comment on matters of social justice where I had some knowledge base as well as much experience working with the dispossessed in my capacity as a social worker. There were many interesting exchanges about links (like the gloss on Albion’s Seed) that enriched my thinking.

      Not having the background to comment on economic/financial matters, this site has provided an invaluable education. Much of that for me is in the exchange of views within the commentariat.

      I would say generally that the impact of reading NC on me has been to reinforce my disillusion with the duopoly. But I don’t want to be radicalized to the point of impotence. I have watched the energy and enthusiasm of others I know mobilizing against things Trump (the oligarch) is doing that clearly do not align with my values – I agree with (if I read them correctly) Yves & Lambert that economic injustice is the most important battle, and that single-payer is the clearest, most targeted goal to work toward.

      But it has been difficult to participate in good conscience knowing that TPTB will attempt to co-opt the opposition to return to the status quo. This article struck me as a useful guide to ACTION.

      I copied the bit above and began reading comments to see if there was anything already here only to find the comment to which I am now responding, along with others of its ilk.

      I no longer comment here much though I read daily because with the preponderance of comments being like the above, comments from those who share the values (I think) of our hosts are getting fewer and further between and are mostly ignored or treated to snark.


      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Thank you; well said. I have seen the same trends in the comments. And I agree with your assessment of the key issues facing us as Americans today. The moaning about our potential lack of future – whether accurate or not – is a waste of ink, IMO, but otherwise that Counterpunch article is spot on. The complaint against it was artful whining.

      2. cocomaan

        This blog was slandered by the mainstream media, specifically the WaPo but then carried on in many other avenues, even local news channels, as an alleged Russian media outlet.

        It shouldn’t shock you that the blog writers and its readership aren’t interested in encouraging a group of people, that is, Democrats (even when they are “not too awful”), that tried to get the blog into serious trouble in an increasingly censored internet. You better expect a certain about of skepticism. It’s self defense.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          for chrissakes, i was there – we all were, and were all outraged by WaPo.

          please stop straw manning.

          did you READ the article? or my comment? the point is to work AGAINST establishment dems, to build ALTERNATIVES to establishment dems.

          in moving away from the Dems, it is possible to move LEFT, or to move RIGHT. the point is the balance on this blog among the commentariat (not saying the writers if you noticed) is moving to the RIGHT.

          again, sad!

          1. cocomaan

            I read the article and your comment. If NC or its commentators are being “radicalized to the point of impotence” by refusing to trust in, say, the segment of not too awful Democrats, it’s not the fault of NC. At this point in history, interpreting the Bill of Rights in the spirit they were written makes you an unrealistic radical.

            You’re also cherry picking, in my estimation. The above article goes into great detail about how most who voted for Trump are “dupes”. Boring. It reads like the guy has never talked to a Trump supporter before, which makes sense, considering he’s a philosphy professor and a scholar at a Think Tank. Think Tankers lose their jobs if they go outside, I hear.

            Trump supporters, nor Trump, are as stupid as the author thinks they are. So the entire thing is a nonstarter to me. If the strategy is to act like the Tea Party, ie, hysterically, there isn’t much of a future in it.

            1. jsn

              I can see your point about Levin’s framing Trump voters as dupes, I guess I’m just more open to it because I consider myself to have been duped by Obama in 2008. I don’t consider myself particularly stupid, but I was certainly duped. I believe most of Trumps supporters are decent people who will end up feeling as betrayed by him as I did by Obama. But thats’ packing a lot of me into my reading.

              1. cocomaan

                That’s fair, but I wouldn’t call someone who voted for Obama a dupe, or any other name. That implies that the person is, by nature, susceptible to being hoodwinked, and that the author is by nature not. Name calling is for bad writers, I think.

            2. Cynthia

              Obama and Clinton supporters are also as stupid as many here on NC think they are. Stalemate. The sooner we start talking to each other about what we really need and all value: health, financial and environmental security and a future for our children, the better off we’ll all be. Dems and Reps are both Neoliberal and supportive of the MIC. I used to think that Trump wouldn’t do much harm because status quo works for him. Now, I won’t even try to predict an outcome.
              I say, a pox on Trump’s tower and a pox on the houses of both the Ds and the Rs. Focus, further down ticket, focus locally, let’s turn our backs on Washington and let those fools destroy themselves. They care for and know nothing about us anyhow. I vote for Lambert’s 12 point plan.

              1. cocomaan

                Well said! Enough with playing teams, looking for blue or red neckties. Poxes don’t care what party you’re on and there’s plenty of poxes to go around.

          2. jsn

            I follow the comments here daily and have noticed the change in tone since the election, but there have been fluctuations in the tone and tilt of comments over the decade I’ve been reading here. I’d skipped the Levine CP article until I saw this comment thread and have to agree with your take entirely!

      3. Oregoncharles

        Chigal – You’re replying to Scott 2? In a long string, it helps to specify.

        Both of you can be correct. I didn’t finish Levine’s piece, though I usually like him, because it struck me as hysterical. In fact, I was repelled by his discussion of “Trump voters,’ just as Scott was. I wish I had gotten to the part you quote, which indeed makes sense.

        As Lambert has pointed out, Trump is actually very weak, for a variety of obvious reasons; for one thing, he’s the most unpopular new president since polling began, and for another, he seems to be letting it bother him. Now he’s discovering that the courts do matter, if only to the bureaucracy. So a broad-scale counter-attack can be successful in limiting his damage.

        As a Green, I think it should include the demolition of the Democratic Party, if only on the grounds of their extreme misfeasance. Levine doesn’t quite go that far, but at least we have continued infighting in the party. If this isn’t the first stage of societal collapse, a la the Archdruid, it’s certainly the beginning of a collapse of the party system. It will be very different when it’s done, results unpredictable.

        As Lambert has said, the voters made a volatility bet, and we’re all along for the ride.

        1. b1daly

          What are you talking about, collapse of the party system? Every form of human social organization has some form of political parties.

          To the extent that you are trying to effect positive change for everyday people, you need political power. The Greens in the US have none. That’s a tough sell.

          If you’re of the view that the whole system is corrupt, and needs to be torn down, then you have a revolutionary mindset

          Revolutions suck, they are usually crushed. If they succeed, it’s an environment of extreme social decay, often made worse by the conduct of the revolutionaries. If they win, after bumbling around for a generation or two, killing citizens along the way. After all that, the most successful revolutions rebuild the society with as many problems as before

          I know in taking an extreme view, but I’m trying to speak to the mindset that thinks the infrastructure of society must be torn down to improve it.

          It is almost always vastly easier and less costly to reform existing systems, political parties included. Not easy, but easier.

          The Greens polling at one percent in November is not a promising showing.

          I agreed with the thrust of the Levine article: it will take a determined effort to be rid of Trump. I think it is worth it to make that a standalone goal.

          Even if I agree with some of his stated positions, he is so far proving to worse than I predicted, and dangerous to underestimate. He might be weak, but he is charismatic (to some), and ruthless.

          He just needs to be stronger than his challengers.

      4. integer

        But I don’t want to be radicalized to the point of impotence.

        I have been among the commenters who have said it’s not worth fighting Trump at the moment, however my view is that doing nothing – or to put it another way, refusing to do anything – can sometimes be a powerful course of action to take in and of itself. In this case, I see doing nothing as a way to send a message to establishment D-party scum that the left remembers their medacity and henceforth considers them to be an unacceptable alternative, whether Trump is holding the reigns or not. Also, in my opinion it is useful to take a step back once in a while, lest one forgets what the forest looks like after looking at trees for too long. Personally, I’m still trying to get a feel for the bigger picture of how things are going to shake out from what Trump is currently doing. There are a lot of moving parts at the moment. In conclusion, just because one advocates not doing anything at the moment, this does not mean that this is now a permanently held viewpoint.

    6. Oregoncharles

      Andrew Levine, like many, was convinced that Trump simply couldn’t win. (It did seem awfully implausible.) Now he’s in the same panic as many Democrats.

  7. tommy strange

    Weird that people would get mad at counterpunch cuz of one article. That’s what ‘left media’ should be…much you agree with and some you don’t. Just like NC, blackagenda report.

    1. scott 2

      Counterpunch, Salon, etc are progressing from just saying Trumpers are bad people to now dehumanizing them. Dehumanizing a group is the first step to, you know, justifying violence and even genocide.

      1. makedoanmend

        Care to share how these publication are “dehumanizing” them and then give us concrete examples of how this demhumanizing is actually occurring in the real world, and then the logical steps that necessarily must result in violence and genocide*.

        [* genocide (merriam-webster): the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group]

        Are trump supporters now a seperate racial, political or cultural group? Are they homogenous in such a manner? How do we identify this group who will suffer genocide? Is someone going to build a convenient wall around them so they become distinct from the rest of the population?

        1. scott 2

          Agreed, there isn’t a “whatever-cide” to describe Trump voters, unless “IslamohomoxenophoboNazi-cide” or “white-nationalist-cide” becomes a word.

          Many, many people voted for Trump not because they are IslamohomoxenopoboNazis, but because they didn’t want a career politician bought-and-paid-for by Saudi Arabia, Goldman Sachs, and big Pharma to continue the Obama agenda.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            Noting that Saudi Arabia is exempt from the ban, Trump’s cabinet is stuffed with GS banksters, and after meeting with pharma CEOs he backed down on his promise to negotiate prices with them.

            Why did YOU vote for him again?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              It seems to another case of the ‘last person to meet with the Don Trumpeone.’

              Last, but not least, but most (gratifying).

              1. ChiGal in Carolina

                …and such a clever diversion!

                so again, why DID you vote for Trump? cuz you have now implicitly both disowned a host of reasons and claimed others that don’t hold water.

                perhaps all you and your ilk are just f*cking with us, which is why increasingly it seems a waste of time to engage on this site.

                1. PhilM

                  Who are you to demand revelation of why some persona on the internet voted the way it did—and who would know if it had? Retreat to your shelter, you insolent puppy.

