Links 3/4/17

How the Amazon’s Cashews and Cacao Point to Cultivation by the Ancients New York Times (martha r)


China Shifts Stance, Letting Dying Firms Go Bankrupt Wall Street Journal

China’s Wage Growth: How Fast Is the Gain and What Does It Mean? Institute for New Economic Thinking

Facebook is laying fiber cable in Uganda to boost internet reach and speed Quartz. Resilc: “Why not make Merika great Zuck?”

Stuttgart residents sue mayor for ‘bodily harm’ caused by air pollution Guardian

Swedish military draft reintroduced – video Guardian (resilc)

Why Kim Jong-un might come to regret the murder of his half-brother (+video) Christian Science Monitor (furzy)


Iraqi Federal Police Are Weaponizing Off-the-Shelf Drones, ISIS-Style Motherboard (resilc)

Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smears Backfire Mint Press (Judy B)

US Congressional delegation announces Israel visit to study moving embassy to Jerusalem Independent (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

A US-Based Army Can’t Get to the Fight Fast Enough Defense One (resilc)

Air Force Wants to Test a Laser on an Attack Plane Within A Year Defense One (resilc)

Trump Transition

The Deep State vs President Trump: We are witnessing a no-holds-barred clash between two warring camps. ZCommunications (Sid S)

Exclusive: Trump aides’ bid to plug leaks creates unease among some civil servants Reuters (resilc)

Exclusive: Trump administration considering separating women, children at Mexico border Reuters (furzy). Taking a page from Victorian poorhouses…

Trump recasts immigration by taking ‘shackles off’ border agents Christian Science Monitor (furzy)

A Major Proponent of H-1B Visa Reform Loses Patience With Trump Bloomberg

Blow for US tech groups as brake put on H-1B visas Financial Times

U.S. State Department criticized over quiet release of human rights report Reuters

How Foxconn’s broken pledges in Pennsylvania cast doubt on Trump’s jobs plan Washington Post (furzy)

Trump Can’t Find ‘Existing Funds’ to Start Building Wall New York Magazine (resilc)

White House proposes steep budget cut to leading climate science agency Washington Post (furzy)

‘Buy American’ Rule for Keystone Pipeline Dropped After Ex-Foreign Steel Exec Became Commerce Secretary Daily Beast (resilc)

Scary Putin Monster

Obama Ordered Abuse Of Intelligence To Sabotage Trump Policies Moon of Alabama (Chuck L). Important.

Russia’s meddling in US election could be ‘act of war’, says Nato commander Independent. Unproven to at best thin and overhyped insinuations that the NSA, which had the best view of things, won’t endorse, may be an act of war. Help me. Martha r: “I’m just noting continuing push to expand definition of ‘act of war’. So is it an act of war to call certain things acts of war that aren’t?
do TPTB want war now so they can declare martial law? I wouldn’t be surprised.” So what happens if Marine Le Pen unexpectedly wins? Will that be declared to be impossible ex Russian meddling and hence an act of war?

The Basic Formula For Every Shocking Russia/Trump Revelation TYT (martha r)

New York Times Airbrushes Away Democrat’s Embarrassing False Claim Without A Trace RedState. Marshall:

Look, I have no truck with Sessions, but if you actually look at the context of the answer he gave, it seems clear that he didn’t perjure himself. In any case, he says he wilThis great Sane Progressive is Debbie Lusignan!l recuse himself from the issue, which is reasonable.

Democrats should focus on actually having a believable set of policies and not waste their time trying to impeach Trump for the next 4 years.

Flashback: Chuck Schumer Meets with Putin in New York City Gateway Pundit

More Than Just a Bulletproof Limo: How the President Travels, and Why It Costs $2,614 per Minute Core77 (resilc)

The Wild 2020/2024 Elections Ian Welsh (martha r). I dunno. Caligula’s horse is starting to look good. The most he’d want is more carrots, apples, sugar, and more regular servicing.

U.S. Airport Pat-Downs Are About to Get More Invasive Bloomberg.

Hundreds chant ‘Coward!’ amid Paul Ryan’s Rhode Island visit Associated Press (furzy)

A Nonprofit Hosts Rep. Paul Ryan (and a Crowd of Protesters) in R.I. Nonprofit Quarterly. Cheryl: “A group of voters in Rhode Island decided to hold it down for those in Wisconsin who have not been able to get Rep. Paul Ryan to a town meeting lately.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger Ditches NBC’s ‘Apprentice,’ Blames Donald Trump Daily Beast (furzy)

Disgraced journalist charged over bomb threats to U.S. Jewish groups Reuters (furzy)

New McCarthyism

Why the Alt-Left Is a Problem Vanity Fair. We were alerted earlier but we agree with bob’s sentiments: “Congrats on being part of the bunch in his panties.” You’ll also note that VF is such a bunch of coward that they linked to none of the targeted sites/individuals, save a sort of screechy but substantively on target article at Jacobin that he depicts as a textbook example of Unacceptable Political Views by virtue of shellacking the apparently sainted Meryl Streep…apparently sainted because she not only a stalwart Dem defender but personifies the core Clinton demographic. Note that Wolcott also tried working in as many genderist slurs as possible, when the only offenders he discussed in detail were women: the author of the said Jacobin piece, Jill Stein, and Susan Sarandon. So he’ll hippie punch specific women while attempting to depicting Dem hack critics as “guys”. Lordie.

Why the Alt-Center Is a Problem, Too New York Magazine. Although the author peculiarly takes issue with the McCarthyism label. He needs to Google “Jane Hamsher” and “veal pen” to see how the Dems have gone about kneecapping those who refuse to sign from the corporate Dem hymnal. They first hurt or brought into line those who had institutional funding. Now the eye of Mordor has turned to independent sites who don’t have big funders and hence can’t be damaged as quickly. So the trick is to try to discredit us instead, so as to discourage new readers from regarding us as credible and increasing the odds of getting us on various blacklists. Shorter: It’s easy to pooh-pooh the “new McCarthyism” label when your livelihood isn’t the one under attack.

No Thing Alt Left New Republic

Cardiff Metropolitan University Bans All “Politically Incorrect” Words: Amusing List of Banned Words Michael Shedlock (furzy)

The second coming of American oil shale is preparing to challenge OPEC again Bloomberg (martha r)

‘Mob’ Attacks Middlebury Prof and Controversial Speaker Charles Murray SevenDays (resilc)

Snap IPO what wall street banks made CNBC (furzy)

President Trump could be on a collision course with the Fed CNBC (furzy)

Class Warfare

Virginia is the first state to pass a law allowing robots to deliver straight to your door Recode (resilc)

Nissan accused of wrongly blocking union activity at plant Washington Post (martha r)

How Uber Used Secret Greyball Tool to Deceive Authorities Worldwide New York Times (NotSoSure, martha r)

Will Drug Prices Come Down As Donald Trump Promised? His Regulators Help Pharmaceutical Companies Block Shareholder Questions About Rising Drug Prices International Business Times

The drugs that kill more than pain Gillian Tett, Financial Times. The FT finally deigns to take note of the opioid epidemic because Tett got out of the Acela corridor and saw a road sign.

Uber used secret tool to evade authorities Reuters (furzy). Some additional detail.

The tyranny of a fast-food schedule New York Daily News (martha r)

American Healthcare system micro-aggressions, or death by a thousand cuts Medium (martha r)

The Uber exec and board member who oversaw the HR department has been strangely absent during Uber’s biggest crisis Business Insider (David L)

Antidote du jour. From Erpé”: “Bobcats in our garden.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. crow

    White House proposes steep budget cut to leading climate science agency Washington Post (furzy)

    More government money to kill people, but for protecting the planet, not so much. We’re entering an era of scientific McCarthyism.

    1. scott 2

      The European computer models blow away the NOAA models, and they (NOAA) can’t get $10M for a decent supercomputer. I think once the airlines and the food comglomerates put up a stink this will go away, but it’s good theatre until then.

      If your FedEx and you have an extra day to re-route planes and shipments to avoid a storm, that’s a lot of cost savings.

      1. Propertius

        Speaking as someone who has been in the supercomputer business since the late 1970s (and who has worked at both NOAA and NCAR), I think I ought to point out that NCEP (the operational arm of NOAA) completed a $45 million supercomputer upgrade last year and is in the process of rolling out improved forecasting models. Luna and Surge, the two new NCEP systems, are Cray XC40 systems (the same model installed at ECMWF, the UK Met Office, DWD, KMA, and the Australian BOM, although all of those other systems are somewhat larger), so the statement that “they (NOAA) can’t get $10M for a decent supercomputer” is not quite correct. Yes, NOAA is underfunded and obviously Trump’s proposed cuts are not going to help here – they might well cause NOAA to miss a hardware generation on the operational side. Unlike some of the agencies in other countries, NOAA geographically distributes its forecasting systems (rather than having them located in the same facility) and also maintains separate research systems in other centers (which can provide backup to the main forecasting systems should they both fail simultaneously). In the US, model development and research is not only done by NOAA, but also by other agencies (NSF at NCAR, the Navy at NAVO and FNMOC, and NASA (among others)).

