Links 3/2/17

Mysteries of elephant sleep revealed BBC

Earth Probably Began With A Solid Shell Archaeology News Network

‘Oldest record of life on Earth’ found in Quebec CTV. In the Nuvvuagittuq Greenstone Belt…

Physicists Catch Antimatter and Matter Misbehaving Scientific American

The private equity party is overcrowded FT

The Ignored Lessons of the Financial Crisis Verso

Wells Fargo Warns a Deeper Review May Uncover More Bogus Accounts Bloomberg. Amazingly, Clinton didn’t win despite Obama prosecuting all those Wells-Fargo executives. Oh, wait….

When Debts Compete, Which Wins? Liberty Street

Guest Contribution: “Identifying State-Level Recessions” Econbrowser

China?

Is Hong Kong awash with fake wines? We seek expert knowledge South China Morning Post (J-LS). It’s a bezzle! Pass the parcel, boys! Because life is like a tin of sardines….

China’s coal consumption keeps plummeting, down for 3rd year in a row Mining.com

Scotland is tightly gripping its last card to play against Brexit Quartz

Macedonia’s president blocks Social Democrat government in Albanian language row Reuters

Syraqistan

Some 2,500 Americans Have Died in Afghanistan and Iraq Under Obama Rolling Stone. Thanks, Obama!

Putin in Syria, 2017 Lawfare

‘Banned from our own lives’: intellectuals mourn the Turkey that once was The Conversation (J-LS).

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Police say they were ‘authorized by McDonald’s’ to arrest protesters, suit claims Guardian

Internet of Things Teddy Bear Leaked 2 Million Parent and Kids Message Recordings Motherboard

Yahoo says about 32 million accounts accessed using ‘forged cookies’ Reuters

A software engineer is detained for several hours by U.S. Customs — and given a test to prove he’s an engineer CNBC (CL).

Engineered to fail: Are IT recruits untrainable because they cheat in college? The Scroll (J-LS).

WikiLeaks spokesman quietly steps out of the spotlight AP (Furzy Mouse).

Health Care

Examining The President’s Speech To Congress Health Affairs

The Only Concrete Takeaway From Trump’s Speech: Medicaid Is Doomed The Intercept. Not clear how they’ll sell that to a desperate flyover base, though.

NHS in Crisis LRB. A neo-liberal infestation.

Achieving Universal Coverage Without Turning to a Single Payer JAMA. An enforced mandate to purchase a defective product. A sure-fire political winner!

Trump Transition

Democrats Need to Respond to Trump’s Narrative about Solving American Disinvestment emptywheel. But Russia though.

Trump Promised to be The Infrastructure President. Just Not For One of America’s Strongest Economic Regions. Medium

Fast learner: Trump gains skill in using trappings of office AP

* * *

Sessions met with Russian envoy twice last year, encounters he later did not disclose WaPo. Parsing the story carefully for what was and was not disclosed, two questions were posed to Sessions regarding his “encounters” with the Russki’s Ambassador (!). The second question (paragraph nine) is from Patrick Leahy in Sessions’ confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 10, and it looks to me like Sessions’ qualified answer creates at best a “he said”/”she said” situation. The first question, from Al Franken at the same hearing (paragraph two), is not quoted, so it’s not possible, from the story alone, to know whether Sessions answered accurately or not. As usual, on charges of wrong-doing, wake me when there are named sources with evidence. (The Democrat agenda, of course, is to get Sessions to meet President Clinton on the tarmac recuse himself from whatever investigative proceedings take place.)

Jeff Sessions failed to disclose Russian ambassador meetings FT. The FT doesn’t quote either question that Sessions is supposed to have answered falsely, but includes this material on the nature of the “encounters”:

Mr Sessions’ meetings with each of the foreign diplomats focused on bilateral relations, including any outstanding issues between the two countries. “Ambassadors would often make superficial comments about election-related news, but it was not the substance of their discussion,” said a DoJ official. 

In July Mr Sessions spoke at the Heritage Foundation event to a group of more than 50 ambassadors. Following his speech, “a small group of ambassadors approached the senator as he was leaving the stage,” the DoJ official said. “He spoke to them while they stood together as a group.” 

Some of the diplomats thanked Mr Sessions for his comments and invited him to various events. “He made no commitments,” the official said. 

Where there’s a damp squib, there’s no fire? I guess we’ll find out. Personally, I find it suspicious that Sessions didn’t punch the Russian Ambassador in the face. That’s what a red-blooded Democrat would have done. (There’s a WSJ story on this, but it’s a rehash.)

Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Election Hacking NYT. Easter eggs….

White House lawyers order Trump aides to preserve Russia-related materials AP

Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s frustration as FBI sat on Donald Trump Russia file for months Independent. “Exclusive: Steele was so concerned by revelations he worked without payment after Trump’s election victory in November.” Some exclusive. Steele couldn’t even sell his product to a rube like Jebbie, the $250 million man, before the election. So now a business failure in oppo (!!) becomes a proof of integrity? Coffee’s for closers only….

* * *

Russians Hit U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebels, As Hostile Groups Converge Within ‘Grenade Range’ Foreign Policy. The Blob extends a pseudopodium…

In Confirmation Lovefest, Senators Tell Future Spy Chief He May Be Too Nice for the Trump Administration The Intercept

Trump’s trade shake-up: why the US is taking aim at the WTO FT

Senate Democrats Worry That Trump May Eliminate One of Their Few Remaining Sources of Power New York Magazine

Democratic Last Resorts: The Recall Option The New Yorker. Yet another scheme to change the rules that assumes the can-opener of institutional power that Democrats have squandered under Obama. And “last resort” is quite telling, isn’t it? Idea: Appealing candidates with a platform that provisions universal benefits for all, especially the working class. Worked for two generations after FDR!

President’s Speech Leaves Executives Optimistic, Wanting More Details WSJ. Details

Donald Trump and the mansion that no one wanted. Then came a Russian fertilizer king McClatchy. This is a day or two old, but I’m including this as an example of reporting as opposed to access journalism (see above).

I’m Renting a Dog? Bloomberg. If you want a friend in Washington, rent a dog.

Companies Lobbying Government Keep Spending Secret From Shareholders: Report David Sirota, International Business Times

There is a simple way to improve the world’s food systems Aeon

Class Warfare

Bernie Sanders to join Nissan march The Hill

The Right to Be Poor Philosophy Now (MT).

In praise of cash Aeon. “[Cash] still a great public good.” Exactly why it’s important to destroy it!

Why the Ultra-Wealthy Will Flock to London Even as Brexit Bites Bloomberg

I am an Uber survivor. Medium (allan).

What Uber drivers think about CEO Travis Kalanick yelling at one of their own WaPo

Pope quietly trims sanctions for sex abusers seeking mercy USA Today

Stall Wars The American Conservative

Quiet, Please Harvard Magazine (MT). Indeed.

Antidote du jour (via):

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.

233 comments

  1. european

    Two month old, but i think not yet linked here: Slavoj Žižek: Donald Trump’s Topsy-Turvy World

    I especially like this part:

    “The conventional view of what awaits the US (and possibly France and the Netherlands) in 2017 is an erratic ruler who enacts contradictory policies that primarily benefit the rich. The poor will lose, because populists have no hope of restoring manufacturing jobs, despite their promises. And massive inflows of migrants and refugees will continue, because populists have no plan to address the problem’s root causes. In the end, populist governments, incapable of effective rule, will crumble and their leaders will either face impeachment or fail to win re-election.

    But the liberals were wrong. PiS (Law and Justice, the ruling Rightist-populist party) has transformed itself from an ideological nullity into a party that has managed to introduce shocking changes with record speed and efficiency. /…/ it has enacted the largest social transfers in Poland’s contemporary history. Parents receive a 500 złoty ($120) monthly benefit for every child after their first, or for all children in poorer families (the average net monthly income is about 2,900 złoty, though more than two-thirds of Poles earn less). As a result, the poverty rate has declined by 20-40%, and by 70-90% among children. The list goes on: In 2016, the government introduced free medication for people over the age of 75. The minimum-wage now exceeds what trade unions had sought. The retirement age has been reduced from 67 for both men and women to 60 for women and 65 for men. The government also plans tax relief for low-income taxpayers.”[6]

    PiS does what Marine Le Pen also promises to do in France: a combination of anti-austerity measures – social transfers no Leftist party dares to consider plus the assurance of order and security that asserts national identity and promises to deal with the immigrant threat. Who can beat this combination, which directly addresses the two big worries of ordinary people? We can thus discern on the horizon a perverted situation in which the official “Left” is enforcing austerity politics (even as it advocates for multicultural and other rights) at the same time that the populist Right is pursuing anti-austerity measures to help the poor (even as it advances a xenophobic nationalist agenda). That is the latest figure of what Hegel described as die verkehrte Welt, the topsy-turvy world.

    1. paul

      Now if they only used the euro, they wouldn’t be able to set such a bad example.
      Getting spending into the hands of those that need to use it is perhaps an idea whose time has come.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      This is the key point which both the faux left and the still traditional left don’t seem to realise is the real danger behind the rise of the far right. The new far right are often very left in economics and could easily outflank both the centre and left wing by putting in place sensible and strong welfare provisions (designed of course for core working class people and excluding the very poor, who are often minorities), along with minimum wage rises and better work protections.

      There is nothing new about this – in Europe at least many pre and post war socially conservative parties (such as Fianna Fail in Ireland) were quite progressive when it came to social and economic policy. Mixing nationalism, family values, and strong protections for those on lower incomes is a powerful political tool. What new is that the ‘Christian, family value’ part is being overtaken by a much nastier xenophobic and anti-science angle. I’d suggest this is an inevitable counter-reaction to the dominance of a centre and left obsessed with identity politics.

      1. sid_finster

        Prawo i Solidarność (PiS) are pretty far right, socially.

        Enough to say that they horrify Warsaw yuppies, good European acolytes all.

    3. Baby Gerald

      Thank you for this one, european.

      Only a quarter of the way in, this paragraph really hit the mark:

      How did we end up here? One has to repeat again and again that Clinton’s defeat was the price she had to pay for neutralizing Bernie Sanders. She did not lose because she moved too much to the Left but precisely because she was too centrist and in this way failed to capture the anti-establishment revolt that sustained both Trump and Sanders. Trump reminded some of his voters of the half-forgotten reality of class struggle, although, of course, he did it in a distorted populist way. Trump’s anti-establishment rage was a kind of return of what was repressed in the moderate liberal Left’s politics focusing on cultural and PC issues. This Left got from Trump its own message in its inverted true form. That’s why the only way to reply to Trump would have been to fully appropriate the anti-establishment rage, not to dismiss it as white trash primitivism.

      I’ve gotta admit, White trash primitivism has a nice ring to it.

      The rest of the article is just as strong. Good reading, indeed.

    4. cocomaan

      Thanks for posting this, I will always read Zizek, especially for his European perspectives. But his American perspectives are always good too.

      And could we not say exactly the same about the Left liberals horrified by Trump? Ils ont peur qu’il ne soit une catastrophe. What they really fear is that he will not be a catastrophe.

    5. ChrisAtRU

      Interesting read. You should have left that one sentence in the Project Syndicate quote to flesh out the jist:

      “No to neoliberalism. In 2005-2007, PiS implemented neoliberal economic policies (for example, eliminating the highest income-tax bracket and the estate tax); this time …”

      This provides evidence that a right-populist leader is capable of making an anti-neoliberal (ostensibly Left) economic pivot. Le Pen is promising similar – a return to monetary sovereignty, for example – but many don’t feel that Trump is capable of doing the same. Those on the Left who dismiss the possibility do so at their (political) peril.

    6. Olga

      Hungary’s Orban had a similar programme of making the economy work for the local population. He was vilified in the EU press (and US) – which I did not understand, until I read about his economic actions. Improving lives of the little people goes against the neo-liberal orthodoxy and must not stand.

    7. barefoot charley

      This is a key to populist success that Panglossian leftists just can’t grasp: Trump, Le Pen, Farage et al call for precisely the reforms that respectable liberals punch the hippies for proposing. The nationalists are doing what leftists should be doing, yet leftists are *still* piled on and despised for saying such things–so Trump wins, and Democrats defend their connections. And the beating goes on.

