Links 3/1/17

First-ever cases of obesity in Arctic peoples as noodles replace traditional diet Siberian Times

There’s a giant crack in an Antarctic ice shelf. Should we be worried?

Just HOW EARLY is spring arriving in your neighborhood? Find out . . . USGS (MR). Vox explainer.

More Record Heat Invading the U.S. as Cleanup From Rare February Tornadoes Begins Weather Underground

The Capitalocene LRB

‘Shell knew’: oil giant’s 1991 film warned of climate change danger Guardian

Viral cat videos and the true carbon cost of spiralling data use Izabella Kaminska, FT

Update: 11-hour AWS failure hits websites and apps ComputerWorld

Amazon Web Services outage reveals critical lack of redundancy across the internet GeekWire

Uber CEO argues with driver over falling fares in video The Hill (TZ). Looks like Trav’s PR teflon is starting to flake.

Uber says thousands of London drivers threatened by English language test Reuters

Tesla employee’s lawsuit levels sexism accusations USA Today (MR).

Target’s CEO says a ‘seismic shift’ in retail is forcing the company to spend billions of dollars Business Insider (DL). The photo of the Sears at bottom is appalling. Third World stuff, without the charming exoticism.

SUBWAY Denies Report That About 50% Of Its Chicken Is Not Really Chicken Forbes

COLUMN-Euro banks and the de-globalization of capital flows: James Saft Reuters

Jean-Claude Juncker faces dissent over EU survival blueprint Telegraph

MEPs revoke Marine Le Pen’s immunity over violent Isis images Guardian

Italy grants partial clemency to former CIA officer BBC


2nd child policy won’t cure China’s demographic woes Macrobusiness

Signs of drug resistance found in new bird flu strain after H7N9 kills 94 in China this year South China Morning Post (J-LS).

Which Asian Country Will Replace China as the ‘World’s Factory’? The Diplomat

A Billion Identities at Risk as India Goes Cashless Bloomberg

GDP data: The plot thickens Business Standard (J-LS).

Our Famously Free Press

Mainstream Media’s ‘Victimhood’ Robert Parry, Consortium News

Health Care

States Be Warned: High-Risk Pools Offer Little Help At A High Cost Health Affairs

How Rudeness Between Health-Care Workers Can Cost Lives WSJ

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Shotgun Pointed at Black Children Trivialized as ‘Confederate Flag Incident’ FAIR (CR).

Barack and Michelle Obama Sign Book Deals Hollywood Reporter. Ka-ching. Michelle is a co-author, so at least we won’t have to cope with a third Obama autobiography.

Collapse of the American party system Le Monde Diplomatique

The Socialist Takeover of the Democratic Party Is Proceeding Nicely New York Magazine. “The DNC race was a testament to the Democratic left’s vitality, not its impudence [sic]…. This isn’t to say that leftists should stop worrying and learn to love Andrew Cuomo. But they should appreciate the fact that he’s learned to fear them.” It’s not enough simply to drag a few liberals (temporarily) left. A few of ’em need to be forced out of politics entirely, pour encourager les autres. Booker, a consummate opportunist and con artist who can’t pass a mirror without checking his head to see if it’s still sufficiently buffed, would still do. So would Cuomo.

Cory Booker Joins Bernie Sanders In Backing Drug Re-Importation Bill HuffPo. Doesn’t matter. What has Booker done for us lately?

Trump Transition

Annotated transcript: President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress Los Angeles Times

Trump’s Address To Joint Session Of Congress, Annotated NPR

Trump’s first speech to Congress — annotated FT. Annotation is a now a thing!

Trump, in Optimistic Address, Asks Congress to End ‘Trivial Fights’ NYT. Note the headline. Does anybody else think that the Trump coverage has moderated since The Blob got its way on war with Russia and had Flynn defenestrated?

Trump softens immigration stance, takes measured tone in speech Reuters

Trump highlights victims of crimes by immigrants, new office in joint address CNN. Very bad idea.

‘We will never forget him’: Trump addresses widow of slain SEAL as doubts linger over mission Yahoo News. Standing O.

Bernie Sanders rails against Trump after speech Boston Globe. “Rails,” as opposed to expressing fully justified outrage at the yadda yadda yadda. Post-Flynn defenestration normalization continues apace.

Meet Donald Trump’s Propagandist Der Spiegel (Re Silc).

FCC chairman says net neutrality was a mistake The Verge (CL).

NSA risks talent exodus amid morale slump, Trump fears Reuters. Somebody call the whaaaambulance!

Dimon Says U.S. Future ‘Very Bright’ If Trump Can Enact Reforms Bloomberg. So this is the thanks Obama gets for standing between Dimon and “the pitchforks”?

“A refusal by subjects to obey”: Gene Sharp’s Theory of Nonviolence JSTOR (MT).

March 8: A Women’s Strike for the 99 Percent Moyers and Company. Sharp’s #57: Lysistratic Non-Action.

‘Listen to Evidence’: March for Science Plans Washington Rally on Earth Day NYT

Is Pa. pipeline fight on Amish farm the next Standing Rock? ‘We’re prepared to be here for months’ Penn Live. Pennsylvania was one of the first sites for anti-fracking activism.

Class Warfare

Solidarity ends 10-month Honeywell lockout Workers World (TG).

Future life expectancy in 35 industrialised countries: projections with a Bayesian model ensemble Lancet. Making any fall in life expectancy in the United States quite…. exceptional.

When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes The Atlantic. If you’ve got time to do the research and the confidence to take on an expert (10% on up), you can say “No” to your doctor. Otherwise, not so easy.

Anniversary of a Philly legend: The guy who found $1 million on the street Billy Penn

Ghost ships: why are World War II naval wrecks vanishing in Indonesia? The Conversation

5 new brain disorders that were born out of the digital age The Week (Re Silc). Really?

Antidote du jour (TH):

TH: “I just love a good tasty flower!”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. timotheus

    Cory Booker got badly singed over his pro-Pharma vote on Sanders’ previous bill, so the fact that he feels chastened enough to scurry over to Bernie’s camp on this is significant. No need to believe in Pauline redemption to find this satisfying.

    1. Brian

      Would it be rude to suggest that Booker is only supporting Sanders importation bil because he knows a benefit like this to American citizens will never happen?

      1. LarryB

        Yes, even if the bill passes, the pharmaceutical companies will just start rationing what they sell to Canada.

        1. Laughingsong

          “Cory Booker joined Bernie Sanders in backing a bill to allow American consumers to reimport cheaper drugs from Canada.”

          As soon as I read this, my mind started playing the scene from “O Brother Where Art Thou?” When the Soggy Bottom Boys are on stage wowing the crowd, and candidate Pappy O’Daniel shouts “Opportunity knocks!” and gets on stage to cover himself in a bit of that glory (@ 4:05 if you don’t like the tune although I love it!)

      2. Laughingsong

        “Cory Booker joined Bernie Sanders in backing a bill to allow American consumers to reimport cheaper drugs from Canada.”

        As soon as I read this, my mind started playing the scene from “O Brother Where Art Thou?” When the Soggy Bottom Boys are on stage wowing the crowd, and candidate Pappy O’Daniel shouts “Opportunity knocks!” and gets on stage to cover himself in a bit of that glory (@ 4:05 if you don’t like the tune although I love it!)

    2. Pat

      I wonder if this means that Schumer will have to go back to voting no on it. I mean he has almost six years before he is up for reelection and supposedly isn’t running for President, as the leader he may have to take the hit for making sure a popular, reasonable law that ends or reduces the grift provided by overcharging consumers for Prescriptions doesn’t pass as those corporate donors want.

      1. Propertius

        One of the advantages of being in the (permanent?) minority is that you can take “principled positions” without worrying that they’ll have any actual effect on your donors.

  2. fresno dan

    The nature of parties changed, and the party label became a prize to be gained at the end of a campaign, not an apparatus to create campaigns. Worse, the skills needed to win a primary were unrelated to the skills needed to govern. Candidates with indifferent experience, but with ready access to cash, were favoured; and those who are telegenic, with marketing savvy and independent resources, do best in primaries. Political experience might be helpful, but not necessary. In the United States, where politicians are mistrusted and ‘outsiders’ are preferred, political experience can be a disadvantage.
    I wonder if the author doesn’t see it, or is afraid to say it: Obama and Trump are far more similar than Trump and Hillary, so comparing and contrasting Obama and Trump would have been far more insightful IMHO. (e.g., Lack of experience, telegenic, vague, broad, unlikely to be instituted promises)
    Would we be better off without parties – would people really think about how health care should be paid for and would more diverse set of possibilities be offered by individual candidates, instead of a red way to enrich insurance companies instead of a blue way? I don’t know…

    And I have to say, at least Trump didn’t sound like a used car salesman. And though he did say “billions and billions” he did not say “big league” – so I will give him that.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Obama and Trump will be even more similar (financially) after O’s lucrative book deal:

      Earlier reports had the bidding above $60 million. The record for a presidential memoir is the $15 million that Bill Clinton got after leaving office in 2000.

      Per the publisher’s announcement, the Obamas also plan on donating a “significant portion” of the book deal to charity, including the newly established Obama Foundation.

      Forgive my cynicism, but both Obamas are Ivy League lawyers capable of parsing “significant” any way you want. Plus they didn’t say it; the publisher did: deniability. And the publisher wasn’t being deposed. Okay, I’ll stop now.

      So this is what it’s down to: do a spell in public office, join Trump as a one-percenter using the Clintons’ proven “up by your bootstraps” method. Plus get your own bodyguards, pension and free health care for life. Life is good!

      Somebody told me when I came to DC
      Son, you finally got it made
      Ol’ Bill made it here, and we’re all sure that you will
      But I don’t think Bill done it this way
      Naw, I don’t think Bill done it this way

      — Waylon Jennings, “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way”

      1. fresno dan

        Jim Haygood
        March 1, 2017 at 7:40 am

        ” Plus get your own bodyguards, pension and free health care for life. ”
        Is it Obamacare?

        1. Quentin

          They especially deserve the health care since Mr. Obama did such a resplendent job of providing health care to the underlings. My take is, may Penguin go bankrupt on the deal.

          1. Pat

            Only if it is the limited network balanced billing high deductible hell that is ACA.

            Yeah I want friggin’ Barack Obama having to spend his millions paying full freight top rates out of his own pocket for every health problem he has, similar to the “free market” distopia he provided for the underlings who did not qualify for the Medicaid expansion.

          2. Pat

            I should have noted I knew this was snark, but I am utterly passionate about the hell Obama deserves for many of his self-serving lapses of representing the common good, most particularly health care. And that even considers that the growing groundswell for single payer is probably a half decade earlier than I expected, although that should be attributed to the unrestrained rampant greed of insurance companies, pharmaceutical executives and private medical in general.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Plus a Hollywood blockbuster about his life till about now.

          That will probably win every Oscar category.

          1. Propertius

            Only one? There’s already been a saccharine account of the Obamas’ “first date”. I’m sure we’ll be treated to multiple cloying, nauseous films, miniseries (on cable, Netflix, and Amazon video – assuming AWS stays up), graphic novels, etc. recounting nearly every day of their “historic” lives.

            I can hardly wait.


            1. mildred montana

              I know only one person who eagerly awaits the publication of Michelle’s book: Melania Trump. Then she will be able to plagiarize one of her own.

            2. bronco

              You have to be kind of an Ahole to think anyone wants to read your autobiography in the first place.

