Links 2/7/17

Sweet Swedish pair rescues a moose from frozen lake TreeHugger (J-LS). Wow, that moose is tough! It was in ice cold water for a pretty long time.

Glenn F:

The Green Comet P45 will be visible toward the end of this week before
sunrise in the east:

Locator maps:

Feb. 9

Feb. 10

Feb. 11

Does an anomaly in the Earth’s magnetic field portend a coming pole reversal? The Conversation (J-LS)

Highest radiation reading since 3/11 detected at Fukushima No. 1 reactor Japan Times

Billionaires say they’ll end disease: evolution says otherwise Aeon (Micael)


South China Sea already “militarised” MacroBusiness. Trump and Bannon are way behind the curve.

Isolating China Doesn’t Work New York Times (David L)


Brexit debate: government wins 1st amendment vote to trigger article 50 – Politics live Guardian. Live blog, so you can read what transpired.

IMF board split over bailout terms for Greece Financial Times

Varoufakis calls Tsipras to prepare for breaking the deal with Greece’s creditors failed evolution

New Cold War

Kremlin seeks apology from Fox News BBC (resilc)

Arab countries face climate warming reality Middle East Online (resilc)


Israel passes bill to seize private Palestinian land for Jewish settlements Washington Post (furzy)

Israel Passes Contentious Palestinian Land-grab Bill in Late Night Vote Haaretz

New Israeli law retroactively legalises settlements Financial Times

Baiting Iran: How Trump Risks Inflaming the Middle East Counterpunch

How We Were Misled About Syria: Channel 4 News Tim Hayward (guurst)

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Chrome 56 quietly added Bluetooth snitch API The Register (Chuck L)

Ecuadorian Presidential candidate’s first act after Feb 19: terminate Assange asylum… @wikileaks

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Simple Way to Save the U.S. Military National Interest

Trump Transition

Trump leans on ‘fake news’ line to combat reports of West Wing dysfunction Politico

Donald Trump should not be allowed to speak in UK parliament, says Speaker Guardian

Tech Companies File Legal Brief Against Trump’s Immigration Order Bloomberg (furzy)

Anti-Trump Protests Complicate Start of His Presidency Associated Press. So far, he’s gotten all of his appointees through. What happens to DeVos is a more telling indictor.

With DeVos Vote, Some Republican Senators Must Weigh Opposing Trump Versus Supporting Policies That Hurt Public Education in Their Own States Capital and Main (Vatch)

Chaos Candidate Becomes the Uncertainty President Bloomberg (resilc)

GOP heavyweight James Baker slams Trump’s foreign policy: ‘We have allies that are just scared to death’ RawStory (furzy)

Elliott Abrams: Trump’s Neocon? Atlantic (resilc)

Trump Has Already Blown It Foreign Policy

The New York Times Prints the Fake Facts that Fit its False Narratives A Case Study Center for Security Policy. Yes, Frank Gaffney is a right wing lunatic. But even right wing lunatics deserve to be quoted accurately. Lambert: “The Times is using scorched earth tactics on its own credibility as a news gathering organization. So who’s the bad guy?!”

Extreme Vetting, But Not for Banks Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

Donald Trump’s politically risky tilt at the fiduciary rule Financial Times

Laugh all you like but satire changes nothing Times

Goldman Sachs Economists Are Starting to Worry About President Trump Bloomberg (resilc)

When It’s Too Late to Stop Fascism, According to Stefan Zweig New Yorker. Resilc: “They should ask black people in St. Louis and Baltimore and……

Federal Court Hearing on FBI Clinton Records – Agency Wants Up to Two Years to Turn Over 35 Records Judicial Watch

A Big Freakin’ Deal in the DNC Chair Race Washington Monthly (resilc)


Trump Says Obamacare Replacement Could Take Until Next Year Bloomberg (resilc)

US Navy decommissions the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Engadget (Chuck L)

CalPERS staff says fund should not divest from Dakota Access Reuters (allan)

Class Warfare

FCC chair stuns consumer advocates with move that could hurt poor people ars technica

Uber Hires Veteran NASA Engineer to Develop Flying Cars Bloomberg (furzy)

As Goldman Embraces Automation, Even the Masters of the Universe Are Threatened MIT Technology Review

Minority Groups Lose When They Collaborate with Power Nautilus (Micael)

You Can’t Fake It Jacobin (UserFriendly). Today’s must read. It also mentions only in passing a key problem: the people who have been protesting (save the cab drivers in NYC) has been mainly people who have the money and time to do so. Any mass effort would require working class participation. What reason do the proponents have to believe they’d show up and be the shock troops for the Acela corridor classes?

Antidote du jour. Glenn F: This is an image/story of Norwegian horses oblivious to the aurora
happening behind them:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. craazyman

      I see all the good stuff AYFKM? Bill & Ted’s adventure was the one where Socrates was chasing hot women at the shopping mall. i saw that one. it was better than The Republic! Plato left shopping malls out of The Republic for some reason.

      That dude Mark Blythe is all over. I liked what i heard him say that I saw on youtube, but can you imagine giving intrviews day in and day out, for weeks. And then months. i mean man oh man. It must get tiring.

      I can’t imagine having to do interviews about what i think. Oh man. They’d have to be on weird late night radio that only freaks listen to. How could anybody be surprised by Trumps victory? I’m not surprised at all. ii’m only surprised because — well it’s no longer a surprise since he’s been president for over a month now — (self editor’s note: this commnter is wrong, Trump has only been presdient since inauguratiion, not a month, see that’s like time travel to go back and change something you said in the paaast.)– but I’m only surprised the Dems coudln’t ram Hillary down the American throats. That they oouldn’t do that — that was sort of surprising.

      It’s like a contest between force feeding and vomiting. Vomiting won.

      1. integer

        I wanted to bet $1000 that trump would win but had no money. I would have walked away with $6000. A six bagger!

      2. integer

        I see all the good stuff AYFKM? Bill & Ted’s adventure was the one where Socrates was chasing hot women at the shopping mall. i saw that one. it was better than The Republic! Plato left shopping malls out of The Republic for some reason.

        The hot women at the shopping mall called Sigmund Freud a geek, and so did Socrates hahaha.
        Socrates felt right at home in the shopping mall because he was all about hanging out and shooting the breeze at his local agora when he wasn’t doing the time traveler thing.

    2. djrichard

      Here’s the link to the Nov 24th youtube video that was being referenced: Mark Blyth on the 2016 US election results

      His analysis is merciless. For instance, “There is no Left left. It’s already had its lunch eaten.” at the 6:55 mark. Must be the Scottish in him, lol.

      Anyways, first time I’ve come across him. Thanks for the link. Will definitely be looking for more from him.

      1. Procopius

        Oh, he’s great. He has lectures on why austerity, to bring the deficit down, is self-defeating, on how (and why) the IMF is destroying Greece, which will be self-harming, on … well, there are a lot of his lectures on YouTube. I have a hard time with his Scottish accent, but it gets easier as you listen — not much easier, but some. Upside is it makes me really listen.

    1. B1whois

      This struck a true note

      It would be reasonable for workers to dismiss the call for a general strike. It looks like they are being asked to be actors in someone else’s drama, by people who just cottoned on to the fact that things are shitty out there.

      1. Vatch

        People don’t have to travel or miss work to protest bad policies or nominations. It’s easy to make a few phone calls to the offices of one’s Senators to protest bad nominations, and to protest bad policies, add a phone call to one’s Representative. If the bad policies are state specific, people can call the offices of their state legislators and their governor.

        1. Eureka Springs

          Might as well just post something on facebook… at least then you get a cookie.

          Note… I don’t call congress nor post on facebook. One is illegitimate and the other makes nasty cookies.

          A general strike is inevitable.. a must. However doing it under the auspice of either party’s BS will not garner the support needed from all sides of the 90 percent. A ten point platform at most is a must, probably just one – Throw them all out!

          Of course when USSR did that, Russia got Yeltsin.

        2. Katharine

          +10 Calling and emailing may or may not do any good, but not calling or emailing is guaranteed not to do any good.

          1. Elizabeth Burton

            My Congressman is Lamar Smith, and my Senators are Cruz and Cornyn. I can find better uses for my time than calling and emailing them, and I suspect a lot of other people know that as well. Look at all the calling and emailing that surrounded DeVox, and notice likewise what it accomplished—nothing.

            People need to get it firmly established in their minds that the GOP and the New Democrats don’t give a rat’s a$$ what their constituents want. Those constituents are only there to provide the votes needed to keep them in office, and they know all to well that, to this point, the bulk of same will continue to do just that.

            We outnumber them, but unless we work to educate the voters and find candidates who actually consider the Constitution a guideline instead of a convenience, we aren’t going to stop the plutocratic juggernaut.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If it’s about being actors in someone else”s drama, the natives in the film “Black and White in Color,” can readily empathize.

      3. Left in Wisconsin

        Yeah, the article suggested the current call for a general strike is just another lark for people who like making signs and chanting. And I love the fact that some have amended the call to exempt people who might get fired if they strike. Which, of course, is just about everyone except those with cushy, flexible jobs and no clue.

      4. clarky90

        IMO, The Workers have already gone on Strike. They “Struck” by voting in Donald Trump as President of The United States.