  2. fresno dan

    Jeff Sessions failed to disclose Russian ambassador meetings FT. The FT doesn’t quote either question that Sessions is supposed to have answered falsely, but includes this material on the nature of the “encounters”:

    1. The media continues to behave as if the innertubes don’t exist, and people can’t look up the EXACT conversation for themselves**.

    2. The other problem is: Was it illegal for Sessions to meet with the Russians as a senator or as a campaign surrogate? Answer that question (affirmatively) and there might be a big deal – but my understanding is that merely MEETING is not illegal – its what the meeting entailed. So if one wants to accept or interpret Sessions testimony as a lie, it seems to me the reason for the lie is:
    A: Sessions knows the dems will charge him with conspiring with Russians to steal the election if Sessions says he met with the Russians, so Sessions dissembles/lies (HOW was the election stolen?) to avoid an investigation – not that the investigation would reveal anything wrong, but its a big pain. (kinda like both parties annoy the other party with investigations)
    B: Sessions and the Trump campaign DID conspire with the Russians, but according to Obama, it did not affect the outcome. Of course, once you make a big deal out of Russian involvement, one could ask uncomfortable questions about a whole slew of other countries (China, Israel, etc)
    C: Obama was wrong, Hillary should be president…because the Russians elect US presidents. Doesn’t say much about how this perfect country runs its elections….

    ** “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign,” Sessions said. “I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”
    Actually, even with the innertubes, I am having a tough time finding an exact and total transcript of the testimony at issue – very frustrating. Some people just gotta be gatekeepers….

    1. voteforno6

      Maybe Sessions’ next step will be to wag his finger and claim that he did not have sexual relations with that Russian.

    2. fresno dan

      C-SPAN

      Here, via C-SPAN, is the transcript:

      Franken: CNN just published a story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week, that included information that “Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.” These documents also allegedly say “there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.” Again, I’m telling you this as it’s coming out, so you know. But if it’s true, it’s obviously extremely serious, and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?

      Sessions: Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.

      Franken: Very well.

      ==============================================================
      First, I would say Sessions didn’t answer the actual question (what will you do), such as it is – and it seems obvious to me the whole conversation is about will Sessions investigate the Trump administration. As far as I can tell, Sessions wasn’t EVEN asked if HE (Sessions) met with the Russians. Sessions admits that he was CALLED a surrogate, but I would interpret that as meaning he has no information about any exchange of documents related to CAMPAIGNING.
      Second, the rather large backstory that Franken tells – I have to say, Sessions response strikes me as reasonable. MAYBE its possible documents about Trump were continuously exchanged, but it strikes me that Sessions at that point in time participated in it or knew about it is implausible.

      Also this:
      WP: In January, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) asked Sessions for answers to written questions. “Several of the President-elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 ELECTION, either before or after election day?” Leahy wrote.

      I saw a little of CNN and MSNBC, and unless I am missing some other question, it certainly seems to me the questions are being misrepresented. We’ll see what happens, but if there is nothing to this, than it appears the “newspaper of record” is worse than Joesph McCarthy…

      1. Anne

        I don’t know if it’s possible for me to set aside the many objections I have to Sessions being elevated to and operating with authority in a position for which I think he is wholly unqualified, but I will try.

        With regard to all this Russia stuff, I think we have reached the point where it is impossible to sort fact from fiction, truth from innuendo; I feel like everyone is trying to make something or nothing out of the limited and stovepiped information out there, and none of what anyone is doing seems to be getting us closer to whatever the truth is.

        Rightly or wrongly, I think this has made it impossible for Sessions to credibly captain any investigation. And I’ve even come to wonder if the standard “Chinese Wall” that is often erected to allow competing or conflicted interests to function within the same organization is sufficient to ensure an objective and non-partisan investigation. And if that’s the case, I don’t see how Sessions’ continued role as Attorney General would not taint the process or the outcome.

        There are a lot of people in this administration or associated with the campaign with extensive ties to Russia that pre-date the campaign; I don’t think those ties/connections are being manufactured in the Fake News factory. Do those connections mean that later contact with Russian officials crossed a line, or were initiated with intent to sink a Clinton campaign that was doing just fine sinking itself? I don’t know.

        Honestly, I am less concerned about the Russian connections than I am with the actions and decisions of one James Comey, who had a pretty selective way of deciding which information belonged in the public sphere and which could be kept on the QT, and those decisions have the appearance of being made for purely partisan reasons.

        Do I think either of the Intelligence Committees are up to the task of conducting a fair and non-partisan investigation? No, I really do not. Maybe something fashioned along the lines of the 9/11 Commission would be able to unwind and untangle this mess, but whatever the form, I don’t think these issues can be allowed to bubble and boil and fester indefinitely; it’s bad for whatever is left of this democracy.

        The one thing about which I have no doubt is that this administration has any number of people it can swap into any position that is vacated, and the chances are better than even that the B-, C-, or D-teams will be every bit as bad, if not worse, than the team that is currently in place. I just think that can’t be the reason shoulders just shrug all of this off as being an exercise in futility.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The Dem B-, C-, D- or F- opposition teams are similarly as bad, if not worse than their A-team.

          It’s the mess we are in. Perhaps only a Messiah is able to give us salvation.

          And, that type of thinking or yearning has consequences even 2,000 years afterwards.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          As far as I’m concerned, there is no possibility of a “credible” investigation of any of this at this point, regardless of who conducts it.

          This entire affair is predicated on the unsubstantiated “fact,” now unquestioningly accepted, that the “Russians” hacked the dnc and distributed damning emails through Wikileaks to discredit clinton and hijack american democracy for Donald Trump. This is the one thing that makes charges of phone calls, meetings, conversations, business contacts or surreptitious wayward glances unpardonable crimes against the republic.

          And it’s the one thing that absolutely WON’T, as settled “fact,” be challenged.

          Just as the 9/11 commission’s refusal to address saudi arabia’s involvement, and, in fact, actually sought to conceal it, doomed their conclusions to be questioned to this day, any “invesigation” that relies on “17 intelligence agencies say so” as a starting point will be similarly scoffed at.

          Kind of like when maxine waters says someone committed perjury or nancy pelosi says someone should resign. Worthless.

          1. Pat

            I would add, any investigation that does not include an open examination of the DNC server by both the internet community AND those investigatory agencies will be useless as I for one do not for a moment accept a report by a private company hired by the group who is pushing this the most saying Russia hacked them or even their supposed reasons for saying that. Most certainly not when 1.) the DNC have refused access to the server by any government agency or anyone not directly in their employ, and 2.) Wikileaks has said repeatedly they did not get the information from the Russians.

            Not to mention that Podesta’s email was on security hole ridden Yahoo AND he was even worse about security up to and including using the word Password as a password. I won’t even get into the fact that those same investigatory agencies have yet to arrest or even finger anyone for a hack of the employment records of government employees across many government agencies over two years ago.

            I don’t just scoff at “17 agencies say so”, I out right call it the manure it is.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              Most certainly not when 1.) the DNC have refused access to the server by any government agency or anyone not directly in their employ, and 2.) Wikileaks has said repeatedly they did not get the information from the Russians.

              Ding ding ding! We have a winner. Funny how those two points rarely get mentioned in the establishment approved narrative.

              Did people in Trump’s circle have connections with people from Russia? Yes I’m guessing they most certainly did. They probably also had connections with any other number of foreign countries too. And so did Clinton’s people and so did Sanders’ and pretty much everyone else in the beltway too. That’s pretty much what these people do.

              Last I checked merely having contact with people in foreign countries wasn’t illegal.

              Still can’t figure out why Trump isn’t making this case. If he were to ask for an investigation into Clinton foundation ties with foreign governments I’m guessing we’d start hearing a lot less Russia RUSSIA RUSSIA from these DemocRAT clowns.

              1. Marina Bart

                Still can’t figure out why Trump isn’t making this case. If he were to ask for an investigation into Clinton foundation ties with foreign governments I’m guessing we’d start hearing a lot less Russia RUSSIA RUSSIA from these DemocRAT clowns.

                He’s either overwhelmed or neutered. I think overwhelmed is more likely, but neutered is certainly possible. I would assume he thought that if he publicly indicated he’d let her off the hook for her serious crimes, they’d go back their mansions and concubines and leave him alone. They are long-term pals, after all.

                This latest Sessions maneuver will tell the tale if the coup is working, I think. If Sessions is removed, the coup has succeeded. If he is not removed, I suspect this tactic — while still being pushed, and gulped down by those who have already had a cup — will gradually come to be seen broadly as truly the same as being a Birther, i.e., ridiculous.

                Speaking of which, they — the Democrats, the promulgators of this nonsense — are already making jokes about the Russians. You don’t make jokes about serious problems. I wasn’t alive for it, but in my exposure to Red Scare I in the historical record and culture, I don’t remember McCarthy or his acolytes cracking wise about the Soviets and their “agents” in the government. Wasn’t it always treated as deadly serious? It seems to me that’s both a huge tell that too many of insider promulgators know it’s ridiculous, and that this will further erode acceptance of the message by undercutting its seriousness. We’ll see, I guess.

        3. Katharine

          Thanks especially for this:

          I feel like everyone is trying to make something or nothing out of the limited and stovepiped information out there, and none of what anyone is doing seems to be getting us closer to whatever the truth is.

          I feel as if the intensity of prejudice on both (or all) sides of the question has silenced almost all attempts at rational discussion, and I find this more troubling than any putative wrongdoing. We might as well be 12th century barons running around England after Stephen and Maud for all the collective judgment we’re showing.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Leahy question is clear, specific – Have you been in contact…about the 2016 ELECTION…

        Sesssions’ answer to Franken, it seems, is an opening for Dems: “I did not have communications with the Russians.” Given as least one casual meeting cited here (Heritage Foundation, group of diplomats afterwards), that appears to be problematic for him.

        1. fresno dan

          MyLessThanPrimeBeef
          March 2, 2017 at 10:14 am

          “The Leahy question is clear, specific – Have you been in contact…about the 2016 ELECTION…” Sessions’ answer to Franken, it seems, is an opening for Dems: “I did not have communications with the Russians.”

          It seems unfair to me to look at Sessions response to a Leahey question and apply the Sessions response to Franken.

          Franken: …… These documents also allegedly say “there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.” Again, I’m telling you this as it’s coming out, so you know. But if it’s true, it’s obviously extremely serious, and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?

          This is Sessions documented reply to the Franken question:
          Sessions: Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.

          WP: In January, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) asked Sessions for answers to written questions. “Several of the President-elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 ELECTION, either before or after election day?” Leahy wrote.

          I can’t find the actual written Leahey question and the written Sessions response, but the WP reported, apparently Sessions said this:
          “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign,” Sessions said. “I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”

          So it strikes me that Sessions answer is limited to talking about contact with Russians about the election – Leahey’s question is limited to the campaign, and so is Sessions reply. Again, Sessions may be lying about talking to the Russians ABOUT the campaign, but it strikes me as tendentious to say that Sessions is lying about meeting with Russians.

          Again, with regard to Franken, Sessions seems to be saying he was not a “surrogate” but the term “surrorgate” strikes me as a pretty nebulous term anyway. So if we dispense with semantics, it seems that Sessions is saying he did not meet with the Russians IN A CAMPAIGN capacity. Sessions may be lying, but it seems to me people are misconstruing his words and leaving out critical delimiters.

          http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/02/politics/russia-jeff-sessions-confirmation-hearing/

          SEN. AL FRANKEN: “If there was any evidence that anyone AFFILIATED with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this (2016) campaign, what would YOU DO?,” the Minnesota Democrat asked.
          SESSIONS: “I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
          DATE: January 10
          ————————–

          SEN. PATRICK J. LEAHY: Several of the President-elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 ELECTION, either before or after election day?” the Vermont Democrat asked in a questionnaire.
          SESSIONS: No.
          DATE: January 10

          To me it is equivalent to someone asking me if I was in a bank (that had been robbed) on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 and I reply that I was not in the bank. Than a surveillance film is found that shows me in the bank on the previous Thursday, or some other day in February other than February 1. The thing that matters is did I rob the bank, and did I LIE. I certainly don’t think that saying I was not in the bank to a question that has a specific date in it can reasonably be construed as meaning that I meant that I had not been in the bank on ANY Wednesday, or any OTHER day in February. I think Sessions answers are clearly that he did not meet with Russians about the election and I think that was clearly the questioners intent. If Sessions lied, he should be prosecuted and put in prison.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Again, with regard to Franken, Sessions seems to be saying he was not a “surrogate” but the term “surrorgate” strikes me as a pretty nebulous term anyway. So if we dispense with semantics, it seems that Sessions is saying he did not meet with the Russians IN A CAMPAIGN capacity. Sessions may be lying, but it seems to me people are misconstruing his words and leaving out critical delimiters.