      2. hemeantwell

        For those toads, giving money to charity now, or even talking about it, is simply an investment in future profit opportunities. I’m sure there’s an algorithm to determine donation cost effectiveness.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          It has been said, can’t remember where I heard it, that obama will be the first billionaire ex-president.

          The clintons amassed, what, $240 million since 2000–took them 16 years. $60 million in one fell swoop for obama suggests he’ll break that record without breakin’ a sweat.

          1. Pat

            Probably. Especially considering the regard much of this country has for the Obamas. I may not understand it, but that alone gives them a huge boost. Add in the Trump hatred which has boosted early nostalgia for them and it all adds up to a bonanza.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Bill left with “high approval,” but he didn’t move to Harlem to be trendy. It’s what his outfit could afford until after the Kerry loss when Carville was sharing info with his wife, Matalin, of the Shrub campaign and a path for Hillary opened up.

              The Clintons were investments. I could see a few people trying to get in on the ground floor of Michelle.

              1. Pat

                There were many reasons he moved there. He actually could have had cheaper office space which was easier and cheaper for the Secret Service to secure and with a closer commute if he had chosen to have his offices outside of the city. It wasn’t just money, office space in Harlem promoted urban redevelopment and spoke to the neoliberal Dems in NYC while Hillary ran for the Senate. You have to remember that at the start her biggest competition was a relatively popular if disgusting Republican NYC mayor named Giuliani.

              2. Pat

                My apologies. My bad. Yes he did move there after trying to rent high cost by even Manhattan standards office space off midtown Central Park after we had Senator Clinton.

                I do know that there was lots of talk about wanting to put the office in areas of development during the primary, which is what I remembered. But just forgot how the reality went down. My bad, it was far more crass. And you had it right. (As in there was an uproar when the government cost would have been more than all the other Presidents office expenses combined…)

                1. barefoot charley

                  To be fair in grading the First Billionaire Ex-President contest, the Clintons also amassed more than $2 billion in assets/donations/bezzle to their family foundation–a construction of private privilege so transparent that the IRS actually taxes it, a bit, because family foundations are designed to continue to serve family as well as ‘disinterested’ interests (like the Rockefeller foundations do, which must have ‘outside’ directors and aren’t taxed). So Clinton Foundation assets should be fairly discounted but included in the race to the top of the politico-kleptocrat dungheap. And this makes the contest a horse race, just like politics!

          2. Pavel

            Here’s a wild and crazy idea:

            Pass a law (or constitutional amendment if need be) to the following effect:

            Any man or woman who chooses to run for president shall forswear any income apart from the presidential pension after leaving office.

            (Obviously lawyers or finance experts can tweak the wording :)

            I’m sure there are plenty of people who would be happy to live on “only” the pension and other benefits an ex-president receives.

            And let’s do away with the presidential library boondoggles, which are part vanity, part grift, and part corporate tax donation scam I suspect. Rather like the Olympics… have one national library and each president henceforth can have a section. Given Trump’s alleged reading habits, his section can be a small corner in the basement.

            1. Pat

              But…but…but the Clintons left office BROKE!!!! (as per Hillary) That would just be unfair to ask of people before they know what might happen in their lives, like being investigated because of the continual need to tell investigators “NO”.

              1. Pavel

                Ha ha Pat, yes they left the WH broke… those sure were some expensive BJs from Monica, weren’t they? Or was it the payout to Paula Whatshername (hard to keep track of Bill’s sexual harassment lawsuit victims). He didn’t do ANYTHING wrong but they paid her $750K anyway.

                They still had his presidential pension… might do politicians good to have to suffer and manage on his meagre pension payments:

                At the same time, Clinton and his office by Election Day 2016 will have received more than $16 million through the Former Presidents Act, according to a POLITICO analysis of budget documents.

                The cash – which has gone towards Bill Clinton’s pension, travel, office and even the salaries and benefits of staff at his family’s foundation – is more than that collected by any other ex-president during that time, POLITICO found.

                Since former George W. Bush left office in 2009, though, he has outpaced Clinton in the value of total benefits received through the program – $9.2 million versus $8.3 million – according to POLITICO’s analysis. But Clinton still receives more than other presidents for his personal pension under the act. That includes $218,000 this year, and $221,000 next year, according to an appropriations request submitted to Congress earlier this year.

                Officials with the Clinton Foundation this year brushed aside questions about the taxpayer-funded benefits and Clinton’s use of them to supplement staff salaries at the foundation. “His office is allocated $96,000 per year for personnel salaries. GSA does not dictate the number of staff for whom the allocation is used,” the officials said in a statement.

                [My emphasis]

                POLITICO: House panel votes to cut ex-presidents’ pensions

          3. none

            Obama will be the first billionaire ex-president.

            Nah, that will be Trump, maybe as soon as a few weeks from now ;-).

      3. Ivy

        What will be the book buyer profile? What do the O’s really have to say that has not been covered ad nauseum in a fawning press? How soon will the remaindered book bins be overflowing? To this citizen, the main news is that Penguin is gullible.

        1. RUKidding

          Sadly, I have friends who’ll rush to pay top dollar for this swill. I think Penguin’ll do very well on this deal, fwiw.

          As stated by someone above, not only do the Obama’s have a huge host of sycophantic fans, but with Trump now in the White House, this contingency of citizens is even more keen and eager to “invest” in Obama nostalgia. Some of my friends are eagerly snapping up more ephemeral publications fawning over the Obamas by the likes of Time and People.

          They remind me exactly of my mother (may she RIP), who had numerous photos and publications about Reagan all over her house.

          My prediction: Obama will be a cash cow for the likes of Penguin and others for decades to come.

          1. Pat

            I fully expect at least one woman of my acquaintance who lives on a very tight budget to buy the book and stand in line to get it signed. She loves them. At least the next two people with tight budgets I know won’t do that, but a whole bunch of the students I deal with will purchase it.

            They may not make money, but I doubt they will lose money. And that alone is really really sad to me.

          2. sleepy

            Did the Obamas just set the floor or the ceiling for these kinds of deals? i would wager the latter. I imagine Hillary’s fuming: “shoulda been my deal.”

            Maybe Chelsea could write a book–“My Life, a Lesson in Courage”.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          A delayed emolument is still an emolument.

          “We must re-do the 2008 election again.”

      4. Dead Dog

        Yeah, significant portion. As if…

        I wonder if the book will tell all about Mike.

        I can’t believe that everyone knew and looked the other way.

    2. Knot Galt

      Car salesman vs. High Rise developers. Essentially the same only one requires a much more bigly sell. The Address last night bears this out. The vision was grand enough and platitudes rich enough that it was like watching Donald pitch one of his towers to an unsuspecting newbie.

      That’s the deal he has offered. But with a car you will mostly know if you have a lemon soon after you drive it off the lot. With a commercial tower it will take longer; like about 4 years. Will we get Trump Tower or will we get Millennium Tower ala SF?

  3. fresno dan

    SUBWAY Denies Report That About 50% Of Its Chicken Is Not Really Chicken Forbes

    If its not chicken…is it soy :) ……OR SOYLENT GREEN!!!??! :-O

    1. ambrit

      Not to worry fresno dan; all we have to do is make room, make room!
      I’m pondering if the “chicken” used by Subway might not be pieces and parts of “Baby Huey,” the giant “cultured” chicken meat blob being grown somewhere off in the Industrial Zone.

      1. Jim Haygood

        THE THING IN VAT 4… The sight that met my eyes was one of the most horrible I have ever looked upon. Something had evidently gone wrong with the culture medium, and instead of individual synthetic men being formed, there was a single huge mass of animal tissue emerging from the vat and rolling out over the floor.

        Human parts and organs grew out of it, a leg here, a hand there, a head somewhere else: and the heads were mouthing and screaming. It could go on growing until it engulfed the building, the city… and perhaps all of Barsoom …. unless it were destroyed. And I knew of no way to destroy it.

        — Edgar Rice Burroughs, Synthetic Men of Mars

          1. allan

            Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey [Food Safety News]

            More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what the bees produce, according to testing done exclusively for Food Safety News.

            The results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled “honey.”

            The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world’s food safety agencies.

            The food safety divisions of the World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others also have ruled that without pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources. …

            If you put fake honey dressing on your fake chicken tenders,
            will the he universe be in balance again?

            1. fresno dan

              March 1, 2017 at 9:06 am

              If you* are what you eat….

              * not “you” allan, but “you” in a generic sense.
              Now, I have to go read my fake news….

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Eating real noodles is really changing Arctic dwellers.

                Fake is not good.

                Real is not always good either.

            2. Lord Koos

              Taking the pollen out of honey removes the most beneficial part of it, from a health standpoint.

              Fake olive oil is another huge scam. Most of the extra virgin olive oils which on supermarket shelves, are not virgin oils, and many are not 100% olive oil. Fraud is rampant in the olive oil industry… be wary of products claiming to be “Italian” olive oil.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Any help on finding real virgin olive oil or honey, other than knowing the beekeeper or olive grower?


                1. Carl

                  Use local honey only. Olive oils from Texas or California are generally recognized not to be fake.

                2. Lord Koos

                  The extra virgin olive oil from Costco is good stuff. If you have a discount grocery in your area such as Big Lots or Grocery Outlet, sometimes they have killer deals on organic oil. We just bought a gallon of organic EVOO from our local Grocery Outlet for $29, which is a super bargain. The oil is sourced from Greece. Also try looking for domestic oils from California.

                  We buy our honey from a guy at our farmer’s market, it’s fantastic, but not cheap.

                  1. Carl

                    I would have grave concerns about buying cheap olive oil from Big Lots and the like. That’s probably where most of the fakes are.

              2. timotheus

                Yes, this has been amply documented. There was a bill in Congress a while back to regulate olive oil labeling, and the (since defenestrated) Staten Island congressman Michael Grimm [sic] led the charge to kill it. Therein lies a tale, no doubt! But a consumer magazine (I forget which) did an analysis of a slew of samples and listed several that measured up as real, including Pompeian, one of the Trader Joe’s brands, and several others that I never see in stores. I never buy the cheap brands from Turkey or Italy on the assumption that they are adulterated.

            3. Anne

              The first time I tasted honey from my husband’s first “crop” from his beehives some 30 years ago, it was a revelation. I never bought honey from the store again. We’ve given countless jars of it away, and those who have never tasted unfiltered honey can’t believe how much flavor it has. One year, when our girls were like 7 and 4, they wanted to set up a table at the top of the driveway and sell jars of honey. We didn’t think they’d sell much, because we live in the country and don’t get a lot of traffic on our road, but darn if they didn’t sell quite a few jars. I don’t know if it was the honey, or the two tow-headed little girls that were the selling point, but they had the best time.

              If people don’t know where to get the good stuff, they should try their local county extension service, or just google the local beekeeper’s association; pretty sure that will lead to some contacts for buying local honey.

              1. Laughingsong

                We buy from local folk too, the honey flavor changes between them b/c their bees have different mixes of flowers. And bits of honeycomb are usually included.

      2. Ivy

        Taco Bell had its share of the sketchy food spotlight a few years ago with the bags of meat-like proteinish brown stuff. Restaurants like Subway and Taco Bell demonstrate the iron triangle of retail: Good, Fast, Cheap – pick two.

        One hidden (in plain sight) aspect of our beloved Supply Side Economics of these past decades is the moral hazard included in so much of expense reduction. How far will companies, and individuals, go to make a buck? Caveat Emptor!

