Links 3/31/17

Honey bees navigate using magnetic abdomens Physics World (MR). MR: “[D]on’t miss the penultimate paragraph.”

Red Planet versus Dead Planet: Scientists Debate Next Destination for Astronauts in Space Scientific American

Get Lost in Mega-Tunnels Dug by South American Megafauna Discover

Student Loan Forgiveness Program Approval Letters May Be Invalid, Education Dept. Says NYT. Just like HAMP!

With $6.7 billion in public money, NFL closes stadium era ESPN

A timeline of when self-driving cars will be on the road, according to the people making them Quartz. Handy spectrum of shill to scholar, with — speaking of public money — Elon Musk pinning the bogometer on the “Shill” side.

Elon Musk’s Billion-Dollar Crusade to Stop the A.I. Apocalypse MoDo, Vanity Fair

Westinghouse Files for Bankruptcy, in Blow to Nuclear Power NYT


European leaders to formally reject Theresa May’s Brexit timetable Telegraph

Is Europe an optimal political area? (PDF) Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. From the abstract: “Compared to observed heterogeneity within member states themselves, or in well functioning federations such as the US, cultural diversity across EU members is a similar order of magnitude. The main stumbling block on the road to further political integration is not heterogeneity of tastes or of cultural traits, but other cleavages, such as parochial national identities.”


CENTCOM chief: ‘Vital US interests at stake’ in Yemen Defense One

Yemen: Trump Expands U.S. Military Role in Saudi War as Yemenis Brace for Famine Democracy Now!

Aiding Saudi Arabia’s Slaughter in Yemen Consortium News

9/11 families seek Justice Department probe of Saudi lobbying that enlisted U.S. veterans Michael Isikoff, Yahoo News

China outpaces India in internet access, smartphone ownership Pew Research Center


Destined for war? China, America and the Thucydides trap FT

What does China really want in the South China Sea? Nikkei Asian Review

China March factory activity grows fastest in nearly five years on building boom Reuters

Ivanka Trump – the US president’s new China charmer-in-chief South China Morning Post

Donald Trump warns of ‘very difficult’ Xi Jinping summit FT

The Odds Against Antiwar Warriors The American Conservative. World War I.

New Cold War

Flynn offers to cooperate with congressional probe in exchange for immunity WaPo. Read for the detail.

Flynn Wants Immunity. So Does That Mean President Trump is Screwed? Lawnewz

* * *

Democrats: “Russia Ate Our Homework” Moon of Alabama

Former NSA director says Russia was involved in 2016 election CBS. “Involved.” Because at this point I scan the qualifiers first, and then the story, I went to the lead: “Former National Security Director Gen. Keith Alexander told members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in a Thursday afternoon hearing on Russian meddling in the 2016 election cycle that he believes the country indeed interfered.” Remember that in December 2016, 52% of Democrats believed that it was definitely or probably true that “Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President,” and compare that to mushy words like “involved” and “interfered.”

Why More Democrats Are Now Embracing Conspiracy Theories NYT. From February, still useful, although it leaves out the financial incentives for Kos, the Times, etc.

What Constitutes Reasonable Mainstream Opinion Current Affairs

Conspiracy Theorists Welcome in Corporate Media–if They Have the Right Targets Adam Johnson, FAIR. Like W and Dick Cheney, conservative MP Louise Mensch has been promoted to liberal icon.

* * *

Paul Manafort’s finances, alliance with Trump draw Treasury, Justice, FBI eyes McClatchy

Trump Transition

Trump Steers into Global Economy Collision Course Der Spiegel (and a contrasting view, originally in Chinese, linked to by Yves a couple days ago).

I worked for Jared Kushner. He’s the wrong businessman to reinvent government. WaPo (MsExPat). Well worth a read (though the author doesn’t seem to see the ongoing crapification of the Mac).

Trump Signals He’s About To Blow His Foot Off Ian Welsh

Republican disarray deepens as Trump attacks rebel conservatives Reuters. “Democrats in disarray” is a trope. So it’s refreshing to see it applied to Republicans…

Trump administration appeals Hawaii judge’s order against travel ban Los Angeles Times

Bill Clinton Laid the Groundwork for Trump’s Ugly Immigration Policies Truthdig

First two Democrats back Trump’s Supreme Court pick Reuters

Trump and Healthcare Scott Adams. Not really about the headline.

Health Care

John Conyers’s Medicare for All bill gains steam in the wake of Trumpcare’s failure The New Republic. Now 80 co-sponsors.

Unveiled – SB 562: The Healthy California Act Path to Comprehensive Coverage, Low Cost for All Californians Healthy California (MR). And the text of the bill (PDF).

Help Wanted: Cost-Effectiveness Research For Health And Wellness Health Affairs. Important:

Recent estimates suggest that health care contributes a modest 15-20 percent to health outcomes, and the literature is full of accounts of communities living next door to one another with disparities in life expectancy ranging from 8-15 years, reinforcing the understanding that it is the social and physical environment people are exposed to that most influences health…. The new panel’s report is not unaware of health care’s opportunity costs and how it crowds out non-health sector investments. Investments, in housing, education, wages, safe environments, and communities have been shown to be cost efficient in addition to supporting the strength and vitality of individuals, communities, and the nation overall.

We’re seeing this play out right now as “deaths from despair” gets reframed to “the opioid crisis,” and medicalized (ka-ching).

2016 Post Mortem

Bernie Sanders: DNC ‘Absolutely’ Needs Massive Overhaul CNBC. Sanders: “If the Democrats are going to be successful, in fact that party is going to have to appeal to a whole lot of Independents.” Let me revise this to reflect the DNC view: “If the Democrats are going to be successful, in fact that party is going to have to appeal to a whole lot of Independents suburban Republicans, especially women.”

In the end, liberalism must lose Carl Beijer

Meet the Midwestern Contractor That Appears Hundreds of Times in the CIA WikiLeaks Dump The Intercept (MR). Workplace alienation as a motivation for leaking. I wonder what the DNC was like in the cubes?

Police State Watch

Policing the Colony: From the American Revolution to Ferguson The Nation. Visualizing the flyover territories as colonies of the metropolis is a useful point of view.

When Warriors Put on the Badge The Marshall Project

Guillotine Watch

Penn State trustee says he is ‘running out of sympathy’ for ‘so-called’ victims USA Today

Class Warfare

Mapped: Where American income has grown the most over the past 25 years Quartz (Re Silc).

Disabled, or just desperate? WaPo. “Rural Americans turn to disability as jobs dry up.” “Dry up.” Like a natural phenomenon.

Vegetable and fruit farmers receive hardly any agricultural subsidies Tree Hugger (Re Silc).

The Future of our Universities: Part 1 Verso

Elderly men who dine alone die sooner, study says Japan Times

Browsing Histories Share Lab. From January, but a must-read.

‘Just Use A VPN’ Isn’t A Real Solution To The GOP’s Decision To Kill Broadband Privacy Protections TechDirt (MR).

Pedestrian deaths spiked in 2016, distraction cited AP

Missing Oxford comma shows why writing skills matter FT

Language: Points, grunts and speaks Nature

Antidote du jour. O felix culpa:

Bonus antidote. Cat heaven:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. voteforno6

    Re: With $6.7 billion in public money, NFL closes stadium era

    I’m not so sure about that. The owner of Washington’s NFL franchise (and he may be the most hated person in Washington, even more so than a certain President), has already dropped hints about wanting a new stadium. He will demand taxpayer money, of course, and will try to play the District off against Northern Virginia to get it.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Within another decade or so some of these stadiums built over the last 20 years are going to be considered ‘old’ and the extortion will start all over again. A given stadium will be considered ‘old’ by its billionaire owner as soon as they find out that another billionaire’s stadium’s executive washroom is a few square feet larger than their own, and therefore the entire stadium is no longer economically viable.

    2. JerryDenim

      The headline is off but the article shines a nice light on a little known side of the NFL sports fans should know about.

      If every Trump-voting, Patriots fan, New Englander realized what a giant welfare queen Tom Brady really is, I’m betting the political conversation regarding the welfare state, income inequality, taxation and the fake “national deficit” story would be radically different.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        The Pats aren’t really the best example to use here as the team actually ponied up most of the costs of the stadium – just one more reason we New Englanders will continue to bask in the warm glow of Brady’s goodness despite what the haters say. Yes, I’m an irrational sports fan and I admit it.

        According to wikipedia

        …Robert Kraft paid for 100% of the construction costs, a rare instance of an NFL owner privately financing the construction of a stadium.

        That is a little vague but here’s a good report with more specific figures for all recently built stadiums. Public funding comes in anywhere between 0-100% according to these figures with the Pats’ stadium listed as 17% publicly funded.

        I am against public funding of these stadiums unless the public gets a decent ROI. No idea what that might be in Gillette’s case but would be interested to find out.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Then, we have basketball and baseball billionaires working on their own projects as well, to bring agony and thrill to their paying fans.

    3. DanB

      In any case, NFL viewership is down 9% from last year; and ESPN is losing viewers and planning massive layoffs.

    4. Adam Eran

      Interesting factoid: Professional sports in the U.S. enjoy exemptions from antitrust prosecution (not that it’s been a big worry lately). That means they can charge monopoly rents with impunity.

      Al Davis has extorted financial concessions and stadium subsidies from both Oakland and Anaheim, and now (showing his loyalty to fans) is moving the NFL Raiders to Las Vegas.

      Could viewership be down because of that head injury thingy, BTW?