        1. clinical wasteman

          Right after they mounted the barricades by laughing at John Key’s homespun wit? Excuse the sarcasm, but if that (or any election result) is the closest we can get to a successful strike, we really are doomed. Even more so if “the workers” = workers of a certain cultural/genetic profile. The first thing Identity Politicians of all pseudosides agree on is that “working class” is not the right word for “minority” workers. The liberal wing of the Identopolitics party says “minorities” are better than that but need to be locked up for our own protection. The Patriotic wing pretends we don’t work and locks us up to make sure we can’t. For as long as this Bipartisan slander divides workers, the Beltway professionals and Maverick landlords will rest easy in their sarcophagi. Because for all their bickering, their class solidarity will be stronger than ours.
          A non-sarcastic question for Clarky: if voting for Trump is a strike, how should the workers of Mangere and Otara go about organizing one? By voting for that famous philoPasifikan (and hair model) Winston Peters?

      5. Lord Koos

        I think a general strike is an excellent idea – of course strikes always require sacrifice on the part of the workers, it goes with the territory.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            Can’t one participate in a general strike by simply sitting at home doing some long-delayed projects, or spending some quality family time? Demanding people put themselves in harms way by joining mass public demonstrations seems like a set-up for painful and disempowering defeat and failure. The cops will want to bust hippy skulls, that’s about the only skill many possess, why make it easy for them? To satisfy someone’s need for quaint telegenic theatrical re-enactments of bloody century-old set pieces? C’mon man. Think.

  1. David

    Just when you’d had enough of French political scandals, Le Monde has published on its website details of charges that will be brought against ex-President Sarkozy and thirteen others over illegal campaign expenses in 2012. This is known as the “Bygmalion” affair, after the name of the event-organising company at the origin of the scandal. By charging the expenses of some of Sarkozy’s rallies and other events (some imaginary) to his party, the UMP, and not to his campaign, Bygmailion was able to funnel about €20M of extra funding into Sarkozy’s campaign, which is enormous by French standards. It seems that there’s no proof that Sarkozy actually ordered this, or even necessarily knew about it, but that he was perfectly aware that his campaign funds were being illegally topped from somewhere. Sarkozy’s lawyer has said he will appeal against the decision, which you can do in the French system, so the final outcome is not certain.
    This is not the only scandal where Sarkozy could face charges – the most serious is that of alleged Libyan financing of the same campaign, where we might see developments quite soon. It’s hard to imagine any development which could do more harm to French politics than it has already suffered, but this may be it. Sarkozy is now definitely out of the running for President (there were signs that he was getting interested again) and anyone from his wing of the party put forward as “Plan B” is going to have a tough time now, denying any knowledge of this trickery.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you for the updates, David.

      I get TV5 at home, so will watch the news this evening.

      The Libyan financing will be interesting as it may be linked to Sarko’s later gunning for the Gadafy.

      I have rarely, if ever, heard of Sarko’s links to the US MIC explored. One of his brothers and (former) stepdaughter (the daughter of France’s Bruce Forsyth :-)) worked for Wall Street firms. That may explain why MS software was used for an upgrade of French government software (the original was developed in house) and the money paid to MS in the emerald offshore paradise.

  2. vlade

    I’m amazed, truly amazed, that anyone can discuss the fiducary rules with a straight face. Even the big Pharma at least pretends that its various products are good for you and it has your interests in the mind.

    At the same time, it shows the hypocrisy – we’re meant to believe that en-bloc monitoring etc. is good for us because “(s)he who does no wrong has nothing to fear” (yeah, right), but fidurcary rules, nah, why would we need that?

    1. DH

      The financial sector is quite serious about their belief that strip-mining 2% a year from your assets is good for you because of all of the valuable financial advice they provide you, such as the recommendations to purchase sub-prime mortgage bonds because house prices have never fallen.

      1. fresno dan

        February 7, 2017 at 9:11 am

        Very much akin to the idea that you can predict what accident or illness will befall you, and all you have to do is wade through tens of thousands of pages of insurance declaimers to figure out the most cost effective insurance policy for yourself…..

        Invest in the lottery…As CA tells me, I can’t win if I don’t play

      2. Jim Haygood

        ‘because of all of the valuable financial advice they provide you’

        As your sarcasm accurately highlights, financial advice driven by the broker’s interest in maximizing her commission is tainted advice.

        Let us make ten trades a month in your churned account, get a free case of Flint water! Who’s your daddy?

    1. fresno dan

      As Goldman Embraces Automation, Even the Masters of the Universe Are Threatened MIT Technology Review

      Average compensation for staff in sales, trading, and research at the 12 largest global investment banks, of which Goldman is one, is $500,000 in salary and bonus, according to Coalition. Seventy-five percent of Wall Street compensation goes to these highly paid “front end” employees, says Amrit Shahani, head of research at Coalition.

      For the highly paid who remain, there is a growing income spread that mirrors the broader economy, says Babson College professor Tom Davenport. “The pay of the average managing director at Goldman will probably get even bigger, as there are fewer lower-level people to share the profits with,” he says.

      The insinuation is that anyone at Goldman Sachs knows what they are doing. If Goldman Sachs hadn’t been bailed out by the US government, it would no longer exist. When your rich and you get welfare, its called…..well, anything but welfare.

      I wonder how many previous bailouts (or manipulations that allow it to profit) Goldman has had that I am unaware of.

      1. Tom

        Goldman replaced 598 equity traders with software supported by 200 computer engineers. Want to bet someone is already hard at work figuring out how to replace 200 computer engineers with software supported by 1 computer engineer?

          1. craazyboy

            GS will eliminate the H-1B webpage jockey gig by outsourcing trading the new IBM Dr. Watson AI HFT trading central internet hub. IBM programs Dr. Watson’s 1st Directive to be gaming Goldman’s bonus plan. The 2nd Directive will be to make the ‘net non-neutral for competing traders.

            Equilibrium is restored and economists and financial professionals rejoice around the world, singing and dancing and blowing delightfully yuuge and beautiful bubbles. This will never end – because infinity.

          2. Tom

            You may have a future at Goldman (a nasty, short and brutish one, but still, any gig in a storm, right?).

        1. DH

          Cutting back on H1B visas means that those software engineers will be located in India where they can be paid less as well.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          Someone already did over a decade ago – Accelerando.

          I know we have some scifi fans here and I highly recommend this speculative economic fiction regarding the future of the corporation.

          Corporations have become algorithms with no human component, wending their way through a solar system wide internet and chewing up all available resources for their own benefit. One corporate entity having a giant slug as its avatar was a nice touch.

          The author Charlie Stross has made it available for free download which you can find with a quick search if interested. Spoiler alert: you will be assimilated.

          1. craazyboy

            That was a good’un. Read it many years ago and can’t remember that many details of it tho. His Laundry Files series is good comedy too.

          2. Code Name D

            Intresting idea. I may have to experament with it. I have been looking for a villan for my story any way.

    2. cocomaan

      Some mornings when I go out to feed and water the chickens and there’s a spectacular sunrise, I wonder if they appreciate it and reflect on its beauty.

      I suspect not. They are usually screeching for me to get the food into the coop, posthaste. Oh well.

      1. fresno dan

        February 7, 2017 at 9:20 am

        Speaking for the chickens, we would certainly enjoy the sunrises if certain snoozy heads got up at a reasonable hour (like 3 am) to feed and water us….

        1. cocomaan

          Hah! Last time I went in there before sunrise, everyone was sleeping and not happy that I disturbed their rest. You can’t have your egg and eat it too.

          1. polecat

            “You can’t have your egg and eat it too”

            ….. tell that to the chickens !!

            Ever hear of ‘egg stealers’ ?

        1. Ed Miller

          I can’t resist. From the first paragraph in this link:

          “Scientists working on animal cognition often dwell on their desire to talk to the animals. Oddly enough, this particular desire must have passed me by, because I have never felt it. I am not waiting to hear what my animals have to say about themselves, taking the rather Wittgensteinian position that their message might not be all that enlightening…”

          In contrast, what Noam Chomsky says about human language IS enlightening – Humans developed language in order to lie.

          Kudos to animals!

          1. mk

            I used to know two chimpanzees, Isaac and Ace. When I first met them, they in their compound in chain link fence, me on the other side of the fence, they made a great display, running laps in their compound, pounding on the door to their bedroom, screeching, and dipping their faces into a large tub of water. While watching their display they spit a huge amount of water into my face, cracked me up! Their caretakers said it was a test they perform on new people, they want to know if I was a fun person or not.

            We didn’t speak, but there was lots of communicating.

  3. maria gostrey

    call me a cynic, but i find it curiouser & curiouser that these recent protests receive such positive news coverage.

    or actually that these protests receive any coverage at all. contrast, for example, the paucity of coverage regarding the no-DAPL protests with the glowing (one might almost say “fawning”) coverage of the womens march.