        1. ambrit

          Having “worked” in several retail outlets now in the last few years, I can attest to the fact that the “Retail” movers and shakers will delve a-ways beneath the benthic depths of the Mindanao Trench.
          Also, that “moral hazard” is transmuted into direct and palpable ill effects upon the “body” politic.
          I’ve often wanted to walk into a Taco Bell and hand “them” a dead animal and ask for it to be tacoized; “Just like down in rural Jalisco Province, amigo!” There’s a reason why local cuisines in hotter countries use so much pepper in their recipes, and it’s not just for culinary “taste” considerations either. (Apologies to the fine people in Jalisco Province. I’m just a Nortenyo.)

      3. polecat

        Ummm …. Mystery Chicken …. Yummmmy !

        Now with 50% extra …. ??

        Makes me almost crave a ‘Secret Burger’ ….. well, not really !

        1. ambrit

          Hmmm…. “Secret Burger.” Isn’t that code for a subversive fictional Los Angeles District Attorney cum “Operative?” (Think, likes to party with Raymond Burr down on Bourbon Street. [Lafittes in Exile.])

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Our chicken strips and oven roasted chicken contain 1% or less of soy protein. We use this ingredient in these products as a means to help stabilize the texture and moisture. All of our chicken items are made from 100% white meat chicken which is marinated, oven roasted and grilled.”

      Nowhere in this statement does it say “Our chicken is made of only chicken”. Their statement is like saying “Our hamburger is made from beef” but forgot to mention the raccoon penis and weasel kneecaps. The food industry are filled with professional obfuscators.

      1. cyclist

        Given that the ‘chicken’ used by Subway probably comes from some poor tortured and drug injected bird raised in one of our factory farms, the other contents might actually be more wholesome or ethical. Of course, most of our soy is GMO…..

      2. human

        All of our chicken items are made from 100% white meat chicken which is marinated, oven roasted and grilled

        We live in an age of deception. You’ve caught this one. Only the white meat part of chicken is used. Whether it comes as a byproduct of another process or not is impossible to tell without further analysis. Just add in the marinating, oven roasting and grilling and it is obviously no longer 100% anything except the product that they are marketing.

        Much the same with 100% juice products that contain 100% juice, glossing over the fact that the product that contains 100% juice also contains water, juice concentrates, added vitamins, minerals, color and flavor stabilizers and whatever else have you.

      3. KFritz

        MacDonald’s: “…blah,blah,blah, just like at home.” Yeah, everybody puts soy filler in their “chicken” at home. My mom did put Wheaties in her meatloaf, along with tomato paste and seasoning, but she didn’t announce, “It’s 100 % ground beef!” at the table. It did taste delicious.

    3. Paul Tioxon

      At the risk of unwarranted commercial plugging, you, the royal you meaning all of us, can’t keep up with the satire, the cynicism the bon mot repartee. I present SOYLENT. It is for real folks. Those younins’ that just don’t know nothin ’bout nothin are doomed to repeat it!!

    4. Dead Dog

      Just don’t eat there. How hard is it to make your own sandwich?

      And, no one should be surprised.

      We’ve all bitten into that nugget or chicken burger and looked at the content and seen that it isn’t what you would call mostly meat…

      As someone here recently said, shop around the perimeter of the supermarket and don’t buy any of the ‘food’ inside the aisles…

      Also, re artic circle populations and obesity, first hand experience of how processed food has made our own indigenous population obese – and noodles and soda are the sort of ‘nutrition’ many indigenous kids grow up on

  4. Marco

    RE the Amazon outage. We were heavily affected. But it was only the US-East-1 Region within AWS. Amazon has been promoting cross-region replication / redundancy for awhile but of course that costs money. Perhaps this was their way of lighting a fire under lazy devops/architects…and also generate more profit. AWS is the mini-beast within the larger Amazon monster and way more dangerous than Uber. I don’t think Microsoft’s Azure will ever be able to compete.

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      I was in meetings most of the day yesterday so I was only half paying attention to the outage.
      What I don’t think many people know is how much of Wall Street has some form of computing presence within the AWS cloud. Everything from simple messaging services to outright Algo systems being hosted there.
      It is indeed a beast and few people outside of IT know much about it.

      1. Brian

        I like the stories of people looking up when they were first told about the cloud and its future. Really, it’s in a cloud? How cool is that?
        Why would anyone think that storing their files in any kind of cloud would be helpful? Clouds blow away and take your data as well as Elvis sightings with them.
        el stupido, quemar.

        1. polecat

          yes .. and the ‘Cloud’ rains occasion, sometimes heavily ….. who knew ?

          Just wait till that cloud becomes an atmospheric river ….

        2. Lord Koos

          The “cloud” is simply someone else’s computer… I understand the need for businesses to use it or for file sharing, but for personal use, hard drives are so cheap nowadays I see no point.

      1. Marco

        Perhaps an overstatement on my part. With Uber the cost-per-ride / miles driven / trip duration is less opaque. With AWS we execute nearly identical batch processes that mysteriously vary widely in cost from one day to the next. I envision Bezos waking up every morning and thinking “today an Elastic Compute Credit (ECU) will how much? Let me pull a number out my @ss”

    2. Oregoncharles

      Access to NC was affected even out here, but only briefly. Otherwise, I have as little as possible to do with the Cloud.

    3. Daryl

      > Perhaps this was their way of lighting a fire under lazy devops/architects…and also generate more profit.

      I’m not sure what their SLAs are like, particularly with larger clients, but depending on what they say this could end up being quite expensive for them (beyond the effect of bad PR)

  5. fresno dan

    ‘We will never forget him’: Trump addresses widow of slain SEAL as doubts linger over mission Yahoo News. Standing O.

    Is it just me? Is this honoring or is this exploiting? And its not just Trump – its something that has evolved over the years. Making every soldier heroic so every mission is noble…
    Can anyone who lived through it even imagine such a ploy during Vietnam?

    And of course – no thought about the bombing “wars” and special missions that more and more encompass the globe, lest we ponder for a moment why we are fighting for Saudi Arabia….a country that produced most of the 9/11 attackers…

    1. allan

      I felt very sorry for Mrs. Owens, being used as a political prop like that.
      Regardless of what one thinks (or thinks one knows about) the mission,
      her life has been destroyed. To milk that tragedy on prime time TV,
      in the hope that some of the patriotic shine was transferable, was disgusting.

      1. Quentin

        I don’t fee sorry for her. She has agency and could have stayed home instead of putting herself through the public ordeal of being applauded while she mourned and cried in Congress. What pathetic crap. That was her choice.

      2. DorothyT

        I listened to that segment of the speech on the radio overnight. In the audio on the radio, you could clearly hear one loud sound of clapping above that of those in attendance. As the general clapping began to subside, the “sound of one hand clapping” continued prominently for a very long time, as the attendees picked it up again and again. At the end, the President said something about the response being “a record” and I think he added “look it up.”

        I too feel sorry for Ryan Owens wife’s loss, and great sorrow for his father who openly questioned the president’s judgment and refused to meet with him.

        1. DorothyT

          After the applause regarding Navy Seal, Ryan Owens, the president said:

          ‘He’ll be happy up there in heaven with how many minutes of applause he got.’

      3. cocomaan

        All the military veneration is exploitative. It’s pushed by people who never see combat. Talk to actual veterans, who tend to be young people in a society stacked against them. You won’t hear them asking for standing ovations because war sucks for the people fighting it, but is profitable for everyone else.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Many ‘heroes’ would humbly say they were just doing their jobs.

          A soldier’s life is his or hers to give. Generals may not feel the same.

          The bravery or other ideals behind an act belong not one individual, but to the world, for better or worse.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          Forgive me for saying this, but I don’t get all the hysteria over this one death.

          A guy went on a military mission to kill a lot of other guys, killed a bunch of people–including women and children–and got killed himself. Thousands of americans have died similarly over the past 16 years, and I can’t remember a time when any single one was as extensively eulogized or beatified.

          It’s myth creation of the highest order–the myth of the SEAL. They have become the superhuman personification of the only indispensable nation on the planet–a military meritocracy without parallel.

          Somebody over at the pentagon should re-watch The Hunger Games. You don’t let the high priests of your military religion come to harm. They are a symbol of your immortality and omnipotence. You dress them up, parade them around, create the fables and let the lesser humans do the dying.

          Someone messed up. Blame is political. Veneration is the remedy.

          1. cocomaan

            I think you’re putting a thump right on the narrative creation/reaction.

            The raid’s failure at first didn’t produce any names. The Democrats framed the man’s death as a Trump failure (especially when a name was released), so Trump responds in this speech. Especially after the Gold Star solider stuff. But I doubt it would have been an issue if it hadn’t been made an issue, if you catch my drift.

            The Resistance needs to ignore Trump’s overtures, week-to-week scandals, and focus on the horrific things he’s doing to do in real arenas, like the environment. But I guess that’s too much to ask.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Remember Pat Tillman? Football hero turned by lies about how his Band of Brothers killed him sort of accidentally into another hero type?

            There’s hundreds of these kinds of stories from centuries of “War, The Racket.” Here in Tampa, until recently, when a local carcass was returned to McDildo Base from Notagainistan, the press was alerted, the family feted, the little US flags by the hundreds set out along the cortège route to wherever the corpse or remaining parts thereof would be interred. (So many “troops” died and die from random IEDs and sniper fire and of course combat zone accidents whether vehicular rollovers or “friendly fire”– though those decadents don’t tend to get the whole Graves Registration treatment…) Lots of Brave American Citizens would turn out to wave the little flags, and toot their horns (often just out of annoyance at the blockade of “normal rush hour traffic” that the parade induced.) Lots of cops “showing the solidarity flag” too.

            Humans, maybe especially including exceptional USians, are really one fokked species. Maybe, collectively, over a fairly short time, it won;t matter, since as noted in other links posted today, “we” are all in for a short ride to the end of the actively-human-driven part of the Capitalocene Era… Sorry, Gaia Momma — we seem to be about to be getting what we as a species so richly deserve…

            1. RMO

              I think one can tell just how much a nation – both regular citizens and elites – believes in what it is and what it is doing by how often it feels the need to loudly state that belief. The more tributes, flags and martyrdom/hero worship the less they actually believe in the nation. Similar to the way U.S. politicians and pundits seem to find it necessary to state over and over again how indispensable and exceptional the U.S. is. If someone really believes in themselves and is confident they don’t need to constantly blab about how amazing they are.

              I hope I’m wrong but I strongly suspect the U.S. passed the point of no return in 2004. Underwhelming a candidate as Kerry was, getting rid of Bush could have signaled that the nation was repudiating the aggressive war, torture, police state and shredding of the constitution that Bush stood for. Kerry may well have just continued that status quo as Obama did but there was certainly a chance of a U-turn on the road to hell. I had faint hope that Obama would change things… I also had on more, completely unexpected surge of hope with the Sanders campaign before it was murdered by the media and the DNC. At the very least it reminded me how many sane people the U.S. still has in its citizenry when I saw the massive enthusiasm for actual progressive POLICY the campaign brought into the light. Maybe there’s still a chance to change things. No matter how futile things seem I always try to act as if there was still hope as the alternative truly is futile.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Trump has the popular touch in reaching out to ordinary people, including veterans. His instincts are right.

      But his claim that this botched raid produced highly valuable intelligence that will lead to many victories in the future borders on ludicrous.

