Links 2/9/17

Dozens of Sheep Mysteriously Appeared and Disappeared on the Isle of Wight Atlas Obscura

Goldman Sachs to close London operations of internal hedge fund FT. Said not to be linked to Brexit (?).

A rash of invisible, fileless malware is infecting banks around the globe Ars Technica

Carbon compromise? The Grumpy Economist

Estonia ‘not afraid’ to be on Nato frontline, president says FT. Estonia to Putin and Trump: “Let’s you and him fight!”

Worries Grow Over Euro’s Fate as Debts Smolder in Italy and Greece Dealb%k, NYT

Greece’s Migrant Crisis: Life in an Abandoned Pool International Business Times

Violence erupts in Paris suburbs over police sodomy case USA Today


Trump Plays Cat and Mouse with Iran Counterpunch. Good detail.


China vice premier says falsifying economic data will be punished: paper Reuters

Hong Kong store selling strawberries individually wrapped – for HK$168 – defends its packaging South China Morning Post (J-LS).

Video App Highlights Growing Divide in China WSJ

Modi’s budget tries to soothe India’s demonetization pain Nikkei Asian Review

Indian IT firms have been preparing for changes in H-1B visa laws for nearly a decade The Scroll

India’s deploying its 160-year-old railways to counter China both at sea and along the Himalayas Quartz

Vietnam Plans to Triple Shrimp Exports as Rice Producers Suffer WSJ.

Our Famously Free Press

16 Fake News Stories Reporters Have Run Since Trump Won The Federalist. This is not unserious, say readers.

Poll: Trump More Widely Trusted Than News Media New York Magazine. As the punchline of the old joke goes: “I just have to run faster than you.”

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Why is the FBI outsourcing some of its high-tech work to an Israeli company? McClatchy

Americans Clueless about Dangers of REAL ID CCHF. I couldn’t disagree more with CCHF’s health care policy recommendations, but they don’t make stuff up.


Work restarts on Dakota Access oil pipeline FT

Health Care

Judge blocks $54 billion Anthem-Cigna health insurance merger WaPo

Leaked HHS draft order to fix insurance market draws mixed reviews Modern Healthcare. Excellent detail.

The Marketplace Premiums Increase: Underwriting Cycle Or Death Spiral? Health Affairs. Single payer erased as a policy option, oddly.

Trump Administration May Use Executive Authority To Tweak Obamacare’s Rules HuffPo. “Today, premiums for the old can be only three times as high as premiums for the young, which is what the Affordable Care Act stipulates. According to sources privy to HHS discussions with insurers, officials would argue that since 3.49 ’rounds down” to three, the change would still comply with the statute.”

Medicare Advantage coding intensity could cost taxpayers $200 billion PNHP

Pharmageddon Jacobin

2016 Post Mortem

House Democrats seize on anti-Trump strategy Politico. “Democratic aides say they will eventually shift to a positive economic message that Rust Belt Democrats can run on. But for now, aides say, the focus is on slaying the giant and proving to the voters who sent Trump into the White House why his policies will fail.” Rather like St Augustine: “O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet!” I wonder what the Outreach Chair for Senate Democrats thinks about this…

A centrist is addressing House Democrats, and progressives are furious WaPo. “[Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee] questioned why no progressive organizing groups were invited to address Democrats. He said his group asked for a role in the retreat after it learned Third Way would be represented but was told by organizers that it was too late.” After? Why after?

Rural Americans felt abandoned by Democrats in 2016, so they abandoned them back. Can the party fix it? WaPo. Note the particularities of how WaPo reifies (acceptable forms of) “the resistance.”

From the Cold War to Clinton: How Liberals and Conservatives Have Separated Race From Class In These Times

Chelsea Clinton’s Husband Closes His Hedge Fund Bloomberg

Trump Transition

DeVos Was Inevitable Inside Higher Ed

Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch Calls Trump’s Comments on Judiciary ‘Demoralizing’ WSJ

Jeff Sessions’s Redemption Story Daily Beast (DK). DK comments: “This matches my personal recollections of the period.” Fun fact: “A year ago, [Jeff Sessions] and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker teamed up to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Selma marchers.”

5 big issues where Sessions may have an immediate impact USA Today

Backing Into World War III Foreign Policy

* * *

Women of America: we’re going on strike. Join us so Trump will see our power Linda Martín Alcoff, Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, Nancy Fraser, Barbara Ransby, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Rasmea Yousef Odeh, Angela Davis Guardian. It will be interesting to see who turns out.

‘The Future Is Female’: Watch Hillary Clinton’s First Public Remarks Since Donald Trump’s Inauguration Time

Why Stop At Rosie? ‘SNL’ Should Have Women Play Trump’s Entire Administration HuffPo. I’m not sure the math of “The Party of Women” works for Democrats, especially given that 53% of women voted for Trump, but I guess we’ll find out.

* * *

Intel chief reveals $7bn push on US manufacturing FT and Trump is 2nd president to tout unfinished Intel factory Boston Globe. If Trump is perceived to have delivered on jobs, much will be forgiven him.

Trump, aviation executives to discuss infrastructure Thursday: sources Reuters

Holy Warriors Against the Welfare State The Baffler (DG). DG: “Western Michigan has a peculiar history, even for the Great Lakes States. Again, though, the issues are complicated. As this article notes, the destructions of unions, which has led to the decline in income and restriction of the availability of health insurance, may be the foremost issue. And where are the Democrats?”

Donald Trump, Middle-School President Andrew Rosenthal, NYT. A pitch-perfect rendition of what it means to be “a front-row kid,” in Chris Arnade’s formulation.

What Steve Bannon Wants You to Read Politico

There’s a simple legal reason Trump is probably going to get away with his conflicts of interest Quartz. Standing, as urged by Jeri-Lynn on January 24.

A Short History of the Trump Family LRB (J-LS). As Boswell quoted Dr. Johnson: “Sir, I love a good hater.”

Guillotine Watch

Ready, Set, Grovel! Desperate Runners Battle for Slots in Trendy Races WSJ. Why, it’s almost like groveling is the whole point!

Class Warfare

We Can’t Think of Society As Similar to the Market: Pankaj Mishra The Wire

Feeling ‘Pressure All the Time’ on Europe’s Treadmill of Temporary Work NYT

The Future of Labor pt. I — Keynes Medium

Meet the watchdog who posted USDA’s animal welfare records Politico

The elderly, cognitive decline and banking The Economist. The subhead: “Banks need strategies to screw old people out of their money by replacing human tellers with crappy apps for helping vulnerable elderly customers.”

The World as Representation The Archdruid Report

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. PlutoniumKun


    Carbon compromise? The Grumpy Economist

    Interesting possible link between carbon tax and a sort of small guaranteed income:

    So, Baker and Shultz lay out in gorgeous clarity the kind of compromise we all hope our governments can still occasionally achieve: Given that we’re going to do something, trade a carbon tax for the removal of intrusive regulation. You get more economy and less carbon.


    The Oped and council propose instead that the tax is rebated to Americans, so the tax is revenue-neutral. That is, I think, politically attractive. A $2,000 check to each taxpayer is a nice way to build a political consensus for keeping the carbon tax, much as using the tariff to fund civil war pensions kept a strong pro-tariff constituency in the late 1900s.

    Carbon credits have always been a terrible way to try to tackle carbon emissions. And one thing I have in common with right wing economists on climate change is that seeking to reduce emissions through regulation is generally inefficient and, at worse, counter productive – just see for example how car manufacturers game regulations on mpg in Europe. A simple, non-deductable carbon tax, with the proceeds distributed equally seems a reasonable compromise that right and left can agree on.

    I’m trying to think of the flaws in the argument. One would be that reducing regulation on carbon emissions would be a trojan horse for reducing regulation on all emissions. And there are also of course distributional issues with a carbon tax. There would also be room for wriggle room by the fossil fuel lobby over calculations of carbon emissions from certain fuels (for example, in measuring leakage rates from natural gas, or the differing CO2 emissions from different types of oil). Thoughts?

    1. Carolinian

      Not to be negative but–here in the US at least–in what alternate universe is such a proposal going to be passed? It’s likely that Trump’s widely derided AGW denial is really more of a carbon tax denial. In the past it has even been claimed that presidential approval ratings go up and down with the price of gasoline. Because of the thin public transportation network most Americans are utterly dependent on their vehicles and there are powerful business lobbies intent on seeing that it stays that way. Single payer would probably be easier to achieve since it has widespread support in the polls. Yes the tax rebate might help with this but making it truly fair would be a quite complicated and controversial bit of social engineering.

      1. Darius

        Things change overnight. In what universe could the Civil Rights Act get passed or same sex marriage become the law of the land? It’s never too early to lay the groundwork.

        1. sid_finster

          The difference is that those are not economic issues, in that SSM or the Civil Rights Act do not hit people in their pocketbooks right now.

          This is also why rich people by and large supported, or at least were neutral with regard to civil rights issues. Tell those same rich people that their taxes will go up to pay for SSM and watch them howl.

          1. Darius

            Shift tax burden from “honest toil” to wasteful consumption. Cut other taxes for the working class. Reduce their income tax burden, filing paperwork.

            1. Propertius

              I guess it depends on your definition of “wasteful”. In general, consumption taxes are regressive. It sounds like you have some ideas to change that. Could you elaborate?

            2. Procopius

              I think the paperwork burden for people making less than $30,000 a year is very low. My case in abnormal, because I’m retired and my sole income is from an Army pension and Social Security. The never exceeds the limit, so the SS is not taxable. The IRS has a Free Filing link which allows you to fill out the forms on line for free. I get my refund (what’s left after paying my tax) by the first week in February every year. It would be very unusual for anybody with that low an income to have deductible expenses which are bigger than the Standard Deduction, so they should use that unless they know for sure they’ve had some casualty loss that is going to just wipe out their tax liability. Maybe their home got destroyed in a tornado? Really, if you think this burden is too heavy, call for the IRS to just collate all W-2s and 1099Xs, figure the taxes from information on file from previous years, assuming Standard Deduction, and mail the bill along with a blank form to every taxable entity (i.e., taxpayer). If they disagree with the tax amount they can use the free form to figure the tax themselves and submit that instead. Otherwise just pay and forget it.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        The original proposal is from Republicans (the few sane ones around).

        I don’t think its outlandish that it could be accepted – the proposal is a sort of ‘grand bargain’ whereby the tax is revenue neutral and it is combined with the elimination of CO2 based regulations, such as car emission limits and regulations on coal plants. If Trump decided to put pressure on Republicans by looking for deals that could be cut without them, I could see Dems and libertarian minded Republicans supporting it.

        This assumes of course that Trump would want to have some policies independent of the Republican mainstream – I had hoped that he would be strategic enough to do this, although given whats happened the past couple of weeks I doubt it, he seems to have been completely captured by the Tea Party types. The other problem of course is that the Dems might refuse to support it as they wouldn’t want to be seen to give him a victory.

        Its a bit of a fools errand trying to read Trumps mind of course, but I get the impression that he is not at heart a climate change denier, he is more of a nostalgiast for the America of big smokestacks and bigger cars. But above all that, I do believe Trump wants to be liked, so the notion of being hailed as the saviour of the planet could be very attractive to him – so the future of the world might well depend on what his daughters whisper in his ear….

        I’m not suggesting by the way that its likely to happen, just that I could see how it might be politically possible if he saw the benefit in it for him.

        1. Rhondda

          But above all that, I do believe Trump wants to be liked, so the notion of being hailed as the saviour of the planet could be very attractive to him – so the future of the world might well depend on what his daughters whisper in his ear….

          I think so, too. I think it’s perhaps the main reason why The Establishment (loosely) is working 24/7 to make sure he’s utterly despised. Wanting to be loved is his button and they are pushing it.

          It’s why I maintain that Outreach Chair Sanders should reach out. Tulsi. Etc. He’s not going away. And it’s certainly obvious that he needs good help. These cabinet appointments are pretty appalling. But then again, the bench is thin if no one is willing to work with you.

          I dunno. I think it’s weird that no one is supposed to talk to him, work with him, etc. There’s a big social bullying around this in my sphere.

          But, as always, who’s we? I’m not with Them until the house is clean.

      1. hhh

        that. guaranteed income and defacto open borders are oil/water. just being realistic

        and more help should go to taxpayers who can,t itemize

      2. JTMcPhee

        And how does that put bread on the table, or a roof over it, for the mopes who are on the edge of starvation and homelessness, despite working three crappy get-paid-via-fee-looting-debit-card jobs?

        1. Darius

          It’s not anti poverty. It’s stimulative. Shifts tax burden upward. Rewards working class. Taxes capital, not labor. It’s good politics.

    2. Adam Eran

      An organization called Citizen’s Climate Lobby promotes this “fee and dividend” idea. Also, surprisingly, Tillerson endorsed such a thing!

      Stranger things have happened…and CCL is pretty sophisticated and intent on getting this done.

      Personally, I’d like the rebate to come in the form of FICA tax cuts / rebates…but whatever!

      1. Oregoncharles

        Politically, it has to come in the form of a physical check, for maximum psychological impact.

        I would really like the system to skim off 10% for efficiency research, but that weakens the selling point.