    1. Montanamaven

      I mentioned this on the day of the Woman’s March on Jan21. The only march I ever went to (because I thought they were kind of useless, but since I had never participated in one thought I should know what I was talking about) was a 2005 Peace march in DC protesting the Iraq war. Easily 300,000 people on a Saturday but no coverage at all. If the march/protest is anti-establishment as in anti MIC; anti Wall Street; anti capitalism, there will be no coverage like no coverage of DAPL protests or union strikes. But if it’s condoned by TPTB or Deep State or whatever you call it, there is non stop breathless coverage. The sheeple are being herded into some veal pen (as Jane Hamscher called it). The increasingly spooky move and other various groups suddenly appearing in my email is worrisome. The Organizing for Me to Feel Better Because I’m Scared deals that I get in the e-mail with letters from dubious historical figures like Madeline Allbright are like the shrieks of the dinosaurs as they sink into the tar pits. But they want to bring all of us down with them. I don’t think we are cynical enough

      1. perpetualWAR

        I got the same Albright plea for my money and my outrage. I responded to that email explaining the only outrage I felt was the supposed “lefts” embracing of a woman who condoned the killing of 500,000 women and children overseas.


      2. jrs

        Biggest strike in the U.S. going on for awhile was the prison labor strike, huge. How much of that ever got into the MSM? How many Indians in India striking about neoliberal government policies ever got in the news. But it was millions of people. But I still don’t know why they did cover Occupy for a while initially, I think initially they didn’t see the fangs in that movement (that is the real desire to overhaul the system by the anarchists, other leftists, and various progressives involved) and as soon as they did they backed off fast.

      3. Octopii

        Yes. That was the one that really inspired my own cynicism about government, media, and protest. It also planted the seed of NPR Skepticism in my mom, who until that point had considered anything they broadcast gospel.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        That story left out the end:

        And then after a successful protest against Trump’s immigration policies on behalf of their employer, Comcast workers came back to the office and were asked to train their H1B replacements.

        Talk about giving someone the noose to hang themselves…

      2. Montanamaven

        The comments are devastating. Lots of comments on H-1b visa abuse. One commenter said that Comcast customers should watch for a new $1.99 fee to pay for the money Comcast spends on this time off for protests policy.

        Oh, and I got an email from Air B&B about their resolve to find housing for refugees. And to spend a whole 1 million dollars a year on this endeavor. And it has a place where you can volunteer your house for refugees or a place where you can donate money.
        Argggh! “Love me, love me, I’m a liberal”.

        1. jrs

          What about the homeless problem in the U.S., anyone want to donate their house for that? I have long since concluded that any society that can allow the kind of mass homelessness that goes on in the U.S. is just … I have nothing good to say.

          Yes the refugee victims of war are pitiful, so are those who have for whatever reason failed to survive in our economic system and wind up homeless.

        2. dragoonspires

          Who subscribes to Comcast anymore anyway? Dropped them years ago. Worst company I ever dealt with. But am getting ready for fee increases with netflix and prime since net neutrality is going bye bye under uncle (please please love me) donnie t.

      3. jrs

        protest the merger …

        strike for unionization of employees …

        ah no any of that would not only NOT get you paid time off, it would probably get you fired.

        If I was an employee, I’d be tempted to take the time off, not go to the protest, and go do whatever I pleased with the free time, afterall they probably aren’t taking roll there.

      1. BobW

        I has gotten so bad that I do not watch national news anymore, and turn off the TV after the local news & weather. I switched from channel to channel once and saw the same stories from the same viewpoint at the same time on all three major networks.

    2. jrs

      I don’t think it’s so black and white, Occupy received a lot of initial coverage for reasons I don’t understand for instance. But yea no-DAPL isn’t receiving much. It might just be what sells and there are more people upset about Donald Trump and woman’s issues than will ever give a @#$# about native Americans and water protection etc. Sad but hey this culture sucks monkey balls, what can I say.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        At first the msm likely suspected everyone would laugh at the hippies with their drum circles and then Obama would give a lecture to those darn kids with their unicorns.

  4. The Beeman

    “Sweet Swedish pair rescues a moose from frozen lake” – Thank you for posting this. Made me smile.

    1. Wyoming

      Oh man! I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes.

      About 60 years ago in the Wyoming wilderness when I was about 8 years old I was walking with my father while we were hunting across a frozen lake in temperatures of about 20 degrees below zero. He went though the ice. It was just like that. He could not get out and was slowly dying. I was laying on the ice holding the end of the barrel of my rifle while he held the stock to keep from slipping below the water. For a long time we struggled and eventually he got to shore. We had to walk a few miles back to our truck and he was so gone that I could barely help him get there. I had to drive the truck home about 30 miles. It was the most scared I have ever been in my life.

      I haven’t thought about that in years.

  5. Paywall

    not only the israeli company that will build the remaining part of the wall between us & mx is happy but also the people smugglers.
    Raising prices and making more money, but also expecting increasing prices for bribes to immigration officers.
    Fun fact: after a forced-upon-them deal by the drug cartels in 2004 between the drug cartels and people smugglerds drugs are transported in the night during three hours and only after this are the people smugglers allowed to do their job closer to dawn.

  6. Tom

    RE: As Goldman Embraces Automation, Even the Masters of the Universe Are Threatened
    In a weirdly blase tone, the article leads with a shocking example of how Goldman reduced its number of equity traders from 600 to 2 with automated trading programs supported by 200 computer engineers.

    The article says the average salary at Goldman is $500,000. Reducing net headcount by 400 equity traders means the move may have saved Goldman something like $200,000,000 in the first year alone.

    It’s not pretty when the vampire squid starts to eat its young.

    1. cnchal

      Goldman reduced trader headcount by 598, but increased computer engineer headcount by 200.

      Throw in a couple of hundred Infotitstata H1B visa computer “engineers” at one tenth the pay of a trader or less, and it’s a winning Goldman formula, saving a third of a billion at least.

      I look forward to the day when Lord Blackfart get’s replaced by a demented Watson. They could save at least $20,000,000 in one shot.

      1. Tom

        Exactly. A little job training and maybe a move to a more job-friendly environment and they should be right as rain. After all, those strategies worked out swell for millions of other workers displaced by automation or outsourcing. It’s exciting to live in disruptive times!

  7. Watt4Bob

    It would be reasonable for workers to dismiss the call for a general strike. It looks like they are being asked to be actors in someone else’s drama, by people who just cottoned on to the fact that things are shitty out there.

    The neoliberal swamp wants us to stand up to the national guard in defense of their right to make a living as gate-keepers, stymieing our every effort to make our voices heard, and have our grievances taken seriously?

    What are they smoking?

    They’ve dodged every opportunity to fight for us over the last 40 years, but now is the time for us to stand up in solidarity with what, their right to membership in the vast, over-paid mis-leadership class?

    Gimme a break.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      They don’t won’t real protests. They just want energy spent on mindless Saturday walks instead of energy focused on why Hillary lost to Donald Trump or why the Democrats have been wiped out.

        1. fresno dan

          February 7, 2017 at 9:09 am

          ‘I burnt 400 calories at the last march – – but I won’t look really good in my luluemons unless we step it up! We need protest jogs….or better yet, protests on ellipticals – – more calories burned and less stress on the joints….’

          1. Tom

            Make it a virtual protest march, so you can participate on your treadmill while streaming the actual protest on your digital display mounted on the handlebar. In fact, let’s make an App for that!

            1. Baby Gerald

              Loving the idea of a Nordic Trac with pre-mapped protest walks. Like a Peloton training bike for the activist set.

              “I walked 8 miles for LBGT rights and burned 700 calories doing it!”

        2. polecat

          ” …so some of your steps count.”

          you mean to the predator drones zeroing in on that i-sh!te INTofTs device ?

          THOSE STEPS ??? …’;O

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Real strikes. These people want a general strike where the baristas stay at work because who wants to protest without coffee.

        I saw some of Alec Baldwin’s greatest twitter hits yesterday, and he would throw a tantrum about long lines because baristas weren’t supporting his general strike by striking themselves. Could you imagine the horror of a Baldwin being inconvenienced?

        1. Karl Kolchak

          You make a great point in that Starbucks baristas would hold a lot of power if they ever got it together to unionize. They are in a great position by striking to drive home the plight of retail workers to the clueless idiots in the professional classes. They also have the advantage in that their small and decentralized workplaces would make a government crackdown of a nationwide strike quite difficult.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            They would need to hold the space. The real employment situation is such where Starbucks can hire new people. Alec Baldwin would have to walk the picket line every day. Obama moved on gay rights because he was forced. Every day, good “libruls” who wanted to see our cool President’s cool house had to walk by a decorated veteran, Lt. Choi, pointing out a product of one civil rights effort, was denying civil rights to others, even the service men and women Obama and every other politician uses as a prop.

            This will not be easy. It’s not a parade.

            The Democratic Party won’t go back to a 2006 state. Crackdowns on Occupy and BLM have made Team Blue the enemies of the activists they would need.

        2. Pat

          Baldwin forgets that those baristas never made a few million making a movie, or that they don’t have income coming regularly from a project that ended years ago. Believe me, if Baldwin’s home was dependent on his showing up to do the Match Game every weekday (unlike where he films five shows in one day and is paid for each separately, and can film an entire season in a week or two depending on how many have been ordered) he wouldn’t be out striking either. Not doubting his passion, but he has been a successful actor for a whole lot of years. The type who can look at appearing on Broadway for Broadway level wages (that many people consider generous in our society) as an artistic sacrifice. Sadly he doesn’t even get that he lives in a very privileged bubble.

        3. polecat

          I think they’re putting melange in those Starbucks cups …..

          Anyone ever look at Alec’s blue eyes lately ??

