Links 3/11/17

Today is the anniversary of Tōhoku earthquake which led to the Fukushima meltdown. Our condolences to readers in Japan.

Siberian tigers catch and destroy a drone Boing Boing (resilc). Totally cool. And you get an idea of how big those tigers are.

Why daylight-saving time is stupid Business Insider (Dr. Kevin). I take this as a reminder that it’s the time of year when I get to lose (more) sleep. I differ a bit, I think the hours for daylight savings time are generally preferable to standard.

Google’s Algorithm Is Lying to You About Onions and Blaming Me for It Gizmodo (Robert S, from FT Alphaville)

Bitcoin Plummets 18% as SEC Rejects Winklevoss ETF Proposal Bloomberg

Scientists create ‘designer yeast’ in major step toward synthetic life Washington Post (Chuck L)

This small molecule could have a big future in global food security PhysOrg. Chuck L: “How long will it take Darwin to find a way around this? And at what type of unpredictable price?”

Vault 7

The CIA are the real ‘threat to national security’; leaks show they treated software exploits like toys Leak of Nations (Rory). Short and makes an important point re Windows vulnerability.

Julian Assange Press Conference and Q&A on Vault 7, Year Zero and the CIA (03-09-2017) YouTube (furzy)

Or Maybe America Post-9/11 Inspires More Disillusionment? March Wheeler (Chuck L). My view is that this is all due to neolibearlism. You turn everyone into a free agent (in the private sector) or a flexian in government/power circles (see Janine Wedel’s The Shadow Elite) and what do you expect? Loyalty is so 20th Century!


Article 50 could be triggered in days after backbench deal The Times

Brexit: Divorce by mutual consent or fight? Defend Democracy. Interesting in that Defend Democracy is regularly very critical of the EU, yet points out something not mentioned in the Anglo press: that the UK is making aggressive moves to try to foment dissent on the other side. What the piece does not point out as explicitly as I’d like is that mere dissent does the UK very little good. Getting waivers, like an extension of the negotiating time, requires unanimity, so whipping up a few supporters amounts to ankle-biting. This is really short-sighted, in that all it does is poison the negotiating climate and give the Europeans justification not just for sticking to their clearly announced red lines, but playing vindictive.

I am The Crap Thatcher, confirms May Daily Mash

Why Europe fails to learn Le Monde Diplomatique (Sid S)

Anti-Le Pen splits open a narrow path to victory Financial Times

35 countries where the U.S. has supported fascists, drug lords and terrorists Alternet. Only 35? Do readers see omissions?


Malaysia’s Future Role in Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Military Alliance LobeLog (resilc)

New Cold War

Dreams of ‘Winning’ Nuclear War on Russia Consortiumnews (Chuck L)

Trump Supporters Explain Why This Whole Russia Thing Doesn’t Bother Them Vice (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Internet of things: Home is where the hackers are Financial Times. Clive will have much to say if he shows up. Oh, and my bank keeps offering me voice verification, and I keep saying, “No way!” And my God, who needs to operate a Roomba remotely?

Congress begins rolling back Obama’s broadband privacy rules engadget (furzy)

Suspect In House IT Security Probe Also Had Access To DNC Emails ILR (Dan K)

Trump Transition

White House civil war breaks out over trade Financial Times

Bharara, Wall Street’s Cop, Among Prosecutors Asked to Quit Bloomberg. Lead story.

Sessions asks 46 Obama-era U.S. attorneys to resign Reuters (furzy). Including Preet Bharara.

Trump administration sends judges to immigration detention centers: sources Reuters (EM)

ICE detainees are asking to be put in solitary confinement for their own safety The Verge (resilc). Based on 2016 logs, as in under Obama. Not that it will get any better, mind you…

Tillerson struggles to make his mark in Trump’s Washington Financial Times

Rex Tillerson vs. The Enemy of The People: Inside The Media War At The State Department Daily Beast (resilc)

White House: Trump didn’t know of Flynn plan to register as foreign agent The Hill (furzy)

The U.S. Is Killing a Lot More Civilians in the Middle East This Year. Is It Because of Trump? Slate (resilc)

Trump to nominate Gottlieb to head FDA Politico (Kevin C)

White House Casts Pre-emptive Doubt on Congressional Budget Office New York Times (resilc)

AP: Trump Got Wiretapping Story From Breitbart News Opposing Views (furzy)

U.S. program for Afghan translators in jeopardy as visa supply runs low Reuters. EM: “I rate the direness of this similarly to ‘supplies of bombs and Hellfire missiles running dangerously low!’: Moi: Not quite, since the US has never made understanding the cultures we attempt to subjugate a priority. But to EM’s point, we probably aren’t using translators for native-friendly purposes.

Don’t let establishment opportunists ruin the resistance movement Thomas Frank, Guardian. Resilc: “Dos Crips”. The infiltration effort has been so obvious and extensive that Lambert and I have wondered how organic it really is, in that while there are a lot of grass roots and newbies to activism involved, there is also a lot of attempted and actual top-down organizing and messaging. But go read the piece, it’s really good.

‘Trump lies all the time’: Bernie Sanders indicts president’s assault on democracy Guardian (resilc)

As Trump Neuters Regulatory Commissions, Chuck Schumer Needs to Decide If He Will Fight or Give In Intercept (resilc)


Breitbart May Have Just Killed Trumpcare New York Magazine (resilc)

Trump Plays Background Role on Health Care Wall Street Journal

Republicans loot the palace: GOP’s plan to govern looks a lot like the way it “rebuilt” Iraq Salon (furzy)

GOP Congressman Says Men Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Prenatal Care Mother Jones (resilc)

President Trump: “We Must Save the American People” from the Affordable Care Act C-SPAN (Kevin C: 4 minutes)

House Committee Chairs Discuss White House Meeting on Health Care C-SPAN (Kevin C: 7 minutes)

Vice President Mike Pence Meets with Conservative Leaders on Health Care C-SPAN (Kevin C: 6 minutes)

Julie Rovner Explains Health Care Repeal and Replace Process C-SPAN (Kevin C: 3 minutes)

Macomb County in the Age of Trump Democracy Corps/Roosevelt Institute

Police State Watch

Software results in mistaken arrests, jail time? No fix needed, says judge ars technica (Chuck L)

GOP Bill Would Let Your Boss Demand to See Your Genes New York Magazine (resilc)

House GOP would let employers demand workers’ genetic test results Business Insider (Chuck L). Why aren’t all those freedom-loving libertarians all over this?

Americans Aren’t Filing Their Taxes This Year Bloomberg

Snap’s IPO Shares Should be “Junk Equity”: CalPERS Wolf Richter. I’ve avoided even mentioning Snap because it’s not an investment, it’s a trading sardine.

Race to Bottom on Costs May Cause Oil to Choke on Supplies Bloomberg

Robust Job Growth Clears the Way for Fed to Raise Rates Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

A Family Adventure in Medical Tourism New York Times (resilc). Class warfare because: 1. People should not have to get on a plane to get affordable treatments and 2. Only the at least somewhat well off have the time and money to do that. Having said that, one of the reasons I go regularly to Alabama is dental work there is it is 40% of the cost in NYC (and Birmingham by virtue of being home of the best medical school in the South, does have decent practitioners). And not that I ever want another root canal, but the endodontist I have there is terrific and has quite a few other fly-in patients.

Uber an avatar of innovation and progress? The economic evidence says otherwise. Hubert Horan, Pando. A layperson friendly (and vivid!) recap/update of the arguments made in Hubert’s series at NC. Another segment is coming soon!

Antidote du jour (Tracie H, from Newport Back Bay, Newport Beach, California):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. Lord Koos

        Killing a tiger is against the law in China – it seems quite unlikely that an official Chinese state TV channel would broadcast this if the place was a “farm” for tiger parts?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Aside from questioning the farming bit, because we should all look for the good in everyone, right? –and gee, why would Chinese bosses publish videos of their livestock, because killing tigers is ILLEGAL, like corruption — maybe something to do with marketing?:

      Notice what happens when the one tiger champs down on the drone? It starts smoking. Which is because it is powered by lithium-polymer batteries, which are wonderfully dense power sources, but when you puncture them, with tooth or claw or misdirected screwdriver, they will start a decomposition process that produces toxic fumes (note the reactions of several big cats when they get a sensitive noseful of the fumes of combustion that the punctured batteries are spewing.

      Some data on the subject:

      Humans are really wonderfully innovative creatures, aren’t they? Using drones to “exercise” big cats so they won’t get fat and lazy… Giving them a chance to get toxic doses of various innovative chemical compounds and their degradation products… I wonder if the Chinese who raise and likely part out these cats, regardless of ‘the law,” that sick joke on decent people, also engage in fraud by warranting and assuring that the bones, liver, speen, heart, pelts and other bits prized by fokking rich people, seeking indulgence and uniqueness and immortality, are really, really, truly, would we lie to you? from one of the last remaining tigers living in its original shrinking habitat… Great White Hunters and gastronomes can have all kinds of skin tones… How many points does a Great Hunter get for being the one to kill the last of a big game species? Hey, it’s individuals interacting with the Market, right?

  1. Maddow/Cohn

    “Trump Supporters Explain Why This Whole Russia Thing Doesn’t Bother Them”

    And what of the many people who are indifferent to this new presidential figurehead, Trump? If they were motivated to think about whole Russia thing, they might point out the following:

    There exists a world standard of institutionalized human rights protection under independent international review: the Paris Principles. Russia meets that standard. The USA does not. Russian intervention in US ‘democracy’ would not be subversion, it would be foreign aid to an underdeveloped country.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      So Russia intervened to make America better, presumably with Trump.

      That standard is not met if we had been made worse…today, not some 11 dimensional better years in the future.

    2. Ignim Brites

      Gene McCarthy once explained that journalists are like blackbirds. When one flies to a new line they all fly to that line. As the comments above indicate the whole “Russia hacked our democracy” meme merits only jokes.

      1. John Parks

        and the most recent corrolary is that “Comments being fomented by the MSM regarding any Russian intrigue should be authorized by an adult.”

    3. joe defiant

      I love how Vice tries to frame the Trump/Russia conspiracy theory as everyone is convinced it is true except Trump supporters. I used to like Vice a long, long, time ago in a universe far, far away. They have been the mouthpiece of the “edgy neoliberal” for a long time now.

      It seems to me it is the opposite. Democratic party hardliners believe the story and everyone else can tell it’s crap.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The alignment of the “left”, the MSM, the CIA, and the G. Bush neo-con crowd is as terrifying as it is mystifying.
        If I see one more pic of Michelle/Ellen DeGeneris/Oprah hugging war criminal/corporo-fascist/class clown Geo Bush I’m gonna retch

    1. mcdee

      The Albuquerque Cab Company went out of business last week. They laid of 70 people and cited Uber as the cause. We’ll probably be seeing more of this.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        The cab company ought to sue the city for allowing an illegal unregulated operation to go unchecked. Probably difficult to do since they don’t have any money left, but I’d like to see how a court would look at this type of case.

        My city continues to hem and haw about what to do with the likes of Uber and AirBnB while allowing them to continue operating outside the existing regulatory structure legitimate businesses have to follow. For some reason nobody cracks down on blatantly illegal businesses making a select few billionaires from ill gotten gains.

        But try selling a loose cigarette for $.50 and you’re a dead person.

      2. John Parks

        In the backwaters of our low population state of Idaho, the cab driver told me last week that he bought the Yellow Cab entity here last year and went from 20 cabs down to two, and one is mostly sitting idle, due to Uber/Lyft. He also mentioned the competition he got from government subsidies that new legal immigrants could receive to start cab businesses. He expects that as those subsidies expire the business might get better. This angle was new to me.

  2. Jim Haygood

    ‘Today is the anniversary of Tōhoku earthquake which led to the Fukushima meltdown. Our condolences to readers in Japan.’

    It’s also the first anniversary date with three prime numbers — 3, 11 and 2017 — since the original event which also contained three primes (including 2011).

    Lucky or unlucky? Don’t tell Comrade Kim about this.

    1. Aumua

      What the Tohoku quake led to was the death of 16,000 people, zero of which died from Fukushima. Just to keep things in perspective. Fukushima is still a huge disaster, of course.

