2:00PM Water Cooler 3/29/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“Victories in five major anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases over the past few years have helped stabilize the U.S. steel industry, but more action is needed to stop unfairly traded imports from China, South Korea, Vietnam and other suppliers, Thomas Conway, international vice president at the United Steelworkers union, will tell the House Steel Caucus today” [Politico].


New Cold War

“Recommended Reading: Giant Russia Theory Edition” [Nina Illingworth Dot Com]. Grab a cup of coffee/ An amazing and essential compendium debunking… Well, I don’t even know what to call the warmongering Russophobic red scare the Democrats have managed to create with their Benghazi-style CT hairball.

Here’s a suggestion: “Slavghazi” [Christopher Hooks, Medium]. A fun rant.

“Nunes Uproar Sidelines House Intel Panel, Puts Eye on Senate” [RealClearPolitics]. Nunes is a partisan. Film at 11.

“Does Washington Want to Start a New War in the Balkans?” [Counterpunch]. Well, as we saw last week, Lally Weymouth wants to start the war in Estonia. I wish these people would make up their minds.

“If a reality TV experiment continues filming after the show is canceled and no one watches it, did it really happen?” [CNN]. “In the case of the Scottish series “Eden,” that’s exactly what happened.” Filing this here, for obvious reasons.

2016 Post Mortem

“Hillary Clinton Is Back — In Black Leather” [HuffPo]. “[A]ll you have to do is look to the white pantsuit she wore to the inauguration in solidarity with the women’s movement to know that she does use fashion to send messages, both to her supporters and opponents.” Was the leather purple?

Trump Transition

“More than half the Democrats in the Senate now say they will vote against President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, setting up an acrimonious showdown over Judge Neil Gorsuch’s bid to fill the seat left vacant by Antonin Scalia’s death last year” [Wall Street Journal].

“Mitch McConnell told his leadership team in private this week what’s becoming increasingly obvious on Capitol Hill: Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch probably won’t get 60 votes to avoid a filibuster” [Politico]. “But the Senate majority leader had an equally pressing message: Republicans should have no compunction about pulling the trigger on the ‘nuclear option’ — with Democrats resisting a high court nominee as well-pedigreed as Gorsuch.”

“5 Reasons Trump’s Promised Tax Overhaul Won’t Be So Easy” [New York Times]. Can’t wait for the Democrat establishment to reinforce austerity politics by yammering about the deficit.

“Consumer Broadband Privacy Protections Are Dead” [TechDirt].

“Maine internet providers blast Senate vote to strip customers’ privacy protection” [Portland Press-Herald]. “Fletcher Kittredge, founder and CEO of Biddeford Internet Corp., which does business as GWI, said the vote was ‘absolutely appalling’ and a threat to everyone who uses the internet. ‘This is very, very bad,’ he said. ‘Your ISP can look at your traffic and discover the most intimate details of your life, and selling that information will ultimately be more valuable than selling the internet connection, which is something libertarians and civil libertarians ought to worry about, especially as the government and hackers will ultimately have access to it.'” Go long VPNs?

“The 265 members of Congress who sold you out to ISPs, and how much it cost to buy them” [The Verge].

“Remember When Trump Said He Saved 1,100 Jobs at a Carrier Plant?” [Bloomberg]. “Layoffs at UTC’s Huntington plant began recently. The facility will be closed by early 2018. The Carrier fan-coil lines and related jobs will be gone by the end of this year. ‘I wish I could sit here and say the people are going to be all right,’ [president of Local 1999] Chuck Jones says. ‘That ain’t the f—ing case. A lot of these people’s lives are going to be ruined.'”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Dems Could Take House in 2018” [National Journal]. “Demo­crats now have a real­ist­ic shot at re­tak­ing the House in 2018. Each of the past three midterm elec­tions have swung wildly against the party in power—re­flect­ive of the long­stand­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion of voters to­wards polit­ic­al lead­er­ship, no mat­ter who’s in charge. … There are already signs that Trump’s sag­ging ap­prov­al rat­ing is rais­ing the pos­sib­il­ity of a stun­ning up­set in an up­com­ing con­gres­sion­al elec­tion in sub­urb­an At­lanta. The race, to fill the va­cant seat held by Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­ret­ary Tom Price, couldn’t be more rel­ev­ant to the health care de­bate. One pub­lic poll shows the Demo­crat­ic front-run­ner, Jon Os­soff, nar­rowly lead­ing sev­er­al of his GOP op­pon­ents in a run­off—this in a con­ser­vat­ive dis­trict that has elec­ted Re­pub­lic­ans to Con­gress for over four dec­ades.”

“Democrats are on a torrid fundraising pace in the first months of the Donald Trump era, powered by enraged small donors who are plowing millions of dollars worth of online contributions into campaign and committee treasuries” [Politico].

Hilarious indicator of Democrat establishment integrity (start with the placard in the top image at bottom left, which is enlarged in the image at bottom left):

There’s a message here….

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, March 24, 2017: “Purchase applications for home mortgages rose a seasonally adjusted 1 percent in the March 24 week, but refinancing applications fell 3 percent despite a significant drop in interest rates” [Econoday]. And but: “refinance activity has declined significantly since rates increased” [Calculated Risk].

Pending Home Sales Index, February 2017: “Major improvement can be expected for existing home sales in the March to April period based on February’s pending home sales index” [Econoday]. And: “This was well above expectations of a 1.8% increase for this index. The warm weather in February might have impacted this index” [Calculated Risk]. But: “The unadjusted data shows the rate of year-over-year growth declined this month – but the more important rolling averages insignificantly improved. Because there is so much noise in the monthly numbers – the rolling averages are the best way to view the data” [Econintersect]. “I continue to see few signs that the residential sales market is improving. – except the words which come from the NAR.”