      The Permanent War is a quagmire, and always will be. For every hut full of Yemeni extended family that “we” assassinate, ten more Yemeni families will step up to take their places. Americans would do no less if some malevolent overseas enemy were blowing up our towns.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Jim, Jim, Jim, Americans are exceptional. The unexceptional people not bombed will be ecstatic for the chance to know the “Malala” documentary exists. They won’t fight back because they will be astounded by Hollywood and Reality TV.

      2. Optimader

        Yes, -100 for Dtrump
        Didn’t see or read yet, but indeed utter bullshit tends to come back and bite in unintended ways. Depreciates credibility as a minimum. Trumps over use of superlatives in the description of everything and anything will be a Achilles Heel in the full course of time as he is handed inevitable policy defeats as is always the case.

        Inability to admit a failure, particularly in an adverse risk/reward scenarios as was acutely the case with GWB And BHO, is not a character virtue IMO.. Some albeit carefully worded but analytically candid assessments would be refreshing and build confidence. I think most people know when they are being bullshitted See File: HRC campaign

      3. marym

        So far his instincts seem to involve unleashing the military and various arms of the domestic police forces against ordinary brown and black people, including in both forms of violence, against US citizens. Maybe the subset of “ordinary people” that may feel he’s “reaching out” to them expect this to lead to decent jobs and healthcare especially for them, but his corporate buddies probably have other plans.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          So far his instincts seem to involve unleashing the military and various arms of the domestic police forces against ordinary brown and black people, including in both forms of violence, against US citizens.

          Are you sure you’re not confusing Trump with obama? Trump is the president we have now. The one who gave a speech last night. The white guy.

          1. marym

            No, I had the same criticism of Obama.

            Probably some differences in the delusional rationale their supporters use to excuse it, but no better on either side.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Praise and criticism.

              It seems to me that both involves factors like

              1. Time the praise or criticism is made
              2. Place where it is made
              3. Frequency – how often.

              Here, the objection people are making is that last night was not the time nor the place to praise him.

              Did we criticize Obama the first day of his presidency? That would be one question. Or how often?

              Between praise and criticism, are we reacting hypocritically?That is, we as a society, seem to tolerate falsely praising some one, but believe it’s right to go to court when falsely criticism or slandered.

              Do we say, “I am suing you for falsely claiming that I am the Messiah?” Or, “I am suing you for falsely praising that I am the smartest in the world?”

              1. JTMcPhee

                I dared to criticize him on Day One, all the crap about holding his feet to the fire and the actual contents of all the white papers in the Obama web site. Like how there wasn’t going to be any national health care but was going to be a big wallet-stuffer for the medical UNsurance industry, and banksters getting a pass, and looking forward not backward, trade,etc.

                This I dared to do over there on dkos. Jesus, what a wonderful bunch of people there! So enthusiastic about what was pretty clearly going to be a screw job with prettiness from the gift-go.

                Time and place, my patoot. (Turns out that daring obnoxious congressman who yelled out to “OBama “You Lie!” Was kind of right on. I like the cultural meme of throwing shoes as a clear sign of disrespect and disbelief…

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Some or many are intimated to criticize in the wrong place or time (maybe a right place is at home, they might say to themselves).

                  The asymmetry between praise and criticism may lead one to say praise is good, any time, any place…like last night, to praise a soldier.

                  Many seem to disagree…not the right time, not the right place…place and time to them matters.

      4. KFritz

        A quibble but, “popular touch” sounds too much like “common touch.” Trump has charisma of a sort, but not the “common touch.”

    3. dbk

      The Owens family are from my hometown, one of the children of a high school classmate was a close friend of Ryan Owens. I was cringing during that segment – it was exploitation – and it’s pretty clear that his father wasn’t on board with any of this. Just, just … painful to watch.

    4. crittermom

      fresno dan: “Is this honoring or is this exploiting? And its not just Trump – its something that has evolved over the years.”

      I wholeheartedly believe it is just exploiting.
      I also agree that it’s something that has evolved over the years, but not just regarding military heroes.
      I still remember how Hellary dragged those 5 (IIRC?) black women who were mothers of slain children around the country with her as a means to garnering the black vote while on the campaign trail.
      I saw that as total exploitation, as well.

      Sadly, I doubt Hellary could even recall their names just weeks later, as I doubt Trump will remember Ryan Owens name in a couple weeks, either.
      I find such exploitation for political reasons disgusting.

    5. polecat

      the Warolution has/will not be televised …….. at least in it’s grisly, raw, and unsanitized form since Vietnam ….. it’s now just one big global video game, having been given tacit approval for, and encouragement by, the ‘Pre$$’ !

    6. Anne

      After a week of dodging responsibility for signing off on the mission, Trump’s milking of this widow’s obvious grief for style points was so repellent I had to mute the TV and turn away for a couple minutes.

      I know other presidents have brought military props to these speeches, as some kind of proof of the president’s stellar patriotism, and I didn’t care for it when they did it, either, but I can’t even fathom the ego it took for Trump to put this woman in the position he did by inviting her to attend. Yes, she could have declined, but as devastated as she appeared to be, I truly cannot imagine she was thinking clearly through the shock and horror of her loss. I’m sure all she was thinking was that this was her husband’s commander-in-chief, and she couldn’t say no.

      I fear that she will find herself realizing one day soon how thoroughly her grief was used, how utterly crass it was for Trump to imagine her husband would be proud his senseless death garnered record-setting applause, and that maybe, if the commander-in-chief had spent more than a few minutes before dashing off to dinner educating himself on the mission, and not assuming Obama’s decision not to go forward might have been based on credible and supportable reasons, maybe her husband would still be alive.

  6. Suckysucky

    the Alex jones article from der spiegel

    This is epic!

    “A show of power to the reporter sitting in front of him. He can do as he pleases. Then Jones gets up and holds out a sausage. “Wanna suck?” he asks.”

    If corporate owned and mainstream media did their job they are supposed to do instead of suck so much by peddling falsehoods like wmd in iraq, the white helmets, disinformation about syria, ukraine, russian aggressions, silence about ttip/ttp/ceta etc. then Alex Jones would be out of work.

  7. RenoDino

    Totally agree that MSM’s tone has been normalized. As I noted here the day after Flynn’s firing, NPR sounded almost giddy. Trump had finally been cowed. That was the turning point.

    The cruel visage of the generals at the speech last night did all the talking without saying a word. “We do what we want and you here do as we say. Any takers? No, good.”

    Trump’s patriot tub thumping and God praising struck just the right note. He literally confessed he was clueless by not revealing any of the details of his big plans. He’s open to being told what to do.

    This is as good as it gets. Ryan and company will drive his domestic agenda into a ditch and the generals will add a few more trillion on to that tab in the Middle East while Trump continues to obsess about his treatment in the media long after they’ve backed off.

  8. ProNewerDeal

    fw: 2 very interesting Counterpunch podcasts of Professors. Both claim that using the US State Department’s standard of not recognizing a foreign election if the declared results mismatch the exit polls by over 2% margin of error, that the e-voting machines appear rigged to rig
    1 the D primary for HClinton (12 of the states with exit poll data show rigging, all on the side of HClinton)

    2 the general election was rigged for Trump, including ~5 key purple states like OH & PA that alone would flip the election to Trump.

    One of the Prof claims that would Jimmy Carter monitor the integrity the US election, something Carter’s org does for some developing nations. Carter replied that the US election process is not even at a minimal basic level in election integrity for his org to even be able to monitor its election integrity. / bob-fitrakis-episode-61 & mark-crispin-miller-episode-63 (note: despite the CP website having the store label, these podcasts are completely “free as in beer” to download)

    I’d love to read your take on this issue. IMHO it seems likely to be legitimate. Thanks in advance.

    1. Pat

      Considering that I first heard that America’s system didn’t meet the minimum standard for observation by Carter’s organization four Presidential elections ago this is nothing new and no HAVA did not make things better and more transparent. If this was important to the people in office they have had plenty of time to address it. Same with voter suppression.
      My take on it is that unless and until the public refuse any system that is not everyone votes on paper ballots publicly counted our elections will continue to fail to meet minimum standards even after Trump.

      1. wilroncanada

        Re Crittermom post
        Here in Canada, our previous unlamented Prime Minister, along with Canadian Armed Forces brass, arranged for forces persons delivered home in body bags to get a ride down a major highway in southern Ontario,renaming it the “Highway of Heroes”, complete with lots of recruitment of flag-wavers, to be duly honoured by a guard of slow marchers at their destination. Oligarchs and their political parasites love dead bodies from wars, provided they are not family. They make great agitprop for the visuals in the next news cycle.

        1. RMO

          Here in Vanouver, Highway 1 (the Trans-Canada) got a huge “Highway Of Heroes” sign on the median too. I see it every time I travel up the Fraser Valley to go flying with my soaring club. I’ve only known two combat veterans personally. One was a WWII veteran. He could never talk much about his experiences. The other was in Afghanistan and also talks little of what he did and saw. He has very serious PTSD issues that have pretty much wrecked his life, though he is trying to get himself back together. Neither one was very impressed with things like that billboard. One other veteran I know (RCAF, he was lucky enough not to see combat) told me that he thought that in the event of war being declared, the Prime Minister and cabinet should be required to resign their positions to be enlisted as combat infantry and be the first sent into action.

    2. fresno dan

      March 1, 2017 at 8:25 am

      Search the internet and one can find about a zillion such articles.
      One could go on and on about this being a republic and the dangers of “mob” (i.e., majority rule), but it strikes me that it is pretty obvious that the will of the majority is being consistently thwarted not because the policies the majority wants are unambiguously “deplorable” but because they are contrary to the interests of the oligarchs.

      We PRETEND we have choices, and we PRETEND that the candidates differ MORE than their similarities. Bush, Obama, and Trump are far, far more similar than different on substantive policies, whether not going after banks, or continuing mideast involvements, the military industrial complex, the designed increase in inequality, corruption, etcetera.

    3. Ed

      The only thing to know about the US elections is that there is no independent federal agency responsible for the logistics of voting and for counting the votes. The Federal Elections Commission does not do this. And this is pretty standard in other countries.

      Elections are conducted, and votes are counted, in secret, by local election boards. In practice these are controlled by Republican and Democratic hacks.

      1. Lord Koos

        I’ve often wondered why there are no federal election standards to be enforced. Now I realize it is to enable cheating.

      2. wilroncanada

        The other critical factor is setting up the voter’s list. It should never be an issue of small groups trying to get people onto the list, while both parties are trying to remove those who might vote against them. Getting all eligible voters onto the list is not rocket science.

  9. fresno dan

    Mainstream Media’s ‘Victimhood’ Robert Parry, Consortium News

    The Times is even taking out full-page ads in its own pages to offer truisms about truth: “The truth is hard. The truth is hidden. The truth must be pursued. The truth is hard to hear. The truth is rarely simple. The truth isn’t so obvious. …” On Sunday, those truth truisms ran opposite an alarmist column by Jim Rutenberg entitled, “Will the Real Democracy Lovers Please Stand Up?” Meanwhile, The Washington Post launched its own melodramatic slogan, “Dies in Darkness.”

