Links 3/21/17

US billionaire philanthropist David Rockefeller dies at 101 BBC

Como se dança o merengue… Trust me. Watch this. You will thank me.

Ivory-Sniffing Dogs Are Running Down Poachers Across Africa Motherboard (resilc)

Researchers Taught Bees To Play Soccer In The Name Of Science (video) MSN. Dan K: “Not trivial.”

The Perils of Pot Farming: A Season on America’s Least Chill Weed Farm Men’s Journal (resilc)

Siberia permafrost: Over 7,000 methane-filled bubbles ‘ready to explode’ discovered in Arctic International Business Times (Dan K)

Global brands shun Google The Times

Deadly spider venom could ward off stroke brain damage, say doctors Guardian

Lowest maximum on record (again) Arctic Sea Ice (Chuck L)

Atlantic City and Miami Beach: two takes on tackling the rising waters Guardian (UserFriendly)

Non-Euro Investors Dump €192 Billion of Bonds: First Annual Outflow in History, Euro-Area Buys US Assets Michael Shedlock

Euro zone’s Dijsselbloem wants bailout fund turned into a European IMF Reuters. Wow, TPTB in Europe are confronting the idea that the IMF may not continue in future Greek bailouts, which means it is a not out of the question. Even though the excuse for broaching the topic is getting the ECB out, having two institutions with similar purviews is a prescription for turf wars.


Politics + time = No quick Brexit deal Politico. Consistent with what we have been saying from the get-go. But note that while treaties that are just about trade (as in traded goods) can be fleshed out in less than 2 years, services deals are an entirely different kettle of fish, and take much longer.

The road from Article 50 to Brexit: what happens next? Financial Times. Some key dates. Look how long before formal talks begin! However, the UK will get a quick indication at a high level as to how tough a line the EU plans to take pretty pronto.

Brexit, Nationalism and the Damage Done Counterpunch

Frankfurt takes early lead in Brexit race to poach City jobs Financial Times

The alarmist Brexit press got everything wrong about the Dutch elections Guardian

5 takeaways from the French presidential debate Politico


The Great Game: Power Politics or Free Play? Counterpunch (resilc)

US: Team Up with Kurds Not Turkey to Destroy Islamic State LoebLob (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

UN Report on Mass Surveillance: “Trying To Appear Tough On Security By Legitimising Largely Useless, Hugely Expensive And Totally Disproportionate Measures Which Are Intrusive On So Many People’s Privacy” George Washington

China is fighting toilet paper thieves with facial recognition software The Verge (Dan K)

Imperial Collapse Watch

America’s Epidemic of Infallibility New York Times. Resilc: “He should read his own stuff.”

Trump Transisiton

Meals on Wheels receives spike in donations after White House proposes cuts Independent (resilc)

For Donald Trump, a Terror Attack Will Be an Opportunity Not a Curse Intercept

Majority of Americans Oppose Trump’s Proposed Increases to the Defense Budget US News. Martha r: “3/8. Still germane.”

Comey Deals Trump a Political Blow When He Can Least Afford It Bloomberg

Donald Trump in Mar-a-Lago: Palm Beach Considering Tax Raise Fortune (resilc)

Democrats raise doubts about Trump’s high court nominee Gorsuch Reuters (EM)

Can Chuck Schumer Check Donald Trump? New Yorker (furzy). Anyone pinning their hopes on Schumer needs his head examined.

Sheldon Whitehouse’s Shockingly Awesome Gorsuch Statement Matt Stoller, Medium (Keith F)

If Gorsuch is confirmed, the legitimacy of the US supreme court won’t recover Russ Feingold, Guardian (martha r)

James Comey, Mike Rogers Testify on Wiretapping, Russia: Live Analysis Wall Street Journal

The Missing Logic of Russia-gate Consortiumnews (martha r)

Trump Shifting Authority Over Military Operations Back to Pentagon New York Times

US curbs laptops and tablets on flights from Mideast Financial Times

Trump’s Budget is Actually a Press Release Barry Ritholtz (resilc)

FIONA HILL TO TAKE OVER PRESIDENT TRUMP’S RUSSIA DESK John Helmer. Hardy a Russia-friendly move.

Is Trump Trolling the White House Press Corps? New Yorker (furzy)

Why Bernie Is the Most Popular Politician in America Alternet (John Z)

The Public is Clueless About the Federal Budget and It’s the New York Times’ Fault Dean Baker (martha r)

Paul Manafort, Former Trump Campaign Chief, Faces New Allegations in Ukraine New York Times (furzy). This was greedy and stupid if these charges pan out. But anything coming out of the Ukraine government needs heavy-duty vetting.


Conservative House Republicans Say They Have Votes to Block Health Bill Wall Street Journal. It may be too much to hope, but this whole thing could come a cropper in the House, diminishing Paul Ryan.

A 40-year ‘conspiracy’ at the VA Politico. Important and depressing.

Persistence Puts Turner on Path to Education, Politics Diverse (martha r)

Is Preet Bharara’s Next Move Coming Into Focus? Vanity Fair (Marshall)

A 40-year ‘conspiracy’ at the VA Politico. Dan K: “Talk about click-baiting the headline… good article though.”

Fake News

The CIA’s 60-Year History of Fake News: How the Deep State Corrupted Many American Writers Truthdig (Sid S)

​NYT’s ‘Tinfoil Hat’ Conspiracy Theory Consortium News (martha r, Sid S)

The big journalism void: ‘The real crisis is not technological, it’s geographic’ Guardian. Dan K: “Over a month old, but shouldn’t be missed. Healthy local journalism is a pillar of community, and an important and possibly essential compliment to community activism.”

Trump delay of the ‘fiduciary rule’ will cost retirement savers $3.7 billion Economic Policy Institute (resilc)

Despite Financial Engineering & Clever Reporting Schemes, S&P 500 Earnings per Share Stuck for 3+ Years, but Stocks Soar Wolf Richter

Used Car Prices Plunge Most in Any Month Since 2008, Only 2nd February Decline in 20 Years Michael Shedlock (EM)

Guillotine Watch

What could go wrong with a million-dollar wedding? Check out the million-dollar lawsuit. Washington Post (Kokuanani)

Class Warfare

The revenge of the ‘Oxy electorate’ helped fuel Trump’s election upset Business Insider. Dan K: “The revenge of the ‘Oxy electorate’ helped fuel Trump’s election upset.”

The risk of a single 5-day opioid prescription, in one chart Vox (resilc)

Reactionary Working Class? The Bullet (Sid S)

Lin-Manuel Miranda talks to Morgan Stanley about wealth management and financial literacy Morgan Stanley (MS)

Antidote du jour. Stephen L: “Neighborhood ‘possum.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Ignim Brites

    “​NYT’s ‘Tinfoil Hat’ Conspiracy Theory”. The whole “Russia is at war with us” meme makes more sense if the purpose is to insure that the US does not acquiesce to a Russian Iranian alliance to dominate the middle east.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I understand that that is how some people in DC might see it, but it’s pretty hard to see how Iran (which already has Russian backing) can “dominate the Middle East” given that Saudi Arabia has the biggest proven oil reserves in the world, Iraq is #2, and both have light sweet crude, while Iran has heavy sour crude, meaning it has a pretty limited market unless oil prices are high. Many experts believed the reasons Saudis quit supporting oil at $80-$90 wasn’t mainly to hurt US shale producers (it’s official “swing supplier” position) but was much more about damaging Iran.