          1. JoeK

            What’s your timeline, Aumua? Like context, it’s everything.

            Having personally experienced the effects of radiation poisoning, certainly due to Fukushima fallout given timing/location, and having lived in Japan for numerous years before and after, and having read reams of comments from nuclear apologists, disinformers, misinformers, shills, and ignoramuses, AND having seen how the governement and TEPCO corp. have deceived, lied, and obfuscated (and mm-by-mm backtracked, revised, and denied most of what they’ve fed the public–see the linked article for this point being well made), I have little use for this factoid you trot out (as if it’s not already been shot down by others much better than I can or will do here).

            If radioactive isotopes were anything but harmful to us, they’d exist on the earth’s surface in abundance and no doubt we’d have incorporated them into our biology millions of years ago as a power source. But no, uranium et al and DNA just don’t mix, much to the detriment of the latter.

            It’s a simple equation, which is why it’s met with so much of the above-outlined treatment from pro-nukers.

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Does it stand with the National Academy of Sciences, who released a report that Chernobyl caused an estimated 500,000 deaths? Where just one reactor got away from them, not four like Fukushima.
            (I suppose you could go into a room full of smokers, watch them smoke for a day, and if none of them died that day say “look, smoking isn’t harmful”)

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              And the hero of the day was PM Natao Kan, who ignored centuries of Japanese tradition when he overrode TEPCO’s instructions to workers to “run”.
              The handful of engineers who stayed behind in the first hours did immediate critical work that saved Tokyo.

    1. andyb

      Webb has done an heroic job unmasking the connections to the Awan brothers, including Mena drug money laundering, Pablo Escobar, Marc Rich, and other nefarious perps. Apparently, these Pakistani brothers were infiltrated moles who were paid $millions for their congressional IT work. During their tenure, many congressional offices were burglarized, although no concrete evidence connects them. Meanwhile, their story has been scrubbed from the MSM, much like the lack of revelations on the Abedin/Carlos Danger computer file which, according to one NYPD captain, contained “shocking” information. Seems like a lot of “circling the wagons” among the elites in power.

        1. allan

          It’s pretty hard to take seriously anything that contains this:

          The enveloping of the president in a cacophony of innuendo is likely a collaborative effort between the Justice Department, the National Intelligence Agency, the CIA, and crucially, the mainstream press. Beyond the corridors of the Capitol Hill, civil-society organizations like the George Soros-funded and Barack Obama’s robust Organizing for Action (OFA) are turning up the heat on the streets, creating the visible signs of unrest, sometimes violent, that have capsized governments from Venezuela to Ukraine at the behest of Western oligarchs.

          If only.

            1. HopeLB

              If the protesters start spreading Occupy-like messages, let us see, whether Obama who had them crushed previously, starts dictating the allowable “unified” signage/ t-shirts via Move On and the Obama Democrats.

              1. Marina Bart

                It’s confirmed that OFA is being revived to fight the emergence of the left on the ground. State party people have complained about it, because OFA played a significant role in the destruction of the Democratic Party at the state level.

                I have not seen one shred of evidence that OFA is playing a role in the astroturfed protests. Has anyone else? I think it’s going to mostly function as an logjam sucking up money and energy and trapping it to undermine change. If I had to bet, I’d bet it will succeed at keeping the Democratic Party weak, but not do much more. Perhaps that’s all it’s supposed to do.

                Since we have to vote all the corporate Dems out of power anyway, I’m not sure this would actually hurt the left. A healthy neoliberal Democratic Party won’t stop the Republicans, but they can hurt insurgent primary challengers. A weak Democratic Party, hobbled by OFA’s parasitic drain on funding and staff, seems like it would be forced to protect its best-connected corporate stooges, which could allow a couple of insurgents to get all the way through to Congress.

                Bring it on, OFA!

    1. fresno dan

      March 11, 2017 at 7:47 am

      “I’ll go with the AP, since they have an (anonymous) source with knowledge of the transition,
      and The Hill story is an on-the-record quote from the Melissa McCarthy imitator.”

      Wittiest thing I have seen since….Oscar Wilde? Too much? OK, Gore Vidal than. the anonymous source alone was a razor sharp stiletto, and the Melissa McCarthy crack was the frosting on the blade….

  3. yan

    “35 countries where the U.S. has supported fascists, drug lords and terrorists”
    Dominican Republic: first Trujillo until he was assassinated, then when Juan Bosch (a supposed “communist”) won the elections in 1965, good ol’ uncle sam invaded the island with 65.000 marines and installed trujillo’s ex prime minister who would be “elected” continuously until the 90s.

    1. Edward

      Namibia and South Africa were left off the list. Did the U.S. support Rhodesia? The U.S. supported bloody insurgencies in Angola and Mozambique. Bangladesh should be on the list. Should Chang Kei Shek’s China, Italy, the Congo, and Rwanda be included? Another important omission is Ukraine, whose government is full of bona fide Nazis. South Korea, Vietnam, and Egypt can be included.

  4. Jim Haygood

    Background on the wholesale firing of US attorneys:

    In March 1993, Janet Reno began her tenure as President Bill Clinton’s attorney general by summarily firing United States attorneys for 93 of the 94 federal districts (one, Michael Chertoff, was retained in New Jersey, at the request of Democratic Senator Bill Bradley).

    It was not uncommon in the pre-Clinton era that new presidents permitted sitting U.S. attorneys to continue through the transition of administrations to the completion of their four-year terms. But that is a bygone time, when the federal government was not nearly as expansive and the role of federal law enforcement was far more modest.

    Once Clinton set that precedent, there was nary a peep when Bush had replaced nearly all of Clinton’s appointees by the end of his first year.

    It never would occur to Jeff Sessions, who is considering outside counsel to investigate the “politicized” Justice Dept under Holder and Lynch, that the Clinton tradition of firing US prosecutors wholesale is what pollutes the Justice Dept. Sessions is just following in Reno’s footsteps.

    Janet Reno politicized the Justice Dept like never before, essentially serving as Bill Clinton’s personal counsel rather than attorney for the nation. Her every successor has been a partisan hack, sullying the office of attorney general with lowlifes such as Alberto Gonzales, Eric Holder and Low-renta Lynch, of Phoenix airport meeting fame.

    Turning the Justice Dept into a partisan weapon may be the worst abuse by the Depublicrat duopoly, whose existence is nowhere sanctioned in the constitution. Both these broken parties need to be tossed on the scrap heap of history.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For Sessions to be partisan, he would need to

      1. fire US attorneys appointed with Janet Reno legacy
      2. hire his own partisan, new US attorneys.

      Step 1 is needed because when you multiply (or take a negative) negative number with a negative number (in response to a negative action), you get a positive number (a positive resultant action).

      So, it may be that Sessions is following in Reno’s footsteps, but we can only confirm that with the realization of step 2.

    2. allan

      Among the many investigations on Preet Bharara’s plate was
      the question of whether Fox improperly withheld notifying its shareholders
      of the massive payouts to hush up Roger Ailes’ casting couch malfunctions. [CNN – autolaunch video]

      Whether that investigation was going to go anywhere is debatable,
      but a fair and balanced guess is that it’s now going to go away.

      1. allan

        Shortlist to replace Bharara includes Ailes’s onetime lawyer Marc Mukasey. Wonder what happens to that Fox probe?

        From @GabrielSherman.
        Mukasey is also the son of former Michael Mukasey*,
        as committed a proponent of the national security state as you can find.

        … The younger Mr. Mukasey is now a lawyer at Greenberg Traurig, a law firm in New York where Rudolph W. Giuliani, a close associate of Mr. Trump, also works.

        Of course, an incoming administration has the right to appoint new US Attorneys,
        but the press and public has the right to question the
        qualifications, temperament and conflicts of interest of the nominated replacements.
        The first step in draining the swamp is not to add to it.

        * Days after the first Snowden revelations in 2013, on the PBS Newshour:

        MICHAEL MUKASEY: That is a hysterically inaccurately portrayal of what information is available to the government.

        What is available are two kinds of information. One is so-called metadata, which is simply a pile of numbers, numbers called and times. They are not even associated with particular people. …

          1. Marina Bart

            I looked at the twitter thread and skimmed the article, and I still don’t get the direct link to Bharara. What did I miss?

            Sure was cool to read Bernie’s completely accurate prediction for what would happen under the bailout. I had remembered his relationship with Sessions and had hoped that maybe Sessions would go after corporate corruption as AG.

            1. UserFriendly

              Twitter can be ridiculous sometimes with its trying to save space. You need to click more replies to get to #10.

              10. Irrespective, it’s great for @USAttyBharara, who didn’t prosecute Wall St banks after the finl crisis & suffered no reputational damage.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Preet could not go very far if Holder wasn’t backing it. Preet could have gone rogue to the press with leaks, but Obama was big on busting leakers. I think Eisenger is out over his skis on this one.

                Plus this is really hypocritical. Eisenger has regularly taken the “oh it was too hard to prosecute Wall Street” line, that the legal theories weren’t there. He suddenly changes his tune to shoot at Preet after meeting Trump? Help me.

    3. Ivy

      Ahh, Chertoff, the gift that kept on giving :(
      In this day and age, one wonders if he had something on the late senator.

    4. Teejay

      “Janet Reno politicized the Justice Dept like never before…” Like never before?

      James, James, James, do the names John Mitchell, Richard Kleindienst and Ed Meese ring any bells. I need to shower anytime I think , write or say their names.

      1. barefoot charley

        AG Bobby Kennedy also sprang to mind–but I appreciate Jim’s point that everything just gets worse.

    5. Irredeemable Deplorable

      AG Sessions received the very same letter in 1993 from an incoming R Administration asking him to resign as a US DA. This has been going on for a long time, it’s only a problem now because……..”resistance” I guess. So of course the LieStream Media are all over it with extensive coverage of this “outrage”.

  5. yan

    “35 countries where the U.S. has supported fascists, drug lords and terrorists”
    Bolivia: 1964-1980s- coup and then military junta with a succession of generals culminating in Banzer.
    This is where Che Guevara went to die.
    The last years are known as the “narcodictatorship”.

  6. hemeantwell

    You turn everyone into a free agent (in the private sector) or a flexian in government/power circles (see Janine Wedel’s The Shadow Elite) and what do you expect? Loyalty is so 20th Century!

    It’s Elysium, Jake. The TPP, with its portent of rule by multinational lawyers guided by the deracinated principle of guaranteed profits, has made it clear where the sentiment of loyalty is headed.

    It seems that one of the reason so much of the visual arts nowadays take us back into pasts, real or fantasied, with sanctified social hierarchies is to provide respite from this freedom. At least in principle feudal society obligated the nobility to provide some form of protection to the peasantry (made sense, since they made dinner.)

    1. skippy

      See Locke and the definition of slavery thingy, then homo economicus mental anchor of being a property [commodity] wrt rights….

  7. Jim Haygood

    Me like!

    The Hague, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch government on Saturday withdrew landing permission for the Turkish foreign minister’s aircraft, drawing the ire of the Turkish president and escalating a diplomatic dispute between the two NATO allies over campaigning for a Turkish referendum on constitutional reform.

    The Dutch government said in a statement it had withdrawn the permission because of “risks to public order and security” caused by the proposed visit of Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to Rotterdam.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised retaliation against Dutch diplomatic flights. “You can stop our foreign minister’s plane all you want, let’s see how your planes will come to Turkey from now on,” Erdogan said at a rally in Istanbul.

    Maybe it’ll devolve into fisticuffs and NATO will bust to pieces, Allah willing.

    Best thing that could ever happen to the American people … send some useless brass home from orchestrating lethal follies at NATO HQ in Bruxelles.

  8. ChrisAtRU

    Macomb County In The Age Of Trump

    On the one hand, Trump has managed to sell himself as something he is going to struggle to be (deliverer of all things good, upend-er of the status quo). On the other, echoes of how badly people wanted change (and how little credence Democrats gave to that) are deafening.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      French Elections

      I don’t need to see numbers, charts or graphics. Marine Le Pen has a good chance of winning for all the same reasons #BrExit and Trump won. The fetid remains of the global neoliberal onslaught have awoken the masses with its stench. The one thing the masses really know is that something is rotten, and they are growingly disinclined to task agents of the status quo with cleaning up the mess. In addition, it’s getting to the point now, where the electorates in upcoming elections are likely saying to themselves, “Well, England/America did it … why can’t we?”