Shipping: “Domestic barge woes mirror global shipping crisis” [WorkBoat]. “While the container lines were building huge, neo-Panamax ships, inland river operators were building new barges to meet the demand from fracking fields, crude oil, grains and coal. The bottom fell out of these business lines last year (with grains being a notable exception), producing a glut of idled barges along the inland river system and a huge dip in barge freight rates.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 34 Fear (previous close: 34, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 32 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 29 at 12:42pm. At least we aren’t more fearful….

Health Care

“How Trumpcare’s Failure Sets the Stage for Single-Payer” [Sarah Jones, The New Republic]. That’s why it’s so important that Clinton broke her silence by coming out in support of it. Oh, wait….

“Atlanta high school student goes from homeless to valedictorian” [CBS]. But the headline doesn’t tell the real story:

For one Atlanta teen, the path to being chosen as high school valedictorian did not come easily.

Rebecca Schmitt and her mother Sandra were evicted from their 4,000-square-foot Port St. Lucie, Florida, home in October 2014.

Five years earlier, Sandra Schmitt was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. In 2012 she received a bone marrow transplant.

Sandra Schmitt, a single mother, told ABC News she went from being a top-earning realtor to being broke, forced to stop working because of her treatment.

I hate it when sh*t that should never happen in a civilized society gets turned into a feel-good story.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“DEA regularly mines Americans’ travel records to seize millions in cash” [USA Today]. Holy moley.


“Old Weather is a gathering place for more than 4,500 citizen-sleuths who are helping climate scientists map our planet’s ancient weather patterns, for free, one [old ship] logbook at a time. These volunteers read and transcribe notes from sailors, hoping to map the mostly unknown history of our planet’s weather patterns” [FiveThirtyEight]. Terrific example of citizen science!

“Why Flint Water CRISIS Has Troubling Ties To Rick Snyder’s Pro-Fracking Donors” [Medium]. “Do all of these pro-fracking mega-donors to Governor Snyder — who temporarily approved a switch to a toxic water source in order to move to a privatized water pipeline that wouldn’t be cheaper than existing supplier Detroit, but would allow for more fracking — prove that the Flint water crisis was really an ungodly ploy on behalf of bought-off state officials to pay back his financial sugar daddies? Since Governor Snyder won’t release any emails prior to 2014 — when conversations about the motivations for the pipeline might’ve been discussed— I guess we’ll never know.”

Class Warfare

“The labor force participation rate has fallen since 2008, partly due to an aging population and despite a more highly educated one. After accounting for aging, those whose highest educational attainment is a high school diploma, some college or an associate degree have primarily driven the participation decrease” [Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas].

News of the Wired

“Woman finds an amazing way to make $5 from every single Tinder match” [Daily Dot]. It’s a phishing equilibrium!s

“Dishwasher has directory traversal bug” [The Register]. “Don’t say you weren’t warned: Miele went full Internet-of-Things with a network-connected dishwasher, gave it a web server, and now finds itself on the wrong end of a security bug report – and it’s accused of ignoring the warning.”

Some readers were dubious about tweetstorms the other day, so I thought of them when I saw this:

The meta! It b-u-r-r-r-r-n-n-s-s-s!!!!!

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (JM):

JM: “Gnarly.”

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the very successful Naked Capitalism fundraiser just past. Now, I understand you may feel tapped out, but when and if you are able, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


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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. allan

    Re: the FCC rule repeal, found this on Github:

    On March 29th congress passed a law that makes it legal for your internet service providers to track and sell your personal activity online. This means that things you search for, buy, read, and say can be collected by corporations and used against you.

    Click this button, and your browser will start passively loading random sites in browser tabs. Leave it running while sleeping to fill their databases with noise. Just quit your browser when you’re done.

    Building a bigger haystack, one po’d consumer at a time.

      1. JustAnObserver

        Its great. I just learned a small snippet about “Cytotoxic animals and plants” as well as the state of secretarial jobs in France. Every day will be a brand new learning experience.

        1. Another Anon

          I found out that there were some snazzy looking women’s bonnets and that a google search was done for “millisecond freighters”. I had no idea that there were quite a number of links about large, fast ships.

    1. BoulderMike

      Does this increase my data usage on Comcast possibly causing my monthly bill to go up? Seems like it would, but not sure.

    2. Octopii

      I would like to be sure that it does not randomly load websites that could invite further suspicion. And, I’m pretty sure anyone interested in my browsing habits could figure out pretty quickly what’s me and what’s not, if only from time of day.

      BTW, how about setting up NC for encrypted access à la teh google? I’d gladly pay for a fundraiser to support that.

      1. ChrisPacific

        Given that it’s a public site with public content, it wouldn’t achieve a whole lot, other than protecting commenter e-mail addresses from being snooped.

  2. VietnamVet

    The astonishing thing is that the symbolism of Donald Trump, yesterday, gutting clean power at EPA’s Headquarters with a troop of polo shirted white male miners in the background is completely lost on former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy on PBS or Corporate Media. Since the first Earth Day, the right wing has scapegoated environmentalists for killing blue-collar jobs and creating the Rust Belt. This was revenge; rubbing their backstabbing faces in the ground. The Wehrmacht marching down the Champs-Élysées at the start of “The Army of Shadows”:

    The tragedy is that this is a pyrrhic victory. The consequences will be flooding the cosmopolitan coastal cities, a Blue Red Civil War, or, if the Democrats get their way, a third world war with Russia. The real cause of the ripping apart of American society is the Global Elite offshoring of taxable wealth, outsourcing jobs and the promotion of third world immigration.

    1. loblolly

      The tragedy is that this is a pyrrhic victory.

      The legislators that passed both the environmental laws and signed offshoring trade deals
      are to blame for all of this.

      Trump was the only option left for Americans who were not important enough to receive blue check marks.

      If climate science is only being used as a cudgel to push austerity onto those already underwater, then I say stoke the boilers with coal and full steam ahead.