      In Sacramento, the NBA Kings threatened to leave, and former pro Basketball player (and groper-of-minors) Kevin Johnson begged them to stay. Vivek Ranadive and his merry band of plutocrats agreed to help by buying the team, but required a quarter-billion-dollar subsidy to build a new stadium (they already had one).

      They got the $250 million at the drop of the hat, but housing advocates have been begging for affordable housing subsidies that have been slow walked and diminished as time passes. The City owns the stadium (so no property tax revenue), and gets a white elephant if the team leaves. The City gets no stake in the team itself, nor a veto over proposed future moves. Could more extortion be in Sacramento’s future? Gee, I wonder!

      An estimated 70% of the population opposed the subsidy, but the legal shennanigans to avoid anything like a referendum, despite the sufficient number of gathered signatures, were a sight to behold.

      Meanwhile, Forbes estimates the team is now worth double what Ranadive paid for it.

      These monopoly deals are pretty sweet, no? (David Cay Johnston estimates 75% of George W. Bush’s net worth came from one of these sweetheart stadium deals in Arlington, TX)

  2. Carla

    “Trump Signals He’s About To Blow His Foot Off” (Ian Welsh) — Since his foot is so often in his mouth, this could be a really wonderful thing!

  3. Hana M

    Oh, that cat video! A great AM laugh. I particularly liked the tabby who decided his neighbor’s bell was working better than his own :)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Though I must admit, upon reflection, the joy might be based on a false idea that we can actually get cats to do what we want them to do.

        “My way or the high way. No bell, no food.”

  4. BeliTsari

    Thank you for the Antidote du jour… needed it, badly! When you get off nite shift, stuck in a scary motel in the Gaslands… you find Kamala Harris grilling Clinton Watts if evil Rooskis’ dezinformatsiya won’t lower American’s confidence in our democratic institutions, the sanctity of our vote? Now, granted… there were other fascinating informercials, about ED drugs not being enough, along with reality programming with fat, hairy guys in RealTree camo, along with some of my very most pertinent documentaries: Squidbillies, Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. But the C-Span reality infomercial seemed the best scripted, most compelling and hilarious? Now, normally, I stick with the ambulance chaser commercials and reruns of A Thousand Cllowns, but this is getting weird.

  5. Joe

    I live in Southern Illinois (anyplace south of Chicago) as a non Trump guy surrounded by thousands of Trump guys. Russia gives them no pause. Politics is a world where truth is a spectrum, not black and white where pols paint with “fancy” words, Trump uses primary colors. Even if this is Watergate 2.0 it won’t change any party affiliations around here.

    However, his policy decisions are raising eyebrows. As people in small towns tend to do I’ve had hundreds of conversations about the weather. Typical topic during winter; When do you remember there being six days in a row of seventy degree weather in February? Something’s up huh

    1. Tony Wikrent

      Tell them – thank God climate change is a hoax, or we would really be screwed – and see how many get it.

  6. russell1200

    Re – Westinghouse.

    Two of ( he 4) the reactors they are building are for Southern Company. A SE based mid-tier utility. Southern Company recently bought publically traded PowerSecure a relatively quiet, but important, renewable energy/energy efficiency company that does a lot of work with utilities and utility like companies. In yesterdays WSJ, the Southern Company CEO sounded as if he was in near panic.

    PowerSecure I think has potential to be much more important than its size would indicate. They aren’t as much into using hot hedge fund money to build cookie cutter solar farms, and seem to be more intermeshed with the actual practical use of what they are building. I hope they don’t get dragged under.

  7. CRS

    In regards to universal healthcare, the California bill could wind up being a big deal. Canada’s universal healthcare system actually started province by province. See Wikipedia for details.

    1. Lee

      CA population is about the same as Canada’s, so the pool is certainly large enough but we have some complicating factors. We have a relatively large percentage of undocumented/illegals (pick your poison) in the state and in the workforce, and we have a considerably higher poverty rate than Canada. OTOH, our GDP per capita is higher than Canada’s so with a bit of redistributional taxation…..

      1. tegnost

        I agree, the reduced wages paid to the immigrant population, including the legal ones, surely covers the cost increase in other areas

  8. Schnormal

    Last night my Facebook feed was full of lady boners for this guy Clinton Watts, who Testified yesterday about the Russians interfering in the elections.

    Watts’s testimony was full of juicy punch quotes, stuff like “Follow the trail of dead Russians,” and “After I do this today, I’ll be attacked..My concern: When I leave this room there’ll be nobody covering my back.” Predictably, many people shared the video, with godalmighty comments like “Wow, Clinton Watts, he the man! We have your back, Clint!”

    So I’m like where do I know this guy, and I see he was main source for Craig Timberg’s outrageous Propornot story that ran in the Post in Nov, as per the Intercept:

    “What the Post does not mention in its report is that Watts, one of the specialists it relies on for its claims, previously worked as an FBI special agent on a Joint Terrorism Task Force and as the executive officer of the U.S. Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center. As Fortune’s Ingram wrote of the group, it is ‘a conservative think tank funded and staffed by proponents of the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia.'”


    1. BeliTsari

      Why I could never stomach TV. Americans run a short spectrum, from Golan-Globus flix to Homeland/ The Americans/ Zero Dark Thirty. Millions die, here and overseas, while these slimy jackals cash in upon our pathetic urge to fantasize some alternative reality, conforming with what we’ve been programmed to buy into, huh?

      1. Jess

        Your reference to Homeland is interesting. I know lots of NCers don’t have TV, or don’t watch, but has anybody else been watching this season? If so, you may have been astounded. Remember when the show started and the A-rabs were the baddies? Well, this season it’s the Deep State/Intell Community.

        And talk about prescient? Sure, the lady prez was probably predicated on belief that Hellary would win. But the main story is all about the unelected government of the DS/IC trying to bring down the elected President, including a false flag bombing in NYC. Another one of the tools is a gigantic clandestine sock puppet operation which one character describes as “intended to stifle dissent”. And, of course, a key element is Israeli cooperation in the fuckery. Sound familiar?

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I have been watching it and it seems to me that the similarities to what’s going on now are positively eerie. I think I even saw the words “sock puppets” in some article I read today.

          Interesting that, referencing the relationship between the “intelligence” community and the lady president-elect, a character this past week said, “They hate her.” Michael Flynn was reportedly intent on reforming the intelligence services, and I daresay the community feels the same about him. Remember schumer’s “every which way from Sunday” warning.

          Gotta say, this one is worth watching.

          1. Jess

            One of Carrie’s aids, Max, actually uses the term “sock puppets” in the episode. And yes, it is eerie.

        2. BeliTsari

          Sorry I didn’t answer previously, a “family” emergency (and I don’t get e-mail notifications). It’s been my sincere belief that Katniss’ astute observation might be off 180 degrees. Scripts are seldom ripped, ‘straight from the headlines.’ What passes for reality is just spun, euphamized or rammed pretty cockeyed into the dim recesses of our medial temporal lobes, inflaming the amygdala? This is NOT to say Gideon Raff personally writes our foreign policy. He obviously has far too good of a grasp on reality, and sense of irony? Edward Neumeier would do FINE!

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      This guy, watts, is all over msnbs this morning. He’s identified simply as a “former” fbi agent, and his “trail of dead Russians” comment is proving to be particularly titillating for the spokesmodels.

      1. grayslady

        At an earlier moment, when ProporNot was in the news, I looked up background info on Watts. Turns out his employment with the FBI lasted approximately one year. That’s probably not even enough time to complete the training program. He struck me as someone who was a job-hopper, desperate to make his job-hopping appear as though he had broad knowledge instead of being an individual who is likely a serial failure.

    3. fresno dan

      March 31, 2017 at 8:16 am

      Very good catch – thanks for that background Schnormal

    4. Rhondda

      Interesting quickie rundown on the roll call of “special guests” at The Russians are coming!” comedy show on The Hill over on the open thread at Moon of Alabama….look for a series of posts by “sejomoje”.

      These are the same scumbags who slandered Yves and Lambert.

      They’ve been cooking this stew for a while. Ready-to-serve.

  9. rich

    March 30, 2017
    Pelosi’s Mandatory Public Option & Summers’ Fake Bank Toughness

    The history rewrite by members of the Blue Team is astounding now that they no longer hold the reigns of power. Nancy Pelosi said on Face the Nation in mid-March:

    “I would have had a public option. I would have done a different bill.”

    This isn’t some pie in the sky wish. She was Speaker of the House in a Blue majority Congress with a Blue President in the White House.

    Next Blue team economic advisor and consummate insider Larry Summers turned into Pinocchio with nose growing statements.

    As head of Barack Obama’s National Economic Council during 2009 and 2010 at the height of the foreclosure crisis, Larry Summers broke many promises to help homeowners while simultaneously dismissing Wall Street’s criminality. Now, after the Obama administration has left power and Summers has no ability to influence anything, he finds himself “disturbed” that settlements for mortgage misconduct are full of lies.

    When it was discovered that mortgage companies were using false documents to execute foreclosures, in violation of numerous legal statutes, Summers dismissed it.

    The Obama team began with a free pass for Wall Street. I wonder what insider Larry Summers hopes to gain with his memory challenged statement? Who are the insiders he’s catering to by speaking out now?

    The Blue team is shameless in their self-serving manipulations. Pelosi and Summers expect us not to remember. Well, we do.
    Posted by PEU Report/State of the Division at 7:29 PM

    Pelosi, Summers, Bolgia Six is calling.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        But I thought Sanders supporters were racists, sexist, unicorn chasers who would easily be replaced by “moderate suburban republicans. ”

        Won’t the Republicans vote for McCaskill? She worked so hard for their votes.