    3. JB

      I disagree with the notion that decreasing carbon emissions through regulation is inefficient. It has been incredibly effective, arguably the most effective tool the U.S. has had in meeting its objectives for greenhouse gas emissions. Sure, certain car and appliance manufacturers will try to game the test procedures, but the overall impact is substantial. Interestingly, as Steven Chu has demonstrated, energy efficiency standards have driven innovation from manufacturers despite arguments that they stifle innovation from trade associations and lobbyists. Some of the biggest gains in appliance efficiency in the market have come within a year or two following new standards/regulations. When standards aren’t updated for long stretches (e.g., 5 years), efficiency lags and flattens.

    4. different clue

      This proposal sounds a little like James Hansen’s “fee and dividend” proposal. All the money raised by the fees the carbon sellers themselves would have to pay at point of first-sale would be given to all the inhabitants of America as a dividend of equal size for every inhabitant. Since the carbon sellers would be free to charge the first-buyer the price of the fee the initial carbon-seller had to pay the fee-and-dividend authorities to begin with, that fee-rise in the price would follow the carbon every step downstream in the market. Every buyer would feel his share of the pain at his share of the passed-on fee. Every recipient of the fee-funded dividend could spend the dividend on low-carbon goods or services where it would go farther, or on high carbon goods or services where it would go not very far at all.

      That would create a disincentive-force-field against buying carbon, which would lower the amount of carbon sold. Hansen hopes the fee would eventually get high enough that non-carbon sources of energy displace carbon fuel entirely in the economy, at which point the fossil fuel industry will have been driven safely extinct, and the rate of further carbon skydumping will go down.

  2. Teddy

    The “Americans Clueless about Dangers of REAL ID” link doesn’t work, redirecting to some weird, early 90s style page instead.

  3. allan

    Jeff Sessions’s Redemption Story

    Any story that includes a personal testimonial for Sessions from Michael Mann’s persecutor,
    former Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli, should be filed under Beat Sweeteners.

    Why Stop At Rosie? … I’m not sure the math of “The Party of Women” works for Democrats, especially given that 53% of women voted for Trump …

    Not true. Exit polls reported Nov. 9 indicated that only 42% of women voted for Trump.
    The 53% figure is the percentage of men.

  4. TarheelDem

    A carbon tax (at least in the US) runs afoul of the Norquist “no new taxes” oath that many elected officials have taken. The failure to get political traction is precisely why regulation until the current administration seemed more efficient and practical.

    I am pessimistic now that either will be done. Mitigation will fall on individual and private small-scale efforts.

    1. Carolinian

      Agreed. The high profile nature of the carbon tax would be one of its political weaknesses. Raising CAFE standards is a more feasible move because most of the public have probably never heard of them. However in the current political climate this is unlikely as well.

      The sad truth is that most Americans seem to be showing through their buying habits that they have no intention of personally doing something about global warming. The recent reductions in gas prices have reportedly led to a surge of large vehicle purchases.

      1. Anonymous

        There has been essentially no leadership on this issue, locally or nationally.

        Here in southern California, lone drivers race around in huge SUVs. No one gives a damn
        about global climate change.

    2. Darius

      Which is the same thing as business as usual. The bright spot is growing competitiveness of solar.

    3. different clue

      Well . . . that is why Hansen is so adamant that it be called a “fee” and not a “tax”. And also why he is so adamant that a totally separate fee-and-dividend authority be set up to collect all the fees and send out all the dividends . . . without government discrediting it by touching it ( or any of the money) in any way.

      I don’t know if Hansen is aware of Grover Norquist by name, but he is certainly aware of the problem.

  5. Roger Smith

    Maybe Lambert will pick this up later but I saw this Matt Bruenig tweet yesterday, and located the corresponding video this morning: Palmieri: Protesters Aren’t Angry, ‘They’re Scared’

    In short, ‘material benefits.. hah! People care about identity!’ I don’t understand how any one of these fools can even have the gall to bring up Russia or Comey when this is the garbage Clinton’s Communication Director is putting out (even after the incredible failure). As long as modern liberalism continues to be a trendy, consumer marketing plan (who has the funniest hats?) it will continue to fail miserably.

    1. Darius

      I wanted to email that tweet in to NC but you can’t email tweets from the app. Their defeat is mystifying. Isn’t it?

    2. Benedict@Large

      Who is that idiot? “Don’t assume they want $15/hour. Don’t move to the left.”

      No, but everyone wants to help the immigrant down the street. That’s the trick.

      But wait a minute. She’s saying to run on what lost last time. Run on identity. Don’t run on class issues. [Or rather, don’t run on class issues. Run on middle class issues.] But why does that work after November 8th, but doesn’t work before it? The Democrats still keep thinking if they could only do a recount.

      And by the way, why does Chuck Todd even have a job? The guy can’t sit there and just talk without giving off the impression that he’s trying to get under someone’s skirt.

      1. RabidGandhi

        “Make a virtue of her longevity,” [Clinton Campaign Communications Director Jennifer] Palmieri advised in an email that month to Podesta, released by WikiLeaks. “Embrace all the Clinton-ness — the forty years in politics, the decades on the national stage…Maybe folks had Clinton fatigue at one point, now they are just seen as part of the fabric of America. (Hillary won’t go away, she is indefatigable, she just keeps at it, and you can trust her to get the job done.)”

        During the election it just sounded like bad strategy. Now it sounds more like a threat.

        1. Synoia

          Maybe folks had Clinton fatigue at one point, now they are just seen as part of the fabric of America

          Clinton’s part of the US infrastructure – old, crumbly, ready to fail at a moment’s notice and wants lots of money.

          She really is a symbol of our times!

      2. oh

        Chuck Todd is so full of himself. He’s the kind of creep who’d look under a woman’s skirt as well as a man’s trousers, if he can.

    3. Anne

      House Democrats are meeting in Baltimore at a closed retreat to dissect the reasons for the party’s losses across the board, and identify strategies for changing that dynamic.

      Perhaps the presence and involvement of Third Way tells you pretty much what you need to know:

      “For House Democrats to seek advice from a Wall Street-funded think tank that preaches timidity, that shows them learning the exactly wrong lesson in the Trump era,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “I think Democrats need to fight more strongly, with backbone, and not let Trump steal the mantle of economic populism.”

      Jim Kessler, Third Way’s senior vice president for policy, is set to address the retreat Wednesday evening during a half-hour session where, according a senior Democrat familiar with his planned remarks, he will make the case that the Democratic Party needs to grow geographically, demographically and ideologically — not move decisively to the left — to regain power. That is a strain of thought that represented Democratic orthodoxy in the 1990s, when the business-friendly Democratic Leadership Council held sway.

      But it has since fallen out of favor, especially among progressives who believe Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would have better captured voter anger toward the political establishment as the 2016 Democratic president nominee. And now, they say, Third Way’s politics are not what Democrats need to hear.

      In their view, 2016 was a thorough rebuke of establishment-minded centrism and giving Third Way a platform to advocate for it is not a recipe for winning. And their angry response to centrism being given a platform at a party event reflects the hardball tactics they are using to shape the future of the Democratic Party.

      “Basically you’re deciding we’re going to figure out our path forward with a bunch of losers,” said Charles Chamberlain of Democracy for America, another activist group.


      What appears to be particularly vexing to the activists is that Kessler is getting a session to himself rather than sitting on a panel where his views might find a counterpoint. But more than that, progressives are taking the view that Third Way-style centrists have no place in the Democrats’ tent, period.

      “It’s not a wing of the party anywhere outside of Washington, D.C.,” Green said. “There are not people in West Virginia and Ohio and Michigan rooting for Wall Street to get away with murder again.”


      Green questioned why no progressive organizing groups were invited to address Democrats. He said his group asked for a role in the retreat after it learned Third Way would be represented but was told by organizers that it was too late.

      “Their role is to paper over the lessons of the last election and urge Democrats not to be more robust in their critique of Wall Street and establishment power,” he said of Third Way. “That is not the lesson Democrats need to learn right now.”

      Guess who else is there and participating on a panel? Neera Tanden. Lordy, these Dems really just don’t want to take any chances their losing ways will end up on the trash heap – it sounds to me like the event is stocked with a lot of people who will tell them what they want to hear, as opposed to what they need to hear – and do.


      1. Phoebe

        And note that the WaPo calls Tanden a “progressive-minded speaker” and a counterweight to the Third Way people.

        I don’t know what they’re drinking inside the Beltway, and I’m almost afraid to find out.

        1. pictboy3

          From first-hand experience, I can say they’re drinking overpriced cocktails. Somehow they’ve convinced themselves that a vieux carre should cost over $20.

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        This paragraph belongs in the annals of all-time greats:

        Democratic aides involved with the planning of the retreat noted that there are numerous other panels that feature progressive-minded speakers, including Center for American Progress chief executive Neera Tanden, political strategist Cornell Belcher, analyst Mark Huelsman from the liberal think tank Demos and numerous leaders from labor unions and leftist activist groups. “It’s our belief you have to hear from everyone to chart the best path going forward,” one of the staffers said.

        Democratic strategy session after 2016 debacle. Let’s see: Third Way, Neera Tanden, Cornell Belcher, Demos, and some unions. Yup, that’s everyone. Who matters.

    4. Patricia

      Chuck: “What do you do to make sure that the movement doesn’t allow a hijacking of the Democratic party?”

      Palmieri: “…I actually think that the real energy is not just with the base—these are apolitical people that are turning out. These are millions of people who don’t normally participate in politics and they are scared and they also understand. And I saw this…[bit of blahblah omitted]

      “…but you are wrong to look at these crowds and think that means everyone wants $15 an hour. Don’t assume that the answer to big crowds is moving policy to the left. I think the answer to big crowds is engaging as much as you can, to be as supportive as you can…what these people want, they are desperate, it’s all about identity on our side now. They want to show, ‘He does not support me. I support you, refugee. I support you, immigrant in my neighborhood. I want to defend you.’ Women who are rejecting Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus…this is power for them. ‘Donald Trump doesn’t take me seriously? Well, I’m showing you my value and my power.’ And I think it’s like our own version of identity politics on the left that’s more empowering and I think that’s a safer place to be.”

      1. Patricia

        A couple takeaways from above quotes:

        –Even Chuck Todd is aware and rejecting of the Berners’ and leftists’ intentions for Dem party.

        —Establishment Dems are aware that there are large numbers of undeclared people on the streets, and are unsure whether they can be steered into their arms.

        —Recipe for steering: be supportive while offering nothing. Encourage them to be their own ‘identity group’: to say no to a couple expensive clothing outlets for a while, and also to verbally support somewhat different persons in their neighborhood. That’s safer than the leftist crap, and it makes them feels good.

        **We need to remember that neither the MSM nor the establishment Dems are stupid people.**

          1. Patricia

            Yep, well-proven. But my point here is that many of these people are not merely a bunch of conventional-thinking losers. They’re well aware of the lay-of-the-land, and are clever.

            Plus they are willing to manipulate whatever/however to get their own way, even if it means wrecking their nation and the globe. Like Repubs, they have no moral compunctions, but unlike Repubs, they know our weaknesses and exploit them as often as they can.

            I suppose I’m saying that we need to fight like we’re in a war, and we mustn’t underestimate this wing of enemy.

          2. Darius

            Trump’s insanity is almost tailor made to cause Democrats to double down on identity politics. It’s the path of least resistance and requires little creativity.

            1. Patricia

              But their easier/non-creative path is excellent for restoration, which is their goal, right? I mean, to be creative on their behalf for a sec—what would be a smarter way for them to grab back and maintain their own power? What might they need to do differently than they are doing, to have the best chance for themselves?

              Just because we can see what they are doing, and because it is contemptuous, doesn’t mean we’ve disarmed them. We have a tendency to think that since we understand them, the bulk of our work is finished, but it’s only the beginning.

              We are very good at resting on the laurels of cynicism. It can be a form of self-righteousness, which makes us lose alertness.

              And getting down/dirty requires much creativity on our parts, but only cleverness on theirs, since they still hold the positions within the gov’t that we need to change.

        1. Anne

          – Chuck Todd seems to believe – and this doesn’t surprise me – that the party is owned by the current Democratic hierarchy, but all signs point to the party desperately needing to be rescued from the death grip these establishment Dems have on it. Although, at this rate, this may be very close to being more of a recovery operation, with the only question being what kind of funeral will be held.

          – Why on earth would an undeclared person want to be steered into the arms of the current Democratic Party?

          – More proof that these Dems learned nothing from the ass-whooping it just got: if I want support I will get a better bra, not this brand of Democrat.

          – Stupid is as stupid does, or so I hear.

          1. Patricia

            “– Why on earth would an undeclared person want to be steered into the arms of the current Democratic Party?”

            Because many are scared, as Palmieri correctly analyzed, and Dems have comforting solutions/actions ready for them. If the newbies trust themselves enough and aren’t too busy to spend time reading around the MSM, they will see through the pseudo-solutions, but it’s a crapshoot right now. Propaganda is everywhere and in several formats.

            If the Dems were plainly ridiculous, simply stupid, we’d flick them away as an annoyance, but we can’t. Yes, they are stupid in some ways but in other ways, they are bright enough. Mostly they’re a calculus of greed and ambition, which is long-lasting stubborn plus clever and manipulative.