  8. cocomaan

    Something was up with the Jacobin link when I clicked on it.

    Not to boast, but during Occupy, we had a lot of homeless people in the camps. That was the point. And we didn’t put funny hats on their heads, either.

    1. Montanamaven

      Please boast. I found the coalition of the Occupiers and the Homeless was the most powerful idea to come out of the movement. MIT students inventing tents that you wear and that can easily collapse around you so you can move when the police make you move was inspiring. The idea of freedom to occupy a public space and make it a safe place should be deeply American. But the elite says “No” to public spaces. Private property is to be revered. If you don’t own something you are worthless. If you rent not own you are stupid. But that’s backwards. We need a cap on “wealth” and a basic guaranteed income and a decent old age pension with healthcare for all. Taking fear away should be our goal, not making everybody more afraid.

      1. cocomaan

        Well if the recent backlash against the attempted sale of public land in the west is any indication, Americans do value public spaces in a profound way. Maybe not for the purposes of protest, but they love their public lands. if you consider that every american has deed to these vast open spaces, especially in the west, but all over in truth, they are the richest citizens in the world.

        I wonder if there’s a third way between people valuing public land for recreation/nature and Occupy valuing public spaces for urban organizing. Unfortunately it falls along that most ancient of dialectics.

        1. Montanamaven

          Well I remember about 7 years ago the Tea Party folks in Bozeman were pissed about not being able to protest without a gd permit. But you are right that they would be hard pressed to join with those gd youngsters making a fuss in the cities. Might be worth a try though.

        2. dragoonspires

          yeah, but watch for the backdoor bills. HR 622 by chaffetz, plus another new one by liz cheney. dark of the night sneaky stuff.

  9. fresno dan

    Goldman Sachs Economists Are Starting to Worry About President Trump Bloomberg (resilc)

    I think saying Trump has ‘all the right enemies’ way overstates the case – I agree with most of Trump’s enemies about many things. But if Goldman Sachs REALLY doesn’t want a Trump second term, they better shut up about not liking him, as that is ambrosia to Trump’s supporters. (I would bet Goldman knows that publicly stating that they dislike Trump helps Trump, which is Goldman’s REAL intent, while also putting Goldman in good stead with their ‘librul’ clients…WIN WIN)

  10. RabidGandhi

    I wouldn’t make too much of the Wikileaks Ecuador tweet. Yesterday in comments we discussed the very real possibility that the rightwing could indeed force a runoff between a unified rightwing candidate and centre-left Lenín Moreno, and thus slip into power with a very unpopular candidate. But the Wikileaks tweet refers to Patricio Zuquilanda, who in every poll I have seen has failed to garner even 2%, and who consistently comes in 7th or 8th place out of 8 candidates.[1] Moreover, Assange’s asylum is strongly supported by most Ecuadorians, so even if a rightwing candidate were to win the presidency, revoking asylum would be a brilliant way to start off an unpopular rightwing regime on the left foot.
    [1] In most part this is because in Ecuador he is widely seen as a US stooge for many reasons– having been caught telling the US ambassador “the US cannot find a greater ally than myself”, and most importantly because when he was Foreign Minister in 2004, he justified the US sinking over 30 Ecuadorian fishing boats.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I haven’t kept up on Latin American politics as much as I used to. Do you know where Correa is in this picture? Is he term limited out or just not running for re-election?

      1. RabidGandhi

        Correa is in fact eligible to run again this year, but he opted out. Lenín Moreno is his current vice president and is considered to be Correa’s ‘hand-picked successor’. As recently as last June Correa’s approval rating was at 67%, but he said he wants to retire from politics.

  11. DH

    Betsy and Dick DeVos are poster children for why a strong estate tax with very limited trust fund capabilities is essential for our republic to survive the next century.

    Unfortunately, it appears that partisanship is going to win out over competence in her case.

    Trump is whining about how so few of his nominees have been approved. However it appears that some of them have been unable to turn in their homework to this day (maybe the dog ate it?). If they are unable to fill out their visa applications to be allowed into Washington, DC, maybe they can try getting assistance from one of the pro-bono immigration services for refugees since they now have time on their hands given Trump’s immigration ban.

  12. Carolinian

    Re Elliott Abrams as deputy secretary of state: appalling. At first this seemed like a typical run it up the flagpole Post rumor but the Atlantic story says Trump is meeting with Abrams today (Bolton is out). We await Trump’s decision with considerable suspense.

    1. TrixiefromDixie

      This is such a depressing/defining moment. I actually was holding onto a small sliver of hope… that our state department would correct course. But, I know how that other hopey changey thing worked out!

      1. Carolinian

        Even if there are no policy implications there’s this

        During investigation of the Iran-Contra Affair, Lawrence Walsh, the Independent Counsel tasked with investigating the case, prepared multiple felony counts against Abrams but never indicted him.[21] Instead, Abrams cooperated with Walsh and entered into a plea agreement wherein he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors of withholding information from Congress.[23] He was sentenced to a $50 fine, probation for two years, and 100 hours of community service. However, Abrams was pardoned by President George H. W. Bush, in December 1992 (as he was leaving office following his loss in that year’s U.S. presidential election).

        On February 5, 1997, the D.C. Court of Appeals publicly censured Abrams for giving false testimony on three occasions before congressional committees. Although a majority of the court voted to impose a public censure, three judges in the majority would have imposed a suspension of six months, and a fourth judge would have followed the recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility that Abrams be suspended for a year.

      2. dragoonspires

        The Apprentice really gonna shake things up, mmm hmmm.

        Hope you’re not clinging to some hope shot for single payer from this crew.

    2. Karl Kolchak

      A choice of Bolton versus Abrams is kind of like a choice between being eviscerated and being garroted.

    3. Olga

      Did not read the article – but is this the same EA who was implicated in the Iran Contra scandal? Wasn’t he facing charges in that investigation? And what is the big difference btw Nuland and Abrams (except the skirt, of course)?

    4. River

      Beyond appalling. When I read that I have the exact same feeling about Trump as I did when Obama put Hilary in his cabinet.

      Letting Abrams in is basically letting the actual neoconservatives (i.e. the PNAC crowd) back into power.

      This is so beyond stupidity a new word would need to be coined to adequately describe it.

    5. DH

      He needs an expert on how to invade other countries so he can complete the job that W never finished.

      W finished Bush 41’s incomplete job when he invaded Iraq and turned it into a liberal democracy. There were some logistical issues with is process, so the original Iraq exit strategy of leaving through ports and airports in Iran did not occur. So bringing Elliott Abrams back is a brilliant move as his unvarnished advice on how to get Iran converted into a liberal democracy like Iraq will be invaluable for the obvious next round of focusing on “America First”..

  13. I Have Strange Dreams

    Surprised not to see this story in links:

    Up to 13,000 secretly hanged in Syrian jail, says Amnesty.

    As many as 13,000 opponents of Bashar al-Assad were secretly hanged in one of Syria’s most infamous prisons in the first five years of the country’s civil war as part of an extermination policy ordered by the highest levels of the Syrian government, according to Amnesty International.

    Many thousands more people held in Saydnaya prison died through torture and starvation, Amnesty said, and the bodies were dumped in two mass graves on the outskirts of Damascus between midnight and dawn most Tuesday mornings for at least five years.

    Shocking if true, but has the whiff of babies being thrown out of incubators about it. Sad times when Amnesty cannot be trusted.

    1. SpringTexan

      No more shocking than other things Assad has done.

      Mostly I like NC and there are some fantastic commenters, but commenters’ perspective on Syria is mostly very very bad because whatever you think should be done there’s a horrible tendency to minimize who Assad is and what he has done, from Deraa forward.

            1. RabidGandhi

              Whether Assad is better or worse than the US is not the issue. The question is whether the Amnesty International report is accurate.

      1. Olga

        Assad is no angel, but neither is the neighbourhood he lives in angelic…
        Chopping up Syria into bits – to be swallowed up by its hungry neighbours (incl. Israel) was a recipe for never-ending tragedy.
        Amnesty has lately joined the imperial project, so I would not take them too seriously
        And to spring texan – most people on NC are much better informed ab Syria than your average US person. If one follows only MSM – one would have been thoroughly brain-washed on the topic. (You may want to read Robert Kennedy’s account on Syria in Politico – for some edification.)

      2. RabidGandhi

        This is really terrible logic. Essentially, your post implies that because Assad has done terrible things in the past, therefore the Amnesty International report must be correct (in spite of the hefty debunking in MoA). So following your reasoning, since Assad is a brutal tyrant, we are therefore free to make up any stories about him we like.

        Then you go on to say that “commenters’ perspective is mostly very very bad”, although you give not so much as one example of such ‘very very badness’, and much less any sort of survey of whether comments here are predominantly factual or not.

        Post some proof, debunk the MoA debunking.

      3. Skip Intro

        When a democratically elected leader is targeted for regime change by our neocon war team, a huge industry for black propaganda emerges and starts churning out crazy stories. Anyone who believes them without proof is either gullible, or part of the war effort. It is a shame that even corrupt or authoritarian leaders suddenly deserve the benefit of a doubt once they are targeted by the propaganda apparatus. This is one way in which these lies corrupt everything they touch.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Interesting link; thanks. Excerpt:

      Debt is largest in [developed] economies where the figure across the household, central government, financial, and non-financial corporate sectors has reached 390 per cent of GDP. Government debt has risen especially sharply.