      1. Jim Haygood

        The one thing the [French] masses really know is that something is rotten.

        Your point is summarized in a single chart from bond king Jeffrey Gundlach, showing French vs German unemployment.

        For the first eight years of the 21st century, France’s unemployment was lower than Germany’s. But since 2008, French unemployment has soared to 4 percentage points higher than Germany’s. Chart:

        Standard-issue eurosclerosis not only is incapable of fixing this, but also probably can’t even conceive why it would bother anybody.

        Les enarcs are doing okay, so why are the peasants muttering and glaring at them? Free cake at campaign rallies should pacify them, non?

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Ha! What’s French for “giant sucking sound”?

          And yes, neoliberals have nothing to offer … “cela paraît très raisonnable” served with that free cake.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            The French are being offered a choice: try and keep what’s left of “France”, or…what, again? Burkas by the pool? Mandatory Koran courses at the Ecole Polytechnique? Or maybe decide that church and state shouldn’t be separate after all?
            For all the MSM blather about Macron he looks like a thin reed to me. The Fillon crowd’s first allegiance is probably to France and second to traditional Catholicism, the “globalist” religion may be exactly what they don’t want.

  9. tommy strange

    Regarding the decent Alternet article. Yes much more. Spain, Italy, more latin american countries…etc. But nice to see they included Honduras, a country outside of ‘liberal elite discussion, since the USA funded coup happened. They also tell truth about Greece, something americans don’t know, but all leftists in europe do know….

  10. tommy strange

    Hope I can add this: Blum’s CIA Killing Hope is still the most readable go to book on USA intervention. The more recent Legacy of Ashes also has some new information in it.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Blum’s book was nice back in the aughts when Bush Jr was mean. Now it sucks and was ghost written by Putin.

  11. mad as hell.

    I might be mistaken but with a cut off date of 2020 or even 2018 for new medicaid applicants. What happens to the person that has had all of their life savings drained after paying for x amount of nursing care? Usually up to now that person would apply for medicad and the goverment would pick up the tab once they determined you were dead broke, house gone, property gone, bank account gone, ira depleted another words a pauper. So my question is after 2020 and people begin to find themselves in that situation are they gonna get thrown out of the nursing home with a uber waiting outside the door ready to take them to the ER? It looks that way to me. Tell me I’m wrong and that this is going to make Amerka great again.

    One other thing. Six months ago I thought that Trump might be a closet liberal. Vote for him what have you got to lose? That was the biggest mistake I made since once taking a job in Philadelphia!

    1. SpringTexan

      I too am worried about the nursing home thing. But I don’t think the 2020 deadline is the problem, because that is for the “Medicaid expansion” criteria and the nursing home thing is the old criteria. So that’s OK. The problem is the “Medicaid caps”. Those will cut funding to where the STATES will have MAJORLY less Medicaid money themselves and THEY will cut funding. Nursing homes are one of Medicaid’s biggest costs and this last resort is ABSOLUTELY in danger.

      I know I’ve been thinking that if they just destroyed Obamacare it would be bad, but it is way worse that this bill would destroy Obamacare AND damage Medicaid terribly.

      But you are absolutely right to worry about those old people and about kids with high medical needs on Medicaid and about the indigent disabled.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        You guys are worried about not being able to go to a nursing home????

        Do you know what happens in those places?

        1. justanotherprogressive

          Like it or not, there is a need for nursing homes. Most nursing homes are already on a financial shoestring – if you think they are bad now, wait until they are cut off from Medicaid funding…

          What do you propose as options for people who need long term, full time nursing care? (Not being critical, just curious).

        2. kgc

          My mother lived in two nursing homes (assisted living followed by a dementia facility, both funded by Medicaid. They took very good care of her, and her Medicaid representative was very helpful in figuring out ways to get her expenses covered. Yes, it was out there on the Oregon coast, but it was a very good thing. They actually cared for her and liked her. Even sent a card they all signed when she died.

          I’m hoping I’ll be able to get into a facility in Oregon when necessary. Or die first.

        3. jrs

          maybe they are worried about not being able to send parents to a nursing home and not being able to quit their job to take care of possibly senile parents full time. Yea, yea, their parents SHOULD have been Jack LaLanne and they SHOULD be Bill Gates.

    2. oh

      The Uber will dump them in the nearest skidrow for a pretty penny. We need to send Uber to hell.

  12. allan

    SXSW’s hottest tech [USA Today]

    … A CES Innovation Award winner and available to test-drive at SXSW, HiMirror is the world’s first “smart mirror” that provides personalized beauty and health feedback by analyzing your face. Simply wave your hand in front of the mirror or use voice control, and thanks to the camera and cloud-based image processing algorithm, you’ll receive real-time skincare analysis – including comments on wrinkles and fine lines, complexion, dark circles, spots and pores.

    Based on your skin condition, HiMirror displays custom DIY YouTube tutorials on the mirror itself. Advice is also based on how your skin looks over time, with stored photos of you in its internal memory. …

    Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the most blackmailable of them all?
    On the bright side, anybody who would buy this deserves to be spied upon.

    1. Ian

      Here’s hoping for high class prostitutes while they are among high profile businessmen, politicians etc…

      1. polecat

        will they thunder under the weight of large and heavy sabots, have sharply filed teeth .. while bearing short-ranged arms ?

    2. fresno dan

      March 11, 2017 at 8:51 am

      I don’t need the “cloud” to tell me the world would be more beautiful if I put two bags* over my head.

      *I’m so ugly I need two bags….

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Good. Lord.

        Soon Jason Chaffetz will be mocked for saying that americans will have to choose between a $200 “smart” hairbrush and “healthcare.” Or food.

        Maybe that guy in Reno who leases designer pets to people who can’t afford them will lease advertising hairbrushes to people who can’t afford those either.

        But a product that reinvents my “relationship” with my hair sounds pretty awesome. Especially since, up until now, I thought that relationship was pretty simple, as in connected to my head.

        This technology thing is more useful than I’ve been giving it credit for.

        1. RabidGandhi

          There is a more classical solution:

          Fantine earned too little. Her debts had increased. The Thénardiers, who were not promptly paid, wrote to her constantly letters whose contents drove her to despair, and whose carriage ruined her. One day they wrote to her that her little Cosette was entirely naked in that cold weather, that she needed a woollen skirt, and that her mother must send at least ten francs for this. She received the letter, and crushed it in her hands all day long. That evening she went into a barber’s shop at the corner of the street, and pulled out her comb. Her admirable golden hair fell to her knees.
          “What splendid hair!” exclaimed the barber.
          “How much will you give me for it?” said she.
          “Ten francs.”
          “Cut it off.”

  13. Barmitt O'Bamney

    The link is missing its terminal “l” on html and so leads us to a 404 error page. The full link is

    Also, the 35 countries link actually links to Salon, not Alternet. And what do we see just right of the 35 countries story but something more noxious than aflatoxin: a byline for Amanda Marcotte. A trigger warning here would be thoughtful.

  14. RabidGandhi

    Off the top of my head in no particular order:

    Burkina Fasao
    Dominican Republic
    South Africa
    South Vietnam

    Some of the omissions are more interesting, obviously Venezuela and Yemen, because they are targets of current operations.

    The Yugoslavia mention is also weird, since it mentions Thaci but not Tudjman in Croatia. (Interestingly Susan Woodward makes the case that the US/Germany supported Milosevic in preventing more moderate forces from taking power in Serbia; cf her excellent Balkan Tragedy).

    I’m sure there’s plenty I’m missing.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think the CIA also air-dropped some non-violent Buddhist Tibetan freedom fighters into that part of China to return a no-separation-of-religion-and-state exiled sovereign leader (who was not democratically elected, but anointed by a small group of people, based on a religious belief), all the while people of 50 other ethnic groups also suffered under Mao…

      1. fosforos

        When was Tibet EVER part of China? Yeah, they sometimes sent tribute to an Emperor. Making Tibet, the Maoists claim, part of the Chinese Empire. Supporting that claim makes you an imperialist apologist, an apologist for totalitarian imperial rule over a people that wants unanimously to be free but is, at least in its majority, willing to settle for the autonomy speciously promised in China’s fictitious constitution.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Manchuria was part of the Qing dynasty, but was not a part of the preceding Ming dynasty.

          Manchuria declared independence as Manchugo during WWII.

          Tibet was part of the Qing dynasty.

          From Wikipedia:

          Qing dynasty rule in Tibet began with their 1720 expedition to the country when they expelled the invading Dzungars. Amdo came under Qing control in 1724, and eastern Kham was incorporated into neighbouring Chinese provinces in 1728.[31]

          More recently,

          Emerging with control over most of mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, the People’s Republic of China incorporated Tibet in 1950 and negotiated the Seventeen Point Agreement with the newly enthroned 14th Dalai Lama’s government, affirming the People’s Republic of China’s sovereignty but granting the area autonomy. Subsequently, on his journey into exile, the 14th Dalai Lama completely repudiated the agreement, which he has repeated on many occasions.[54][55]

          We may ask, is Tibet like Manchuria, which is still part of China, or is Tibet more like the American South, after secession, declared by their elected leaders (and not by one religious head), but still was part of the union, for many Americans?

          1. Propertius

            the People’s Republic of China incorporated Tibet in 1950

            Wikipedia misspelled “invaded”. “Incorporation” is not generally accomplished at gunpoint.

            Maybe I’m just getting confused in my dotage, but it seems you’re saying that the Chinese claim to Tibet is valid because they also invaded in the 1720s (not just in 1950). By that logic, would Britain would be justified in reasserting a claim to Kenya or India or the French to Morocco or Algeria? If that’s not the case, then I’m having trouble figuring out which of the following you’re really arguing for:

            1. A claim to a country is only valid if you’ve invaded it twice
            2. Imperialism is okay if it’s not being practiced by Europeans.

            If (1), then I guess Mussolini’s conquest of the Ethiopians was okay because that used to be Roman territory. If (2) then Japan’s occupation of Chinese territory (including the Nanjing Massacre) was acceptable because Europeans weren’t responsible. Which is it?

            It seems to me that China’s claim to Tibet isn’t much different from the Israeli right-wing’s attitude towards “Judea and Samaria”. I think both the Tibetans and the Palestinians would dispute the legitimacy of such claims.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              It was to show the history of the last few hundred years when Tibet was ruled by the Qing dynasty. The comparable would be the territories that had since become US states having been governed from DC in the 200 years.

              Then, an agreement was signed in 1950…like people in the south participated and acknowledged the union until they did not.

          2. Oregoncharles

            If I remember my history correctly, Manchuria was the ORIGIN of the Qing dynasty – it conquered China, not the other way around. Which, as others have learned, amounts to the same thing. China absorbs its conquerors. The wonder is that outer Mongolia remains independent – I think that was Russia’s doing.

        2. Propertius

          If China universally applied the standard they’ve applied to Tibet, we’d live in a very different world: the list of “tributary states” to Imperial China was rather large. At one time or another, each of the following (in no particular order) was considered a tributary by China:

          The Philippines
          The Ryukyus (as distinguished from Japan proper)
          Myanmar (Burma)
          England(!) (does this include her former colonies?)
          The Netherlands (!)
          Sri Lanka

          in addition to (of course) Tibet. I’ve probably missed a few (I’m surprised India, Russia and the Vatican didn’t make the list, personally). I’m not certain that a claim to Turkey wouldn’t extend to the entirety of the old Ottoman Empire (including all of the Middle East and a good chunk of the Balkans).

          Really China’s claim to Tibet based on Imperial tributary status is every bit as preposterous as Italy’s hypothetical claim to North Africa, Britain, most of Europe, and a most of the Middle East based on the historical extent of the Roman Empire.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You make many good points, and it shows China is not exceptional.

            Like Spain conquered Puerto Rico, and we conquered or defeated Spain, so now PR is a part of the US, like Tibet is a part of China.