            Cleverness is an intelligence given little respect on the left. The ability to manipulate is a bent form of social intelligence, of which the ability to organize/activate people around a vision is perhaps an un-bent version (?) And that’s something else we’ve been rather shabby at doing.

            Just because people don’t think clearly, and/or are driven by destructive impulses, doesn’t mean they aren’t formidable. We are surrounded by illogical compromised enemies—Dems, Repubs, Trump—and they own all the positions.

            ISTM, a first principle for engagement with an enemy is respect. (Which doesn’t mean we can’t also laugh at them.) Disgust and contempt don’t contain enough energy to keep us moving over the long haul.

            1. Rhondda

              Great comment, Patricia. I’d like to see deep lefty cleverness and just methods — combined with the good momentum many are feeling now.

              Power in the streets, festina lente, looks to me. Change is in the wind. Or maybe it’s just global warning, as my old mom mistakenly calls it.

              1. Patricia

                Hah, yes, change is in the wind and your mom is correct—it’s global warning we’re feeling, at least until we’re toast. That wind can blow us along, why not? It’s looking to become a hurricane but not yet.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        “Women who are rejecting Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus…this is power for them.”

        Proving once again that we’re not nearly cynical enough yet…

  6. allan

    Trump, aviation executives to discuss infrastructure Thursday

    From the Reuters article:

    Also a point of contention is an order signed under departing former President Barack Obama granting flying rights to Norwegian Air International, which U.S. airlines and unions have said will undermine wages and working standards.

    Spicer, during the Wednesday press briefing, said “there is a huge economic interest that America has in that deal right now,” citing Norwegian’s use of U.S. workers and Boeing Co jets.

    “I don’t want to get ahead of the president on that; but just to be clear we’re talking about U.S. jobs both in terms of the people who are serving those planes, and the persons building them,” Spicer said.

    Unmentioned by the article or Spicer is that the air crews, while possibly including US pilots and flight attendants, will be hired under Thai labor law. Also unmentioned by the article is the FAA under Trump having suspended FAA airworthiness directives [warning: auto-launch video] that had recently been approved. Happy flying!

    1. Paid Minion

      Please note that everyone bitches about the USA’s “Third World” airports.

      That is, until you start talking about the taxes they would have to pay to replace them. Even if Uncle Sugar is only looking for matching funds.

      Add this to the fact that many people have been convinced that government cant handle projects like this without turning it into a boondoggle.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        We could use some of our annual military procurement budget to build out first class airports in every city in the nation. Do that for ten years and……. our airports would start to look as good as those of China or Japan.

        Just sayin’.

      2. Adam Eran

        The boondoggle comment may be accurate, but the idea that taxes provision federal programs is simply silly. Where would people get the dollars with which they pay taxes if the government didn’t spend them out into the economy first?

  7. Sam Adams

    Re: Backing Into World War III
    Should be entitled, ” crazytalk from Dr Strangelove, or how I learned to ask for bigger bombs.”

    1. MtnLife

      How I learned to ask for bigger bombs because that frightful shadow of mine won’t go away with the current ones. – Robert Kagan


    2. LT

      I got through maybe 3/4 of it.

      Then I laughed because it’s just a long winded way of saying, the only real “globalism” is the one where the USA sets the rules.

      Kagen, of course people will grow tired of the line that only one country in the world is responsible for “progress” and “civilization.”
      A hardened China, Russia, (you name the country) is only to be expected after 60 + years of “our exceptioanlism” (to every rule and law).

    3. John Wright

      This Robert Kagan piece is almost epic in its scope, it pushes all the hot buttons, with pictures of Hitler, Stalin, Putin, noble Ukrainian military, Trump and apparently some small Chinese Navy ships,

      It mentions “Dark Age 2.0” and refers to the USA as a “Dispensable Nation”

      It even pulls in some cliche’s, “Nature abhors a vacuum” and “Give ’em an inch, they’ll take a mile”

      Maybe Putin sees NATO growth to his borders as illustrating that “Give ’em an inch..” cliche?

      He faults Obama for not being more like George W. Bush.

      “The Obama administration responded to the George W. Bush administration’s failures in Iraq and Afghanistan not by restoring American power and influence but by further reducing them.”

      Given the length of this piece, it is surprising the biographical description of Robert Kagan is quite brief and fails to mention his extended family.

      His wife, Victoria Nuland, until recently at the Obama administration State Department, really, really, wanted to stir up US military involvement in the Ukraine.

      His sister in law, Kimberly Kagan, heads up the Institute for the Study of War (funded by defense firms) while his brother, Frederick, is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

      Robert Kagan also was a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century, which advocated for USA’s influence for the 21st century, which probably was severely diminished with the aftermath of the Iraq War,.

      One can be optimistic that an editorial such as this indicates the US Foreign Policy establishment sees the possibility of a more peaceful world as real under Trump

      That peaceful movement must be stopped.

      1. LT

        I can’t see how Trump’s brand of militarism (throw more money at the Pentagon)
        will bring about any more peace than the Democrats’ brand of militarism.
        Both are just appear to be different ways of branding imperialism.

        1. Gorgar Laughed

          >I can’t see how Trump’s brand of militarism (throw more money at the Pentagon) will bring about any more peace than the Democrats’ brand of militarism.

          Study you history. Leftists (and many rightwingers) believed the same thing about Reagan and all turned out to be stunningly wrong.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Yes I remember how the lion laid down with the lamb forever and ever amen right after St Ronnie stormed the beaches of Grenada.

          2. Grebo

            stunningly wrong

            Not stunned enough to forget the mining of Managua harbour and arming of the Contras.
            And (plausibly) the assassination of the presidents of Panama and Ecuador.
            Support for the genocidal fascists in Guatamala, El Salvador etc.
            Backing Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran.
            And the arming and funding of the Mujahedeen of Afghanistan. What a coup for peace that was.

            1. Gorgar Laughed

              I’m no fan of Reagan, but this sort of reflexive outrage is not only dumb, its counterproductive. It is why the left is in such trouble and will continue to lose to Trump.

              My point: Reagan came into office and everyone on left was scared he would launch a war against Russia. Whatever else he did (and he did much that was regrettable) he ended up negotiating with the Russians, even to the point of nearly agreeing to ban nuclear weapons at Reykjavik.

              This is historical fact.

              1. Yves Smith

                Insulting readers is against our Policies. You need to read them. I told you that later in the thread too. One more incident like this and you will be blacklisted.

              2. Grebo

                When referring to something apparently good a US President has done it’s usually best to be specific, at least in these parts, because a lot of us were around and paying attention at the time and they aren’t the things that most stick in our cynical old minds.
                Also, most of us think we lost to Hillary, not Trump.

        2. Bugs Bunny

          Trump likes money, Trump loves to be loved. Wars ain’t gonna bring him either, my friend. I say he’ll be very cautious and probably get others (“allies”) to do the dirty work.

      2. polecat

        He’s also a zionist ….. with dual citizenship ! … like many of these war mongering f#cks (much of CONgress,the Beltway/NYC Banksters) they seem to give more deference to Israel then to the the former middle-class citizens of the U. S., who are going deeper into the ditch … !!!

        Isn’t that a form of treason ??

      3. ChrisPacific

        Thanks for that background. Worth remembering that he would have been the First Husband of State under Clinton. Suddenly Trump doesn’t seem so bad after all.

        1. Alex Morfesis

          Thankfully for us earth born carbon based life forms, podestas mothership took the last of the wurlitzers away in 2009 & all that is left for the kaganites are used ones that will soon enough be salvaged for parts to keep the tunes playing…until the last pedal breaks…

          Hopefully our progeny visiting the worldsfair 2050 at germania celebrating the first 100 years will find the kaganites will get their own exhibit with a loop of their public statements run for amusement and amazement…

  8. Bill Smith

    Suspended FAA Airworthiness directives… Same thing last administration did.

    The FAA could issue them under an emergency basis if they thought they needed to. But these things are almost always well known to those involved long before the notice is published in the Federal Register. They usually appear as ‘service bulletins’ beforehand.

  9. The will to pain

    Regarding Iran: the argument that allies wouldn’t support breaking the deal I am not so sure. The masochistic EU has fully supported the sanctions on Russia even though it hurts only EU, nobody else. It has imposed austerity during many years on the command of IMF. The will to pain is doing its thing very well in EU.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’m not so sure, Europe was always very reluctant about the sanctions, and now there is the prospect of a bounty of Iranian contracts (for the Germans and French in particular), they would fight back hard if Trump pushed this. At the very least, they would (finally) start extracting a price for going along with what Washington wants. European politicians would see pushing back at this as popular with both the general population and with business. Thats a powerful combination.

      The UK of course would have no choice but to follow Trump in whatever he wants.

      1. fosforos

        For the last twenty+ years I have been arguing for exactly this type of tax. The economics is so obvious. In a capitalistic economy (the only sort of economy we’re likely to have before all the icecaps melt) everything is determined by profitability, so a tax structure designed to guarantee that use of non-carbon energy becomes increasingly profitable every year while use of carbon fuels becomes increasingly unprofitable absolutely guarantees the fastest possible transition to a noncarbon economy. So why has it taken decades for the rational part of the Establishment (tiny as it is) to start recognizing reality? Two reasons: equal rebate per person of the revenue from the tax would be very strongly redistributive (that’s ideological); and, much more important, as much rent as possible had to be extracted from the fossil-fuel reserves of the Exxons, Saudis, et. al. before the “capital values” attached to the manifestly negative economic value of those reserves would be wiped out altogether (that’s material). Since both those factors remain dominant in the Establishment, I have no expectation that the arguments of Baker, Schultz, et. al. will have any more impact than my own.

      2. fosforos

        What the Sleazy Don and his gang are about is to influence Iran’s presidential election by supporting the hardest-line theocrats against President Rouhani. They want an Ahmedi-Nejad or the equivalent, almost certainly for the reasons suspected by Mike Whitney.

  10. run75441

    “But the proposed changes don’t address what insurance industry leaders say are their most important needs if they are going to remain in the individual market in 2018. Those include congressional funding for the ACA’s cost-sharing reductions, preservation of generous premium subsidies to keep coverage affordable, and restoration of risk payments to protect insurers that sign up disproportionately sick members.

    Conservatives oppose such measures, calling them insurance company “bailouts.” So far neither President Donald Trump nor congressional Republican leaders have said anything about those issues.”

    These comments are from “Leaked HHS draft order to fix insurance market draws mixed reviews” a link posted by Yves.

    What the short paragraph(s) above are discussing is the elimination of the PPACA Risk Corridor Program which was used to level the playing field for insurance companies just starting out with insuring people with pre-existing conditions or developing major illnesses. Its duration was 3 years. Basically, briefly, and without all of the detail; the program took a ratio of profits > 3%from profitable insurance companies, placed them in a fund, and disbursed to companies with greater than 3% losses. It was meant to keep companies who acquired more of the patients with pre-existing conditions from suffering huge losses like we have seen. The CBO scored it as creating $16 billion in funds to do so. So what happened?

    Repubs found a way to block it. Senator Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions and Rep. Fred Upton challenged the ability of the President and the HHS to appropriate funds by writing a letter to the GAO. The GAO came back and said only Congress can allocate funds; but, HHS and the President could transfer funding to the program. This was subsequently blocked by enlisting the aid of Rep. Jack Kingston (Appropriations Panel Chairman).

    In the 2015 Rep. Jack Kingston put the final nail in the coffin by inserting one sentence in Section 227 of the 2015 Appropriations Act (dated December 16, 2014) which escaped notice.

    “Sec. 227. None of the funds made available by this Act from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund or the Federal Supplemental Medical Insurance Trust Fund, or transferred from other accounts funded by this Act to the “Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services–Program Management” account, may be used for payments under section 1342(b)(1) of Public Law 111-148 (relating to risk corridors). ”

    This blocked any transfers while the program was building up funding to payout to insurance companies and Co-ops for that matter. The end result for this was, Insurance companies withdrawing from the exchanges like UHC which lost $140 millions, half of the newly started Co-ops going bankrupt, and premiums increasing more as companies compensated for their losses. Republicans purposely trashed a program claiming bailouts for healthcare insurance companies (see Mario) when a similar program exists for Part D as put in place by Pres. George Bush and Repubs to do precisely the same thing.

    Re-inventing the wheel, Craig Garthwaite, a health insurance expert at Northwestern University (article) says: “The small nature of these changes shows that real reform has to come through legislation, because none of this will fundamentally change the market and it’s not even legally clear they can do this.” Well Craig, the legislation does exist to do so and it was an innovative in its nature using the same tactics as used for Part D which creates revenue.. What Craig does not tell you is the healthcare insurance companies are now asking for this same program to be re-implemented and made permanent which was not the intent as it was felt companies would sort things out in the three year period.

    Anyways, my $.02.

    1. katiebird

      I am blown away by the detail you have shared here. I consider it absolute proof that the PPACA is, was and always will be impossible to implement even if it was a good idea.

      It is so frustrating that Single Payer options are out there but basically ignored as serious aternatives.

      Bernie was great pressing for it at the town hall the other day but the moderators totally and completely ignored him. It was like the primaries all over again.

      1. Paid Minion

        “Single Payer” is the worst insurance plan you can have…..

        Except for all the others.

        At some point, one hopes that people will realize that we can’t afford a “free market” health care system.