      However, having said that, Putin has managed to punch way above his weight due to the utter hash the US has made of the situation.

      1. andyb

        The constant and consistent Russian demonizing, facts be damned, is getting old, but it certainly shows how corrupt our politicians are, whether R or D. “The Russians invaded Crimea (or Ukraine)”, has no factual basis, and neither does the claim that Russians were responsible for MH17. Putin made a big mistake locating his country in the midst of all those NATO military bases (sarc). I wonder what the American neocon reaction would be if the Russians located nuclear missiles within miles of US borders? Oh wait, wasn’t there such a thing as the Cuban missile crisis?

      2. Ignim Brites

        Iran can dominate due to population and a Russian nuclear and air defense umbrella. We have made a hash of the situation because we have minimal strategic interests in the middle east whereas Russia has a clear and pressing requirement to contain Sunni extremism.

        1. vidimi

          i think the US is genuinely afraid of russia because putin has proved to be able to do a lot more with much much less than the neoliberal empire’s finest.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            They aren’t afraid of Putin. They are afraid of a world where a random Prime Minister can buy a retrofitted Cessna and an S-400, canceling the planned F-35 purchase, a world where Chinese advisors and contractors are hired ahead of Americans contracting frauds, where the Iranian navy polices the Somalian pirates, and a world where finance is decentralized.

            They fear a world where Americans question the government’s relationship with private enterprise.

            The one key advantage is China is the competitor and feared by its neighboring states. Inevitably, the natural relationship and sensibilities of working with with China will supplant the U.S. for , up of the world. The speed and extent of that change will be dictated not by personalities in Beijing but whether can offer a junior partner to serve as a buffer to both China’s relative isolation, given long term effects of Euro colonization and spheres of influence and size. If Vietnam can work with Korea, why not random African countries or South America? Did you know Amsterdam was once the financial capital of the world? Scholars traveled from all over Europe to Bologna to learn about law. The “globalization” types have always promised “law” would be a huge U.S. export. Wall Street’s dominance won’t last forever.

            Without get rich quick schemes and arms exports, the U.S. is starting to look really crummy.

            1. susan the other

              after the Trump-Merkel meeting, when he told her Germany owed us “vast sums”, did she go straight to Putin and tell him that all he had to do was make minimally good on Minsk and she would welcome him as a world partner with open arms… or was that just an artifact of TV editing to make it look like she was on the rebound? Any connection?

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                As Russia isn’t a signatory to the Minsk agreement, it’s a bit of a moot point. Merkel’s rise is due to being bland when the SDs were self imploding, and the CDs decided they couldn’t agree on a leader from more prominent members. They picked a place holder who wouldn’t offend the population to get over the finish line. Since the SDs are basically a Sanders away from winning, the CDs can’t simply replace Merkel with a more boorish candidate.

                I don’t expect her to ever “lead” so to speak beyond defenses of the status quo and kicking Southern Mediterraneans which is a German past time.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  Kiev are the ones trampling Minsk, much more than Moscow. And wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of this sound and fury resulted in some light too, being shone on the whole cloth of lies and exceptionalism that currently passes for the American world view. “Russia invaded Crimea!” (ahem, *cough Iraq cough*, plus a 92% plebiscite by the Crimean people) “Russia tampered with our election!” (Um Yeltsin, and just about every Third world election ever).

            2. Anonymous

              Putin RUINED HRC’s attempted regime change in Syria.

              Hillary Clinton, McCain, other NeoCons (Graham, Kagan, etc), CIA, DeepState, Saudis and Israel ALL want Syria in chaos, ruled by jihadi terrorists.

              Israel probably wants all of the Golan Heights, everyone wants control of the territory, gas, etc.

              The Syria “civil war” (NOT) was an attack on the Shia Crescent, which includes Iran.

              A lot of motivation to take out Putin, in addition to Assad.

              Dems are NeoCons

              1. flora

                That must have reallly pissed off the Saudis. One Saudi prince claims the kingdom funded 20% of Hillary’s campaign. (Well, someone earlier said the Saudis are regarded as dumb money by Wall St.) The Saudis want Assad gone. Russia has entered the Syria fray on the side of Assad, or at least against ISIS. The Saudis are not pleased. They paid good money to get a US president useful to their regional ambitions. And what did they get instead? President Trump! Trump, who talks like a detente era president wrt Russia. Saudi’s can’t like that.

                Yes, Dems are NeoCons.

    2. Carolinian

      purpose is to insure that the US does not acquiesce to a Russian Iranian alliance to dominate the middle east

      This should read “purpose is to insure that a Russian Iranian alliance doesn’t interfere with an Israeli/Saudi goal to dominate the middle east.” Fixed it for ya.

      Seemingly the current hostility toward Russia really kicked in when Russia brokered a deal to stop a US attack on Syria following that false flag nerve gas attack. The neocons had such high hopes for those cruise missiles.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The bright side is we don’t hear about Armageddon, fighting an army from the north.

        Just secular madness.

            1. ambrit

              “A soda can is not a religious object.”
              Woah there! To Madison Avenue, a Soda Can is a religious object. Much advertising is framed in cult like terms. Are not Wall Street, the City, the Bourse etc. but manifestations of Mammon?
              Also, what are Unicorns and assorted Jihadiis but Islamic versions of Crusaders; Crescenters.

    3. nippersdad

      I was under the impression it had much more to do with the BRICS efforts to start an alternative exchange currency to the Petrodollar. That seemed to be the underlying reason for Iraq and Libya, so why not Russia as well?

      1. todde

        There isn’t a currency that can replace the dollar.

        The Euro can barely meet the demands of the European market, let alone the worlds.

        And China doesn’t have the domestic capability to be the world’s consumer yet.

          1. John k

            The reserve currency, or currencies, must be currencies of countries with trade deficits, i.e. Currencies foreigners want to save and or use to finance trade. To put this in other words, a trade deficit means we export dollars, as is necessary for growing world trade, whether Iranian oil or Aussie iron ore.
            What currencies would you select for the basket?

            Note that both Europe and china suffer a trade surplus, tending to suck their currencies back into their respective country. Foreigners don’t want Their savings in these currencies.

            When foreigners no longer wish to save green paper we will stop enjoying our deficit.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Not just “suffer,” they view running surpluses as desirable, which they are if you are concerned about domestic employment, since surpluses are equivalent to importing jobs.

  2. MoiAussie

    The alarmist Brexit press got everything wrong … has a link not to the Guardian, but an earlier Politico article also on Brexit. Should be to here.

      1. MoiAussie

        Well, it’s almost fixed :) Now there’s a blank +target= at the end that needs to be trimmed.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Further to the Brexit links / coverage, I returned from 5 days in Paris yesterday evening. There was a feature about the visit of William and Kate on TF1 on Sunday evening. The BBC’s Nicholas Witchell was interviewed briefly. In addition to an obsequious comment about how William greeted Hollande (“with panache”), he said that as the French have a soft spot for the royals, that will help get a good (Brexit) deal for the UK. I was / am staggered by the delusion.

      The next stops for Workshy Wills and Kate are Berlin and Warsaw. One wonders if HMG / the FO will play up the German connections in Berlin. This will end 100 years of playing down their German connections.

      I wonder if the person who came up with the idea of royal lobbying was joking and did not expect the joke to be taken seriously. If HMG wants to carry on like that, there are Saxe-Coburgs in Belgium and Bulgaria. The last king of Bulgaria became prime minister.