            That is my point – nebulous enough for the Democrats to claim otherwise, to make some noise. And just more noise and distraction, going by what is quoted here about the Heritage Foundation encounter, it’s likely Sessions communicated ‘about the campaign,’ but had a casual dialogue (so far, nothing on the second encounter).

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              In July Mr Sessions spoke at the Heritage Foundation event to a group of more than 50 ambassadors. Following his speech, “a small group of ambassadors approached the senator as he was leaving the stage,” the DoJ official said. “He spoke to them while they stood together as a group.” 

              To the paper who published this, are we supposed to infer from that the Russian ambassador was among the 50?

              And if speaking before a group of ambassadors with a Russian diplomat among them is ‘communicating with Russians’, would being interviewed on the radio, with even just one Russian anywhere in the world to be listening, be considered as ‘communicating with the Russians?’

      3. optimader

        “Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.”

        1.) For it to be compromising , would DTrump not have to first give a sht whether it is disclosed? What I know about the guy, the more I am confident he couldn’t give two shts.

        2.) In the “security risk” vein of the Russians or whoever having compromising information about DTrump, bring me the fainting couch before telling me about the compromising information they have on the Clintons! Hire an editor and sell that as a movie script

        and as devils advocate,
        “there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between DTrump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.”

        Lets suppose there was a continuing exchange of information between DTrump surrogates and the Russian government… ermmm , so what?? Assuming DTrump is not being accused of transmitting classified information (as a private citizen a the time), then so what??

        Theoretically DTrump could have been hosting the Russian Ambassador every Friday night to a Pinochle and pizza eating tournament at his home, and it’s really no one’s business.

        Again, what is there to investigate? Flogging a dead horse.t

        1. jinbaltimore

          For it to be compromising , would DTrump not have to first give a sht whether it is disclosed? What I know about the guy, the more I am confident he couldn’t give two shts.

          Does not jibe with his refusal to release taxes.

          1. moving left

            Maybe no one will see this, but I want to ask: What could his tax returns show?

            I have no idea what a tax return from someone like Trump might look like but I’m guessing there is no line for reporting “bribes from foreign governments.” So what can the returns show that might be damaging?

          2. Optimader

            Why should he release them? Because Jimmy Carter did?
            Frankly, im kinda gald he didnt or that would be the dorce of perpetual MSM noise for ghe bext four years.
            And whats thr point?

    3. bronco

      The worst thing about this Sessions contact with Russia is that the fake news channels play Al Frankens question on a loop. I don’t think beating Americans over the head with the sound of Al Frankens voice is going to do Team Blue any favors. The man should never speak aloud in public .

      1. maria gostrey

        like clinton, franken is a carpetbagger, brought back “home” to new york, with regard to clinton, or minnesota, in frankens case, by “liberal” money & influence, & will obey their masters in loyal accordance therewith.

        franken for president? save us.

        1. Katharine

          There would be more point in this criticism if you provided detail about how his policy positions or votes on specific bills or confirmations have harmed his constituents. Otherwise, it just looks like an ad hominem attack.

      2. Lynne

        Clinton and her surrogates don’t strike me as in any way positioned to take advantage of the way Sessions split hairs in taking advantage of Franken’s extremely sloppy speech disguised as a question. And, of course, I’ve already started hearing comments that if anyone would know bout rigging an election, it would be Franken, that lucky beneficiary of ballots that just happened to appear in a car trunk during recounts.

        Neither of those things will, of course, stop some from their red-baiting and attempt to subvert democracy.

        1. fresno dan

          Lynne
          March 2, 2017 at 11:21 am

          http://www.businessinsider.com/claire-mccaskill-tweets-contradictory-statements-about-russian-ambassador-meetings-2017-3

          en. Claire McCaskill, the Democrat from Missouri, faced scrutiny on Thursday after tweeting that she had not met with Russian officials during the past 10 years — a statement that was contradicted by a tweet she wrote in January 2013 indicating that she was meeting with the Russian ambassador.

          =======================================================
          Along the lines of ONE navy seal killed in a Yemen raid in a Trump administration is a disaster, 2500 killed in an Obama administration is not newsworthy…..

        2. NYPaul

          Here’s a question I doubt will ever come up:

          Insofar as the U.S. has adopted, in fact, sanctified, the “exclusionary rule,” AKA “fruit of the poisonous tree” rule, is it not reasonable to assume that had this concept been applied to the corrupt ridden DNC actions, which had given Candidate, Hillary Clinton, an undeserved, “rigged” victory in the Democratic Primary contest everything that followed would be considered moot?

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > a tough time finding an exact and total transcript

      I tried, and couldn’t. Oh well. I guess we’ll just have to trust Our Famously Free Press.

  3. fresno dan

    Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s frustration as FBI sat on Donald Trump Russia file for months Independent. “Exclusive: Steele was so concerned by revelations he worked without payment after Trump’s election victory in November.” Some exclusive. Steele couldn’t even sell his product to a rube like Jebbie, the $250 million man, before the election. So now a business failure in oppo (!!) becomes a proof of integrity? Coffee’s for closers only….

    ====================================================
    If your gonna reference Glengarry Glenross, might as well have the clip:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4PE2hSqVnk

    Poor Steele – won’t even get the steak knives….

    1. paul

      The ‘I’ in our secret services has always been silent. I’ve always thought the Bond films failed to faithfully represent these misfits and deadbeats.

    2. optimader

      as FBI sat on Donald Trump Russia file for months
      What was the basis for someone in the bureaucracy foodchain in the FBI to signoff on investigating a private citizen?
      I’d like so see that file instead.

  4. Bullwinkle

    The Democrats are running low on ammunition to use against Trump. All they seem to have left now is Russia.

    1. Sam Adams

      The Clinton wing of corporate #vichyDemocrats are rebranding as the “New Whigs.”

      1. jrs

        like the whole string of horrible policies argued for directly or suggested in Trump’s address to Congress. Yes but these are the leading Dems they don’t do policy.

    2. cocomaan

      My wife’s work had some system downtime because of the Amazon service outage the other day. Someone made a joke about Russians hacking. I think the Democrat narrative is definitely still effective.

      1. Pat

        Depends on the joke.
        “Thanks, Russia” if you are bemoaning how slammed you will be when the system comes back on line maybe.

        “Damn you, Russia!” said while shaking your fist at the sky asyou are enjoying the down time, not so much.

        “I guess Russia hasn’t liked what Bezo’s Washington Post have been writing. Watch out, Jeff.” Still effective.

      2. optimader

        Well.. it wouldn’t have been Chinese hacking.. That would be like stabbing themselves in the face with a fork..after all, isn’t it mostly all their manufactured crap in the Amazon retail channel?

        1. different clue

          If China lost the Amazon retail channel it would still have the Walmart retail channel, and many other retail channels.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    Re:

    Scotland is tightly gripping its last card to play against Brexit Quartz

    The article assumes that the referendum (the ‘last card’ of the title) is for independence. But realistically this may not be the option taken. There are whispers going around about a new constitutional arrangement whereby Scotland along with Northern Ireland could take whats been referred to as the ‘East German’ route – they could stay within the EU by way of a shared constitutional arrangement with an existing EU country, namely Ireland (based on the fudged rule that allowed Germany to unite without bothering to get EU approval for extending membership over the former East Germany). There is also a messy sort of precedent regarding Greenland.

    It would be very awkward and messy, but possibly more ‘doable’ than a newly independent Scotland trying to deal with joining the EU while possibly keeping sterling. Its possible to envisage an arrangement whereby Scotland and NI stay within the Commonwealth (Queen as head of state, etc), and possibly even within the UK defence structure, while ‘economically’ being part of Europe with Dublin responsible for all negotiations. The customs border would then shift to the Hadrians Roman border (more or less) which would be satisfying for military history buffs.

    1. vlade

      You mean like the “Greater Scotia” intended by Robert Bruce? :D I guess the irony would be it wouldn’t be the Scots taking over Irish but the other way around.. Someone connect Edward Bruce in his grave to a dynamo and you can generate renewable electricity from that too! ;)

    2. David

      Not quite, I think. Germany was unified in 1990, and the EU did not come into formal existence until the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. So the issues must have been slightly different. Is there a constitutional expert in the house?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Maastricht and Lisbon changed the name of the EEC//EC/EU, and broadened its scope and extent of powers, but did not significantly alter the rules of membership, those were established by the Treaties of Rome. Germany essentially ignored the provisions of the Treaty of Rome when it unified and nobody raised it as an issue for obvious reasons (although it later became a bone of contention when some weaker countries realised how much European money was going to the eastern Lander). But this has left what has long been considered a constitutional lacunae within the treaties as to how to deal with changing boundaries. It is implicitly considered a national competency, but thats never been formally set out.

      2. alex morfesis

        what do rules or the law have to do with europe or the european project ? scotland is too small to be of any concern for the euro/kyffhauser project and it is on the periphery…as in portugal, greece, ireland…it is cute for some negotiation value, but…

        germany, and vichy france are the “core” of europe…all others must surrender or be verbally abused by some guy in a wheelchair…with all of 88 working tanks to his name…

        but he has the magic keyboard which controls the computer screen capitalism in europe…(2 lypz anyone ??)

        where is that goofy little toto to pull back the curtain already…
        this movie is running long…

        this notion there is a “constitutional order” in europe is sweet…

    3. paul

      I can certainly see this appealing to the SNP and their Augustinian approach to independence.
      ‘Yes’ voters maybe not so much. Given that the unionists have been the ‘ultras’ against independence and the republic showed little enthusiasm, it’s a lot to swallow.

    4. Tigerlily

      they could stay within the EU by way of a shared constitutional arrangement with an existing EU country, namely Ireland (based on the fudged rule that allowed Germany to unite without bothering to get EU approval for extending membership over the former East Germany)

      This seems dubious.

      Was anyone arguing in 1990 that rules had been fudged and German unification was subject to EC approval? Would such an argument have been given serious consideration in view of the fact unification did not entail any change in the EC’s membership? It seems like a tortured attempt to create a “precedent” to justify pragmatic constitutional arrangements of very recent vintage.

      Even at that the two cases seem incompatible. East German sovereignty was abolished at the moment of reunification, while I doubt anyone is seriously arguing that Ireland extent its sovereignty over Scotland. The fiction of a “constitutional arrangement” could work to the extent that other EU members are willing to believe the fiction, but it stands or falls on its own merits.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Nobody argued at the time, because there was an enormous amount of political pressure to allow the East European lander to become part of the EU. There was simply no discussion and no change to EU rules or law – when the Maastricht Treaty came in, the additional German lander were just assumed to be part of ‘Germany’. There were no court actions that I am aware of, although there were later complaints from poorer countries that the eastern Landers were swallowing up cohesion funds intended for them. But it was effectively too late. If you read any constitutional histories of the EEC/EU, there is simply a gap when it comes to this – any legal problems were just assumed away, in a most unGermanic fashion.

    5. makedoanmend

      I don’t think SNP is in an incredible hurry to fire the Independence salvo yet. From what I hear, they’re waiting for changing demographics to give them an edge, and this will take more than 2 years. They only put Independence into play, imo, because the majority of Scottish want to remain in the EU; if only as some sort of buffer against the Tories. Independence is just a bargaining chip in what will become a multi-dimensional negotiating game once article 50 is invoked.

      May seems in no mood to negotiate anything with the hired help. As for Ireland, May and her party don’t take Ireland seriously or, if they do, they just don’t seem to care what happens in Ireland. Afterall, didn’t Ireland leave the bosom of the mainland? As far as their concerned, probably, the Irish now have the opportunity to see the error of their ways and return to the strong arms of mammy.