                  1. PhilM

                    I’m sorry for that rude, intemperate remark, particularly rendered as it was.

                    First, it is not my place to police the public discourse, and all the more if I myself cannot be civil.

                    Second, I did not mean to use the word “shelter” in the sense of animal shelter, but merely shelter in the sense of hiding and protection; but the word association changed the meaning, and it stands as clearly brutal, and unacceptable as written.

                    I can only request, please, that my comment be expunged by the moderators.

                2. Ian

                  Normalizing relations with Russia is a pretty solid reason. Once the DNC and various other players sabotaged Bernie the general populace was given an equivalent of Sophies choice. Can’t blame them for gambling on a wild card that will at least change the landscape.

                3. integer

                  If I was a USian, I would have voted for Trump for one reason: it was either Trump or Clinton.

                  Clinton cheated in the D-party primary, wanted to confront Russia, would have passed the TPP (with one or two meaningless changes), and the Clinton Foundation had become a huge problem, especially the CGI, which had basically inserted itself between other government’s foreign aid budgets and the causes this money was supposed to be used to support. This happened to the Australian government to the tune of approximately $100m btw.

                  Not that I am accusing you of doing so, but I have seen many people try to force others into answering the question of why they voted for Trump, while simultaneously insisting that the question must be answered without any reference to the fact that the only other possibility was a Clinton presidency. In my opinion this is intelletually dishonest.

                4. John Wright

                  I voted for Trump because I viewed Clinton as a well-connected malevolent mediocrity who was programmed to do much future harm.

                  In my view, Clinton had a track record that validated that belief, while Trump did not.

                  As a CA resident, my vote didn’t matter, but I did not want to endorse, in any way, HRC’s past behavior.

                  I saw the risk of HRC pushing for war with Russia as real and the TPP passage as likely, as she would be more than willing to do more damage to the non-elites..

                  Part of my concern with Clinton was that the MSM was so supportive of such a flawed candidate, and would probably not be critical of President HRC leading up to another “We came, we saw, he died” moment.

                  The Clinton Global Initiative, the private speeches, the private vs public positions of Clinton, the email server to avoid FOIA, the HRC push for Libya action,, the sleazy Clinton friends (Brazille, Wasserman-Schultz, Wendy Sherman at the DNC platform meeting) and the treatment of Bernie all indicated to me Clinton could not be trusted.

                  The marketing of President HRC was an attempt to recast someone with a record of bad decisions (for the USA) as “most experienced, most qualified”.

                  At least the MSM is actively criticizing Trump, and I doubt that the same would be true if HRC were in the same position.

                  Maybe even the Democrats will find their voice that was missing when Bush went to Iraq, Obama avoided “medicare for all”, Obama avoided real financial reform , Obama went into Libya and when Obama attempted to remove Assad in Syria.

                  I’ve pitched Trump as the treatable disease that the USA can recover from, while President Hillary Clinton would be the infection that would kill the host..

                  But we only had a choice of these two ailments.

                5. JTFaraday

                  “perhaps all you and your ilk are just f*cking with us”

                  You raise a good point. My read on Twitter suggests that many Trumpertantrums voted for Trump to specifically diss liberals/”the left.” And that’s about it.

                  I’m not sure why I’m supposed to cave to these clowns.

                  I think people here project their own reasons for opposing Clinton/ D-Party onto the Trumpertantrums. I think these reasons apply to only a very slim portion of Trump’s votes.

                  Although it may be the case that these helped put him over the top, which does suggest something about the D-Party.

          2. nowhere

            And yet, in a similar vein to what Lambert posted the other day, he does have conflicts of interest in Saudi Arabia.

            It remains to be seen whether or not he will do anything to limit Goldman Sachs or Big Pharma. Though I do agree that Hillary wouldn’t have lifted a finger to curtail their abuses.

            1. Dpeezy

              Conflicts of interest:

              Saudi Arabia
              United Arab Eminates

              Just a couple..

      2. funemployed

        + 1 tommy strange. Lots of people write for Counterpunch. Every argument made on that site is contradicted by others in the same week. Salon’s mission, as far as I can tell, is to generate as many clicks/shares as possible, so it’s a very different beast.

    2. Baby Gerald

      Good point Tommy. I, for one, am not going to stop paying attention to CP because of one bad article like this Andrew Levine rant. Thankfully there are other fine stories and features to read other than this sort of polemic. St. Clair is always worth a look– his ‘Roaming Charges’ series helped me survive the election season with my sanity mostly intact.

      It’s the same story with The Intercept. Scahill and Greenwald are always worth a read. Robert Mackey not so much.

      Tough times call for tough measures. Blanket boycotts of the few sources of truth left to us aren’t going to help.

      1. tommy strange

        Indeed Baby,
        For 20 years counterpunch has lauded the dirty unwashed masses, and writers still do it. I’m in personal touch with some of them. The range is from anarchist to gawd even old Trots, to progressives going farther left. In fact, many of the writers are ‘workers’…..something lost I guess therein just cuz of one article…….For 20 years I’ve seen more self educated workers getting posts there than ANY other site or magazine in the country. Let us count the names….And anyway, much as I love NC’s and the commentators here doing good warranted backlash against this big wash against the ‘deplorable s’….and then thankfully treating all color working class as a group….there ARE plenty of white working class racists and fascists that I’ve had to deal with my whole life. Grew up in Ohio. And got in plenty of fights with skinheads in SF in the 80’s. If you want to fight fascism, you just have to be honest. At least 1/3 of the white working class will go there. The rest of us are ‘liberal’ , but mostly left maybe, but when unorganized that minority will tramp us.Lets just be honest, a big minority of the white working class would love fascism. The rest of us white need to stomp them.

        1. Grebo

          Psychology suggests 20% of the population in general are authoritarian followers. 5% are social dominators (ie. would-be leaders). There was an otherwise good Vox piece about them a while back asking where they all suddenly sprang from. The fact is they are always with us, just waiting for a Trump or the like to give them permission to act out.
          The Authoritarians

      2. Brian

        Some of the people of this nation voted against the 2 parties. Many sat it out because no one in those parties represented their interests. We are told who we can vote for or we don’t vote. Lets all get over that aspect. If we don’t like it, change it.
        Now that 50% of us don’t like either party, we won’t be represented. Change it. Don’t “hope” for something to “believe” in because neither are constructive ways to stop being fleeced for everything you hold dear.

    3. gepay

      have to agree Tommy – sort of like those that ignore any reporter that doesn’t believe 9/11 was an inside job or those that ignore bloggers that don’t believe Zionist Israel is a great threat to the peace of the world. I don;t happen to think that man made CO2 is a catastrophic threat to the climate like Yves and Lambert and many others at NC but that doesn’t make me stop reading the articles on other subjects. I also happen to believe in the Deep State is real but not monolithic. NC is a place where if the system did work and reformers could make it better many good ideas are put forth. For me it’s like – Game of Thrones and House of Card are a much better match for political reality than West Wing.

    1. todde

      There’s nothing they can do.

      Your fica and income tax withholding are paid by your employer directly to the feds.

      Excise taxes are paid directly to the feds.

      I can’t figure out a way they could withhold a dime.

      1. funemployed

        There’s one way, in theory. If Californians were willing to fill the federal prisons and jam up the federal courts by say 30-40% of them withholding taxes in protest (which is possible with income tax, if you claim a crapton of exemptions on your w-4, then don’t file a federal return). At that point, even people who could care less would join in, because that’s what most people will do when the gov’t can’t, or won’t, enforce tax law. Unfortunately, that would require most members of the so-called “resistance” to not be completely full of shit. Come on “resistance.” Prove me wrong. I dare you.

        1. todde

          The feds won’t put you in prison, they will seize your bank accounts and levy every asset you own and shut down your business.

      2. Lee

        From the article linked by m:

        Officials are looking for money that flows through Sacramento to the federal government that could be used to offset the potential loss of billions of dollars’ worth of federal funds if President Trump makes good on his threat to punish cities and states that don’t cooperate with federal agents’ requests to turn over undocumented immigrants, a senior government source in Sacramento said.

        Evidently, the state pays some monies directly to the federal government. Interestingly, they are contemplating doing this as a protest on behalf of immigrants. It never occurred to them to do it for the sake of our poor. CA has an official poverty rate of 16.4%.

        1. todde

          Looking does not equal finding.

          They can stop sending state employee withholdings to the feds, until a judge orders them too.

          It’s a joke of a premise.

        2. todde

          The IRS could seize the personal assets of the State Treasurer, the Governor and anyone else with the ability to pay and knowledge of the tax deficiency.

          Also they could be put in prison for failure to pay trust fund withholdings.

          So basically, might as.well be wishing for unicorns

          1. todde

            So while the feds can’t put 20 to 30 percent of California citizens in prison, it has plenty of room for a.slew of State officials .

            And if it wants to stop funding projects that the feds help pay for, it will be California workers who lose their jobs.

            So, you know, more process bulls hit

            1. funemployed

              Hadn’t thought about all that. Thanks. Rather annoying that high level officials would try to spin this as a real thing.

    2. KMSM

      The fact that Willie Brown Jr. is a proponent of this scheme should be a warning.

      How would this plan work? I read that the state may consider not forwarding federal withholdings from its state employees as one possibility. So if I’m a state employee, one of two things may happen: 1) the state would collect my federal taxes and hold/keep them. Then how do I get my monies back? Does California get to keep my federal *and* state taxes for itself? 2) the state simply doesn’t withhold *any* federal taxes, exposing me to a hefty federal tax at the end of the year or to penalties and other tax problems. So regular Californians would be caught in the crosshairs of “the Resistance” while elite cowards sit back and let others take the heat.

      Maybe the cowardly elite members of “the Resistance” should simply stop paying taxes themselves, if they want to be brave and make a statement, and risk imprisonment or tax penalties themselves. Why should ordinary people risk their businesses and livelihoods for Hollywood celebrities, Silicon Valley execs, and politicians?

      1. todde

        Usually the IRS won’t hold you responsible for taxes not paid by your employer.