      1. craazyboy

        We’d be willing to send Princess Chelsea over, if the Crown thinks she could help with the tour. Actually, we’ve just recently been trying out the title of “Princess”, so there is some risk whether Chelsea will be accepted among the Old Royalty in Europe.

        But the title does strongly hint of a career path leading to Queen, so it may be a worthwhile investment to get in early with some inexpensive butt kissing which may pay off handsomely in the future.

        Also, are any William of Orange heirs still around? He was the kind of guy that could be King anywhere?

        1. Anonymous2

          Also re Brexit, I see the UK is exploring a ten-year transitional arrangement with the WTO. The idea appears to be to suggest a ten-year transitional period to the EU27 with free trade between the EU and the UK for that period. Might the EU27 buy this? As always it would depend on the inducements offered. Agreement to pay the 60bn euros Brussels is looking for, together with a substantial further annual financial contribution through to 2029 might tempt some EU countries, but who knows?

          It would presumably do nothing for UK services or prevent non-tariff barriers being erected, so might be more of cosmetic than genuine benefit to UK exporters.

          I can see the idea being floated around for a while, though, to see if the UK can tempt some EU interest, or at the very least to show that the UK government is not completely bereft of ideas.

    2. m-ga

      An anecdotal tidbit. I was at an economics conference in the UK this weekend. It favoured heterodox economics. One of the speakers was an academic from a UK university, specialising in trade deals.

      He said that the one area of trade deals where the UK does have expertise is investor protection. Apparently this function was only handed over to the EU in 2012, and so would be easier than other aspects of UK trade expertise to resurrect. He also said that the UK government is very keen on investor protection – it apparently goes back a long way, to when the UK used to have colonies. His speciality was TTIP. He said that what the UK government is likely to pursue after Brexit will contain stronger investor protection than was present in TTIP.

      Readers of this website will be aware that investor protection (essentially, the rights of corporations to sue governments if they don’t make a profit) was one of the most unpalatable aspects of TTIP. It seems as if the UK is about to sign itself up to investor protection on steroids.

      I asked about the assumption that the UK could unilaterally force a move to WTO most favoured nation status. This assumption is widespread in both chambers (Commons and Lords) in the UK. It also goes against what I remember reading from a WTO official – as I understand, the move to WTO rules is the WTO’s gift, not an automatic right of the UK.

      The answer I got was difficult to follow, but centred on the UK already being a member of the WTO via the EU. The implication was that it would be possible for membership to continue post-Brexit. I pushed a bit harder, and asked if there was any way the rest of the EU could make an implicit threat of ceasing imports to the UK – for example, no food or electricity. But I couldn’t get a reply. I’m still not sure if a Greece-style scenario, where essential imports are temporarily unavailable, is a possibility. I think that all UK MPs and MEPs are currently viewing the worst case scenario as the overnight imposition of tariffs in the 10% to 20% range. But I’m not sure that the assumption is sound.

      The implication, of course, is that if food and electricity imports to the UK can be stopped (however briefly), the UK government will have no option but to take whatever deal they can get anywhere. This would include countries other than the EU. The alternative would be riots.

      1. Anonymous2

        Also possibly of great importance could be the terms for UK air flights. At present the UK is part of the Common European airspace. I think if they leave the Single Market, this membership falls away. I believe that at present 85% of UK international flights go through EU airspace. I am no expert on these matters but find it inconceivable the UK would long live with serious disruption to its international flights. If anyone more expert could shed light, is it conceivable that the UK could be deprived of access to European airspace? As far as I can work out, that would presumably prevent air travel by UK airlines between the UK and all destinations in Europe, Asia and Australia. It seems too far-fetched to credit but these are very strange times.

        1. m-ga

          This was in the FT article linked above. Airlines want a deal for UK flights a year from now (i.e. a year from A50 notification), since airlines sell tickets a year in advance.

          1. Anonymous2

            Thank you. Having done a little research it seems that there is a bilateral agreement between the EU and Switzerland on aviation. There may be a problem for the UK in copying this: one of the conditions is freedom of movement.

            The more I think about these issues the more I think the UK may end up having to pay the EU an extremely large sum of money to extract itself from its current predicament.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I find this an astonishing claim in light of the fact that:

        1. London has essentially no restrictions on rehypothecation of securities.

        2. The permissibility of Lehman’s Repo 105 was based on a strained reading of UK law that no US firm would sign off on (most major white shoe firms with securities law practices also have big London officers and hence expertise in UK law too). Lehman did the Repo 105 through its London operation:

        3. AIG’s derivatives operation that felled the insurer was headquartered in London because it had more latitude there than in the US.

        4. Most SIVs were booked in London for #1 plus other reasons.

        5. Scottish Limited Partnerships are a major vehicle for money laundering.

      1. CitizenSissy

        The dancing dog is the perfect foil for all the rampant godawfulness. Bless you, Yves.

  3. craazyman

    The news is bad again today. This has become a pattern that I’ve noticed in recent years. The general tenor of the news seems to be aggravating, bad, chilling, depressing, edgy, fractious, gloomy, hysterical, invidious, juvenile, Kremlinooillogical, laughable, menacing, nihilistic, onananistic (it’s my list and I can type what I want to, type what I want to . . . . you can type too if news happens to you-ewww-eww-ewww-ewww), pathetic (or if you prefer something more abstract – patulous), querulous, rancid, slimy, (it’s getting late and I have to go to work and do these off the top of my head so they’re getting less ” creative”, tendentious, unbelievable, vapid, wretched and zingy — all at the same time! That’s news for you. It’s hard to read it and know what’s going on! hahah

    1. craazyman

      I can’t believe it shut down on me and didn’t pull in my x words and y word edtis before my time ran out: xeccivious and yewontbelieveitifyoureadit

    2. ambrit

      I too suffer from early morning logorrhea. My form of the affliction is often verbal. Hence, I have an extensive vocabulary of versions of “Shaddup” that delights and amuses me when times get boring.
      I’ve often wondered how bicoastal onanism is pulled off. Several correspondents tell me that it is a .01% fave.
      Kissy, kissy.

    3. craazyboy

      Off the top of your head? That’s impressive. That’s like having a neatly organized warehouse ( alphabetically arranged) of the makings for word salads, right there in your head. Most people have to fumble thru a thesaurus for minutes or hours to make word salads. hahaha.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      Whatever you do, do NOT read the link ” A 40-year ‘conspiracy’ at the VA Politico.”

      That one will put you over the edge, figuratively as well as, quite possibly, literally.

      “Perhaps this was a golden era of the kind of, ‘Let’s all make the world a better place by working together’ attitude,” Munnecke says. “It seems terribly naive today, but it was a driving force back then.”

  4. Kokuanani

    Re the Guardian article on Atlantic City & Miami Beach: it would be helpful to indicate where Mar-a-Largo is on the FL map.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Thank you for the link. I too try to follow Mirowski as best I can. I’ve watched one of his recent videos which struck a cord with me several times: Prof. Philip Mirowski keynote for ‘Life and Debt’ conference []. Its description of the Neoliberal approach for dealing with Global Warming seems particularly germane to the recent flow of Global Warming links.

    2. skippy

      Agree with the introductory quote Paul Bové provides and Philip Mirowski’s early observation about the left not wanting to acknowledge neoliberalism like the plague. In my own experience, say Marxists, just want to view capitalism as a monolith, any debate or discussion about neoliberalism detracts from that perspective and as such jeopardizes their philosophical view.