        1. nippersdad

          With all of the thrashing she has been doing lately it would be difficult to believe that the sharks haven’t started circling yet. No one recognizes the smell of blood in the water better than “moderate” Republicans like herself. I’d be willing to bet good money that one of her Republican clones will win her spot in the general and she will have her chance to visit that “special hell” we have been told is reserved for those not supporting her.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Hammer and sickle was, as I remember, the image she invoked when referencing Bernie.

        Next up, her pandering to military brass on the matter of sexual assault.

      3. neo-realist

        That’s fine assuming the Sanders’ backers say to Claire, “Well then, let’s talk about Medicare for All.” If Claire says that its not up for discussion, the backers should say “See ya around.”

      4. Rhondda

        Speaking of Concern Troll Claire McCaskill:
        McCaskill Opens Probe Into Opioid Drugmakers, But Omits Nation’s Worst Offender From Her Home State | Zero Hedge

        U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., opened an investigation Tuesday into the role drug companies may have played in the nation’s opioid epidemic. She requested internal documents from five leading drugmakers on how they market opioid painkillers and if they knew anything about the dangers of the drugs. Yet, the top opioid prescription manufacturer, which is located in McCaskill’s home state in St. Louis, Missouri, is missing from the initial list of companies she’s investigating.

        McCaskill requested internal sales and marketing materials, addiction studies, and contributions made to third-party advocacy groups that may have worked to block efforts to increase regulation of opioids. She sent the letter to Purdue Pharma, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, Insys, Mylan, and Depomed.

        In 2016, there were more than 236 million opioid prescriptions filled by 183 drug companies, according to IMS. Here’s the percentage of the total market share by prescription for the five companies mentioned by McCaskill:

        Mylan: 6.7 million scripts or 2.84 percent of the total annual opioid prescriptions for 2016
        Purdue: 4.8 million scripts or 2 percent
        Depomed: 878,000 scripts or 0.37 percent
        Janssen: 74,000 scripts or 0.03 percent
        Insys: 33,000 scripts or 0.01 percent

        The top manufacturer for opioid prescriptions last year was Mallinckrodt, which had more than 43.8 million prescriptions, accounting for approximately 18.6 percent of the total market share. However, the company didn’t receive a letter from McCaskill…

      5. hunkerdown

        Sen. McCaskill, with all due respect, go pander to the moderate Republicans your Party wants, because we have no interest to see your family blog self in a position of public trust again. There’s a special place in hell for people who serve donors over constituents, and you’re about to take up residence there.

        Never, ever.

      1. m

        Perhaps like Hillary, now that Summers is so hated, cannot get himself into a government position to drive policy to benefit his friends he has become useless. Useless for these guys means no more power with cash benefits. Just a thought.
        No matter what he will say the rabble hate him, that Mass Senator (forgot her name) and Repub will never let him back in the sandbox.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I’ve long suspected Obama would become a target of blame as his followers were distracted by the next shiny object and the rats he relied on needed to spread blame.

      2. Jess

        Outside of the “insiders” club? You mean like that detestable little twit Robert Reich, who forced NAFTA down our throats but now has gotten religion?

        Scumbags one and all.

    1. Darius

      The public option was Democrat crapification. Nevertheless, Obama gave away even that for nothing. IIIRC, Pelosi is correct that she wanted to have the Democrats’ public option but she let him give it away. She never once stood up to Obama. I was wishfully thinking she’d lead the caucus on a fairly generic Keynesian economic agenda in opposition to Obama’s neoliberalism. More typically, Pelosi publicly opposed fast track but whipped for it behind the scenes.

    2. Vatch

      You made me look up Bolgia Six. It’s been a long time since I read “The Inferno” in school.

    3. Debbie

      And the Blue team is also responsible for Russiagate. Had they not fixed the primary election for Clinton, Bernie would be president now, and Trump and his merry band of thieves would still be in New York.

      It’s hard for me to take the Dems on the Hill too seriously this week, since they got what they wanted. Either way, it’s just more of the same stuff we’ve been experiencing for the past couple of years, and I’m so shell-shocked that nothing affects or surprises me.

      1. nowhere

        But I’ve been reading via the Twitter that Russian agents were feeding all of the BernieBros™ agitprop, so even if Bernie would have won, Russia wins again + 1! The only true, American choice was HerTurn.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Senator Paul is also suspicious.

          I believe only Hillary and McCain can save us.

    4. oh

      There are too many people I know who are staunch ObamaBots, who’ll alibi him every chance they get. Facts don’t mean anything to these airheads.

  10. allan

    Giuliani, Mukasey Play Mysterious Roles in Case of Turkish Trader [NYLJ]

    Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey are part of the legal team defending a Turkish gold trader charged with helping Iran avoid U.S. sanctions but are serving “ancillary” roles, according to a letter submitted Thursday to a Manhattan federal judge.

    Benjamin Brafman of Brafman & Associates said Giuliani, a senior adviser at Greenberg Traurig, and Mukasey, of counsel at Debevoise & Plimpton, will not appear in court on behalf of Reza Zarrab, nor will they take part in plea negotiations with prosecutors. The filing was submitted in response to an order from Southern District Judge Richard Berman to submit briefs explaining Giuliani’s and Mukasey’s roles in Zarrab’s defense.

    Brafman’s response was short on details. Giuliani and Mukasey have been retained by Zarrab, Brafman wrote, and will serve “ancillary” roles that do not involve direct interaction with the court. As for the nature of their work and how exactly it relates to the prosecution, Brafman wrote those issues are protected by attorney-client privilege.

    Berman has scheduled a conference for Tuesday morning to discuss the matter.

    According to The New York Times, Giuliani and Mukasey traveled to Turkey last month to discuss Zarrab’s case with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. …

    A former USA for SDNY and a former USAG flip the bird to a federal judge. IOKIYAAFUSAG.

  11. jhallc

    Re: Consortium News: Aiding Saudi Arabia’s Slaughter –
    The Military and CIA have been moving us towards more involvement in Yemani long before Trump came along. Back in October 2016 the US Navy responded to a reported Houthi “cruise missile” attack on one of it’s ships by firing 3 interceptor SM-2 missile’s. They then followed this up with cruise missile attack on Yemani radar stations. This story got a lot of play and in my mind was likely a justification for further involvement. MoA covered this extensively.
    So here’s the $$ quote from the Consortium article:

    ” And, of course, the Saudis have allowed the United States, with the NSA and the CIA, to have a very lucrative set of deals over arm sales, which have reached as much as $200 billion over – if you add in all the possible additional fees that can be charged on these deals – more than $200 billion over two decades. That is real money for those in the Pentagon. And the NSA and the CIA have their own sweetheart deals with the Saudis to provide various intelligence services.”

    From the “Defense News Article”

    Rep. Paul Cook, a former Marine colonel and a member of both the the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, replied: “Obviously everyone wants peace in the area and the fighting to stop, but until that happens, I think we have to take the side of our friends and allies.

    “They are so concerned that Iran is using the Houthi rebels as a proxy to destabilize and come after them,” the California Republican said. “While I don’t think we need boots on the ground, as much as we can do with [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] to support our friends and allies is critical.”

    Gotta keep the NSA and CIA folks employed. Just who are our friends and allies here?

    1. Eureka Springs

      No time to look up the link, but an important omission in your quote… reports a while back that Obama gave Saudis permission to fund CIA directly.

      1. jhallc

        Yes, thanks for reminding me of that. Must be nice to have your own little slush fund. I’m afraid ramping up the CIA’s own little military goes way back beyond even Obama. What can go wrong with that?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Foreigners funding the CIA? Directly, not less.

        Sounds like we are giving control of the CIA away…

  12. Linda


    Two journalists who believe they are on the so-called “kill list” of individuals targeted by the U.S. for deadly drone strikes are suing President Donald Trump and other top administration officials.

    Former Al Jazeera Islamabad bureau chief Ahmad Zaidan and freelance journalist Bilal Kareem filed a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington, contending that they were erroneously placed on the “kill list” during the Obama administration and that Trump has illegally maintained that designation. The suit also alleges that Trump has loosened some of the safeguards the previous administration placed on the program.

    Files leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Intercept in 2015 indicate that U.S. officials claimed in a private presentation that Zaidan, a Pakistani and Syria citizen who conducted a series of interviews with terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, was a member of Al Qaeda and of the Muslim Brotherhood and appeared on a terror watch list.

    Kareem, a U.S. citizen reporting from Syria in recent years, claims in the suit that he has “narrowly avoided being killed by five separate air strikes” over the past year.

    Good luck to them.

      1. vidimi

        and who decides the difference between journalist and propagandist?

        this wouldn’t even be an argument if we (collectively) hadn’t decided that it was ok to turn human beings into pink mist if you could tag them with the al qaeda label.

        1. Adrian

          He decided it himself when he went to Syria to work for Al Qaeda. And I never said it was ok to waste him, but drone strikes are an occupational hazard of his chosen profession.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Maybe if you got notorious for some reason, it would be ok for an “opponent” to drone-strike YOU?

            I see ISIS and other gunmen in the Giant Combat Pit have developed their own smart weapons, using readily available “Chinese technology”– what I used to call “model airplanes” when I was growing up. Here’s a nice source, for anyone interested – FREE SHIPPING, too! Some of these can carry several pounds of explosive! Tiny targets, some fly over 100 mph, zero radar cross section, and these are winged, not multi-prop “drones” like these:

            (“FPV,” for the less-tech, is “first person video,” which is the same view that “our troops” get, with their million- to billion-dollar Weapons Systems — look at the screen, steer with the joysticks, obliterate the Target.) And we’ve seen the DoD “drone swarms,” and “anyone can do it,”–wFfipvA&ytbChannel=Associated%20Press, and guess what: It’s all LEGAL! Just like the extranational drone killing done in our name!