      Total emerging market debt has reached around $53 trillion or 217 per cent of GDP and nearly a half of this or $25 trillion is concentrated in the non-financial corporate sector.

      The highest ratios of non-financial sector corporate debt to GDP among emerging markets are found in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Thailand, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico, Malaysia, Czech and South Korea.

      Hong Kong and Singapore are developed markets, not emerging markets. South Korea is classified as developed by Dow Jones and FTSE, though not by MSCI.

      The distinction between local and foreign currency debt is mentioned, though without figures. “Corporates in India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Russia … have borrowed heavily in foreign currency,” says the article.

      Conclusion? The next financial crisis could start anywhere — even in Italy, Greece or Belgium, all drowning in debt.

      1. Ruben

        I posted this because the main argument sounds quite plausible. More gov’t spending and more good jobs in the USA may trigger higher rates so when corps in emerging markets need to roll over debt in USD previously contracted at super low rates they will have to face much higher rates. Now if the spending was not so productive to cover for the new higher rates and the total magnitude of this debt and/or total number of corps affected is critically high (as asserted in the article), all ingredients are there for a new debt crisis. The key factors are the amount of debt in USD by emerging markets corps and the success of Trump policies in the USA.

        1. johnnygl

          It happens almost every time the fed goes on a serious round of rate hiking. Don’t think that there aren’t domestic sectors of the economy that would get shaken up by substantial rate hikes, too.

        2. Jim Haygood

          Michael Pettis asserted in The Volatility Machine that when developed markets enter a flight to quality, funds get pulled wholesale out of risky emerging markets, regardless of fundamental factors such as debt servicing capacity.

          Or as the ancient Wall Street wisdom goes, “When the paddy wagon rolls up, they take the good girls along with the bad.

  14. Katniss Everdeen

    Another california politician forgets that america is a very big country, much of which is quickly losing its patience with coastal arrogance. President Trump thanks mr. de leon, president pro tem of the california senate, I’m sure.

    Responding to President Trump’s suggestion of “withholding federal funding” from California, de Leon said: “Half of my family would be eligible for deportation under the executive order, because they got a false social security card, they got a false identification, they got a false driver’s license prior to us passing AB 60, they got a false green card, and anyone who has family members who are undocumented knows that almost entirely everybody has secured some sort of false identification.”

    At the very least, mike pence will know where to start looking for those illegal voters that Trump is so exercised about, and whose existence nyt vehemently denies.

    1. Michael

      Thanks for posting this. I hope the media asks Gov Brown his thoughts on the matter.
      I plan on contacting a few news people to encourage further reporting.
      Raise the profile of the story. See where it goes.

    2. Vatch

      Hmm. Those false social security cards and false driver’s licenses probably had real numbers on them that were legally assigned to different people. Last time I checked, identity theft was still considered a crime. Why doesn’t Mr. DeLeon understand this?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        He seems to be very nonchalant about not understanding that.

        As if, everyone does it…everyone, like, millions?

        1. Carolinian

          Hey California used to belong to Mexico before we stole it from them so they are only correcting an injustice. Or something.

          Perhaps the appropriate response to those who make these generational land claims is “who did you steal it from”? To be sure this is a “might makes right” argument, but it’s not as though Americans invented the concept. It’s generational too.

          Common sense could be a better guide on how to deal with immigration rather than appeals to dubious legalisms. We should be encouraging democracy in those countries from which people flee–not encouraging their repressive governments–and also making sure that justice for the would be immigrants isn’t injustice for US citizens.

          1. pictboy3

            We should be encouraging democracy in those countries from which people flee–not encouraging their repressive governments–and also making sure that justice for the would be immigrants isn’t injustice for US citizens.

            Watch out now, someone might accuse you of supporting imperialism for a remark like that :).

          2. River

            California wasn’t stolen. The U.S basically bought it for 18million as part of the treaty that ended the U.S-Mexican War.

            If Mexico had of recognized the Texas secession in 1836 they’d probably still have California. They didn’t, Texas joined the U.S., war began and Mexico lost badly.

            Most Americans at the time were angry for even paying for California and New Mexico, as Mexico was completely defeated and the capital occupied.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I believe some Mexicans stole from other Mexicans.

              Specifically, the Aztecs, who came from far north and found in the area around Mexico City an eagle perched on a cactus, holding a snake.

              “This is Our Land of Atole and Honey.”

            2. RabidGandhi

              Cool! So if the Haitians living in Roxbury, MA decide to have Massachusetts secede and eventually join Haiti, you would be OK with them taking the entire eastern seaboard at gunpoint, so long as they paid a price they decided was fair?

              1. Carolinian

                A lot of southerners at the time wanted to absorb Mexico into the US and make more slave states. Readers of Vidal’s Burr know that Burr toyed with the idea of invading Mexico before the war finally came years later. Of course Thoreau and Lincoln regarded the Mexican war as unjust as it was happening. Apparently a pretext was arranged to trigger the actual invasion.

                But we brought California surfing and Hollywood and therefore deserve to keep it.

        2. Roger Smith

          This was exactly my impression. If he is so casually admitting this in public, in front of law makers, on film, most another people must have normalized it to some degree as well. Suddenly the millions of illegal votes claim has a great lead and the only solid ground I have come across.

    3. Eclair

      It has been almost ten years since we lived in coastal Southern California, but when our white friends and neighbors railed against ‘those Mexicans,’ I would mentally count to myself the jobs held by ‘those Mexicans’ and imagine what would be the effect on my neighbors’ quality of life’ should all ‘those Mexicans’ hold a general strike.

      Who would; clean their pools, maintain their beautifully landscaped yards, take care of their children, clean their kitchens and bathrooms, replace their roofs, re-stucco and paint their houses, drywall their new McMansions, wash dishes and cook in their favorite restaurants, pick their fresh strawberries, broccoli and arugula?

      We didn’t invade and colonize Mexico, like the British did in India and Africa, and live like little White Gods, waited on hand and foot by humble Brown and Black servants, but we did manage to help the White invaders of Mexico (and other Central and South American territories) commit mass genocide on the resident Native populations there, making their lives so miserable that they fled to El Norte.

      Yeah, the situation in SoCal is screwed up, but the reality is that just about everyone there knows someone, hires someone, is related to someone, who is an ‘undocumented worker.’ It’s all ‘nod, nod, wink, wink’ or just sheer frigging denial. But the (mostly) White middle and upper class benefits. Big time.

      To demonize these workers and their enablers is easy. But how do we work out a humane situation that benefits everyone?

      1. fresno dan

        February 7, 2017 at 1:20 pm

        How many of your white friends are paying payroll taxes on those workers? minimum wage? Health insurance? Obey all health and safety laws?

        I can remember when white people held those jobs….at real wage rates far, far higher than today.
        Just like “free trade” hires people at slaves wages and but sells product at a high enough product to enrich the 1%, importing people does the same thing as importing product – designed to enrich the rich.

        1. AnnieB

          I can remember, growing up in So Cal, when people did their own yard work, pool cleaning, and teenagers/college students had summer jobs and usa citizens worked at many of the jobs now taken by illegal immigrants in CA. Yes, things changed. No doubt. But that doesn’t mean that the status quo is inviolate, especially if “the way things are” is a negative for a large portion of citizens. And with neoliberalism sending jobs overseas, etc, etc, then you get populism, and Trump. Brown Univ economics professor Mark Blyth speaks eloquently about this.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Water is beneficial.

            Too much water, not so good.

            Change is desirable.

            Changing too fast is not necessarily positive….55 MPH saves gas. 100 MPH…watch out.

            Is it OK to even investigate whether we are letting too many people in too fast?

          2. jrs

            Yea people should to their own @#$# work, I agree. Or at least I believe: never hire a person to do the work below a rate you would be willing to accept to do it. That’s exploitation. So yea hire a mechanic if you know nothing about cars, no problem. But you hate cleaning your own toilet or something, eh @#$#, you think your maid doesn’t hate it even more, to do that for a living? You better at least pay them well, is all I have to say.

            But most of those buying property and hiring gardeners and others in the big cities CA at this point are top 20% or more, the rest can’t afford it EVEN WHEN they are middle class (by and large the middle class can’t live that large in Cali, it’s just too expensive!).

        2. Eclair

          Depends, fresno dan. Do SoCalifornians pay FICA and Medicare taxes for their nannies? Or their gardeners, or the women who clean their houses? Probably not. They tend to be cash transactions. Minimum wage? Health Insurance? Vacation pay? Hah!

          I have met undocumented workers who had purchased their social security numbers; mainly restaurant and construction workers. Their employers deducted payroll taxes, withheld federal and state taxes, etc. This was prior to the IRS going to electronic filing, when it was easy to work under someone else’s social security number.

          But, I think you underestimate the reluctance of employers to hire citizens, white or brown or black, especially for domestic labor. They are too ‘uppity.’ They want decent wages, an 8 hour day, days off, vacations and they are liable to up and leave, or become totally obnoxious, if the employers crosses them. And, it is totally inconvenient to fire your toddler’s nanny with no notice, if you have an important meeting that morning.