      Need to put complexity in nice big simple piles or history in simple frameworks like Sunday school.

      disheveled… bad case of Kantian rigidity which is on par with AET sorts….

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      In one of his talks — Mirowski referred to the Atlas Network — a network of Neoliberal Foundations. I went there out of curiosity. Mirowski described the depth and extent of the Neoliberal Thought Collective: “Explore our expansive directory of 467 partners in 95 countries around the globe. The strengths of our dedicated partners have created some of the world’s greatest improvements in freedom.” []. I only looked through the front end of this list of “partners” which included the likes of AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE, AYN RAND INSTITUTE, CATO INSTITUTE, F. A. V. HAYEK INSTITUTE, Vienna, Austria …. And just to put icing on this cake — “Atlas Network is a four-star Charity Navigator member since 2008.” and “The Atlas Network is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and does business under its trade name, Atlas Network. All contributions are tax-deductible …” This scary project is also a tax write-off!

  5. Darius

    It’s funny the Republican ultras may save us from Ryancare. The saved us from Obama’s Grand Bargain because he was giving them only 99 percent of what they wanted, not 100 percent and they would accept only unconditional surrender. Democrats we’re OK with Social Security cuts. It was the far right that stopped it.

  6. Marco

    “Uber’s toxic culture of rule breaking, explained” via Yglesias. (not gonna link)

    Uber now deemed worthy of scorn from our media gatekeepers at VOX. Although unfortunate, a toxic corporate culture of sexual harassment affecting a handful (perhaps dozens) of women is the line one dare never cross as opposed to a toxic exploitive BUSINESS MODEL harming many thousands.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Clash of the silicon valley and identity politics titans. Could pose a bit of a conundrum for those who’ve made room in their hearts for both.

      Time to play the “mistakes were made” and “lessons were learned” cards? It seems the “immature and inexperienced” card was not high enough to take the trick.

    2. Uahsenaa

      Except the two are not unrelated. A company that tolerates sexual harassment doesn’t give a **** about people. A company that immiserates its own emplo–err, “contractors” also doesn’t give a **** about people. Then to discover that the very same company fosters an environment of constant backstabbing is yet another indication that they don’t give a **** about people. They’re all symptoms of the same disease.

      1. Marco

        I dunno. I’ve heard “wonderful” things about working at Lyft (basically same business model). Even Exxon-Mobil has its act together when fostering a healthy responsible corporate culture allowing for a legion of “Lean In” mommies to flourish. Let’s face it sexual harassment is a rubicon most well-oiled corps refuse to cross nowadays.

        1. inhibi

          Eh Lyft Uber, its all the same. Who thought that a Silicon Valley hyped app mixed with reality would ever be a good thing? They are nothing more than an amalgamation of equal parts think-tank, hedge fund, pyramid scheme, and hype machine. All of which are useless (name me a think tank or hedge fund that actually did something to benefit society).

          Uber worth more than most car companies that make the cars that drive the people around? Hilarious. Uber going to save the planet via ‘ride-sharing’ (aka, for pretty much all of history as taxiing)? Equally hilarious. Uber going to change the way we travel? Heard that one before-they called it the Segway, and it did nothing new just like Uber.

          Bubble already topped, ‘cept these days it takes a while to pop since there is so much cash lying around thanks to QE. QE is prolonging the inevitable, and its painfully obvious. Its why the stock market has deviated from reality with corporate BB & all. It going to be an incredibly rough landing.

        2. Marco

          Beating a dead horse…Slashdot link from today but on 2/7 Michelle Peluso Chief Marketing Officer at IBM bans telecommuting and requiring 2600+ marketing staff relocate to 6 national offices. Most working moms I know find partial work-from-home arrangements a god-send. No more of this from another C-suite “Lean In” mommy.

        3. jrs

          maybe because they can be sued for it? Treating your employees badly is not actually illegal, sexually harassing them is.

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The Missing Logic of Russia-gate Consortiumnews (martha r)

    Clinton herself blamed her surprise defeat on FBI Director Comey’s decision to briefly reopen the investigation into whether she endangered national security by using a private email server as Secretary of State.

    Unless one assumes that Putin’s Ouija board also predicted Comey’s actions or perhaps that Comey is another Russian mole……

    With all the diligent dot-connecting going on, one of the biggest dots is sitting right in front of them talking about conducting the investigation, and they don’t notice????

    And speaking of dots, nyt, how about one of your very own: Former President Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin, The New York Times reported in 2015.

    The inmates have really taken over the asylum this time.

    1. Pat

      Trump derangement syndrome is overwhelming. And remember the same paper cannot make connect the dots from their own reporting about ‘wiretaps’ to Trump’s claims. The all over the place tantrums, even when delivered with a veneer of respectability, are everywhere.

      (And it is a wonder that after listening to a relatively calm discussion between a couple of people about Comey’s testimony destroying Trump, this same group was filled with lots of nodding as one of them lost it and blamed Comey for Clinton’s loss after the praise. “She would be President today if it weren’t for that bastard. I know it!”)

      1. Carolinian

        Find myself avoiding the Times/Po these days. The noise to signal ratio is just too great.

        Thank goodness for NC.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        It is overwhelming. This dot thing is so random and cherry-picked it seems the only conclusion is that it’s just one massive psy-op with the u. s. congress / public as the target.

        The thing that’s getting really scary, though, is that while u. s. intelligence agencies have plenty of experience fomenting this kind of chaos, their record is less than dismal where bringing them to successful resolutions is concerned.

        What the hell is it that they’re so afraid of?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          DC area mortgages. Just like everyone else, bills are the number one issue.

          Outside of a few Maryland sites and old town Alexandria, the Washington metro area is a nightmare of bedroom communities where no one would choose to live. Highways. Commuter lots.

          The wealth in the DC area is so skewed, not because of lobbyists, but because the underclass is priced out and government jobs a certain level of dignity. Those incomes don’t justify housing prices. The prices are what might be expected in Newport, RI which is nice, but the wealthy who aren’t tied to a job don’t relocate to Washington. It’s not nice, and the price is too high for companies to expand into. If federal spending is altered, Kaboom. It will look like they lost a war.

          House poor and keeping up with the Joneses are the issues. After Cold War 1.0, Northern Virginia was in a depression until Gore and then post 9/11 started bringing in jobs. The effects of the 90’s depression can still be seen all over route 1 in Nova.

          Or imagine renting there. Yikes! At least, you won’t have a mortgage, but yeesh.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I should add: at some point the 96 Senators and 420+ Congressmen would aren’t part of the blessed realm will come for that spending in light of the telephone being a device in common usage negating the need for many of the jobs to be so clustered.

        2. JohnnyGL


          I really think Brazil’s removal of Dilma is the template, here. A coup, but without the messy violence.

          The media played an absolutely pivotal role in that episode.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            President Pence within 18 months, probably sooner. At the end of the day impeachment doesn’t require facts or charges or malfeasance.
            I wish I could say it was the beginning of something good, right now the Dems are screeching “we’re against that guy because Russia, because tweets, because personal business conflicts”. If they could evolve that to “we’re against that guy’s policies and here are our alternatives” then we’d be getting somewhere.

    2. craazyboy

      Then there is the Podesta group being the DeeCee lobbyist for Russia’s largest bank – and I’m certain Putin talks to his bank on a regular basis.