    Yet, it was only weeks ago when the Post and Times were eagerly promoting plans for silencing or blacklisting independent news sites that didn’t toe the line on what the U.S. government and its allies were claiming was true.
    Each and every time the WP and NYT b*tches and whines about being called peddlers of fake news by Trump (which I now note, is about 50% of the volume of “real” but worthless news they do report), they should have the article accusing NC of being part of a Russian led propaganda conspiracy printed and be forced to eat it.
    The NYT and WP – the modern Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition – enforcing the TRUE faith and burning at the stake any heretics….
    The irony of the media being accused of fake news is gonna make me burst from schadenfreude…

    1. Benedict@Large

      I brought this media victimhood thing up as soon as it started, and over and over I got jumped on by Hillary’s Purity Police. It seems that if it’s a choice between Trump and or MSM corporations, we’re supposed to opt for corporations. And this from people who are accusing Trump of being the fascist. Well maybe he is, but then it’s strictly a case of whose fascism we prefer. It’s ugly out there.

  10. allan

    Math Will Kill Trump’s Infrastructure Plan [Bloomberg]

    … The trillion-dollar package being discussed is understood to be $100 billion of spending per year for 10 years. Leave aside the fact that infrastructure spending is notoriously messy and slow, as environmental delays and other project-specific concerns make it hard to spend the money as fast as a policymaker or economist would like. The labor question alone shows that this vision is impossible. …

    Without any radical changes to immigration policy, we might have capacity for an additional 50,000 construction workers per year for infrastructure projects — far short of the 570,000 needed under Trump’s infrastructure proposal. Significant growth beyond that would likely require much higher wages and poaching from other industries, creating labor shortages in those industries.

    The infrastructure proposal is among Trump’s most politically viable, but economics will kill it.

    Unfair. Doesn’t mention how Public Private Partnerships are magic pixie dust
    that solve all problems (including basic arithmetic) because markets.

    1. a different chris

      Yeah because we need 570000 “construction workers” – they just have to be imported, because you are either born knowing how to do construction or you don’t. Pouring concrete is on the level of playing the violin, it’s just not something most of us can be taught to do at a professional level. Had to import Itzak Perlman, right? Gotta be born with the gift. Lordy.

      There are a good 5x that many unemployed young black men but let’s not even consider them.

      1. Oregoncharles

        To Be Fair: training people for the trades takes time and costs money. Of course, those are jobs, too, but it’s one reason the projects take longer than you’d expect.

        That, and the contracting process is very slow. My son works in a corner of it, and just the designs take months to years.

  11. Jim Haygood


    German consumer prices rose by 2.2 percent on the year after an increase of 1.9 percent in January, the Federal Statistics Office said.

    This was the highest annual inflation rate since August 2012 and came in slightly stronger than a Reuters consensus forecast of 2.1 percent.

    Meanwhile in the US, year-on-year CPI has soared to 2.5 percent.

    Yesterday a commentator compared inflation targets to banging the bottom of a balky ketchup bottle with the heel of your hand. First nothing happens. Then a big glob three times more than you wanted plurps out on your plate.

    J-Yel … you have been warned. But it’s already too late.

    1. frosty zoom

      actually, someone left the ketchup bottle cap unscrewed, waiting for the next schlub to come along and ruin his fries.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For those who keep their medicine in a ketchup bottle, they know for sure ketchup inflation is running away.

    2. Ignacio

      Bah! 2,2% energy-driven inflation in Germany. Yeah, the ghost of hyperinflation again and again. Sure, sure, sure.

      1. Oregoncharles

        OTOH, it’s a good point about how economic measures never work out quite the way you hoped.

        I think 2% was the target, in both countries, so that’s success of a sort.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Just the exclamation marks and ones were sufficient to trip the post to the mod queue (I doubt it was the two words). Full caps might have sent it to the memory hole.

  12. cocomaan

    In seeking silver linings, I, for one, am looking forward to the space travel promised in not one, but two speeches by The Donald.


    “We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.”


    “American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream.”

    According to, as 12m wide asteroid came within 1 lunar distance of the planet a few days ago. That kind of impact would cause significant problems. There are asteroids out there that could end life as we know it with ease. We don’t have the space program to stop them, either. On the flip side, an asteroid mining mission could crash the world economy with the amount of precious metals it would bring in.

    If we can at least get people thinking about space policy again, Trump will have done something significant for the human race. It’s been years since anyone in the high office gave a damn about space travel. I’m not going to lie, it’s exciting to hear someone mention it.

    1. Romancing The Loan

      Given that the cost of retrieving anything from space is much, much higher than getting it from even the most inaccessible corners of the earth I wouldn’t hold my breath for asteroid mining.

      I had an idea once for a science fiction short story about tribesmen on the plains of what used to be Ohio, hundreds of years in the future, after the oil’s gotten too expensive to pump, telling each other the story of how that second moon got up there in the sky. It was a failed Mars mission from 2045, still full of corpses.

      1. cocomaan

        I wonder if it’s more or less expensive than trying to repair the pseudo-lunar surface known as Afghanistan. I kind of doubt it.

        I like your story idea, you should write it.

      2. Optimader

        Dropping a few iron asteroids would solve any global warming concerns for a good bit. And make for some spectacular sunsets and reduce skin cancer!
        A trifecta!

        Gravity (cocaine) is a powerful drug
        Hat tip to Rick James

      3. Oregoncharles

        Ohio was deep, dark forest, as was Indiana. The prairies started in Illinois (an ancestral story for me and many of us.)

    2. crittermom

      I still prefer a kickstarter campaign to send the elites of both parties to explore space on their own, so the rest of us can begin taking care of THIS planet.

      1. hreik

        ha ha ha. love this. was about to reply earlier that DJT et. al. need to go to outer space and stay there. your comment is much better. thanks.

  13. Jim Haygood

    Dow futures are up 159 as I type, indicating a blastoff to a record intraday high at the open.

    Dr Hussman has retreated to his bunker, with a couple of nurses in attendance should he require sedation.

    1. Jim Haygood

      No disagreement here. But the mania nearly always extends farther than you would think (key word “think” — it doesn’t have to be rational).

      This morning’s ISM manufacturing report is a total blowout: 56.0, up from 54.5 last month. It correlates to a scalding 4.0 percent rate of GDP growth, according to ISM.

      ISM’s Prices Paid index reached 69.0, uncomfortably hot. This is why the Fed is going to hike later this month. But to their shock, one rate hike is not going to stop the inflationary momentum. The sorcerer’s apprentice is at work, and the magic broom has acquired a life of its own.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Correction: ISM still had last month’s report posted, after the 10:00 am release time.

        Today’s report jumped from 56.0 to 57.7, corresponding to a 4.5 percent increase in real GDP annually, according to ISM.

        Sorry for the error.

  14. Steve H.

    : ‘Shell knew’: oil giant’s 1991 film warned of climate change danger Guardian

    Broken news. I was in an environmental science program at the time and we all knew it was the #1 environmental problem on the planet. We just thought President Bill would take it seriously, instead of corporatizing the EPA further.

    1. RUKidding

      My friends and I were discussing it back in the early ’70s. I can’t remember what we were reading at the time. Global warming, aka dramatic climate change, has been known and discussed and studied for decades. Alas, profits trump (cough cough) everything, including our very lives.

  15. SpringTexan

    The Atlantic article When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes is pretty long, but full of good stuff. Great specific examples, such as stents and the “oculostenotic reflex” and why cardiologists like patients believe FALSE things if they are “bio-plausible”:

    Despite the data, cardiologists couldn’t believe that stents did not help: Stenting just made so much sense. A patient has chest pain, a doctor sees a blockage, how can opening the blockage not make a difference?

    I may get the magazine in print because reading something so long online is TOUGH.

  16. fresno dan

    Trump, in Optimistic Address, Asks Congress to End ‘Trivial Fights’ NYT. Note the headline. Does anybody else think that the Trump coverage has moderated since The Blob got its way on war with Russia and had Flynn defenestrated?

    Yes, yes I do.
    It seems the impeachment talk is dying down, and the wacko theories about Trump being a Russian agent/stooge have calmed down.
    Policy wise it appears to me Trump is becoming…..Jeb!
    The blob will let Trump say/tweet anything he wants….but that MEANS nothing.

    1. RUKidding

      Yes and no. I do think the blob has won, and Trump has been more or less brought to heel. I didn’t watch the speech, nor did I hear Trump’s portion (I was working). However, I heard two different Democratic politicians’ responses (not referring to Beshear’s official rebuttal) to Trump’s SOTU, and both (don’t remember names) went on & on about Russia. I had to turn off the radio.

      Possibly the M$M has backed off the Russia hysteria a bit. I wouldn’t know bc I don’t have a tv and listen to radio “nooz” very sparingly. But the Dem Pols last night were engaging in the usual Russia hysteria last night.

      Agree that Trump does seem to be transforming into JEB! Which is pretty much how I figured it would go. Really Trump’s major policies aren’t all that different from mainstream Republican policies. It’s just that Trump talks about the poor and working class. Whether the poor and working class will actually gain something from Trump’s Presidency remeans very much to be seen.

  17. allan

    Generals May Launch New ISIS Raids Without Trump’s OK [Daily Beast]
    The commander in chief is taking heat—and hearing cheers—for a raid in Yemen that killed a SEAL. But for the next mission, Trump may take himself out of the loop altogether.

    The White House is considering delegating more authority to the Pentagon to greenlight anti-terrorist operations like the SEAL Team 6 raid in Yemen that cost the life of a Navy SEAL, to step up the war on the so-called Islamic State, multiple U.S. officials tell The Daily Beast. …

    Yet that added authority might give Mattis and senior military officers pause, after Trump blamed military leaders Tuesday for the loss of Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens during the fraught Jan. 28th raid against al Qaeda in Yemen, instead of accepting responsibility for the raid’s outcome as commander in chief.

    “This was a mission that was started before I got here,” Trump said Tuesday during a Fox News interview. “They explained what they wanted to do—the generals—who are very respected, my generals are the most respected that we’ve had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan.”

    The buck stops over there.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Uh, that kind of wrecks the Obama-era narrative that targeted killings are done only after painstaking review and presidential approval.

      Just turn the drone ops trailer in Nevada over to some teenaged video gamers and be done with it.

      Ain’t that America
      Home of the free, yeah
      Little pink mist houses
      For you and me

      — John Mellencamp, “Pink Houses”

      1. RUKidding

        It’s possible that Obama, himself, did do “painstaking reviews.” It’s not out of the question. That said, as we all know, Obama certainly had no problem murdering people in far off lands, including US citizens.

        It appears that Trump prefers to recuse himself from this type of decision-making. Possilby not a good sign for the Commander in Chief to abdicate his responsibilities so easily and quickly.

        OTOH, maybe it says something positive about Trump not wanting to have the blood quite so directly on his hands…. albeit it still will be, even if he’s not directly conducting “painstaking reviews” of who to murder today.

        1. Optimader

          Plausible deniability then fire the General…or more likely a couple Colonels and allow the General to retire with the full follow on gig.
          Next in line please

  18. McWatt

    Re:Aging Chinese:

    This along with several other recent articles of birth rates slowing in other countries is the best news for the planet. The planet will be much better off with fewer people.