          2. Skip Intro

            But in Syria, Al Qaeda works for the US/Saudi. Ae you claiming he is with the White Helmets or something?

  13. PlutoniumKun

    Trump and Healthcare Scott Adams. Not really about the headline.

    Sample quote:

    Speaking of healthcare, I predicted on Periscope here several days ago that the only way to get a bill passed was to let Ryan fail hard on the first attempt while scaring the left at the same time. That softens both sides to the middle. There was literally no other path to the middle. You couldn’t get there without the first step being a major failure by the majority party. This necessary step toward success is, of course, being reported as total failure.

    I’d interpret it slightly differently. Adams seems to think this is a step to a ‘middle way’, but I don’t really see where that middle way is, at least from Trumps perspective. I think Trump decided to play the good Republican soldier knowing it would fail. This way he could cast the blame firmly on Republicans in Congress, buying him time. I doubt he knows himself what he’ll do with the time, but I doubt it will be some sort of fudged compromise. He will, if given the opportunity, go for something much more radical, but whether that would be Medicare for All, or simply abolishing Obamacare and leaving it an even greater mess, I doubt anyone knows.

    1. JohnnySacks

      Why anyone listens to or cares what Scott Adams thinks beyond the daily comics is a mystery to me. He should go sit in the corner and self help psychic masturbate and spare us his political opinions.

      1. DJPS

        Didn’t he correctly call the election well in advance, when the mainstream experts like Nate Silver gave Trump 0.8% chance?

        Blind luck?

        1. a different chris

          No, a technique where you predict everything and then say “I was right!” when whatever – doesn’t matter what – happens.

          Still Dilbert is one of humanities greatest gifts so I’m not going to slam him too much…

    2. L

      I think that he may be half right. You don’t have to be able to read minds to know that there was no well-vetted well-accepted Paul Ryan plan waiting in the wings. He has always promised to have these things on hand, they never happen. And the gulf between the R factions is just too wide to bridge in any practical terms. But after years of making promises of an easy repeal Paul Ryan had to try so any path to well, anything, had to go through his failure. That much I agree on.

      Whether or not there is any middle ground that can be obtained is a different issue. At this point I’m not sure that anyone who claims to want it knows where to find it or what it would look like in this case. As a case in point I recently heard an interview with a “Republican Moderate” and a member of the “Problem Solver’s Caucus” which is bipartisan so it is magically middle. He characterized the middle ground as “giving up” on eliminating the essential benefits in exchange for the Democrats giving up on mandating that people have insurance. I.e. trading the hostage for bankrupting health care. If that is “the middle ground” then it is not likely to hold everyone.

      Where I would argue Adams’ reasoning makes more sense is if you look at tax cuts. Before the election both Trump and Clinton were promising corporate tax cuts and tax holidays. Schumer basically salivated over it in public before election day. But after all their promises neither Trump nor Congress could get to that until after they tried to “do healthcare.” Now they can say they tried, blame each other, and then move onto what they all actually care about and what will likely provide a place for them to come together. And people like Schumer can pass ugly tax cuts on the grounds that they saved health care so we should love them.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Ryan had what he understood to be policy on hand, and I suspect Trump, not knowing very much, was astonished by Ryan’s latest pie chart as much as Ezra Klein is.

        When Trump started hearing from the membership about concerns, he likely saw Ryan was a moron and looked for an out, hence the ultimatum when he did the have the votes from the lunatics in the caucus.

        I doubt he had plans beyond the belief he needs to look busy as President.

        1. Carolinian

          Think you have it right although I thought the Adams column was pretty good. Switching from Trump as Hitler to Trump as bumbler is shifting gears to a more familiar–and less hysterical–narrative because it’s mostly always been true. Given our recent history who is competent to do this job.

          And certainly Trump is succeeding brilliantly at a more familiar task for him: drawing attention to himself. He doesn’t have to put a giant Trump sign over the White House because the media and the Dems are doing it for him.

      2. oh

        I’m sick of people falling for “tax cuts”. They cut taxes for the rich at the federal level and the state increase our taxes whining about less revenues. This has been happening ever since that fraud Reagan. Wake up people!

      3. JTFaraday

        “there was no well-vetted well-accepted Paul Ryan plan waiting in the wings. He has always promised to have these things on hand, they never happen.”

        I think Paul Ryan, as House Speaker, went out and did what HE genuinely wanted to do. Basically, “block grant” and otherwise drive Medicaid into the ground while delivering huge tax cuts up the line with a tiny trickle down to $75k in the form of a small Ryancare subsidy. That would have been an enormous win to him, and it was that little tiny trickle down that was supposed to win it with his definition of the public.

        But this tosses a big steaming pile of shit onto the desks of Republican governors, of which there are many. Most of whom don’t govern Alabama and Mississippi. Nor do they want to in the future. For this reason, I think it will probably go nowhere.

        It’s not that AHCA is not-a-policy, it’s that it is Ryan’s policy.

    3. cocomaan

      Still holding out for what my wife called the Medicare Access Guarantee Act (MAGA), Trump’s single payer plan.

      A man can dream. The Dems certainly aren’t going to do it.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    What Constitutes Reasonable Mainstream Opinion Current Affairs

    Sample quote:

    Of course, one may disagree with this. One may believe that the media’s treatment of the Russia-Trump nexus has been sober and reasonable. But a new data point suggests otherwise: the New York Times recently published a piece on Russian hacking by Louise Mensch. And a world where the Paper of Record publishes Mensch is not a world with a sane public conversation about Russia.

    Mensch is a British former Conservative MP and chick-lit author who these days spends most of her time on Twitter issuing frenzied denunciations of imagined armies of online “Putinbots.” She is—and this is no overstatement—one of the least credible people on the internet.

    I hadn’t realised the NYT had published a Mensch article. There was a discussion BTL here 2 days ago about how the US media seems to be particularly credulous with a certain type of British writer (someone suggested a catholic connection too, I’m not so sure about that). But Mensch goes beyond being just a sharp elbowed self publicist, she is a full on Michelle Bachman style nutcase. That she is in any way treated seriously by the MSM is astonishing. It seems the MSM in the US is determined to dig its own grave.

    1. okanogen

      Mensch is an un-credible joke. Adopting her as a “source” of anything except as a conspiracy theory windvane is ill-advised, much like Glenn Greenwald, or Julian Assange.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Except Greenwald and Assange have a habit of being correct.

        Mensch is the latest liberal hero despite being a Tory.

      2. human

        I would like to point out that Greenwald and Assange have demonstrated that they are conspiracy fact windvanes, to repurpose your ad-hominem attack.

      3. vidimi

        one guy says it’s ok to incinerate a journalist because he’s an al qaeda propagandist and now another smears greenwald and assange as conspiracy theorists.

        we need better trolls.

      4. Steven

        Oh dear.

        Greenwald and Wikileaks are conspiracy theorists now, according to okanogen?

        This is one of the very few times I’ve seen a completely idiotic comment on this website’s comment section.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Mensch is clearly unhinged, and now the Clintonistas see the need to dump their latest expert. What they desperately don’t want is for people to look at Wikileaks or Greenwald because they might learn something.

          The Democrats did put forth Hillary, an Iraq war conspiracy theorist, as a candidate. They aren’t exactly a group firing on all cylinders.

          1. John k

            They did as their owners told them, not least nominating the owners favorite.
            They’re still being paid.
            Mission accomplished…
            yes, they lost the presidency, congress, copious states… but not their fault given their constraints, not least that elites are selected for loyalty to owners, not competence.

            Got links to jimmy dore here, he really gets it.

    2. fresno dan

      March 31, 2017 at 9:03 am

      “But one cannot argue that media dialogue about Russia is in any way serious or rational, so long as mainstream legitimacy is offered to a person who literally thinks Vladimir Putin murdered Andrew Breitbart and who is checking florists’ vans for antennae.”

      If your looking for an antennae for sending surreptitious messages to Putin, the only place that it is an established fact that your gonna find one is in my underground basement lair (with a large picture of Putin on a horse not wearing a shirt – and Putin isn’t wearing a shirt either) while I’m in my hammer and sickle jammies and wearing my red fuzzy bunny slippers with the rabbit ear ANTENNAE …..

      1. Ivy

        Add the SPCA to the list of agencies now monitoring you, after that poor horse was indecently exposed sans-shirt! ;p

    3. Jess

      Mensch is a member of the WGA, as am I, and I can tell you that everybody I know in the guild who knows her thinks she is certifiably bonkers.

  15. temporal

    Today’s release of marble shows that the CIA had formalized documents on how to spoof attacks so that they can be attributed to foreign sources. This makes it even more clear that anyone who says that they can use forensic evidence to determine an attacker’s identity is just blowing smoke. Not that it wasn’t completely obvious before this.

  16. crittermom

    RE: Student Loan Forgiveness
    Yes. It sounds exactly like HAMP!
    “Stand on this rug and we’ll help you.”
    A decade later, “Oops? We had to pull that rug out from under you. So sorry. Step aside. Pay up on your way out. Next!”

    It appears it will be Fall before the SHTF, adding many millions more to the “WTF happened?” crowd.
    But will it then be enough to tip the scales of justice back to us citizens, with that many more having been screwed by a govt program?
    I’m anxious to find out.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Like dealing with a health isse, maybe it’s time to focus the energy on prevention.