        As for the quality of models, the ECMWF models in particular are quite highly regarded as are the models developed by the UK Met office. The ECMWF models were pretty clearly superior to NOAA’s GFS model back in 2012 – when ECMWF correctly predicted Sandy’s landfall and NOAA did not. That, however, was over 4 years ago and may no longer be the case.

        The satellites are a bigger immediate concern, IMHO. Cutting the satellite budget has a direct effect on the quality and quantity of observational data that can be obtained. This affects everyone (even the military, which runs its own forecasting centers but still obtains observational data from civilian satellites). Space is harsh and satellites don’t work forever. It’s not like we have warehouses full of spare weather satellites sitting around just waiting to replace one that fails.

        To my mind the issue isn’t so much the cost of rerouting shipments as the danger to public safety. It’s one thing to have to reroute around a storm, far worse is to have insufficient warning of the storm’s existence, intensity, and trajectory. Losing observational data imperils anyone who drives, flies or sails, costs money to anyone who farms, fishes, or ships, and slows both emergency response and evacuations. Missing data will corrupt a forecast much more severely than a slight loss of resolution due to lower compute capacity. It takes a massive increase in computing power to produce a significant improvement in forecasting resolution (roughly fourth power scaling).

        1. scott 2

          My point was people in red states getting their trailers blown away by tornadoes won’t move the needle on NOAA cuts, but FedEx losing $100M will.

        2. Laughingsong

          Do the budget cuts also affect the land based AWAS and stationary buoys as well? Surely they understand that the forecasting and models need accurate and timely input?

          When I visited our local NWS station in the 90s their kit looked like 60s Mission Control consoles and they had an old Ford Aerospace computer.

  2. integer

    Statement on the Arrest of Former Intercept Reporter Juan Thompson

    We were horrified to learn this morning that Juan Thompson, a former employee of The Intercept, has been arrested in connection with bomb threats against the ADL and multiple Jewish Community Centers in addition to cyberstalking. These actions are heinous and should be fully investigated and prosecuted. We have no information about the charges against Thompson other than what is included in the criminal complaint. Thompson worked for The Intercept from November 2014 to January 2016, when he was fired after we discovered that he had fabricated sources and quotes in his articles.

    That is the complete statement. A quick look around the web suggests to me that this is going to be used as ammunition against the left, and the so-called alt-left in particular.

    Here’s a link to Thompson’s Twitter account, where his weaving of a web of lies, along with his general dislike of the white population, is recorded:

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      More ammunition against the left – Unsubstantiated attacks Trump that are then repeated by many on the left.

      Day after day, it’s making Trump look like someone neutral parties have a moral duty to give a hand.

      1. mundanomaniac

        you nailed it Trump is a Twins, the neutral party in general character
        to regulate the enimity between Aries and Taurus on a higher lever
        by a win-win configuration for three.

        This is an Eurasian concept

      1. Carolinian

        Our beloved NC is one of his targets so could be worth a commentariat look. Wolcott is a brilliant writer but his insights into anything other than pop culture are correspondingly stale. Perhaps it’s too much time spent coming up with the perfect zinger of a sentence, not enough spent informing himself about the seamier side of Hillary or the Dems or the NYC journalistic sea in which he swims. Plus he shows only passing familiarity with the blogs he’s pillorying and doesn’t even seem to realize that the Intercept probably hates Trump just as much as he does.

        1. Altandmain

          He’s an instrument of the Deep State, a Pravda for Wall Street and Washington politics.

    1. craazyman

      I wonder if 30 or 40 people in America care what this dude writes or if that’s too astronomical an estimate. I tried to read it but I couldn’t, I jumped from paragraph to paragraph looking for something worth reading but couldn’t find anything. Who cares? I can’t bring myself to care about gossipy bad writing that ignores all the real issues facing the U.S.A.

      here it is in 8 lines:

      Go Team!
      Yay Yay!
      We wanna run, the USA!
      We’re so cool
      And you’re so not
      We’re so smart
      and you smoke pot
      Russians Russians Everywhere
      Trump is Putin – with orange hair!

      Whoa. That’s cultural analysis for the ages! hahahahahahahahha

      1. craazyboy

        Certainly time for a youtube musical interlude. Couldn’t figure out how to improve on the original lyrics, or make sense outta them either – they just sound right – so I’ll let the original stand as authored.

        Gorillaz – Feel Good, Inc – Demon Days

      2. Jim Haygood

        More cultural analysis:

        A friend tells me about the Green Angels, a collective of about 30 models turned high-end-weed dealers, and he introduces me to the group’s leader, Honey.

        Honey started the business in 2009. When she began dealing, she would get an ounce from a guy in Union Square, then take it to her apartment and divide it into smaller quantities for sale. She bought a vacuum sealer from Bed Bath & Beyond to make the little bags her product came in airtight. She tells me that part of her research was watching CNN specials on the drug war to find out how dealers got busted.

        Today her total expenses average more than $300,000 a month for the product, plus around $30,000 for cabs, cell phones, rent for various safe houses, and other administrative costs. She makes a profit of $27,000 a week. “I like seeing a pile of cash in my living room,” she says.

        Vacuum sealer … yeah. Forgot to post that in the kit thread y’day.

        This sounds easier than finding ten-baggers. ;-)

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          A valuable read for anyone living on the west coast. It’s easy to think of this tawdry way of life as a thing of the past, but it’s still the norm in most of the U.S. today. Along with intrusive drug testing of respectable looking, probable-cause-free young women in delivery rooms.

          I can’t help but think she made an incredibly naive mistake in speaking with this author. Her naivety in using while pregnant (irrespective of the probable low but potential health risk) is of a piece with this. I understand it during morning sickness, but for most that does not extend past the second trimester.

          Sessions and his ilk are devoted to reviving the draconian regulatory system that prevailed earlier in this century, and are looking to up the ante in regards to our ever growing carceral state. She would be a Vargas type poster child in this reassertion process. And I mean the soon-to-be deported Dreamer kid, not the pinup artist. In order to keep cannabis illegal they need to keep it ‘dirty’. Nothing is more critical to that effort than vicious smack downs leveled against handsome, All-American popularizers. A ‘hay and sunlight’ blonde is exactly what they most want to discourage and deter……. from being a symbol of current reality.

          Anyway. That was the successful Establishment tack back in the Clinton era when Sista Souljah bashing was a reigning tactic among Very Serious People. It remains to be seen if the upcoming generation of young adults is as easily coopted and beat down as their 90s equivalents were. I don’t think they are inherently better than we were then, but look at how much less ‘carrot’ is on offer now. It’s all ‘stick’ all the time. Healthy young adults tend to respond defiantly over time if all they are offered is beatings, with no rewards in sight.

    2. Steve H.

      Yves: “So he’ll hippie punch specific women while attempting to depicting Dem hack critics as “guys”. Lordie.”

      : Oh, look, a man defending women by vilifying particular women. Let me give praise to Toby Strout, who died this last week, having retired only last year. Her life was daily dealing with the hardest victims, was an advocate for them for decades, always with empathy and never preaching hatred. Rest in peace.

      : Within-group solidarity is strengthened by excluding those who fundamentally question the primary identification. See every cult ever. Give credit to Clintons followers, for their adhesion to a central doctrine which is not degraded, but strengthed, by its fundamental internal paradoxes.

      : Remember the intimations of misogyny directed at NC? Wowsers. A similar ignorance displayed with snipes at Harvard. Kudos to Yves for her restraint, it is inspirational.

    3. Alex Morfesis

      James Wolcott…a perfect example of why one should never hire a sow to make a silk purse…he is just a sad opportunist…created by help from paulette kael and the rest of the krewe around her…

      just take a look at his attack on “the paulettes” in 1997…

      He is a sad shell of a human being…

      Not worth getting excited about…

      his letter of recommendation from norman mailer when he first came to nyc got for him all of a job as a receptionist where hundreds passed thru that same “open” gig over time…that one would even mention it was a sure sign of needing filler to round out his “autobio”…$@d really…him and his good buddy at gnarco knewz lamenting about “real journalism” while preying for big suggah dahdee to do a pinochet to the american people…mighty Wurlitzer boy…blah humbug…

    4. Bugs Bunny

      And Cornel West – check this out “[the alt-Left’s] quixotic preacher-man and noble leper is Cornel West”


      the man’s a scholar for Pete’s sake!