          1. kgw

            Quite a few years back, when I was a self-employed carpenter/cabinetmaker, I did some custom work for a friend involving skylights…I reduced my $25 rate (cheap) to $15. When I submitted the bill, she said they could have hired a Mexican and got it done for much less. I replied that you hired me, and that why would you, and your liberal soul, want to pay a Mexican less than a living wage?

          2. fresno dan

            February 7, 2017 at 5:16 pm


            I don’t know if you can get past the paywall, but the gist of the article is that an immigration raid opened up all the jobs at a chicken processing plant in Georgia. Black people applied and got the jobs. Eventually it went back to how it was because the black workers were cognizant of the health and safety laws and would stand up for their rights (as well as consumer rights regarding how the chickens should be processed).

            I don’t blame people who are in desperate straits who will work any job at any pay. But all you have to do is look at the TECH squillionaires (do no evil – if you advertise something enough, many people will believe it) who conspired to form a cartel for one purpose only – bring wages down of tech workers. Its ALWAYS mo’ money for them, and if they can change the subject by bringing up racism, they will.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I do get your point and not trying to be glib here, but maybe people could just mow their own lawn and clean their own house?

        And lots of other people would do those jobs if they paid a living wage. If you’re here legally and out of work, you can get benefits that pay better than minimum wage jobs, so if you’re out of work you do the smart thing and take what offers the most money to help you and your family through a rough spot. If you’re not a citizen and can’t get assistance, then you take the crappy paying exploitative job. Or starve.

        There are lots of viable ways to help solve the problems – stop massively subsidizing agriculture, get rid of BS trade agreements, etc.

        I’m going to throw one more idea out there that might help solve this problem as well as many others – one global currency.

        So many of the problems of globalization are caused by capital seeking the highest possible returns which is done in large part by taking advantage of differences in currency prices which allows whole nations to be exploited. One currency wouldn’t be a panacea and there would still be room for people to try to take advantage – a dollar goes a lot further in rural Wyoming than it does in NYC despite still being a dollar – but it would seem to eliminate a lot of problems. It would definitely cut the parasitical part of the financial industry down to size.

        Any thoughts on why this would be a great or terrible idea?

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Good point.

            And my fear is that we’ll have political union when one corporation runs everything and we can only spend the one global currency at the company store.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            What about economic globalization vis-a-vis political globalization?

            Do we source political leaders from all over?

            1. todde

              I believe that is what the TPP and other trade deals are trying to accomplish.

              Tying the politicians hands to get a market based political system.

        1. Jim Haygood

          one global currency

          Gold is the only global currency.

          This is year 45 of the “full fiat” experiment. How’s it workin’ out so far?

          1. todde

            Yes, well, how did the Gold Standard work out for you?

            “The reality was that the simple rules of the gold standard imposed on people economic costs that were literally unbearable. When a nation’s internal price structure diverged from international price levels, the only legitimate means for that country to adjust to the drain of gold reserves was by deflation. This meant allowing its economy to contract until declining wages reduced consumption enough to restore external balance. This implied dramatic declines in wages and farm income, increases in unemployment, and a sharp rise in business and bank failures.”


    4. fresno dan

      Katniss Everdeen
      February 7, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Whatever happened to all that baloney, uh, um….concern about making our ID’s secure so they couldn’t be used by terrorists?

      So, are terrorists sneaking in by way of the southern border and getting ‘fake’ IDs as Latin nationals? I would be curious if Homeland security or the state of CA has a algorithm for distinguishing true economic refugees from political terrorists….
      Now, it hasn’t happened so far……… and up to 9/11, no hijackers steered a plane into a buildings (is that correct???)
      And I’m sure the drug tunnels under the border are NOT McGuffin’s for drug smuggling, and their real purpose is to smuggle wmd’s into the US….

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It has not happened so far…

        That has all the advantages and disadvantages of inductive reasoning.

        But as if there is something to hide, the claim I hear on radio is that no one has ‘died’ (the listener is counted on to remind him/herself that, that is not the same as ‘hurt,’ ‘seriously injured’ or ‘maimed’) from, you named it, people entering the country in a particular way – forget the exact modifier – in the last number of years.

    5. Katharine

      Actually he does not mention registering to vote, let along voting, “just” SSN, ID, and driver’s license.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I believe the thought is, if you have those, you can register to vote.

        Oregon, at least, issues special licenses to non-citizens, to prevent that.

    6. Katharine

      It is perhaps worth keeping in mind that these people generally did not come here because they thought they would love living among people who despise and exploit or hate them. They came here, often, because this country’s policies helped make their home countries unlivable. The effects on working-class Americans have been horrible, but blaming the fellow-victim is not likely to accomplish anything good. The focus should be on the people who set this up, and on finding solutions that provide a measure of justice and a decent life to everybody.

      1. Eclair

        Exactly, Katharine. Our tendency, when our economic well-being is threatened, is to blame the available, the vulnerable, the ones who are ‘different.’ The Germans were easily convinced to blame the Jews (and the Roma, the gays, the disabled) for their economic woes.

        The ‘blame’ should be on the corporate CEO’s (like those huge meat packing concerns that have for decades knowingly recruited and hired undocumented workers, because they are easily exploited), our justice system which refuses to prosecute employers who hire undocumented workers, our politicians who refuse to work out a system, such as National Identity Cards, which would make it easier to identify non-citizens, or who rally behind NAFTA and TPP.

        1. Katharine

          Thanks for mentioning the meat packers! I was wondering if anyone else was old enough to remember when they basically just quit negotiating with the unions because they knew where they could get replacements.

  15. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the article by Tim Hayward about the challenges of objective news coverage in Syria, focusing on the Syrian city of Aleppo. I expect much of what has occurred there will be revealed in time. But perhaps one needs to also acknowledge the possibility that will not be so as the caravan moves on, those left behind are preoccupied with the struggle to rebuild shattered lives and a functional society, and we ourselves are preoccupied with developments in our own lives.

    WRT the still unfolding tragedy there, I read a story on BBC last night, a news source upon which perhaps because I’m “Old School” I tend to rely on more than some other sources these days. Like so much we have seen in the M.E. from the many different parties engaged in armed conflict there, the atrocity described in the article plumbs the depths of depravity and human behavior. It, and stories such as Hayward’s, leave me feeling a sense of despair; yet we must seek threads that could lead to peace and hope in that deeply troubled region.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    James Baker…foreign policy.

    Didn’t he back Tillerson’s selection for State/foreign policy?

    “Do Trump appointees mean nothing? He’s my guy!!!”

    Do you go with the POTUS (take on Wall Street, for example) or his appointees?

    1. Beet

      “GOP heavyweight James Baker” – that would be the guy who wanted to keep the Soviet Union together, when even the Politboro had given up on the idea? Calling him a halfwit is to generous.

    1. nippersmom

      That whole thread was revolting. Only one person on it seemed to have any grasp of the fact that Obama’s tenure was not rainbows and puppy dogs for everyone.

  17. allan

    Ordinary Americans carried out inhumane acts for Trump [Baltimore Sun]
    [warning: auto-launch video with loud chanting]

    A week ago, men and women went to work at airports around the United States as they always do. They showered, got dressed, ate breakfast, perhaps dropped off their kids at school. Then they reported to their jobs as federal government employees, where, according to news reports, one of them handcuffed a 5-year-old child, separated him from his mother and detained him alone for several hours at Dulles airport. …

    The men and women who work for the federal government completed these and other tasks and then returned to their families, where perhaps they had dinner and read stories to their children before bedtime. …

    When we worry and wonder about authoritarian regimes that inflict cruelty on civilians, we often imagine tyrannical despots unilaterally advancing their sinister agendas. But no would-be autocrat can act alone. As a practical matter, he needs subordinates willing to carry out orders. …

    The men and women who reportedly handcuffed small children and the elderly, separated a child from his mother and held others without food for 20 hours, are undoubtedly “ordinary” people. …

    Ordinary … a word that has historical resonance.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Also those who haunt deadbeat dads, pilot drones or install surveillance systems to monitor ‘ordinary’ Americans.

      Sometimes, you feel like you are making a difference; other times, it’s just a job or worse.

    1. oho

      ☝️️ that

      The Democratic Party’s bench has been gutted and full of machine politics sycophants or septuagenarians.

      Anyone under-50 not preaching DNC dogma is under a corporate-owned media news blackout, see Tulsi Gabbard.

  18. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: The Simple Way to Save the U.S. Military — I agree with all points made by this link. The U.S. government needs to radically change its uses of its military. The Bush doctrines for first use of force, the endless deployments and rotations of our troops, the waste of personnel, energy and material for no clear purpose or national interest must stop. The most recent uptick in U.S. deployments is provocative and threatens our security while it wears down our soldiers and weapons.

    I am pleased that Trump quashed TPP and I remain hopeful he will not entertain support for any further international corporate power grabs. If he does nothing more than withdraw U.S. armed forces from their many forward provocative deployments and begins disengaging forces from our many pointless wars he will have done a great service to our country and the world.

    1. I Have Strange Dreams

      Save the military? How about disband it. Keep the National Guard – it would still be a massive military force by world standards (1.4 million).