      I keep wondering how the Beltway folks keep from scaring the crap outta each other. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

    1. MoiAussie

      This is just par for the course nowadays. In a similar vein, there has been little coverage of the US drone strike on the mosque in Jinah, Syria. Initial MSM coverage, what there was of it, was largely limited to pentagon denials, e.g. US denies carrying out Syria mosque air strike near Aleppo which killed at least 46 people and US military says warplanes did not bomb Syrian mosque. These denials continued even when such unlikely truth-tellers as the White Helmets reported “significant civilian casualties”. Finally yesterday, the Hill reported Pentagon assessing reports of civilian deaths after airstrike in Syria.

      Going beyond the denials requires looking further afield. Moon of Alabama was quick off the mark, covering both this and the Yemen refugee boat attack in Which “War Torn” Country? – U.S. Slaughter In Somalia, Yemen And Syria, which revealed:

      The U.S. maps and intelligence were not up-to-date. A new, bigger mosque had been build some years ago opposite of the old mosque. The old mosque was indeed not hit. The new one was destroyed while some 200 people were in attendance. Eight hellfire missiles launched from two Reaper drones were fired at it and a 500lb bomb was then dropped on top to make sure that no one escaped alive.

      More importantly, the report made the telling point:

      Had the Russian or Syrian army committed the strike the “western” outcry would have been great. For days the media would have provide gruesome photos and stories. The U.S. ambassador at the UN would have spewed fire and brimstone. But this intelligence screw-up happened on the U.S. side.

      Hence the denials and lack of significant coverage.

      The contrast between the MSM coverage of the liberation of Aleppo and the ongoing liberation of Mosul speaks volumes. Similarly the US/UK/Australian/Danish air attack on Syrian forces in Deir Ezzor in effective support of an ISIL ground attack last September was scarcely covered in Australian media, despite it’s significance as an apparently deliberate attempt to sabotage the ceasefire and improved US/Russia cooperation in Syria. The Danes subsequently decided to pull their planes out of the conflict in December, unlike the Australians who are still “all the way with USA”.

      1. fresno dan

        March 21, 2017 at 10:23 am

        Nice background.
        There are now more true believers (exceptional country) in the US news media than there were Catholics in 14th century Italy….and I would say with considerably less ability to challenge or question the orthodoxy.

    2. Parker Dooley

      Orwell nailed it in 1984. Newsreel showing lifeboat being bombed, Mother trying desperately to protect child. Body parts flying, audience cheering. Plus ca change…

  8. DogDancing

    So-what headline — Man dances

    Better headline — Dog dances

    Much better headline — Dog dances, better than man

  9. vidimi

    why do the press have to refer to every US or british oligarch as a billionnaire philanthropist? why not just leave it at billionnaire?

    1. Vatch

      Yes, the conjunction of “philanthropist” with “billionaire” is tiresome. A low income person who makes a few small donations to charities is more of a philanthropist than any billionaire is, because the low income donor’s material quality of life will be tangibly affected by giving away some money. Billionaires never feel the effects of their donations. They still continue to own four houses, a yacht, and a private jet, even after they donate millions to their family charity. No billionaire risks becoming homeless because he gave away some money.

    2. s.n.

      mere billionaire philanthropists?
      the sackler family has that one trumped, at least on their wiki entry:
      Horticultural legacy
      Passionate gardener Theresa Sackler bought the right to name a new rose cultivar at a charity auction in 2002. The rose, bred by David Austin, was named for her husband, who she said was brought to mind by the official description of the rose, which stated that the blooms “give the impression of delicacy and softness but are, in fact, very tough and little affected by bad weather'”

      followed by 2 column inches of fluff on all their good works and only a teeny unsubstantiated mention of their bad works
      let’s see bill gates top that

  10. allan

    Controversial New York measure lands in GOP health care bill [Rochester D&C]

    Hoping to win support from upstate Republicans, House leaders late on Monday added a controversial proposal to their health care bill that would require New York State to absorb Medicaid costs from county governments.

    he provision by GOP Rep. Chris Collins, of Clarence, would apply to the $2.3 billion raised from counties outside New York City, which Collins says is critical for Western New York.Collins, a former Erie County executive, introduced the measure with the help of Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook.

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a blistering statement against it Monday, blaming Collins and Faso for creating a “death trap” that will devastate most hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Upstate New York and on Long Island. There is no way to make up the shortfall, he said.

    “New Yorkers will remember,” Cuomo said. “The bill for Congressman Collins and Faso’s rabid conservative zealotry will be paid by Upstate New York’s hard-working families, and those families will know exactly who to thank.” …

    Well, that bromance didn’t last long.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Paul Manafort, Former Trump Campaign Chief, Faces New Allegations in Ukraine New York Times (furzy). This was greedy and stupid if these charges pan out. But anything coming out of the Ukraine government needs heavy-duty vetting.

    If vetted, that’s a big scandal.

    Trump should fire him, to move on from this.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      He fired him in August. Manafort worked for Trump for all of four months. That’s why even if Manafort was up to something No Kosher, that hardly says anything re Trump, given how short-lived and stormy their relationship was.

      By contrast, Bill Clinton made $500,000 giving a speech on behalf of a Russian investment bank, Renaissance Capital, but no one is screaming “Russian influence” over something way more concrete than anyone has yet to find on Trump. The New York Times also confirmed the allegations re the Clinton’s role in uranium sales to Russia as detailed in Clinton Cash (the book is pretty careful but Fox et al have made more hyperbolic claims based on it).

  12. funemployed

    Anyone else notice the completely-irrelevant-to-the-article Russia conspiracy plug at the beginning of Russ Feingold’s article re: Gorsich?

    1. SumiDreamer

      I did. Extremely disappointing innit.

      If you are awake it’s astonishing how many zinger statements are passing notice these days. #WarFever

      In an article about Czarina Ivanka they took a swipe about Ms. Assad. This just goes to show how in cahoots with empire continuation/armaments sales the mandarins really are.

    2. cocomaan

      My wife pointed out how terrible NPR’s coverage of Gorsuch turned out. Totenberg reports like a tabloid writer.

      TOTENBERG: And there was a lot that was clearly put in at an attempt to humanize him. I’ll let you judge for yourself whether it sounded hokey or not.


      NEIL GORSUCH: To my teenage daughter watching out West, bathing chickens for the county fair, devising ways to keep our determined pet goat out of the garden, building a semi-functional ply-board hovercraft for science fair…

      TOTENBERG: And then there was the moment when Judge Gorsuch said to his wife, I love you, and turned around in his witness chair to hug her in the middle of the hearing room with dozens of photographers clicking away – a little reminiscent of Al and Tipper Gore’s convention kiss – more modest, I would say, but equally awkward.

      I’m further convinced that NPR is filled with drug-addled victorians. They get three minutes to cover the hearings and they use the words “hokey” and “awkward”? Are they twelve years old?

      1. nycTerrierist

        They found a way to be ‘critical’ that wouldn’t get them fired by their corporate owners.
        Shame on them.

        1. beth

          i think you are right. I heard Nina Totenberg speak around 1990 in Toledo, Ohio and her analysis of the Supreme Court was that it needed more people on the Court who had had lived outside of the elite circles so they could understand the problems of ordinary people.

          I was impressed since she was addressing an audience that probably missed her point since most were maybe not elite but very well off.

      2. JamesG

        Not too many years ago I tried to initiate a meme: NPR = Nina, Plagiarizing Reporter.

        (The details have faded for me but not the memory of the occurring scandal.)

      3. DorothyT

        PR firms have divisions called “Public Affairs.” They have experts (don’t ask their backgrounds) that prep people like Gorsuch for hearings like this.