      1. Vatch

        Wait, what? No! There’s no need to expand the use of coal. Wind and solar power are getting cheaper all the time, and where they aren’t feasible, natural gas is much less harmful than coal. The solution isn’t to find coal miners new jobs mining coal, the solution is to find them new jobs doing other things.

        1. Loblolly

          the solution is to find them new jobs doing other things.

          This has been said, and not acted on for decades now and is the obvious solution. If it was going to happen it would have.

          Burn it all down.

          1. Vatch

            Well, I don ‘t want to breathe poisons like mercury, thorium, and the harmful carbon particulates that are present in coal. I also don’t want the destructive climate effects that are caused by burning any fossil fuels. Coal is the worst of them, and we need to stop using it. Perhaps if politicians in West Virginia, Kentucky, and other parts of coal country started showing some support for renewable sources of energy, then companies that manufacture solar panels and wind turbines would be more likely to open facilities in those states.

            Coal is destructive and poisonous, and we need to stop burning it.

            1. Darius

              If the Obusha Clintrumps stopped enforcing Wall Street’s strong dollar policy, there would be manufacturing jobs to replace coal-mining jobs. Against my own expectations, wind and solar are reaching a point of competitiveness with coal and may beat it sooner than we think. Of course those manufacturing jobs will be in China. “Jobs of the 21st Century” and all.

            2. lambert strether

              > Coal is destructive and poisonous, and we need to stop burning it.

              True. It’s unfortunate that the liberal answer for the working class people who are impacted by this policy is that they should (a) move to Brooklyn and become artisanal pickle makers or (b) go die.

              1. Vatch

                (c) They can get jobs at new or old U.S. factories that need employees because the government will impose tariffs on products manufactured abroad. Am I dreaming? Probably, but it would help if citizens would let their Senators and Representatives know that this needs to be done.

              2. Cujo359

                Agreed. If there’s one reason the ecology movement has failed to get the results it wants, it’s because in the end they leave the towns next to the strip mines looking like they’ve been strip mined. Historically, the professionals have been able to move on if they wanted to, while that’s been less of an option for blue collar workers.

                Of course, one can argue that’s the likely fate of those towns anyway, once the coal runs out, but that’s something that people in such places will ignore when they can blame others for the loss of their way of life.

                People should be able to find work. If the work they had has been rendered obsolete or too dangerous to the environment, then we need to be thinking about how to employ them.

        2. ewmayer

          Not so fast on the “clean natgas” propaganda – did you not see the Ecologist article in 3/26 links?

          1. Vatch

            I don’t think natural gas is clean; I think it’s cleaner and less poisonous than coal. That article is about leaks from power plants and drilling operations. Despite that, the combustion byproducts of natural gas are far less poisonous than the combustion products of coal. People get cancer, emphysema, brain damage, and birth defects from coal combustion; not much of that is caused by burning natural gas. Yes, fracking and global warming are bad. But coal mining is often more destructive than fracking — an example is the horrid practice of mountaintop removal coal mining.

    2. Vatch

      I just started reading Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA, by E. G Vallianatos and McKay Jenkins. I’m only about 20 pages into it, yet I think I can say that it is a very good book. It’s also depressing, and I don’t know whether I’ll be able to endure 250 to 300 pages of this. It’s mostly about pesticides and the EPA.

      I finally finished The Deep State, by Mike Lofren, which is a very good book. Lofgren is very quotable, but unlike Matt Taibbi, Lofgren doesn’t drop f-bombs, so one doesn’t need to be cautious about recommending the book. Lofgren’s book also has an index and end notes, which are absent from some or all of Taibbi’s books. The chapter of Lofgren’s book that seems to be most clearly about the deep state is chapter 10 “Personnel is Policy”. Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates are the poster children for incompetent unethical deep staters who never seem to pay for their wrongdoings.

      Do read Poison Spring if you have resistance to feelings of depression.

      1. Carla

        Glad to see somebody else here has read Lofgren’s Deep State. I’ve been recommending it.

    3. different clue

      Aren’t most of Trump’s TrumpCo Incorporated oceanside beachfront resort properties at or near sea level? If so, they too will go underwater in the fullness of time. (Har dee har har.)

      See? There is humor in every tragedy.

  3. Altandmain

    Sad situation:

    This morning, I asked HHS Secretary Tom Price why he supported the #TrumpBudget to deconstruct his agency. He didn’t have a good answer.

    Also on healthcare:

    That bill to screw over people’s privacy just passed:

  4. anonymous

    What do NC readers recommend for work-arounds to attempt to preserve some shred of online privacy?

    1. Jim Haygood

      VPN [Virtual Private Network]. Someone posted a reco in Links a few days ago, but I’m having trouble finding it. Any suggestions would be welcome.

      After signing up for a VPN, I’m sending a copy of the invoice to my Kongress Klowns — all of whom voted for this outrage — with a demand for payment, accompanied by some choice snark, slurs and sneering. Time to BUST THE CHOPS of these useless AT&T, Verizon and Comcast rent boys.

      Do I sound annoyed?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Opera works very well for me.

          If you use Google, and Google for some reason thinks you’re not in the US because of your VPN, you can use this URL:

          http://www.google/ncr <-- "no country redirect" and you'll get the default, American site in English (I mean, at least I think so; how would I know?)

      1. craazyboy

        The one I settled on is PIA.


        $40 annual subscription and easy setup. It’s been working fine so far.

        It’s important to find one that at least claims they don’t keep server logs. That’s how a normal ISP can always trace your traffic to your account – and they are required to turn that info over to authorities that ask for it. Some also will anonymize your data and sell it. Most of the free ones do that.

        Also, you should still use secure https connections for banking. Otherwise the VPN personnel can still spy on passwords and stuff.

        1. Jim Haygood

          A Panama-based VPN called NordVPN is offering a two-year special for $79, basically the same price.