  19. David

    An important development on the French Presidential front today. Francois Fillon cancelled a programmed appearance at the Salon d’Agriculture , a must for any French politician, to announce that he had been placed in a status known in French law as a “mise en examen”, which is hard to translate, but means that the examining magistrates, having looked at the evidence and interviewed him, have decided that there is good reason to believe that he has committed a serious crime. There’s a good Wikipedia article here but only in French, and the official explanation of what it means is here for the lawyers among you.
    It’s bad news, the more so since Fillon said in January that if this happened he would withdraw from the race. But he’s now saying that because of his victory in the primary, he has the support of the French people against an “assassination” and an “assault on the Rule of Law”, and so he’s carrying on. In fact, since his only realistic hope of escaping prosecution is to somehow squeak into the second round and pose as the defender of all that is holy against Le Pen, this is pretty much the only option open to him.
    But the cracks are already showing: Bruno Le Maire, a senior figure in LR and one of his main advisers has quit the campaign with some pretty harsh words, and there’s lots of muttering in the ranks.

  20. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes The Atlantic. A must read IMHO.

    Still, the latest assessment in more than 1,600 hospitals across the country concluded that about half of all stent placements in stable patients were either definitely or possibly inappropriate. “Things have gotten better,” Nissen says, “but they’re not where they need to be.” Nissen thinks removing financial incentives can also help change behavior. “I have a dozen or so cardiologists, and they get the exact same salary whether they put in a stent or don’t,” Nissen says, “and I think that’s made a difference and kept our rates of unnecessary procedures low.”
    So, what do surgeons do? “Most of my colleagues,” Christoforetti says, “will say: ‘Look, save yourself the headache, just do the [knee] surgery. None of us are going to be upset with you for doing the surgery. Your bank account’s not going to be upset with you for doing the surgery. Just do the surgery.’”

    Meanwhile, back on the ranch, americans are variously driving themselves crazy or going bankrupt trying to figure out how to pay for this mess, which seems to come down to a “standard of care” based on a fascination with bright, shiny “innovative” new objects, a dearth of honest efficacy review and the path of least status quo resistance.

    No thanks.

    I don’t get all the people bangin’ on the door to get into this system. There’s a reason for this graphic:

    An ounce of avoidance may prove to be worth a pound of “cure.”

    I still think there’s a scifi masterwork in all of this–emergence of a master race of phenomenally healthy humans whose progenitors were refused access to american “healthcare.”

    1. Anne

      In 2010, the MD State Board of Physicians charged Dr. Mark Midei with violating the MD Malpractice Act and revoked his license to practice medicine in connection with five patients whom he treated in 2008/2009. The Final Decision and Order can be found here – it’s long and has all the gory details.

      What did he do?

      He put stents into people that didn’t need them. He falsified test results in order to justify the procedures.

      On top of the license revocation, the hospital agreed to a $37 million dollar settlement with what ended up being almost 300 patients. This all took place at a hospital with an excellent reputation in the community – a reputation that took a significant hit, and that, together with the settlement, resulted in the hospital being bought by the University of MD Medical System in order to save it.

      I live in the area, one that is chock-a-block with hospitals and doctors. Here, for example, is a list of all the hospitals in the area that are associated with UMD: there are nine of them. MedStar also has nine hospitals, here. Then, there’s Lifebridge, with only four! And we can’t forget the Johns Hopkins Health System, with main hospital in Baltimore, and satellite locations in the metropolitan area.

      Maryland is not a huge state; in fact, you probably couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone associated with a medical facility in Maryland.

      The point I’m getting to is that all of these facilities are competing for what really is a limited patient population. Almost every facility that’s anywhere near me has undergone expansion and renovation. No longer is Orthopedics just a department in a hospital, it’s a center or a wing. Same with heart centers, and cancer centers. And they all have state-of-the-art equipment and technology.

      So, how do we imagine these hospitals pay for all of this? Oh, sure, there are donations, and contributions and bequests and people who give gobs of money in order to have their names on the buildings. But the ongoing cost of operating these facilities, has to be being paid for by the volume of procedures and tests performed. So, I have to conclude that the chances someone might have a procedure that isn’t urgently needed are pretty good.

      Getting back to poor Dr. Midei more or less confirms that:

      Specifically, the board found that he inserted cardiac stents into arteries that weren’t clogged enough to need them — likely because of “pressure to produce.”

      “Dr. Midei testified that he understood that he was a big generator of business for the hospital, that the hospital had lost many patients to competition and that its goal was to hold onto the stent business that it saw slipping away,” board members wrote, noting that Midei was hired to run St. Joseph’s cardiac catheterization lab at a seven-figure salary that was triple his prior earnings.

      So, yeah – so many doctors and facilities and choices, but It gives me the willies imagining the time it would take for me to “shop around” for the best prices of various medical procedures and surgeries – after I determine whether I really need what is being recommended for me, or if my knee or my hip or my shoulder is going to help some facility or provider meet its monthly or quarterly quota.

      The skin we patients have in this game is our physical, mental and financial health; seems like we ought to be discussing the skin these medical providers have in it, as well.

      1. fresno dan

        March 1, 2017 at 11:53 am

        Very interesting information Anne!
        As a federal employee with good health care in Maryland who had a heart attack, I felt like a prized cow being milked. I finally asked my cardiologist about all these tests and what would it take for them to decide to do another operation. He confessed that regardless of any test, if I don’t feel bad or have symptoms, they aren’t gonna do anything….which kinda makes you wonder why they do the tests – oh yeah – money.

        SO….if you don’t have money, you don’t get treated.
        SO…if you do have money (good insurance) you get treated more than you need (which is BAD for you)
        Kinda seems to me that the profit motive and medicine don’t mix. Maybe that’s why they USED to have all that ethical stuff about do not harm….

        AND, after a couple of months, I asked why I hadn’t been prescribed a ace inhibitor and beta blocker, which is standard practice. I got prescribed the drugs but I wonder how long I would have went without if I hadn’t brought it up myself. I don’t think it was incompetence as much as just too many chefs, and everybody thought the other chef salted the soup….

    2. Foppe

      Quite so. This newsletter describes a similar experience (by & about a GP/internist): Beware of Interventional Cardiologists (Heart Surgeons):

      On March 16, 2015, during the hours following the McDougall Advanced Study Weekend I developed a viral infection that affected my inner ears. I totally lost my hearing, my balance was disturbed, and I became very weak. At about midnight I walked to the bathroom, lost all control of my muscles, fell down to the floor onto my buttocks, and was unconsciousness for a few minutes. I woke with severe pain. With Mary’s help I managed to return to bed. She wanted to call an ambulance, but I refused. I knew what could happen. I would be taken to the hospital, x-rayed, and found to have fractures of my lower vertebrae, pelvis, and a spiral fracture of my left femur (I knew this by the way I felt). Treatments of my fractures, including surgery may have been planned. But that was a minor concern of mine. I was afraid of what else might happen to me once under medical care.

      In my nearly defenseless condition, they would have wanted to know the condition of my heart before anything else would be done. This decision for them would be easy to justify: after all, I was an elderly male (67) and I had a past history of serious atherosclerosis, having suffered a major stroke at age 18. I have no doubt that there are old blockages (scars) in my arteries that developed as a young man eating the Western diet (my highest cholesterol had once been 338 mg/dL). Twenty years ago I had a CT heart scan (performed out of curiosity) showing significant amounts of calcification in my coronary arteries demonstrating that I had atherosclerotic plaque disease. These blockages were, however, old fibrous scars. Since I changed my diet at age 27 my cholesterol has dropped to below 150 mg/dL and I am confident that no new disease has formed. But the scars (with calcium in them) remain for a lifetime.

      The plaques found on my heart scan are healed, stable, non-lethal, and of no risk to me—unless they were to be discovered and treated by a cardiologist or a bypass surgeon. If I would have gone to the hospital after my fall in March of 2015, I would have been facing the standard practice of prophylactic revascularization: angioplasties with stents placed before any other treatment to my bones would be provided. Remember, I refused to go to the hospital so I avoided this common scenario. I healed at home.

      (More at link)
      This is a video talk on the same topic, in which he goes into quite a bit of detail on the problems caused by the incentive structure that exists in the medical industry. Hint — prophylactic revascularization is a fantastic money maker.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        For-profit, fee for service medicine has these perverse incentives baked into it. No amount of regulation or disciplinary correction can or will fix that. It’s the same reason for-profit pharma with privately held patents cannot ever be effectively regulated or the inefficiencies fixed. Curing people actually shuts off the revenue stream, only lifelong “treatment regimens” maximize profits. The entire US system is built from the ground up to rip people off for profit by using the threat of serious illness or death to milk hostages for everything they have. It makes the Mafia look like a benevolent organization by comparison. Reform by degree is a hopeless cause; it must be completely rebuilt.

      2. Oregoncharles

        So incipient angina is best just ignored (I’m quite healthy, overall)?

        Seriously: that’s what I’m doing.

        1. Foppe

          McDougall (and I, but I’m just a handle on the interweb) would recommend dietary change, as CHD is wholly reversible if you eat according to the recommendations he puts forward (but there’s no money in recommending that, “patients wouldn’t listen anyway”, and — incidentally — it would destroy the current medical industry and the demand for surgeons, so this information is repressed); see McDougall’s website (or Esselstyn’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease) for more information.

  21. Foppe

    Re: “Trump highlights victims of crimes by immigrants, new office in joint address CNN. Very bad idea.”

    Reagan did this to put the crack epidemic on the map, and to turn it into a crime rather than public health issue (-> The New Jim Crow). Needless to say, I agree this is bad.

    1. jrs

      and pointless, the Obama administration itself was focused on deporting immigrants who were actually criminals, so that would just be a continuation of existing Obama policy. What does this add but mass hysteria?

  22. fresno dan

    It’s amazing how it is so acceptable in elite circles to tell outright lies to advance the trade agenda pursued by recent administrations. Everyone remembers when a 2007 Washington Post editorial touting NAFTA claimed that Mexico’s economy had quadrupled between 1987 to 2007. According to the I.M.F., the actual figure was 83 percent. The erroneous number can still be found online, since the Post lacks the integrity to correct it.

    In this vein we find David Ignatius continuing the Post’s denialism, telling readers that workers in the Midwest are wrong to think that trade cost manufacturing jobs.
    The Holy See of the Inquisition of the WP assures that there can be no trade heretics….

  23. Ignacio

    RE: COLUMN-Euro banks and the de-globalization of capital flows: James Saft Reuters

    The article underscores that the main reason behind reduced capital flows within the eurozone is perceived increased euro crisis risk. International capital flows diminished in the aftermath of the financial crisis and

    “Now we are seeing the same thing happen within the euro zone. In the event that elections in the Netherlands, France, or Italy create financial turmoil, the balkanization of intra-euro-zone lending will make the potential for a real crisis that much greater.”

    (This is a double-quote, the original paper is quoting Edward Harrison).

    I think there is another, and more likely explanation. Since periphery countries have been forced to current account surpluses, there must be less capital transfers within the eurozone and more exchanges outside the eurozone. The imbalances are being transferred from within the EU to the rest of the world.

  24. Altandmain

    Those lifespan trends – Canada is no longer on top, but still doing ok.

    I did not expect Canada on top, but I guess it is not too bad as it isn’t far. What’s interesting is that Canada has a wider variance in the possible ranges. This could go either way.

  25. JEHR

    The answer as to whether we should be worried about the giant crack in the Antarctic ice shelf is in the Capitalocene article:

    Kolbert interviews a Swedish evolutionary geneticist who muses that some as yet undiscovered ‘madness gene’ accounts for humanity’s singular ecological career. Should the gene one day be identified, he says, ‘it will be amazing to think that it … changed the whole ecosystem of the planet and made us dominate everything.’