        Nina Totenberg has heard it all — more than a human being should have to tolerate. Good for her.

        I wish I could say such things more frequently about PBS’s and NPR’s usual take on the news, i.e. Cokey Roberts. More of Totenberg’s ‘gimlet eye’ would be welcome to me.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    UN Report on Mass Surveillance: “Trying To Appear Tough On Security By Legitimising Largely Useless, Hugely Expensive And Totally Disproportionate Measures Which Are Intrusive On So Many People’s Privacy” George Washington

    It’s been a few elections, has any one, conservative or progressive, run primarily on reversing the largely useless parts of mass surveillance?

    If you are not against it, you are for it; and if you are not with us, you’re against us.

    1. LT

      Check out the part in the article where it says NSA whistleblowers say the surveillance is largely about “crushing dissent” and “blackmailing opponents.”

      For people afraid “those terrorists” are going to kill them, this goes back to my musing about violence in the USA being largely a domestic affair.
      What politician is going to say, “Americans need to better manage and navigate their personal relationships for safety?” That would entail talking about the mental stresses in our lives and the external environment (as well as internal) which cause them.
      And that doesn’t fund more guns and weaponry (locally and militarily) or surveillance.
      It might mean the people would be better served with mental health and other types of services – social contract.

    2. LT

      And reading The Intercept article about an attack being an opportunity rather than curse for the Trump administration, I won’t be holdjng my breath for reversals on all the spying.
      Then we have the corporations that want us to forget what it was liks to go to a store, make a purchase and not having a business follow you around, electronically or otherwise, like a dog in heat.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        1. Attack – an opportunity for someone. Who benefits? In one’s mind: false flag to benefit someone. An idea has been implanted.

        2. No Attack – Trump is wrong. Hysteria on his part.

        It’s like the test for witches – tie one up and see if she floats. If yes, she is one. If she drowns, she is innocent.

        1. LT

          Don’t think Greenwald was saying false flag. I wasn’t either.
          It could be an actual one, but the out of control surveillance isn’t the way to deal with it. That is what has the opportunistic purposes.

            1. LT

              I can’t even bother with the “Russia” hype anymore.
              I wish there was more coverage on the Supreme Court nominee’s hearings in the MSM.
              Putin won’t be legally interpreting the constitution.

    3. fresno dan

      March 21, 2017 at 10:19 am

      Undoubtedly, there is a lot of money in software writing and software “security” and allowing corporations to monitor customers better to ever go back.
      But I think this is all Maginot line stuff – do they really think EVERY terrorist posts on Facebook “kill infidels”???

  14. AarCanard

    The Public is Clueless About the Federal Budget and It’s the New York Times’ Fault

    A bit unfair, as any scientist can tell you. Most journalists are terrible with numbers and putting them into context, whether it’s economics, physics, or (surprise!) statistics. It’s not just the NYT.

    The antidote:

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Like all students, future journalists take math…in high school.

      Are our math teachers failing us? If journalists are terrible with numbers, their teacher should fail them.

      Maybe they’re not terrible with numbers. Maybe they don’t bother.

      1. AarCanard

        I would argue that it’s not about math skills, but about numeracy skills: being able to engage with numbers on a critical level in the same way that we try to (or should try to) teach kids to engage with texts in a critical fashion. Both require time and effort to develop. That’s not on the teacher of a single subject; that’s on all teachers, I think, including those who teach English composition.

        My experience with teaching science to high school students as part of a summer program in the US is that their teachers often had the lowest numeracy skills of all participants. (A biology teacher teaching physics who flinches when you mention powers of ten was an eye opener.) If you can’t find qualified people to teach these skills, what can we reasonably expect from our students?

        Why should journalists bother? At all? Well, there’s a question for our times…

    2. Katharine

      Not a bit unfair. It is part of the job of a reporter to provide context. Baker has been pointing that out for years, and CEPR has in fact provided calculators that make it easy if the reporters are really too poorly informed about the field they’ve been given to cover to know how to do it. For those calculators and other research tools, see

      1. AarCanard

        I should have phrased that “A bit unfair. As any scientist can tell you, most journalists…” My nitpick was with the singling out NYT, since the problem is hardly the fault of one newspaper. I completely agree that responsible journalists (and their editors) should provide proper context for numbers they quote.

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        Well, there’s no reason for reporters to be either mis- or uninformed, since this is available to at least given them the basics.

  15. allan

    What Did Black Colleges Win From Meetings With Trump? [Inside Higher Ed]

    The Trump budget proposal released last week promised to maintain institutional support for historically black colleges. But it does so while dealing a blow to grant-based and work-study programs on which black colleges and their students depend.

    And that’s not the vision many leaders of black colleges had when they met (and posed for photos with) President Trump — and heard him talk about how much of a priority black colleges would be in his administration.

    More than 55,000 students at those institutions would be affected by the elimination of the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, a federal program serving those with very low income levels, which was zeroed out in the Trump budget blueprint. And 26,000 with work-study jobs would be affected by slashing that program, said United Negro College Fund President and CEO Michael Lomax in a letter last week to Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director. …

  16. cocomaan

    From The Guardian:

    Never before has Senate leadership so openly and intentionally played political games with our highest court.

    They should just stand by while the president stacks the court, right? 1937 was congressional interference!

  17. european

    I wonder if our French users could comment a bit about how the big debate went yesterday?

    From what i’ve read, Melenchon seems to have done well while Hamon not so much. Maybe there is a chance that the left could unite behind Melenchon after all?

    Le Pen was not crucified by Figaro and Le Monde, which probably means she did rather well?

    1. David

      I didn’t watch all of it, but in general nobody really did really badly and no-one played a blinder either. What was interesting to me, at least, was the equality of the candidates – Fillon and Hamon are, after all, the representatives of two great political parties, even if they can scarcely muster 30% of intentions to vote between them. Logically they should be the front runners. But they came over as just any two out of five candidates. Hamon in particular was amiable but unexciting. Le Pen and Mélenchon were the most memorable, as you might expect, although not always for the right reasons. Uniting behind Mélenchon would mean effective suicide for theSocialist party, having had their natural candidate, an incumbent President, shot away from them, and it would lead to lots of defections to Macron.

  18. fresno dan

    Robots and Inequality: A Skeptic’s Take

    Douglas Campbell:

    Robots and Inequality: A Skeptic’s Take: Paul Krugman presents “Robot Geometry” based on Ryan Avent’s “Productivity Paradox”. It’s more-or-less the skill-biased technological change hypothesis, repackaged. Technology makes workers more productive, which reduces demand for workers, as their effective supply increases. Workers still need to work, with a bad safety net, so they end up moving to low-productivity sectors with lower wages. Meanwhile, the low wages in these sectors makes it inefficient to invest in new technology.
    My question: Are Reagan-Thatcher countries the only ones with robots? My image, perhaps it is wrong, is that plenty of robots operate in Japan and Germany too, and both countries are roughly just as technologically advanced as the US. But Japan and Germany haven’t seen the same increase in inequality as the US and other Anglo countries after 1980 (graphs below). What can explain the dramatic differences in inequality across countries? Fairly blunt changes in labor market institutions, that’s what. This goes back to Peter Temin’s “Treaty of Detroit” paper and the oddly ignored series of papers by Piketty, Saez and coauthors which argues that changes in top marginal tax rates can largely explain the evolution of the Top 1% share of income across countries.

    Of course, you gotta start with the premise that inequality is something you WANT to do sumthin’ about….and that inequality is BAD….