          PIA sounds good, but I think it’s US-based (bad). Not that the US would have any trouble muscling Panama if push comes to shove — as we’ve already seen regarding Panama’s former banking privacy. :-(

          1. craaztboy

            Yes, when push comes to shove, you are never really safe. So keep that in mind when deciding to download the latest episode of Super Girl. It way not be worth getting water boarded in Guatmo, even if you have already paid for your trip with your tax dollars!

          2. UserFriendly

            It doesn’t matter where it’s based it matters what records they keep. PIA does not keep any. Even if they were served with a court order they couldn’t turn over anything.

        2. reslez

          Don’t forget to set up a VPN for your phone and similar devices. (1) Your phone is explicitly linked to your RL identity. (2) Open WiFis are notoriously insecure. (3) Mobile providers have a history of being even more scummy than traditional ISPs, for example Verizon embedding a unique tracking cookie in every site you visit. I saw a good mention of F-Secure Freedome on Ars Technica. They have multipacks so you can install the software on multiple devices (Android, iOS, or PC) and it works well enough for me so far. Not free but increasingly important.

          1. craazyboy

            Good points. Lots of youtubes on how to check/setup non-leaky home wifi routers/gateways.

            PIA also gives you 5 licenses/installs with the $40. I’m using the android version on my tablet. I think they have IoS too.

        3. lambert strether

          > you should still use secure https connections for banking

          No, you should use human bank tellers and paper for banking! Of course, I’m lucky in that my bank is quite close!

    2. Clive

      A VPN should do the trick, although you have to implicitly trust your VPN provider. And isn’t it all then just a(~nother) dreadfully tedious tax on time?

      (Oh, Jim just said that above, didn’t he? I’m too bone idle to delete this comment…)

    3. Arizona Slim

      Monkeywrenching and sabotage, that’s what!

      Let’s flood the Internet with material that will drive the watchers crazy. Massive striptease parties on Main Street! E-mails filled with naughty words! Phone calls brimming over with the same!

    4. nowhere

      Will NC be moving to https? Then, the ISP could see the domain visited, but wouldn’t be able to see the content you are viewing.

        1. different clue

          I don’t understand how these things work . . . analog refugee that I am. If you-all do this https thing, hopefully you will give directions to your analogish readers about how to get in.

          1. nowhere

            You wouldn’t have to do anything. Your browser would handle all of the communications and would display a lock indicating it as being a secure (encrypted) connection.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      duckduckgo.com for searches – they don’t keep a record

      protonmail for secure encrypted email Unfortunately I’m not tech savvy enough to know what happens if you send a protonmail to a friend who uses a non-secured service. So far I’ve only used it with a buddy who also uses protonmail. I’m guessing if you send a protonmail to somebody’s yahoo or gmail account for example it could still be read by a 3rd party. Anybody else know?

      And I’m glad to say I have GWI as my ISP, the ones referenced in the article in links. I would highly recommend it to anyone in the Southern Maine area where it’s accessible. I signed up a long time ago after finding out that AT&T was dishing people’s info to Uncle Sugar. I told GWI why I wanted to switch and asked them if they would ever release my data and they said they would not ever- been a loyal customer ever since. Not only do they protect users’ privacy, their service is also excellent and they don’t raise the cost for some bullshit reason every few months like most utilities do. I don’t know that they’ve ever raised my rate in the 10-15 years I’ve used them. On the rare occasion that I needed customer service, I call and immediately talk to a real person who works directly for the company in Maine. They helped me a couple times with tech issues not even related to their own service. Please reward them for their good business practices and sign up if you can. And be sure to let them know why you’re switching!

      1. reslez

        > I’m guessing if you send a protonmail to somebody’s yahoo or gmail account for example it could still be read by a 3rd party.

        Email goes over the wire in plaintext, so yeah anyone can read it. If you’re sending a mail to a random gmail account (or whatever) it’s not encrypted and anybody who cares to can read it. This is so stupid and has not been changed in so long that I’m certain it’s deliberate.

        1. nowhere

          Just adding on. If you don’t have the person’s public key, you aren’t sending an encrypted email.

      2. lambert strether

        > I’m glad to say I have GWI as my ISP,

        Me too. I can recommend them, and the reliability and service are excellent. As you say, you can talk to a real person.

        Plus, your money stays in-state (if you’re from Maine).

      3. JvEr

        Actually, Duckduckgo was caught in the past for using a tracker and more than one cookie, that’s kind of sloppy if your slogan is ‘The search engine that doesn’t track you’. https://archive.is/qntuk
        At least Google is honest about it..
        I would give Startpage.com a shot, they invested in privacy protection in stead of marketing and their search results are far more advanced than Duckduckgo.

  5. LT

    “Atlanta high school student goes from homeless to valedictorian” [CBS]….”I hate it when sh*t that should never happen in a civilized society gets turned into a feel-good story.”

    That’s the insidious propaganda that is related to the “deaths of despair.”
    Rather than be honest and say Rebecca is also EXTREMELY LUCKY, this is the type of story propagated so that anyone just as smart, but not as lucky, won’t blame the socio-economic system but themselves.

  6. Left in Wisconsin

    Was the leather purple?

    Well it’s described as black and it mostly looks black in the video but damn those still do look purple! Maybe we will find out she is truly purple on the inside and she is finally showing her true color! Revealing!

    (Practicing my twit-speak)

    1. Roger Smith

      Purple trim perhaps. Maybe she is mourning Prince in her own special way.

      Can we put her back in the woods now? This tyrant of death has no business ever showing the totality of her disgustingly hideous presence in public ever again.

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      “[A]ll you have to do is look to the white pantsuit she wore to the inauguration…”

      Must have been a slow news day at HuffPo. Given that the US in general is a culture that does not have a strong symbolic link between color and other attributes (say, compared to many Asian cultures where red=happiness, white = mourning and the unknown), this is the HuffPo wishfully trying to keep Hillary relevant. Talk about fake news!