    Although human beings are the instigators of climate change, the earth will be the final revelator.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The scariest part of the Giant Crack link comes at the bottom where possible fixes came in. The link mentions “innovative research” and finishes with “a wide range of geoengineering options” — but they’re “experimental … have unintended potentially negative consequences.” I guess we have a lot of “innovative research” to do.

      Mirowski argues — in several venues — the Neoliberal strategy for dealing with climate change begins with denials, followed by Market based solutions like “cap and trade” and leading to geoengineering “at the global scale” handled by International Corporations — the Market at its zenith. [Just imagine the creative genius of global entrepreneurs geoengineering solutions to the global Climate Change problem unconstrained by the concerns and laws of pesky nation states. The TPP and its kin may be dead … perchance they merely sleep.]

      Is starting to edge toward climbing on-board the Neoliberal climate change bus? The language in this link seems unusually anodyne to me and the closing message unusually flacid given the content — but at least it discusses matters in a matter of fact manner which avoids too much alarm or doomsaying

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Finally got through the link for “Capitalocene”. What a long desultory ramble about — for the Capitalocene(?). Does this link fairly represent the kind of deep thinking left intellectuals can offer to the Climate Change [GLOBAL WARMING] discussion? Space mirrors offers a more practical and hopeful approach — not that I see such geoengineering solutions as any more than a way for International Corporations to extract opportunities from the niggling nuisances of Global Warming. Space mirrors are definitely more glamorous than haggling over terms or making efforts to carefully interpret history into politically correct Marxist theory.

      I don’t think a new term is needed for the Anthropocene and I’m satisfied with the choice of 1945 as the date for its beginning. The spike in exotic radioactive isotopes serves as a convenient marker for the era. Quibbles over a few hundred — even a few thousand years seem unimportant to the span of geologic time.They will be thin layers less easily identified. The Neoliberal Right burns the place down while the Left fiddles with words and the teachings of a 19th Century philosopher. We don’t need to find a “madness gene” when simple stupid works — and there are plenty of genes for that.

    3. Medbh

      There’s a SF series that mimics this idea: Lilith’s Brood by Olivia Butler. Humans have this dead-end genetic combo of being smart and aggressive (I haven’t read the series in years, so the exact terms are fuzzy). Humans are so proud of our brains and technology, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it kills us off as a species.

      1. susan the other

        it really does make sense that that is how our “intelligence” evolved – in tandem with our aggression … it’s the fight-or-flight gene forcing us to think quickly… but like the 3 stooges schtick…”I’m thinkin’ I’m thinkin’ but it aint workin!” is usually the reality.

    1. marym

      Or are people are warming up to/normalizing Hitler-talk?

      In that [SOTU] speech, he [Trump] called for the Department of Homeland Security to create an office focused on the victims of immigrant crime. And in a January 25 executive order, he instructed the Homeland Security Secretary to “make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens.”

      Frustrated by the failure of most Germans to participate in a boycott of Jewish businesses in April 1933, Adolf Hitler’s government began publicizing Jewish crime statistics as a way of stoking anti-Semitism. In Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It seems we are destined to face the same problem again and again, trying to solve it using different strategies.

        Did Palestine belong to Palestinians? What right did the League of Nations have to put foreigners there?

        “It’s empty. Come settle here.”

        At the same time, we ask, or they asked, couldn’t the slaves of the early 1800’s have a real place they could feel safe? Yet, what about the people already living in a place we now call Liberia? In any case, ex-slaves went and established a colony, then a country.

        Did they also say, ‘It’s empty. Come settle here?’

        So, are we to relive the 1930’s again? Was the mandate for a Palestinian Homeland the solution? The peaceful solution? Just ignore the people already living there for hundreds and thousands of years?

        Today’s immigrants don’t have that issue returning to their homelands. They came from their ancient homelands.

        Is this, then, 1930’s Germany again, without the ‘the natives don’t exist, the place is empty of people’ propaganda? Does it play out this time that people return to their homelands? Is that a peaceful solution, instead of the final solution of the 1940s?

        1. marym

          Demonizing an entire set of people as criminals and objects to be hated and feared is evil regardless of one’s position on specific historical instances of immigration, colonization, or genocide. If one had to resort to such demonization as the basis of that position, there’s probably also a lot more wrong about that position.

          The proposal that people in the US return to homelands that have been reduced to physical, economic, or social rubble due to US actions seems unreasonable.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            In another time, those demonized or actually brutalized and enslaved thought their solution was to find a new homeland in Africa.

            “These people are insane and dangerous. Let’s get out of here.”

            That’s the other school of thought.

  26. Vatch

    Ryan Zinke confirmed as Secretary of the Interior by a vote of 68-31:

    Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the Energy Committee’s top Democrat [who voted against Zinke], applauded Zinke and welcomed much of what he told the panel.

    But she said Trump’s policy plans for Interior — like increase fossil fuel development and rolling back land protections — would be disastrous, and Cantwell said Zinke showed no desire to push back against those.

    “I’m not convinced that Congressman Zinke will be able to moderate the Trump administration’s extreme views on exploiting our public lands and i’m not sure you he will be able to stand up to the president and protect the public interest that is required on our public lands and manage for the benefit of all Americans, not just the oil and gas and mining companies and their commercial interests,” she said.

    “We need an Interior secretary capable of standing up to the president to make preserving our public lands a priority, but during my meeting with nominee Zinke, his confirmation hearings and before the Energy and Natural Resources Committee on which I sit and his record as a member of congress, I did not receive the assurances and commitments I needed to support his confirmation as Interior secretary.”

    Pretend Democrats Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp voted for Zinke (no surprise there). Tim Kaine is another fake Democrat who voted for Zinke. I am a bit surprised that Sherrod Brown was among the Democrats who voted for him, though.

    1. Vatch

      Here are the roll call votes:

      Next up: Ben Carson. His ignorance about Egyptology does not disqualify him to be the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, but perhaps his ignorance about housing and urban development ought to be considered by the Senate. Cloture vote:

    2. polecat

      Ah …. Maria CAN’T ‘do the right thing’ well … MY unESTEEMED $enator …….

      ….. why am I NOT surprised ……

        1. polecat

          $enator Boeing is disingenuous for a variety of reasons, as is her $ista …. Patty Murray !

  27. JohnnyGL

    The Eric Levitz article is worth thinking about it, even if it feels like the left isn’t making a dent in the elite Dems running the party. The ground is shifting under them and they seem to know it.

    Lambert’s point is also quite important. The Tea Party was mostly media hype and some smallish gatherings until they started claiming scalps in primaries. I’d argue they weren’t really a problem for the establishment until they finally got Eric Cantor in 2014. I don’t recall exactly when the monster was deemed uncontrollable by the Koch Bros. and other donors, but I think it was around that time, give or take.

    I’d love to get DiFi or Pelosi out of office. Finding a good candidate to bury Booker and Cuomo would be nice, too. McCaskill would be wonderful to defenestrate, too!

    Remember all, you lose, lose, lose, then they give up.

  28. Vatch

    The DNC race was a testament to the Democratic left’s vitality, not its impudence [sic]

    At first, it seems as though “impotence” should have been used instead of “impudence”. But on second thought, it’s possible that the author Eric Levitz really did mean “impudence”. Some of the establishment Democrats probably view the Left as a bunch of impudent whippersnappers who need to learn some table manners, and to be seen and not heard. Ellison’s near victory shows that the impudent uppity brats have some real clout in the Democratic party.

    1. Lord Koos

      Robocop. Imagine being an insurgent somewhere and coming up against a platoon of those things.

      1. a different chris

        Meh. I don’t think they could handle me* on my own turf and then I wouldn’t have to kill any “real” people. Kind of the mirror image of drone warfare – we kill actual people with a war machines, but in this case actual people “kill” war machines.

        *not me, I’m not a threat…an idealized version of me

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Was there a no-lobbying for a number of years agreement they all had to sign?

      1. Vatch

        Not necessary, at least for Gary Cohn. He got a huge bonus when he quit Goldman Sachs:

        Cohn has faced criticism from Democratic lawmakers and watchdog groups for accepting a $285 million payout from Goldman Sachs when he took a White House job overseeing policies that will affect the bank. During Trump’s first month in office, Cohn stood behind the new president as he signed an executive order designed to roll back post-crisis financial regulations that restrict Goldman Sachs and other major banks.

        No conflict there! /sarc

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That is unusual, in that, after getting that money, how do they guarantee the already-paid lobbyist will not come back and destroy, sorry, regulate the firm?

          1. Vatch

            If he did that, Trump would fire him, and companies in the financial industry would be very reluctant to hire him. Even worse, he would lose his country club membership, reservations at trendy restaurants would become difficult or impossible, and he would be shunned by his acquaintances in high society.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              It appears, on the surface, then, that rich people are honest with other rich people, in not with the serfs.

              “No contract necessary?”

              1. Vatch

                I suspect there’s plenty of back stabbing among the rich. They don’t like to do anything that will threaten their personal wealth, though. And effective financial regulation would affect the personal wealth of Gary Cohn (and Steven Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross, Rex Tillerson, Betsy DeVos, etc.).

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  For that reason (back stabbing), I feel with $285 million, it’s more tempting to retire than to lobby.

                  Though it’s tempting to want to turn that into a billion or more, and it’s not hard to write regulation that does not affect some personally.

            2. a different chris

              yup — after the first dozen million or so, the money itself doesn’t mean anything… it’s just one of the status signifiers

              btw- it’s comical that somebody has 285 million dollars basically just laying around that they can toss it at a guy going out the door just as a bit of future lubricant..

  29. dcblogger

    Some notes on the worst-case scenario

    Note that climate change denialism is a flag of convenience for the folks at the top. It’s a loyalty oath and a touchstone: they don’t necessarily believe it, but it’s very convenient to fervently preach it in public if you want to continue to turn a profit.

    If you believe in anthropogenic climate change but dare not admit it, you cannot be seen to do anything obvious to remediate it. But there is one remediation tactic you can deploy deniably: genocide.

    1. Portia

      what does denialism do for the folks on the bottom? I hear people all the time where I live decrying solar panels as “ugly”. when you mention the LP gas pipelines they go completely silent, except one guy said he’d prefer them, as long as they were nowhere near his house. My neighbor gave me a ride the other morning and started yelling at me the there is no such thing as global warming! it’s just weather. she yelled she was mad because she was sick of turning on the TV weather and having global warming shoved in her face. Fox news is fair and balanced, she said, they show both sides. everything else is fake news! she said she brought it up to head me off the subject, after I made small talk about what the weather was doing that morning.

      what is in it for them? anthropogenic. these people will go to their graves holding beliefs that ignore it.

      1. Jess

        Naomi Klein explains in her book This Changes Every Thing that the reason people cling to climate denialism is largely rooted in their philosophy of government. If they admit that climate change is real, and a threat to life as we know it, then they are more or less forced into accepting the premise that only government is powerful enough to enforce the kind of comprehensive changes that will be necessary to combat it. And therein lies the problem, because these people, for reason financial or emotional or both, are terrified of government. It represents a great uncontrollable power, and for many, it also represents a cultural and moral lifestyle with which they do not identify. Accepting big government in this area acknowledges the potential benefits of big government in other areas as well.

        1. JustAnObserver


          Begs the question though as why “these people, for reason financial or emotional or both, are terrified of government”. Could a large-ish strand of that be down to what `Big Government” did in 1865 and then again in 1965 ?