        I audit around a dozen state and local governments and do around 500 tax returns a year.

        I can’t figure out a way besides withholdings not being submitted.

        Not funding federal projects is cutting off your nose to spite your face

        1. RWood

          Sprouted “memory”:
          David Cay Johnson revealed employers may use such funds, according to permissions.

  8. fresno dan

    The Computational Foundation of Life Quanta (Chuck L)

    What’s the difference between physics and biology? Take a golf ball and a cannonball and drop them off the Tower of Pisa. Now do the same experiment again, but replace the cannonball with a pigeon.

    Once we regard living things as agents performing a computation — collecting and storing information about an unpredictable environment — capacities and considerations such as replication, adaptation, agency, purpose and meaning can be understood as arising not from evolutionary improvisation, but as inevitable corollaries of physical laws. In other words, there appears to be a kind of physics of things doing stuff, and evolving to do stuff. Meaning and intention — thought to be the defining characteristics of living systems — may then emerge naturally through the laws of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics.
    And the reason shows that there is a deep connection between thermodynamics and the processing of information — or in other words, computation. …. Because it can’t have unlimited memory of every molecular motion, it must occasionally wipe its memory clean — forget what it has seen and start again — before it can continue harvesting energy. This act of information erasure has an unavoidable price: It dissipates energy, and therefore increases entropy.

    Looked at this way, life can be considered as a computation that aims to optimize the storage and use of meaningful information.
    Entropy maximization has long been thought to be a trait of nonequilibrium systems. But the system in this model obeys a rule that lets it maximize entropy over a fixed time window that stretches into the future. In other words, it has foresight. In effect, the model looks at all the paths the particles could take and compels them to adopt the path that produces the greatest entropy. Crudely speaking, this tends to be the path that keeps open the largest number of options for how the particles might move subsequently.

    You might say that the system of particles experiences a kind of urge to preserve freedom of future action, and that this urge guides its behavior at any moment. The researchers who developed the model — Alexander Wissner-Gross at Harvard University and Cameron Freer, a mathematician at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — call this a “causal entropic force.” In computer simulations of configurations of disk-shaped particles moving around in particular settings, this force creates outcomes that are eerily suggestive of intelligence.
    d*mn interesting article

    1. Lee

      I interpreted the article as an affirmation of of the animists, who look upon the universe and declare “it’s alive!”. This same intuition permeates art and religion at their best.

      1. RWood

        Annie Dillard, from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, quoting Martin Buber:
        ‘When you walk across the fields with your mind pure and holy, then from all the stones, and all growing things, and all animals, the sparks of their soul come out and cling to you, and then they are purified and become a holy fire in you.’

    2. JTMcPhee

      I guess the folks that run the Empire and the other players in the Great Game and the corporatist hegemony are doing their best to maximize entropy, since a central tenet of those folks is to “preserve their freedom of action.” Is there a corollary here somewhere that leads to identifying what what happens to the particles who it would seem have to lose their freedom of action in the long process?

    3. H. Alexander Ivey

      Ah, yes. The Gaia theory of biology.

      This ‘theory’ only works with an Orwellian exercise of standing word meanings on their head. The statement in the article, which the author supports through out^:

      that adaptation to the environment can happen even in complex nonliving systems

      says it all to me. The word ‘nonliving’ can not be linked to the word ‘adapt’. Adapt is only used with living systems or living organisms. Nonliving links to metamorphic or phase changed (geologic terms from this once-about-a-time geologist).

      The article looks to me like evidence that physicists have caught the disease that afflicts the economists: assume a can opener…, i.e. start from a clearly unproven position and go from there.

  9. Dr. Roberts

    I’m surprised I haven’t seen much about the political crisis in Romania on here. The government just legalized corruption to get a bunch of corruption trials against government members dismissed and now tens of thousands have hit the streets. Worryingly I hear it’s not even getting much press attention in Europe. There may well be a popular overthrow of the government there – in an EU country!

      1. oho

        >>Worryingly I hear it’s not even getting much press attention in Europe

        Of course not. It’s corruption from a pro-EU Blairite/Clintonite gov’t.

        BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The chairman of Romania’s governing party on Saturday suggested that the government could back down in the face of massive protests against an ordinance which would decriminalize official misconduct.
        In the first suggestion of a concession floated by the center-left government since the crisis broke out last month, party chairman Liviu Dragnea said in an interview with DC News he would meet Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu to “propose a solution.”……

    1. OIFVet

      Of course we won’t hear much, the EU had praised the current Romainian gubmint as a shining example of judicial reform and fighting corruption, and had even sent Romainian experts to the Bulgarian barbarians south of the Danube to teach them how reforms should be done. Plus, the US needs Romainian ports for Aegis destroyers on their regular Montreux Convention lawbreaking visits to the Black Sea, and bases for the anti-missile defense radar and rocket facilities to protect the Homeland from the Iranian menace (wink wink). It simply won’t do to call out our allies’ corruption while the Putin is ensconced in the Kremlin.

      1. Jagger

        My crystal ball tells me quite clearly that this is a Russian color revolution. Will their provocations never end?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Which is more cost effective – hacking an election or running a color revolution?

          The former is not always available (maybe once every 4 years or what not), while the latter can be timed more flexibly (especially if the official in charge has a family matter – teenage kid, pregnant wife, or aging parent – to consider).

      2. RWood

        When the rule of law changes — expands and twists — the energy balance must add to invisible matter.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      My best friend at work is Romanian and she’s been filling me in. The government legalized instances of corruption where the sum involved was under €47k. It seems mad or that there’s a mistake in the reporting but, no!

      However…the latest word is that the PSD is backing down.

      This Romanian site in English has good reporting

      1. Brian

        South Dakota just did the same thing, the legislature institutionalized corruption and bribery. I wonder if their will be coverage at 11?

  10. MtnLife

    The city vs state power struggle article got me thinking: is there any sort of political mechanism either for or against a large enough city “liberating” itself from its parent state yet staying in the US? Can NYC vote itself out of NY state? I know most of upstate NY would be okay with that. What would that even be called? An in-state civil war? I know the specter of rural vs urban war has been discussed here before but I was thinking of ways that could be possibly avoided.

    1. fresno dan

      February 4, 2017 at 9:26 am

      So could the Bronx liberate itself from NYC? Or is that Brooklyn that is full of secessionists?
      As NYC is pretty much the southern most part of NY state, would it be a replay of the North against the South, as the Yankees try to free the wage slaves…

      1. MtnLife

        Now that I’m more awake I remember the failed Six Californias intitiave from last year, so I guess there is. Initially I can see it as wealthier urban areas leaving the poorer regions on their own but I suppose that could be mitigated on a federal level. Seeing as how state lines are organized rather arbitrarily it might make more sense to organize into economic regions. Places like NYC/upstate, north/south California, and east/west Colorado are two different worlds economically and politically. Different governance could help government actually be more responsive to geographically specific constituent needs.

      2. Jim Haygood

        Staten Island is the NYC borough where secessionist sentiment is strongest.

        Geographically, it’s on the western (New Jersey) side of the Hudson River. S.I. residents can’t get into or out of S.I. in their cars without paying exorbitant tolls.

        New Jersey would invade and liberate the Island, except they don’t have any guns. :-(

        1. fresno dan

          Jim Haygood
          February 4, 2017 at 2:24 pm

          New Jersey would invade and liberate the Island, except they don’t have any guns. :-(

          Don’t the Sopranos have a big arms cache??? I imagine the Sopranos could make a gun sale or rent to own offer to NJ that they can’t refuse…..

    2. Bugs Bunny

      At the risk of being occupied by the National Guard and probably having all utilities cut, any city could conceivably declare itself an independent city state.

      1. KurtisMayfield

        Forget utilities.. Remember who controls the Port Authority.. they would cut off Manhattan from the outside world. There would be resorting to cannibalism in a month. Kurt Russell might be cast in the movie.

          1. nowhere

            They better bring a lot of troops, otherwise you’d see a lot of hungry zombies fighting tooth and nail to escape. And once we get to that point, I doubt we’d have an actual functioning government.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      The State of Jefferson had its own Congress, but highways put in during World War II and the later Interstate Highway System alleviated the demands of Northern Cali and Southern Oregon. This was a fairly complex operation.

      Civil War era Virginians formed a true government in exile made up of union loyalists. Eventually that organization became West Virginia, and Virginia had to agree upon the end of military government to West Virginia. This outfit was less of a popular convention than previously elected citizens operating on their own.

      The basic gist is the separating body would need a popular convention or the larger state to be in rebellion. Texans always make claims about Texas being eligible to split four ways which I have never paid attention to outside of a Harry Turtledove alternate history.

      West Virginia and Jefferson are the examples, and in both cases, the proper state governments simply had no interest in governing (obviously for different reasons: rebellion and indifference) the regions in secession. New York City requires too many state services for its infrastructure (water, utilities) to leave and is far too important to be ignored in Albany. NYC isn’t Vermont, or a regional city off the beaten path of the larger economy that largely exists for farmers.

      1. pretzelattack

        at one point during the civil war a county in texas seceded from texas. i don’t think texas ever got around to sending troops in.

        later townes van zandt became a well know musician.

    4. funemployed

      The process for carving out a new state is outlined in Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution:

      “New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

      “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.”

      This process has been used successfully to create five states: Vermont (from New York, in 1791); Kentucky (from Virginia, in 1792); Tennessee (from North Carolina, in 1796); Maine (from Massachusetts, in 1820); and West Virginia (from Virginia, in 1863). (For more details on Article IV, see the National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution online.)

    5. alex morfesis

      No room on the flag for more stars…paul ryan wont allow federal funds to be used to update flags…

      1. Jim Haygood

        Actual problem is how to arrange 51 stars on the canton (the blue part).

        The average person can’t recall off the top of their head how it’s done with fifty. In fact, there are five rows of 6 stars (making 30) and four rows of 5 stars (making 20 more).

        The number 51 is divisible only by the primes 3 and 17, which would make too skinny a rectangle. What to do, what to do?