    2. dragoonspires

      um, what? I’m glad the tpp is gone too, but you’d better get a load of what bannon, flynn, pompeo, and mad dog have in mind for Iran. plus bannon and tillerson for china. and tillerson for wherever else they see someone taking “our” tasty oil reserves.

      these guys feed on war and the mic. my bet is first big one within a year. it’s all part of bannon’s manifesto, and t-rump wants big mic spending increases. let’s hope he was joking about why don’t we use our great nuke supply more.

      buy gold?

  19. Jim Haygood

    From the WaPo article on Israel’s land theft legislation:

    Former justice minister Dan Meridor, a lawyer, warned the Israeli parliament that the West Bank remains under a “belligerent occupation” 50 years after Israel won the territory from Jordan in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Palestinians who live in the territory are not Israeli citizens. They don’t vote in Israeli elections. They live under a military authority.

    If Israel’s parliament legislates for the Palestinians — rather than controlling them by military rule — then Palestinians would have the right to become citizens and vote in Israel, Meridor argued.

    “Don’t cross a line we’ve never crossed before,” Meridor pleaded in a newspaper column. “No government in Israel has applied its sovereignty to the West Bank.”

    Meridor is right that by a making a two-state solution impossible, Israel is actually laying the foundations for a South African style one-person, one-vote state.

    But it’s not really true that no Israeli government has applied its sovereignty to the West Bank. Israel’s security wall cuts as much as 11 miles into the West Bank, isolating about 9 percent of West Bank land on Israel’s side of the wall. This de facto border is illegitimate, not recognized by any other country.

    As long as the US continues to reward its land theft with $3.5 billion a year, “the little country that never grew up” will carry on escalating its bad behavior. Other adults in the room will have to speak up, as the US finds it charming when its pampered little apartheid child plays with guns, throws tantrums, and ignores parental bedtime orders.

        1. dbk

          Yep. From what I’ve seen, the Senate will continue more or less in session throughout the week – each of these nominations is subject to 30 hours of post-cloture debate. Let’s see how the Democrats proceed for the rest of the week.

      1. polecat

        As long as education policy changes EVERY 4 to 8 years, without any consistency, or common sense, then yes, there will be many more sad days !

        1. pictboy3

          It is a state level function. The feds only have the power to throw money out and attach strings. It’s the fault of the states for not nutting up and raising taxes to pay for their education systems.

          1. Katharine

            Yes. There are also longstanding problems at the state level because traditionally schools were often funded by property taxes, and not all the attempts to address the inherent lack of equity when students whose needs are greatest are in districts with less revenue have been very well conceived. A good source of information is the National Education Access Network at Teachers College, Columbia:


        2. RabidGandhi

          Not that it makes a huge difference to TPTB, but so long as programmes are at the federal level they have no real budget constraints, whereas state programmes are funded by their own taxes and what the federal government decides to allot them. For example war making is federal so there’s always money for a multi-trillion regime change, but education is always limited by the imaginary state/federal division. Of course as I said, these are political choices and current U.S. politics prefers the imaginary constraint, but it’s worth thinking about tactically.

        3. Vatch

          The Department of Education, in various forms, and under various names, has existed since 1867, although not as a cabinet level office until much later. For most of that history, it was an office or bureau within the Department of the Interior. In 1953, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) was created, and in 1980, the current Department of Education was created, when HEW was broken into two parts, the other being the Department of Health and Human Services. See:

    1. allan

      And Collins and Murkowski get to tell their constituents that they voted against DeVos.
      Even though their procedural votes last Friday guaranteed DeVos’ confirmation unless another GOP flipped.

      Rotating heroes/villains – it’s not just for Dems any more.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Yes, the whole thing seemed pretty staged. Presumably, 2 Repub’s per nominee will be allowed to vote no so they can tell their constituents they weren’t a rubber stamp.

        1. Vatch

          Democrat Manchin of West Virginia will vote for Sessions, so up to three Republicans can vote against him. Despite the Kabuki, I still think that people should contact their Senators about all of these nominees. Maybe some people’s eyes will be opened when they see how their Senators ignore their constituents’ preferences.

          Manchin’s daughter is the CEO of Mylan, the company which has drastically raised the price of the EpiPen product.

          1. Vatch

            Correction: since Sen. Sessions will presumably not vote on his own nomination, there will only be 99 votes, and 50 votes will win with no Vice Presidential tie break needed. If he is to be confirmed, and 47 of the Democrats and independents vote against him, only two Republicans, not three, could also vote against him.

            1. Ancient1

              Just learned that McConnell used a Senatorial Rule to force Warren from criticizing Sessions on the floor of the Senate and forced her to take her seat.
              Details need confirmation. See Washington Post.

    2. Jim Haygood

      So ol’ Mike Pence voted in his capacity as President of the Senate, delivering the 101st vote.

      It reminds one of the desperate measures used to push through Obamacare in 2010 on straight partisan votes.

      And it’ll probably work out about the same for the R party as Obamacare did for the D party.

  20. RabidGandhi

    “The circumstances of the job subsequently changed.”

    Sounds like a young starlet describing her evolving role on a Polanski film, but it’s not; it’s actually David Sirota, saying why he is backing out of his proposed job with True Blue Media, slated to be the ‘Breitbart of the Left [sic]’. Sirota continued

    “True Blue Media does not right now have in hand the resources for the kind of independent, nonpartisan journalism I want to continue to do and that is needed to execute on the ambitious editorial strategy that we agreed on. Therefore, I have decided to turn down the job. I wish David Brock all the best.”

    As the poet noted: “And God’s in his Heaven, All’s right with the world”

    1. aab

      I would really like to know what the word “resources” is referring to here. I doubt it means money. If Brock has money, then hiring up shouldn’t be a problem. (IF Brock’s money was drying up, I would sing Hallelujah to the skies. But I don’t expect to get a pony like that out of the current room full of horseshit we’re all digging through.)

      So I’m assuming that Sirota is tactfully using the word “resources” instead of “intention,” “goal” or “desire.”

      I’m glad he’s out. That really horrified me — taking away one of the few real investigative journalists left. I hope he doesn’t pay a financial price for this.

  21. beth

    You Can’t Fake It Jacobin (UserFriendly).

    This link is not user friendly. I was blocked. ..or was UserFriendly someone’s user name?

  22. fresno dan

    In 1990, an estimated 11 percent of the adult homeless population was over the age of 50. By 2003, that number had increased to 32 percent. Today, researchers put the figure closer to 40 percent — and rising.

    Along with hoop earrings and glasses, Kushel likes to wear a marbled turquoise-and-purple scarf that a formerly homeless man in his 70s made for her.*
    Already, her study’s preliminary results have flown in the face of many stereotypes about homeless people, including the idea that homelessness is primarily a consequence of addiction or psychiatric problems. Instead, Kushel has found that nearly half of her participants worked throughout their adult lives and only became homeless in their later years, usually because of a sudden, unfortunate event such as the loss of a job or the death of a spouse. Like Herb, they are often victims of bad luck, tragedy, a tough economy, or some combination thereof.
    “Someone once told me,” Herb says, “almost everyone is just one paycheck away from being homeless.”

    but….but I though we were at practically full employment….and that things had never been greater…or as great as they’ve ever been….or just great.

    * I only put that in because I love the color combination of purple and turquoise…

    1. flora

      This is as good a response as I’ve see to the Peterson funded ‘cut Social Security’ cat food commission “studies”.

      Thanks for the link.

  23. Jim Haygood

    Holy sh*t, we just invaded Estonia:

    US military hardware, including M1A2 Abrams battle tanks and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, have arrived in the northern Estonian town of Tapa as part of continued US efforts to counter the alleged Russian threat.

    More than 50 units of US military equipment, including four battle tanks and 15 infantry fighting vehicles, were delivered to Tapa, the Estonian Defense Forces said in a statement. The personnel of the Charlie Company of 68th Armored Regiment’s 1st Battalion from the US Army 4th Infantry Division arrived in the town two days earlier, on January 30.

    The company commander, Captain Edward Bachar, said that the US troops would take part in the Estonian Independence Day parade.

    That’s rich — foreign occupation troops, helping celebrate a country’s “independence” day.

    Freedumb, comrades! Now get down on your knees and polish our hobnailed boots.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      How long before the Baltic states start begging Russia to liberate them from Uncle Sugar?

      1. Gaianne

        Could be a while.

        Estonia is still under the thumb of its banking elite, who are still busy looting the country.

        Keeping the serfs in line is probably the real reason US forces are there.


    2. Katharine

      It’s really not invasion when the presence is by agreement. From your article:

      In mid-January, Estonia and Lithuania also signed agreements with the US regulating the status and deployment framework of American soldiers and hardware on the territory of the two Baltics states, which were dubbed “first of its kind.”

      The agreements provided a legal framework for the presence of US military personnel and their family members in the two Baltic States, as well as the use of the local military sites by American troops. They also enable a range of joint “defense-related activities.”

      1. Jim Haygood

        “Invasion” is a bit of hyperbole. But I’m guessing those agreements were signed by executive fiat without any parliamentary vote.

        Too much democracy is bad for you, when the MIC needs to get things done.

        Well Estonian girls really knock me out
        They leave the west behind
        And Tallinn girls make me sing and shout
        That Tartu’s always on my my my my my my my mind

          1. Ancient1

            It would be interesting to discover the the identity of people who were, behind this agreement. U.S. Department of State? Victoria Nuland? She was involved in the Ukraine and in Cyprus. I often wonder where she found her inspirations to interfere in these countries. PUTIN!!