      How to reduce tuition, though that will be after we have reduced health cost in this country, and thus, more importantly, how to reduce the pervasiveness of credentialism, i.e. fewer schools, smaller departments, etc.

      1. JustAnObserver

        … and no more dorms got up as Trumpotels, ludicrously over-the-top football stadiums (stadia?), etc.

    2. perpetualWAR

      Yep, crittermom, we screwed homeowners will NEVER trust our government ever again.

      My solution? Learning how to shoot. The next round is an armed insurrection. I intend to be on the front lines.

      1. crittermom

        perpetualWAR: “Learning how to shoot.”
        I already possess pretty good aim.

        The govt has now PO’d unions, former homeowners, and now those with student debt that were lied to for ten years.
        There’s been mention of SS, Medicaid, and Medicare being targets, as well.
        Healthcare is yet another issue involving much of the population, while talk remains of encouraging even more profits for the banks by lessening regulations (not necessarily being currently upheld, anyway), all the while outsourcing jobs while the planet dies.

        At this rate, the govt will soon have PO’d 90% of the citizens.
        Maybe then they’ll realize they’re outnumbered and maybe they should begin to listen to us?
        (Still awaiting my lab results, but ya may wanna save me a place next to ya in the front line)

    3. robnume

      +1,000! Your comment caused about “come stand on this rug,” conjured images of Lucy, from Peanuts, tricking poor ol’ Charlie Brown into kicking that football just one more time. Come on, citizens, you can trust me this time!

  17. cocomaan

    I’d really appreciate NC digging deep into the student loan forgiveness programs. You guys do great investigative pieces and there’s a lot of bullshit surrounding how the four forgiveness schemes work, or don’t work.

    My suspicious is that there is no way in hell the Department of Education is going to forgive hundreds of billions in loans. Not to mention that student loan interest is funding Obamacare. But it needs more investigation.

    1. crittermom

      Investigations don’t seem to matter much when just as with HAMP, the truths are ignored, anyway.

    2. KurtisMayfield

      Debt slavery must be maintained, at all human cost.

      When the elderly lady that lives on cat food testifies to Congress that she has to live this way because her Social Security was taken for her student loan debts, then maybe something will happen. But I doubt it.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      “Student loan forgiveness programs.”

      When an official “certification” letter can be invalidated without explanation or appeal, the only conclusion must be that there is no such thing. Don’t get sucked in.

      Don’t take out the student loans. Spend a gap year or two taking some core courses at a community college, and spend your free time in the streets breaking some windows and setting some cars on fire until they hear you.

  18. RenoDino

    I worked for Jared Kushner. He’s the wrong businessman to reinvent government.

    Jared has so got this. As a devoted watcher of the apprentice for three seasons, I know how this works.
    Trump really only believes in one thing: nepotism. The family sits on one side of the board room table facing the contestants, in this case the dons of Silicon Valley. They are tasked with coming up with ideas to revamp the government and the family judges them on their plans. Trump’s relatives never question their own status in relation to the outsiders. It is their right to judge, despite the fact all of their wealth and power derives not from hard work or brilliant ideas, but from primogenitor. This is royalty in action without a bit of irony as they all hail the meritocracy. If there is any justice in the world, Jared will ask them to set up hotdog stands on the street and rate them according to net sales. Winner gets to make over the government.

    1. Jim Haygood

      The incident in Atlanta reminded me of the collapse of I-78 near Newark airport in Aug 1989, caused by a fire in a Mob-connected junk yard underneath it.

      Look at the bright side, though. From a Kurgman perspective, the crippled interstate means more economy-boosting infrastructure spending. Isn’t there something else we could break? ;-0

      1. Carolinian

        It’s going to be a huge deal for Atlanta given the location. They are going to have to get that fixed pronto.

        1. nowhere

          I used to live right next to there, and it was on my commute to school. I am SOOOOO glad I don’t live there now. What a nightmare! The entire city is going to be gridlocked.

          1. Jay M

            Guess the highway administration didn’t game out the risk scenarios of storing flammable plastic under the structure
            So sad!

            1. aletheia33

              pvc pipe fire … really bad for health of anyone within breathing distance of the smoke

      2. human

        I remember when the Yankee Doodle I-95 bridge here in Connecticut collapsed about 15 years ago. The arm-sized pins that the structure rested on had shaken out and fallen to the ground over the years. A scavenger who was interviewed stated that he had never realized what they were, until the collapse, and had been picklng them up for scrap. A temporary span was in place within a week.

      3. optimader

        The incident in Atlanta reminded me of the collapse of I-78 near Newark airport in Aug 1989, caused by a fire in a Mob-connected junk yard underneath it
        Dint underestimate human stupidity. .. you would thing they would by Code do a HazOp assessment for the potential exotherm value of anything stored under a bridge?

        Some years back, pre 9-11, I was on a business trip to Savannah, GA. Airing ourselves out we went for a walk along the newly gentrified River walk, on what is essentially a commercial shipping canal.

        It’s industrial legacy included a rail spur parallel to the river walk that served various chemical plants either side of the gentrified area along the river.. In this mixed use, the City fathers allowed the Hyatt Regency-Savannah to be built adjacent to and over the rail right of way.

        So following the tracks we walked under the hotel to see parked probably 4 tankers of anhydrous hydrofluoric acid, no doubt waiting to be dragged to the (now defunct) Kerr McGee TiO2 plant down that was nearby on the river.

        So yeah, crazy shit happens. That would have been enough HF to melt the Hotel and probably glaze everything in a extensive down wind plume in the prevailing wind direction. Who would be willing to organize a tow engine and go near the tankers to drag them away if they were breeched by accident or malice??

        1. cocomaan

          Who would be willing to organize a tow engine and go near the tankers to drag them away if they were breeched by accident or malice??

          Why, our new autonomous vehicles, of course. If you don’t do your job, we’ll find a robot that will!

        2. skippy

          Oh oh oh…. I know the answer to that opti…..

          Was doing work on an extension for Ashland Chem, where a heater above the loading dock had a bearing failure in one of the new units fan [gas fired].

          Anywho the thing was fully engulfed so I called the night Mgr [2AM] and his answer…. wait for it…. was he would send someone to come and have a look at it….

          Wellie… I trotted off to the unfinished electrical plant room only to find open power boxes with no labels on the trips, of yet, so I just started tripping everything, then shut off the gas main. How long did it take someone to visit…. um… 15 min -?????

          disheveled….. good times…. ps… have sussed the chippies, plasters, tilers, et al for the builder on my current JBsite… mate whom would have thought standards and knowlage would have degenerated so bad in just 9 years….

          1. Optimader

            Pretty bad to not have a basic emergency power down and exit plan.

            Above and beyond for you to mess with open/ unmarked power panels as you bolt out to the parking lot!
            I understand big power, but hate going near it. We use union electricians to work in them, and only when deenergized


            1. skippy

              Meh…. I’m the one that used to hook up the 480 3 phase 100 amp service to open power panels for our gear and do DC diagnostics on it. One of the few times we had a site electrician hook it up to an open panel, he did arch it – from the main back plate.

              Myself with partner and the site super were just outside the door, mini sun for a split second shone through the door, temp blindness even with backs turned to it. Once we could see again we all looked at each other like which one is going to have a look, then the sparky popped out looking a bit shattered and sans most of his front hair and all his eyebrows, w/ black face.

              Must have just caught the very edge of the plasma stream, later inspection showed almost 1/4 a kilo of brass changed from a sold to gas.

              disheveled…. have you seen the new production facilities where the floor is just one big backing plate…. ffs had to import skillz from Sweden to install it…

              1. nowhere

                Yeah…you wouldn’t catch me anywhere near work on a 100 amp service…no sir. I like my electric from 4 – 20 mA / 0 – 10 V.

                1. skippy

                  As I have alluded too recently were going backwards in time to the point that the trades are better quantified as the mysteries…

                  Noone has a clue to what the other does and construction Mgmt is run by the sales Dept.

                  disheveled…. where the solution to every problem is just of bring in more malleable know nothings and give the talent the flick… should work out well in the end…

    2. JTMcPhee

      Welcome to the wonderful world of accidental vulnerability. Who would have thunk it possible? Or Northeast power backouts? or spillway failures? or dozens of near-nuclear-weapon accidents? or God only knows how many times “we” have been spared a “nuclear exchange” by dumb luck, with all the hair triggers and hairy-chested Generals? And increasing the planet’s biosphere temperature — what? I’m supposed to shriink my personal carbon footprint? how about the guy next door with the fleet of SUVs? and what could possibly go wrong with tinkering via CRSP-R and similar technologies with genetic material “just to see waht the expressed proteins can do?”

      1. aletheia33

        i don’t know from plastics, i just know that breathing fumes from any kind of plastic that is burning is something you want to never, ever do if you can help it. get a mask, run a mile, whatever it takes. of course, with plastic being ubiquitous, easier said than done. but good to be aware. i learned this from an m.d. who specializes in treating cases of chemical exposure.

        1. Gaianne

          Dioxin can form from any burning plastic. It forms best in a fire of plastic (which provides the chlorine) and cellulose (which provides everything else).

          Unless you can actually quench it or have a reasonable chance of saving another life, there is just no reason to remain in the vicinity of a plastic fire.


  19. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: John Conyers’s Medicare for All bill gains steam in the wake of Trumpcare’s failure The New Republic.