      1. Roger Smith

        Their other big contribution to the day was an article exploiting a concentration camp survivor’s hijacked mind to conflate immigration policy and nazi-ism. Stellar day over there.

  7. David Carl Grimes

    I hate listening to Hillary’s shrieking voice. I’m glad I only hear it once in a while now. Same goes true for that sellout Obama. I stopped listening to him after 2012, when it became obvious that he would never ever jail his banker benefactors. Now that guy is swimming in luxury with wealth that could last several generations.

    1. Clive

      It got to the point where I dared not leave the milk out on the counter top in case Hillary was on the TV and that voice of hers made it curdle. As you say, luckily those days are more-or-less over now. Unless we have to endure “Hillary 2020″…

      1. nippersmom

        Unfortunately, it’s starting to look more and more like the Dems will either try to resurrect Hillary or foist her spawn off on a long-suffering public.

          1. Darius

            Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo combines the best (read worst) of Obama and Clinton. She’s so casual about backstabbing, she doesn’t even try to hide it.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Actresses, or these claiming to be in that profession, are they like some baseball players, in that, they are older than their birth certificates say?

            1. Vatch

              Wow, maybe LiLo will be eligible! Then again, she was a child star, so her birth can’t have been much earlier than the official date.

              1. Oregoncharles

                “Child star” explains a certain, umm, volatiity. Of course, a lot of performers are like that.

                It would at least be entertaining.

                There’ve long been rumors of Warren Beatty running – might be getting too old now. These things do creep up on you.

  8. Oregoncharles

    “Remember When Trump Said He Saved 1,100 Jobs at a Carrier Plant?” [Bloomberg].

    Remember Republic Windows and Doors, where the workers seized the plant and eventually were given it. Has anyone reminded Chuck Jones of that event, only about 7 years ago, in the same general area?

  9. Oregoncharles

    “Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 34 Greed (previous close: 34, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 32 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 29 at 12:42pm. At least we aren’t more fearful….”

    Repeated Typo: you meant “Fear.”
    And I’m not so sure about your last comment – silver is still rising, and now gold has joined it.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Seems like just the day before yesterday when I heard on the car radio that the Dow Industrials had fallen eight dismal days in a row. And if the losing streak extended to nine days, it would be the worst since 1978.

      Well, the streak didn’t reach a ninth day. Today the Nasdaq 100 index — packed with glamour stocks such as Apple, Faceborg, Amazon and the Alphabet formerly known as The GOOG — reached a fresh record high.

      With the MSM still tilted toward peddling doom, this is unlikely to be the end of Bubble III. Fear & Greed index at 34 with the Naz 100 index at a record high … what is wrong with this picture?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Oops, fixed.

      Symptoms of the return of a machine from the shop (with an old template on it).

      As far as this index goes, it’s hovering in the thirties. I’m waiting for single digits…

  10. Oregoncharles

    “DEA regularly mines Americans’ travel records to seize millions in cash” [USA Today]. Holy moley

    Shouldn’t that be under “the Bezzle”? probably Class Warfare, as well.

    You could have a whole project on the cross-indexing.

    1. Jim Haygood

      And Ku Klux Jeff Sessions loves it.

      You know you’re living in an alt.universe when the gov flips from protecting its citizens from theft, to executing armed hold-ups behind the power of a stinkin’ badge.

      Asset forfeiture is rogue government gone feral. But hey, it’s got bipartisan support!

      1. Art Eclectic

        We made that flip back in 2008. A whole lot of people experienced armed robbery of their homes while the government bailed out the robbers.

        We’re just profit centers at this point and we keep reelecting the guys running the books.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Art Eclectic is right – it started before Sessions became the AG.

        By the way, Trump is going after Venezuela. I know someone is probably saying, ‘finally.’

    2. Cat Burglar

      My hunch is that the confidential source leaks at the end of the USA Today article are just there as a parallel construction decoy covering the real source of DEA information: domestic information collection by the NSA. I am just waiting for the day when a defense attorney asks for intercepts from the Feds to prove a client innocent.

        1. Cat Burglar

          My hunch is based on the post-Snowden reports on the use of parallel construction as a way of covering up technical intercept capabilities, and on the reports about widening the distribution of the information beyond intelligence agencies. What agency would be in line to get it, if not the DEA?

          Naturally, I have no direct evidence for my guess, but considering intelligence gathering, surveillance, and covert ops, I find I have to allow for being deliberately kept in the dark by making inferential leap thought experiments about what could be going on, based on what the historical record shows these agencies have been powerful enough to do. It does seem a little like paranoia and cynicism, I agree, but as the saying goes, “Every time you think you’re too cynical, you find out you’re not cynical enough.”

          It really stuck in my craw that during the run-up to the Iraq invasion, no politician or reporter mentioned any of the known capabilities of even Cold War era US technical intelligence to
          detect nuclear facilities by satellite imaging, collection of gaseous emissions from nuclear production, electronic collection, and many other means that would have established the non-existence of a WMD program beyond a reasonable doubt. But nobody asked for the evidence, including House and Senate intelligence committee members who knew at least some of the means available — a willful omission that makes them war criminals in my view.

          The “intelligence hole” in public discourse is a little better now — but we still haven’t been shown the communication and image intelligence that certainly exist about who shot down the airliner over Ukraine, have we? Or what the intercepts that certainly exist prove or disprove the suggestions of Saudi involvement in 9/11 in the 28 pages. We could be allowed to know this stuff, but we don’t get to.

  11. dcblogger

    the anti-Trump tsunami will start in 2017, message from the Virginia House Democrats –

    Are you aware that:

    – so far we’ve trained over 60 Democratic candidates for the House of Delegates?
    – we’re currently running candidates in 80 districts (with only 34 incumbents)?
    – Republicans, with 66 incumbents, have only managed candidates in 73 districts?
    – so far 7 Republicans are either retiring or seeking another office rather than defend Trump
    I am reliably informed that a similar conditions apply to Minnesota where a record number of Democrats are coming forward to run for municipal office. Even if the DNC once again sets fire to all the $ that is donated, local Democrats are mobilized and that is what really matters.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It does, but it also depends on what those local Democrats feel about policy.