      I just see any connection between Scotland and Ireland with regard to the overall negotiation as too tenuous and too fiddly; especially when the firework go off live.

      But I suppose anything becomes possible once this pup is born.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Ireland has no interest in Scotland – its sole interest is in Northern Ireland and how to manage the border. The Scottish issue comes up because it would be much easier to persuade NI Unionists to sign up for an agreement if the Scottish are part of it. Irelands interest is in pushing the border over the sea to minimise disruption.

        May likewise is either uninterested or actively hostile to Ireland. She is also very dependent on DUP votes in Westminster, so she is determined to keep them onside to protect against some Remainer Tories rebelling. But that situation will most likely change after the next election.

        1. paul

          Hard to see two parts of the union splitting, especially as one as challenged as NI. It doesn’t look a good fit with either the Republic or Scotland.
          Beyond the hardcore nutters, there is no enthusiasm here for engaging with it’s political culture or deteriorating economy.
          It could only be some sort of special protectorate within the EU, like Kosovo.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Well, thats the problem with NI, they act as if they are the prize jewel to be won, when in truth nobody actually wants them, least of all the Republic.

            The issue for Dublin is simply that reinstating the border will be a nightmare, economically and politically, and could very well trigger more violence. Some sort of ‘deal’ over NI to push the border back over the sea would be ideal – there are numerous variations any deal could come to. The DUP would obstruct, but I suspect sensible Unionists would see some sort of a protectorate + Scottish deal as a sensible compromise once it dawns on them that the NI economy will be completely destroyed by Brexit.

            1. Laughingsong

              “. . .they act as if they are the prize jewel to be won, when in truth nobody actually wants them, . . .”

              Oh my, have we finally solved the mystery of the whereabouts of Brian O’Rourke’s Drumsnot ?

              “Where my birthplace lies beneath Irish skies
              isn’t easy to explain
              Its not in the Pale or the Golden Vale,
              nor yet in the Central Plain
              It affords no view of mountains blue
              and it sure is no beauty spot
              And to date no county has claimed the bounty
              for admitting it owns Drumsnot”

      2. paul

        Brexit presents an extremely good opportunity for independence and one I think the SNP would be unwise to spurn. The SNP does not seem to acknowledge that campaigning for independence is what raised the yes vote from 30 to 45% and the union shot its load keeping it that low.
        I think May is unable to negotiate, rather than not just in the mood.
        I can’t see a better circumstance for change emerging than this one.

        1. begob

          The Scots ousted from the EU, with the insult that their parliament can be discarded at the whim of Westminster. Certainly should give impulse to the desire for independence, but constitutionally they’re wedged in position with no opportunity of release.

          Only way out is suggested by Irish history. Shudder!

        2. PlutoniumKun

          The problem they face is that Independence only really make sense within the context of the EU. Otherwise they are saddled with sterling and no trade deal (the Spanish would certainly veto Scottish membership of the EU, their only hope is to ‘keep’ their membership which is why they need to make a decision very quickly).

  6. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    On the excellent Verso link – something which will probably surprise no one.

    That great champion of austerity measures, Olli Rehn, was in October 2016 selected to the board of the bank of Finland.

  7. meme

    From Politico, Pelosi, Cummings and Warren are asking Sessions to resign:

    “The Attorney General must resign,” Pelosi wrote in a statement. “There must be an independent, bipartisan, outside commission to investigate the Trump political, personal and financial connections to the Russians.” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member on the House oversight committee, also called on Sessions to resign, as did Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/graham-sessions-trump-russia-235597

    1. Eureka Springs

      If only evidence free most prominent progressive in the land Pelosi had a personal connection to her Italian reading glasses so she could read bills in order to know what’s in them before insisting they be passed (PPACA). If only she had a personal connection to the constitution and Geneva conventions so as a gang of four member she would have been bound to use the floor of the House to tell the world we were breaking laws on torture during another war based on fake news, I mean lies.

      And if Pelosi would quit asking us all to be so myopic as to miss the forest for the trees. We see that outside money controls DC so pervasively that it’s pure theater of the absurd to pursue these matters without insisting on public campaign finance only.

      Thanks, Nancy, for compelling me to so much as appear like I might be defending the most despicable Sessions.

      Now please, resign in shame.

      1. meme

        The conspiracy theory tinfoil types are, of course, claiming that the Ds want to get rid of Sessions to keep him investigating Pizzagate, although neither he nor Trump has shown any indication of going there. I try to avoid conversations about it with the few people I know who buy into that one, just like when they were on the birther train. Seems to me that Trump doesn’t need to pander to the wack jobs any more.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          CGI.

          An organization that takes money from foreign governments including the House of Saud and more or less hired every non entry level person on the Clinton campaign over the last five years.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The Dem-O-Fake-O’s had prostitutes peeing on Trump from a considerable height and even that did not stick.
          What makes anyone think that yet more red-baiting will work. It’s embarrassing, makes them look whiny and shrill. Not clapping for that poor war widow from Obama’s operation. Making excuses and obstructing. Do these people get bonuses or something for losing? Lifelong Dem and I’m just in awe of how stooo-pid this current crop is.

    2. Pat

      *pounds head against the wall*

      Admittedly this isn’t the most useless, meaningless tantrum/pr stunt the Democrats have pulled in the last week, but it is damn near close. No, the women wearing white to the SOTU to represent suffrage when the Democratic Party including the women have been missing in action about protecting voting rights in any significant manner while they have been under assault for most of the last two decades wins that score.

      God forbid the Democrats actually try to do something constructive instead of going the Mellon Scaife/Gingrich route with far less evidence of crimes.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Indeed, considering she had hard evidence on Bush torture, yet took impeachment off the table, why support her now just to have the rug pulled from under us if her investigation proved anything?

        1. RUKidding

          No sh*t. I didn’t realize that all those women wearing white at the SOTU meant something something about “suffrage.” That’s what happens when you don’t own a tv and rarely listen to radio “nooz”: you get to miss out on all the incredibly INSULTING and ridiculous stunts these LOSERS pull.

          No frickin wonder that younger women don’t want to be caught dead being labeled as a feminist. Just like how I no longer want to be identified as a “Christian” – given how horrid the US “Christian churches” have become – I no longer want to be identified as a “feminist” anymore given how disgusting these creatures are and how they twist and mis-use symbols of real suffrage for their degraded and disgusting ends. PTOUI!!! A pox on their houses.

          Pelosi is ____________________________________. I’ll just leave it at that.

        2. different clue

          She supported the torture and believed in it. She was determined to keep Cheney and bush in power until the very last day. That is why she took impeachment off the table.

          Her support for torture is a perfect expression of everything she is and stands for as a person. And is a perfect expression of everything her voters are and stand for in their yuppie privilege district out there in San Francisco.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        An actual torture investigation requires work. Taking a group photo of everyone wearing white dresses is fun.

        This is part for the course for Pelosi’s Democrats. Who else remembers when she held the faux committee hearing to expose Rush Limbaugh as a pig because he called a Georgetown Law student a slut? With important work like that Pelosi has no time to worry about abortion being effectively outlawed through zoning ordinances. The string of electoral victories since then has been staggering.

        Blaming Russia is great. The answer to every response is “oh yeah, I believe in the KGB agent” because movies and to proudly proclaim the unparalleled integrity of unnamed U.S. intelligence rumors. There is no work to do.

        There is a reason Sanders, not a Democrat, has been given major Congressional positions such as the ranking member on the budget committee. Those jobs require hard work, and reading proposals aad reports is a thankless task.

        1. RUKidding

          Completely agree. These useless parasitic worthless lazy lousy LOSERS. And yet many so-called “liberal” blogs will bring down Ye Olde Ban Hammer on you toot suite if you DARE to question anything any Democratic politician does because reasons and because REPUBLICANS!!1!

    3. John Wright

      I suspect government investigative committees would be overwhelmed if they investigated all the politicians with “political, personal and financial connections” to ALL foreign countries.

      Why is only contact with the Russians that is questioned?

      Let the congress investigate ALL foreign influence in American governance, even those countries viewed as “friends/allies”.

      1. jrs

        Start with Saudi Arabia, we know for a fact it condemns Hillary, and the Bushes probably too.

          1. RUKidding

            Duly NOTED that in today’s world it’s now RUSSIA who’s the great big boogey bear, but you hear bupkiss about Saudi Arabia and Israel, who are always our BFFs. WHY is Russia so booga booga scary scary?? Convenience and nothing else.

            Duly noted, too, that we squander millions (billions?) on “aid” to Israel, where the citizens there enjoy a much higher standard of living with better access to real health care than the peons here do – and we’re the rubes paying for it.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Which is more suspicious or less likely to be noticed if something needs to be communicated – talking to the Russian ambassador or waving to a Syrian taxi driver at an intersection?

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > independent, bipartisan, outside commission

      I think it must be dawning on Trump that defenestrating Flynn wasn’t part of any kind of deal (if that’s what he was thinking). All it did was embolden his enemies, who apparently regard a soft coup installing President Pence as an acceptable price to pay for open rule by the (dominant factions of) the intelligence community, the Democrat establishment, and assets and associates of both respectively in the press, which the Democrats control. So, when you hear the Russki blame cannons being fired, think of those as the strategic objectives. I’d love to be talked out of this, but I don’t see a way around it. “Rule or ruin,” as Lincoln said of another group of fire-eaters in the 1850s.

  8. fresno dan

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/some-2-500-americans-have-died-in-afghanistan-and-iraq-under-obama-20160530

    Katniss Everdeen
    March 1, 2017 at 11:19 am
    Forgive me for saying this, but I don’t get all the hysteria over this one death.
    ……
    =============================================
    This is just a guess….pure speculation on my part…. a hypothesis, or theory, merely conjecture, possibly a surmise, a belief, just opinion, mere supposition, suspicion, impression, feeling….OH, I forgot, a HUNCH, but I suspect the answer is:
    THE MEDIA IS NOT OBJECTIVE

    Stalin’s parrot is reputed to have said ‘the death of one is a tragedy, the death of 2,500 a statistic’

    1. jrs

      it’s a death that is useful for propaganda purposes. meanwhile I wonder wasn’t that the same raid that killed at least one child that we know about for a fact? (yes I know many children get killed in U.S. war-making), But we are talking about the same raid right? Ok I verified, we are. And that’s what any person who is actually even remotely informed of what is going on in the world thinks about at least a little when they hear this stuff.

      1. RUKidding

        There’s a newish call-in radio show on NPR called “Indivisible.” Yesterday they were discussing ad nauseum the whole thing with the attention paid to the SEAL’s widow- I guess she was sobbing on camera for a protracted period while Trump bragged about the length of the applause (!!) – and the issue about “honoring” or “recognizing” the SEAL who lost his life in this battle/skirmish/raid in a public speech by the POTUS.

        One caller brought up the issue about the kids who were killed, including the fact that one young girl was a US citizen. What about that? And why just honor the SEAL (no offense)? The talk show host yesterday (it’s different people on different days) pretty much cut off that very real conversation and jumped right back to how HE was just “so MOVED” by witnessing the widow’s grief and anguish live on the tv machine and how we MUST ALL commence to honoring our “fallen warriors” and how what Trump did was so MEANINGFUL blah de blah blah….

        Sometimes this show is interesting, but last night I had to turn it off. Buncha garbage. I am sorry for the SEAL’s loss of life, etc, but NO ONE ever wants to discuss the “collateral damage.” Another caller asked WHY the raid even happened and WTF were we even doing in Yemen anyway??? Of course, the announcer nipped that discussion in the bud and jumped right back to weeping and wailing for the SEAL widow.

        UGH.

        1. Anon

          Surf over to The Intercept and read Greenwald’s discussion of this event. Typical GG clarity.

        2. polecat

          NATIONAL —— PROPAGANDA —— RADIO

          …. quit …………….. tuning ……………. in ….

        3. jrs

          sometimes I even wonder if that’s WHY politics has become so F-ed up in this country. Yea I know blame a million things, blame capitalism (and bought and sold politicians and bought and sold media), blame the poor education system, blame the two party system and it’s death grip on power. There is blame to go around.