            Or Hokkaido which was conquered by Japan in the 19th century, or area north of Tokyo, which was conquered by the Yamato people centuries early.

            Or Taiwan which the Han settlers took from the people who are related to native Hawaiians, among other islanders.

            The living or current examples are too many.

    2. Carolinian

      Perhaps it would be easier to make a list of countries where the US has not intervened.

      Still, I’m impressed by your list. You’ve obviously been following this.

      1. RabidGandhi

        The non- list would be interesting, and I’d be more likely to be disproved on many of them: Lichtenstein, Andorra, New Zealand, Vatican City, Denmark, Canada, Belize, Mauritius, Botswana, Luxembourg, Bhutan, Malta, Sweden….

        And I just realised the biggest glaring omission of them all on the Salon list: Russia.

        1. allan

          And the elephant (oil field) in the room: Saudi Arabia, where we should have intervened long ago.
          Sadly, they have more leverage with the USG than the USG has with them.

          1. RabidGandhi

            Good catch. The Middle East part of the list is the most telling. KSA, Syria (Daesh), Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and Bahrain are at the top of recent/current examples of US support for atrocities. And none of them made the Salon list.

        2. JEHR

          Canada has not suffered American military intervention but, except for our parliamentary democracy, we are indistinguishable (except for the great province of Quebec.) from the US, especially economically and it is our great resource base that keeps us safe so far. We are the mouse-size country that lies right beside the elephant-sized US: We hope the elephant does not get a cold or get angry or even just roll over!

          1. fosforos

            Aaron Burr, Benedict Arnold, James Madison–all of them fought to conquer Quebec. 54/40 Or Fight!!

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Actually, America has invaded Canada twice. The British burning of an empty Washington was a more than reasonable reaction to American actions during the war of 1812. Yanks aren’t too keen on discussing it because the whole losing aspect.

            We took the Expos though, so ha! Shipping Tampa Bay to Montreal would work out best.

            1. Ian

              Also there was plausible talk about money, of questionable source, helping fund harper back in his first run that was thought to have ties with various US intelligence agencies.

      2. Olga

        That is funny… but I think you’re right!
        Where has US not intervened? The number of countries would be small, indeed!

    3. OIFVet

      June 2014: Senators McCain, Johnson, and Murphy arrive in Sofia, Bulgaria. It is a pit stop on their way to post-coup Ukraine. After their meeting with the BG prime minister, it is announced that South Stream is being put on hold. It is a sharp change in the BG government’s position, it having previously been steadfast in insisting that the project will go on regarless of EUropean Commission’s pressure to suspend it. Three weeks later the government resigns. I am sure all of these events are coincidental, there is no way the US government would meddle in the internal affairs of its NATO ally. /Sarc

    1. fresno dan

      Katniss Everdeen
      March 11, 2017 at 9:27 am

      I thought the child’s policy prescriptions were much more rational and salutatory than the adults…..Really

      1. footnote4

        (edit: Didn’t see your response, Linda)

        She is their mother – but yes, the choice to keep low and inconspicuous is funny.

    1. RMO

      The dedication and self sacrifice of these activist martyrs inspires me and makes my heart glow! It’s inspired me to never watch the movie 2010 again as I can’t bear to see the Russians portrayed as human when we now know they are literally devils who have taken on human form.

      The pathetic nature of some of the things that some people think counts as activism nowadays has been brought into sharp relief because of the death of my father in law. He grew up in Rhodesia and went to South Africa to attend university in the 60’s. While there his dislike of the apartheid system led to him joining a group which protested and worked against it. In the end he was ejected from the country on short notice. He went to Canada. On the same flight with him was another member of his group who had been detained under the 180 days provision (detention for up to 180 days for anyone the police suspected of anti-government activities). He described that friend of his as a “broken man” after that time in prison, most of it apparently on solitary.

      The “#whatever” stuff at least makes me appreciate even more those people who went to Standing Rock, those who went out in the streets to work for Sander’s candidacy, those going to great lengths to try to stop fracking etc.

  15. MtnLife

    With regard to the scam SNAP seems to be running: can’t the institutional investors change their bylaws/best practices/whatever (*clearly* not in my wheelhouse here) to say that when indexing they will only include voting shares? In that they can’t do their fiduciary responsibility to protect the investment if they can’t vote on it.

  16. DJG

    Thirty-five countries and the tender mercies of the CIA.

    What is important is the reminder of how U.S. policy failed completely in Latin America. See entries on Brazil (where the military infested the country after the coup for some twenty years), Uruguay (yes, ultra-dangerous Uruguay), and Argentina. A reminder of the brutality of Argentina and the possibility that the CIA is implicated in torture there: And who can forget the cleverness of the Argentine torturers, who drugged people and dropped them from aircraft into the Rio de la Plata.

    I don’t see Paraguay on the list.

    The disaster of U.S. policy in Latin America has been repeated with the same level of stupidity in the Middle East. But the new and improved policy is better: Many, many more dead.

    A reminder on the list of Greece: All that special treatment by the Brits and the U.S. these many years.

    I don’t see Hungary or the Republic of Georgia, which was a CIA fiefdom for a while there.

    Iran: Now why would the Iranians have such a low tolerance for U.S. bullshit?

    Did I miss Yemen on the list?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Understandably it’s difficult to list everything in one article, however the author could have gone into a lot more depth had they wanted to.

      There was more than just an official being demoted going on in Uruguay in the 70s – the US backed a coup there in 1973. The only reason I happen to remember this is because Naomi Klein documented it in The Shock Doctrine which I was reading several years ago when coincidentally an ex-military in-law was regaling us with his stories about his past adventures in Uruguay. He was a gung-ho mid-level Marine who’d been stationed there and told us that his ship had to leave the area in a hurry when hostilities suddenly broke out. He’s the type who isn’t going to question authority much so I didn’t bother to suggest to him that perhaps the real reason the US military was required to leave so abruptly was so Uncle Sugar’s fingerprints wouldn’t be all over the coup they’d just started

      And the Greeks still refer to that time from ’67-’74 as the junta. According to acquaintances who lived through it, there were plenty of people who were imprisoned or disappeared during that time too. Greece hasn’t forgotten this or the other US interference over the years. I was there in the 90s when the US was dropping bombs on Milosevic and creating refugees who poured into Greece. Everywhere I looked in Athens there were posters plastered on the walls with a picture of Bubba with a bull’s eye on his forehead. Nobody seemed in any particular hurry to remove them. First time I really realized just how hated the US is in other parts of the world.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Very telling anecdote. You might also want to check out Costa Gavras’ State of Siege, which gives a good taste of US involvement in the Uruguayan dictatorship, after having made his own oblique reference to the coup in Greece in Z.

      2. Carl

        One of the more depressing aspects of travel is that we seem to run into bad past US behavior wherever we go: like Chile, for example, but also New Zealand. When visiting Torpedo Bay, the charming naval museum in Auckland, we learned that the US has not visited its naval vessels in Kiwi waters, since the NZ government prohibits nuclear weapons on naval ships. The US, of course, refuses to disclose which boats are armed with nukes.

  17. DJG

    The “outrage” over Shimkus. I wrote a comment before the election that the Democrats planned to lose the U.S. house and U.S. senate. Shimkus, who is from a conservative part of southern Illinois, ran unopposed. So did Kinzinger from the Joliet area just southwest of Chicago.

    So the Democrats failed to recruit candidates, failed to oppose these people, and now the outrage machine is all a-dither about the likes of Shimkus.

    Yet Rahm is a political genius, as is Debbie Wasserman-Schulz. Indispensable people.

    1. Carla

      This is the Democrat Party that Thomas Frank wants to help make “relevant” again. In my view, an utter fool’s errand.

      1. Massinissa

        Reviving the Democrat party seems like a fools errand, but so does making a third party or trying to make the greens not suck.

        Maybe the goal for creating change should be non-electoral? Its all circuses anyway.

          1. Oregoncharles

            ? Peasant revolted quite often in the Middle Ages. In France, it was called a “jacquerie.” They almost always lost, since the nobles were professional fighters. But they did insert a degree of fear.

        1. Marina Bart

          Reviving the party is what the the party wants. The fear that they will absorb and thwart leftists that enter its black gates is quite reasonable.

          But the left does need its assets: not just its still useful brand identity, but its many structural, legal and regulatory advantages it has spent over a century obtaining for itself to ward off a third party challenge. That’s why a hostile takeover is necessary.

          The ballot access is neutral tool. The problem is the people controlling it. They must be purged. All the neoliberals must be purged. All the neoliberal electeds, all their handmaidens in the party bureaucracy, all over America. In every state and county. There can be no compromise. They must be removed.

          That won’t be easy. I’m not even saying it’s definitely possible. But it’s the only real play. We have to work to crush the current Democratic Party’s power. Either it succeeds, and the left takes over the party’s assets and maybe we get some decent course corruption, or we at least undermine it enough that leftist third parties can make in-roads in Congress so they, not the Freedom Caucus, are the inflection point. Or the revolution comes.

          What I like about this strategy within the current conditions is that many different people can do many different things that all help with this:

          – If discouraged non-political non-reactionaries stay home rather than choose between Godzilla and Mothra, the corporate Democrats lose seats, which helps purge the party.

          – If people run insurgent challengers inside the party primaries, that’s great — as long as they understand they must vote against the corporate Democrat in the general election.

          – Even if they don’t get that, insurgent campaigns will force the corporate Democrats to defend more seats than they wanted to at more stages of the process. Rather like my assessment of Clinton’s capacity to rig her way to a GE win, the more money and resources the corporatists have to expend to protect their withered flanks, the more likely they are to lose seats, whether to insurgent leftists or Republicans.

          – Same thing with third parties. You can pick any third party you want, as long as you’re serious about running them. Again, this puts more resource pressure on the sclerotic, incompetent Democrats, making it harder for them to win the seats they need to win to pretend they’re a political party.

          All these things help weaken the corporate hold over the Democratic Party. It is the people that are the problem. Get rid of those people. Simply staying home helps. Making them defend multiple fronts helps. Ideally, most will understand that they cannot vote for these people in the general election, but that, while optimal, isn’t even required.

  18. Pelham

    The ginormous factor that Thomas Frank misses in his Guardian piece — and that NakedCapitalism, to its great credit, doesn’t — is that the Democrats are paid to lose. Or paid to win only if they do it a certain way.

    Democrats haven’t forgotten working Americans. The party is willfully ignoring them because big donors pay the party and its leaders to do so, win or lose.

    So I would suggest that Task No. 1 should not be educating the Dem leadership to get right with Jesus and the working class. These folks know what they’re doing and are just fine with it. The task instead should be either taking over the party and FOREVER BANISHING the current leadership or killing the party itself and erecting a new one that completely rejects big money.

    1. Carolinian

      But, but…it’s Chelsea’s turn.

      Agree totally. The time to reform the Dems was a couple of decades ago. This frog has been thoroughly boiled and poached.

      1. polecat

        Ah … but it’s a zombie amphibian …… only to re-animate, again, and again … and again !

        …. and you can’t kill it, cuz it has no redeemable brain to destroy !

    2. justanotherprogressive

      I love Thomas Frank and I try to stay current with his writings. But Frank does have one blind spot: He cannot imagine a world without the Democratic Party.

      1. Foppe

        That, and he ignores the economic logic underlying the various developments he describes a bit too much.

      2. jrs

        funny as we seem to be basically living in that world, with Dems controlling almost nothing nationwide.

    3. Jason Boxman

      True story. It’s hard to reach any other conclusion after carefully watching what Democrats do since 2006. (And before, I’m sure, but I drank the koolaid until then; I’m better, now.)

    4. SpringTexan

      Yes, we need to understand that the current leadership is married to what it’s doing and happy with itself. They have to be completely defeated and the Democratic Party assets (such as ballot access) taken over by a hostile takeover.

      Not easy but I think it’s more do-able than a 3rd party. In some states it might be easier to take over the Republican Party. Doesn’t matter which party, what matters is succeeding and getting rid of the current leadership.