        2. jrs

          Only government is powerful enough IN THEORY but how do you deal with the reality (and it is a reality) that they won’t deal with it by and large (and not just in the U.S.). Also only global agreements are powerful enough.

          There are other realities they may not want to admit as well. No industrial countries are sustainable, not even Scandinavia, what does it take? Social Democracy is not enough.

          1. jrs

            social democracy has other benefits in the meantime, there are differences in how much carbon is produced per capita in various industrial countries etc.. However, I’m not really convinced the problem of how to have industrial civilization (ANY modern civilization) without destroying the world ever has been solved even in theory. And if not then saying government is the solution is a bit of a techno fix, something like “invest enough and we’ll find a solution”. Could be but uncertain. And yes it’s completely pathetic they aren’t even doing easy sensible things and instead are doubling down on apocalypse. These aren’t leaders they are criminals. But between that and a workable sustainable civilization there is quite a gap.

        3. bronco

          The people should accept big government because why? Big government does death and theft well and very little else even passably .

          1. philnc

            Big is in the eye of the beholder. A standing peacetime army of over 400,000 would have shocked anyone living in the US prior to the 20th century. Before World War II almost complete demobilization after the end of hostilities was the norm. The US Constitution calls for Congress to “raise an army” in time of war, but requires it to “maintain” a navy, perhaps out of concern that serious matters such as the peacetime protection of sea lanes might be neglected by a parsimonious legislature. The build up of the US Navy during and after the Civil War seems quaint when compared to its expansion since 1941, but combined with a permanent regular army would make the US government the biggest and most pervasive on the planet even if all other spending were eliminated.

  30. Oregoncharles

    “Just HOW EARLY is spring arriving in your neighborhood? Find out . . . USGS” The graphic showed only illegible traces in Oregon, so FWIW: spring is already here. The earliest flowers – English daisies, pieris, and one variety of rhododendron – are already blooming, and the first daffodil just opened. I’m not sure how that compares to other years, but it’s definitely early. I just hope the fruit trees don’t get caught in bloom by a freeze, as happens all too often.

    We’re close to the 45th parallel, like New York and Madrid.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Up here in NW Washington State, our spring is running quite late. At least yesterday’s snow has mostly melted. The only thing blooming in my yard are some aptly named snowdrops.

      1. Oregoncharles

        The snow line ran just north of my town. I gather Salem got dumped on. Whew – more snow was the last thing we needed; or you, I suppose. At least the river is down, so I don’t have to watch it carve away our trees.

        I’ve seen the early rhododendron I mentioned with inches of snow over the blooms, so it ain’t over yet.

        1. Laughingsong

          I think we’re close to the same area, O.C. (Eugene), and we have had snowdrops, crocus, AND daffodils in our yard for at least 3 weeks now. And yes, after the previous ice storms etc., I was VERY glad that the snow stayed north. But Portland got truly rogered this year….

          1. Oregoncharles

            I’m in Corvallis, so yes, very close. I didn’t mention the snowdrops and crocuses because they’re so early.

            I think we had snow three times. Very unusual. I think the cold is the reason things are blooming so early.

  31. Oregoncharles

    “The prosecutor opened an inquiry under a French law banning the distribution of violent images or those inciting terrorism.” – from “MEPs revoke Marine Le Pen’s immunity over violent Isis images”.

    Have the French completely lost their minds? In the first place, that law is really flagrant dictatorship. In the second, remember the Geert Wilder prosecution? Huge bump in the polls. Come to think of it, maybe that prosecutor is really a LePen supporter; he couldn’t do her a bigger favor. At this rate, she could win the presidency from prison.

    Yet another straw pointing to a LePen win. I’d go short on the EU, if I was investing.

  32. Oregoncharles

    More reasons to go short on the EU: Juncker’s “unity” proposals. “Mr Juncker’s push for accelerated EU integration at the heart of Europe is echoed by senior European Commission officials who want non-euro countries to fulfill their obligation to join the single currency within the next decade – a position several members states think untenable.”

    What a superb way to drive any reluctant states out of the EU. I can’t be sure how it looks from Eastern Europe, though Poland’s rejection of the Euro is a clue, but recent history seems to me to make very clear that the Euro is a trap for the unwary, AND that the EU is perfectly capable of wanton cruelty toward unlucky members, AND that the EU is, increasingly, little more than the New German Empire.

    No wonder LePen and Wilders are doing so well, and that’s WESTERN Europe.

    The EU’s self-immolation is a major tragedy; let’s just hope it doesn’t lead to yet another war in Europe, as it could. (Footnote: Greece spends more on the military than most other EU countries, probably because of Turkey. That’s one reason they’re in trouble, but it could also become important if the bill collectors get serious. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.)

  33. Dave

    A Women’s Strike for the 99 Percent.

    “Not my president!”

    Large black lesbians–
    “Not my representative!”

  34. Oregoncharles

    “March 8: A Women’s Strike for the 99 Percent Moyers and Company. Sharp’s #57: Lysistratic Non-Action.”

    You do remember how Lysistrata’s strike worked, don’t you? And that it was a comedy?

    Seriously, I think Lysistrata’s strategy could be adapted as an anti-war and especially anti-recruitment tactic. But I don’t think it’s comparable with the current Women’s Strike, which is basically economic. Athenian women didn’t work outside the home, except for slaves and courtesans – giving further point to Lysitrata’s strike.

  35. Dead Dog

    I was browsing youtube last night and watched several recent vids about Fukushima – a subject which appears to have vanished from the news. If you say anything about it, it would seem, you are being a conspiracy theorist.

    Yet, as I understand things, the threat from another earthquake is real, so why are we letting Tepco and Japan (not) deal with it? That fuel needs to be located and transported away from the Pacific ocean, before it kills everyone.

    IMO the international community needs to apply more pressure. The absence of any reporting in Japan is a real concern. We all bleated about it at the time, now it seems like old news.

    Those oceans, they’re all connected you know and a very large portion of the earth’s population obtain most of their protein from fish.

    Anyone got any good info on the dangers, or am I just being paranoid?

    1. Dave

      Stop eating Tuna and Japanese sourced food and anything from the northern Pacific ocean.

      We had International War Crimes Tribunals.
      Why can’t we have International Environmental Crimes Tribunals?
      Perhaps because America’s main defense contractors would be in danger of the corporate death penalty?

      Hopefully President Trump will recognize the sheer folly of continuing to support nuclear power from a businessman’s viewpoint of profits, loses, stranded investments and the inability to buy insurance for a defective product.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We are overfishing in the Atlantic as well.

        Removing the northern Pacific – will that lead to further stressing the other oceans

        Vegetarian is the future?

        1. Dave

          “as well…?”
          Northern Pacific fish, seaweed etc=radiation

          Atlantic fish=pollution, not radiation.

      2. Dead Dog

        Thanks Dave, that is an interesting site and one I will peruse today. I just don’t know how Tepco (or anyone really (John Wayne springs to mind)) are going to retrieve that fuel. The radiation kills electronics in seconds, so they haven’t actually seen the fuel, they just know they are getting closer because the radiation keeps climbing.

        At some point they are just going to have to lower a big hook into the hole and hope to hook some of it out. Unbelievable that the whole mess hasn’t exploded.

        An environmental crimes tribunal? The war crimes tribunal only prosecute people from the losing sides. Good idea though.

        BTW, have a look at where all the US nuclear power plants are, many close to the oceans. With wind, wave and solar all tumbling in cost, it’s time to decommission all those plants.

        There is nothing safe about nuclear power. Australia never went down that route (apart from Lucas Heights). The history I have read suggests that we wanted the bomb but our allies (UK and US) didn’t trust us with the technology.

        Without the bomb, and the need for plutonium, Australia dithered about nuclear power for years. In the late 60s a power plant was proposed and the foundations for a reactor were laid just up from the shore line at Jervis Bay in NSW. The foundations can still be seen. In due course there was a a change of government and priorities changed.

        There were wiser heads back then than there are now.

      3. Yves Smith

        Tuna in the US is mainly an Atlantic fish. Particularly sushi tuna (bluefin) But you shouldn’t be eating that because it’s been seriously overfished and headed towards extinction if the sushiholics don’t cut back. And the other reason not to eat tuna is it is way up the food chain and therefore environmentally costly.

    2. integer

      It’s not really an answer to your question, but…

      From what I understand the technology to deal with the issue does not exist, and the nuclear industry lobby groups are extremely powerful, so it’s hard to imagine that they are not doing their best to silence the issue. Also, I am not sure how the damage to the greater environment could even begin to be quantified, as the extent of the damage to the reactors is still unknown, though I suppose one could make a start by looking at the levels of radioactivity in the cooling water that they are pumping through the plant and then back into the ocean. Fwiw, the ocean has been used as a dumping ground for radioactive materials in the past.

      When taken as a whole, we really are a stupid species.

      1. Dead Dog

        You are right, we are in uncharted waters, literally. The melted cores of three reactors are missing. Google Elephants Foot to see what the Chernobyl core looked like.

        Tepco is dealing with three cores that are probably deep underground in the ground water and certainly connected to the Pacific ocean.

        1. integer


          On another note entirely, I saw Peter Bibby play live last week. Was standing outside a small local venue, heard someone playing guitar inside, wandered in, and there he was. Highly recommended if he is ever in your neck of the woods.

  36. ewmayer

    o How early is spring arriving … Here in my Nocal neighborhood we had the first sprog of blooming jasmine blossoms last week, and the cluster of daffodils just outside my patio fence is getting ready to flower.

    o Viral cat videos and carbon cost of Big Data … Aha! So it’s those darn kittehs and their refusal to stop being so darned cute, not humankind’s profligate carbon-fuels consumption, which are to blame for climate change. Good to know!

    o Which Asian Country Will Replace China as the ‘World’s Factory’? | The Diplomat — And why must it be “an Asian country”, praytell? Because consent-manufacturing ‘news’ outlets like The Diplomat know which side their bread is buttered on, following the old Upton Sinclair “It’s hard to get a man to understand…” truism. TINA to Elite-Looter-sponsored environmental-and-wage-law arbitrage, it’s a proven mathematical theorem!

  37. JustAnObserver

    I know that the the present times being what they are its impossible to be cynical enough (or you’re not paying attention) but the sight of ex-Prez+Missus signing multi-million dollar book deals a mere 6 weeks after leaving the WH still, somehow, gets through my hard acquired defenses & leaves me somewhat sickened.

    Some small, naive part still seems to feel that he should at least put in a decent interval before going all-out for the Ka-Ching. Maybe they need to get it published in time for the opening of his PrezLib where we’ll all be lining up for the signed copies. Maybe he’s worried that his reputation will melt away faster than Ben&Jerry’s in the Sahara.

  38. KFritz

    Re: Collapse of the Parties, by Harvey Feigenbaum

    Narratives abound to explain the outcome of the 2016 election. It strikes me that none of them explain the Trump/Republican victory completely, but some have more validity than others, notably the Tom Frank/Bill Black explanation–the Democrats’ abandonment of the working class. Feigenbaum also seems to be on to something, however some remnant of the “old” Democratic party still exists, and in the key battleground states its operatives were marginalized and/or ignored by “Brooklyn”– which the operatives point to as a key reason for the loss. As I understand it, Obama’s campaign people were just as up-to-date and ‘high concept’ as Mook and Brazile. Does anyone know if and how well Obama’s people worked with the remnant of the old party? They certainly had many more local offices than the Clinton campaign.

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