        Three rows of nine (making 27) and three rows of eight (making 24 more) would work. This is the key to liberating inland Cali from Coastal Cali (or vice versa, if you’re an inmate of Pelosiland & Feinsteinia).

        1. ewmayer

          Notice that the factorization of 50 does not signify in the current star pattern, thus no need to worry about it for 51, either. Lots of possible 51-patterns with satisfying basic metrics of rectangularity and symmetry, e.g.

          [In practice the first one would have the rows much closer vertically, but ascii disallows that kind of playing-with-spacing]

          * * * * * *
           * * * * *
          * * * * * *
          * * * * * *
           * * * * *
          * * * * * *
          * * * * * *
           * * * * *
          * * * * * *


          * * * * * * * * *
           * * * * * * * *
          * * * * * * * * *
           * * * * * * * *
          * * * * * * * * *
           * * * * * * * *

          1. alex morfesis

            Well, since Paul Ryan is such a cheapskate, he might allow a spontaneous devolution of Kalipornia into its own country status to save the cost of changing the flag…

            but would Kamala Harris be crowned as queen and would she have the “elephant” as the official animal…

            her background is Hindu with her mother having come from the strain that worships the Hindu God Ganesha…

            although there is a “Gopalan” who went by the initials KPR…a rather prominent communist in India

  11. fresno dan

    Back to the 40s! Why rationing is making a comeback Guardian (Joe H)

    Q:Oh. Will this rationing be over soon?
    A: Possibly not. A spokesperson for the British Leafy Salads Association said …

    Q:Hang on, the what?
    A: Alright, calm down, Britain has a Leafy Salads Association, let’s not make a fuss about it. Anyway, he said that this year’s Spanish crop has been utterly devastated by the weather, which remains so bad that some farmers can’t even go and plant the next lot.
    “Britain has a Leafy Salads Association, let’s not make a fuss about it.”
    I’m not gonna make a fuss….just note that the association’s office is across the street from the Ministry of Silly Walks.

    “The same suboptimal Spanish meteorology that caused the infamous courgette shortage of January 2017?”
    So I ask Google what is a courgette? And it tells me its a cucurbit…..Thanks a lot Google

    1. diptherio

      It’s a fancy name for the humble zucchini:

      Up on the Res, come late July, early August, they say that it’s important that you never leave your car unattended with the windows rolled down…if you do, someone is liable to throw a grocery sack full of zucchinis in there, and then you’re gonna have to figure out what to do with them (usually look for another parked car with it’s windows down).

      1. TheCatSaid

        The Chocolate Zucchini Cake recipe in the “Applehood and Motherpie” cookbook is one of the BEST chocolate cake recipes I’ve ever found. It’s worth it to get the book for this one recipe. (Though the rest is also excellent.)

        1. diptherio

          By the time the harvest really starts coming in, everybody already has a freezer full of zucchini bread…I’m serious, zucchini overload is a serious and reoccurring problem around here. We do our best to educate people, but new gardeners often think they need 3 or 4 zucchini plants, even though a single one will inundate them with squash. You can always tell the really unfortunate ones who went way overboard from the greenish hue of their skin and the dead look in their eyes as they stumble around town, desperately trying to give away a some 20 lbs monstrosity they found hiding under leaf. They plead, mutely, for someone, anyone, to help ease their burden, but we just turn away and try to ignore them. Some people just got to learn the hard way…

          1. funemployed

            Y’all just need to pick them when they’re still roughly the size of an erect human penis. They taste better then anyhow. Just check every couple days, and don’t forget to look under the leaves.

        1. OIFVet

          We in the US have a fetish for Brit accents, in the UK they have a fetish for the French names for vegetables. Courgette, aubergine, Farage.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I don’t know about you.

            But It already tastes better when I call it by the new name.

            Perhaps, like misophonia, this is another behavior that can be diagnosed and, hopefully mitigated.

        2. Annotherone

          Vegetable marrows – oh yes, my grandmother used often to cut a big one in half and fill it with a very strongly herb-flavoured stuffing, then bake it…delish! I’ve wondered why I’ve not seen any marrows in the US so far. Squash are the nearest thing, I suppose.

          1. diptherio

            We do the same thing with the gigantic zucchinis that inevitably manage to hide away until they are way to old and woody to do much with. But, being good Americans, we stuff ours with seasoned ground beef.

            1. fresno dan

              February 4, 2017 at 12:11 pm

              Whoa….the number of comments about “cucurbits” makes me wonder if something else is going on………some euphemistic discussion. An obsession with the size of one’s zucchinis…..

              Ah….Probably not – as Freud said, ‘sometimes a cucurbit is just a zucchini’


              ‘Just to drive him a little bit crazy, I took to referring to him as a ‘short-cucurbited vulgarian’ in the pages of Spy magazine,” Carter wrote. “That was more than a quarter of a century ago.”

              In 1988, Spy magazine referred to Trump as the “short-cucurbited vulgarian” in nearly every story.

              Trump defended himself in the New York Post, saying, “My cucurbits are long and beautiful, as, has been well-documented, are various other parts of my body.”
              Obviously, all this talk about long, cylindrical …things….is about the missile gap

              1. OIFVet

                It ain’t just cucurbits that relate to size insecurity. I am looking at the Hummer parked across the street and I just know that this monstrosity is compensating for the lack of something. Same thing with limousine liberuls, though the size of the limo is probably due to wealth insecurity, seeing how a lot of very wealthy liberuls I know claim to be merely “middle class.”

      1. wilroncanada

        We ( actually she does most of the work) usually plant 2 zucchini plants each spring, along with a couple of butternut squash plants and one pumpkin, along with other veggies and fruit (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries). Surprising how much can go into 15 by 20 feet on a city lot. We still have in our cold room (slightly colder than the rest of the house) onions, pumpkin, butternut squash, zucchini, and garlic. My daughter is still using up carrots. Outside in the snow (a once every five year event) are kale, beatina chard, and kohlrabi. We live on eastern Vancouver Island, Canada.

        I get some of the zucchini when they are still small (courgette size), during the summer, to put into salads. The large ones usually are stuffed for meals for several days. I’ll have to remember the name courgette to impress friends. I’m from francophone heritage after all. I can hear friends now; didn’t you know that? It’s interesting when they occasionally cross-pollinate; we’ve had pumpkini, squashini, zumarrow.

  12. m

    You don’t need to look at China’s waterways for resistant bacteria, in areas surrounding factory farms in the US we have the same problem. Studies have found antibiotic resistant bacteria on the meat that is bought in the store.The gov is doing nothing to force big ag to stop feeding factory farmed animals antibiotic feed just to fatten them up.

    1. nowhere

      Yet another tragedy that, if fixed, would pay huge dividends down the line. And another tragedy that we can’t ever seem to actually fix despite the shouts from the people in the know.

  13. Uahsenaa

    If Sanders wants to relitigate the primary by taking on Biden, then more power to him. People seem to have forgotten that Sanders never became a D after he lost, so I imagine he holds his independence as something valuable to him professionally and personally. Maybe he was willing to swallow his pride during the election, but I can’t imagine him not wanting to do something to change the institution that screwed him over so thoroughly and with remarkable brazenness.

    Besides, Biden is more responsible than most for the immiseration of people in tough financial straits (re: changing what debts can and cannot be discharged in bankruptcy), so if he’s a victim of millennial furor, it would only be just desserts.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Agreed – this “aw shucks old kooky uncle Joe” nonsense has gotten out of hand. Biden has been a DC fixer for decades and knows where a lot of bodies are buried so to speak. There was an expose in one of the UK papers a few years back where a couple guys posed as aides to some -akstan dictator and approached a DC lobbyist looking for favors. Biden was at the top of this lobbyist’s list of DC pols who could be counted on to help out corrupt dictators. And how did Biden’s kid get such a lucrative deal in the Ukraine?

      He definitely is not just some kindly old fellow who likes to ride trains.

  14. ChrisAtRU


    Italy: “The report said the optimal moment to leave the euro has already passed …”
    LOL … When was this??!! It’s like some shady coupon/offer that’s only valid from midnight to 12:02 AM … Bengaluru Time (UTC+5:30) … on a Wednesday … when it’s full moon.
    Ooopsie! Sorry! You missed it!
    #Truth = “There is no leaving the Euro Zone” #HotelCalifornia

    “The IMF contended that as Greece belonged to the Eurozone, devaluing its currency to regain competitiveness was impossible so it would have to devalue wages and social benefits. This is what is known as internal devaluation, and it is wreaking havoc in Greece and other peripheral countries within the Eurozone.”
    For Foppe, with whom I had an exchange last night, this is what Yves was explaining. Since the currency cannot be devalued solely for Greece, internal devaluation in the name of competitiveness is what ensues. Greece is essentially a HIPC (highly indebted poor country) in the EZ. Right now, the air is slowly being sucked out of the economy – wages falling, unemployment rising, and state assets being sold off. There is no hope in sight. Greece cannot be deflated into prosperity by austerity.
    EU Unemployment
    I would post Median Hourly earnings for the EU, but oddly (or not), stats for Greece and Croatia are not being reported.


    Bernie opened the wounds all right, and he is pouring salt into them when he starts calling out the likes of Biden. Hope requires anger and courage (St. Augustine of Hippo), and on those two fronts, I like how Bernie is not afraid to (angrily!) call time on establishment Dumbocrats (we’ll see how long the Schumer exception lasts).

    1. ChrisAtRU

      Oh wow … it finally actually posted. Was there another outage this morning? I kept getting Captcha, but this post didn’t show up for a couple hours.

      In any case, I meant to add the to Italy part:
      1. Are we to assume Herr Schäuble is going to allow this?
      ‘No Italian court would uphold the supremacy of CAC clauses dictated to Italy when it had a gun to its head. “Legal experts have advised us that Lex Monetae overrides everything,” said Mr Borghi.’
      I dunno … sounds overly optimistic. Have a chat with Tsipras.