    5. Eclair

      This is the enormous challenge of our time: a huge, and constantly growing, segment of Americans are coalescing around a set of demands and values. Medicare for all; public education through post-secondary (and professional training?); women must have total control over their reproductive choices; corporate power must be curtailed (corporations are not people); public goods, properties, lands, resources should remain in public hands, and NOT be privatized; our home planet is in dire peril; cooperation, not competition, must prevail if we are to survive as a species.

      We’re like a train, gathering speed and mass. We don’t ‘belong’ to any current Party, we are a living organism that is growing more powerful by the day. Do we gather enough adherents to become one of the two major parties in our current two party system? Do we become a powerful third party and change the system? Do we sheer off and become a separate organism? Scary times. Exciting times.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Your excellent summary of the current zeitgeist made me think of the similar inertia in 19th Century Russia. Then, much of the debate centred around how to channel the unstoppable popular groundswell of discontent that was burgeoning underneath the likewise decaying Tsarist regime.

        Of course, “channel” is exactly what was ultimately done. The Bolsheviks jumped in front of the parade, crushed the anarchists at Kronstadt and effectively eliminated the popular committees (soviets, mirs). For the Russian peasant and worker, things did improve to a large degree, but as the years progressed the result was that the Tsarist élite was replaced with a soi disant communist élite. Same sh*t, different master.

        I bring this up as a cursory reminder to ourselves. Your points are spot on; popular angst is finally coming. The question is ‘what shall be done’: will we the intelligentsia heed to it or try to channel it?

    6. djrichard

      Let’s call out the democratic party for what they are, “The HR department”. Per my followup to a RabidGandhi comment further below.

      Like any HR department
      – they’re secure in their place in the value chain.
      – they’re not paid to secure winning outcomes for those lower in the food chain
      – they’re good at playing up the horrors that would be unleashed without them fighting on behalf of those lower in the food chain

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    ‘Trump lies all the time’: Bernie Sanders indicts president’s assault on democracy Guardian

    Including the time Trump said Sanders was robbed and the DNC rigged Hillary’s nomination???

    Will he give meeting the president a try, give single payer ‘a small chance???’ Does it matter who initiates the meeting? “You haven’t asked, but I am asking.”

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Yeah, I’ll bet Sanders really cared deeply that Clinton’s opponent said nice things about his campaign long after it was over. Sanders is just the kind of sap who would be heartened by such facile, pointless conciliations.


      Trump doesn’t just lie constantly. From time to time, he also says useless things that are incidentally true in order to appear more human to his audiences. He is an archetypical bullshitter.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Can you imagine the power of uniting Trump and Sanders constituencies on the issue of Medicare For All? The sheer shock value of such a union would probably knock the opposition off balance for a considerable and critical period of time.

      These are two men in their 70’s, neither of whom have anything to lose personally, and who have each shown almost supernatural ability to energize large swaths of the electorate. In terms of the current talking points–cost, access and outcomes–a Canadian-style system sells itself. Businessman Trump likely understands this, at least he reportedly has in the past. Both political parties are begging for reorganization along lines that concern every american. Many republicans have recognized the folly in taking “healthcare” away from constituents, and are actually defending Meidcaid. The democrats are imploding, but are also defending Medicaid.

      Fairly or not, I think Bernie’s the one who has to take the first step. I think he’s the politically smarter one. The turmoil that has resulted from Trump’s unexpected election should be viewed as an opportunity. Bernie needs to stop singing in the “Trump is a liar” chorus and take advantage of it. Say what you will about Trump, but he doesn’t seem to be shy about burying the hatchet with former foes.

      Here is an interesting article on the fight for national healthcare in Canada. The reformers faced remarkably similar forces as are currently at work in the u. s. The key was popular support, an ingredient that a Sanders / Trump alliance is uniquely positioned to provide.

      A girl can dream, can’t she?

      1. katiebird

        I don’t see any other way…. As it is the Health Insurance issue is a classic hot potato game that won’t end well for either party. Each party might think they can win the game by making sure the collapse happens when the other (party) has the potato….

        But by then, it will be blazingly obvious to the whole world that neither (party) was interested in Health Care for Americans. It might even become obvious just what they wanted instead….

        So yes, Bernie (he’s the guy who has all ready done the impossible) has to do exactly what you outlined.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          In the right “hands,” the word “all” (not to mention cheaper and better) is powerful magic. How do you argue against it? Who would you leave out, mr./madame congressperson?

          The only way would seem to be never to let such an unassailable word be spoken.

      2. Eclair

        “The turmoil that has resulted from Trump’s unexpected election should be viewed as an opportunity.”

        Wow, kind of like ‘the shock doctrine!’ Swoop in when society/the government is in disarray and push through an otherwise unobtainable program. I like it.

      3. John k

        Trump is too far beyond the pale for Bernie to ally with, and trump seems to already be in bed with Pharma.
        Besides, Bernie doesn’t need trump. Bernie could pick up half the dems, most of the independents, plus a slice of reps…

        but starting a third party is really tough, and the Msm, under corp orders, would attack viciously 24/7. Certainly stripped of committees, no support from any former allies in congress. And could he elect congress people? Given both parties gang up?
        He is a superstar… can he run candidates and get them elected in 2018? Can he raise that kind of money?
        And then… is he too old in 2020? If so, who else?

        On the other hand, it was his issues that enthused those crowds. Get everybody running on the same page, making the same populist speech…

      4. djrichard

        Fairly or not, I think Bernie’s the one who has to take the first step.

        It has to be something which results in a mind-set of “so what if we broke bread with the Bernie faction, we still got what we wanted, didn’t we?” Which in the case of the Trump faction is to get re-elected and for the GOP hanger-ons to that faction, for them to get re-elected too. And likewise, that will be what the Bernie faction gets out of it as well (not so much re-elected as in opportunities to capture new seats for the Bernie faction). As they say, politics will make strange bed-fellows.

        But a lot of water would have to get under the bridge for them to get to this point. Where other avenues of seeming success are tried and failed (because they know the blow-back they’ll get when it comes time for elections). Until their only option is to make strange bed-fellows. And that epiphany will have to come from the Trump faction.

      5. Alex Morfesis

        Trump pulled a stunt on bernie when $hillary wouldn’t debate…then claimed he never offered to debate Sanders…wouldn’t put too much faith in the Barnum carnival huckster with the orange hair…thankfully we won’t have to worry about $hillary doing her Dukakis with her frop($habby hair) sticking out of a tank…firing cruise missles into north korea at onedumbsun every time the stalin wannabee claims his failed rocket launch was really on purpose…

        Have never in my adult voting life had either party presenting any one who even vaguely did not seem like a direct defendant of the Neanderthal…

        JFK was the last warm blooded carbon based life form to sit in the oval office…we had a decent run of luck from tr to jfk…about 50% of the time there was someone who at least failed forward for omerika…but since the lbj/tricky dicky breakdown of at least the illusion of democracy…it has been all downhill…

        hopefully five generations from now it will not have been seen as plain luck or an anomaly those 30 years out of 63 when omerika smelled like freedom…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Hillary did more than just pulling a stunt on Bernie, and he still could endorse her.

          For country, for Americans, I think he is capable of doing more than just meeting with Trump, with an MMT economist with him, to sell Single Payer.

          Nothing is guaranteed in life and there are no permanent enemies. Only just to give it a try.

          The art of possible…presidency not pre-determined. We can shape it…possibly…the optimist…

        2. Oregoncharles

          Recent science says we are all “direct descendants of the Neanderthals,” except the Africans.

  20. joecostello

    Race to Bottom on Costs May Cause Oil to Choke on Supplies – and yet the debt keeps going up, maybe that’s the biggest cut in costs, they dont count the debt? All news from oil industry should be given great skepticism, considering in last few months Exxon basically announced its becoming a refining and shale company. Maybe thats why Tillerson left? Last straw after spending all those years roaming the world hat in hand begging for reserve access.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    President Trump: “We Must Save the American People” from the Affordable Care Act

    and this one:

    A Family Adventure in Medical Tourism New York Times

    Especially if it involves going abroad – more jobs for foreigners.

    In light of the above two pieces of information, maybe it’s time we declare, or rather the president declares health care a national emergency. A lot can be done by the president alone under that declaration.

    It might even make Trump a dictator of sort.

    1. RabidGandhi

      I was living in the US in the 90s when I saw a progressive change from employees being called “personnel” to “team members”. This change came in parallel to two underlying evolutions: (1) the precarisation of the workforce (well documented here at NC), with increased temporary/outsourced contracts, a switch from defined benefits to defined contributions (401k), and higher turnover: ie., a weakened corporate commitment to workers. And (2) an exponential growth in HR offices and corporate propaganda to ‘polish the turd’ of the said worker precarisation.

      When I hear now of corporate loyalty, sadly I think of the Starbucks/Google/Über/Olive Garden… “team member” who is inundated with corporate propaganda about éspirit de corps, joint social responsibility and the company being a big family (you know, the type of family where your relatives ensure you live in poverty and then kick you into a ditch when you’ve lost your usefulness to them).

      This is backwards from the loyalty I believe Yves is mentioning. Whereas now it is “I’ll give you this starvation wage jawb and you damn well better be loyal, cause we’re all family; don’t you want to be a team player?”, in the past loyalty– and perhaps even quasi-family relationships– came in the workplace from a company committing to its workers and showing this commitment with concrete benefits long term. But the “loyalty” rhetoric is much stronger now than it was in the 70s, making it yet another word that has been crappified.

      1. djrichard

        (2) an exponential growth in HR offices and corporate propaganda to ‘polish the turd’ of the said worker precarisation.

        I hereby propose we use the the term “The HR department” as a sobriquet for the democratic party. The HR department mediates between labor and the overlords/owners. That seems to be about as ambitious as our democratic party wants to be. The HR department never threatens the overlords/owners and they certainly don’t want to take over what the overlords/owners are doing.

        1. RMO

          “Team Member” one of many phrases and words that have a plainly obvious meaning when you hear them – “Get ready to be screwed over, and you had better have a BIG smile on your face when it happens” If the job environment really is a happy one and the pay is good they don’t need to propagandize the employees all the way down to the level of basic language. Rather the same way that you can tell that a military operation named “Torch” or “Market Garden” is in the hands of people who believe in what they’re doing whereas “Operation Enduring Freedom” is a desperate attempt at persuasion and propaganda.

          1. Kim Kaufman

            Or like the soon-to-be-“laid off” workers who have to train their outsourced replacements. That’s real “team” work. Their team: your work.

          1. djrichard

            You might be right. If it’s not the HR department now, then exactly what is it then?

            More importantly, if the D-party was the HR department, is our goal to simply reconstitute that? So they’re sprinkling more HR goodness on us like single payer health care, free college, etc?

  22. Ivy

    That gene disclosure thing seems like the demon spawn of a post-Gattaca world. How many areas would that intrusion penetrate in the ongoing violation of humanity, and in the name of what? I need a shower now just to wash off from the disgust at how someone could propose such a policy.

    1. KurtisMayfield

      I will never get my DNA sequence in this environment. There is zero responsibility for anyone protecting your data, and it is only a matter of time before the data gets out into the wild. Plus, companies that do it, like 23andMe, have a connection to Google. That is exactly what I want to do, pay money so that Google can access my DNA sequence. And no I don’t think GINA will protect my data when I voluntarily give it to them.

      Snowcrash is slowly becoming non-fiction.

      1. justanotherprogressive

        Have you had your blood drawn lately? Do you know what your lab does with the excess blood samples? Could be they already have your DNA.

        I did one of those DNA tests. The results came back kind of interesting. If they are true (who really knows) then my father isn’t my father. What else was interesting is that about a year later, they forwarded me an email from a woman who thinks she has the same father as me based on the DNA results. (?? As far as I know, the results were not that specific.) Since she gave her name, I looked her up online. Turns out she is the daughter of the two people who stood up for my parents when they got married. I called Ancestry and they stated that there is no way this woman got my name from them because I did not give permission for my name to be associated with the results, but she did give permission for her name to be used, so as far as I know, she doesn’t know who I am. I haven’t responded to that email because I am not sure I want to open up that can of worms……

        And yes, like Ivy, I fear a post-GATTACA world also…..