    Every time I hear conyers’ name, I remember this from Bruce Dixon at Black Agenda Report on conyers’ “support” for reparations:

    A centerpiece of the reparations brand is the study bill that Rep. John Conyers has introduced in every one of the last dozen Congresses except the 110th and 111th. In those two Congresses, Rep. Conyers, with four decades of seniority finally chaired the powerful House Judiciary Committee with the ability to make demands or cut deals to move the study bill, or at least the discussion of reparations. If reparations was a political project instead of a brand, he would have done just that. But Conyers put the reparations study bill in his desk drawer until Republicans re-took the House and he no longer had that power. Safely back in the minority again in early 2011, he re-introduced the reparations study bill once more.

    Sounds like this serial reintroduction of bills is standard operating procedure for conyers, with a resulting lack of being taken seriously. His secure position as the longest serving member of the house suggests that the dems see a need to at least nod in the single payer direction, so they have put it in the hands of one of their own least likely to do anything with it. As Dixon likes to call it–“branding.”

    conyers is no Bernie Sanders, and I’d hardly call this statement a full-throated, enthusiastic call to action:

    “I hope that the Democratic caucus decides to make it [single-payer] a campaign issue because I think it would work a lot better than some of the things we’ve been trying.”

    1. HBE

      That last quote.

      The dems still don’t get that eventually, once enough people have tried your shite product and found it to be shite, no amount of PR can save it.

      Your just left with suckers and diehard brand loyalists and that’s it.

      You can either discontinue the product, invest in tangible quality improvements; rebrand and reintroduce, or you commit slow sepuku spending more and more chasing the suckers while diehard brand loyalists keep you afloat for a short while.

      Based on healthcare, and nearly all other policy options the could have used to improve, rebrand and reintroduce, but chose to spite. The dems seem absolutely wedded to the latter option.

      The brand loyalists will keep them afloat for a little longer, but they are done and no amount of PR is going to change that, too many people know the products shite.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Versailles is Hollywood for ugly people. Fading stars are trying to recapture the old magic and are trying what they believed worked in the past when most of their success was predicated on luck and timing or patronage as opposed to creating a quality product.

        Conyers wants to be a hero again, so he will make phony promises. The current Democrats are in no danger of retaking the House or Senate, so what is the risk? Conyers is in a safe seat, so he can break his promise in 2021 easily enough.

      2. optimader

        The dems still don’t get that eventually, once enough people have tried your shite product and found it to be shite, no amount of PR can save it.

        Your just left with suckers and diehard brand loyalists and that’s it.

        Lite Beer & Pringles are case studies for not underestimating the persistence of suckers and diehard loyalists

        1. witters

          Well, Cooper’s Light beer (2.9% alc/vol) is for diehard loyalists to drinking who are not able/permitted to drink the more potent stuff anymore. I Thank God for It. Pringles, of course, are simply awful.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      so they have put it in the hands of one of their own least likely to do anything with it. As Dixon likes to call it–“branding.”

      Do nothing…

      They know they haven’t done much at all for their existing partners or customers (the Deplorables).

      The smart thing to do is, of course, to sign up unwary new customers…they don’t find out how bad the products and customer service are.

      Thus, the drive to get newcomers, immigrants and their votes.

      This ulterior motive or compassion? If the latter does not exit, is there even a conflict of interest?

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        He’s not doing “nothing.” He’s “hoping” that someone else will make it an “issue.”

        The guy’s been around a long time. He’s got experience. He knows how washington works. He’s everything that Trump’s not. He’s the kind of person we need in government in these tumultuous times.

        An experienced hoper.

    3. Pookah Harvey

      I guess I didn’t fully appreciate how the healthcare fiasco had disrupted the Republican party until I read this from Charles Krauthammer at the Wapo:

      Don’t be surprised, however, if, in the end, single-payer wins out. Indeed, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Donald Trump, reading the zeitgeist, pulls the greatest 180 since Disraeli “dished the Whigs” in 1867 (by radically expanding the franchise) and joins the single-payer side.

      1. cocomaan

        From the comments:

        From Fareed Zakaria’s article this morning on the advantages of single payer–“In his 2000 book “The America We Deserve,” Donald J. Trump wrote:

        “I’m a conservative on most issues but a liberal on this one. We should not hear so many stories of families ruined by healthcare expenses. . . . We must have universal healthcare. . . . The Canadian plan . . . helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans. There are fewer medical lawsuits, less loss of labor to sickness, and lower costs to companies paying for the medical care of their employees. . . . We need, as a nation, to reexamine the single-payer plan, as many individual states are doing.”

        If he pulled it off, Donald would be an eight year president, easily.

        1. JTFaraday

          “and lower costs to companies paying for the medical care of their employees”

          This. I honestly know why we’re still here.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Periodically, Republicans make predictions about how single payer would inevitably be passed by Republicans. The realities of the Healthcare industry mean other industries will be squeezed. There are no alternatives that can save the day and save the industry. The perception by Republicans is the Dems are too weak kneed and eager to please the GOP than risk passing single payer. The GOP will make sacrifices to win. I believe there are too many Ryan types for the GOP to change course even with Trump.

        41 wanted to expand the GI bill back in the day, and the Dems didn’t want to give him a victory. So what old 41 do? He reduced the costs of becoming a veteran, forcing an expansion as veterans benefits had to be paid.

        1. JTFaraday

          “There are no alternatives that can save the day and save the industry.”

          If single payer ever comes to America, they will make it just cheap enough that many well to do people and people with long term illness will want private plans, like Medicare Advantage plans now. I think that’s baked in.

          Meanwhile, anything that controls HC costs is still a benefit to such insurers because they will pay out less in claims. HC costs are not rational. This can’t go on. It delegitimizes the whole field.

    4. leftover

      Re: “conyers is no Bernie Sanders…”
      Bernie Sanders is no Bernie Sanders. The image of Bernie as an advocate for Single Payer being promulgated in both the MSM and the “progressive” media is a falsehood. What Bernie himself has proposed, as Margaret Flowers reports here, is not Single Payer. He’s proposing an existing Medicare for some, an ObamaCare® 2.0 for others, existing market based PPO/POP insurance coverage for others, and State defined Medicaid for the rest. That’s not Single Payer. That’s reinforcing the core issues that plague American healthcare delivery and quality: rationing access based on economic class, profiteering, and neoliberal commodification of both service and patient. It’s American Bourgeois Reformism™…or…doing the same thing over and over and over again promising different results each time. A good rule of thumb would be, I think, that whenever you see an alleged advocate for healthcare “reform” using the term “public option,” shout them down. If it’s not an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All, a publicly financed, privately delivered, national nonprofit single-payer monopsony? It’s a scam. Regardless of who is doing the preaching.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      Thanks – that explains a lot. I’d been wondering why I keep seeing his name still attached to this legislation after he’d trotted it out years ago. Back then I used to actually see him talking about it and his face in the news – now I just see the name attached. I actually thought he’d retired or dies. Turns out he’s just doing the regular old marking-time-in-your-sinecure-until-dead routine.

      A few decades ago he might have been relevant but he’s clearly well past his prime. You’d think he’d be leading the charge to help out Flint but I’ve heard barely a peep from him. Or course there hasn’t been much from anyone else either….

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Red Planet versus Dead Planet: Scientists Debate Next Destination for Astronauts in Space Scientific American

    The universe is mostly dark. Why? I don’t know. It’s just a mostly dark and cold place.

    Kind of like Plato’s cave.,.dark.

    If you light a fire to discover the cave-world around you, but because we don’t have a complete map, how do we know we’re not standing next to gunpowder?

    Assuming we don’t use the newly gained knowledge for destruction, to sow chaos…because what good is knowledge if we can play with the new (partial) knowledge toy (besides, the investor or the Pentagon funding the project demands a return on their investment)?

    So, some people want more space-knowledge. They also get paid for doing that.

    Thirst for knowledge or need for money?

    Conflict of interest?

    Policy or Trump’s global empire? Conflict of interest there. Because there must be no doubt, no suspicion.

    1. Dead Dog

      the best reason to go back to the moon is to get all those flat earthers and ‘we didn’t go to the moon’ conspiracists off my Youtube feed.

      1. zer0

        Why don’t we just worry about the planet that we evolved on first? Its called “getting ones priorities in order”.

        Case in point: the dead center of the Sahara is 1000x more hospitable than Mars or any other planet we could get to yet no one lives there. Because people died trying. Mars will be another case of “people dying trying”.

        And NOTHING will come of it. Other than the long due realization that humans aren’t built to withstand low gravity for extended periods of time (causes organ failures, blindness, and other nasty stuff) as well as the 10x higher than recommended radiation exposure since you’ve got something like a foot of composites between you and space as opposed to, on Earth, 6km of viscous atmosphere and a magnetic shield.

        But you know, the classic misdirection used by these science-fiction peddling assholes who want government funding for projects that sound like movies on paper always yields stupidity extraordinaire. I never understood how researching Mars, on Mars, with people, is somehow a good idea. We’ve tried to create closed systems (i.e. self sustaining bio-domes) on Earth with just water and light input and have failed MISERABLY every time. Im talking of people surviving for like a month before needing outside intervention. I suppose the thought of having to ship supplies to Mars all the time makes people like Musk wet with glee. More billions of dollars taken from education to pay for another idiotic enterprise when we cant even get off the petroleum addiction. And its been close to 300 years already.

        1. oh

          You’re right. I think it’s a big waste of $$$$ to do any space “research”. It’s another way to funnel $$$$ to the defense contractors. Enough is enough. Help the people here NOW!

    1. Lee

      Search “catherine pugh political donations”. There should be a special place in hell for the likes of her.

    2. John k

      Love jimmy, great rant.
      Low min great for profits. No increase since 2009 partly explains great profits.
      End of story.