      2. But wait …
      ‘Mr Borghi argues that the euro would in fact disintegrate. The drachma and the escudo would plummet. The D-Mark and the guilder would rocket. The franc and the lira – or the new Medici “Florin”, as he calls it – would weaken to varying degrees but not by anything close to 30pc in pan-EMU terms.
      Once the boil had been lanced, Italians would shift money back home from accounts in London, Paris, or Munich. The lira would settle down. “We already have a current account surplus. A weaker exchange rate would give us an even bigger surplus, so I don’t see why the currency would fall that far,” he said.’

      The one thing I like about that piece of the analysis is the all or nothing proposition: if Italy leaves the EZ, the Euro has to disintegrate. All that expected “shift in money back home” ain’t gonna happen if there’s still a Euro and a Lira.

      … which brings me back to Germany. Does Germany really want to be back to a an appreciating DM when most of its European trading partners are back on depreciated local currencies?
      Short answer: No.

      Where there’s a will …

      1. Oregoncharles

        “Have a chat with Tsipras”
        This has been discussed endlessly here, but the key difference is that Italy is Too Big to Fail; unlike Greece, it takes the whole Zone down with it. It’s also too big to bail out.

        Literally nobody knows how that works out. We have it on good authority that changing the currency – leaving the Eurozone – would take two years just for the IT changes. It isn’t possible on an emergency basis. But where the EZ was willing to let Greece just go hang, they don’t really have that option with Italy. It would break the banks and the EU.

        My own proposal would be to start the preparations with a target date 2 years out, then start the negotiations with the EU. Schaueble (even I can’t spell that) did offer to pay Greece to go away; maybe they should have taken him up on it. It hasn’t been done before, but if any country can handle the chaos, Italy, “the world’s only functioning anarchy”, can.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          I remember reading someone’s extensive writing on the “IT problem” (Scott Fullwiler?) w.r.t. #GrExit a while back. I have not read as much on the Italian run-up sadly, so mea culpa if I missed earlier discussions.

          Well, if this is being discussed openly in certain circles sans Troika disapprobation, perhaps we are really nearing the end of the Euro. And all I can say to that is “wow”.

          PS: I always copy & paste Schäuble’s name … ;-)

      2. TheCatSaid

        The previously secret IMF papers are frank, shocking in their content, and amazing non-bureaucratic in tone.

        The IMF, ECB and EU owe Greece, big time. And the continental banks who were bailed out at Greece’s expense. Ditto for Ireland, who suffered similar strong-arming tactics (threatened withdrawal of liquidity).

        I can better understand Tsipras et al having agreed to some of the bailout conditions, given the extent to which they were lied to by all the other parties.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Yes, it was all very sad to watch unfold. Greece keeps getting the equivalent of a “temporary stay of execution” that only allows more Greek assets to be sold off to foreign interests. There is no valid long term solution for this that avoids impoverishing half the Greek population.

    2. Foppe

      Hi Chris,

      My point is that there are 2 ways to address the ‘greek’ (which stretches far beyond greece) problem.

      1. exit (but then, where to stop? also, as Yves pointed out: this doesn’t work for countries heavily reliant on imports, and/or countries that have foreign-currency-denominated debts that they are told to repay). And there are huge, unnecessary transition costs involved.

      2. get the ECB and political class to acknowledge MMT truths concerning the functioning of money, and allow for deficit-spending, writing off of debts, etc.; coupled with (if that is then deemed desirable) (shadow)bank (oversight) reforms.

      Personally, considering points 1 & 2, plus the institutional problems referenced by you, plus the fact that we have to all embrace MMT some day anyway if we want to get out of this grave we’re digging for ourselves) I am leaning more and more towards spreading awarfneness of MMT talking points and theory, because that’s the only way to tackle the short/medium-term problems that the EZ (and EU more widely) is facing; with the added advantage that there doesn’t need to be all that much institutional change — just keep the IR at ~0%, and don’t punish countries for ignoring the SGP debt/deficit criteria, and we’re good to go.
      If, afterwards, it is still desirable to unwind the Euro, we can have a look at it, but considering that the same problems also affect other regional economies within EZ countries, I’m really not sure that pushing Exits makes sense, not least because of how it wouldn’t upend the ideological status quo at the national level.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        I’ve grown less optimistic that the likes of the Troika will adopt MMT principles any time soon. As blogger Frances Coppola put it: ” … the Eurozone is in reality a financial dictatorship run by bankers”. In my mind we have to accept that there can’t really be a monetary union without a fiscal union; there can’t be a fiscal union unless the union macro is run with an understanding of the sectoral balances of the periphery countries necessitating running deficits; in the absence of such a union, let countries return to their currencies, manage their local economies better at least, and provide a debt jubilee so they can effectively reset their external sectors.

        1. Foppe

          Oh, it’s not that I’m optimistic, per se; more that I don’t really see (m)any alternatives out there, given the institutional status quo. That said, I agree that the ECB/Troika won’t choose to act that way; but no politician will, absent a changes to people’s mental conceptions of the world.

  15. fresno dan

    For the final story in the series, a Chicago physician wrote prescriptions for drugs with dangerous interactions and gave them to the Tribune. Led by reporters Sam Roe, Ray Long, and Karisa King (who has since left the paper for a position as investigations editor at the Las Vegas Review-Journal), the Tribune dispersed those prescriptions among 15 staff reporters. At each of the pharmacies that reporters visited—in Chicago, downstate Illinois, and neighboring Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan—reporters presented prescriptions and noted whether pharmacists warned them of potential drug interactions. Although they did not identify themselves as journalists, the reporters used their real names and answered questions truthfully. The filled prescriptions were collected and stored in a secure location.

    In all, the Tribune tested 255 pharmacies; of that number, 52 percent failed to provide reporters with adequate warnings.


    “Patients injured by prescription drugs sometimes claim that their pharmacists had a duty to warn
    them about potential side effects and other dangers associated with prescription drugs. This
    memorandum provides citations to court decisions from across the country that address the issue
    of whether and when pharmacists have a duty to warn.
    Most courts have ruled that pharmacists do not have a general duty to warn patients about their
    prescribed drugs. Instead, the general rule is that drug manufacturers have a duty to provide
    general warnings to physicians, and then physicians have a duty to warn their patients about the
    drugs they prescribe”
    Because of own extensive medical history, as well as the fact that I worked at FDA, I asked a number of physicians treating me if they actually read the drug label* – and not one had. I asked how they knew what drugs to prescribe, and after the fancy words, it amounts to they do what everybody else does.

    * this is the professional label required for all prescription medications and is intended only for physicians (anybody can read it, but the intent is to provide information to physicians) – NOTE that this labeling contains drug interaction information, and begs the question, if a physician hasn’t read it, how do they know what drugs interact? **

    **Well, one doctor (cardiologist) told me he just didn’t believe the drug interaction data….

    Here in CA every time I get a prescription filled I have to sign a waiver that I don’t want to consult with the pharmacist. I always sign the waiver because I have found that for all the time spent waiting to talk to the pharmacist, they have never supplied me with any information that wasn’t already on the drug package insert, and often times contradicted it anyway.

  16. Carolinian

    The WaPo Cult of the Medium Post is worth a read. There was some discussion here yesterday about the good ole days of NC commentary but my recollection is that it consisted of brilliant people interspersed with lots of CT and Deep State. From the Post

    But more than that, the point of Pepinsky’s piece was to identify the flaw in trying to completely understand and explain the Trump administration’s intentions in real time at all: “observational equivalence.”

    “We have two theories of why something is happening, and yet we cannot tell which is the ‘correct’ theory based on the data that we observe,” he wrote. “We have precious little evidence about what is happening within President Trump’s administration. What we observe is its output: executive orders, staffing decisions, and personnel management. What we don’t observe is everything that we need to know to interpret those outputs.”

    Which is to say speculation is not certainty. Some of us who hold out faint hopes that Trump may do good things could be guilty of this as well. But since the left are supposed to be the well educated, sensible ones the full bore grassy knoll is kind of scary.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      “…speculation is not certainty.”

      Yes, that. There definitely seems to be a cohort which feels that Trump’s name cannot even be mentioned without massive amounts of opprobrium immediately heaped on top. The hysteria and histrionics don’t help – they only serve to give him the status of some real life Voldemort (who wasn’t even that great of a villain IMHO – he was definitely no Sauron). No need to build him up as a bigger menace than he really is.

      We still do have checks and balances in this country, the question is will the opposition use them. When the Republicans are in the minority they clearly have no problem doing so. The Democrats never cease to enjoy being steamrolled, claiming it’s all somehow unfair, and then begging for money to order to further their own incompetence and venality. That seems to me to be where we’re at as a country right about now. ‘Resistance’ my ass.

      I very much appreciate the fact that this site has not bought into the hysteria and don’t feel there has been a rightward shift at all. Yves and Lambert have allowed all voices to be heard however and I believe that’s what some who claim there has been a shift are taking offense with. Personally I enjoy that this hasn’t become simply an echo chamber. From what I’ve gathered many who participate here have participated in the echo chambers and found them wanting.

      The shift I have seen is from more purely economic to more political discussion but I’d chalk that up to the site’s economic policies being attractive to Sanders supporters who began congregating here. That plus the two subjects are pretty intertwined. Economics, not being a science at all, basically is politics, as alluded to in the post on inequality earlier today.

    2. jrs

      ” In an article rebutting Zunger’s approach, Pepinsky argued that it was possible “everything that Zunger identifies is evidence not of a deliberate planning by an aspiring authoritarian, but of the exact opposite: the weakness and incoherence of administration by a narcissist.””

      Yea Pepinsky I am not impressed because this is just the standard position most everyone holds, that Trump does what he does out of narcissism and unpredictability and childishness (he’s an immature toddler) and whatever you want to call it. So it’s all psychologized and made a case of acting out a personality disorder. But power though it’s often manned with sociopaths, is about more than personality disorders. So we have a right to ask about interests and who wins and loses and etc. because that’s what power is actually about. So the method to the madness people are actually making an interesting case. Something that everyone and their brother isn’t already saying.