          But maybe just living in a country where the government engages in mass global murder (other countries may be small scale imperialists but seldom on this scale – so a lesser scale of denial is needed) just makes people really really stupid if they can’t admit it (there is a way to admit it and bypass blame but it mostly amounts to really believing you are pretty powerless over what your government does). But most people don’t admit it, even intellectually at all, and it’s just another thing making them stupid. Yes, I am losing patience with the stupid on all sides.

          I’m reminded of Arthur Silber quoting the Americanization of Emily:
          “I don’t trust people who make bitter reflections about war. … It’s always the generals with the bloodiest records who are the first to shout what a Hell it is. And it’s always the widows who lead the Memorial Day parades … we shall never end wars … by blaming it on ministers and generals or warmongering imperialists or all the other banal bogies. It’s the rest of us who build statues to those generals and name boulevards after those ministers; the rest of us who make heroes of our dead and shrines of our battlefields. We wear our widows’ weeds like nuns and perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices.”
          http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2013/08/if-you-love-martyrs-so-much-then-you-be.html

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Indivisible

          This one seems hardly spontaneous. They’ve gotten excellent press from the beginning…

          It’s also quite Orwellian, since the whole point of “deplorables”/”irredeemables”, and the general hate of the 10%ers for the working class, is to divide.

          The vague Pledge of Allegiance-y branding is good, though.

    1. Paid Minion

      Just shocking that VCs would subsidize money losing operations, to develop a monopolized market.

      Not.

      As far as Amy is concerned…….. it must be terribly hard to be a snowflake. Especially one that deluded herself into thinking Uber is legit.

      Pack a bunch of 20-30 something Type As with no moral compasses, and no adult supervision, into a company, sell them the “greed is good” plan, and you end up with a Silicon Valley startup.

      1. LT

        Also, the VCs funding Uber want an UNREGULATED monopolized market.
        That is the ideology they’re subsidizing.
        And that’s how I’m beginning to view it.
        They are subsidizing an ideology more than a company

  9. Carolinian

    Here’s a Pepe Escobar that is interesting if true which is a big if. His inside source claims the real reason Flynn was fired was because Flynn was agitating for a military attack on Iran and proving to be an all round nutter.

    According to the insider, which I named “X”, “Flynn was removed because he was agitating for a strike against Iran which would have had disastrous consequences. That would have led to Iranian strikes against Western oil supplies in the Middle East, raising Russia’s economic power as the oil price would have soared to over $200 a barrel, and the EU would have had to join the Russian-Chinese block, or not be able to obtain sufficient energy to survive. The United States would have been completely isolated”

    According to the mysterious X, Trump’s Russia rapprochement is still on because for the backstage puppetmasters “Russia is a natural ally to the US. The US will shift to Russia and Flynn’s departure is relatively meaningless except for its entertainment value.” The real goal is to break up Asian integration.

    Deep Statey, but some fun speculation

    https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201702281051113778-backstage-trump-deep-state-cage-match/

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s too late to avert Asian integration. The time was before the Libya fiasco (maybe Georgia when we didnt stomp on Saakashvili) when it became apparent the U.S. couldn’t be trusted to administer empire. Kissinger is an arrogant SOB, obviously, but the Russian Federation and Beijing simply don’t share the mistrust and rivalry of the previous Communist regimes.

      Iran and Russia have too much in common especially now with recent military cooperation. Putin supposedly delegated to the Iranian general running Syria.

      Russia WAS a natural ally.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Russian can still be an ally, in Asia and in Europe, on both sides of the Urals.

        Too many possible moves in the chess game to rule out anything at this time.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I should have clarified an ally “for empire.” That ship has sailed. The multi polar world has started.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s better to be in a republic than an empire, for the little people worldwide. That’s my guess.

  10. dontknowitall

    On Wells Fargo…The largest institutional shareholder with 479M shares is good old Berkshire Hathaway…Obama’s good buddy and profligate DNC patron Warren Buffett’s outfit who I am sure will some day take his ill gotten profits and fulfill his charitable pledges having profited much from driving Wells Fargo’s clients into poverty I am sure the marks will appreciate the handouts later (much, much later)…

    http://investors.morningstar.com/ownership/shareholders-major.html?t=WFC

    1. JamesG

      I determined years ago the Berkshire Hathaway owned Kirby Vacuums which preys on the near- poor through door-to-door high pressure sales people.

      (The ownership was buried through sub holding companies but it was one hundred percent.)

      1. dontknowitall

        and yet Warren Buffett keeps getting the saintly democrat treatment in the MSM. Large wads of cash buys a lot of political strabismus…

      2. polecat

        Ha ! ,,, the Kirby folk are as noxious as their Comcast brethren …..

        Jehovah Witnesses are more tolerable !

        1. curlydan

          One summer desperate for a job as a teenager, I spent an afternoon training to be a Kirby salesman. What hell! I think I walked after I looked at the tragic fried chicken they tried to pass off as a free lunch.

      3. Dead Dog

        Lost two hours of my life to a Kirby vacuum salesman in the 90s – my wife had let him in.

        Do they still sell that shit anymore?

        Buffett needs to give his money away, keep some for a rock to hide under, before its taken from him. What a grub

    1. oho

      absolutely wtf. and using leasing to making a pure bred ‘affordable’ is batpoo wrong,

      what’s wrong with the narcissism/selfishness/not thinking things through in society?

      1. Lynne

        Yep, and the most disgusting thing is that they aren’t using leasing for pure bred dogs. The dogs they are charging astronomically expensive rates for are mutts (a/k/a All American or All Canadian), no different than dogs you could find at a shelter. The nasty thing here is that the woman who just drops into a pet store on a whim to get a dog is NOT someone who would be able to get a healthy registered puppy. I show dogs, and no reputable breeder i know would be satisfied with someone like that. The first time I got a registered puppy, I and everyone who lived in my home had to go to the breeder’s home for an in-person interview and the dog was fixed before getting to my home. Of course, not every breeder is so cautious, but every one i’ve dealt with since has insisted on references. For prospective puppy people without references from people the breeder knows, they also arrange home checks. And the irony is: those puppies have all been from high-quality show lines and have cost less than $1,000 each. The difference is that you have to spend the time establishing that you’re for real and not some puppy-miller and person who’s going to dump the puppy when it turns out to be inconvenient.

        1. Lynne

          Perhaps I should clarify: when I say it’s the most disgusting thing, I mean the All Americans they are “leasing” are the type that come from puppy mills that cater to the latest fads. They are being ripped off while at the same time they are bankrolling the misery of breeder dogs who don’t even have the chance of the good life that goes with reputable breeders.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      “They explained to me that not only was this not a loan but a lease in which I would either have to continue making these payments or return the animal,” the customer wrote in a November 2015 complaint. “Also this cat is ruining my credit score.”

      Those damn cats! They don’t even read the contracts or do the math before they sign them, in their apparent rush to get home and be “owned” by these effin’ psychopaths.

      There oughtta be a law. Pets need to have more skin in the game. As if they aren’t all in already.

    3. nippersmom

      I’d like to round up all my friends/acquaintances involved in animal rescue and let them each take one punch at the money-grubbing ass who came up with this idea. Then I’d take all the misguided fools who think it’s appropriate to spend such astronomical amounts on a pet that you have to finance it to their local shelters, and let them see all the wonderful dogs and cats (including purebreds) who are literally dying to find a new home.

      Sometimes I really hate people.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        No kidding.

        There aren’t enough $2500 “handbags” or other big ticket accessories that this douche bag could lease out for big bucks to people “who want them but can’t afford them” that he has to pick on living, breathing, feeling animals? I happen to know that hillary sported a few such items during the campaign.

        I’m with you, n’mom, “Sometimes I really hate people.” And sometimes they really deserve to be hated.

        1. Ian

          Held in contempt, not hated as many of these creatures thrive on being hated. It furthermore detracts from yourself.

    4. funemployed

      Y’all give me badly needed hope in human decency sometimes. Thanks a gazillion. Needed this outrage today in a bad way.

    5. optimader

      Dogs love people for life.
      until they’re hungry enough.. then they’ll eat your face. ( come to think of it, you never know, I might too? See you in the Andes )

  11. Polar Donkey

    I’m here in Memphis. I know people on the black list from city hall. In the activist community, there is overlap between BML, fight for $15, save the greensward (park conservationist), and civilian review board of mpd. MPD sees all these groups as political opponents and is suspected of improperly using stingray cell phone surveillance in addition to other illegal tactics mentioned in article. Some one leaked to the media of the blacklist and a FOI requested submitted. City hall released the a couple weeks ago. The mayor and police have not been able to come up with criteria for who is on the list or how it was created.

  12. allan

    Credentials, Jobs and the New Economy [Inside HigherEd]

    … It is not an accident that financialized shareholder for-profit colleges expanded in the 2000s. Changes in how we work created demand for fast credentials. The federal student aid system made those credentials “cheap,” in the sense that students do not pay much for them up front. The new economy, by all accounts, will require all of us to maintain near-constant skills training so as to be employable and put a far greater onus on individuals to extend their education.

    So far, our policy has been to rely on the student loan system to finance that onus. To the extent that has fueled for-profit colleges, our government response has positioned them as social insurance against labor-market innovation (or disruption, depending on your perspective). Let me be clear: these are all conditions that are expected to sustain, if not accelerate, individual costs for job retraining repeatedly over the working life course.

    Our national response has been to increase public money to private profit-extraction regimes. That is, in effect, a negative social insurance program. Whereas actual social insurance, like Social Security, protects citizens from the vicissitudes of predatory labor-market relationships, negative social insurance does not.

    A negative social insurance program positions private-sector goods to profit from predictable systemic social inequalities, ostensibly for the public good. …

    “Negative social insurance program” is a useful framework, but it needs a catchier name.
    You know, something like “public-private partnerships” or “the ownership society”.

    1. cocomaan

      Reading this article, it sounds like we need strikes over skill-requirements, especially those that require financing. Shift the burden from the worker back to the capitalist.

      The article was good but failed to really get to the meat of the problem.

      1. Tigerlily

        Indeed:

        The new economy, by all accounts, will require all of us to maintain near-constant skills training so as to be employable and put a far greater onus on individuals to extend their education.

        Will that education include the capacity to recognize common fallacies like argumentum ad populum? In a journal that caters to the post secondary education industry no less – though I guess their audience does have a pecuniary interest in pushing the indispensability of lifelong education. After all Walmart is the largest employer in the US and everyone knows (there it is again!) you don’t get a second look unless you’ve beefed up that undergraduate degree with a management certificate and at least a couple of professional accreditations.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s free-college education and not free health care (even with Medicare for all).

          One is left wondering if it’s Education Industrial Complex propaganda, reading your comment about pushing the indispensability of lifelong education.

          Which is more essential – college education or health care?

          Which is more universal – college education or health care?

          The more essential one, the one everyone uses, is not free, but we hope to get it to be just affordable.

    2. jrs

      no the name is good, the point is also the direct rather than inverse relationship. With actual insurance that works (social or not) it protects from risks so the more risk and uncertainty the more protection (for what is willingly insured and assuming it’s not scamish as some insurance is). With a direct relationship the worse and more uncertain the job market gets the more people retrain etc and have to spend their own money on that. I like Tressie (the author of the piece) a lot btw, she’s often counterculture and truly radical, she doesn’t just blame for-profit schools (which may be corrupt of course) as would be the conventional line. Rather she aims for the heart of the system itself, the capitalist-educationalist complex and what it does to human beings who often just want to support themselves and are forced to jump through ever more bizarre hoops to do so.

  13. hemeantwell

    Police say they were ‘authorized by McDonald’s’ to arrest protesters, suit claims Guardian

    I’d nominate this for must read status. At first I was taken aback at how a local MacDonalds had attained this kind of influence. But I’m now wondering if this is already a widespread phenomenon that just hasn’t been properly aggregated. Have I missed some commentary? It’s one thing for peak economic players like Goldman Sachs or GM to paramilitarize the police. But MacDonalds?

    1. polecat

      it’s most likely relates to ‘local’ continuity of government policies …aka ‘The Iron Fist’ … of which many bidness owners, both local, as well as big corpus, are a part thereof ….

    2. Dead Dog

      I get angry when I read stories like this.

      Maccas used to employ a lot of people and many young people got their first job there. It was a place where you could get a cheap birthday party for your kids.

      The meals were simple, but you appreciated the consistency.