  21. Vatch

    Some wisdom from the article “I worked for Jared Kushner. He’s the wrong businessman to reinvent government. WaPo”:

    Lessons from Silicon Valley are even likelier to be misapplied in government than in media. Outside experts always groan that government institutions are running outdated systems that still rely on floppy disks, and that this is a function of some combination of government waste, idiocy and ubiquitous Luddite-ism. But a more logical explanation is that systems upgrades require appropriations, many of which have been gleefully slashed by Congress. There’s also the problem of government pay, and the fact that the private sector has financial resources that the government does not.

    And some entertainment:

    But I would like to be a fly on the wall when Kushner expresses his feelings to Tim Cook about the Macintosh operating system.

    1. optimader

      systems upgrades require appropriations, many of which have been gleefully slashed by Congress

      and the fact that the private sector has financial resources that the government does not.

        1. Vatch

          Yes, but the government can’t create new money unless the Congress increases the budget ceiling. There are plenty of private businesses that have a far easier time raising money than many government agencies. The Trump administration plans on cutting the funding for most government agencies; I don’t think that after the EPA will be upgrading their systems after their budget is cut by 31%. The same is true of the IRS — their antiquated systems will just have to keep chugging along.

          1. bronco

            tell you what , if I can help the IRS out by not filing a return so their systems aren’t strained I will pitch in and do my part.

            1. craazyboy

              There’s a long line to wait in. See, the problem is the IRS can process everyone’s returns, but they only have 16 bit processors in their computers so the returns with big numbers crash the system.

          2. paulmeli

            “…the government can’t create new money unless the Congress increases the budget ceiling.”

            Every time the government spends a $ it is creating money. It’s all ‘new money’ since the taxes to ‘fund’ it haven’t been collected yet.

            Spending funds taxes, not the other way around.

            Regardless, Congress has never failed to increase the debt limit. If they did for more than a few weeks It would destroy the economy.

            Republicans are as serious about the debt limit as they are about repealing the ACA.

            1. Vatch

              I do not accept that MMT doctrine. When the government expands the money supply, it creates money, but when it spends money, it does not re-create money that has already been created. If all government spending creates money, then that implies that whenever money is paid to the government, the money is destroyed, and I don’t accept that metaphysical doctrine.

              Previous arguments with MMT proponents haven’t changed my mind or the other person’s mind, and that probably won’t happen this time, either.

              I do agree that government can create money without the need to borrow it. But that money is only created once. And under our current laws, the government can’t create the money without first borrowing it, and it takes a huge effort to get the debt ceiling raised.

    2. bronco

      On the other hand re appropriations and “outdated” systems

      If it aint broke don’t fix it , no thanks I don’t want windows 10 , no my office 97 works just fine to write a letter , my flip phone works fine to make a call , my playstation 2 works fine to play a videogame , my old truck works fine to tow my trailer and no I don’t want your $600 epi pen the old $40 ones seemed to work fine.

      I’m beginning to feel as though we are at peak civilization , every time I need to replace something the selection disappoints me by being uglier , flimsier , less secure , or wants to stripmine my data and sell it to the highest bidder

      We buy things because we have a job to do , if the tool works why replace it?

      1. TK421

        no thanks I don’t want windows 10 , no my office 97 works just fine to write a letter

        Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

  22. Jim Haygood

    From Sen. Rand Paul’s excellent rant opposing Montenegro’s joining NATO (who’s next, Vanuatu?):

    For 16 years the US has been at war in the Middle East. Our justified response to the attacks of 9/11 has dragged on and on. The vote Congress made to authorize military force against the planners and attackers of the World Trade Centers is now used to justify all military action anywhere around the world.

    That vote is now used to justify war around the globe in dozens of countries. It is a lie and a disservice to our young men and women in uniform to have them fight under false pretenses. No active war involving the U.S. anywhere around the globe has been approved by Congress.

    Our unrestricted, un-voted-upon involvement in war everywhere informs my opposition to expanding NATO.

    David Fromkin put it this way: “If it is now agreed by treaty that an attack on a… NATO ally is deemed an attack on the United states, then it can be argued that the President is empowered without Congressional authorization to send us war.”

    This is the crux of the debate: Congress abdicating its role in declaring war.

    With the president having acquired the ability to launch wars and assassinate enemies anywhere on the planet, the “democracy theatre” in the two houses of Kongress is merely a seedy sideshow.

    Got peanuts?

  23. voteforno6

    Re: Flynn

    Some of the Dem-bots seem to be in a tizzy over this one. I mean, why would we need immunity, if he didn’t do anything wrong, right, comrades?

    Of course, this is totally different from when one of Hillary’s minions got immunity in her FBI investigation.

  24. L

    I did not see this article from The Intercept in the links, and I am honestly not sure where it would be filed, perhaps under Cluelessness, Surrealism, or just Chutzpah:

    Larry Summers Had the Power to Punish Wall Street. Now He’s Slamming Obama’s Gentle Treatment.

    The article even quotes Yves on the “Bullshit to Cash Ratio” of the settlements. The whole article is worth a read and to my mind is nice pointer to how someone like Summers can constantly fail upwards into cushier jobs with no more self awareness than say Thomas Friedman. Whatever position he is in he absorbs the conventional wisdom tracks who not to offend, and then repeats safe nostrums as if they are his own. Now the conventional wisdom is that Obama was too nice and Summers is now an “outsider” and safely able to blame others for his inaction.

  25. JimTan

    “Mapped: Where American income has grown the most over the past 25 years”

    These maps miss the region which underwent the biggest economic boom over that last ten years – Washington DC. Apparently the government gravy train has been good as the Washington Post observes “During the past decade, the region ( Washington DC ) added 21,000 households in the nation’s top 1 percent. No other metro area came close……….The signs of the new Washington are everywhere — from the Tiffany & Co. store that Fairfax County development officials boast is the most profitable in the country to the new Tesla dealership in Tysons Corner.”

    The interesting result of this is DC now has the highest median income in the country:

    …..and this country’s highest income disparity:

    ……but plenty of good new luxury shopping:

  26. JTMcPhee

    Re Deplorables turning to disability to survive, there’s a small town here in Florida, Vernon, that once was known as “nub city.” That’s because so many of its residents, bankrupted and looted by pre-neoliberalism, or just seeing a chance to grab a brass ring in exchange for a little pain, chose to shoot, saw, axe or otherwise remove one of their extremities, in extremis.,_Florida

    Note that these were private-insurance claims, not the often vain efforts of truly disabled and damaged people to pound and persist their way through the thorns and tangles of the “disability bureaucracies,” state and federal, where once you get past the long telephone holds and deliberately confusing and misleading phone trees, the human you speak to (driven partly mad by the perversions of the “job,” or just a sadistic person) may cheerfully or aggressively say, “Department of Denial, how may I not help you?”

    1. jrs

      I’ve fantasized about it, what would losing an arm be worth, if it meant I didn’t have to work ever again? Almost worth it. But I lack the guts to take that kind of action anyway.

  27. the guy who Snowden made a fool of

    Interference is not a mushy word at all. In fact it’s a term of art. As used by panty-sniffing bullshitter Keith Alexander, it’s actually an example of US bureaucrats parroting legal terms for poetic effect (think Kerry and dimbulb military brass calling everything aggression.) Alexander’s simply talking out his ass.

    The principle of non-interference is a peremptory norm of international law, so it would be nice if US bureaucrats were not indoctrinated to blithe ignorance.

  28. nowhere

    Not sure if this has been posted in Links before.

    I’ve really been enjoying Russell Brand’s new podcast Under the Skin. In particular, this episode with Adam Curtis is quite good. They are discussing Curtis’ new documentary “HyperNormalisation” (available on YouTube) and had some pretty interesting insights into modern culture, the rise of finance, and the difficulties politicians have with affecting change.

    Not sure how many people are podcast types, but if anyone is willing to give a listen I’d love to have a discussion.

    1. kristiina

      Thank you for the link! Adam Curtis is always worth the time. Mr Brand is a bit difficult to follow for me. The conversation managed to steer into some things that are little discussed but absolutely at the core of our predicament. The loneliness and fear that seem to be the shadow of individualism – could we as society find some way to address that? And religion, or admitting the vastness of the unknown, or the need of consolation facing the reality of death. If we could pursue these questions we might get somewhere. But the clown circus eats all the air, energy and kills the will to go on in the process. Things could be different, it is good to be reminded about that.

      1. nowhere

        I had never read or heard anything about Adam Curtis, so it was good to explore a bit and to watch the documentary I referenced.

        I can see Brand being grating sometimes, but I think he honestly tries. It was funny when Curtis calls him out.

        Thanks for the comments!

        1. witters

          The thing is, Russell Brand is an heroically, stupendously, nice man. In our times that comes across to many as ‘grating’.

          1. nowhere

            When he grates me (particularly in this podcast) is when he cuts off his guest in the middle of an important point. I don’t mind his over-the-top No. 1 narcissist routine, because after all of these years I get his shtick and I appreciate his genuine effort.

            1. kristiina

              Yes, the way he interrupts is disruptive and obviously part of his style, too. I also have a bit of an issue with the “niceness” that – to me – is a sort of precocious 3-year-old niceness that seeks to prove the niceness. There is something fishy in how people work to put up an image of something,be it leadership or nastiness or niceness. If you work hard to put up a facade I always end up thinking what is behind it? Our human way is to compensate by building a facade that is the opposite of truth. That is also relevant to what they are talking about. We have a society with a narrative that does not address the genuine concerns of its members. Behind the fancy facade of the material riches is a profound poverty of heart. We are all lost children. We are all orphans and the world is our orphanage, as Marion Woodman says.