        1. katiebird

          Regarding the idea that we are health care consumers who can pick our care and control the costs: I just read an interesting post — I’ve put my family on a health insurance experiment. It’s been a challenge.

          So when a high-deductible plan became available through my employer, Harvard University, a couple years ago, I decided to enroll my family in it. If this is going to be a big national experiment, I thought that I, as a physician and a health policy scholar, ought to know what it’s like to live with this kind of health insurance. Debra, my wife, was not convinced.


          Our experiment is showing me again and again that it’s extremely hard to be a health care consumer in Massachusetts — just as I’m sure it is in other states. Want to know how much a particular type of health care costs, like a visit to a specialist or getting a minor surgery? Good luck figuring it out. My insurance company’s online tool was hard to use and, even as a physician, I could almost never guess what sets of services a visit to the doctor might generate. What’s more, there was no useful information about the quality of care. Price information without quality information is not particularly helpful when shopping for medical care.

          The second lesson was that being a health care consumer is stressful, at least the way the system is currently set up. Here’s an example. Our son had surgery last year. We got a call saying it was time for his one-year follow-up. Deb stressed for nearly two months over whether or not to make the appointment. Of course she wants our son to get the care he needs, but did he truly need this follow-up? That’s both the promise and the peril of high-deductible plans — they are supposed to make you think twice about consuming health care.

          She eventually went with our son for his one-year follow-up — they spent two minutes with the surgeon — and paid $465 for the visit. I’m not sure my son, or my spouse, felt any better afterward. There were many examples like this sprinkled throughout the year, but the most profound one was the one I experienced for myself.

          1. drb48

            What you experienced is a feature, not a bug. The whole we need to be better “consumers” of health care is a dodge – like all their other dodges – meant to throw the burden of health care – along with everything else – onto those least able to bear it in order to avoid having to raise taxes on the folks at the top to pay for a decent social safety net.

          2. Pat

            Well worth reading, but spoilers for those that don’t.

            1. While the author dances around it, he finally admits that it is impossible for the ‘consumer’ to shop for quality health care. And that the system will have to provide better information in a clearer manner to let them do so. He never addresses that the lack of transparency is a feature not a bug. I’m assuming he never encountered or heard of blind billing, or doesn’t understand that the current system facilitates ripping off the ‘consumer’ even when insured.

            2. That even a doctor chose to roll the dice and hold off health care under circumstances he would be telling his patients to go to the ER. And that our development of different services so that ER is not the only option has not been met despite the growth of high deductible insurance.

            Similar to the blind billing thing, a couple of things he doesn’t address is that our system is largely uninterested in actually providing health care thus without a relatively large to huge profit expected those alternatives to the ER will not happen. That even if Nurses are given more rights, the charges will still be larded with profit measures. Beyond that, in less populous regions they will never develop both because of lack of profit and lack of expandability. And the gentleman’s personal experience probably doesn’t come with a severely contracted network otherwise he might have found that he had to consider a long travel time to get to an ER where his out of pocket expense actually applied to his deductible and his stay covered if he had to be admitted because yes, networks.

            But it is still nice to see someone knowledgable in a different manner address some of the issues with our current insane insurance based system.

            1. katiebird

              I wish he had explained why with those experiences behind them, he decided to spend another year in the high deductible plan.

              I’m doing it because the difference in cost makes the low deductable plans unaffordable…. Is that his (what does his wife think) situation? He never said.

              1. Pat

                Yeah, in many ways it doesn’t make sense. I realize that I might not understand the time line of his son’s medical issues, but that alone I would think would get his wife up in arms about continuing. There is certainly more behind this story.

                I am really trying to figure out how the direct primary care programs suggested in the comments work. For instance is this meant to be in tandem with the high deductible plan, so you don’t forgo regular health care? Or just another means of rolling the dice with the idea being that regular health care means no emergencies? I fully admit that was a new idea to me.

            2. run75441


              Being out of work, having a high deductible plan, and low pay out resulted in my asking what this would cost and what that would cost with my PCD. He did not know except for the EKG. He did not need to know, the business needed to know.

              In the end one clerk told me to go to Quest for an imaging and a urine analysis and save several hundred dollars from what U of M would charge in Michigan. I had pneumonia right lung. The sympathy stopped at billing.

          3. run75441

            Sorry article Doctor, you do not know the return of what the other doctor was performing???

            This gets to the crux of the issue:

            “I could almost never guess what sets of services a visit to the doctor might generate. What’s more, there was no useful information about the quality of care. Price information without quality information is not particularly helpful when shopping for medical care.”

            The healthcare industry is in the business of selling services, not quality outcomes. Tell me what the difference is in the two metoprolons (I made pills). The more services sold, the better they look. Get the extra chrome man!

            Here three take-aways by Atul Garwande:

            1. Cost and quality are not correlated in the U.S. health care system: increased health care spending and costs does not translate to improved patient outcomes.
            2. The interactions of local medical stakeholders, government, and employers, in each community are fundamentally responsible for the success or failure of the local health care system.
            3. Through collective impact efforts and proactive data collection at the local level, community foundations can rally local leaders around a particular medical issue and develop a unified strategy for improving patient outcomes while significantly reducing costs. 

        2. drb48

          The “people” are idiots who haven’t “realized” shit ever and aren’t likely to. And in any case they’re irrelevant. Our owners have decreed that we can’t have single payer – because it would mess with their profits – so that’s it. Period. End of story.

          1. JohnL

            Absolutely. We’ve seen it with pensions and we’ll see it with medicare, social security, education, and public lands, the post office, and likely with infrastructure. There’s a common ideology called privatizing the commons for personal gain, or an upward transfer of wealth.

          2. nycTerrierist

            I skipped the pussy march but I would gladly support a YUUGE march for single payer –
            funny hats optional.

          3. run75441


            Your owners would be administering single payer. If you do not like them now, what akes you think you would like them with singe payer?

      2. run75441

        The Public option was killed by the Senator from Aetna Lieberman who was doing the soliciting for DeVos in front of Congress, the whore that he is.

        I read the Manager’s Amendment just before the PPACA was passed after the Dems lost control. I also did the editing for Maggie Mahar on Angry Bear blog. There is far more detail to this I have not posted here; but, it is in several posts on Angry Bear. I am happy Yves and Lambert let my comment stand. You need to understand who the issue is with.

        Leaving your fate in Single Payer is not much of an option when the Randian Paul Ryan whose biggest accomplishment in the public sector was to drive the Wienermobile.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Any way you slice it, one thing’s for sure. Institutionalizing insurance as the access point for the american “healthcare” system will always require an infusion of outside, in this case taxpayer, money to ensure system viability.

      The organizing principle of insurance as a for-profit business is simple. Collect money from many and only pay out to a few. The business model flat out falls apart when everyone who pays in expects to get something out.

      This is the circle obamacare pretended to square by assuming financial responsibility, through premium supports, loss compensation, and Medicaid expansion, for those the insurance industry could not profitably accommodate. It is also the business model to which the insurance industry continues to creatively try to revert with narrow networks and high deductibles.

      Whether the obama administration considered the possible reluctance of subsequent administrations / congresses to continue the necessary cash infusions to maintain the viability of the obamacare illusion is unknown, but its pretty hard to believe that any of this comes as a surprise.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        If you just HAD to keep private insurance companies in the mix you could do what The Netherlands did, they capped the prices of a basic menu of standard services available through insurers and made them compete on add-ons and *gulp* service quality

      2. Dead Dog

        One of the very few ‘takeouts’ from my Economics degree (1980s) was the normative statement that when markets are broken, then intervention by government should be the argued for policy option. (We are arguing about this now in South Australia, where after selling all its electricity assets so that it could have more money to spend in its State budget, the recent 40 degree temperatures have seen electricity demand exceed capacity and they are experiencing brown outs.) Anyway, the Australian State heavily intervenes in the health of Australians, so I hope the following is helpful to explain some of the differences.
        As I understand things, there are declining mortality rates for some (the poorest) and the US has the highest cost for what are low health outcomes, when compared with ROW??
        Australia’s health system comprises for-profit hospitals (private) and those owned by the State (public), where most of clinicians and all administrative staff are on government salaries.
        As a citizen, I can attend any state hospital for no cost, whether an emergency or not. If I need non urgent surgery, there is a wait list, so as to ration (what is perceived to be limited) funding (the budget).
        I can bypass the wait list, if I pay for surgery at a private hospital, or if I have health insurance I can get the surgery performed, with the hospital fees generally covered, but not all the clinicians fees (what you would call copays).
        There is a tax penalty for those earning over 50k (100k couple) which acts as a disincentive not be be insured, but many just do the ‘sums’ and choose to pay the tax.
        Dentistry continues to be a high cost, but Asia is very close and the costs are around 5 to 10% of Australia’s costs. Anyone on a part or full government pension, or benefit, can access public dental clinics, but there is a wait list.
        Essentially, poor teeth and the pain associated with them is not the same health issue as (say) and ulcer on your leg. But that’s an aside.
        Here in Cairns, it is high unemployment town with jobs that are low in pay, but rents and house prices are more modest than bigger cities to our south. The Florida like weather and lifestyle though attracts many clinicians here and I have many medical centres nearby that will ‘bulk bill’ me (to the Government at regulated fees for each type of consultation) so that there is no cost to me – even for pathology.
        Australia may well be a houses and holes economy and rent extraction is as rampant here as elsewhere, but our health system is not too bad.
        Can the US get single payer for all and access to quality health care for all? I hope so, but am not optimistic. Poor food security, processed foods, lower protection for environment, diabetes, obesity, water security… they are all factors and many more.
        Been reading NC since 07 or 08. Occasionally comment, but find the time difference doesn’t help me to contribute when the US and UK are reading and commenting on NC. Will try to find more time, as I often think of things to say – the introvert in me I guess.
        Greatest site on the Internet!

      3. run75441

        Ok Katniss, the limit was 3% profit and then they had to kick into a fund which generated positive revenue for the Gov. (CBO). The fund was used to pay losses by other insurance companies which exceeded 3%. A ratio determined what was taken and what was paid out.

        Since this was applied to Part D, since this was analyzed by the CBO; there was good reason to believe this too would be just as successful? The PPACA/ACA/Obamacare was a good start which would eventually migrate. Your analysis is nice’ but, it lacks a factual basis.

        The networks were narrow due t healthcare insurance companies dropping out due to losses. Co-ops going bankrupt because of not being compensated for early losses, and companies losing clients because of premium increases. Your commentary lack substance.

        As to the administration, they lacked the control of Congress after 2010.

        1. aab

          They lost control of Congress because they did not pass sturdy, universal policies that could address the immediate, crisis-level needs of the population. It is not surprising that insurance companies successfully gamed the system. It’s what they do. In fact, the complexity of the set-up guaranteed that they could and they would. It is also not surprising that Republicans undermined the legislation. That was also utterly predictable. That’s why when you get power, you’re supposed to use it to achieve things for your voters, not make sure you’re the most popular guest at every Georgetown dinner party.

          Had Obama passed universal health care, he would have retained his majority, even if it hadn’t taken effect yet. But he was not that man. He could also have thrown bankers in jail, protected citizens from illegal foreclosures, and delivered a bigger, better stimulus.

          Instead, he tried to please the bipartisan fetishists in the ruling elite, by using a Republican idea as the foundation for his legislation, and then making it incredibly over-complicated as he fed current and future Democratic donor industries goodies while trying to make a credible show of delivering the requisite crumbs to citizens to keep the New Democrat long con going. He had violated every single one of his campaign promises by 2010 IIRC, and unsurprisingly, his party — led by DNC Chair and known incompetent Tim Kaine — lost control of Congress. They deserved to. Sadly, we the people were the ones that suffered and continue to suffer due to Barack Obama’s and the Democratic Party’s deceit and betrayal.

          Barack’s windsurfing, I hear.

          1. different clue

            If he had done all the good stuff he “coulda” done, he wouldn’t be able to collect several hundred million dollars in gratitude payments after leaving office from the people he “coulda” done those good things against while in office.

            Actually, he was put in office to make sure that nobody else “coulda” done the good things he was secretly determined to never “woulda” done himself.

          2. run75441

            Seriously? If Lieberman was opposed to any form of the Public Option, do you really think he would have voted for Universal Insurance? Don’t be silly. Lieberman was the swing vote and he would have filibustered it.

            The number one issue in 2010 was the economy with 6 of 10 voters citing it. Young voters did not come out in the numbers in 2010 as they did in 2008. You also had a Republican led coalition which pledged to block every Dem Initiative. Blue Dogs swayed the vote in the Senate.The PPACA came into being in 2010.

            In my own state the districts are gerrymandered with Repubs establishing re-districting every ten years since 1990. Sam Wang at Princeton Consortium does a nice write up on gerrymandering.

            Yea so what about the windsurfing. After I left the USMC, I did a lot of partying and relaxing. My time in hell was over.

            You have a nice couple of paragraphs; but, it really does not touch on the issues of why Dems lost in 2010.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          “Part D” is a Medicare program. It has nothing to do with obamacare. I’ve heard a lot about it. One thing I have never heard is that it is “successful.” For anyone other than big pharma. Don’t get the reference.

          Narrow networks have nothing to do with “companies dropping out due to losses.” They are, as “pre-existing conditions” were before them, ways to limit / control usage and thus insurance payouts. When companies drop out, it’s “choice,” such as it is, that’s affected.