    1. Synapsid

      Kevin Smith,

      “Made in the US” is the way I’ve seen it in the media. The steel companies in the US that make pipe that meets the standards for Keystone XL have their headquarters in Russia, India, and I believe Italy.

    2. BeliTsari

      Well, German rolled Ukrainian slabs, from one Indian-owned company, manufactured at Indian-owned facilities in Arkansas & Welspun City. Along with Russian Oligarch mills in Canada… like all the Turkish-rolled pipe tearing through Amish farms, Korean plate steel pipelines taking Marcellus tight gas to power bagger air conditioners down south (at least until all the new LNG terminals start selling it overseas? Along with our coal, fracked oil, wet gas plastics, Canadian dilbit, and probably mined clathrate & uranium), many using 80% undocumented 1099 hands. HMm, alt left, is that what life-long Keynesian Democrats are now?

      1. BeliTsari

        Certainly nothing new:

  3. oho

    if you haven’t heard, trump tweeted an allegation that the Obama admin wiretapped trump tower.

    grab some popcorn and junior mints

    1. fresno dan

      March 4, 2017 at 8:42 am

      Did any Trump supporter meet with any Russian official in Trump tower???
      If so, was that conversation monitored by the NSA?
      Is any of that conversation used to support allegations of Trump officials meeting with Russians?
      IS THERE anything in the monitored conversations that is illegal?
      WAS TRUMP himself monitored?
      IS it treasonous to monitor a president elect?
      Did the NSA have listening capability for Trump tower?
      And if NSA did that, how is that different than what Nixon did….oh yeah, Russkies…..
      I am pretty sure I have died and gone to the Twilight Zone….

      1. Brian

        All good questions Dan, however; One never dies in the twilight zone, it is where people awaken to a new reality. A death was very rare, but often implied.

        Anyone else receiving emails from their demo legislator regarding a full investigation about anything russian since December? I have never seen this person act unbalanced from political stimulants, so the cause may be something more akin to collapse of the financial system, asteroid, hemoroid etc…
        But it is so loud and pervasive that reason appears to be replaced by jingo.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We have to be aware of undercover Russian journalists…because we know how reporters are part of a government.

        Did any one in this administration talk to any Russian media persons?

        And in Moscow, they ask the same patriotic question – did anyone talk to any Western reporters?

      3. fresno dan

        “It appears that the crux of that argument comes from reporting that U.S. officials secretly monitored a computer server in Trump Tower to determine if there were links to Russian banks. A New York Times article published on Jan. 19 — just one day before Trump’s inauguration — reported that U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies had intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a probe of links between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

        There has been no definitive reporting, however, that any phone lines belonging to the Trump campaign were tapped. If a judge found probable cause to conduct such secret monitoring, it likely would have been after being presented with enough evidence to suspect illegal conduct or communication with a foreign leader.”

        I will say this – if money was flying between Russia and Trump (and/or Trump company or campaign) I think Trump is toast. EXCEPT, it does occur to me that as Trump never released his taxes, does Trump own properties in Russia? Is that legal? If he is just collecting normal rents….BUT I think Trump has unequivocally stated that he has no dealings with Russia. Maybe this will soon come to a head….

        And I think most people would view the distinction between wire tapping a phone and monitoring bank accounts as a distinction without a difference. If there is NOTHING to this, than I think people have to look at my 10:04 AM questions again.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          it likely would have been after being presented with enough evidence to suspect illegal conduct or communication with a foreign leader.”

          Is that illegal communication?

          Or just communication with a foreign leader we are talking about?

          What is considered illegal communication here?

          1. A president-elect can’t talk to foreign leaders? Didn’t Trump took a call from the leader of Taiwan? Did he also talk with the Japanese leader over the phone? Did any foreigners call to congratulate him?

          2. Do we have any or enough evidence of ‘illegal conduct’ so far?

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          If a judge found probable cause to conduct such secret monitoring, it likely would have been after being presented with enough evidence to suspect illegal conduct or communication with a foreign leader.

          Exhaustive discussion this morning on various newzzz outlets suggests that this evidence “review,” in pursuit of a legalizing “warrant,” would have been conducted by the secret fisa court which, if memory serves, has been found in the past to rarely having met a piece of evidence too flimsy to be considered “probable cause.”

          Of course, that was back before no trick was too dirty or intelligence operative too dishonest or conflicted as long as the takedown target was Donald Trump.

        3. optimader

          McDonalds own over 550 restaurants in Russia, is that legal? I’m guessing yes. Trump was probably well advised to not make any large commercial realestate investments in Russia.

        4. integer

          And I think most people would view the distinction between wire tapping a phone and monitoring bank accounts as a distinction without a difference.

          I see a pretty big difference between the two, especially in the lead up to the election, as a phone tap would have allowed campaign information to be obtained and distributed. After all, 0bama had a highly vested interest in Clinton winning. FWIW Trump explicitly states that his phones were tapped in two of his tweets, one of which reads:

          I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!

    2. izziets

      So, from the Trump tweet storm this morning, we are to take away:

      a) He or someone close to him was “just” questioned about something overheard on a wiretap of his phone, which he is sure will be leaked within 48 hours so he’ll tweet to get in front of it and reshape the story?

      b) He “just”watched conservative radio host Mark Levin or read an article on the Breitbart News site espousing this theory in recent days and doesn’t have the self control necessary to keep from tweeting about it?

      c) He is a borderline personality who froths at the mouth at being able to drag Obama into the swirling controversy surrounding Trump/Russia ties?

      d) These tweets were just a distraction by Trump to deflect news cycle from Trump/Russia connections? or

      e) These tweets are part of long term strategy to keep opposition busy pursuing rabbit holes?

      At this point I’m so confused, I’d put even money on any of the above.

    3. izziets

      So is the takeaway that Trump is batshit crazy, guilty as sin, or master deflector?? I truly can’t tell anymore.

    4. DH

      Trump probably finally attended an intelligence briefing where they informed him that the NSA vacuums up all communications, including Trump Tower. He probably had thought the NSA only did that to bad hombres.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Obama issued a lawyerly “denial”—-he would have ignored it completely if Trump was just dreaming. We’ll find out more in a couple days.

  4. bob k

    isn’t that a lynx? no big deal. they are both beautiful. i thought the ear tufts were the hint, no?

    1. JustAnObserver

      The bobcat is one of the members of the Lynx genus. The smallest one I think. And yes I’d agree they’re the most beautiful of the mid sized cats.

    1. Massinissa

      Are we sure he was poisoned with Putin knowing and not just poisoned by some overzealous Putin supporter?

      I really have no idea, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if Putin poisoned people, but IMO, if Putin wanted to kill people, they would probably be dead, so I sort of question this mans claims.

      1. optimader

        Are we sure he was poisoned with Putin knowing and not just poisoned by some overzealous Putin supporter
        unlikely you would do an unapproved fan-boy poisoning a second time

        1. witters

          I’m sorry, but you guys and your Putin thing is plain sad. I have never seen the ‘paranoid style’ in US politics so manifest, and am marvelling at how invisible it seems to its perpetrators. Where is Arthur Miller when you need him?

          1. optimader

            Not sure who is in the “you guys” bucket with me?
            Are you naive enough to think FSB operatives assassinate “folk” on their own initiative? Really?? I have a lovely bridge to sell you

            Mr. Litvinenko, try the soup today its delicious! Ran out of saffron so we made a little substitution, you’ll find it breathtaking I’m sure!

    2. integer

      The omnipresent and omniscient Putin strikes again! Considering his overwhelming popularity in Russia, I doubt Putin spends time worrying about his domestic critics, let alone personally arranges to have them poisoned, though it’s possible the FSB was involved. On the other hand, pulling a stunt like that might seem like a pretty good idea to those whose agenda involves trying to demonize Putin (cough CIA cough SBU cough) in the eyes of the Western world, especially if the victim lives to tell the tale to the Western corporate media.

    1. fresno dan

      March 4, 2017 at 8:59 am

      As the tweet says, in part, at the very end, that Obama nominated Comey…. soooo… I don’t understand the point. Obama is a repub stooge??? The US government is a nexus of rich connected people? Krugman doesn’t know this????

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        To be a funny standup comic is all about timing.

        Why now, and not some other time?

        We have to ask humorist Krugman this. And he might ask why he was given to know this bit of information now.