      Now of course the coup article is rather certain where it’s hard to be so. I suspect the method to the madness if anything will just be oligarchical (for a certain set of oligarchs) and corrupt – but not necessarily accidentally, but maybe very deliberately so.

      1. UserFriendly

        Yeah I agree. The pepinsky piece just pointed out the obvious. This piece from the same writer as that amazing ‘Feminism of the Few Has No Place in a Nation for All’ that I sent in a few weeks ago is a much better take down of the coup histeria.

        I choose not to call what is happening right now a coup, at least not yet, because of what I have seen in my research and personal experience. I have examined the inner workings of coups from multiple sides, what has gone into orchestrating, sustaining, and fighting them. I have witnessed this in the present throughout Latin America and the Middle East, and felt frustrated by the failure of the United States – from citizens to government officials — to acknowledge or care about some of these issues because they were happening in “faraway,” understudied, and often misunderstood regions of the world in real time. There was no historical distance through which people could look on these events and lament what “could have been” or wax poetic about what we “should have done.” Instead, the nasty reality of interventionist U.S. foreign policy was happening on the watch of politicians that so many held an affinity toward due in large part to the Buzzfeedification of political discourse.

    3. fresno dan

      February 4, 2017 at 10:43 am

      COMMENT FROM LINKS 2/2/2017
      February 2, 2017 at 10:18 am
      Yes, more new ideas, please!

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

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

      Another aspect regarding the stories we’ve been told is how evil is handled. It’s often given more 3-dimensionality than the good to make clear its fearsomeness and to produce some adrenalin flow. To serve this, evil people/groups are often played as geniuses while the good people/groups are ‘common folk’ who win by the skin of their teeth or by lucking out just because they are good. This is disempowering–our stories need to do better on this.
      Art is not life.

      First of all, I thought the Patricia comment is very insightful. And so much of what passes for “news” and/or analysis is poor psychology or uncritical and unfounded speculation – the great gaping maw of so many cable shows and the internet HAS TO BE FILLED – and boring policy doesn’t get the clicks a good story gets.

      So my point is that the Carolinian article and the Patricia comment share something – The WaPo Cult of the Medium Post is based on re-tweets by two entertainers – Katy Perry and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Hmmmmm……AND (the article) STATES:
      “A viral, speculative scenario can be either a fantasy or a nightmare, but both usually share one thing: a promise of certainty. There’s a weird sort of relief that comes with believing you UNDERSTAND, at least, why a bad thing is happening, even if you’re powerless to stop it. Increasingly, the paranoid Medium post has entered to provide that relief.”

      Which again, just reinforces the idea that everything has to be in a “narrative” or story, which so matches what Patricia said, “In art, nothing happens that is not later found to be important. Details are clues that affect story plot and help determine the conclusion.”
      But Patricia also points out something very important: “And maybe, just maybe, sometimes the people in charge are just as blinkered as we are.”
      Have the economic policies of the last 50 years been good policies for most Americans???. Has the foreign policy of the US been good for most Americans??? Maybe the last 6 presidents just had more personable and better looking press agents to present their side. Are they TRYING to make us poorer, or do they simply not know how to stop us from becoming poorer?

  17. David

    I’m surprised no-one has commented on the MoA piece, so let me be the first. You don’t need to invoke conspiracy theories: there’s plenty of publicly available examples to confirm that this kind of complex, furtive operation has a very high chance of going wrong, and at best will more-or-less succeed without too many glitches. My own guess (based on no evidence) is that this was an operation that was briefed to Obama, but he rejected or delayed it as too potentially hazardous and likely to go wrong. So the military tried again with a new and inexperienced leadership that said yes. It’s worth pointing out also that in a properly organised state the political leadership doesn’t try to second-guess the military on military issues, but applies a common-sense reality test to what it’s told, and relies on the military to be able to do what it says it can. But that political leadership, as with everything else, has to take the final responsibility.

    1. Eureka Springs

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the timing wasn’t just about darkness of nights, but for Obama and the spooks to make sure Trump sullied his hands with an assassination of an American citizen quickly as possible.

      Keeps the war crimes charges at bay.

      1. Carolinian

        Shades of Blackhawk Down? But some of us who have been part time Trump defenders have been taken aback by his putting Iran “on notice.” The idiotic Haley sounded a similar note when she said the US would be “taking names” during her opening speech at the UN. Perhaps the best that can be said for DT is that so far the opposition isn’t much more mature.

        1. tgs

          While I agree that taking a wait and see attitude on DT makes sense, he is not making it easy. In the first place he is completely ignorant of issues in the middle east and seems completely uninterested in getting up to speed. His insistence that Obama ‘gave’ Iran a 150 billion dollar bribe is delusional. And going immediately to 10 after the ballistic missile test was also criminally stupid. Pat Buchanan, who had a great deal of hope for DT, wrote the following:

          A prediction: The Chinese will not be departing from their islands, and the Iranians will defy the U.S. threat against testing their missiles.

          Wednesday’s White House statement makes a collision with Iran almost unavoidable, and a war with Iran quite possible.
          The Coming Clash With Iran

          And then today: Iran Carries Out New Missile Tests After Trump Imposes Sanctions

          Since it is an article of faith in DC that the Iranians are bad actors, DT will get no pushback from the mainstream, including the #Notmypresident people on his insane Iran policy.

          1. pretzelattack

            trump seems to be getting on board with the war with russia folks. attacking iran is really not a good idea, brings in russia and china. it may be even easier to play trump that it was to play the chimp, or a dementia addled reagan, just depends on who wins the battle to influence him.

            1. Lord Koos

              From what I’ve heard it sounds like he’s more interested in fighting with China than Russia.

          2. Jim Haygood

            Good thing the AIPAC policy conference [a/k/a “three days of hate for Iran”] is coming up next month, to help get our war on.

            “More than two-thirds of Congress,” brags the web page. And they aren’t making that up. :-(


        2. Carolinian

          Speaking of Haley, the other day she told the Security Council that American sanctions wouldn’t be lifted until Russia gave back Crimea (in other words, never).

          Sources told CNN Thursday evening that the White House was aware in advance of Haley’s speech. A source told CNN’s Dana Bash that Haley didn’t get direction from the White House but she wasn’t asked not do to it. Another source told CNN’s Elise Labott the National Security Council signed off on the remarks.

          Haley’s primary foreign policy experience consists of being born in the US to Sikh Indian parents.

          Then there’s that other loose cannon Flynn. Here M of A patiently explains reality.

          Perhaps Trump put Bannon on the NSC so he could keep an eye on this nutter. Since Trump likes to tell people “you’re fired” what are the odds Flynn will be first, followed by the improbable Nikki. Ivanka would make a good replacement since she’s at least a team player.

          1. tgs

            Haley also blamed the current Kiev offensive against eastern Ukraine on the Russians.


            During an unusual private meeting on the sidelines of Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast, President Donald Trump promised a Ukrainian opposition leader that the United States won’t lift sanctions on Russia until it pulls out of Ukraine, according to three people briefed on the meeting. Trump tells Ukrainian politician he won’t lift Russia sanctions

            Difficult to pull out your forces from an area when you don’t have them there in the first place.

            McCain and Graham, of course, are in the Ukraine bellowing for more action. If DT doesn’t realize he is being played he will not last long.

            Daniel Lazare’s piece, Steering Trump Back to Endless War, at is worth a read on current events.

            1. Carolinian

              She’s a one woman team of rivals. Haley seems to have been picked because he needed a woman and a southerner and without much forethought or other concern. We, her former constituents, could have warned him.

    2. Paid Minion

      The “delayed until a night with no moon” sound about right.

      Doing so maximizes the advantages of having night vision systems.

    3. pretzelattack

      i don’t know that the military is driving this. obama didn’t show much sqeamishness about similar military ops afaik, or any genuine remorse about killing the 16 year old aw awlaki boy by alleged mistake (robert gibbs–“he should have had a more responsible father”). obama could have looked at the marginal cost vs marginal gain to his legacy and decided it wasn’t worth it, as he could always point to the osama raid to burnish his hardline cred with the right people.

    4. susan the other

      Even MoA didn’t really ask the best question, which is: what about timing? They supposedly bombed/attacked a house wherein there were people who wanted to keep Aden under Saudi control. Why were they all gathered there? Why did they continue to gather there from Obama’s last summer to Trump’s first winter, sitting around like ducks? None of this makes sense. There is a reason this raid happened, it was a big deal and well-planned. And clearly it’s top secret. Trump agreed to take the fall. For all we know it was a screaming success.

    5. VietnamVet

      Donald Trump was brave saying “Only ‘stupid’ people think warm ties with Russia are a bad thing”. The Yemen raid plus Flynn’s and Haley’s statements indicate he is not in control and that there has been no change in strategic thinking. The Great Game against Eurasia is still on. With inequality rising and the hope for peace gone, the great unraveling of America will accelerate. His twitter tantrum over a “so called” federal judge; just triggered a separation of powers conflict. This is crazy.

    6. integer

      There is a possibility that the new focus on Iran is aimed at placating Israel now that it looks likely that the Assad government will remain in Syria. I highly recommend reading the following email in its entirety to get an idea of where Israel stands with regard to Syria and Iran.

      The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad. Negotiations to limit Iran’s nuclear program will not solve Israel’s security dilemma. Nor will they stop Iran from improving the crucial part of any nuclear weapons program — the capability to enrich uranium. At best, the talks between the world’s major powers and Iran that began in Istanbul this April and will continue in Baghdad in May will enable Israel to postpone by a few months a decision whether to launch an attack on Iran that could provoke a major Mideast war.

      1. RMO

        “the crucial part of any nuclear weapons program — the capability to enrich uranium”

        Uh-huh… then explain please why the vast majority of the nuclear weapons the world is cursed with use plutonium, which can be manufactured without any need for uranium enrichment capacity? The people with their hands on the levers of power are completely insane. Not that that’s a new revelation but it has really been thrown into sharp relief over the last year.