      Today the corporation hides its malevolence behind charities like Ronald McDonald House, which provides accommodation and support for families who have children in hospital.

      They call this ‘corporate social responsibility’ and cite it as a way in which they ‘put back’ into the community. In reality, they wouldn’t spend a cent on charitable work if it didn’t have a Return on Investment.

      Most of us see McDonalds as being in the fast food industry, there to serve us burgers and fries. In the recent film Founder, Kroc finally gets the right focus that McDonalds is in the corporate real estate business, where it develops prime land and then leases it back to a franchisee, who has paid for the fitout anyway, AND then the company skims off a percentage of turnover. A truly evil company that exploits poor people throughout the world.

      So, I am not surprised they have coordinated with local police to remove a lawful protest. The police are not there to serve you and there is a reason it is called the police force.

  14. Harry

    “Townsend, who commands U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, said these groups are “bumping up against each other” around the city, adding that “three armies and an enemy force have all converged within the same grid square, so it’s very difficult and complicated” to know just who is where.”

    Where is Al Bab relative to Dabiq? Turns out 35km or 55 mins in traffic.

    In terms of eschatology, I find this a little less than comforting.

  15. Baby Gerald

    Here’s an interview posted on CounterPunch with NC-contributor Michael Hudson about his new book:

    The Fictitious Economy: Hiding How the Economy Really Works

    Excellent, albeit brief discussion about the hijacking of terminology to mislead the public into working against their own interests and how history of economic thought has been deliberately ignoring key aspects of Smith and Mill. This book looks to be moving to the top of my must-read list.

  16. Bill Smith

    “Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Election Hacking NYT.”

    Anyone seen this ‘intelligence’?

    1. optimader

      don’t put Obama administration and intelligence in the same sentence.
      Ouch! I just did :o/

  17. cocomaan

    Wanted to post this bizarre Chelsea Clinton piece about Naxalone and the opioid epidemic. It’s anodyne, failing to confront any of the important issues, instead focusing on distribution of the drug.

    We learned that by decreasing stigma around addiction and increasing access while normalising attitudes to life-saving Naloxone – an antidote for opioid overdose – we can save thousands of lives.

    Stigma? Normalizing attitudes to Narcan? I read a lot of local news about the opioid epidemic and I haven’t seen any evidence of stigma. No, I’ve seen terrible panic and local lawmakers struggling to keep their communities from imploding under the force of the epidemic.

    Maybe she’s referring to the criticism of Narcan that first responders have complained about, namely that they are administering Narcan to the same victims over and over again, that it’s being abused as a way out instead of just being there to save lives. All the while, politicians ignore the conduits with which heroin comes into the country and the US wars supporting the heroin trade.

    The Clinton Foundation is scheming with the same pharma companies responsible for this human disaster over drug prices. Now Chelsea apparently is on the prowl on behalf of those companies, talking about “stigma” like we’re dealing with identity politics. This kind of weird strategy is going to get us nowhere fast.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Good links for both BBC and wikileaks.

      Here’s an optimistic bit….the new generation of today’s political scammers is at least an improvement over her parents’ generation of scammers. “No longer is this first a criminal justice issue. Rather, it is a public health and awareness issue and is widely beginning to be acknowledged as such. It is also a moral issue – we know now that Naloxone has the chance to save thousands of lives.”

      Bill and Hillary were quite content to ‘lock ’em up’ so to speak during the 1980s and 1990s very of the drug wars. So that’s an improvement.

      But yes, your point is correct. Political scammers want to be SEEN as trying to help a little bit, but are never interested in digging into underlying causes as that would rock the boat too much. That’s the mentality shown by the wikileaks email you referred to. It’s the HIGHEST priority to make sure you don’t damage relationships with Foundation donors. Anything beyond superficial triage would put those relationships at risk. So, what’s left to talk about? Very little beyond fuzzy concepts like “stigma” and societal “attitudes”.

      1. cocomaan

        I think you nailed it, gestures like Chelsea’s are all about extant access while grabbing potential public support. The strange thing about access is that it’s a bit like a fungus, it has trouble in direct sun!

        All that said, I got to see Chelsea Clinton speak on her mother’s behalf in the 2008 campaign. I was in graduate school and she came to my university. Here’s a picture:

        ||x

        That is Chelsea, standing still the entire time, speaking in monotone. Super boring. Maybe she can run for the Mayor of Unexciting.

        1. Musicismath

          I’m currently on a “Fringe” rewatch, up to Season 5. I can tell you that, in 2036 in an alternate universe, Chelsea Clinton is storming her way through the Dem primaries.

          1. polecat

            did she ‘drop in’ on/with Walter … maybe for a mind blowing chat or a ‘cocktail’ ??

            Because in that ‘alternate universe’ Chelsea wouldn’t be as frackin clueless as she seems to be in ours!

            1. Musicismath

              Underachiever; pathologically driven to blend in with her surroundings; keeps wearing the blacks and greys — I tell you, Chelsea’s a cortexifan kid! Next thing, she’ll be setting fires with her mind.

    2. Jim Haygood

      “decreasing stigma around addiction”

      If Chelsea were serious about decreasing stigma, she would advocate ending the Drug War and treating addiction as a health problem, as is done in other countries.

      But like her dad “Bill,” she wants to stay “viable within the system.” So there aren’t going to be any courageous, unpopular stands from young Chelsea.

      Better just to verbalize in faux naif fashion about “decreasing stigma,” even as the dark satanic mills of justice send hundreds to the Gulag every day for possession of heroin, or even merely the paraphernalia to self-administer it. Nothing confers permanent stigma like a felony conviction.

      This is how you triangulate between sounding compassionate for addicts, while also keeping law enforcement on your side, and private prison donations rolling in.

      1. cocomaan

        Completely agree, the only thing I’d add is that other codeword, “Treatment”, is for court-mandated treatment programs. They are, like the prison industry, giant mills for contractors. Compulsion for those also comes from the barrel of a gun.

        I knew someone who was in a treatment program during his probation. He had to say, in front of an audience, every time, “I am addicted to marijuana”. If he didn’t say it, he would go to jail.

      2. optimader

        Stigma is much less an issue than criminalization of nonviolent social behavior.

        Stigma at least has a possibility of being channeled as a constructive influence. Criminalization will never be a constructive influence to guide social behavior, it is a legal remedy.

        So yeah, she is a fake, a product of dysfunctional parents.

        1. Optimader

          100% more Targeted Stigma by 2020!
          I’ll start with the fking cigarette smokers that linger next to the door at my office building..and all the office buildings on my walk from the teain that then chuck the butts on tbe ground. Take it in the alley…put the butt in a garbage can.

  18. Nakatomi Plaza

    The Uber survivor article is anonymous, which gives me a bit of pause, but there was this comment from an Uber exec that makes me feel ill: “There is no place for ethics in this business sweetheart. We are not a charity.”

    That, for me, explains everything. Many of the wealthiest and most powerful people in our society feel absolutely no obligation to behave ethically, and they feel absolutely righteous in inflicting their behavior and its consequences on the rest of us. For them, you’re either a charity or you’re free to act without ethics or conscience; there is no balance. These people need to be eradicated to preserve humanity, and, yea, sometimes it seems just that dire. And to think of all the bullshit ethics seminars and meetings I’ve been forced to attend over the years at the various places I’ve worked.

    1. Tigerlily

      Many of the wealthiest and most powerful people in our society feel absolutely no obligation to behave ethically, and they feel absolutely righteous in inflicting their behavior and its consequences on the rest of us.

      How can it be otherwise in a country in which “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” is national ideology? America has been at the forefront of waging class war against its least fortunate, in internationalizing the war through institutions like the IMF and the WTO, in normalizing fraud as a routine and accepted part of business culture, in venerating celebrity over accomplishment (just look at the guy they just elected to be their leader!) and in propagating the doctrine that enough wealth washes away all sins, so as long as you make it to the top no one cares how you got there.

      And you say this kind of culture tends to encourage and reward people who are ethically challenged?

  19. allan

    Jewish cemetery vandalized in Rochester [D&C]

    Vandals toppled headstones at a Jewish cemetery this week, but cemetery managers say they don’t now want to attribute the destruction to a growing wave of antisemitism witnessed around the country.

    There were at least five headstones pushed over at Waad Hakolel Cemetery, also called Stone Road Cemetery, in northwest Rochester.

    “I don’t want to label it a hate crime,” said Michael Phillips, president of the Britton Road Association, the nonprofit corporation that oversees the cemetery and another in Greece, the Britton Road Cemetery. “I don’t think there’s any proof of that. I don’t want to label it antisemitism. I don’t think there’s any proof of that.”…

    And, short of a confession, it’s hard to see how there will be any. But who’s kidding who?

  20. dontknowitall

    cocomaan–
    I remember when the Clinton emails leak came about the only person in the whole nasty conspiracy that seemed not involved and also pushing back and asking awkward (for those on the receiving end) questions about the workings of the foundation was Chelsea Clinton. Maybe I am being naive but I appreciated that.

    Now, she writes anodyne stuff as you say from a point of view of someone without a lot of life experience and on the receiving end of a lot of coddling but I could not avoid the impression that she maybe a better human being than her parents. I am willing to give her a second chance…I know fool me once etc etc

    1. cocomaan

      Missed this until now! Who knows, maybe she’s a bright spot in a family of loonies. I think she is angling for some kind of ambassador position. Or maybe a spot in the WHO. As I wrote upthread, after seeing her give a speech, she would not last in an American election. Her stage presence makes Hillary look like Michael Jackson and Bill look like Moses.

  21. JohnnyGL

    Re: Bernie marching with Nissan workers in Mississippi.

    Dems don’t learn from their losses/mistakes, but Bernie does. He sees that he had trouble with older, southern black voters in the primaries, so he goes down there and gives them a reason to support him. He’s doing this where 1) it’s not an election year and 2) there’s no donor class to be appeased in the vicinity. Voters in the region will see this, remember it, and recognize it for what it is…..authenticity.

    Trump demonstrated that people who’ve been treated very badly for a very long time don’t need a lot of wooing to swing behind you. Bernie has clearly learned that, too.

    What Bernie didn’t do was the normal Dem strategy which would be to hire a consulting firm to come up with focus group tested marketing appeals to specifically targeted demographic blocks of voters.

    Very nice to see from him. It’s why we like the guy, even if we don’t like everything he does.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is more about coverage than anything. Part of Sanders credibility was a career of this kind of action. His problem in the South is the absence of any kind of progressive organizing structure outside of churches (a major part of the problem).

      Team Blue elites believe it’s a trick they can master, but the response to Sanders isn’t the result of his appearances but that he’s been doing them for years. The Democratic Party is now party of “the resistance” where former Speakers and members of the government play dress up.

      1. Ian

        The reasons and causes of why this man isn’t President right now is utterly criminal and contempable.

        1. hamstak

          I agree — and I think the concept can be extended to “The private-public partnership which constitutes the US political economy is utterly criminal and contemptible.”

  22. Lynne

    On the emptywheel piece….. really? Can’t we do better than this? We’re supposed to attack Trmp’s speech because he did not identify properly all the sources of fear mothers have? We’re supposed to believe that “Both Islamic terrorists and right wing ones are Americans.” Because, first of all, those are obviously the only sources of terrorism, and obviously Chechins, for example, are Americans?

    Oh, and calling those who disagree with the author “pants-wetting cowards” obviously works in winning hearts and minds. We know that because after being called names like that, the author assures us that “[a]bout a third of them get quiet.” Yep, clearly a winning strategy there.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The author mentions ‘magnification of fears’ and ‘obsession with pointless fears,’ and writes ‘that makes you weak.’

      Yet, we are supposed to fear the next 4 years under this leader…because we don’t magnify and we are obsessed with pointless fears.

    2. Annotherone

      I was turned off the emptywheel piece from the first line – on Trump’s speech to congress: ” it was packed full of hatred and lies.” Lies, – a few, I guess, but hatred? I heard no hatred, and I watched the whole thing (but no commentary following – this could be a clue!) Authors such as this hear what they want to hear, see what they want to see. We all do, to some extent, but so many Democrat writers, and bloggers, now have crossed the line of reasonableness in this regard.