    2. flora

      Have any of these people stopped to consider their beltway bubble navel gazing and hysteria just cost them the election?

      They sound, to use Walcott’s words, like they’re “craving for a climactic reckoning. ”
      Still ignoring Main Street’s economic condition and flyover country’s job losses and shortening life spans.

  5. Bill Smith

    “A US-Based Army Can’t Get to the Fight Fast Enough”

    Since Jimmy Carter created the ‘Rapid Deployment Force this story gets trotted out every decade or so.

    1. human

      I want a Pentagon audit before any new budget is approved. They have yet to comply with this lawful requirement.

    2. a different chris

      That was unbelievable. As soon as you hear the phrase “clear-eyed assessment” – military bubble speak, which has seeped a little into our worst corporate entities- start very pointedly laughing. The comments are absolutely great!

  6. David

    The most amusing (or if you prefer depressing) part of the Cardiff story is the intellectual ignorance on display. For example, “homosexual” seems to have been banned because the university (which clearly has no classics department, and probably no dictionaries either) thought it came from the Latin word for “man”. In fact, as my classics teacher explained wearily half a century ago, it comes from the Greek word for “the same”, and gives us (among others) homogeneous and homeostasis. No doubt these words will be outlawed soon, together with homonym (samenym?) homophone (samephone?) etc. Sometimes, the huperson race is a bit much.

    1. fosforos

      At the moment, the most offensive word in the English language is TRUMP–which poses a real problem for the Cardiff U. bridge club.

    2. JustAnObserver

      Real problems for their mathematics department would come if they continued in this vein & banned homotopy, homology, cohomolgy especially the relative variants where you’re adding some incest into the mix.

  7. timbers

    A Major Proponent of H-1B Visa Reform Loses Patience With Trump Bloomberg


    Trump Can’t Find ‘Existing Funds’ to Start Building Wall New York Magazine

    Optimistic view: Things like this directly affecting Trump promises – inability to find “funding” for the border wall, and getting low cost foreign workers out of the U.S. – might at some point cause Trump to have a FDR moment and say “xxxx this” and operate outside establishment group think contrainsts like “you have to find the funding (i.e. cut other programs) to fund XYZ.”

    Pessimistic view: Trump will fail to implement concrete policy changes (like rolling back H-1B now or ever), and instead believe his own hype tweeting exaggerated private agreements with no real commitment or follow up with companies to keep jobs here, is good enough.

    The non-stop effort by the CIA and the corporate media it appears to control to make diplomacy with Russia illegal is a ginormous shiny object distracting from any policy discussion to benefit working people (Am constantly amazed to see it always on TV news every time I pass my roommates TV as I go to and from work).

    1. allan

      U.S. suspends fast processing of high-tech visa applications [Reuters]

      Foreigners aiming for temporary jobs at high-tech U.S. companies will undergo a longer visa approval process after the Trump administration announced it will temporarily suspend expedited applications for H-1B visas.

      The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said on Friday that starting April 3 it will suspend “premium processing” for up to six months. Under this expedited procedure, applicants can be eligible for visa approvals within 15 days, instead of a regular review period that can last for up to a few months. …

      We’ll see where this goes.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s why change must come from reforming the visa programs.

          Very few senators willingly gave up their very enviable congressional health care until a new law is passed.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A Major Proponent of H-1B Visa Reform Loses Patience With Trump Bloomberg

        Blow for US tech groups as brake put on H-1B visas Financial Times.

        Bloomberg is making Trump look like a moderate; whereas to the Financial Times, Trump is an ogre scaring American’s genius tech corporations.

  8. johnnygl

    I get uncomfortable when bill o’reilly starts to make sense.

    Pelosi seems to have lost her mind…

    When you throw in the recent rehabbing of GW Bush’s reputation, it’s clear the ‘librul’ elites have become completely unhinged.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I get uncomfortable when bill o’reilly starts to make sense.

      No kidding. I just clicked on the link to RedState and that made sense too. I feel kind of dirty…

      1. fresno dan

        March 4, 2017 at 9:48 am
        lyman alpha blob
        March 4, 2017 at 10:38 am

        I feel your pain….
        I owe my right wing friends an apology about Fox – FOX and associated company does skew the news all sorts of ways – and pretty obvious. BUT the NYT is more subtle in how it skews the news, but its not skewing the news LESS. In each case, you gotta be aware of both and WHAT they don’t want you to know….they are morally equivalent.
        But you have to read NC because BOTH Fox and NYT have politically correct suppositions that will never, ever be questioned….American Empire, Nato, Russia, THE Market, etcetera.

        1. JohnnyGL

          During the primaries, especially during the debates, it was clear that FOX, specifically Megan Kelly, was tasked with crushing the Trump phenomenon. She gave it her best shot, pointing out tons of his awful past remarks and glaring contradictions in his past statements. It should have been devastating, but only someone as shameless as Trump could unflinchingly brush off that kind of barrage. At one point it was clear that Trump was taking on Cruz, Kasich, and the moderator, too. The whole thing clearly backfired and Trump looked like some kind of gladiator taking on all comers. It would have been fitting if he yelled, “are you not entertained?” at some point.

          Anyway, after that failed, and Trump swept the northeastern primaries, he looked like a lock to win the nomination. FOX sort of made their peace with him and provided much better commentary than the other cable news stations that never stopped spitting venom at every opportunity.

          As someone who came of age during the Bush II wars and watched FOX defend them by any means necessary, fair or foul (mostly foul), this was really odd to see.

          1. Ernesto Lyon

            The Fox coverage of Trump is ,amazingly , quite good.

            They have to play to both sides of the story with Trump, their viewership who loves him, and the GOP, who are tolerating him for now.

            They are the most objective of the MSM on things Trump.

            ( I listen on Sirius/xm. )

  9. fresno dan

    The Basic Formula For Every Shocking Russia/Trump Revelation TYT (martha r)

    Its a basic axiom of Washington politics that the investigation is the punishment. And one could certainly point out that what is good for the goose is good for the gander (repubs never ending investigation of Obama). And maybe Trump is corrupt and being bought by Putin – which means that the allegations should be done in a sober and serious manner – not yellow journalism.

    Now, if Trump understands that the best defense is a good offense, instead of the silly McCaskill (I noted it myself just to note that Russians are met all the time and MEETING a Russian is NOT illegal) thing, how about the alleged pre-election meetings with Chna/any foreign representatives/corporations that Obama administration supporters undertook in the past elections?

    Unfortunately, I can’t copy and paste, but the FED article concludes that trade liberalization does influence elections….to the benefit of democrats. I don’t buy it myself (that dems necessarily benefit) but HEY, this is an official government “serious” institution. See below for how Trump could use this…

    Given the extensive new surveillance powers given to the FBI (hence to Trump – THANKS dems!!!) what if Trump said this:

    ‘Given the sanctity of American elections, and my sacred duty to protect the will of the people (Trump should really PILE IT ON) it is important to understand ALL foreign influence upon American politics. Because tremendous harm has been done to America by Chinese trade (whether you believe trade is bad or not, a politically important grouping does), I have ordered the FBI, our nation’s primer law enforcement agency, with help from our noble, patriotic intelligence agencies*** to investigate ANY and ALL contacts between Obama officials/supporters prior to the 2008 and 2012 elections, as well as in the Clinton campaign of 2016. We need very much to understand what influence foreign governments have on this great and glorious nation. Thank you and let us make American great and just again.’

    One can imagine the outrage (justified in my view, but politics isn’t choirboys singing) but I think such an order could NOT legally be stopped, and I think it could NOT be stopped politically either. I am not saying this should happen – but sowing the wind reaps the whirlwind. One can also imagine leaks on FOX hourly (maybe minute by minute) of dems and their supporters and the leaks alleging …well, considering past allegations….but if the leaks are NOT as ridiculous as some of the things that have come from Glenn Beck, things like influence peddling, one could see real fear from the people who are trying to oppose Trump – again, maybe no one is GUILTY of anything, but the investigation is the punishment….

    Would FBI agents find anything about China….or find ANYTHING? And how long would they investigate and how much would that cost the victim…uh, I mean the person of interest?

    *** IRONY….yeah, I need an intervention….

    1. johnnygl

      In my wildest dreams, there’s a special prosecutor appointed to clean all the saudi influence out of dc.

      And there’s trials for cia and pentagon operatives who run guns to jihadi groups.

      1. polecat

        Throw into that investigation major influence by the Israeli regime into U.S. policy, then I would support that !

      2. rowlf

        Maybe take it in small steps: “We think Saudi and Israeli agents are acting as proxies of Putin to influence US policy and elections.”