      It would be a bad thing if there were a great wave of sentiment against Medicare for All, to which the Democrat Establishment remains implacably opposed (and I don’t see the brain damage on the Russian war scare as a good sign at all. The tribalism is going to be nasty…).

      1. PH

        I have a suggestion. And I think you could organize it.

        I think we need a simple public list maintained on a website. Call it “Medicare4allScorecarddotnet” or whatever. The list would have five columns: district, primary candidates, publicly endorsed Medicare for all, general election candidates, publicly endorsed Medicare for all.

        The 535 districts will be every Senate seat and Representative seat.

        List all candidates who officially get on the ballot. You could cheat a little and fill in incumbents when it seems certain that they will run again.

        Only “yes” or “no” under publicly endorsed Medicare for all column. Tolerate no waffling. If not a clear yes, it is a no.

        Now the self-organizing rabble (that I will be a proud member of) will have a scorecard, and specific goals.

        We should seek to get a yes candidate in every primary and general election category.

        Obviously, my personal goal would be to get a yes candidate in every Dem primary. But the third party organizers can focus on their yes candidates in general elections.

        I also think we should find and push yes candidates in deep red districts where Dem or third party have little chance to win the seat. It is a good avenue for getting message out. Also, it might provide a public service avenue for people who do not want to serve in Congress but are willing to see their name on the ballot in order to promote a good cause.

        Auxiliary efforts could also be made. Publish fact sheets and such in support of Medicare for all that citizen candidates could rely upon. List filing deadlines for nomination papers.

        And similar lists for state elections. Make sure to build the Medicare for all farm team.

        But to start, we should create and update the scorecard for Congress. And then USE the information to make sure we start recruiting candidates now.

        I am not a techie, and could never accomplish it.

        1. different clue

          It would also be good to find a way to find out how all these new-running Democrats are connected to the Sanders effort or to the Clinton DemParty establishment, or to some other faction.

          And if that could be found out for every one of these new-running Democrats, it would be even better if it could be presented in very easy-to-understand form. That way, Clinton supporters could support the new-running Clintonites , I suppose. But Sanderbackers could also use the information to do all they can to make every Clintonite lose.

          1. PH

            I think it helps to have an aide for focus. The world is so daunting. Where do we start?

            With the list, you can look at your district. Do we have a candidate who has declared for single-payer? If not, find one. Or be one.

            And it gives a measuring stick — easy to find and for all to see — for checking progress on the Progressive revolt. Is it happening in a real way? Or just in our imagination and bar room arguments?

            There are dozens of optical issues to dispute, and candidate characteristics and background to weigh. Overwhelming. But few candidates will be for single-payer at this moment in history unless they are generally Progressive. If a candidate takes the pledge, it is likely that the candidate is anti-war, and so forth.

            Anyway, I think it is important to break down political activism to specific manageable goals

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          There is such a list coming — Nancy Pelosi hasn’t signed on, can you believe it?! — that I’ll include later today.

          I like the idea of a “pledge” very much (hat tip to TellMeWhy). That would be a good frame for the list.

      2. Marina Bart

        That guy in Georgia is wretched. It crushes my soul to imagine him getting into Congress. He’s literally running on nothing but “Not Trump,” and is a perfect example of how the corrupt Ds choose their candidates. And if he wins, the DNC will be able to claim they need to do nothing different to climb back into power.

        This would be a tragedy for the country.

        If you know anyone in Georgia, make sure they know to vote AGAINST Ossoff if they’re in the district and spread the word.

        1. sleepy

          Well-credentialed according to Wiki:

          Ossoff attended Georgetown University from 2005 to 2009, earning a bachelor’s degree in the School of Foreign Service. He studied under former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren.[10][11]
          Ossoff went on to earn his Master of Science degree from London School of Economics in 2013,[10][11] where he wrote his thesis on trade relations between the United States and China.[12]

          His mom also runs a Georgia PAC.

          Seems like he would at least have spent a year or two as a community organizer.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Ugly. I’m a little surprised Ossoff doesn’t seem to be a private equity player.

            Somebody should see if he’s willing to take the pledge for Medicare for All.

            Otherwise, he should be opposed.

        2. UserFriendly

          Yeah, I’m very meh about him and about the VA Governor’s race.

          The NJ Governor‘s race and the Montana House race are the less depressing ones with a shot, but are not getting any attention nationally so the shitty people will probablly win.

          Notice how the DCCC and dem leadership are tripping over themselves to chase the suburban republicans in georgia while completely ignoring the working class Montana race even though there has been several polls showing the MT guy winning (a 3 way race with a libertarian getting 11%) and every poll showing that Ossoff loses in the runoff.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Notice how the DCCC and dem leadership are tripping over themselves to chase the suburban republicans in georgia while completely ignoring the working class Montana race

            Ah, I wondered why that Georgia race was so important.

    2. dale

      “the anti-Trump tsunami will start in 2017”

      Right, and that’s just about how it will turn out, destroying everything that wasn’t already destroyed. Here’s a person who has voted dem for more than forty years and I can tell you without the slightest qualm that I will never support another Democrat with my vote or my money. I’ve been misled, robbed, abused, shat upon, lied to, cheated, and in every way imaginable disappointed by the dem Party. No more. They can all go straight to you know where.

  12. ScientistYouLike

    Nuclear Option: So all that hemming and hawing from Harry Reid about only being able to change the filibuster rules on the first day of the session was BS? Say it ain’t so!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The real big deal will likely not happen – the empty threat by CA to secede.

      Just an act, I think, because Hollywood is in California…won best actor, best actress, best screenplay, etc for that.

      1. Oregoncharles

        The matter was actually settled in 1865, at great cost in blood.