        1. kareninca

          Wow, that must have been a shock.

          We did the DNA test on my dad (since Eastern European genealogy is a big pain if everyone has forgotten the languages), and three relatives of his did it separately. They showed up, per the DNA tests, to be related to one another in the ways that we have always thought they were. That is, his cousins show up as cousins; his somewhat more distant relative shows up as a probable second cousin. They didn’t post family trees so it’s not as if the company could have somehow guessed. Anyway they got the relationships right in our case (unless we are wrong and they are also wrong in the same way).

      2. lb

        Hope no parent, child or other blood relative does as much, because presumably that information is readily coupled with relational information from another source. This is similar to how we can stay off Facebook, but then a relative will post a picture of us anyway, feeding that beast.

        I used to like thinking about dystopian futures until the dystopian present spoiled all of that.

        1. Art Eclectic

          I used to like thinking about dystopian futures until the dystopian present spoiled all of that.

          Too long for a bumper sticker, maybe a t-shirt?

          The slate of popular movies about two years from now should be very interesting and will be a major tell in what direction the young are heading once they wrestle the country back from old capitalists and rentiers.

  23. Baby Gerald

    Here’s a response to the Vault 7 leaks on Engadget that makes me wonder from what organizations the author draws a paycheck:

    WikiLeaks CIA cache: Fool me once

    I almost hesitate to link to this because of the added click counts it will generate. Anyway, along with a crappy cartoon at the top of the article showing Assange as a peddler of propaganda, the first sentence sets the tone perfectly:

    ‘This week’s poorly conceived distraction from Trump and Putin sittin’ in a tree was brought to us by WikiLeaks, which dumped 8,761 documents of the CIA’s hacking arsenal online for all to see.’

    Wait what? Distraction from Trump and Putin? It’s like we’ve slipped through a wormhole into Bizarro World.

    To summarize, our intrepid reporter Violet Blue (a spook handle if ever there was one) tells us:

    ‘The files consist mostly of notes and documentation on the CIA’s hack attack tools — very specific tools used when the agency focuses on a very specific target… As in, probably not you.’

    Nothing to see here. To put her readers minds at ease, she goes on to state that security breaches and backdoor vulnerabilities have always been there and to keep yourself safe, all that you need to do is:

    ‘…update your system software when you’re supposed to, don’t get phished and try not to become a CIA target by, say, committing treason.’

    Simple solutions for simple people. She concludes by telling us that private companies have been collecting your data for years anyway, so why should we worry that the CIA is doing it too.

    In my not-so-humble opinion, it would seem some investigation into Engadget and their funding sources is in order.

    1. Lord Koos

      This seems to be the line of the week: They aren’t going to use these resources on someone like YOU, so why worry? The CIA is just doing their job.

      I’ve read essentially the same meme on three different sites now.

      1. anon

        There is a lot of really good “citizen journalism” being done on the Vault 7 story by people who live and work in the trenches of network security. Here’s a long megathread from /r/netsec, for one:

        For anyone with a technical background there’s no substitute for going up and browsing the archives themselves, although the caution at the head of the megathread should be given due consideration: reading any of that material may jeapardize any security clearance you may have or hope to get in future. Such can be one price of liberty for those best able to process these revelations.

        I won’t try to pretend to have any profound professional insights here. The pros posting on that subreddit are doing a better job on that than I could. One important point though: this stuff is not just for the experts, any reasonably intelligent person (with a little help from wikipedia) should be able to grok it well enough that it can inform their thinking and behavior in the days to come.

        1. Baby Gerald

          Thanks for this link. I have only a cursory understanding of the Wikileaks disclosures and no real expectation of ever needing a security clearance for future employment.

          This ‘don’t worry unless you’re a traitor’ meme being adopted by much of the so-called tech press is not convincing in the least, so knowing how I can be hacked and by whom is at least a starting point.

          And since AOL is now owned by Verizon, wouldn’t Engadget now technically be a Verizon subsidiary?

    2. Oregoncharles

      ” Violet Blue (a spook handle if ever there was one) ” I know this is a distraction, but I’m pretty sure Violet Blue was the screen name of a well-known porn performer. Maybe she went into “reporting” when she got tired of porn.

  24. justanotherprogressive

    I’m certainly not a financial wizard by any means, but when I first read about the SNAP IPO, the first thing that came to mind to me was: “What new kind of financial hell is this”? Was this an attempt to get around the bond regulations? Or have they devised a new way to “rent” stocks? I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to buy that crap, but obviously there were many many takers, and I still don’t know why. Is it because social media is a “thing” now, just as stocks were a “thing” back in the 90’s? I need a lot of help understanding this one!! I’m sure there are wiz’s here that can explain it to me…..

  25. Auntienene

    Men shouldn’t have to pay for prenatal care. I suppose these are the same idiots who think men should have a say in abortions.

    I know it will never happen, but I would love to see women go on childbearing strike for a year and watch what happens to the economy.

    1. Eclair

      Yeah, Auntie, it’s a lovely daydream for when my anger against these patriarchs-on-steroids bubbles up too strongly. Seems for some guys who now can’t have a system of slavery-based-on-skin-color (cause we had a civil war about that) now yearn for a system of slavery-based-on-gender. They can sell women, regulate their breeding and keep the most luscious to wear decorative clothing and ‘work’ in the House.

      1. River

        It’s stupid not to pay for pre-natal care. Unless women have been reproducing asexually.

        Men should have say in abortions half the kid is theirs after all. That being said, if women want to forego the right of making men pay for a kid that they didn’t want which infringes on men’s reproductive rights, then women can have the full biological rights on determining abortion.

        The comment on slavery is beyond asinine though. If you want to see the slave, see what happens in the family courts when a father has his assets stripped and is no longer allowed to see his kids. Above all the penalty of prison if he fails to deliver, not to mention social stigma “dead beat dad, etc.”. That’s the slave right there.

        1. Eclair

          Gosh, River (and, Phil M), I am sorry; you have obviously been screwed around by our court system.

          However, if you have trouble realizing that we live in a patriarchal system, think of the descriptions the English language has for 1) men who have many sexual encounters (implanting their seed, so to speak), and 2) women who have many sexual encounters (receiving said seed).

          Active men: stud, player, romeo

          Active women: slut, sk*nk, c*nt, whore.

          I think we would both agree that our current social/economic system needs some revision.

  26. Arizona Slim

    Thanks for posting the link to the Julie Rovner interview.

    In my wild and crazy youth, I was a college newspaper reporter. I met her at the paper, and let me tell you something: In a place full of self-serving careerist types, Julie was a genuinely nice person.

  27. fresno dan

    For one thing — he was brilliant. He was a scholar, learned in ancient texts, including those of Flavius Josephus and unquestionably of the Bible. He was an ordained minister and could easily hold his own with any theologian. His books on ancient history, such as Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, were annotated, read, reread, and worn, his very soul deeply ingrained into their threadbare pages. I still have some of these books. When I hold them, when I touch the pages, I can sense my father in some ways even more profoundly than in his music.
    Some things about Johnny Cash I did not know

    1. wilroncanada

      But he did have his problem, didn’t he June:

      ..because you’re mine
      I lock the wine.

  28. B1whois

    The pre #Resistance resistance, from Galius Publius, one year ago….

    Why do neo-liberal Democrats, like the Clinton campaign, not want you to have big ideas, like single-payer health care? Because having big ideas is resistance to the bipartisan consensus that runs the country, and they want to stave off that resistance.
    But that’s a negative goal, and there’s more. They not only have to stave off your resistance. They have to manage your acceptance of their managed decline in the nation’s wealth and good fortune.
    Again: The goal of the neo-liberal consensus is to manage the decline, and manage your acceptance of it.

    USA, Where #Resistance is newly defined as acceptance.
    Btw, I now live in Uruguay full time and I love it! No/lessened worries about Trump, CIA, NSA, etc, fukashima radiation, terrorist attack, refugee flows…the southern hemisphere has a lot to offer by not being the “in” place to be!

    1. Lord Koos

      I’m curious, do you speak Spanish? If not, do you find living in Uruguay to be fairly easy without that skill? We have considered Uruguay as a destination, but have heard that not many speak English there.

      1. B1whois

        Many people here speak English. It is taught in the public schools. There are many expats here as well. I would estimate about half the people speak English. However, to really indulge in the culture, a person needs to speak Spanish. I haven’t mastered it yet, but I keep working on it it!

  29. skk

    RE; Know yer onions aka

    Yeah I got caught out with that yesterday – The recipe for “Murgh Cholay” said “Fry thinly sliced onions till brown”. 5 minutes ? 10 minutes ?20 minutes later after high heat I speeded the process up by going to the max setting and stirring furiously at the same time, It got me there, only sort-of, after 30 minutes. Why the rush anyway ? Happy Hour beckoned.

    The text analytics faux pas was also amusing.

    I’d forgotten about that article. Exposes of fake science news are great. Reminds me of Zoe Harcombe’s essay on where the data point ” a deficit of 3500 calorie intake will equal 1 lb of weight loss” comes from.

  30. allan

    Trump to nominate Gottlieb to head FDA (Politico)

    From Reuters’ take on it:

    Gottlieb is well known on Capitol Hill, where he has testified multiple times on hot-button health issues, including complex drug pricing matters*, and is viewed favorably by drug companies and pharmaceutical investors. He sits on the boards of several small drug and biotech companies and is an adviser to GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK.L).

    “Thank God it’s Gottlieb,” Brian Skorney, an investment analyst at Robert W. Baird, wrote in a research note. “We view this as a favorable development for the sector.” …

    Gottlieb, 44, is a resident fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank and a partner at a large venture capital fund. He is a former FDA deputy commissioner who has advocated a loosening of requirements needed for approval of new medical products. …

    Another solid for the back row.

    *Euphemism of the day.

    1. marym

      “We have to get prices down,” he [Trump] says at the beginning of the meeting [02/21/17 with drug company execs] with cameras rolling. “We have no choice.”

      Then the doors were closed. When they opened again, Trump had not only abandoned his promise to use the government’s bargaining power to bring down drug prices, he was now totally against it!

      “I’ll oppose anything that makes it harder for smaller, younger companies to take the risk of bringing their product to a vibrantly competitive market,” he said, according to the pool reporter. “That includes price-fixing by the biggest dog in the market, Medicare, which is what’s happening.” (Yes, he accused an agency that has no power to negotiate prices of “price-fixing.”)


      At that meeting he also referred to drug prices in other countries as “global freeloading” and said he wants to “streamline the approval process.” The drug companies only asked for “tax reform” and left the meeting happy.

      So, deregulation and corporate tax breaks


      This week:

      On Wednesday [03/08/2017], U.S. Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) met privately for about an hour with Trump and his newly appointed HHS secretary, Tom Price, to discuss ways to combat high drug prices. They were joined by Dr. Redonda Miller, president of Johns Hopkins Hospital.

      The Congressmen pitched a House bill that would expand the federal government’s ability to negotiate drug prices, and they left feeling optimistic about what Trump will do.

      “He made it clear to us that he wanted to do something,”


      “Something.” Like appointing PhRMA’s guy to the FDA?

      1. polecat

        Demorats !!

        nothing like having your football … er … I mean PLACEBO, snatched away …. in a laudanum of lies …. self inflicted, or otherwise !

    2. Katniss Everdeen recommends never taking a drug until it’s been “on the market” for 7 years. I suspect that reco won’t change, unless it’s to lengthen the time “consumers” should steer clear.

      1. PhilM

        I actually like that advice as long as there are alternatives. Metformin remains the only drug shown to have solid patient-oriented benefit in DM II. But, like everything else, there are limits: if I’m dying, I’ll try it even before it’s “on the market.”

  31. RenoDino

    New Cold War

    Trump will not nuke Russia as discussed above, but he will nuke North Korea. It’s the perfect target and he will be hailed as a champion. It will have to be soon, before they have ballistic missiles capable of delivering warheads, probably within the next 18 months. In the end, this will be his only significant accomplishment over the next four years. By that I mean, the status quo will remain in place and that of course means the rich get whatever they want.