    1. Lord Koos

      I’ve had the same thought more than once. The loosening of firearm restrictions, the lack of federal concern about the heroin/Oxycontin crisis, the worsening death stats for working class white men (and now middle class women as well), all point to it. But it should be obvious even to Democrats that both parties stopped giving a shit about American workers a long time ago. We are cattle…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      After Rome was sacked, for a few hundred years, the local barons sustained (as in sustainability) themselves with self-financed knights.

      With Greenland ice melting 6 times faster than predicted (my hunch is ‘Hey, the math there could be wrong on the low side – just because we are humans!’), far flung legions of supply-chain-managing soldiers and local collaborators can not be maintained any longer.

      It will no longer be ‘All Sea Lanes Lead to the Imperial Homeland.’

      And billionaires would be wise to accumulate more billions in order to finance more knights, as a dark age is about to dawn (a Dark Age gets darker with the dawn, not lighter. Not darkest before dawn, but lightest before dawn).

  18. Eureka Springs

    On Fukushima. 570 Sieverts! Since 8 or 10 kill someone within days or a week and the 70 Sievert range was the highest previously recorded – back in the earliest days.

    So is this the equivalent of a bomb going off now? How close can people get to the entire plant area?

    Shouldn’t we be shutting down every nuclear power plant in the U.S. today? I’m less than a hundred miles north of one and about that far south of another. If either of those melt down.. hundreds of miles of Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers would be destroyed all the way to New Orleans, for what, thousands of years?

    There’s no escape.

    What the he*l are the Japanese thinking? I guess, like us, they aren’t thinking at all.

    1. Aumua

      Although Fukushima is clearly a major disaster that will have ongoing consequences for a long time, and should be a cause of reevaluating the safety of nuclear power in general, I remain skeptical of Fukushima radiation scare stories. There have been a ton of dire predictions from questionable sources (sorry, RT) such as the west coast of the US is going to fry, all life in the Pacific is dead or dying, etc. I have a friend who are certain that living in Arizona is a decision that will be my doom because of Fukushima radiation. There are in in ordinate amount of entities who are more than willing to pick up any fact and turn it into a lurid headline when it comes to this.

      I hate to be the one who’s minimizing it, but for instance the oft quoted 300 tons per day of radioactive water sounds like a huge amount, but that’s literally on the order of 100 trillionth of the size of the Pacific. That amount could spill every day for the entire age of the universe, and still only be a few percent of the volume of the ocean. Would you like to make a guess of how many people have died from Fukushima radiation since the accident 5 years ago? The answer is zero, but you wouldn’t know it from reading a headline like this “‘Shocking how many people died in Fukushima’ – documentary director to RT (RT). Read the story and you’ll find out that it’s a little thin on details. You have to ask yourself: why is dishonesty necessary here? Is the truth not strong enough to stand on its own? These new stories are similarly unclear on certain details. Where was the high radiation measured? Inside the containment vessel seems to be the answer, and yet it is consistently being implied that these levels are being measured in the general vicinity of the plant. That’s a big difference.

      Once again, Fukushima is a major disaster that should be causing a reevaluation of nuclear power safety. I ask only that the reader look at the more extreme claims around it with skepticism, like any extreme claims.

      1. andyb

        well, the radiation danger is very real; the proven medical consequences of Chernobyl in a 500 mile radius attest to it. Fukushima is 1000+ times worse than Chernobyl. The incremental death of many of the species of marine life in the Pacific is not fear mongering or a conspiracy theory; it’s fact. The radiation readings for the US can be found at the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center ( Note that the USG took its readings down after Fukushima. Now it is true that some of the US radiation is caused by old leaking plants, but this doesn’t account for the many “evacuation level” readings.

        1. Aumua

          The site you linked is a perfect example of what I am talking about. There’s a big donate button on the front page, and they are selling access to the best charts and radiation alerts to scared people, while scrolling lurid and sensationalized headlines across the top of the page. What does all these maps and radiation readings actually mean? Who can interpret this data? Well is here to tell us what it all means. How magnanimous of them.

          What’s happening in our oceans is really bad. I don’t have much to say about it that’s hopeful. But Fukushima radiation is only the tiniest, tiniest factor in the current mass extinctions that are underway.

        2. neo-realist

          I’m looking for stats linking increased cancer deaths in the Western United States to Fukushima, but have not found any in spite of the fact that there appears to be enough time passed for such to happen.

      2. integer

        Would you like to make a guess of how many people have died from Fukushima radiation since the accident 5 years ago? The answer is zero

        I find this extremely hard to believe and I am not sure why you would believe it either. Tepco were using the Japanese mafia to recruit homeless people to do the dirtiest clean-up work at Fukushima, and the homeless are not a cohort that generally receive medical attention or have their cause of death properly examined. Also, the Japanese government has a highly vested interest in minimizing bad publicity regarding Fukushima, as do the the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is a very powerful lobbying group by any standards.

        1. Skip Intro

          he’s just quoting standard industry talking points. The theory of dilution factors is also straight industry propaganda meant to sound like common sense. It discounts bioaccumulation as well as falsely assuming that point sources are evenly diluted.

          1. Aumua

            I can see how it might look like I’m just repeating pro nuclear propaganda.. if you’re not reading very carefully that is, however I assure you that I have developed my position on this (and continue to develop it) all on my own. I’m kind of anomalous that way.

        1. Aumua

          It is quite possible that the reported number of deaths is inaccurate, however, even considering some of teh shady circumstances reported on in that link, when talking about a coverup and/or conspiracy, you have to consider how many people from various walks of life would need to be complicit and continue to keep silent for it to work. I could see some deaths being covered up, but if it were on any kind of a large scale, then the likelihood of a successful coverup goes down quickly. The point being, if there have been deaths from the radiation, it’s unlikely that there have been very many.

          Now we aren’t counting cancers and whatnot down the road either, and there will undoubtedly be latent and lingering effects for a long time. As I continue to say, it is a major disaster. I just believe it is counterproductive to blow it out of proportion, exactly like with the DAPL protestors and the claims of lethal weapons being used by police there. Playing on people’s emotions and fears, sensationalizing and distorting the truth either for profit, or for some other effect.. I disagree with it as a tactic. Unfortunately I’ve noticed that many of the anti-nuke people have a philosophy that says the ends justify the means, and they have no compunction about lying, exaggerating, or fostering hysteria in general as long as it pushes the agenda. People see through it though, and it harms their cause, which is one I generally support. Let the truth speak for itself.

          I think we’re seeing a similar thing on a larger scale with opposition to Trump.

          1. integer

            when talking about a coverup and/or conspiracy, you have to consider how many people from various walks of life would need to be complicit and continue to keep silent for it to work.

            Well, Japanese society is not known for its propensity to challenge authority. Here’s an article that gives a sense of the dynamics in Japanese society regarding Fukushima:

            Woman breaks silence among Fukushima thyroid cancer patients

            That near-silence highlights the fear Fukushima thyroid-cancer patients have about being the “nail that sticks out,” and thus gets hammered.

            The thyroid-cancer rate in the northern Japanese prefecture is many times higher than what is generally found, particularly among children, but the Japanese government says more cases are popping up because of rigorous screening, not the radiation that spewed from Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.

            To be seen as challenging that view carries consequences in this rigidly harmony-oriented society. Even just having cancer that might be related to radiation carries a stigma in the only country to be hit with atomic bombs.

            In any case, my impression is that Fukushima is much worse than has been admitted to by the Japanese government, though I’ll be the first to admit that I am not omniscient. In fact, as things currently stand, I’m not sure that anyone can accurately quantify how bad it is, though corporations and governments being what they are, it is extremely unlikely that it is any less of a problem than what they are currently admitting to.

      3. Gaianne

        A measurable spike in birth defects already happened–in California. That was some months after the meltdowns themselves.

        What TEPCO will not say is that the reactor cores have left their containment and gone feral–intermittently restarting their fission reactions. Ground water penetrating the core and acting as a moderator is one way this can happen. If the readings seem like the inside of a running reactor, that is because that is approximately what they are.

        Only a few seconds of exposure would kill a person promptly. Robots do not work because the electronics short out and the components themselves are destroyed in short order.


        Your point that radiation levels globally are not that high is true: Humans can suffer a lot of cancer, sickness, and birth defects without going extinct.

        Of course in the longer run, birth defects are unlikely to be a net gain for human fitness.

        1. bob

          “Only a few seconds of exposure would kill a person promptly. Robots do not work because the electronics short out and the components themselves are destroyed in short order. ”

          Back in the old days of nukes, before electronics, they used sheep to control the reactors, they still do. They must. How else do they do it, in the 100’s of nukes still operating today? The answer must be trained sheep. Bilderburg sheep. Recognize that name? Yup.

          Aumua is absolutely right about the level of complete falsehoods propagated as fact around fuk. Great display of it in most of the comments above.

    2. susan the other

      And of course it’s just a small hole; a small China syndrome. Only a square meter or so. Are you kidding me? This is a total disaster for Tokyo because if this “small hole” exists it is polluting groundwater for miles around and it will stay polluted for at least 300,000 years – and (can’t cite, think it was PCR) this will quickly contaminate Tokyo’s drinking water. Which the Japanese have been trying to prevent by allowing it to be washed into the ocean by hillside runoff. So how they can fluff this off is beyond belief.

  19. HBE


    Everytime I see a story on how bad fukushima really is; 300 tons of radioactive water seeping into the Pacific daily, melting reactors (possible core explosions early on), radiation levels so high they kill freaking robots, and on and on. I feel like it is the biggest cover-up ever.

    Chernobyl was inland and not nearly as bad a meltdown as fukushima, the response was immediate and a huge region was still left completely uninhabited. Fukushima was much worse and has been left to fester and continually dump massive amounts of radiation for 6 years, much of it directly into the Pacific.

    Yet it’s somehow no big deal and gets almost no attention (even though Japan found it necessary to ban domestic journalists from investigating it)?

    I’m certainly glad I don’t eat any seafood.