  19. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: Conspiracy at the VA — Variants of this same sad story could be told again and again about software development inside and outside government. This ruthless murder of spirit in inspired efforts through centralization and control from above — for profit and for managerial aggrandizement — drives much of the decline throughout our society.

    “Modern management techniques killed it,”
    “… Managing all of those applications across a 167-hospital national system, some said, was a nightmare …”
    “Perhaps this was a golden era of the kind of, ‘Let’s all make the world a better place by working together’ attitude,” Munnecke says. “It seems terribly naive today, but it was a driving force back then.”

    These are sad testaments to our times.

    1. uncle tungsten

      ilpalazzo thank you, so lucid, and the presenter got really chafed and challenged at the end.

  20. LT

    Re: Fall in used car prices

    I have to wonder if that is due in any way to increased inventory due to possibly more repos in the subprime auto loan market?

  21. optimader

    Cancer Treatments and Particle Accelerators

    March 24, 2017, 8:00 pm
    Fermilab Ramsey Auditorium
    Dr. Mark Pankuch, Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center
    Tickets: $7
    Purchase tickets »

    Lecture by Dr. Mark Pankuch

    For many cancer patients the standard treatment for solid tumors is the use of high-energy x-rays. To create these x-rays, medical centers use particle accelerators that propel electrons to tens of millions of electronvolts and then collide them into a metallic target to produce the x-ray spectrum used for cancer treatments.

    Physicist Robert Wilson, the founding director of Fermilab, proposed a different cancer treatment method when he published the article “Radiological Use of Fast Protons” in 1946. He suggested using heavy charged particles such as protons to deliver cancer-killing energy to tumors. In the 1990s, Fermilab built the first proton accelerator dedicated to cancer treatment at a medical center. Today cancer treatment with proton accelerators is offered at about a dozen centers across the United States. The physical properties of high-energy protons allow for a more targeted deposition of radiation than with x-rays. In some cases protons can be used to greatly reduce toxic radiation doses to healthy tissue that resides near the tumor, thus reducing treatment side effects.

    When it opened in 2010, the Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center in Warrenville was the ninth proton cancer treatment center in the United States. It remains the only center in Illinois that offers this advanced treatment option. In the six years that the proton center has been open, the technology of delivering protons has continued to advance. One of the cutting-edge advancements is the delivery method of Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy (IMPT), where the proton beam is delivered using a magnetically focused spot that provides control of both intensity and position of the proton beam. IMPT allows the physician to “paint” the radiation dose over the targeted tumor and allows unprecedented control of the treatment beam. This lecture will compare and contrast the different properties of both x-ray therapy and proton therapy and discuss where each modality can be used for the greatest benefits to the patient.

    Dr. Mark Pankuch has been the Director of Medical Physics and Dosimetry at the Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center since the day it opened. He is a longtime resident of the Chicago area: He graduated from Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, attended Benedictine University in Lisle for his undergraduate studies in physics, and then completed his graduate work in medical physics at Rush University in Chicago. He is a member of the American Association of Physicist in Medicine and is currently the President of its Midwest Chapter. Pankuch is the Chair of the Medical Physics committee for the Proton Collaborative Group and is an active collaborator in many proton treatment protocols, including two that are attempting to determine the optimal role for protons in breast cancer treatments.

    1. Jen

      “Dianne Feinstein suggested the President would quit before he was potentially forced out of office after anti-Trump protesters in Los Angeles demanded to know why more wasn’t being done by Congress to remove him from office.

      “We know he is breaking the law every day,” a protester asked the 83-year-old political veteran. “He has obvious dealings with Russia. There’s so many things he’s doing that are unconstitutional. How are we going to get him out?”

      Say there, special snowflake, howzabout you go consult the constitution and get back to us. There will be a quiz.

      These people are idiots.

      1. Jess

        “Say there, special snowflake, howzabout you go consult the constitution and get back to us. There will be a quiz.

        These people are idiots.”

        Yep. Nicely stated.

      2. MLS

        This is the quiz. They are failing it because, yup as you say, these people are idiots.

        And of course Feinstein is catering to them.

  22. George Phillies

    “If Gorsuch is confirmed, the legitimacy of the US supreme court won’t recover Russ Feingold”

    You know, if everyone keeps saying the United States government is illegitimate (qualifiers get lost), eventually politicians may find that the entire public agrees with this position, at which point we have a problem. Readers may recall that similar things happened to the Soviet government in the 1970s and 1980s when the economy stopped delivering, etc. When there was a significant stress, almost no one was willing to die for the USSR, and so it folded up. America can go the same way.

    An interesting problem for liberals, as covered at, is that at least according to Politico the congressional folks reading the raw intelligence intercepts are not finding significant evidence of Trump campaign misdeeds, but consider that when this is reported they have problems with their constituents.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The legitimacy of the US Supreme Court won’t recover his confirmation????

      Recover again, after corporate personhood?

      That person who made that legitimacy statement has no legitimacy.

      1. fosforos

        The US Supreme Court has had no legitimacy ever since John Marshall arrogated to it the exclusive right to “interpret the constitution.”

  23. LT

    For all the talk about the Middle East being a sectarian mess, it still remains to be seen if Europe can make it to the 100 year mark without a major continental clash.

    The US can’t go five years without an international military “intervention” of aome sort.

    1. Massinissa

      100 year mark eh? So I suppose we need to wait until 2045. That’s only 28 years away, many of us will still be alive at that time. A war in that time, its a disturbing thought, but as much as I would like to dismiss it as hyperbole, I am not able to do so. It just seems far too possible.

      1. flora

        “As recently as last August, a Medscape survey of 15,000 physicians found that the VA system, called VistA, ranked as the most usable and useful medical records system, above hundreds of other commercial versions marketed by hotshot tech companies with powerful Washington lobbyists. ”

        The neoliberals can’t extract rents and wealth from the exisiting VA system so it’s gotta be replaced by commercial, lower quality systems because markets.

  24. Tom

    A week or so ago there was a thread here at NC bemoaning the crapfication of everyday products and services. This article — which is actually a long business case for a new startup called ApplianceSwap — zeros in on crapified appliances and examines why modern appliances have a service life that is only 1/3 to 1/4 as long as those from a generation or 2 ago. Hence the title: They used to last 50 years.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      But we have to endure bad politicians longer than ever before.

      Some last more than 50 years.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      The gas stove in my kitchen is a Royal Rose and Royal Rose went out of business in the early 1960s. It works like a champ and I wouldn’t ask my building to replace it.

  25. Alex Morfesis

    Manafort comedy hour in dc…soooo…is there anyway to file a qui tam for comey wasting federal resources doing a phony russian dance around count paul ??

    Let us see if this buster keaton follies routine can be disected…

    Konstantin kilimnik…russian guy…very very bad bad bad…russian therefore bad…except wait…is that not john McCain I see standing there with kilimnik ??

    The john McCain who is the chair of that swampy thingee for flushing federal funds down a blackhole, commonly known as IRI…

    International Republican Institute…

    so…this bad bad bbbbad russian kilimnik, was our guy at IRI in moscow and that is how he and manafort met…

    the blobsters institute cafeteria…

    Taking things off the front pages so das litul peoples can be gaslighted…

    Should there be breathalyzers and drug testing be made mandatory before media chumps can hit send ??

    Is the assignment of stories and direction of articles now mandated by a websearch on trending inquiries and web advertising auction premiums ??