    1. Lord Koos

      If he nukes N Korea, that’ll be great, because we in the American west were needing some radioactive air to go along with our radioactive ocean.

    2. Gaianne

      ” but he will nuke North Korea”

      Maybe. But it is too late for that. North Korea already has nuclear weapons. They also have ballistic missiles that can deliver them. All US assets and allies in the western Pacific are vulnerable to reprisal.

      Here is the backstory: During the Korean War, the US firebombed completely all of North Korea’s cities and killed 20% of the population in the process. The North Koreans are “paranoid” for a reason. They know the US would happily do it again. They figure their only hope is to be able to impose a price: That is why they have pursued the development of nuclear weapons despite resistance from almost everybody.

      The difference now is that if the US tries again, it will pay a cost. Everybody on this side of the Pacific Ocean should be rethinking their thoughts.

  32. susan the other

    Lobelog. Malaysia’s Future Role in Saudi Arabia’s Military Alliance. Against terrorism, not necessarily Islamic terrorism – in fact blind to race and religion as descriptors. Naturally. This little article places Malaysia clearly in the middle of global intrigue. Authoritarian. Willing to crush dissent. Loves oligarchs. Doesn’t give a fig about its airline safety record. Thinks it can hide simply because it keeps such a low profile. Took almost a trillion $ from the Saudis just for friendship. Never accused of laundering money. Never seems to be asked to account for anything. Once and future friend of the British empire. Gets to park its airplanes, cutout airplanes (?) in the Israeli desert. Nothing to see here creepiness. So how does it happen that no one ever talks about Malaysia?

    1. Lord Koos

      I spent a little time in Malaysia in 2012 and liked it. The people were friendly and seem fairly happy, definitely more so than Amurica. Being in a country that no one pays a lot of attention to is kind of a nice for a change.

      1. wilroncanada

        susan and Lord Koos
        Malaysia, also with an administration accused of large-scale graft and money laundering, and, by the way with a promise of huge investment in the purchase of fracked Canadian gas in a deal with the government of BC, once the pipelines are completed getting that gas to tidewater on canada’s west coast.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Is that the pipeline the B.C. First Nations threatened to go to war over? (A pipeline is an ideal guerilla-warfare target. Did anyone else read “Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” Lawrence of Arabia’s detailed account of blowing up railroad lines in Arabia during WWI?)

          Canadian natives seem to be even more radical than US ones.

  33. Teleportnow

    I am a precinct captain in Macomb County. And my precinct, which voted twice for Obama, went for Trump. The focus group link you provided confirms everything I have discovered for myself about Trump voters in Macomb County. Although the focus group talked to “blue” collar type workers, many “white” collar workers I know, including nurses, engineers, and school teachers voted for Trump.

    A few things really hit home with this article. It’s true that Macomb County has a large population of new immigrants who dominate the schools and social services office. It is also true that Macomb County is suffering from integration pangs.

    What is interesting to me is the man who was injured and lost his job. Michigan has been under Republican control, entirely, every branch of government, for many years now. That man couldn’t get unemployment, because Michigan Republicans have destroyed our unemployment system. That man couldn’t get food assistance because Michigan Republicans have destroyed the social services system here.

    There is not a single Michigan government service or entity that functions properly in this state anymore under Republican control. Why the people who live here don’t make the connection, I’ll never know. It’s also disheartening to me to read that this focus group wants to “believe” in Trump. Well, I want to believe in Rainbow Unicorns that poop gold nuggets too, but the facts don’t support the likelihood of their existence. And the facts don’t support the likelihood of Trump changing the future of Macomb County in a positive direction either.

    1. Eclair

      Ahhh, you are a ‘precinct captain.’ I recently had a discussion about our state’s ‘precinct chair persons,’ with the woman who, a week later, was elected county Democratic chair person. When I asked exactly what was the function of a PCP, she rhapsodized about their going door-to-door, handing out brochures on who to vote for in the next election.

      I remarked that I had never, in our ten years living in our precinct, encountered our PCP. I asked if there existed a mechanism whereby concerns and suggestions of the voters were channeled through the PCP up to county and to state Democratic leaders. She admitted there was no such process.

      So, my take-away, was: Democratic Party leaders to voters: do what we tell you and shut up.

      Great winning strategy.

  34. JohnL

    ‘Reasons to vote for Democrats’ is an Amazon bestseller — and it’s full of blank pages

    “The No. 1 book on Amazon’s bestseller list is a little unusual.

    The cover of “Reasons to Vote for Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide” features a drawing of a donkey rendered in red, white and blue.

    But, of course, that’s not the unusual part.

    What’s unusual is that the political tome is full of blank pages. Lots of them. Lots and lots. The self-published book was written by Daily Wire managing editor Michael J. Knowles. “You can go cover to cover in 15-20 seconds,” he said on Fox & Friends earlier this week.

    He also said after observing the Dems for more than a decade, he thought it was best to leave the pages blank.

    The 266-page book is selling for $8.03 on Amazon. It was released Feb. 8.”

    1. craazyman

      Makes you wonder if people who should read it will. 266 pages is a lot.. I’m not sure the DNC wil plow through it even if the facts are laid bare for them.

    2. Vatch

      Supposedly there was a pamphlet published in Germany many decades ago with the title Instructions for Spectators at Chess Tournaments. The pamphlet’s pages were entirely blank, with one exception. On that page was the German for “Shut Up”. It’s possible that the pamphlet never existed, but I like the story.

  35. craazyman

    You wonder why a bird would run across water when they can just fly. I guess the Darwin Award isn’t only for humans.

    If birds had brains would they invent boats? Evidently not, since they can just run. Hahahahahah.

    Why didn’t the bird fly across the lake? Because he ran to the other side. Hahahahah

    What would the bird do if he came to a clifff? That’s a deep thought. Hahahaha. Look what happened to Roadrunner! Don’t presume.

    Maybe the bird is like the free market. You can use liquidyt howeever want, but it may not be the most efficient way to get things done. Whoa that’s not funny. Hahaha.

    If that bird was President Trump the liberull media would say “He’s rushin’!” And “Trump can’t swim”. That not ver fuunny eiither.

    The funniest was the first one. Usually the first one you think of is the best.. I remember readiing that the photographer William Eggleston eventually only took one picture of each idea he came across. He said he used to take a lot then he got all the pics done and got confused thinking about which one was best. I think he said usually the first one was. That’s what I found too, in my photo shoots. Usually the first one has the concept down and the others are just footnotes that don’t convey the idea nearly as well. Not that in my case the first one is very excellent, to be frank, but we’re talking relatively speaking.

    How many birds does it take to win a Darwin Award? There is no way to know since none have! Hahahah

  36. cripes

    “A Family Adventure in Medical Tourism”

    There was less information on the medical or dental services than offered on the pain inflicted on their child, gushing about how Thai women “whisked” her away for treatment and transport arrangements.

    Didn’t realize Seoul is cold in winter?

    What’s wrong with these people?

    Another reason, even as a native New Yorker, i can’t stand reading the Times anymore.

    1. Lord Koos

      Medical vacations — all those “snow birds” that drive down to the southwest every winter? I hear that a lot of them also make sure they get down to Mexico at least once to buy their years’ supply of cheap prescription meds as well as obtaining cheap medical and dental procedures.

    2. Lambert Strether

      I had four wisdom teeth pulled in Thailand, and that more than paid for the plane fare. Very competent, and above all no pain and amazingly very little stress. They seemed to be accustomed to patients whose entire bodies would go rigid in the chair because of their experience with the American dental system.

      When I went to get my teeth examined at the clinic in the States, the whole experience was so horrible I couldn’t relax at all, so they recommended general anesthesia. “Make sure to arrange for somebody to drive you home.” No thanks. No thanks to any of it.

      Of course, the key thing is due diligence. Amazingly, the “Family Adventure” in “Frugal Family” story gives no information beyond the fact that the writers got some recommendations from Facebook. I’d trade all the fluff about their cute baby for a little hard data.

  37. Altandmain

    The fight for workers at Harvard owned hotels for their rights continues.

    On March 11, 2013, the DoubleTree workers presented their unionization petition to their manager. They arrived in a group that included workers, union staff, Harvard students, and members of the City Council. Lemus describes it as a positive day, “but with lots of fear and nerves.” Her role was to present the petition. After she introduced herself and began to explain the petition, the manager turned on his heels, walked out of the room, and “left me talking to myself.” It was clear from the beginning that DoubleTree’s management was not interested in conversation.

    A month and a half after declaring their intent to form a union, and a few weeks after cleaning the rooms of the very W-50 attendees whom Sandberg urged to stand up for themselves at work, the DoubleTree workers filed charges of unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing Hilton of interfering in their unionization process. Instead of allowing for what unions call a fair process, Hilton wanted a ballot-box election. The problem with such elections is that they can be held on the premises, and the employer can keep out supportive workers on the day of the election. Without a fair-process agreement, the employer can also show workers anti-union propaganda and engage in threatening behavior like speaking to them individually about the harm that a union will do to their jobs.

    One month later, with the boycott ongoing, one of the union organizers heard that Sheryl Sandberg would be coming to give a speech at Harvard’s class day on May 28. Lemus headed up a petition effort to persuade Sheryl Sandberg to lead a Lean In circle with the DoubleTree workers, all women who hoped to better their working conditions with many of the benefits Sandberg had demanded for herself—maternity accommodations, wage increases, and so forth. The DoubleTree housekeepers made a lo-fi video in front of the hotel: “Sheryl!,” they say, “we are leaning in!” The Boston Globe covered their plea, as did the Crimson. The housekeepers figured that if Sandberg talked with Harvard administrators, they might listen to one of their most famous graduates. According to the union, Sandberg said she didn’t have time. Or, in Lemus’s blunter assessment: “Maybe she wasn’t going to have a moment for those of us who are just workers in the lower classes. She had more important things with people from upper classes.”

    This is the dirty secret of Clinton style corporate feminism. It only helps upper middle class and the top 1% women.

    The Marxists called it bourgeois feminism for a reason. Likewise there are reasons why Clinton did not carry over white women.

    1. youtoodee

      I agree with your broader points, and would argue that this is a reason that affirmative action has been so unpopular with large portions of the population — many beneficiaries of affirmative action have been the already wealthy.

      But am I the only person tired of the phrase “upper middle class”? I understand there is a need for terminology to differentiate the top 10%/technocratic class, but upper middle class seems to be a misleading term. By many measures, the upper middle class is well off and arguably “rich”.

  38. fosforos

    “Sandberg said she didn’t have time” Time ain’t something you can “have.” It’s something you have to make.

  39. mirjonray

    Why aren’t libertarians up in arms about the GOP bill that would allow employers the right to see workers’ genetic test results? Because they only get upset if the gubmint snoops around or tells them what to do. They don’t mind if anyone else (e.g. private companies, churches) does that.

    As an aside, wouldn’t close to 100% of the population become unemployable if employers could see our genetic test results? The only people who would be hired are the ones who had centenarian grandparents who only passed away when they unexpectedly keeled over while they were chopping wood or pulling weeds out of their gardens.

    1. Altandmain

      They aren’t so much libertarians as much as anti-government ideologues.

      “Free enterprise” always gets a “free pass” to do whatever they want.

    1. Annotherone

      Thanks for this – yes Mr O’Hehir is usually a good read. LOL-worthy : “….Or it might look like the period when James Wolcott went into his garage for a can of whup-ass, because the DudeBros won’t get off his lawn.”

    2. ChrisAtRU


      Much appreciated!

      This paragraph is my fave:

      “Without ever letting the Hacky Sack touch the ground, the DudeBro army traveled back in time in their Tardis and terrified the Democratic Party into neutering itself ideologically, spending years running as the Slightly Less Mean Republicans and losing more than 1,000 state legislative seats during the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency. Perhaps their unsettling appearance in the past, wearing T-shirts for Radiohead albums that didn’t yet exist, caused Obama to demoralize the progressive base by staffing up his Cabinet with financial industry insiders and conducting drone assassinations in numerous foreign countries with which the United States was not at war.”