          My comment had to do with the need for an outside cash infusion–from the government, wherever it gets it–to support the insurance portion of the system, and the need to directly pay for treatment through Medicaid expansion for may of the sickest, which has turned out to be the bulk of obamacare “participation.” As near as I can tell, your discussion of a “fund” confirms that.

          As for the “3% profit limit,” I don’t know what point you’re making, but there has been plenty written here on NC about insurance companies gaming “medical loss ratios” by shifting expenses and creative accounting to evade obamacare requirements on profit and loss.

          I beg to differ with you on one other point. My argument has plenty of “substance.”

          1. run75441

            Just your very statement tells me you do not realize the same risk Corridor Program in Part D is also in the PPACA. It was successful in Part D and would have been successful in the PPACA if not undermined by Sessions, Upton, and Kingston. The difference the Part D Risk Corridor program belonged to Repubs.

            There were limitations on profit imposed by the Risk Corridor Program as well as Part D. There were limits on losses until the three years were up in the PPACA while it still continues in Part D.

            Nobody gamed anything and your conspiracy theories lack merit and substance. If Liberman did not want the Public Option, do you really thing he was going to vote for Universal healthcare?

    1. RabidGandhi

      In gleefully pointing out the banning of their rival, Guardian makes its own bid for joining Daily Mail on the blacklist:

      [Wikipedia] still allows links to sources such as Kremlin backed news organisation Russia Today, and Fox News, both of which have raised concern among editors.

      Guardian to Wikipedia: hey don’t forget all the Rooskies Are Coming hysteria we ran too!

      ‘Tis a mighty thin line all three are walking.

      1. broadsteve

        I’m finding it hard to think of the Grauniad and the Mail as rivals. Readers of one would probably sooner kill themselves than be seen reading the other.

  11. Watt4Bob

    From the cyber Bank-Robber link;

    Kaspersky eventually unearthed evidence that Duqu 2.0, as the never-before-seen malware was dubbed, was derived from Stuxnet, the highly sophisticated computer worm reportedly created by the US and Israel to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program.

    From the Business Insider July 2016;

    Bits and pieces of the Stuxnet story are well-known by now.

    First authorized by President Bush and then re-authorized by President Obama, the top secret computer worm was designed by the US and Israel to infect an Iranian nuclear enrichment facility at Natanz.

    And it did. Too well.

    But at some point, the powerful computer code escaped and made its way out. It had an unheard number of zero-day exploits (four, to be precise), which are software vulnerabilities unknown to the target that has “zero days” to protect themselves. Making matters worse, its self-replicating behavior ended up infecting computers around the world.

    Ever since the existence of Stuxnet became public knowledge I’ve been pointing out the fact that there would be inevitable blow-back.

    But as this interview with the smirking chimp Michael Hayden makes clear, the eventual reverse-engineering of the weapon by our enemies was not seriously considered.

    The people charged with keeping us safe, spent a $Billion dollars on a weapon that has now fallen into criminal hands, an eventuality that was virtually guaranteed from day one.

    The stupid is powerful with this one.

    1. Darius

      Stuxnet was always a bad idea but Israeli intelligence kept making it more aggressive at Bibi’s insistence, which turned it into the operational and PR disaster it became. So I’m super relieved Netanyahu now is one of the most powerful people in America.

    2. Andrew Watts


      The people in charge aren’t any more intelligent than you or me. They’re just power-hungry and greedier. Which is actually kinda scary when you think about it.

      My only ambition is to get one good poop out every single day. It’s a dream worth having!

  12. OJi

    Not to be overly nitpicky, but 53% of women did not vote for Trump. Perhaps 53% of of the women who voted did cast a vote for Trump, but that’s not the same thing.

    1. Craig

      That would be 53% of white women voters voted for trump. Not sure why it hasn’t been corrected. Must be a Democratic party issue.

  13. Leigh

    I’m have misplaced some sheep – anyone with information on their whereabouts – please contact me.

    1. Anne

      I think I saw them heading down Pratt Street this morning, headed to the Democratic retreat in Baltimore.

    2. Aumua

      Ok, little Bo Peep. Don’t you worry, we’re on the case, and we’re going to find your sheep.


  14. LT

    Re: House Democrats, Anti Trump Strategy (Politico).

    The Democrats will have learn to walk and chew gum at the same time.
    They need to actually have the policy people can believe in and really believe that the Sanders campaign showed them where all their weak spots were (party insiders still don’t believe it).
    And if they pursue the tying Republicans to Trump policies, they can’t be half-assed. They will actually have the benefit of a Trump administration making policies (which they didn’t during the campaign). But to win back the House, they can’t hold “individual” Republicans accountable. They have to make Trump = Republican Party.
    The Republicans got to where they are by pretty much preaching the last 30 years that the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.

    I’m totally against the duopoly, but if they are trying to win within it, that is the way to go.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      News flash: Voters and non voters already despise the GOP. This is part of the reason Trump could blast Saint McCain and the Bush Klan and win even with Republican voters. Outside of elite Washington, the GOP is not liked.

      The issue is are the Democrats worth it. The Democrats want enough votes to prevent a takeover and maintain relevance to have access to celebrity worship.

      This has been the only Democratic strategy, and yet, the strategy has led to epic defeats despite a demographic wave.

      1. LT

        Hence you make Trump = the very same thing he blasts. It works both ways. Republicans = Trump, Trump = Republicans. Get the drift.
        And my first point was that the Dems need to stand for something.
        Walk and chew gum…

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          People already understand this.

          The Democrats didn’t go up in the polls in 2006 until the nominally became against the Iraq War after Murtha forced the issues. Huffing and puffing about the Terry Schaevo circus did nothing. Oh man remember, that epic Daily Show takedown of Shrub. Wow.

          We’ve seen this video. It didn’t work then. It’s not a start. It’s ass backwards, and proponents of this strategy are the same dolts that swore it would work this last November. Calling Trump a KGB plant didn’t work this November. Wake up.

          If I’m still not getting through to you, it’s easier to cath flies with honey rather than vinegar. Politics isn’t complicated. The front row kids* are attracted to it because it’s so damn simple. Positive message and relatively trustworthy messengers. That’s it. Anything else means you have a rotten product. At that point, get a new product.

          1. LT

            I’m not saying the Democrats don’t need real program that helps people.
            They have to do that and drive home that Republicans = Bad ideas and Trump = Republicans

            Of course blaming Putin achieved none of that because Putin isn’t on any local, state or national office ballots.

            They have to have the balls to abandon the bipartisan fairy if they want the House back any time soon

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Negative does not work.

              Some people are influenced by negativity, but oh yeah, we already have that party, the GOP. A second one isn’t going to work.

              The Supreme Court and mitch McConnell didn’t work in 2014. Did you even see Ted Cruz strutting around with the government shut down?

          2. LT

            I’m not saying the Democrats don’t need real program that helps people.
            They have to do that and drive home that Republicans = Bad ideas and Trump = Republicans

            Of course blaming Putin achieved none of that because Putin isn’t on any local, state or national office ballots.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Republicans arrived so to speak because they maintain a consistent campaign operation, voter lists, and keep in regular contact with their voters and try not to insult them directly.

      Another point about Dean’s 50 state strategy, the strategy was to basically copy what Republicans do. I know it doesn’t make a New Yorker article by a person who computers on FB, but the front row kids of the Dems are just simply morons.

      1. LT

        In that contact, the messaging was simple:
        Democrats = Evil.

        Oh, and…”tax cuts”…
        It was the solution to everything from low growth economy to healing a broken bone

      2. LT

        Have you ever seen the 1996 documentary “A Perfect Candidate”?
        It’s about Oliver (Iran-Contra) North’s run for the US Senate. The campaign took place during 1994.
        Check out his messaging and the way it was received (oh so familiar). And the attitudes toward Democrats that has been cultivated ad he is on the campaign trail.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          What is your point?

          A morally compromised pig of a man lost in a year where Republicans ran the Democrats out of every seat except Florida where Jeb was running. Do you realize that Ollie North lost to Chuck Robb? My parents have a photo of me with Chuck Robb and my dad’s old boss, and I have a photo of me with North’s campaign manager who resembled a former Democratic state legislature in appearance and demeanor they have to be distant cousins.

          This goes back to my point about positive message and trustworthy messengers.

          The Republicans made a number of promises in 1994 in the last month including term limits, reform, and so forth. You might not like those particular promises, but they were presented as solutions to given problems. Of course NAFTA and Hillary’s bungling of Healthcare didn’t help.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          In case you didn’t pick up on it, Ollie North’s candidacy was against what was once considered an extremely safe seat. North was the fall man in the 1980’s, and he was offered a Senate seat the GOP elite knew he wouldn’t win as payment.

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          Oh and one more thing.

          The tile of the documentary is ironic. Ollie North was a terrible candidate with a terrible campaign, far from “perfect.” The disaster that was Chuck Robb was what kept the race interesting.

          North didn’t keep to his schedule and would debate every heckler and spent considerable amount of time justifying his record when candidates should just have records that speak for themselves.

  15. Jim Haygood

    Ballad of The Orange Flake:

    Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, privately expressed dismay on Wednesday over Mr. Trump’s increasingly aggressive attacks on the judiciary, calling the president’s criticism of independent judges “demoralizing” and “disheartening.”

    The remarks by Judge Gorsuch came as the president lashed out at the federal appellate judges who are considering a challenge to his executive order. The president called their judicial proceedings “disgraceful” and described the courts as “so political.”

    Those remarks followed Mr. Trump’s weekend Twitter outburst in which he derided a Seattle district court judge who blocked his travel ban as a “so-called judge” whose “ridiculous” ruling would be overturned.

    Speaking to a group of sheriffs and police chiefs on Wednesday, the president said the appellate judges had failed to grasp concepts even “a bad high school student would understand.”

    “This is highly unusual,” said Michael W. McConnell, a former federal judge who directs the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford University. “Mr. Trump is shredding longstanding norms of etiquette and interbranch comity.”

    Trump is said to be a billionaire bizman. But it’s hard to believe. No litigant in his right mind assails the judge as a “so-called judge.” That’s a formula not only for losing your case, but also getting hauled out in handcuffs by the bailiff for contempt.

    Trump’s behavior is just BFR — Beyond Full Retard. I cannot shake the impression that an eight-year-old boy has somehow gotten his brain implanted in the body of a 70-year-old man, and is now acting out his juvenile Beavis & Butthead fantasies on a big stage.

    1. DH

      Trump is complaining about how long the legal process is for his immigration ban. It is now coming up on two weeks.

      Trump’s hundreds of business lawsuits have frequently gone on for many years. In most cases, they spend more than two weeks just arguing about whether or not the first hearing should be 6 or 12 months from now.

      1. DH

        Actually, I believe Trump’s own DoJ lawyers have been telling the judges hearing the cases that they simply have not had enough time to gather the evidence they want to present the judges to justify the ban. I am assuming in the regulatory process, the evidence would have been gathered as part of the determination that the ban is needed, so it is unclear why the lawyers can’t just pull the file folder out of the drawer and copy it for the judges.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Perhaps time to gather more evidence to rebuff the (surprise) claim by judge Robart about no arrests from the 7 nations…or other claims we don’t know about just now.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      msnbs is on fire this morning over this latest flashing red Trump danger signal.

      In a rather curious refutation of Trump’s charge that the federal judiciary is “political,” and an even more curious explanation of the sacred american system of checks and balances, constitutional scholar morning joe explained it thusly:

      “He [Trump] talks about high school students. I think a lotta high school students could tell him that the ninth circuit is ‘left of center.’ The eleventh circuit is ‘right of center.’ These things balance out. It is a system of checks and balances that began with Madison and Hamilton, and presidents do not speak this way.”

      Caught in an apparent bind between unanimous “aye” votes for Gorsuch in 2006, and the imperative to reject him as Trump’s nominee for the supreme court in 2017, various democrat senators interviewed appear to have come up with an interesting strategy. It is not enough for Gorsuch to “whisper” his concerns in private meetings, he must demonstrate his suitability for the position by shouting his condemnation of Trump from the rooftops.

      Nah. No “politicization” there. Once again Trump commits the unpardonable mortal sin of saying out loud what everyone already knows.

      1. fresno dan

        Katniss Everdeen
        February 9, 2017 at 10:18 am

        It has always struck me as an illogically, foolish, and perilous idea to put so much faith and trust in the virtue of judges. Go back to torture (waterboarding and who knows what else), which was found to be OK even though it was defined as torture by the US after WWII. And speaking of WWII, what did our vaunted supreme court do???

        Trump is the president best for civil liberties we have had in a long, long time. Hopefully, everyone on NC is sophisticated to get at what I mean….

      2. Jim Haygood

        “I think a lotta high school students could tell him that the ninth circuit is ‘left of center.’ “

        Yes, I believe I knew that the Ninth Circuit is left of center, even back in my student days at Commie Martyrs High. (Don’t we miss Rose Bird!) In any event, my youthful recollection was jogged by this article last week:

        Republican members of Arizona’s congressional delegation are again trying to split up the federal appeals court whose nine-state territory includes Arizona.