        Think the media will bite?

    2. reslez

      Another option is to investigate contacts between members of the Clinton campaign and Ukrainian fascists, whom we know the Obama administration installed after overthrowing the existing, duly-elected Ukrainian government. Joe Biden’s son got hired at a hefty salary to help part the Ukrainian people from their natural resources, which is sort of interesting. Even more interesting are the links to the ProPornOT website. The ProPornOT official Twitter account tweeted pro-fascist slogans in Ukrainian. Coming up with a list of supposedly treasonous websites, which in reality are independent voices, is straight out of the extremist playbook they follow. I like the Ukrainian angle because it helps to flip the Russia narrative on its head by clarifying the real groups behind it.

  10. Anon

    Some were thrilled to vote for the first female major-party nominee — and the historically progressive platform she campaigned on. Others morosely cast their ballots for a candidate whose past support for the Iraq War and welfare reform they couldn’t forgive — and whose progressive policy commitments they couldn’t believe. (And, a few maddeningly misguided devotees of the categorical imperative burned their ballots on the altar of Jill Stein).

    Historically progressive platform, you say? And yet, there was scant mention of it during the campaign, unless I missed something here.

    1. John k

      Never miss an opportunity to define what is progressive.
      Clearly not Medicare for all, no more ME wars, 15/hr, trade deals that retain sovereignty or retrain workers, or good relations with Russia.

      Must say my own ideas of what progressive, liberal, left etc mean have evolved since reading NC.

  11. Uahsenaa

    re: the ongoing saga of hippie punching

    I thought the commentariat might get a kick out of this story a friend of mine, an Indian woman from Gujarat, told me the other day.

    So, she’s a grad student in religious studies and her department chair recently started cracking down on all those lazy grad students (her exact words… to a grad student…) who weren’t putting in the full 20 hours a week for their half time appointments. Never mind that a job like teaching requires highly variable amounts of work depending on how many papers you have to grade that week, she wanted to institute a policy where each of the department’s grad students, regardless of whether they were actually teaching in the department, had to meticulously document every single hour they’d worked on a massive excel spreadsheet or else face a pay cut for every hour “not worked” in a given week. This was a flagrant violation of the university’s contract with the grad student union, so once a steward got involved, the matter was quickly dropped.

    Fast forward a few weeks, the day after the election, and the same department chair in a misguided attempt at showy female solidarity, I guess, wore a single color pantsuit of the you know who variety and asked my friend what she thought of it. So, my friend gave her a sarcastic “buddy Christ” thumbs up and started walking away. The chair called after her, “I thought you of all people would understand.”

    tl;dr – white woman tells Indian woman whose livelihood she threatened to sympathize with her feelings over the election

    1. fresno dan

      March 4, 2017 at 9:53 am

      Now I know what a “buddy Christ” is.
      I would have suggested she say, “That’s mighty white of you” but I guess that is passe now….

      1. ChrisAtRU

        Hahahaha! I’m sending a virtual (non-sarcastic) #BuddyChrist to you both! Laugh.Out.Loud.Goodness.

        1. polecat

          How ’bout a ‘nodding St. Hillary’, googly eyed, clutching a ‘glow-in-the-dark bag of simulated uranium, that we can Put/in our dashboards …..

          1. fresno dan

            March 4, 2017 at 12:15 pm

            Hmmmmm….thinking of “Put/in” makes me think of weapons of mass destruction…that makes me think of “yellow cake” ….which makes me think.. how about a Hillary yellow cake …cake …in the shape of Hillary wearing a white (vanilla frosting) pants suit….so all her supporters can eat it.

            1. polecat

              That would make an interesting ceramic sculpture, little remote-controlled battery operated red LED’s for Hillary’s eyes (the Eyes of Satan) … centered on a tilting cake stand with a shirtless Putin, holding up said stand with outstretched muscle-ripped arms, and straddled Herculinian style, with his feet planted firmly on a cracked and pitted CIA dais ….. and covered with a glass dome !

              Ah … the imagination runs wild …..

                1. polecat

                  I actually have a running list of more mundane, and practical, items to create ….. tea sets, bonsai pots, some flatware, soap dishes ….. generally things I want to make for use here at home, when i’m not tending the personal environment ..e.i.. garden, bees, chickens, home maintenance, & family obligations …. I hope to have enough greenware fired this spring/early summer .. so as to glaze fire in later summer into winter. We’ll see.

        2. integer

          Just make sure you are pointing at a deplorable and replace the thumbs up with a middle finger.

      2. Eclair

        Wow! My horizons have been exponentially pushed back. Now I will be able to impress my teen grandchildren with my coolness. Must watch that “Dogma” film.

      3. Annotherone

        It’s good to update my kewl-speak vocabulary with buddy-Christ -thanks! I shall file the knowledge next to the Plastic Jesus song from “Cool Hand Luke” . ;)

        1. HotFlash

          I just learned “Rock me, sexy Jesus” from Hamlet II. My younger coworkers are, well, astonished.

  12. ScottW

    “Nearly half of Americans (45%) say they would have difficulty paying an unexpected $500 medical bill. This includes those who say they wouldn’t be able to pay it at all (19%), those who would put it on a credit card and pay it off over time (20%) and those who would have to borrow money from a bank, payday lender, family or friends (7%). Among the uninsured and those with lower incomes, more than three in ten say they would not be able to pay a $500 bill at all.”

    Every politician opposing single payer should be forced to address this issue.

    1. katiebird

      But Pelosi has no energy for Health Care Rage because Russian Rage is the all consuming Democrat Issue.

      I’m the exact opposite. I’m consumed by Health Care Rage and don’t acknowledge the Russian thing.

      1. Toolate

        And that in a nutshell is the whole point.
        Aka “look over here”while we all continue ti rob you fools blind with our faux arguments

      2. nippersdad

        Any mention of the “Russian thing” has now become one of my litmus tests. Anyone seriously mentioning it has now officially become unserious, in my view. It has just become so tedious……..I honestly believe this has to be driving away more people than they think it is garnering, or retaining.

        1. katiebird

          I thought so too but was surprised yesterday by a couple of people who are treating it as a real issue. I think (possibly) that people under the spell of Trump Derangement Syndrome will believe anything. ( I like to think I can be healthily mistrustful toward Trump without being deranged about it)

          1. mk

            All the ladies in my workout group believe it and I don’t have the energy to try to convince them otherwise, they’d probably beat me up.

    2. LT

      Yeah, because they have no savings. Should also be an earworm for those promoting “health savings accounts.”
      People may actually be able to save for actual health care emergencies if they weren’t mandated to support the insurance industry (the middle man rent seekers)

  13. allan

    Tea party parallel? Liberals taking aim at their own party [AP]

    Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat likely to face a tough re-election fight in a state won overwhelmingly by Trump, said the effort will make Democrats a “super minority” in the Senate.

    Sign me up. The Tea Party really became a force only when its primarying of an old school Republican
    in an upstate NY district led to a Democrat winning the general.
    The only way the left will get taken seriously as anything other than an ATM for the Dems
    is to make it clear to the nomenklutura that they’re willing to do that.

    On the downside,

    … Party officials are trying to channel veal pen the new energy into more targeted electoral efforts. …

    Fixed it for you, AP.

    1. fresno dan

      March 4, 2017 at 10:24 am

      George Carlin said, “It’s a big club and you and I ain’t in it. What do they want? More for themselves and less for everybody else. And they don’t give a f*ck about about you.”

      Whether one wants to say there is one club or one club that wears two different colors, until the leaders of the club get changed there is every reason to think we will continue to get what we have always got….

  14. Brian

    Thanks Yves for the shout out to Jane Hamsher. She and Christy built FDL into a provocation of thought and interaction. Your two sites were early pioneers where questioning the narrative were welcome.

  15. fresno dan

    The Deep State vs President Trump: We are witnessing a no-holds-barred clash between two warring camps. ZCommunications (Sid S)

    “D.J. Hopkins, another close student of this phenomenon, notes that “the system served by the Deep State is not the United States of America, i.e., the country most Americans believe they live in; the system it serves is globalized Capitalism.” And they do so regardless of which party is nominally in control. Lofgren takes pains to point out that the Deep State is not a coven of diabolical conspirators. It has evolved over several decades to become the antithesis of democracy.”

    globalized Capitalism
    Davos man
    To whatever extent we used to have countervailing power, it is gone. Not only unions are gone as a significant power center, but the interests of nation states for the vast majority of THEIR OWN PEOPLE is gone. It simply interests neither party to cater to the problems of the majority of Americans true economic concerns. Sure, sure, I guess team red and team blue truly disagree about bathrooms. But not bank bailouts….not maintaining an empire, and spending money on the MIC. And this is true for most of the “advanced” economies …. and non advanced for that matter as well.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump vs Deep State (and, by inference, Global Capitalism).