      1. jrs

        well dog whistles by definition have to be unpacked right? And commentary aids in unpacking stuff sometimes. So the unpacking is this: establishing a special agency to deal with illegal alien criminality as if it was vastly more likely to be the case than non-illegal alien felonies. Yes it fosters certain stereotypes but it’s also policy.

        Foaming at the mouth hatred? No, it’s not. But policies are always the direct implementation of such things. It’s why racism is called systematic, because it gets build into the systems we live in.

        1. Annotherone

          Yes. Yet, there could be different factors and considerations involved in criminality by illegal aliens (of any stripe, not only Muslim – to whom I suppose this was assumed to be aimed), than common & garden criminality by US citizens/legal residents. A separate department would seem like a practical plan – but I do see what you’re saying.

        2. Lynne

          The victim’s department had me scratching my head and many of my friends screaming. Requiring increased standing for victims in cases is a nationwide trend, with some places enshrining special victim rights in constitution — bankrolled by some California plutocrat who considered the cops and courts insufficiently deferential to his money , I mean psychic pain, when his sister was a victim. Personally, I think it’s a terrible idea, but it would fit right in with the trends. Except then he came up with it being limited to victims of crimes by immigrants, so apparently if your perp is a US citizen you’re SOL? The only thing I could come up with is that he thinks crime victims should be notified of deportation efforts aimed at their perps. While I am not a fan of the idea, it fits right in with the oligarchs’ new toys. Search “Marcy’s law” for more info on the abominable attempts to deny all criminal defendants their rights and to demonize their families.

  23. LT

    Re: Intercept article on destroying Medicaid

    After deaths rack up, at what point will Americans realize that the terrorists in DC are a bigger threat than the terrorists we’re supposed to be afraid of now?
    Already there are so many more hazards greater than this hyped up madness.

    The only way to keep fear in overdrive and prevent a wholesale reversal of any policies the current government enacts (people act like this can’t be reversed if enacted) would be bigger wars against actual countries that can fight back. That would be fought by people only doing it for health benefits from the government. (Land of the free my a – -)
    So the rabbit hole of death would be much bigger than what will brought about by medicaid cuts.

    Also, you have to wonder id the target is to get rid of all poor people even if you lose a portion of middle class in the bargain.

    The Intercept article may belong under the “class warfare” header.

      1. allan

        And the winner is … Kentucky:

        Population: 4.4 million
        Medicaid/CHIP pre-ACA: 606,000
        Medicaid/CHIP post-ACA: 1,229,000
        Percentage increase: 103%

        Coal jobs coming back: 0

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Coal jobs coming back: 0

          Too bad they didn’t take black lung disease with ’em when they left.

        2. Anon

          This data is why Mitch McConnel (R-Kentucky) got an earful from a current Bluegrasser on why he’s trying to “replace” Obamacare.

    1. Lord Koos

      By the time Americans realize that the terrorists in DC are a bigger threat than the terrorists we’re supposed to be afraid of now, there will be newer, bigger terrorists invented, and possibly another significant terrorist attack to whip up patriotism and head off any possible revolt.

      1. LT

        Yeah, that’s what I mean by the war build-up.
        Patriotism rah-rah as a distraction and bloated military budgets to drain funds.
        Not to mention how war is used to erode civil liberties needed to bring change.

  24. alex morfesis

    FT: trump wto trade shakeup/ repub blowback…”here’s the story…of a man named brady”…whose from texas but gets “F’s” from conservatives…he thinks trade deals have been great…for our america…even though they aint…

    it is the duty of all congress kritterz to insure the continued success and prosperity of the red army communist party in china…it is right there in the invincible ink part of the us con-stitution…it is not just a requirement…it is a privilege…

  25. Vatch

    Ben Carson was confirmed to be the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, by a vote of 58-41:

    https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=115&session=1&vote=00077

    Unlike some of Trump’s nominees, I don’t think that Carson is intentionally destructive; he’s just not qualified for his new job. As expected, prominent DINO Joe Manchin, a member of the Democratic leadership in the Senate, voted for Carson, as did fellow DINO Heidi Heitkamp. Once again, Sherrod Brown surprised me by voting for Carson. He also voted for Zinke yesterday. What’s up with Brown?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is Manchin qualified to be a senator?

      Is Heitkamp qualified for her job?

      Is Brown qualified, if he voted for another not qualified for a job?

      How many in DC are not qualified, today, and how many were not qualified in the last 4 decades?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Some were over-qualified.

          Take, for example, a recent Messiah.

          Clearly, it was a step down for him to run a country.

          I think that’s more frustrating than a Ph.D. working as tuna fisherman in the Pacific.

    2. nippersmom

      Brown is a Progressive in name only, and has been for a long time. He throws the occasional bone to the left side of the party (usually when it won’t really matter) but can’t be relied upon when you need him.

    3. Lynne

      I’m far more upset about Zinke and Mnuchin that Ben Carson. At least Carson doesn’t come across as actively hostile to the agency he’s supposed to head, or set to loot the US to benefit his cronies. Perhaps the question is whether it makes any difference at all. Is there any possibility that Carson will have any impact on the HUD bureaucracy?

      1. Vatch

        Yes, Zinke and Mnuchin, along with Pruitt, DeVos, Price, and Sessions, are all dangerous and are either hostile to their departments or are planning to do great harm.

      2. polecat

        Soooo, I guess it’s pyramids for all of the lowliest of inner-city plebes, instead of those ugly monolithic LeCorbusier-like public housing monstrosities …..

        At least they’ll have access to bread flour …. right ?

      3. jrs

        I don’t know anything about what it is like to work for these agencies, but most worker bees probably suspect that as with many places management may be optional, as with many places it may be the worker bees that make things happen. And they may continue to make things happen no matter how bad and clueless management is, they are experts of routing around the damage.

        Of course if management is actively sabotaging their work (Pruitt at EPA will for sure) that’s definitely a problem (plus there are going to be actual layoffs there as well as sabotage from within). But Carson is likely to just be in over his head which may or may not do that much harm.

        1. Lynne

          Did you see Pruitt’s definition of the EPA’s job? From Politico (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/scott-pruitt-epa-changes-235231):

          “Regulators exist to give certainty to those that they regulate. Those that we regulate ought to know what we expect of them so that they can plan and allocate resources to comply,” Pruitt said in a speech that, as liberal activists were quick to note, never mentioned climate change. “That’s really the job of the regulator, and the process that we engage in in adopting regulation is very, very important because it sends a message.”

          Yes, it makes sense that people subject to regulation should be able to know what the regulations are. Yet to say that giving certainty to them is the reason regulators exist is just bizarre. Unless one assumes that the EPA’s job is not to safeguard the environment and protect the public. Of course, why would anyone think that anyway? /sarc

    4. Eureka Springs

      Brown is another act blue/blue America progressive, must elect, champion. But hey, folks just need to primary the blue dogs in order to make the d party worthwhile.

      1. Lynne

        Is that a realistic possibility? Last try on that, didn’t Rahm Emmanuel and the party “elite” crater the attempt?

    5. Katniss Everdeen

      And Tester too.

      Tester, mccaskill, heitkamp and manchin are four, ostensibly democrat, senators from states that Trump won handily, who are up for reelection in 2018. At least three of them seem to be able to read the writing on the wall.

      As for mccaskill, maybe she is secretly contributing to todd akin again, in the hope that he’ll do her the favor of becoming her lame repub opponent again. While it worked for her last time, it doesn’t work every time as mrs. clinton belatedly found out.

      As for Carson, I’m sure his Russian “contacts,” nefariously withheld from the committee during his confirmation hearings, will be revealed in a week or two. These may be the most explosive of all Trump’s nominees, since Carson is now the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Trump’s real estate business is known to have sold luxury housing to Russians who most likely were intelligence agents, since all Russians are intelligence agents or know someone who is.

      It’s unlikely that the Trump organization would have sold expensive luxury condos to Russian oligarchs at fabulous profits unless there was some sort of quid pro quo, with Trump agreeing to turn the american government over to Putin to destroy in return for Putin swinging the election Trump’s way.

      Just sayin’.

  26. LT

    The Uber survivor article should be proof in the pudding that its not the anger of the disenfranchised of middle America that will destroy what’s left of the social fabric, it’s the wealthy racist snobs with power that have always been the problem.
    I remember living in the Bay for a short period in the early 90s. It was constant to talk about LA as “the bad guy” and San Francisco was supposed to be the enlightenment capital of Cali.
    So wrong now…

    1. jrs

      well there are actual poor people in L.A. :)

      Ok there are a few in both places, but L.A. seems to be majority poor. Which also makes all the talk of coastal wealth complete garbage but apparently the myth plays well in the flyover states. Let’s compare tent cities shall we.

  27. NotSoSure

    Engineered to fail: Are IT recruits untrainable because they cheat in college?

    As someone who’s gone to very good CS schools in the States (Top 3 for BS, Top 15 for MS), I can attest that there’s a fair amount of “working together” even in those schools. Here’s the thing about coding, you need to have an instinct for it and it can’t be taught. But more importantly, what’s missing from that article is that Professors are generally bad coders as well. A bunch of my old Profs were all experts in theory, and mind you their mental gymnastics is incredible, but I don’t think they can code to save their life. The Profs who can really code generally come from less well known schools like Doug Lea (SUNY Oswego) or Terrence Par (USF).

    1. optimader

      Well. very much like playing the Piano.. or any other skill I suppose. I’ve seen it in the engineering disciplines. People that can look at a set of drawings.. then point to a feature and say. yeah, that wont work… There are those that excel and there are the average that can get the job done, then of course there are the incompetent..

      Most often teachers and the managerial class are drawn from the ranks of the average that can get the job done, just not with elegance.. They can pass along the basics and even beneficially critique those that have skill that surpass their own.

      When I was in college there were the “team test takers” it was very much ethnic at the time.

    2. Ed Miller

      Speaking from a similar but not identical background (MSEE in 1975, when schools were a challenge) I have worked several jobs in which “engineers” were hired in spite of negative comments from the interviewing staff, but we were stuck with them anyway. Design teams take it for the CEO. No surprise that people will cheat. If you are from – name your favorite third world country – you would do anything to get your foot in the door in the US.

      Why companies did this is obvious – wage suppression and the general downscaling of professional experts in society to benefit the financial wizards. (I never wanted to be CEO, just do good engineering.)

  28. a different chris

    Good reading on “The Ignored Lessons of the Financial Crisis” but the below was a bit jarring???? – sounds like what a Credentialed Economist would believe.

    The reality seems to be that they don’t really get rid of redundant jobs, they sometimes reduce headcount but in a rather mysterious (read: uninformed) fashion, profits don’t go up, costs (read: paperwork) do, the whole thing becomes well beyond any sense of manageability and it turns into a carcass that doesn’t know it’s dead yet being picked at by its boardroom and various associated financial firms.

    >For the firms concerned, these operations allow them to get rid of redundant jobs and to increase the market share they control. Beyond reduced costs, successful mergers bring a long-term increase in profits, because they expand companies’ customer base and improve their market power relative to their suppliers. Seeking to satisfy their shareholders, big companies are thus transforming into unassailable economic fortresses.

  29. readerOfTeaLeaves

    Sorry to intrude, but has anyone else seen this…?!
    This Morning Joe clip has to be one of the most bizarro things that I’ve ever seen – and after reading a bit about tax havens, and particularly the weirdness of that Cyprus, Russians, and ‘banking’, I can’t suss out WTF is going on with Trump and Russian oligarchs.

    Apparently, I woke up and found myself down the Rabbit Hole:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOlrvPM_sbg

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      A billion dollars in campaign cash, and all the clintons could think to hang on Trump was misogyny, racism and xenophobia. With all this low-hanging Russian fruit just ripe for the pickin’.

      What a bunch of hapless boobs the democrats are. They decided that the commie-pinko, hammer and sickle shoe fit Bernie best.

      I’ve also heard that Ivanka Trump is friends with Putin’s girlfriend. Shriek!! It’s genetic. Speaking of Ivanka, what kind of a name is that, anywayzzzzzz? Sounds pretty Russian to me.

      O. M. G. I can’t speak Russian! I hear they even have a different alphabet! How will I read my obamacare policy when it’s written in Russian? Whatever are we going to dooooooooo…….