        A bill introduced Thursday by Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake would put Arizona in a new 12th Circuit with Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Washington while leaving California, Hawaii and Oregon plus Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands in the 9th Circuit.

        A House version previously introduced by Reps. Andy Biggs and four other Arizona Republican representatives would leave Washington in the 9th Circuit.

        Flake says the 9th Circuit is “oversized and overworked” with 20 percent of the nation’s population, while Biggs says a split would protect Arizona from “the burdensome and undue influence” of the 9th Circuit.

        Here’s guessing the Ninth Circuit hands The Flake a big, fat, ugly defeat.

        Then at 1 a.m. that evening DJT tweets, “Screw it, I’m outta here,” hands the White House keys over to Mikey Pence, and retreats to his tower to buy some more property before prices go up. :-)

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          It’s getting harder and harder to keep all the “Flakes” out there wrecking america straight.:-)

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Shouldn’t the Judiciary branch decide their own fate, how they want to map their circuits?

          And who decides their salaries – that could be a source of influencing the judges?

          1. Jim Haygood

            Article III, Section 1:

            The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

            “You’re gonna have to serve somebody.” — Bob Dylan

        3. FluffytheObeseCat

          That regional base would make the new 12th district very purple. Neither Washington, Alaska nor Nevada are reliably ultra-right. I guess McCain seems to be assuming the left in these states could be kept down indefinitely. At least at the level of the federal judiciary. (The candidate pool level of society that is).

    3. cocomaan

      Jim, I find a stark contrast between what’s on his twitter and what the actual political movements entail. I think it’s best to just ignore anything he says on social media. He’s been saying wacky shit for as long as I can remember now, while the actual exec orders are clean and neat and don’t look at all like his public statements.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Eh, cocomaan, I read his executive order on immigration. It struck me as prolix, convoluted, badly drafted.

        We’ll see whether the Ninth Circuit agrees.

      2. Bob

        “… the actual exec orders are clean and neat and don’t look at all like his public statements.”
        Because Bannon writes the executive orders. Not Trump. Trump doesn’t even read the executive orders before signing them. Trump has difficulty expressing himself in anything over 140 characters.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I hereby declare
            Seven nation travel ban
            Your president Trump

            That’s short enough, he might actually read it before signing.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When they ruled for corporate personhood, someone should have acted with less etiquette, perhaps no comity at all.

      Many felt demoralized, the decision ridiculous…worse than high school stuff.

      “But we must act proper. A girl can only go out with a chaperone.”

    5. Aumua

      I believe that Trump is a child emotionally. He never needed to grow up, so why would he? But so much for armchair psychology. Republicans are corrupt, democrats are corrupt, some judges are corrupt.. I don’t see anything new here.

      Trump is the president best for civil liberties we have had in a long, long time. Hopefully, everyone on NC is sophisticated to get at what I mean….

      I must not be all that sophisticated, cause that statement seems a little kooky to me. Is this one of those eleventy chess things or..?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Sixty years, the name would never have passed TV censors.

        And no one went on an airplane in shorts, back then. It was your best clothes, even for train ride.

        Thus, the culture is coarser, check that, more casual (the PC word is more tolerant).

        Good bye, etiquette guide books.

        Good bye comity…though Deplorable people are so desperate, their prospects so bleak, coarse words just reflect their coarse reality.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Beavis and Butthead was a great critique of popular music, MTV, and even the decadence of a decayed society that often preached tolerance but demanded conformity. Mike Judge might not align with every position (Idiocracy is elitist garbage; comedy has to punch up or be self effacing), but he does try to make subtle points in his efforts about the state of American life whether it’s “King of he Hill,” “Office Space,” or “Daria” (he was more of a mentor in that project).

        1. different clue

          Comedy doesn’t have to punch up. Comedy punches down lots of times. C. L. Mencken punched down lots of times. I have seen George Carlin punching down some.

  16. timbers

    H-1B – personal observations

    Snow day from work which happens to be a new job and my first full time direct hire job since I was laid off in 2011 (though with many contract assignments & bartending in-between). And I’ve come put to about 2/3rds of my once good 2011 pay. Great health insurance options with low employee contributions, coverage starts day 1 – all hard to find these days.

    Here’s what I’m noticing at my new job regarding H-1B work visas vs other companies I’ve worked at:

    It appears H-1B doesn’t exist at my new company or if it does it’s small enough I have not yet noticed it. This compares to State Street and Citizens Bank having entire rooms/floors filled with 100% Indians doing IT related work. And at State Street, the Indians are not doing just IT work…they’re spreading into other areas too. This may be due to the size of the companies – My new company is about 250 employees (MSD – Medical Specialities Distributors) and field, while State Street and Citizens are large corporations. The IT guys are middle aged American, white and dark males (sorry that’s all I know at present). The co-workers I walk by each day are diverse racially, though with a larger white population vs Citizens Bank though possibly equal to State Street (excluding it’s IT department). One notable difference is the generous number of older white females at my new work. Possibly this is due to people dealing with health insurance problems over the phone may prefer a female voice on the phone vs a male? (just a guess).

    Regarding H-1B visa size of presence in the U.S., I noticed Yves comments some days back. If you include the other various programs to bring in foreign works to fill American jobs, the numbers may will be in the millions and not the low 150,000 figure one comment mentioned. With H-1B along being about 650,000, plus the computer figures plus low skilled workers and illegal immigration, it is easy to see why the job market and wages have been stacked against the American worker in a big way and the anger suffering that has caused.

    1. cocomaan

      Good to hear from the front lines on this issue.

      I’m searching my brain for a solid reason that the large companies manage to have so many foreign employees. My early guess it’s because they can afford the economies of scale and general overhead of the immigration processing.

      If a large company can get a solid legal/compliance team in place, they can create a “visa mill” that can staff the company easily, and, in a corporate structure, staff the company from afar. I’ve seen this in higher ed with foreign students – larger campuses have entire teams dedicated to bringing in foreign students and dealing with federal immigration paperwork. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work there, too.

      But that’s just my speculation.

      1. polecat

        Here … I’ll simplify it for you :

        American citizens have become cattle for the chute .. nothing more

        The demographics of ‘no-holds-barred’ kumbaya immigration policy insures that fate for anyone in the soon to be 98% or below classes …. !!

    2. fresno dan

      February 9, 2017 at 9:42 am

      Thanks for those observations!
      In the open borders world of Davos man, what exactly is the responsibility of the government to its own citizens? I CAN REMEMBER…when companies actually trained people for the vast majority of what they REALLY did on the job – but what non 1% can compete against 7 billion willing to work cheaper???
      When one reads the Jacobian article on pharmaceuticals, it is apparent that we have a government of the capital, by the capital, and for the capital…..

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If only Tsar Nicholas II could have H1B Imperial Guard, or Deng (at the time of the Tiananmen Square crackdown) the same…

        “They will do the job. Perhaps we can even grant the hard working ones permanent residency.”

        Superbowl ad: H1B private security – we are the best at protecting our clients.

      2. Tom

        According to the article, “Indian IT firms have been preparing for changes in H-1B visa laws for nearly a decade,” it seems that India’s IT firms have been thinking past the constraints involved with physically getting H-1B temporary workers here.

        As more and more U.S. businesses are digitized, they see a Plan B as providing them with IT services from a dispersed global support structure, with an emphasis on providing “more hi-tech virtual needs, such as cloud computing, automation, and artificial intelligence.”

        India to U.S.: we don’t need no stinkin’ H1-B badges.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Why not an Armada of Better-than-Americans Indian high-tech workers cruising up and down the coast along the San Francisco Peninsula?

          “I can see you from 280 (freeway).”

  17. Jim Haygood

    Fallout from The Flake:

    For four years, federal immigration authorities have given Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos a pass to remain in the U.S. rather than deport her back to Mexico.

    That changed Wednesday, when Garcia de Rayos went to check in as usual at the central Phoenix offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Instead of being released, she was taken into custody, while her husband, two children — both U.S.-born citizens — and a group of supporters watched in tears.

    Her family and supporters fear Garcia de Rayos, 36, may be deported quickly to Mexico. That, they say, would make her among the first casualties under a shift in policy by ICE under President Donald Trump.

    Garcia de Rayos’ husband does not have legal status and did not want to be identified. “Basically we are Americans,” he said. “This is our country. We were brought here when we were teens.”

    This is the kind of case in which judicial judgment could be brought to bear … IF there’s a hearing. But deportation largely has become a conveyor belt that operates without any constitutional guarantees — right to counsel; right to a hearing, etc.

    We’ve devolved to Third World drumhead “justice.” Not to worry — Ku Klux Jeff’s on the case now. So many minorities, so little time!

      1. Jim Haygood

        Right — public policy is that immigration laws should be enforced. But it’s also public policy that kids born in the US are American citizens. And it’s a doctrine of juvenile courts that separating kids from their parents — effectively making them orphans — is contrary to the public interest.

        How to balance these hopelessly conflicting priorities? I don’t presume to know. But I think there should be a judicial hearing.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Can you imagine the Wehrmacht sending their 8-1/2 month pregnant mothers divisions to invade the US?

          Can we we ever get rid of our occupiers?

          “Situation critical. Send more pregnant mothers to America!!!”

        2. Dave

          “Enforcing immigration laws breaks up families.”

          Only if the families choose to leave their children behind the U.S.welfare system.
          There’s no reason the children cannot return to Mexico with the parents.

          They don’t speak Spanish? Of course they do. This way they get the benefits of multiculturalism and learn the intricacies of their cultura. Plus, if they are U.S. born, they have passports and come and go as they please after they are old enough.

        3. reslez

          Being born here isn’t enough if you don’t grow up here too. You have to establish your American citizenship or it goes away and you lose your right to live here. Source: I have several cousins with a foreign national parent who grew up outside the US.

          Of course, they didn’t break the law.

  18. fresno dan

    “We wondered if Nadler was correct by saying that since 9/11, terrorist ACTS in the United States have not been carried out by people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
    Experts told us no fatal attack has been attributed to nationals from those countries, but that there have been a few non-deadly acts by individuals from two of those countries.”
    “Zero refugees from countries in the president’s travel ban have KILLED anyone in terrorist attacks on American soil”
    “As we noted in our Muslim ban article, the large majority of jihadists committing acts of terror in America have been American citizens or legal residents.

    And since 9/11, no one in the United States has been killed in a terrorist attack by someone from the seven countries, though there have been at least three non-deadly cases in which the perpetrator was connected to Iran or Somalia.”


    There are of course a zillion links about this. The above links can be repeated many times. There is a distinction between those who say no one has been killed, VERSUS no attacks, versus a FEW attacks. And convictions appears not to be mentioned. The good news (PUN intended) is the later links appear to be clarifying these points and adding nuances.

    I noticed this because of reading the Washington Examiner (a right wing paper):

    “First, the question of terror-related crimes committed by people who come from the seven nations covered by the Trump order. Many of the president’s adversaries have claimed that no terror-related crimes have been committed by nationals of the affected countries — Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. “The various people who have, in fact, committed terrorist acts in this country, from 9/11 on, none of them came from any of the seven countries that are the subject of the president’s executive order,” New York Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler said on CNN Jan. 28.

    Even James Robart, the judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington State who temporarily stopped the Trump order, believed the talking point.

    “How many arrests have there been of foreign nationals for those seven countries since 9/11?” Robart asked a Justice Department lawyer in court on Feb. 3. When the lawyer said she didn’t know, Robart said, “Let me tell you. The answer to that is none, as best I can tell.”

    It turns out the judge, and Nadler, and everybody else repeating the talking point had it wrong. Last year the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest released information showing that at least 60 people born in the seven countries had been convicted — not just arrested, but convicted — of terror-related offenses in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. And that number did not include more recent cases like Abdul Artan, a Somali refugee who wounded 11 people during a machete attack on the campus of Ohio State University last November.

    So the talking point wasn’t true. And yet at the 9th Circuit oral argument, the judges appeared to believe it was true, and Justice Department lawyer August Flentje didn’t know enough to correct them.

    Now, being pretty skeptical (OK, OK – cynical) about the US legal system, the fact that so many people are convicted of terrorism (conspiracy) charges doesn’t impress me – as they say, prosecutors can convict ham sandwiches.
    On the other hand, the use of “KILL” in what appears to be a rather carefully crafted formula. Is the media being careful??? Or are they trying to convey a narrative??? – – – I report, you decide…..

    What I take:
    1. The number of people killed by terrorism in the US pales in comparison to deaths by guns or cars. I am doomed to be logical – besides not putting risk in perspective, we do what the terrorists are trying to accomplish i.e., make their actions the centerpiece of our existence.
    2. If the MSM is not pursing an agenda, than they just seem not to be very informed. If they just are asking ignorant people, they need to get some new guests and sources.
    2.a. On the other hand, the Trump administration seemed unaware of arguments they themselves could have marshaled – the MSM is cheap and lazy….but it seems the Trump crew is as well.
    3. Terrorist “KILLED” versus “ATTACKED” and leaving out convictions seems like an awfully contrived distinction when talking about terrorists. I guess I would be glad if someone ‘attempted to kill me’ versus someone who ‘actually killed me’ (well… I wouldn’t be alive to know….but you get the point) but I would be none to pleased to have it treated like a minor matter.
    4. FINALLY, these “librul” judges see all sorts of police misconduct and prosecutors – yet those people are convicted. Maybe if those judges grew some spine in some of all those terrorist “conspiracy” cases they oversaw that resulted in convictions under nebulous circumstances, that would do more real good than this** As the Patriots (another pun) would say, “Do your job” (i.e., making sure a trial is conducted fairly and impartially, and when prosecutor and police misconduct is obvious, doing something about it)

    **I posted a few weeks back a story here in the Central valley about a mideastern person prosecuted on conspiracy charges that were pretty shaky – I already have too many links so I left it out. But if your familiar with how snitches are used in drug trials, pretty much the same

  19. cocomaan

    A bio of Schumer in Time, from this morning, I believe.