        Just holding a vote should be intriguing, though. Clarifying, as someone would say.

  13. Vatch

    I got a disturbing email message from the League of Conservation Voters, an organization that I usually respect. They are advertising t-shirts with logos saying things like “I (heart) Obama” or “Thanks Obama” (and no, they are not being sarcastic). Replace “Obama” with “Bernie”, and the shirts would be acceptable. Some people still don’t understand how mediocre Obama’s record was. Sure, Trump is horrible, but that doesn’t make Obama good.

    1. Roger Smith

      The same group that made an internally unorthodox, extremely early endorsement for the Democratic primary candidate with the worse environmental record. This doesn’t surprise me.

      1. Anonymous

        I had to un-subscribe to emails from League of Conservation Voters and several other environmental organizations that lobbied for HRC during the Dem primary and the election. NC readers might remember that, in her leaked emails, she apparently stated that anti-fracking protesters were funded by Russia, and told environmentalists to “get a life.” Her record was poor. Would not even agree to a simple carbon tax, sold fracking to the world.

        Savvier environmental organizations stayed above the fray and did not endorse.

    1. Octopii

      ZH has been completely unreliable for years now. And they have quite a thing for Soros. So, true or not, the source is tainted.

      1. Tinky

        ZH is an aggregative site, so it is very misleading to claim that they are “unreliable”. They frequently provide links to, and excerpts from excellent sources such as Glenn Greenwald and “Don Quijones”, whose work Yves herself features on this very blog.

        1. Octopii

          Oh come on, really. ZH’s editorial tilt is toward the wacko. And I say this as a former great fan back in 06/07/08 when they were like a F**ked Company for the financial industry. Along with the admirable Glenn Greenwald they mix Alex Jones, Breitbart, etc…, which all adds up to “unreliable.” The editors let not even the most remote tie or the slightest opportunity to dig at Soros slip by. Just start down the comments of your linked article to see what a mix of people ZH is attracting. The anti-semitism disgusts me despite my being no fan of Israeli apartheid.

          1. Tinky

            You’re conflating. The comment community, which at one time featured plenty of thoughtful contributors, has devolved into a bad joke. I also find the money-grabbing direction that the site has taken to be degrading and off-putting. But again, to suggest that “they” are unreliable is misleading, as more than a few of the articles and posts that they feature emanate from excellent sources.

  14. human

    “Democrats are on a torrid fundraising pace in the first months of the Donald Trump era, powered by enraged small donors who are plowing millions of dollars worth of online contributions into campaign and committee treasuries”

    Are there any questions now as to why the anti-Trump dogma has been turned up to 11? Raise your hands, please.

    1. oho

      so all those new contributions are going to rebuild the DNC which conveniently has been purged of all legacy employees.

      presumably new hires will represent a broad spectrum of political opinion within the American left ;)

      It’s like “The Producers” but with a political party.

      1. ambrit

        I hope that a lot of those “contributors” are like us and send two quarters and a blistering set of comments back in those begging letters. We also ignore those, your stamp will save us money, entreaties.
        The Producers is good. I particularly like the idea of pushing the Godwin Envelope all of the way to Neuschwabenland by putting up suggestions for a new “Springtime for Hillary” musical. At this point, comparisons between H Clinton and Der Furher are becoming almost socially acceptable. Sadly, that’s not snark.

  15. LT

    Re: Politico on Democratic party fundraising….

    I wonder if (R) after an elected officials name commands more in bribe dollars from corporations than (D)? Fundraising for the same office (senate, governor, representative, state representative) would have to be compared among other factors such as region, demographics, etc.

    At any rate, I fully expected another couple of rounds of “lesser evilism” before the real nitty gritty of “crisis of legitimacy” hits the oblivious duopoly and those who lack the imagination to see a way out.

    1. Oregoncharles

      probably because they still aren’t making any money. So, “lemon socialism.”

      But I’m pretty negative about all social media, and Twitter in particular. Looks to me like an invitation to stupidity, but I know Lambert likes it.

    2. UserFriendly

      Their plan to get there? Focusing on big shareholders like CALPERS to vote for democratic control… sounds promising.

  16. JerseyJeffersonian

    A depressing spin on the timing of the publication of the Case/Deaton study which I encountered over at Unz Review:

    “I disagree with the notion that it was an accident of circumstance that Deaton & Case’s study got published and received mainstream attention. The reason it got attention is because every now and then, the powers-that-be be just can’t resist the urge to gloat.”

    Given the active hatred expressed by the Democrat party and its minions toward those who are documented in the study as suffering increased mortality, this gloating is beyond dispute. Yes, very clarifying, one might say.

  17. marym

    Rex Tillerson to Lift Human Rights Conditions on Arms Sale to Bahrain

    Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has decided to lift all human rights conditions on a major sale of F-16 fighter jets and other arms to Bahrain in an effort to end a rift between the United States and a critical Middle East ally, according to administration and congressional officials involved in the debate.

    Wouldn’t want any “rift” with an “ally” to interfere with the slaughter and the profits.

  18. Cujo359

    Demo­crats now have a real­ist­ic shot at re­tak­ing the House in 2018

    I have my doubts. Not only are the same clueless people in charge of making that happen as have been the last four elections, but since it’s an off-year election the GOP is likely to have the advantage in turnout. Even President Trump is unlikely to be a motivation for greater Democratic turnout, if the Dems resolutely refuse to help the people they expect to vote for them.

    But if they manage to win somehow, we can safely assume they’ll be at least as useless as they were in 2006. The leadership hasn’t learned anything, because their supporters haven’t learned anything.

    1. Cujo359

      Looks like the Democrats would have to pick up at least fifteen seats in the House to take over. Are there that many districts where they can run a candidate against the Republican incumbent and not embarrass themselves? Based on past performance by the DCCC, it’s extremely unlikely.