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        >> Ivanka Trump is friends with Putin’s girlfriend. Shriek!!

        Ivanka is also friends with Chelsea Clinton.

        They only pretend they’re fighting, rather like cute little puppies.

  30. Musicismath

    God, this whole “punch a Nazi” Clintonite meme. At a certain avowedly liberal website I spend time on, some guy was crowdsourcing suggestions a couple of weeks ago for a super clip of cinematic scenes where nazis get punched. Everyone was gleefully egging him on because it’s such a potent political statement and clearly an act of #resistance.

    But to me, the whole “punch a Nazi” craze sums up how asinine and clueless this form of symbolic #resistance really is. Its adherents are trapped in a decontextualised pop culture universe and seemingly too polite and well brought up to imagine doing anything worse than punching. And it makes me grateful we weren’t wholly reliant on these people 75 years ago. I imagine the First Echelon Brooklyn Nazi Punchers stepping off the landing craft on Utah Beach on 6 June 1944, faces resolute, right fists clenched but otherwise unarmed … and then taking 100% casualties as it turns out punching isn’t an effective strategy against *actual* Nazis.

      1. polecat

        uhh … ‘knock’ knock …..
        who’s there ??
        Putin …..
        Putin who ?
        Putin
        Putin
        Putin
        Putin
        PUTIN !
        …………………………………………….

  31. fresno dan

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/jeff-sessions-doj-russia-investigation-republicans-react-235604

    Asked about connections between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign during his confirmation hearings, Sessions did not disclose his meetings with the ambassador and, in fact, told Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) that “I DID NOT HAVECOMMUNICATIONS WITH THE RUSSIANS” [caps added for emphasis]. In a set of written answers for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sessions said he had not been in contact with Russian officials regarding the 2016 campaign.

    ===================================================
    OK, I am in grave danger of going all Captain Queeg…..

    But I was taught that if you do not reproduce an entire sentence when quoting, you use an ellipsis.

    Politico : [Sessions answering Franken] “I did not have communications with the Russians.”

    C-SPAN transcript: [Sessions answering Franken] I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.

    https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/577/02/
    Quote length
    If the original quote is too long and you feel not all the words are necessary in your own paper, you may omit part of the quote. Replace the missing words with an ellipsis.

    Original Quote: The quarterback told the reporter, “It’s quite simple. They played a better game, scored more points, and that’s why we lost.”
    Omitted Material: The quarterback told the reporter, “It’s quite simple. They . . . scored more points, and that’s why we lost.”
    Make sure that the words you remove do not alter the basic meaning of the original quote in any way. Also ensure that the quote’s integration and missing material still leave a grammatically correct sentence.
    =======================
    I leave it to the reader’s own judgement if the quote alters the basic meaning of what Sessions said.
    Why does the media not include links of transcripts when they are available? Are they trying to inform or are they trying to hide???

    1. Vatch

      The quote does not alter the meaning. Sessions said that he did not have communications with the Russians, which apparently was false. If he had said something like this, then the meaning would have been radically altered by the truncated quote:

      I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians [about campaign issues], and I’m unable to comment on it.

      But the phrases “about campaign issues” or “as a campaign surrogate” weren’t part of his statement in the full transcript. Perhaps he meant that, but that’s not what he said.

        1. optimader

          Thing is.. what could Russians have possibly told Sessions that would have altered ANYTHING? Clinton blew up her own campaign, didn’t need any oppo help. Any other contention is revisionist.

          The only consideration to be concerned about (IMO) would be if Sessions or anyone else passed along US confidential information TO the Russians.
          That is not a contention is it?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think it’s 2 steps.

            1. He talked with the Russians and failed to disclose.

            Therefore,

            2. It must be something fishy.

            Once you can show 1), the imagination (step 2) of the reader takes over. What information was involved becomes secondary.

            Master propaganda works best when it’s subtle like that…the victim does the work

            On the other hand, this also reveals who the victims are among us. Be gentle with them.

            “Everyday we drink a little propaganda and get a good workout or get worked up.”

          2. Vatch

            I think the biggest concern was whether or not he should recuse himself from any investigations of campaign contacts with Russians, and he’s now done that, which is good. I agree with you that the Clinton campaign sabotaged themselves (after first sabotaging the Sanders campaign with the help of the DNC). But there’ve been so many accusations about Russian influence in the election, it’s important that any investigation have a clear appearance of impartiality (as well as the reality of impartiality). Many of the accusations are quite outlandish — as I’ve said before, there are two kinds of people who interfere with U.S. elections: Republicans and Democrats.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > he should recuse himself from any investigations of campaign contacts with Russians, and he’s now done that

              Read the Sessions press release. Sessions is recusing himself from all investigations of any campaign activities. All the headlines that say he’s doing anything else are lying.

              1. Vatch

                Yes, you are correct. That’s why I said “he’s now done that”. I was overly specific by referring to campaign contacts with Russians, but that’s just because that was what I thought should be required. He probably doesn’t need to recuse himself from investigations of DNC cheating on behalf of Clinton, but I guess he has recused himself from those, too.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      If I have this right, and I’m not sure I do, because as the Democrats quickly fly up their own *******s and this turns into their Benghazi, it’s hard to separate what “everybody knows” from what happened:

      1) Sessions flies to the Republican National Convention on his campaign’s dime.

      2) At the RNC, he is a speaker at a shindig sponsored by the Heritage Foundation

      3) After he speaks, he exchanges pleasantries with the Russian Ambassador*, and — not surprisingly, given the givens — mentions the campaign.

      4) The “scandal” all depends on how the words Sessions uses to describe this are contextualized (or not).

      That’s it, right? That’s it? That’s all there is? Am I missing something? OK, so now we know that the Russkis in the Heritage Foundation are to blame for ObamaCare, which makes sense when you think about it. But that sounds like a rather meagre result.

      NOTE * The Beltway is the Beltway. Think tank functions are there for all to attend, including Boris and Natasha. DC would not be playing its proper role as an imperial capital were this not true.

  32. Vatch

    China’s coal consumption keeps plummeting, down for 3rd year in a row Mining.com

    This is good news!

  33. allan

    Palantir Provides the Engine for Donald Trump’s Deportation Machine [Intercept]

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement is deploying a new intelligence system called Investigative Case Management (ICM), created by Palantir Technologies, that will assist in President Donald Trump’s efforts to deport millions of immigrants from the United States.

    In 2014, ICE awarded Palantir, the $20 billion data-mining firm founded by billionaire Trump advisor Peter Thiel, a $41 million contract to build and maintain ICM, according to government funding records. The system is scheduled to arrive at armed and fully operational “final operating capacity” by September of this year. The documents identify Palantir’s ICM as “mission critical” to ICE, meaning that the agency will not be able to properly function without the program. …

    Turning blood transfusions from young’ins into ICE raids. Very libertarian!

  34. dontknowitall

    Many of my acquaintances in China’s college educated middle class are signing up their teenagers for climate change and pollution collaborative groups that work with the local government to raise awareness and find local solutions. It has become an overriding concern and the municipalities like Beijing are waking up to the problem and doing real work about it.

    Last time I was in Beijing in October I had a couple of weeks of brilliant sunny but cool days. On my last day I woke up early to leave for the airport and looked out of the window and saw the street was densely fogged in a dark heavy smoke. I called to the front desk wondering about a fire and they told me this was the first day people in the city had turned on their coal powered boilers to heat their houses. Reminded me of the images of London from the Industrial Revolution. I too am glad they are working to fix it.

  35. different clue

    “I am an Uber survivor” is a very sad story, to be sure. And in theory, I would be very against treating people like this at any legitimate company.

    The problem is that Uber is not a legitimate company. Uber is an ongoing crime-wave. I have said before that anyone who works with Uber or drives for it or rides in one of its cars deserves whatever happens to them. They are in some way collaborating with evil.

    The solution to Uber is extermination. Uber should be exterminated from existence and wiped off the face of the earth. Perhaps if Uber keeps treating enough people like this, they will run out of willing victims and collaborators, and will begin to fade away and die.

    1. optimader

      I have said before that anyone who works with Uber or drives for it or rides in one of its cars deserves whatever happens to them

      Yeah, well, no, not so much..
      Have strong feelings about Uber?

      1. jrs

        I suppose you could say those working for Uber are the equivalent of scabs (versus licensed cab drivers). Although it’s not quite so clear cut, for that to be really clear cut you’d need unions and an understanding of worker solidarity etc. – a lot of things that don’t much exist there.

        But even like scab work driving people around is not by itself illegitimate work as such or immoral as such. Working for the MIC is collaborating with evil perhaps as the point of the work is to kill people, but giving people rides, no, that’s pretty far down there as far as evil is concerned. And if workers are supposed to: “think of the poor investors who will lose money on Uber”, well I suspect the investor class can care of itself, because it’s certainly not going to take care of those who have to work for a living.

        1. hunkerdown

          “Can you hail me a scab?” Society is a union. People who compete against the well-being of others are rightly called scabs.

          1. Optimader

            Hey, if someone wants to drive soneone else someplace, thats their deal. Cab dtivers have no monopoly on driving someone else somewhere. Anyone “investing” in a dubious organizing entity– they are on their own as well.. no one is holding a gun to their collective heads to invest badly. Personally, I think the Uber model will implode but the model of a third party organizing entity will survive with a sustainable revenue distribution arrangement.

            1. Optimader

              Incidentally the organization software is being tweaked for urban carryout food delivery.

        2. different clue

          If I have understood correctly what I read about Uber in articles here, they are based on having unregulated drivers without any insurance or proof of chaufers’ license skills drive people around for fares; in open defiance of laws which say professional drivers-of-people-for money should be insured, regulated, etc. So that makes Uber a vast and massive criminal conspiracy which hopes to get its millions of individual crimes retro-legalized in time.

          The “scabs”, morally speaking, are the people who pay Uber for a ride instead of paying a legal and legitimate cab or car or limo company.

          About “military industrial complex” being “evil” because it makes things that “kill people” . . . if those things are being used to kill people that need killing, like the Cannibal Liver Eating Jihadis in Syria, then the military industrial complex which made the particular things involved in those proper and beneficial killings are doing good, not evil.

  36. Oregoncharles

    “JAMA. An enforced mandate to purchase a defective product. A sure-fire political winner!”

    Trump just ordered the IRS to stop enforcing the Mandate, so he’s moving in the opposite direction.

    I’ve heard several people talking about how hilarious it would be if the Republicans, mostly Trump, wound up installing single payer. It’s actually the only way he can meet his promises.

  37. Larry Y

    Huh, I thought most of the wine was bought in Hong Kong or China for status reasons. So, if no one knows it’s fake, no one loses!

    Also, the fake booze doesn’t only apply to wine in Hong Kong and on mainland China. The baijiu (white hard liquor, which along with cognac and tequila, is what is really served) is subject to fakery. My dad would go for the cheaper stuff (Red Star) because no one would ever bother counterfeiting it.

    Heck, along the same lines, I doubt the authenticity of many Italian olive oil or balsamic vinegar.

  38. Oregoncharles

    “Pope quietly trims sanctions for sex abusers seeking mercy USA Today”

    The Roman Church just really needs better PR people. They seem utterly clueless how they look to outsiders, or they truly don’t care. I thought the present Pope was a solution, but apparently he’s still Catholic.

    The real problem for them is, their basic business model is as a moral arbiter. When they’re seen being evil, it’s bad for business. (You can tell I grew up Protestant – Luther’s central accusation was that the Church was a business.) I wonder how donations in the US, Ireland, and some other countries are doing?

  39. integer

    The kind of stuff that nightmares are made of:

    ISIS dumped bodies in a desert sinkhole. It may be years before we know the full scale of the killings.

    Residents of Mosul whispered about the deaths at the sinkhole, or “khasfa,” as it is called…

    The khasfa, though, could be the group’s biggest mass grave.

    “It’s swallowed the lives of thousands,” said Muthanna Ahmed. He said he worked near the site for five months and witnessed summary executions. “It was terrifying, very deep and dark.”

    Ahmed said victims’ shoes and dried blood lined its rim, while some decaying bodies that
    got caught on the sinkhole’s rugged edge were still visible.

    Apparently some poor souls were thrown into this sinkhole of death alive.

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