      Hahahaha! Yessss …

  40. Anonymous2

    Unsuprising the UK is attempting divide and rule. Clumsy, though, to let it become public knowledge. However, unless they can drive a wedge between France and Germany (unlikely unless MLP wins) they must expect to find life difficult.

  41. Oregoncharles

    “Google’s Algorithm Is Lying to You About Onions and Blaming Me for It Gizmodo”

    The update (they changed their answer) means that Google monitors articles that mention it. In this case, it enabled them to catch a mistake.

    It also means that someone at Google monitors NC, which complains about Google frequently.

      1. Oregoncharles

        They appear to have corrected their reply in response to the author’s prior article. I thought it was a strong case that they’re monitoring their critics. I suppose it might have been chance, that an executive happened to see the correction.

  42. Oregoncharles

    ” Getting waivers, like an extension of the negotiating time, requires unanimity, so whipping up a few supporters amounts to ankle-biting. This is really short-sighted, in that all it does is poison the negotiating climate and give the Europeans justification not just for sticking to their clearly announced red lines, but playing vindictive. ”

    There is, however, another angle: as much reported here, the EU itself is far from stable. It has systematically trashed Europe’s economy, there are multiple elections threatening it, and the moves toward “EU 2.0” have infuriated the eastern members. Ironically, the one closest to its own exit is Poland, the main source of EU immigrants to Britain. An East-West split is just as likely as a North-South split.

    IOW, ankle biting may be a volatility bet. I may be giving May’s government far too much credit, but it’s a consideration. The weaker the EU is internally, the more it needs a friendly exit agreement. For political reasons, it can’t afford any more damage to the members’ economies. “Less” damage isn’t none, and is likely to be focused on the weakest members.

    1. Anonymous2

      Of course if Poland left the UK would quite possibly vote to rejoin. We have of course gone down the rabbit-hole or through the looking glass depending on your choice.

      The main EU exporters to the UK are Germany and the Netherlands IIRC. There would obviously be some knock-on effects on others but I am not sure they will be that great. I recently saw an estimate that Brexit would cost Spain €1 or 2 bn. p. a. Worst case estimates for the UK are over €200 bn. p.a. So even allowing for difference in size the adverse effects on the UK could be 200 times larger than for Spain. The interesting question to my mind is what the US will do. The Brexiteers are pinning their hopes on Trump riding to their rescue. Is that likely?

      France, whose ports, together with Rotherham, are the main gateways for UK trade, would also be affected but I think they would probably be happy to see some temporary disruption to Cross -Channel trade in the expectation it will encourage people to move their business the French side of the water. That is their way of thinking, in my experience.

    1. Foppe

      (Judging by the picture, my guess is that this formula works irrespective of skin-color, too. Amazing.)

      1. Marina Bart

        Capital knows no skin color.

        I love how “working for mother’s company, while extracting rent from a property mother gave you” is being positioned as “hard-working self-reliance” that “anyone can do.”

        Um, no.

        Also, she self-financed an MBA? That seems dumb. Shouldn’t the article have pointed out that if you want an MBA and you’re broke, the wise choice is to work for a multinational that will pay for it? Or is that no longer a thing?

        Left Twitter is having a lot of fun with this article.

        1. Foppe

          Yes, I got a feeling that the BI journalist wrote this story for the same reason. But who knows, these days.

          As for MBAs — not a clue, don’t keep up with the news on that front.

    2. jrs

      “Horton and her boyfriend tied the knot soon after the move. Horton’s mother gave the couple a condo that she had purchased at an auction for $13,000 as a wedding gift. ”

      okay … moving back with parents ok, not all parents would of course take one back (and their legal responsibilities end at the age of majority), but for some it is an option. But then it started getting entirely ridiculous. Have your parents buy you and your husband a condo … (guess that husband also sure lucked out marrying into money as it were)

  43. Alex Morfesis

    Elmer season for Amy’s cousin chuck…now that his supporters precator “preet” brouhaha is not there to be his enforcer…maybe he can find a real job outside of being a politician…he would have continued his ny state rep shenanigans had liz holtzman not run for senate…

    Figured she would have and should have been the first female president but she got “&$#k”-blocked (this is a family newsite) by the wilting flower javits, allowing al d’amato to help sell copies of the nypost with his effervescent brilliance…

  44. ewmayer

    U.S. program for Afghan translators in jeopardy as visa supply runs low Reuters. EM: “I rate the direness of this similarly to ‘supplies of bombs and Hellfire missiles running dangerously low!’: Moi: Not quite, since the US has never made understanding the cultures we attempt to subjugate a priority. But to EM’s point, we probably aren’t using translators for native-friendly purposes.

    That was precisely my point – from the article:

    [Dem Senator Jeanne ]Shaheen and Republican Senator John McCain led a failed effort last year to pass legislation extending to 4,000 more people an existing special immigrant visa program for Afghans who assisted U.S. forces, often risking their lives.

  45. Matt

    “House GOP would let employers demand workers’ genetic test results Business Insider (Chuck L). Why aren’t all those freedom-loving libertarians all over this?”

    Let me be the first freedom loving libertarian to denounce this. This is terrible. What is even worse is that none of my main libertarian news sources are covering this either. Another reason why I value Naked Capitalism so much. Keep up the great work Naked Capitalism.

  46. dcrane

    The Business Insider article on Daylight Savings isn’t worth that much. They focus almost entirely on the potential (and, they say illusory) energy savings question. But there are other important issues they just ignored that make the problem a lot more complicated, such as increasing light in the morning for children going to school. And criticizing the increased gasoline use in the evening ignores the gain people experience in having after-work daylight to put to use.

  47. none

    Can someone explain what the “resistance” movement is? I thought it was remaining minions of H. Clinton (like the Drakh in Babylon 5) co-opting the language of actual underground military organizations like the ones in WW2. So my first (sarcastic) question would have been “how many guns does it have and who does it want to use them on?” Does it also include the progressive as opposed to neoliberal left?

    1. Art Eclectic

      Depends on who you ask. The trick will indeed be keeping the Establishment from co-opting the movement with the ruthless efficiency that the Tea Party movement was co-opted my mainstream conservatives and woven into their narrative until basically toothless and meaningless.

      For those of us not looking for establishment gains, The Resistance is a conscious effort to push back against the rising nationalism, racism, religious persecution, and rejection of science that Trump has brought to the surface. The Resistance is about defining that this WILL not be who we are.

      1. Marina Bart

        You’re not going to get any of those things by allying with #TheResistance. Its point and purpose is to keep the left from joining with the working class along economic lines. By focusing on nationalism, religion, race, etc., you continue to alienate those you need in any coalition to obtain what you care about, and you distract and drain resources from economic policy demands.

        The opposite of nationalism right now is globalism — meaning global control by corporations and capital. Is that really the system you want to defend?

        Did racism get better under Obama? How about science? Is the Democrats’ “acceptance” of science worth fighting for when they won’t govern based on its wisdom?

        Democrats kill people. That’s indisputable at this point. Democrats particularly love killing people of color, although they also enjoy killing white people, especially when they are Americans. (What does “white” mean now, anyway? Are the Greeks dying in droves because the Goldman Sachs/EU alliance white? How about the Russians the Democrats seek to annihilate?)

        Republicans also like to kill people. I’m not defending the Republicans. But if you don’t like Republicans, skip #TheResistance and focus on purging out every Democratic party official. And whatever you do, talk about universal benefits and not Putin.

        1. Matt

          Preach!! Trump is the most progressive republican elected since I have existed (1985).
          Pro social security, pro paid maturity leave, pro Medicare, pro international competition amongst pharmaceutical drugs, anti TPP, vaccine skeptic, anti interventionist/resigne change foreign policy, protectionist trade policies and more.
          All of you people trying to be the “RESISTANCE” to the trump administration are really just acting as puppets for the sell out democrats like Maxine waters, Nancy pelosi, and former president Obama.
          He has only been in office for 50 days, and job creation has exceeded expections by about 50%. Wages have increased by almost 3%. More people are employed than ever before in the US. The TPP has been destroyed. Let the guy do his thing. Please stop the hating. He loves America and wants American CITIZENS to be more prosperous.

          If he does serve a full term or two, why do I feel like I won’t be surprised if the stats show that president Donald trump saved social security, saved Medicaid, saved Medicare, increased pay for women and minorities, restored the infrastructure, decreased spending by the federal government and lowered the national debt.

          I don’t care if he is a republican by title. He is not a republican. He is a progressive economic nationalist. Which is probably one of the best options we have had as a president in a long time.

          1. Lambert Strether

            > I don’t care if he is a republican by title. He is not a republican. He is a progressive economic nationalist.

            The outcome of the current ObamaCare/Medicaid fight will do a good deal to prove or disprove this proposition. (“Progressive” is one of those mushy terms that can mean something or anything. Whatever the meaning, I doubt an oligarch can be one.)

      2. Lambert Strether

        The limits of #TheResistance can be defined quite precisely: All #SaveTheACA, no #MedicareForAll.

        At least, that’s why I see both in the papers and on Twitter.

    2. Marina Bart

      You understand #TheResistance just fine.

      Whatever Neera Tanden is for, I’m against it.

  48. freedeomny

    Don’t let establishment opportunists ruin the resistance movement
    Thomas Frank

    OMG – was just thinking about this today. Don’t have time to read the article-will do tomorrow. But did some probing the past few days on the Woman’s March organization…re follow the money.

    NC readers – are they being funded by Soros? And is the Clinton camp trying to coopt the movement?

    Sorry if this was already discussed and I missed it :)

    1. Marina Bart

      I think focusing on Soros and his money trail is unuseful. Setting that aside, it’s still easy to see how the corporate Democrats are trying to to set up an ineffective “movement” to drive the young, angry and desperate back to their toxic embrace.

      It’s not just the Clintons. Obama has revived OFA to block leftward progress, as well.

    1. marym

      Thanks for the link.

      “It is critical to recognize that there is a different set of policy issues in the Deep South that are not in play in the coastal areas or the West,” said Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, a likely 2018 gubernatorial candidate, pointing to organized labor’s historic economic centrality in parts of the Midwest, and its relative absence in the South, as an example.

      “My hope is that Our Revolution — or anyone else — will understand that purity to a progressive ideal does not [necessarily] mean purity in service of the community,” she added.

      So it’s the “Sanders wing” who are the coastal elites, and they just don’t understand the southern way of life (“right to work”). The Democratic establishment certainly does have its priorities.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > organized labor’s historic economic centrality in parts of the Midwest, and its relative absence in the South

        Not an expert in this at all, but I’d bet this is revisionism of a high order. The question to ask Abrams would be what he’s doing to strengthen unions in Georgia…

  49. Alex Morfesis

    Netherlands declares war on Turkey ?
    Not to stretch this…but…the dutch authorities blocked a Turkish government minister, Ms. Fatma Kaya, from entering HER OWN consulate in Rotterdam…blocked her from entering a turkish consulate building…she drove from turkey…was forced to go to germany…is this really happening ??

    Story is in the beebz…not a fixxx network/skynews/murdoch-co production

  50. drexciya

    Well of course you didn’t get the whole story. What happened?
    – Erdogan wants to promote the referendum, to become legal dictator, under the people of Turkish decent in Europe. Note that they are his fifth column (their loyalty is with Turkey, not with the country where they live).
    – This is NOT allowed by Turkish law, but Erdogan doesn’t care about any laws, as he’s still keeping loads of people incarcerated after his purges
    – Instead of playing nice and negotiate with the Dutch authorities, if and how and when he could send some delegates, Erdogan started to throw accusations around, comparing The Netherlands with nazis (always a winning argument, showing you are a retard).
    – When the Dutch prime-minister blocked his delegates from coming, they sent someone anyway, who had armed guards as company. That was the minister who was “picked” up by special police and escorted back to Germany.
    – At the same time Erdogans people where inciting people in Rotterdam, which led to the police and the riot police having to act.
    – And, of course, they’re playing the victim card now.

    This has all been deliberatedly staged by Erdogan, to get sympathy for his referendum. He knows “his” people are just sheep who will follow him blindly. It was a win-win anyway, he might have underestimated the election campaign in The Netherlands. Rutte would have been painted as a loser, if he would’ve given in, especially given the nazi insults.

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