        1. Cujo359

          Oof. Where have my math skills gone? So, of 41 potential pickups, they have to win 24 without losing any of their iffy ones? I’d say these Dems have a better chance of staying in the minority until at least 2022. You don’t just win by showing up, or they would have gained control in 2004, and anything more than showing up isn’t their style.

          1. Biph

            In the long run HRC losing was the best thing that could happen to them. Both she and Trump are massively unpopular Trump’s approval will stay mired between 30-40% (just as HRC would have). Dems will be energized for 2018 election and for them Trump will be on the ballot, whatever is left of true non-partisan voters will break hard for the Dems as a check on Trump and the GOP turnout will not be as strong since their guy in is the WH. The Dems will pick up a bunch of Governors seats that they’ll hold till at least 2022 meaning the hard GOP gerrymandering is going away after the 2020 census. The key here is for true leftists to run in the primaries for 2018 and 2020. In 2020 they’ll be a huge gaggle of Dems running for POTUS, but if the left can coalesce around a single candidate early while the blue dogs tear each other apart that candidate will be able to run away with the nomination. That is how you re-make the Democratic Party.

  19. Jim Haygood

    The 420 — Argentina follows Uruguay’s lead:

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina’s Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill legalizing the use of cannabis oil and other marijuana derivatives for medicinal purposes, and setting up a regulatory framework for the state to prescribe and distribute them to patients.

    The legislation approved by senators Wednesday also creates a medical marijuana research program at the Health Ministry, which must “guarantee free access” to cannabis oil and other derivatives to patients who join the program. The legislation was passed by the Chamber of Deputies earlier.

    Government agencies will be authorized to grow marijuana for research purposes and to produce cannabis oil and derivatives for patients. The state can import cannabis derivatives until they can be produced locally.

    Unfortunately, “single grower” is not going to produce the innovation seen in the US, where vigorous competition among small growers is producing a constant wave of new products and new strains of cannabis.

    Too bad Argentina can’t adopt its highly successful wine estate model for cannabis. If the Argentine gov were in charge of producing wine, the miserable plonk wouldn’t be exportable. ;-)

  20. Plenue

    >Dems Could Take House in 2018 [National Journal]

    It seems what we’re going to have in the next 2 and 4 years is some insane version of a race to the bottom. The contest will be about whether the Dems with their stubborn no-win platform can manage to triumph over the Republicans constant self-sabotage.

    1. UserFriendly

      Elections are so much more about turnout than anything else. There is energy on the D side right now which is why I’m not looking to amplify that at all until I see a change in messaging from them. It’s also why they don’t think they need to change. Of course if they did change and presented a coherent argument besides ‘we aren’t Trump’ then they would have a much better chance to take the house.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Remember that the duopoly parties depend on each other, and trade power back and forth in an apparently prearranged manner. After the Repubs were nearly wiped out in 2008, the Dems went about making sure they recovered – for one thing, I think they were very uncomfortable with their complete, obvious control, since it left them with no real excuse and exposed their real agenda.

        Now it’s the Republicans’ turn, and they’re doing a good job of it. Yes, I think the Dems will do far better than they deserve in the next mid-terms. Their “opponents” will make sure of that.

  21. Rosario

    The Dem party editing the placard goes well beyond a mistake, as they put it (I believe the paraphrased response from the party was “this was against our policy”). Though I though it was funny at first I began to think more and more that it is absolutely insidious. They had to put aside time to get someone to Photoshop the goddamn sign? Jesus.

    Those small things indicate the depth of the problem. It is one thing if they cannot humor a critique of capitalism, but they cannot allow their “followers” to humor it either?

  22. Marina Bart

    Just a drive-by to say that I’m so glad to see @NinaDontPlayMtG linked here. She’s trying to survive as a completely independent leftist journalist, and Twitter (a crucial part of her promotional strategy) has punished her several times for well-researched and documented pieces. I don’t agree with some of her thinking about how to move forward on the left in the age of Trump, but her analytic articles are really good.

  23. djrichard

    @TheDemocrats why did you photoshop the @pslweb poster?

    Notice also how the photoshop version has a purple cast to it.

    Let’s call them out for what they are: the purple party. The meaning is clear: they’re no longer blue. See how well that wears for them when people realize what they’re choosing is a choice of red vs purple.

    To make it more meaningful maybe the alt-left can co-opt the blue color. And claim the old brand color. Goto market message: “remember what this color used to mean?”

  24. political economist

    A rational look into Russigate.

    If we can ignore the Dems smokescreen, we can turn the Dem Party into something other than a neolib, neocon lying horror-show.

    If people get caught-up in the Dem-led reality show referred to as Russigate and refuse to hold the Dem Party accountable for lying-to-lose the 2016 election by using every anti-democratic lever at their disposal to hand the nomination to a very flawed candidate rather than the one who would have won, then the future will look dim.

    RESIST the Clintonoid Democratic Party and build the one that will embrace issues that the majority of Americans want: single payer, less money to the military, higher taxes on the rich, public schools, controls on Wall Street, etc.

    IMHO, this is why the Dems under Obama-and-Bush (yes, did you notices they are embracing Bush?) did not promote progressive policies. And, now they are focusing on the side-show and only on protecting their version of neoliberal policies that certainly are better than Trump’s version (except they are worse on trade policies and perhaps some war policies).

    Let us not pretend that a carbon tax is not needed and that some vague promotion of solar power is the answer to global warming.

    Let us not pretend that the ACA is costly mistake that was good to it for some people and also downside for many others. And, that single payer would be a disaster for people newly covered (by private insurance companies) and therefore anyone promoting it should be demonized.

    Let us not pretend that our country is not an oligarch and the Democratic party is not currently in its thrall.

    YES, there are good reasons to think of the loss of Clinton as a possible upside. But that is only a possibility if people are willing to look honestly past all the BS. BS past (including the recent election), BS present (including Russigate) and BS future (the continuing story of why we must stay on the road to Pottersville under the current leadership of the Democratic Party.

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