      No permanent friends, only permanent interests.

      Will progressives rally behind Trump, when one particular conflict is framed this way?

      Is this where real and fake progressives part ways? That seems too sanctimonious, of which we all too often are guilty.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      From the article:

      To be sure, Trump is a neo-fascist demagogue and his actions should be resisted at every step.

      I, for one, am getting pretty sick of this seemingly obligatory, lame-ass, librul street-cred establishing disclaimer.

      Every step?

      Including refusal to support TPP? Including the struggle against the warmongering neocons so intent on confrontation with Russia who are now assaulting him relentlessly from every angle with no let-up?

      Give me a break. As has been noted here before, it seems that getting at least a few decent things done is nowhere near as important as making sure it’s not Trump who does them. That used to be called “cutting off your nose to spite your face.” Now it’s called #Resistance.

      Brilliant. And since I seem to be in the mood for old sayings that nobody pays attention to anymore, “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”

    3. Edward E

      Carlin said, “It’s a big club and you and I ain’t in it. What do they want? More for themselves and less for everybody else. And they don’t give a f— about about you.” Carlin believed that an aroused and politically savvy citizenry could ultimately prevail.

      As the Great Society from FDR – Eisenhower days are numbered, the police state has been building ever upwards. IMO it has become a large deterrent to any serious remake of a Bonus Expeditionary type force, which was about the only thing that used to worry the club. Probably the main reason we people ever got anything in the first place.

      They just steal votes from any third-party surge to help obtain the outcomes they prefer. What a nightmare! Sorry, but that’s the way I see it.

      Trump could possibly achieve something big, but I fear that it will mainly benefit the international club.

    4. mk

      What if the USA began to organize startups at worker co-ops? What if 50% of companies in the USA were worker co-ops? Would we need unions?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Massive permafrost thaw…Canada…Huge carbon release.

      Relining that spillway with reinforced concrete is not as massive in comparison, but still, will it pass the environmental review?

      1. barefoot charley

        Cutting off the river flow has collapsed levees downstream. This article also has an excellent photo of the rubble clearing of the hydropower outflow blockage, now coming back online. Yesterday people here laughed about helicopter use; they were helicoptering emergency fill to the *dirt base* immediately below the *emergency spillway,* which had never before overflowed, and started washing away within hours. This was the imminent failure that caused the evacuation, not the simultaneous erosion of the regular spillway, located on the right side of the dam. The failed emergency spillway is on the far left below the parking lot. It should have been cemented too . . .

        1. JustAnObserver

          I just love the Newspeak way they talk about a “damaged” spillway as if it were some minor fender bender in the supermarket carpark.

          From the photo the correct word should be “destroyed” or “trashed” or “wrecked” or just simply “totally F****d”.

        2. bob

          Thanks for the update from last month.

          Helicopters carry 10% of what the big mining trucks are carrying, and cost a ton more. They can also only work during good weather, and during the day.

          You can see in the videos where they were piling the bags of rocks, carried by the helicopters. Way past the ’emergency spillway’, further to the left. Where no one was working. Protecting the parking lot. Huge waste of money.

          1. bob

            This video, from 2/18 shows exactly where they were putting the very expensive rocks in bags-


            The video starts with a very good close up of the area under the emergency spillway, and the equipment working on it. It goes on that way for a bit, while panning the camera left. Toward the end of that run, you can see the bags of rocks protecting the parking lot, between trees. Away from the equipment that’s working.

            It was theater. Very expensive theater.

    2. ewmayer

      Tried watching in Safari on my macbook, but was faced with a “how are the comments for this video?” dialog which I was was unable to close by clicking on the “Close” widget. Thanks for the nonportable page design, Youtube!

  16. family affair

    csmonitor about kim jong uns half-brother: why would it be difficult to make any gestures to north korea due to that? unless the half-brother was an asset for foreign powers, which is highly likely since he was a gambler and the high likelyhood of being in debt and on drugs is a prime target for traitors. the other reason is the same as the iraqi wmd – just a pretext to attack.
    otherwise, is an internal affair and shouldnt interfere with geopolitics.

  17. justanotherprogressive

    Sweden reinstituting the draft: Two things…
    1) Tensions are rising in Europe. That is a very bad thing for the future of all of us. We know what happens when Europeans start getting tense….WWI and its continuation, WWII are examples.
    2) A draft would be a great thing for this country but it will never happen. People who have skin in the game are far more interested in what we are doing overseas than those who don’t. But a draft is the last thing our politicians or our military industrial complex want – the less Americans are involved in their business, the better for them…..

    1. visitor

      Hasn’t Lithuania re-introduced conscription, and isn’t Latvia planning the re-establishment of the draft too?

      Though in those cases another factor comes into play. The demography of Baltic states has been savaged by austerity-induced emigration to such an extent that they might not even find enough recruits for their volunteers-based army.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Where was the last major Swedish military involvement?

      Poland? Eastern Ukraine?

      1. Massinissa

        Very very small roles in NATO operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan AFAIK.

        Almost every country in Europe helped a tiny tiny bit in those theatres due to NATO.

      2. visitor

        For an active involvement in modern times, I would say Congo/Katanga in the 1960s.

        Otherwise, Sweden mobilized during the world wars.

        For a genuinely major military involvement with real action, then one must look back at Napoleonic times.

      3. Otis B Driftwood

        I’d bet not since Gustavus Adolphus and the 30 years war. The Svensks have been doing little more than playing tennis/hockey and exporting beautiful actresses and crappy furniture since then.

  18. Bunk McNulty

    re: Uber. Proof once again that a “disruptive” technology is one where you get to break the law and never go to jail. The link below is from a couple years ago, but makes the point: Billionaires don’t go to jail. Even Mitch Kapor’s problem with Uber culture seems to have only to do with workplace harassment. (Marvelous to see Eric “Place” Holder in on the action, too.)

    Meet The Uber Rich.

  19. cm

    Washington State Senator Cantwell sent a response yesterday about her caving in to the drug companies:

    Thank you for contacting me about the importation of prescription drugs from Canada. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

    Throughout my time in the United States Senate, I have supported legislation allowing for the importation of prescription drugs in a manner that protects the safety of patients. Unfortunately, not all previous legislative proposals have met this safety test.

    On February 28, 2017, I joined Senator Bernie Sanders and 18 of my colleagues in introducing the Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act (S. 469). This legislation would instruct the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to propose regulations allowing wholesalers, pharmacies, and individuals to import prescription drugs from licensed Canadian sellers under a new and stringent safety system.

    Unlike previous legislative proposals, the Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act requires Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certification of foreign sellers, Canadian approval of imported drugs as safe and effective, quality and purity testing in laboratories, FDA tracking and tracing of imported drugs, and the exclusion of high-risk drugs such as controlled substances and compounded medications. The bill also includes important new penalties to crack down on the illegal importation of opioids and other illicit drugs by rogue online pharmacies.

    Addressing rising prescription drug costs demands a comprehensive strategy. That is why, in addition to supporting safe prescription drug importation, I strongly support giving Medicare the authority to negotiate prescription drug prices directly with manufacturers on behalf of the American people. Americans can buy products in bulk, and Medicare should be able to do the same, just as the Veterans Health Administration currently does.

    I have also worked to demand accountability into abusive drug pricing practices. To shed more light on prescription drug price negotiations between government programs and industry middlemen, I authored a provision in the health care reform law to increase transparency for Pharmacy Benefit Managers in order to pass cost savings on to consumers. Pharmacy Benefit Managers are one of the least regulated areas of the health insurance industry. My provision requires Pharmacy Benefit Managers to report their pricing practices to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

      1. splashoil

        i asked my Senator Cantwell’s staff to fax me a list of dead Canadians! Crickets. No shame there or in Patty Murray’s “deer in the headlight” office.

        1. perpetualWAR

          I thought I was the only smart a$$ calling Cantwell. It’s good to hear others giving this POS a hard time.

      2. Propertius

        Because Canadian drugs are so dangerous.

        Especially since so many of them were exported from the US in the first place. Honestly, if Congress seriously believes that we’ve been exporting dangerous, substandard drugs to our next-door neighbor and closest ally they ought ot start some sort of official investigation.

        1. Tom

          40% of prescription drugs dispensed in the U.S. are manufactured overseas, primarily in India and China. 80% of the ingredients of prescription drugs “assembled” here are also made overseas.