  29. optimader

    Red Planet versus Dead Planet: Scientists Debate Next Destination for Astronauts in Space Scientific American

    Statistically a far greater possibility of fundamental insight bang for the buck by sending buckets of radiation hardened robots into space for what is essentially preliminary exploration missionary work.

    Personally, for human destination travel I would vote for the Marianas Trench.

    I feel the MT is a more interesting place to send humans and in many ways at least as big if not bigger technical challenge (Delta P is ~15,736 psi vs 14.5 psi in space) than sending cans of meat into Space.

    No doubt some utterly fantastic unexplored knowledge payoffs in the MT

    1. oh

      We could begin by sending our Congress Critters on a one way trip to MT. That would result in instant payoff!

      1. Optimader

        When their autonomously driven shuttle down the the MT “fails” they wound spontaneously combust — like the ultimate diesel fuel!

    2. carycat

      But that would violate the Benthic Treaties and annoy the Deep Ones. Maybe the denizens of “the deep state” are just messing with us on behest of their masters.

  30. Ranger Rick

    Ah, so the real reason we’re in Yemen is exposed. A sea trade route through the Gulf of Aden is at risk! Money that has nothing to do with US businesses (read: oil shipments from Saudi Arabia) is at stake! Remember all those “no blood for oil?” protests in the early 2000s?

    Oh yeah, and the Cold War II is still on:

    Votel affirmed that Tehran had increased destabilizing acts since the nuclear deal, which intentionally or not, will hand ammunition to critics of the controversial treaty.

    “I believe they have,” Votel said. “I believe that Iran is operating in what I would call a gray zone. It’s a competition between states and its just short of open conflict. They do it through surrogate forces, through lethal aid, and through their own cyber activities and influence operations.”

    There are more that 100,000 Iranian-backed Shia militants in Iraq, and that poses “a big concern” about Tehran’s influence beyond the fight against the Islamic State group, he said, as the U.S. advises Baghdad on integrating Shia paramilitary forces.

    1. JTMcPhee

      “US advises on integrating Shia paramilitary forces” into WHAT? and maybe that will be done via the kind of organization chart exercise that the Power Ring of the Pentagon is so good at PowerPointing? Gotta love this particular slide, and the NYT commentary on it:

      Jeebus, teh stupid is so vast, and so vastly facilitates corruption and further stupidity…

      What outcomes do we mopes want (and can we ever expect to get, and find a way to make them do it) from the political economy we are perforce little parts of?

  31. JTMcPhee

    Since “we” seem to have advanced quite far into a politics of dissimulation, I thought this article might be of interest, to augment understanding of the phenomenon:”How the Science of “Blue Lies” May Explain Trump’s Support: They’re a very particular form of deception that can build solidarity within groups,” I think I got this from Bloomberg this morning.

    Interesting, of course, that TRUMP IS THE PARADIGM EVIL BLUE LIAR per the lead of the article — dang little from the credentialed author on the Bleu Lies of Team Bleu… Things come in threes — white lies, blue lies, and black lies…

  32. fresno dan

    Last week, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Devin Nunes, announced dozens of intelligence reports that inappropriately included details on President Donald Trump’s transition. This week, he told me that his source for that information was an intelligence official, not a White House staffer.

    A precedent to what may have happened with the Trump transition involved the monitoring of Israel’s prime minister and other senior Israeli officials. The Wall Street Journal reported at the end of 2015 that members of Congress and American Jewish groups were caught up in this surveillance and that the reports were sent to the White House. This occurred during a bitter political fight over the Iran nuclear deal. In essence the Obama White House was learning about the strategy of its domestic political opposition through legal wiretaps of a foreign head of state and his aides.

    1. Pretty rare that a journalist owns up to being misled.
    2. News to me that Obama used surveillance with regard to the politics of the Iran deal. Is this an absolute documented fact? Is it generally accepted as true? If so, is there any better example of the media being unwilling to note the obvious: that if Obama had done that before, he could do it again?

    But one gets the impression that congress people are simply unconcerned about their OWN privacy, none the less anyone else’s. OR is great intelligence information of proven worth in saving the country being generated? OR has the Intelligence “community” defacto already overthrown the country?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Not overthrown “the country,” which has been a chimaera for a couple of centuries now (see NC posts for the last 5 or 10 years) — Just grown into a kind of tumor that has deploye3d all the tricks that cancers use: angiogenesis,, tricking the “host body” into growing huge new blood vessels to direct ever more of the lifeblood to the tumor as it insatiably grows; pretending to be “self” to trick the immune system’s guardians into not dismantling the cancer’s component cells and re-using the healthy parts: “A team of Australian scientists believe they have discovered how cancer cells hoodwink the body’s immune system into thinking they are harmless.”

      Seems to me that the tumor that rides in our national gut, and has spread to our brain and gonads, is having a growth spurt, and doing a great job of driving the rest of the body politic into ever more evident cachexia, Note that so much of the deadliness of cachexia arises as controls on the growth and spread fail. Like this: “Calls Grow for Pentagon Audit,”

  33. Altandmain

    Here is one:

    “The Democrats will not succeed unless it attracts many, many millions of Independents,” said Sanders. “The number of people who are now moving in the Independent direction as opposed to the Republican and Democrat direction, it is growing. So if the Democrats are going to be successful, that party is going to have to appeal to a whole lot of independents.”

    Rather than acknowledge they need Independent voters and to bring more voters into the Democratic Party, establishment Democrats have been more focused on doubling down on shaming, scolding, and scaring people into supporting them. The party’s strategy is to ride out the Trump presidency with the hopes that his unpopularity will correlate to Democratic Party wins. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters in February 2017, “The way I told my members: It’s like telling your friend the guy she’s dating is a jerk. You can’t tell her that. She has to find out for herself. You can give her clues and then eventually one thing will lead to another, she’ll come to her conclusion. But if you tell her right up front, you’ll lose a friend. So we’re not interested in losing any friends. Let them find out.”

    Good luck with that Sanders – I fear it will fall on deaf ears or should I say corrupted ears.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Just dump that friend…not the only fish in the sea.

      There are many other fish or voters to date. These people are the future…numerically speaking.

      “It’s all about numbers, baby.”

      Numbers in the bank.

      Numbers at the ballot box.

    2. Skip Intro

      The democrat party is no more paid to succeed than are the Washington Generals. What incentive do the DNC and their swarm of consultants have to wreck a great gig?

  34. John S

    RE: Ex-Military becoming Police

    …met a recently retired LAPD CAPTAIN 2 years ago and he stated that one of the main reasons that there are now so many “Bad Policing Incidents” is due to the large number of Ex-Military, who have joined Police Forces. He said that:

    Military people have been trained to obey and follow the orders given to them by those in charge of them. By and large, their military training did not emphasize quick thinking to “out of the box” situations and they were unfamiliar with “civilian life and it’s unique environment.” Therefore, they use violence …. or their gun … much quicker than do Police, who were trained solely by Police/Sheriff Departments and DID NOT have any time in the military.”

    The fact that he could not stop the incoming tide of Ex-Military people was a factor in his leaving the department since he figured it was just a matter of time before someone in his chain of command created an incident by reacting with unneeded violence to an unusual/unexpected situation.

    My personal belief is that The Volunteer Military has created a large group of people, who served their country well, but left without transferable skills to civilian life/or need college/tech training to find employment in “the civilian world.” The easy solution for Politico Types was extra points on Police Civil Service Exams to move some of these people onto a Different Government Entities Plate….and, let the consequences/chips fall on someone else’s baliwack.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Many Roman soldiers faced the same – without transferable skills to civilian life.

      Alaric I (Gothic: Alareiks – “supreme chief/ruler”[citation needed]; Latin: Alaricus; 370 (or 375) – 410 AD) was the first King of the Visigoths from 395–410, son (or paternal grandson) of chieftain Rothestes.[2] Alaric is best known for his sack of Rome in 410, which marked a decisive event in the decline of the Roman Empire.
      Alaric began his career under the Gothic soldier Gainas and later joined the Roman army.

      After being denied promotion, he turned to the dark side.

      1. witters

        You have a very different view than I do of the Roman Empire. With Simone Weil (and, I see from NC, Michael Hudson), I view it as having gone over to the dark side with the assassination of the Graachi (“They attempted to pass land reform legislation that would redistribute the major aristocratic landholdings among the urban poor and veterans, in addition to other reform measures. After achieving some early success, both were assassinated by enemies of these reforms.” -wikipedia)

  35. ewmayer

    o Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. From the abstract: “Compared to observed heterogeneity within member states themselves, or in well functioning federations such as the US, cultural diversity across EU members is a similar order of magnitude. The main stumbling block on the road to further political integration is not heterogeneity of tastes or of cultural traits, but other cleavages, such as parochial national identities.”

    Brrokings doing the TINA-to-globalization shillery its backers pay for. Consider the risible claim that “cultural diversity across EU members is a similar order of magnitude” as within the US. Just ignore those actual language barriers, they’re all in your silly little parochial head!

    [But do tell us more about those cleavage issues, quoth my inner caveman.]

  36. JTFaraday

    re: “Let me revise this to reflect the DNC view: “If the Democrats are going to be successful, in fact that party is going to have to appeal to a whole lot of Independents suburban Republicans, especially women.””

    Wrong. They’ve been chasing the men to the right economically since Clinton I. And they’re finally starting to catch up.

  37. JTFaraday

    re: Bonus antidote. Cat heaven

    Ring bell, get a kibble? More like cat hell. Proletarian cat hell.

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