          2. Oregoncharles

            This is another dilemma of sorts. I was recently in a discussion with a woman, a Green, from Poland, I think it was, and another local native-born. She told us her son, still living there, is deathly afraid of Russia. The Baltic states have even more reason to be afraid, like a large portion of Russian history. Their independence is very recent and still pretty shaky. (To say nothing of mismanaging their economies.)

            At the same time, moving American military into Russia’s front yard is a lot worse than just dumb. Members of a peace party feel the conflict keenly.

            I think the solution is to promote peace and good behavior in Europe generally, rather than trying to destabilize it. I think that would protect Estonia’s interests far more surely than provoking Russia. But we need to be aware of how this looks from Estonia.

            1. Katharine

              Agree absolutely on your last sentence! Unfortunately, not one of the things this country has ever been good at.

        1. Chauncey Gardiner

          Wondering if this was done under an executive order of the previous or current president, and the underlying reasons for this action?

  24. Vatch

    Trump jokes about destroying the career of a Texas state legislator who opposes asset seizure unless a person has been convicted of a crime. Obviously, Trump doesn’t care about property rights (except his own, of course). Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions also supports asset seizure. Roman emperors, Chinese emperors, and kings would seize people’s property without due process of law, and our government continues the unsavory tradition.

    Trump’s offensive joking:

    One of many articles about Jeff Sessions and civil asset seizure (property rights conservatives oppose the practice):

    I’m afraid we’re not finished with the need to call our Senators in opposition to many of Trump’s nominations — Sessions needs to be kept out of the Justice Department.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump and that state senator are both wrong.

      The latter thinks it’s OK for the police to receive money after conviction, instead of before conviction.

      But why should that money go the police? Why not to a special fund so money can be refunded to the county residents at the end of the year or quarter or month?

      1. Vatch

        Good point. The money should go to a general citizens’s fund, and shouldn’t become part of a police slush fund.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Again: Oregon stopped the practice with an initiative, which passed by a wide margin because conservatives believe in property rights, too. Doesn’t take care of the Feds, but the local and state cops are the big problem.

      And the cartels have not overrun Oregon as a result.

  25. sglover

    If the comment thread in that Washington Monthly article (A Big Freakin’ Deal in the DNC Chair Race) is any indication, it really doesn’t matter who ends up as DNC chair, because the Democratic Party is still a pack of deranged Clintonites determined to bash and blame their left wing and Sanders for — everything, I guess. If this is who the Democratic Party really represents, then the Democratic Party needs to disappear. And it will, because such people are incapable of learning a damn thing.

    I mean, imagine the arrogance of a Clintonite lecturing Sanders supporters about political strategy and tactics! Dragging out the DSM-IV is the only way to respond to such performances….

      1. Vatch

        Ah, version creep! This reminds me of an episode of the “Chuck” TV series in which 6G phones were available for sale at the Buy More.

      2. polecat

        And here i thought DSM-IV was the abbreviated form form of some dictator waiting in the (blue) wings !

        …. kinda like Shaddam IV … the Padishah Emperor of Dune fame ….

    1. dragoonspires

      oh bs. I’m a democrat who supported clinton after weighing an initial bernie preference. I like bernie and many of his ideas and look forward to them having much more influence on the future of the party. I blame bernie for nothing, only those too blind to see what electing trump would mean, and then withholding their vote.

      please by all means get yourself and hordes more of bernie progressives directly involved and hands dirtied. I’m with you, but keep it realistic and don’t expect everything to be won overnight. It’s a long game.

      1. sglover

        If you voted for Clinton in the primaries, YOU HELPED ELECT TRUMP. Proud of yourself?

        Clintonites presuming to lecture anybody — there’s a laugh.

      2. aab

        keep it realistic

        There’s that lie again. I don’t believe it’s a mere false statement. You have had the evidence presented to you. Your choosing to believe the pleasing falsehood instead and reiterating it means you are choosing to spread the falsehood. So you are lying.

        “Realistic” would be looking at how the New Democrats have lost power at every level of government in all but a tiny handful of states.

        “Realistic” would be acknowledging this is the result of Democratic policies actually killing Democratic voters, and leaving millions of others unwilling to vote for the Democratic presidential candidate, even when her opponent was — wait for it — Donald J. Trump.

        “Realistic” would be noticing how much the majority of Americans are suffering, recognizing that 2016 would be a change election, and realizing they’d better put up a change candidate.

        “Realistic” would be noticing the enormous outpouring of support for Bernie Sanders during the primaries, and lack of support for Hillary Clinton in precisely the states where a Democrat would need enthusiasm to win the electoral college. It would then be “realistic” to throw out the Democratic Party leadership who failed to be realistic and therefore handed the presidency to Donald J. Trump.

        “Realistic” would be recognizing that the Millennial generation is inclined to go socialist, and without them, the Democrats can’t win nationally.

        “Realistic” would be noticing how Democratic registrations have plummeted since Bill Clinton’s election with less than 50% of the popular vote, and how New Democrats get rejected again and again by voters at every level, whenever they reveal themselve to be New Democrats.

        You can join people like me in being realistic about the very difficult task ahead to transform the Democratic Party into an entity that offers the policies Americans need and want, which would also allow it to regain its power as a national party.

        Or you can keep being unrealistic and blame people like me who refused to vote for Hillary Clinton and refuse to applaud the performative nonsense currently on offer from affluent liberals, and you can continue to fantasize that for the very first time in human history, doing the same thing again and again that keeps failing will, magically, suddenly not fail, despite the reams and reams and reams and reams of data and evidence that it will. Keep your hands clean. Go ahead. I assume you do a job where your hands and clothing gets to stay pristine all the time, and you don’t mind being the beneficiary of murder and exploitation as long as you don’t have to see it. Because America is already great, right?

        Yep, that’s realistic.

  26. Oregoncharles

    “Varoufakis calls Tsipras to prepare for breaking the deal with Greece’s creditors failed evolution”
    (Sorry if this is duplicative – i don’t have time to read the other comments before I post).)
    It’s on again, as predicted. The piece is wrapped around an enigma:
    “Therefore, if indeed the Greek PM means it this time that he will not retreat, he should prepare for breaking the deal with the creditors, so that to prevent it. The design of a parallel system for payments is ready since 2014, as he knows.”

    Does anyone actually know what this “parallel system” is? Varoufakis isn’t stupid, though he could be self-deceiving. Our understanding is that it would take 2 years (at least) to replace the currency; the answer would be to make the preparations beforehand – but you couldn’t do that in complete secrecy. You have to reprogram the ATMs. They’ve had almost long enough, haven’t they, especially if the “system” is some sort of short cut.

    Again, it might come down to administrative capacity – but they’ve now had time to learn the ropes and prepare (digressing, this applies to Iran if the US attacks, too). The big question: did they, or is Tsipras blowing smoke?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I think this is Varoufakis grasping at straws since the treatment of Greece has become only more brutal. I have no idea what he is talking about regarding a parallel payments system, unless he has taken up the fantasies about doing it electronically, when all those systems sit on top of the present payments system and hence are in no way “parallel”.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I think Brexit was a direct result of the EZ’s treatment of Greece. The Brits who don’t have a financial stake concluded, naturally enough, that they wanted nothing to do with the sadists. The same applies to the anti-euro and anti-EU parties in other countries, crucially Italy, Spain, and France. Italy, in particular, is a close neighbor to Greece.

        But I, and I think most of us, have no idea what the decisionmakers in the EZ think about it. Their self-righteous cruelty appears unimpaired – granted, that’s a bargaining position, too. From here, they appear to be driving their vehicle into a deeper and deeper hole; this cannot end well unless someone wakes up. That might involve LePen getting elected.

        1. Oregoncharles

          That rings a bell. I think so. He did have a plan set up, but it’s hard to tell how complete or practical it was. Tsipras didn’t take the chance.

          I believe it was critiqued harshly here. Probably no way to find out if it works without trying it. Risky, but so is staying in the Eurozone.

    2. polecat

      Hey … maybe Greece can declare independence from the fiends in Brussels …. and join hands with the snowfakes of the up-n-coming free state of California … to become …. Calgrescia !

      Think of the possibilities ……. they’d have nautical superiority over both the Western Pacific, AND the Aegean ! … plus everyone’s hair, by decree of the gods Zeus and Newsom, would have to be dyed gold as a condition of citizenship !!

  27. Oregoncharles

    “How We Were Misled About Syria: Channel 4 News Tim Hayward (guurst)”

    I see a problem: essentially the same critique applies to Beesley, Bartlett, and the others who actually went there. Physical presence is pretty heroic, but the reality is that they went essentially as guests of the government and only to government-held areas. Offering an alternative version of events is valuable, but subject to the same caveats as rebel-embedded videographers. The fog of war still applies.

      1. Vatch

        I think the graph shows what percentage of the nation’s total income goes to people in the bottom 50%. The chart at the end of the article and the text of the article show how much income has changed from 1978 to 2015. So you’re correct that the graph is different from the text, but they are not necessarily contradictory.

        One thing the article doesn’t point out is that people in the lower half of the income spectrum need to spend almost all of their income, so they can’t increase their savings. So the share of total wealth is much smaller for people in the lower 50% than their income share seems to show.

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