  20. Pookah Harvey

    From Ian Welsh’s blog piece on the rise of celebrity political candidates; “given that the politicians have failed and failed and failed it’s quite reasonable for Americans to try to pull from different pools”
    Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks believes that one of those pools should be young progressives and has started a new political group to find and fund such candidates. It is called Justice Democrats. Here is Cenk discussing his group with Robert Scheer at Truthdig.

    Here is their website.

    I think they are worth a look.

    1. hunkerdown

      They sure are, as one Twitter user @ActualFlatticus has done. Are they still a superPAC welded onto a PAC? Are they still run by Zack Exley, who has too much of a relationship with the Soros franchise to not be dependent on their mission? Is Cenk Uygur clean of Haim Saban’s money (Politico)? I see only a shinier, more assertive, more luxurious abattoir (Monty Python).

      1. Marina Bart

        It’s even more Byzantine than that. Brand New Congress is Exley’s gig. It was established back in the Spring, before the primaries were even over. Cenk’s TYT gang set up Justice Democrats recently; it was announced in January. That’s the hybrid PAC that @ActualFlatticus was appalled by. Then Justice Democrats either merged with or bought out Brand New Congress. It isn’t clear to me what the power dynamics are there. The only word I’ve been able to find to describe the relationship is “partnership,”

        I believe Cenk and Kyle denied on Twitter (in response to Flatticus) that it’s a hybrid PAC, but here’s more reporting on that, which includes a link through to the JD FEC filing:

        I’m not competent to judge whether this proves it’s a hybrid, but it seems unlikely that they’d say it’s a hybrid, and link to the filing as proof, if it wasn’t proof.

        I can’t tell what the exact relationship is between the two entities. As far as I can tell, JD has the money, and BNC has the organizing staff. I know nothing about Exley’s relationship with Soros. Is it identical to Keith Ellison’s relationship with Soros? If so, what does that mean? Is this just a merger of the two main billionaires owning the Democrats, making sure the left is being lured into a box canyon from which they can’t escape until it’s too late? The DNC Chair election was to some degree a fight between a Saban guy and a Soros guy. Saban won. If the main money is coming from Saban for the JD/BNC, won’t that mean Saban will also control this organization? Or will BNC have the upper hand because they’re the ones who know how to do and will be directly overseeing the grassroots organizing?

        The good news, I think, is that we don’t have to figure that out right now. A friend took me out to dinner to ask whether I thought Justice Democrats was worth donating to. And I told her (basically) what I just wrote above. Then I told her despite my concerns about JD (Cenk and Kyle have also put forth some Clintonian-sounding messaging in reaction to the criticism of JD that is, at best, unfortunate) , if she wants to give them some dough, she should. Because the best way to find out which, if any, of these mushrooming outside organizations really are leftist and really have the competency to vet, field, fund and support candidates, is to treat 2018 as a laboratory. Let’s see who gets results. If the JD/BNC partnership doesn’t take out any corporate Dems, it doesn’t really matter whether that was always the intention, or they’re just not good at their jobs. We’ll know to ignore them for 2020.

        Power isn’t going to change hands in 2018, no matter who the left funds. The Democratic Party is pretty much guaranteed to fail, given what they’re currently doing. And with them refusing to hand over the party apparatus to the left, they will succeed in preventing the left from pulling off an upset on its own against the Republicans. So there is very little risk to just encouraging everybody on the left to support whatever orgnization and strategy they want, as long as they don’t fall for #TheResistance and don’t give the DNC/DCCC/DSCC any money. Whether you separately fund an insurgent Democrat in the primaries, volunteer for BNC, give JD money. join The Greens, or work for candidates from one of the other third parties (legacy or start-up) , as long as you don’t vote for corporate Democrats at the primary level OR in the General Election, we will learn valuable things about which of these entities will be useful going forward, while peeling the parasites off the host body of the Democratic Party so it’s either ripe for taking over, or too weak to undermine its successor.

        1. Pookah Harvey

          I’m sorry but your suggestion to just sit back and see if any of the progressive efforts have an effect seems extremely passive. Passivity is exactly what the establishment wants now and what has allowed their supremacy. Maybe I’m naive about he Saban Soros conflict but I would like to believe that somewhere there are some somewhat altruistic humans. I have joined the Justice Democrats, maybe I’m a sucker but I hope not.

          1. Marina Bart

            That’s exactly the opposite of what I’m saying. Join Justice Democrats! Good luck!

            I’m saying there’s no point is us killing ourselves trying to work out the Kremlinology of corruption regarding which organizations and individuals have been captured by the plutocracy and which have not. As long as you don’t work for or finance the Democratic Party through any of its official organs, you’re working part of the experiment. The best way to find out who’s worth backing is for everybody to pick their pony and see how they run.

            I see leftists and progressives fighting and arguing online about which ONE entity everybody MUST support. I don’t think that’s going to work. My point is, I don’t think it’s a huge problem that more than one group will get support. Not putting all of the left’s eggs in one 2018 basket could end up being a strength, not a weakness.

            The trap is if you start thinking of Justice Democrats as your “tribe” and allow confirmation bias and stuff like that to bind you to the organization even if it is revealed that it’s incompetent or corrupt. That is what would make you a sucker. Right now, you’re using them, to achieve your goal (presumably) of electing leftist representatives. Just don’t let them start using you to do something that’s counter to your goal. Don’t get too emotionally invested until they have proved themselves with electoral results.

            Which is why I’m wondering why you described yourself as “joining” JD. What does that mean? It’s a PAC; it’s not a party. The first time I went to the site, there was basically nothing there but a “Donate” button. Now they’ve got the “nominate” button (presumably that feeds to BNC — do you know?). How are you joining? What you are doing or have done that has led you to perceive your engagement with JD that way? That emotional bond is the danger, if they’re not who they say they are.

        2. Jeff W

          Then Justice Democrats either merged with or bought out Brand New Congress.

          According to Kyle Kulinski (who is one of the founders of Justice Democrats and largely wrote its platform) Justice Democrats is a partisan group, seeking to reform the Democratic Party from within—it will sponsor candidates running as Democrats who, among other things, take no corporate money (à la Bernie Sanders); Brand New Congress is a non-partisan group that similarly wants to get money out of politics.

          Zack Exley and Saikat Chakrabarti, both of whom worked on the Sanders campaign and co-founded Brand New Congress, are now working for Justice Democrats—Chakrabarti is its Executive Director and Zack Exley’s Wikipedia page says he is “part of Justice Democrats” and does not mention Brand New Congress at all (which seems a bit weird since he co-founded the group). So it’s not really clear what the status of Brand New Congress is or, as you say, what the power dynamics are.

          Ultimately, though, we have what seems to be a sincere attempt to have candidates running as Democrats disavow corporate money and endorse a progressive/social democratic platform—something which, until Bernie Sanders came along, I hadn’t seen in, well, forever. So I’d regard that as a good thing.

    2. Propertius

      I’m thinking that judges should hand out political offices to nonviolent offenders as community service. How could that be worse?

  21. allan

    Opioid treatment group fronted by Newt Gingrich and Patrick Kennedy keeps its funders secret [STAT News]

    It’s an irresistible pairing: Big-name Washington politicians Newt Gingrich and Patrick Kennedy have joined forces to help a new advocacy group push for wider use of medications to treat opioid addiction and expanded government funding.

    As paid advisers to Advocates for Opioid Recovery, Gingrich, the former Republican House speaker and a Trump confidant, and Kennedy, a former congressman and a scion of the family that defined liberal Democratic politics for decades, have generated a flurry of media attention. They have conducted joint interviews with outlets ranging from Fox News to the New Yorker.

    But the nonprofit group refuses to answer a simple question: Who is funding the campaign?

    Gingrich told STAT he had no idea who was supporting Advocates for Opioid Recovery, which was founded last year. Kennedy declined to be interviewed, as did Van Jones, the CNN commentator and former Obama aide who is another paid adviser. …

    The nonprofit was incorporated in Delaware last June. The three directors of Advocates for Opioid Recovery all have ties to Kennedy. One of them, Washington health care lobbyist Sean Richardson, was Kennedy’s chief of staff when he was in Congress. Richardson said he did not know who is funding the nonprofit or how much the group is paying the three men. …

    Sounds legit.

    Edit: mystery solved:


      1. Marina Bart

        For those that don’t click through, it’s rancid because the non-profit organization is a front for a medical device manufacturer that wants some of that sweet fiat currency budgeted for its device. It’s next gen lobbying corruption. Kennedy and Gingrich are paid lobbyists, getting to pretend they’re noble, philanthropic individuals.

  22. LT

    Re: China wage growth.