    Almost makes me want to waste a few years chasing that journalism thingee I gave up in college…


    1. uncle tungsten

      Kilimnic might be bbbbad bad bad but I say Semion Mogilevich and Felix Sater are mucho badder. I don’t see any FBI worries about them though.

      Odd that the leading world mafia boss, Mogilevich who must have a far greater stress on global economies and social wellbeing than ISIS or al Qaeda cant be droned to red mist. He lives openly in that place we call the EU, protected by the rule of law and untroubled by the FBI and the revenge state who are busy chasing Russians. Why is that?

  26. Stormcrow

    Meanwhile, outside the boundaries of the MSM …

    Democrats’ anti-Russia hysteria prepares the ground for war
    21 March 2017

    Ever-wider layers of the American population hate the Trump administration. Significant protests have broken out over its attacks on democratic rights, its racist persecution of immigrants, and its frenzied assault on social programs, environmental regulations, art, culture and science. According to the most recent Gallup poll, conducted after the release of Trump’s first budget outline, his approval rating has fallen to 37 percent, with 58 percent disapproving. No administration in recent American history has been so discredited and unpopular so soon after taking office.

    But the Democratic Party has chosen to base its opposition to Trump not on any of the social and political issues vital to tens of millions of working people, but on another ground entirely: the claim that Trump is a puppet of Russia, who won the presidency as a result of the hacking of Democratic Party targets ordered by Vladimir Putin during the 2016 presidential election. …

    … The whole purpose of the congressional hearings—Monday’s was only the first in a series—has less to do with Trump than with the acceleration and intensification of the preparations for war with Russia. This was acknowledged in the opening remarks of the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Republican Representative Devin Nunes, who declared that whatever his disagreements with the Democrats, “one benefit” of the hearing was already clear. “It has focused wide attention on the pressing threats posed by the Russian autocrat” and set the stage “for stronger action against Russian belligerence.” …

    … Both Trump and the Democrats represent and defend the interests of the Wall Street banks and the giant corporations, and are prepared to sacrifice the lives of millions of working people in new wars to defend the global dominance of American imperialism. …

    What a sorry situation. Trump, whose twitterstorms seem increasingly unhinged, increases tensions with North Korea and Iran while maintaining ties to the ever-vile Saudis, with Pence waiting expectantly in the wings to represent that faction of the War party that wants to ratchet up a confrontation with Russia.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Gallup showed a stark drop after the details of the Healthcare plan and the budget were going around, but prior to this, his Republican support was solid, all he needs.

    1. Katharine

      You think it’s supposed to be about safety? I thought it was about giving them more time to mess with your computer.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        MoA has a bit similar to a few tweets I saw earlier, but the airports targeted are hubs of airlines eating into American domestic carrier routes. The CEOs met with Trump last month. Minutes after the new ban, PM May announced a similar ban on airports used as hubs by competitors to British Airways.

    2. MoiAussie

      It’s going to lead to some even more ridiculously convoluted rules, at least in the short term, as most airlines currently ban carrying spare batteries in checked luggage for fire safety reasons. So the lucky pax will need to put their laptop/tablet in checked luggage, while carrying any spares in carry-on. And:

      equipment containing batteries must have the ON/OFF switch protected to prevent accidental activation when packed in checked baggage.

      Plenty of tablets have push-on-push-off switches on the top or side that would be difficult to effectively protect at short notice. The baggage scanners then have a great excuse for “confiscating” unprotected devices from luggage – “it wasn’t adequately protected.”

      Given the escalation of device search on US entry, it really does make a lot of sense to leave your devices at home.

  27. fresno dan

    Federal investigators are examining whether far-right news sites played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that dramatically widened the reach of news stories — some fictional — that favored Donald Trump’s presidential bid, two people familiar with the inquiry say.
    Operatives for Russia appear to have strategically timed the computer commands, known as “bots,” to blitz social media with links to the pro-Trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, these sources said. [[ because noble wonderful capitalistic owners of news sites would NEVER, EVER manipulate their links for PROFIT….perish the thought!!!! ]]

    The bots’ end products were largely millions of Twitter and Facebook posts carrying links to stories on conservative internet sites such as Breitbart News and InfoWars, as well as on the Kremlin-backed RT News and Sputnik News, the sources said. Some of the stories were false or mixed fact and fiction, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the bot attacks are part of an FBI-led investigation into a multifaceted Russian operation to influence last year’s elections.

    DANGER WIll Robinson: The following is made up and inserted only to draw comments.
    The FBI said HOT, NUBILE, young Russian women were used to lure unsuspecting horny old geezers into voting for Trump based on promises of ” getting you Russian babe just like Trump got….”

    Now we know….some of the press is full of commies….based on what some of the other press says….

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Will they also investigate how one candidate was able to get debate questions beforehand, when she, sorry, or he, was on the defensive?

      “Just how many times did they do that in 2016? And how many times in years past?”

  28. Jess

    May I suggest that we put a new term in circulation: ducking or ducked, to denote a search on DuckDuckGo instead of the evil Google?

  29. Antifa

    Another change computers are bringing to our lives — it’s better if you stop flashing Ye Olde Peace sign at rallies and protests.

    Japanese researchers have shown that it’s a sure fire way to suffer identity theft, since a photograph of your two fingers from as far as 9 feet away will let a hacker get a perfect copy of your index fingerprint for computer and smartphone use. They can login as you.

    Perhaps you can get by with the British ‘V for Victory’ gesture, with fingerprints firmly turned toward yourself. Oh, wait. Nope — that gesture means something else than victory, it seems.

    On second thought, go with that, or, if the occasion warrants it, the one finger salute so popular here in America. Express yourself!

    But soft — what if there’s a photographer/hacker standing less than 9 feet behind you? What if he’s Russian . . . or otherwise connected to the White House or Breitbart News? He’ll get a photo of your finger without you even seeing the flash.

    Right. Keep your hands in your pockets at all times, or wear gloves. Once somebody gets your fingerprint, there’s a fake you walking around, logging into fake news sites, opening fake bank accounts, trading fake derivatives, renting fake cars, and leaking fake secrets right out through the Rose Garden.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I read that story when it came out and regard it as bunk. The guy in the photo had exceptionally deep prints. Plus he was shot in excellent lighting conditions. By contrast, I know people whose prints are so shallow that their employers were unable to provide usable ink fingerprints to the NASD (back then) despite multiple attempts.

      But separately, I also regard it as nuts to use anything biometric as ID unless you are absolutely forced to. Why use your fingerprint as an ID when if the border cops seize your phone, they can download that along with all the other contents?

    2. uncle tungsten

      Start up market for latex fingerprint slip on covers. What am I bid for a Hillary or and Obama or a Bannon or Comey?

  30. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

    “Como se dança o merengue… Trust me. Watch this. You will thank me.”

    You’re right. Thank you!

    1. dale

      Ditto ditto ditto. Me gusta merengue! Y salsa, cumbia, mambo, rumba, bachata. I sent this happy dance video to all my frens. Dey gonna lub it!

  31. ChrisAtRU

    Perils of Pot Farming

    Wow … reads like the synopsis of a darker follow-up to “Sideways”.

    “Miles is still lonely, horny and hating Merlot … but he’s travelled up north to grow weed and find inner peace.
    Or so he thought!”

  32. Oregoncharles

    “Non-Euro Investors Dump €192 Billion of Bonds: First Annual Outflow in History, Euro-Area Buys US Assets Michael Shedlock”
    The “bank run” begins?

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