    1. Carolinian

      The article is a counter to Miles O’Brien’s soothing commentary on Fukushima and the nuclear future in that PBS Nova several weeks ago. The prob with nuclear is that the cost of the learning curve is proving to be impossibly high.

      1. Lee

        Assuming we watched the same program, it would seem that there are, will soon be and even have been for some decades, safer reactor designs than those currently in use. At least one of the designs runs on nuclear waste currently being generated by current reactors and the newer designs have what are purported to be infallible safe shutdown capabilities.

        Another recent NOVA program looked at battery technologies that could effectively store large amounts of energy generated from renewables.

        Let’s hope it’s not too late. My house is only 12 feet above sea level and between me and the beach is just 1/2 mile of built up landfill.

        1. Carolinian

          If memory serves Miles talked about some newer designs intended to solve the automatic shutdown problem but did not address the nuclear waste problem which was the subject of another PBS show on Independent Lens. These are substances that will be dangerous for hundreds of years or longer. My own state is host to the Savannah River Plant, which I visited long ago as a high school student, and which has huge tanks of byproducts from the production of H bomb tritium. Miles’ proposal seems to be that we will solve global warming with something that may prove to be just as dangerous and will probably come too late to help much with AGW anyway. Also as some here have pointed out in the past, mining the Uranium and building the infrastructure these complicated plants require may well produce as much carbon as conventional power and will not be cheap for consumers.

          It is a debate to be sure. He seems to be on one side of it.

    2. pretzelattack

      i feel like i’m getting disaster overload syndrome. we’re screwing up our environment in so many ways, just as our social systems start to collapse.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “…overload….so many ways.”

        It’s like the new political reality.

        There are so many screw ups that there is no way we address all of them simultaneously.

        We can only do so much at any time.

        Do you take as much as you can get and not just focus on what you are not getting at the moment?

        1. polecat

          ‘FORWARD … INTO THE DITCH’ ….

          with new-n-improved gill-like mutations ……

          ……….. )))OoO((( ……….

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We have to make sure the 700,000 jobs Japan promises to create for Americans will not involve, in any way, remotely or not, another Fukushima here.

      1. John Parks

        I’m kinda curious how they came up with those figures. 15 Billion dollars invested/year must have a hefty multiplier to explain 700,000 jobs.

    1. Isolato


      Indeed, and one of the main reasons to treasure NC! I cannot tell you, Yves, Lambert, Jerri Lynn. Outtis, how much I appreciate the links to the wonder, mystery, and beauty of life. THEY are our antidotes.

      It is so easy to get carried away w/justified outrage, the impossible tragedies that surround us. A daily reminder that that the human spirit is also capable of soaring is what keeps me going.

  20. meme

    Dennis Kucinich tries to clear up allegations about funding behind Tulsi Gabbard’s trip to Syria, from his facebook page, posted on ZH:

    Today, Rep. Gabbard came under attack yet again by the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin who has been on a tear trying to ruin the reputations of the people and the organization who sponsored our humanitarian, fact-finding mission of peace to the Middle East. Rogin just claimed in a tweet that as community organization I have been associated with for twenty years does not exist.

    The Washington Post Has Declared War On Peacemakers; Dennis Kucinich Rages Against The Military-Industrial-Complex

    (sorry to have to post a ZH link, instant moderation I guess, but it was the only website I could find that is covering this)

  21. meme

    Dennis Kucinich tries to clear up allegations about funding behind Tulsi Gabbard’s trip to Syria, from his facebook page:

    Today, Rep. Gabbard came under attack yet again by the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin who has been on a tear trying to ruin the reputations of the people and the organization who sponsored our humanitarian, fact-finding mission of peace to the Middle East. Rogin just claimed in a tweet that as community organization I have been associated with for twenty years does not exist.

    My original comment, which included a link to a post titled The Washington Post Has Declared War On Peacemakers; Dennis Kucinich Rages Against The Military-Industrial-Complex from a website whose motto comes from Fight Club, seems to have disappeared, so I won’t include it. Surprisingly, the commentariat there, primarily libertarians, anarchists and wack jobs, seems to support progressive Kucinich’s efforts.

    Yikes, now the comment is back in moderation. Sorry in advance for the double post.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For anyone who read this (about libertarians, anarchists and wacko jobs supporting a progressive’s efforts) and went through the ‘clarifying 2016 election,’ the lesson to be drawn is that its time to forget how people label you…do I see a libertarian, wait, maybe a progressive there under attack?

      The best one can do is to thoughtfully come to an opinion, perhaps tentative or perhaps very, very tentatively, through one’s own efforts. How can a right coast person not expose himself/herself to ideas from the left in order to deepening the faith, and, by the same token, how can a left coast person not expose him/herself to ideas from the right in order to deepening the faith? It’s like getting a vaccine shot. Expose oneself to the viruses, once in a while, from the other side.

      And the Big Mental Bang happens when you let heavy idea-particles clash inside your brain.

      Then, a new mental-universe emerges.

  22. susan the other

    The Computational Foundation of Life. Epigenetics, no? Darwin couldn’t possibly have believed in randomness, just rattling around in a can. The word survival itself implies teleology. And this article, like the one before it on the young physicist from MIT, talks about thermodynamics and entropy as a guiding force. This vindicates once again poor maligned Lamarck. Science is all about better vocabulary. Must wonder what descriptions will come to refine this one.

    1. Katharine

      I see no teleology implied by survival (a term Darwin did not use in the first edition of the Origin, but let that go). It is a purely descriptive term for lasting longer than someone else. As for what Darwin “believed” in, it is not relevant. Science is not about belief (and I think Mayr’s assertion of teleology makes that part of his work unscientific). Darwin used Occam’s razor, attempting to identify a mechanism without any more components than strictly necessary to account for observed phenomena. He showed that random variation followed by differential reproduction of different phenotypes could be sufficient to produce change in a species. He did not, to the best of my recollection, proclaim that that made it necessarily the only mechanism involved. He was not such a muddy thinker. Since he wrote before even the beginnings of the study of genetics, he could not have discussed more detail even if he had wished to, and his object was to avoid talking about what was for him unknowable.

      I find Ball’s article strangely unordered, and don’t think I have gotten all I might from it, but I’m puzzled by your saying it vindicates Lamarck, as none of the work described seems to me to do so. If you can point me to a particular section I’ll have another shot at it.

  23. KMSM

    Re: California and withholding federal taxes

    I’m a Californian chiming in here.

    This idea is reportedly being led by none other than Willie Brown Jr. which should be a warning to the sane.

    Just asking any history buffs and lawyers here, but wouldn’t the act of withholding federal taxes be similar to when the Southern States refused to remit customs duties to the U.S. which precipitated the Civil War? And wouldn’t that be an “overt act” that would support charges of treason and sedition against California? (See 18 United States Code Section 2381, Treason, 18 USC Section 2384, Seditious Conspiracy, 18 USC Section 2383, Rebellion or Insurrection; and 18 USC Section 2382, Misprision of Treason)

    On a practical level, what message does this say to ordinary Californians and Americans who believe in law and order? This promotes anarchy and law-breaking, and makes many ask “why should I have to obey the law if politicians can pick and choose what they choose to obey? Why should I pay my state taxes if I disagree with some law I don’t like?” Worse, other states like New York will feel emboldened to do the same.

    1. voteforno6

      The election of Abraham Lincoln was the proximate cause of the Civil War. I don’t know if southern states refused to remit customs duties to the federal government prior to secession or after, though. However, while he was Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis did shift weapons to federal armories in southern states.

    2. todde

      Irs would more than likely seize California state Bank accounts and arrest the state treasurer.

      I have knowledge of them doing this at the county level.

      I am a CPA.

    3. duck1

      Willie Brown is assuredly the the most intelligent mind in the room but the room may be rather dim in Cali.

  24. Oregoncharles

    “Former Norway PM held at Washington airport over 2014 visit to Iran Guardian (Joe H). Lordie”

    I wonder about this: is it a protest by the on-site employees? It certainly underlines the absurdity of the order. In any case, it’s clear that enforcement of the order was very chaotic; some incidents looked really malicious, again on a rather individual basis. Employees’ personal political feelings can come out in chaotic situations.

    1. Katharine

      Personal feelings against a Norwegian former PM?! (And with a diplomatic passport at that.) I mean–Norway?

        1. Katharine

          Seems kind of like working in retail when you believe financial transactions are inherently evil.

          Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if people could get paid to work at things they enjoy doing instead of at whatever they fell into that just manages to preserve some sort of physical security. I should think there would be far less free-floating hostility.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Oops, I wasn’t clear. I thought holding the Norwegian might be a sort of protest against the ban, because it’s obviously excessive – but quite possibly called for by the EO. I suspect the object was to highlight the absurdity.

        On the other hand, some of the way Muslims from the listed countries were treated, like banning them for 5 years when they had no way of knowing they couldn’t enter, looked malicious. It was certainly overzealous, so in those cases, I suspected someone’s personal feelings about Muslims was involved.

        There’s no reason to think immigration officers necessarily agree about the order.

  25. JJJapan

    The article of the Japan investement in the US is sparse with details. This article has more depth:

    The main thrust of the investment is to build several Bullet Train systems which no doubt is where most of the 700,000 jobs will come from. Japan is years head of the rest of the world in energy efficiency technology and the Abe government is committed to delivering it world wide, which is where the other parts of the proposal come in: revamping train cars and subways and working to improve gas and nuclear power generating systems, AI and robot techology in the construction and medical industry, and autonomous cars, and ships and planes. Japan also wants to share the lead with the US in world trade rules and technological development. Given that Obama’s plans for high speed train systems fell on deaf ears, one has to wonder how much of a shell game this is from the Japanese side to protect their exports. BTW, Abe also has called Trump a liar in the press, in the mild Japanese way of course, on the recent statements the President made about Japan trade policies.

  26. HopeLB

    I hope Craazyboy is off either solving a Math theorem or writing a glorious and hilarious book combining math and life as he sees it and which solves everything and nothing simultaneously. (If it is a book, I hope it includes his own illustrations).

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