    I only made it about halfway through, but the image I get of Schumer is that he’s a typical Acela corridor Democrat, celebrated for his ability to remain busy (he’s always on his phone!) but never accomplishing anything. The only thing he seems to be successful at is promoting himself in the press. Going onto Wikipedia, which was way more informative than the Time piece, his voting record is just awful. The guy has been on the wrong side of every single important vote, from Iraq, to Glass Steagall, to bitcoins.

    Funny, I didn’t realize that he’s the second cousin of Amy Schumer, the comedian.

    1. Annotherone

      Once upon a time Chuck Schumer did do some good (for me anyway). Back in 2007 I wrote on my own blog:

      “Thousands of legal immigrants to America, would-be US citizens (myself included) are stuck in the quagmire that is USCIS. We now have a champion – New York Senator Charles (Chuck) Schumer.
      A press release last week revealed that he is to introduce legislation making it easier for USCIS to re-hire retirees to help deal with the backlogs.
      Hillary Clinton has also come out on our side. She has written to Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, telling him to “get his finger out” (as we used to say in Yorkshire).”

      Once in a very long while……but not so much lately!

      1. cocomaan

        A “what have you done for me lately?” situation indeed. Thanks for the information, it’s good to have a complete picture.

  20. DH

    Re: REAL ID

    I don’t use my drivers license for things like flying, so I still have a pre-REAL ID drivers license. I have to cross borders on a regular basis.

    There are plenty of federal documents that you can use, all of which require oodles of biometric data these days. To become a US citizen I had to do full fingerprints and full biometric face scans. That got me my naturalization certificate.

    The naturalization certificate was used to apply for my US passport and passport card (great airport ID and all you need to cross a border on land or water). To get a Transportation Worker Identification Card (required to get into port facilities, most refineries etc.) was more fingerprints and biometric scans. Then to get a NEXUS card (for easy border crossings and Pre-chek), more fingerprints, biometric scans, and an added iris scan. So by now, I am cross-referenced among lots of federal databases.

    However, at the state level they don’t have much info on me in their state files. They would have to tap into federal databases to get that. So the big thing to watch for in privacy is when the federal government or states start to put big money and effort into data transfer capabilities and shared databases. Right now there is still enough turf wars that most agencies can’t tap into many databases without specific warrants they are simply not organized well enough.

    It is interesting that states with lower percentage of passport holders tended to vote for Trump. It is also interesting that only a few states have more than half of their voters holding passports.

    My recommendation is to just skip the state-issued REAL ID until forced and get a US Passport and Passport Card which can be used in lieu of a drivers license for pretty much anything. That keeps the state ID and the federal ID largely separate.

  21. Olga

    On the invisible malware – Stuxnet has certainly turned out to be a gift that keeps on giving.
    US should just rename itself “the blowback nation” or adopt the Louis XIV motto (related to floods).

  22. TomDority

    In response to:
    The Future of Labor pt. I — Keynes Medium:
    That technology and automation is somehow making labor impoverished not worth the pay.

    From TAX FACTS published in the interest of sound ECONOMICS and AMERICAN Ideals
    Circa 1924
    Laborers knowing that science and invention have increased enormously the
    power of labor, cannot understand why they do not receive more of the increased
    product, and accuse capital of withholding it. The employer, finding it increasingly difficult to make both ends meet,accuses labor of shirking. Thus suspicion
    is aroused, distrust follows, and soon both are angry and struggling for mastery.
    It is not the man who gives employment to labor that does harm. The mischief comes from the man who does notgive employment. Every factory, every store, every building, every bit of wealth
    in any shape requires labor in its creation. The more wealth created the more labor employed, the higher wages andthe lower prices. But while some men employ labor and
    produce wealth, others speculate in the lands and resources required for production, and without employing labor orproducing wealth they secure a large part of the wealth others produce. What
    they get without producing, labor and capital produce without getting. That is why labor and capital quarrel. But the quarrel should not be between labor and capital, but between the non-producing speculator on the one hand andlabor and capital on the other.

    1. Grebo

      Georgeist twaddle. Fortunately for all of us the Robber Barons’ economists buried him forever.</sarc>

  23. Hana M


    The CIA’s man in Syria: the rise and fall of a rebel commander
    Once a ‘fixer’ for anti-Assad forces, covert operator comes to terms with failed US policy

    A fascinating perspective on six years of US intervention:

    Rebels and regional diplomats alike share that irritation. “People have this perception the Americans weren’t very involved [in Syria]. But that’s not true — they were, and to a minuscule level of detail for a while in places like Aleppo when [the CIA programme] started,” a regional diplomat says. “The problem with American policy in Syria was in some ways the same as it always was: all tactics, no strategy . . . It was a mess.”

    Another CIA-linked former rebel commander:

    …recalls a meeting where a Turkish official pointedly asked him, in front of his US counterparts, why the US strikes were helping the Kurds but not rebels like him. The CIA officials sat quietly before jumping in to say the strikes were conducted by the Pentagon, a separate entity.

    The vagaries of US policy became harder to explain to outraged fighters, already growing more sympathetic to the Islamists, says Abu Omar, especially after US-backed YPG forces seized several rebel-held towns near his base in north-western Syria in the winter of 2016.

    “I had 57 fighters who died on the frontline, and twice as many who lost their limbs,” he says. “How can I explain to them that the YPG means Pentagon support? And that MOM means CIA support? These are Syrian country boys — they don’t understand this stuff.”

    MOM is Müşterek Operasyon Merkezi a joint operations center backed by Britain, France, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to support “moderate rebels”. it was modelled on a joint operations centre set up in Jordan a year earlier.

    1. Jim Haygood

      The CIA officials sat quietly before jumping in to say the strikes were conducted by the Pentagon, a separate entity.

      Two separate (and institutionally jealous) poles of power, fighting a Fourth Generation war?

      Knowing nothing more than this sentence, one can forecast utter failure. Thanks, GW!

      1. Hana M

        Thanks GW!? Syria meltdown was on Obama’s watch. Though you could come up with similar sad tales for GW’s CIA and Pentagon.

        1. Jim Haygood

          You’re right about Syria, of course. But the institutional arrangement allowing the CIA to conduct its own drone strikes outside the Pentagon’s control — I believe this developed after G.W. Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan.

          The first C.I.A. drone strike, in Yemen in 2002, turned out to have killed an American in Al Qaeda. (source: NYT, Apr 23, 2015)

          Of course the rogue CIA goes back a lot farther, encompassing the entire postwar era after Truman foolishly created it in 1946. Thanks, Harry!

    2. Andrew Watts

      Just in case anybody missed the most important part of the article.

      He says commanders regularly inflated their forces’ numbers to pocket extra salaries, and some jacked up weapons requests to hoard or sell on the black market. Inevitably, much of that ended up in Isis hands. Other groups cut in Jabhat al-Nusra on deals to keep it from attacking them. “The CIA knew about this, of course, everyone in MOM did. It was the price of doing business.”

      This is how the Obama administration and CIA indirectly armed Al Qaeda in Syria and Islamic State.

    3. JB

      Thank you for sharing, very interesting article. While there’s plenty of valid information, it has the scent of a limited hang out at certain points. In particular, there’s a lack of timeline. For instance, “Abu Ahmad met a Saudi intelligence officer looking to co-ordinate a rebel pushback against Isis.” It would help to have a timeframe as to when this supposedly occurred. It conflicts with evidence, including Hillary Clinton’s email, indicating that Saudi Arabia was funding ISIS (along with Qatar).

      I also would like to know which “few months” Abu was out of commission when the battleground did a complete reversal. At face value, it seems like an exaggeration. I could go on with a few other details, but I’ll stop there for sake of time.

  24. Vatch

    Next up in the Senate: Medicare Privatizer Wannabe Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services. I wonder how many of Trump’s supporters receive Medicare benefits?

    After that, Foreclosure Fiend Steven Mnuchin for Secretary of the Treasury. I wonder how many of Trump’s supporters were foreclosed on by OneWest Bank?

      1. Vatch

        If we had a time machine, we could go back in time and beg President Obama not to nominate Foamy Tim to be the Secretary of the Treasury (not that he would listen to us). I’m afraid we’re stuck with trying to prevent Foreclosure Fiend Steve from becoming the next Treasury Secretary.

          1. Vatch

            Yup. The reference to a time machine is a good clue that reality is on vacation!

            But there’s no jesting about the need to block Steven Mnuchin from being confirmed. I guess we’ll have to hope for three ethical Republican Senators.

            1. aab

              This is why I opposed the effort to push the Ds to block everything. When the Rs did this, they were in a position to benefit in numerous ways. The Ds are not. So even if you could get them to vote against every nominee as a caucus, it wouldn’t actually stop any nomination from going through.

              I think it would have been more effective governance to accept that Tillerson, Sessions and the like were going through, and focus only blocking DeVos, Mnuchin, and a couple of others. Maybe, just maybe, you could have peeled off three Rs for the necessary votes to actually stop the nomination, instead of playacting. (Although I bet Manchin switches parties any day now, so that would make it four.)

              But I’m an amateur, so what do I know?

  25. fresno dan

    When Barack Obama was still in office, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, one of the perpetrators of the 9/11 terror attacks, penned a letter to him. Though a judge recently ruled that letter could be sent to the White House before the outgoing president left office, the contents were to be withheld from the public until a month later — until after President Trump had assumed power.
    Remember that CIA guy??? ???Scheera??? The guy with the radical notion that they didn’t hate us for our freedoms, but for our policies???? Whatever happened to that???

    It isn’t that I think this Atta guy is mostly correct or has any moral standing – but his critiques hit way too close to the bone way too many times….which means will just get more involved over there….

    1. Jim Haygood

      Eye-opening link; thanks. Excerpt:

      [Mohammed] discusses Obama’s ongoing efforts to continue providing weaponry to Israel even as the former president openly questioned Israeli settlements.

      While your children may play safely in the White House backyard, the entire world is watching your weapons kill Palestinian children at play on the Gaza beach during Holy Month of Ramadan or studying in their classrooms.

      The notion that the US opposes terrorism is a Big Lie, as long as it carries on spending $3.5 billion a year subsidizing an illegal occupation which serves as a cause célèbre for terrorist recruitment. This outcome is just fine with the MIC, which thrives on intractable conflict and amorphous threats.

      Obviously Mohammed’s letter needs to be kept out of history textbooks, so the minds of our youth will not be poisoned with a deviant narrative. USA No. 1!

  26. Repuglican

    I just thought I should share some of the “wisdom” coming out of Hillary Clinton sub-reddits

    “We absolutely need a billionaire businessman like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or some of the Silicon Valley types.
    Either that or a governor.
    Senators and Attorney Generals just don’t have the leadership branding and trust that executives and governors do. Trump had that inherent advantage because of that. Same with Ross Perot, who would have won had he run under a major party.”

    Can’t make this stuff up folks.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Goldilocks politicos are on a desperate quest for an easy answer. Politics isn’t complicated, but it is hard. Canvassing in July sucks, but it’s how to win. 2006 didn’t happen by accident. The people who love the pomp and JJ dinners or can’t understand why I had tickets to the 2008 inauguration despite no bumper stickers on my camry want an easy answer to politics. They long for a solution as simple as finding the porridge that is just right or running a woman in Hillary and expecting single, young women (the key to Democratic success) to say, “Hillary and I have the same plumbing. I’m voting for her,” so they don’t have to register voters in August and can go back to mindless Facebook memes about deplorables.

      They look at Trump, and they don’t understand how Hillary could have lost because that would require thinking. Instead, they look for superficial reasons. Their pitiful reasoning skills go, “if we ran a billionaire than all the Republicans will vote for us. Did you see Bill Maher?”

    2. Vatch

      Oh, goody. I guess there aren’t enough rich people already in government. Some politicians actually have less than $10 million in assets. That just won’t do.

  27. Jim Haygood

    Stocks onna roll — Dow, S&P, Nasdaq indexes are all at intraday record highs.

    Reportedly Dr John “Ursus Major” Hussman has moved his Crash Clock to five seconds to midnight.

    You have been warned. :-0

  28. dcblogger

    53% of WHITE women voted for Trump. Most women voted against him. Most people voted against him. Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million votes. Trump never had the support of the majority and his poll numbers are dropping like a rock. In 6 months no one will remember that they voted for him. By Christmas he will be booted from office. President Pence will give him a pardon.

    1. Massinissa

      Booted from office like Bush was? Oh wait…

      Anyway, youre not suggesting we have a military coup are you? Because that would be beyond naïve.

    2. John k

      Throw out Texas and she won the EV.
      Throw out CA and he won the pop vote.

      The deplorables won. The outraged best and brightest continue to stamp their feet.

      The unhappy dem elites reflect on the silver lining; could be worse, at least Bernie didn’t win. They still run their (shrinking) fiefdom.

    3. Buttinsky

      Good lord — is there anything more tiresome than this bullshit about the popular vote.

      You state, “Most people voted against him.” With 48% of the votes, Clinton was also voted against by “most people” — 52% to be exact.

      In fact, when you take into account all eligible voters, about 70% of them declined to vote for Trump and about 70% of them declined to vote for Clinton. The only conclusion to draw is that a majority of Americans did not want Clinton to be president any more than a majority wanted Trump to be president. But of course it is the peculiar triumph of American “democracy” that the next president was bound to be one of these two despicable monsters.

      The continuing attempt to make Clinton a “victor” is disheartening in its silliness.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Distraction for donors.

        At this point, giving money to Clinton Inc would be like hiring a person playing a lighter who was laid off from multiple jobs after their workplaces mysteriously burned down.

    4. I Have Strange Dreams

      There is no such thing as “the popular vote”. what does the winner get? A pussy hat? A gold star? Stop with the childishness already. The Atlanta Falcons also won the “popular vote”. Eddie the Eagle won the popular vote. George Constanza wins the popular vote. So what? Like Hillary, they are all losers, The rules of the game are simple and well known. This “popular vote” idiocy is exceeded only by that of the “Putin hacked it” trope. It is really sad and embarrassing when grown ups demean themselves with this puerile behavior.

  29. flora

    re: The Elderly, Cognitive Decline – Economist

    ” A greater concern should have been that they became easy prey for scammers. By March 2016 cold-callers had approached more than 10m people about their pensions, according to Citizens’ Advice, a charity.”

    hmmmm,…. this may be a place where a clever AI robot would be useful…. the guy in this TEdTalk is talking his book, but the examples are funny, and the idea seems useful.

  30. Gorgar Laughed

    The question I would like answered is this: how many lifelong Democrats in the so-called Rustbelt voted for Trump?

    Crossing that psychological Rubicon is very important, even if these people can never bring themselves to identify as Republicans. If Trump turns out to be even minimally exceptional, permanent realignment is not out of the question.

    When I consider the Democrat in 2017, I see someone with a foot in two canoes that are drifting away from each other.

    Sooner or later, one must be chosen. And even then they will likely end up in the drink, which is a river called Denial.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Probably very few. It’s more likely Trump had McCain’s voters and didn’t lose the KKKhristians that had issues with Romney.

      The collapse of youth and black turnout and the failure of Dems to capture Hispanics despite their promises of this inevitable conquest are the stories of the election. Obviously, it was the Russians.

      Running up the score in NYC and coastal California didn’t move any seats. Hillary likely winning Republicans dependent on the security state in Northern Virginia won’t help Democratic fortunes in other races.

  31. Dave

    Chelsea Clinton’s husband closes his hedge fund

    Hopefully we can update “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations”,
    and the Saudi version,
    “My father rode a camel, I fly a jet, my son will ride a camel.”

    But, there’s still hope for them yet! They actually think Chelsea and her ilk are the “resistance?”


    1. ProNewerDeal

      The son-in-law hedge fund & the Clinton Foundation: obvious examples of “banar republic”-caliber oligarch grift, rich funders paying off the politician & their family.

      Now the hedge fund is closed & the Clinton Foundation had a mass layoff (big majority of staff IIRC). But Hellary ImWithHer DeadEnders will prolly still lecture you that the Clinton Foundation was altruistic & exhibited world-class skills in its charity sector

      1. different clue

        The Clinton Family of Funds would close for good unless Chelsea can be defeated in her upcoming run for Congress. If she gets elected, the Clintons will be able to sell influence for millions of fresh dollars all over again. Preventing Chelsea from entering elective public office will prevent the Clintons from making any of those fresh millions of dollars.

  32. ProNewerDeal

    Any predictions on what the ConManD0n & Atty General Sessions Regime’s impact will be on the rec & medical cannab1s status quo?

    I worry that Sessions may just mass-felony charge workers/customers of the CO-type dispensaries. The prison industrial complex gulag may be growing even worse.

    I apprectiate the 0bama policy of respecting CO-like state & municipal cannab1s legalization laws, but 0bama refused to move cannab1s from Schedule 1 to a lower severity Schedule. IMHO, this is another case where 0bama is anti-science, a lower-severity verison of the case where climate change-denier Rs are anti-science. Furthermore doing so may have enabled Hellary to win election, thus preserving 0bama’s precious (crappy) “Legacy” that narcissist 0bama is so obsessed with.

    Thanks, 0bama! TM

    1. Oregoncharles

      Might be time for an intensive jury nullification campaign, to thwart mass prosecutions – or any prosecutions.
      Juries can actually nullify laws by refusing to convict under any circumstances; it happened to Portland’s topless-dancing ordinance, years ago. I gather federal courts are especially hostile to the idea, but I don’t think they can actually stop it. It’s part of the right to trial by jury.

      In fact, the dispensaries should be prepared to announce that they will insist on a full jury trial in every…single…case.

      1. different clue

        That might help blunt and turn aside Atty Gen Sessions’s War On Marijuana 2.0, if he decides to wage it.

  33. JerryDenim

    DeVos: I really liked the article from “Higher Ed” It expressed my thoughts yesterday exactly. If Clinton would have won we would have had a slightly more polished, slightly more credentialed billionaire, devoted to destroying the public education system, but there would have been no public outcry or media attention. At least under President Cheeto school “reformers” are finally getting the bad rap they deserved all along. Hopefully people will think a little more critically about other billionaires who want to voucherize education going forward. A President HR Clinton would have given us someone like Eli Broad as education secretary or perhaps a high-level lackey from one of the preferred Democrat Billionaire Foundations dedicated to privitizing (destroying) the American public education system; Gates, Waltons, Pritzkers etc.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In 2-, 3- or 11 dimensional chess, the parlance for it is ‘get checked.’

      Sometimes, you have to be checked in order to checkmate your opponent.

      It’s not always all bad to be checked.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Checking is not so important as checkmating.

          And not rarely you wreck yourself when checkmating your opponent.

  34. Oregoncharles

    “Carbon compromise? The Grumpy Economist” (love that blog title) – also:

    It’s WaPo and Summers, but it’s basically a good plan. The kicker is in eliminating “command-and-control” regulations. That makes sense if they’re directed just at greenhouse gases, but most regulations are directed at threats to health and safety. CO2 in itself isn’t toxic (short of smothering), nor is methane – just as well, since we personally emit both; but monoxide is, as are any number of other pollutants. Eliminating the wrong regulations could lead to toxic regions, which we already have too many of.

    It’s a long-standing proposal; what’s surprising here is the source. The big advantage is that it’s compatible with the way our economy actually works. I generally favor using taxation to regulate commercial activity, because it’s so effective (unless it’s faked, of course, always a possibility and the reason I’m suspicious about eliminating regulations.) People don’t always respond to financial incentives, but businesses do.

  35. Matthew G. Saroff

    So, die Mezvinsky close because he failed complete, or because he no longer has the ability to arbitrage what was the assumed 2nd Clinton presidency to arbitrage, or because Chelsea is planning a run for congress?

    If it’s the first two, whatever.

    If Chelsea is entering politics, please…make it stop!

      1. oho

        Say what anyone wants to say about Trump….but he did raise Ivanka right.

        Chelsea couldn’t even hold down the fluff jobs handed to her before Chelsea was ‘promoted’ to her role at the Clinton Foundation.

  36. pasha

    RE: Holy Warriors….

    What happened to Michigan Democrats?

    In 2007 there were four automobile plants in Grand Rapids, with their attendant United Auto Worker employees. For good or ill, the U.A.W formed the backbone of Michigan’s Democratic Party.

    All four of those factories are now gone, along with the workers, along with the U.A.W. “Right to Work” statutes merely put the nail in the coffin of Michigan’s Democratic Party.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The same thing that happened everywhere.

      To get ahead of the anti incumbency wave after Watergate (1968’s DNC was still a point of contention), Democrats began elevating non traditional Democrats. Carter eventually won as an outsider and proceeded to dump on unions. The new Dems pushed the party to the right and began to focus on media driven campaigns over old fashioned organizing. Bill took over the party and gutted the old turnout machines resulting in a Democratic wipe out, not just in Congress but at the state and local level. At the same time, the old Democratic hands who came up with JFK and even before were retiring, leaving nothing but new Democrats even in districts where there is no need for a more tolerant fascist, “neoliberal” in PC language. The party at large copied Bill as he was sort of the only bright spot in the 90’s when the GOP really went bonkers, ignoring Bill’s poor performance in 92 dependent on a third party candidate who vacuumed up Reagan conservatives and his leadership of Team Blue. By and large, the entire Democratic Party is rotten. Clinton style non entities were recruited and money was poured behind terrible candidates who would bring in more money but support corporate friendly policies.

      Local Democrats revolted in 2005, but Dean and Obama really just wanted their own crack at the trough. Nostalgia and tribal loyalty keep Dems in power in districts, and too many people confuse friendliness with decency (cough Obama). As time progresses, Team Blue won’t be able to lie their way to victory as people dump them. Given that the elites are non-entities, they aren’t smart enough to do anything else. This Is a political party that In recent years has put forward Al Gore and Hillary Clinton. Both of them owe their political careers to family members. Dems mock Republicans for this but yeesh.

      It was remarkable how the group that derided the Bernie Bros was simultaneously celebrating the Evan Bayh candidacy or talking up Andrew Cuomo. For a country of 300 million to have a major political party with so few personalities, there is one conclusion. The rot is extreme and widespread.

      1. aab

        Tom Perez.

        This is who the Democratic leadership, prompted by Barack Obama (the man who entered the presidency with technically a filibuster-proof majority, and left with his party in retreat at every level), intend to hand the leadership of the party to.

        Tom Perez.

        He won exactly one election, at the county level, long ago. He has never won a state or national level election. Never.

        He has no charisma. He reads as weak. He already failed the important test of how to message to the Berners and the Hillbots at the same time — his walkback of his Kinsley gaffe admitting the primary was rigged was a disaster coming and going.

        So he can’t win elections and he can’t manage factional fighting and he can’t manage messaging and he can’t lead.

        But his last name is “Perez” and he wears glasses, so it’s all good, I guess.

        He even looks a bit like a cadaver, so he’s truly the perfect symbol of the New Democrats in decline.

      2. JTFaraday

        I think the change in the D-Party has everything to do with men moving to the right, many many of whom were financially successful, with the D-Party constantly chasing these desirables to the right economically. That is the main point right there. Bill Clinton was an opportunist. This is a supportable causal claim. The evidence is out there.

        Culturally or socially speaking, it may be true that coastal liberals have embraced women’s issues and multiculturalism, but I think deploying this as the MAIN explanation for the D-Party abandoning “The Working Class” is actually quite secondary.

        It also demeans demographics that continued to support New Deal and Great Society policies, while casting those demographics that did abandon them on the side of the Angels.

        That right there, the rush to absolve men of their responsibility, says a lot about who does and doesn’t matter.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      What happened to Michigan Democrats?…the U.A.W formed the backbone of Michigan’s Democratic Party.

      I was at the UAW (one of the relatively few eggheads) from mid-80s to mid-90s. The short answer is that the UAW was first crushed by disinvestment in the early 1980s (Ford cut employment in half all at once and permanently, Chrysler into and out of bankruptcy, GM begins the long steady decline) and really from that point onward the game has been to manage/slow the decline in order to get as many people to retirement as possible. Understandable IMO but not something to rally the troops, not to mention the non-members.

      As early as 1982 IIRC, Michigan elected a Clinton-ite as governor (Blanchard), who proudly trumpeted the fact that he and his cabal had taken over the state D party from the unions. The UAW has had very little clout statewide for a long time, even (or, alternatively, especially) after they grabbed the state employees from under AFSCME’s nose.

      Rinse and repeat.

  37. Gorgar Laughed

    I do not understand. I was prompted to try commenting here again based on your recent posts concerning comments. Are you going to memory-hole everything else I have posted here today?

    1. Yves Smith

      I suggest you read our Policies tab above. Your remark is an unwarranted accusation that earns you troll points, as well as taking time of overtaxed moderators when we have clear, written site comment rules. You left your complaint a mere ten minutes after you had a comment that went into moderation, when vastly better resourced mainstream media sites do not liberate comments that quickly. You then left another complaint on a different post 9 minutes later. And you attacked a reader personally earlier in the thread, which is another violation of our site Policies.

      This is not a chat board. We have clear, written rules and we enforce them. We welcome robust, intellectually honest debate. And the reason we still have it is that we enforce our Policies.

      1. Dead Dog

        I understand the need to moderate if you want comments from new people or occasional lurkers.

        Or you do what Macrobusiness does – you can only comment there if you pay a subscription, but not moderated.

        I prefer the NC way, and that means being patient, even though the moderators (and most of the commentariat) are likely asleep when I’m reading here in Australia

  38. Dead Dog

    As an aside. If I comment here, is there a way I can be alerted that someone has replied?

    with thanks

    1. aab

      The best technique I have found is to return to that article later, CNTL-F your handle, and search for replies.

      If someone has a better one, I’d like to know, too.

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