    As they move toward more consumption, the Chinese will “buy Chinese.”
    They’re buying Chinese produced tech like smart ohones over foreign brands.
    They re building a massive film and entertainment industry.
    Just some examples
    They may keep a preference for certain foreign brand luxury items….

    As they become high-octane consumers…they will live in interesting times.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hopefully no more buying of Vancouver or Manhattan mansions.

      “We are proud to buy our own home-made mansions.”

      And the lines at the local Disneyland will be shorter too.

      “The Shanghai Disney is foreign. We don’t visit. Instead, it’s Journey-To-The-West Amusement Park, after watching the Confucius Award ceremony. Nobel is nothing to us now.”

        1. LT

          Actually, businesses and homes would be more investments than the type of consumer product spending I’m referring to.

      1. LT

        Those would fall under “luxury items.”

        Foreign homes, businesses and vacations…

        Consumer products and entertainment, they could be China for China all the way.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Is buying Australian baby formula deemed to be luxury spending there, but not luxury under down?

  23. Sam

    Reagan traded arms for hostages with Islamic terrorists, Nixon negotiated with the enemy for campaign advantage, yet somehow its unpossible for Trump or his campaign to collude with the Russians.

    Whitewater, Lewinsky, Benghazi, Emailgate, Birthgate, but this one is beyond the pale?

    Strange bedfellows.

    1. Nakatomi Plaza

      Indeed. If all this Russian stuff turns out to be meaningless, I guess everybody downplaying it got lucky. If not (and it’s already led to one embarrassing resignation), a lot of folks lose a lot of credibility.

      1. Sam

        I’d like to think so, but credibility and status seemed inextricably intertwined. Who among the Iraq war boosters have suffered as a result?

        1. John Wright

          Yes, indeed,

          I believe there is little career upside in “downplaying” the Russian stuff..

          Iraq war boosters such as Thomas Friedman, Bill Kristol, John McCain, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Doug Feith, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Kerry and Chris Matthews all kept some sort of employment.

          Two on this list even later ran for President and Wolfowitz was appointed to the World Bank after Iraq unfolded disastrously

          “Wolfowitz told the House Appropriations Committee that oil revenue earned by Iraq alone would pay for Iraq’s reconstruction after the Iraq war”

          Instead the cost to the USA of the Iraq war was estimated to cost in excess of 2 trillion (2013) and other estimates have it as 6 trillion long term.

          So Wolfowitz was off by at least 2 Trillion and could still be installed at the World Bank.

          On the other hand, Phil Donahue was fired from MSNBC for opposing the war, at Chris Matthews’ urging and Matthews kept his job.

          As long as the elite control the government/media, syncing one’s positions to what the elite want to do is simple career preservation.

          Being accurate/fair/correct can have some downsides as Iraq war doubters Donahue, Dennis Kucinich, Joe Wilson, and Chris Hedges were all marginalized..

          Agreeing with the meme on Russia is the “prudent” (per George H.W. Bush) position to take for career survival in the MIC.

          I am concerned that the elite will be working overtime to provoke Russia in order to make the narrative a reality.

          Gulf of Tonkin resolution, “Remember the Maine”, it has happened before.

          A lack of credibility can be overcome with good public relations and ramping up fear in the population.

          1. fosforos

            We all have heard of “Remember the Maine.” How many have heard of “Remember the Liberty?”

      2. VietnamVet

        Russia baiting is hardwired into global oligarchs. The centuries old Great Game is back on. Plus, 21st century cosmopolitan offspring of Eastern Europeans, Evelyn Farkas, Victoria Nuland and Chrystia Freeland, successful restarted the Cold War 2.0. Two things are in play; 1) Globalist and Nationalist Elite are fighting each other over control of the looting and 2) Democrats will not acknowledge that they have dumped the working class for corporate kickbacks; therefore, they have to scapegoat the Russians to explain their complete loss of power.

        Russian bashing is beyond stupid. Anyone who was alive in the 1983 and watched “The Day After” knows that we are blessed to have avoided a nuclear war. Mankind won’t be so lucky the second time around. An Anti-War movement is necessary to throw the bums out of Congress, once again. It is clear that politicians and their paymasters have no concern for the fate of the little people. They are hoarding as much wealth as possible, right now, no matter what happens.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The secret is to have evidence before committing a move.

      That’s why, even if you suspect Schumer or Pelosi is doing for partisan reasons, you wait till you have evidence before you say they are obstructing.

    3. voteforno6

      So, we’re supposed to assume that some collusion occurred, even though nobody has actually produced real evidence of that collusion? Seems kind of weird. Also, have you ever considered the motives of the people stoking this hysteria? They’re not exactly the most trustworthy people.

    4. reslez

      At this point the people who said Iraq had WMDs had more credibility than the Russiaphobes. The Iraq warmongers had supposed sources, intercepts, etc.; way more evidence than anything we’ve seen concerning Russia. What we get is a technical paper about supposed hacking with off-the-shelf hacking tools and embarrassing technical mistakes, and a joint intel report where half the pages consist of pointless bitching about RT…. I have more respect for people who bought into GWB’s dumb war than the Russia floggers — at least back then they put some work into manufacturing semi-credible “evidence”. I guess the Clintons figure the media is already on their side so they don’t have to make an effort. (This is exactly how they lost the campaign.)

  24. Cynthia

    That healthcare story within another healthcare story that Yves links to from above about how Joe Biden was gonna sell his house in order to pay for, Beau’s, his adult son’s, cancer treatments until Obama stepped in and said that he would personally pitch in and help pay for his treatments doesn’t add up in a number of ways.

    First of all, I seriously doubt that Obama paid these huge, monstrous medical bills out of his own pocket. If anything, he tapped into and paid for them through the administration’s $9-11 billion per year “cost-sharing subsidies” program that he set up on his own accord without congressional approval, which is unconstitutional, BTW, and thus being challenged by the courts. Regardless of that, it therefore appears as though we the taxpayers most likely paid for Beau’s uncovered medical bills, not Obama.

    Second, when Beau had to step down as AG of Delaware because he was too sick to keep working, why did he lose his health insurance? No doubt that he had a very generous Cadillac plan working for the state of Delaware. So, why did he not just apply for COBRA coverage after he left office? And even he hadn’t done that, why didn’t he just get ObamaCare insurance through the state exchanges? Under ObamaCare, monthly premiums, yearly deductibles and episodic co-pays for people with pre-existing conditions, people like Beau Biden, are essentially the same in terms of costs as they are for people without pre-existing conditions. Therefore, it’s very hard for me to believe that Beau couldn’t afford and had to go without healthcare insurance.

    I suspect that, at the very most, the insurance that Bo had required that he fork over, at most, a $12,000 deductible every year to cover the costs of his cancer treatments. That’s about the going rate for an average ObamaCare plan. But that is not enough money in terms of out-of-pocket expenses for his father, Honest Joe, to justify selling his $2-3 million dollar mansion in Wilmington, Delaware. If all he needed is $12,000, he could have simply sold the family car, some of the family jewels and silver, or even just tapped into his 401K. The truth is that Honest Joe is not being at that honest with us.

    The truth is that Joe Biden is dishonest, and due to his dishonesty, he concocted this half-baked story in order to make Obama look like a good and generous guy. But, needless to say, it’s far from being good and generous if you use other people’s money to pay for something, in this case the taxpayer’s money, and then give yourself credit for it. Obama might as well be a bank robber, IMO.

    And even if Dishonest Joe were successfully at making us believe that Obama is good and generous, he, in turn, made the careless mistake of making OBamaCare look anything but good and generous! By making Obama look good, unbeknownst to him, he made ObamaCare look bad. Really bad. If ObamaCare was truly good, even just mediocrely good, and did what it was suppose to do, which is to make healthcare affordable and prevent bankruptcy, Middle Class Joe would have never had to think about, much less ever have to worry about selling his house to pay for his adult son’s medical bills, and thus make up this bogus and unbelievable story about how Obama was so generous as to dip into his own personal bank account to pay these bills.

    And why didn’t the media report how nothing, absolutely nothing, about this story adds up. It’s as fabricated as the day is long. Oh, that’s right. According to the media, Obama can do no wrong and ObamaCare is the greatest thing since sliced bread. One thing is for sure, though. The media will never, ever let Trump get away with doing anything like this, which is to fabricate the truth, and they certainly won’t ever overhype anything he does or creates like ObamaCare.

    1. katiebird

      Cynthia, Thanks for posting this analysis of that (DailyKos) story. OMG. I guess it links further back to a WP story but I couldn’t make myself go there. Just the bones of it don’t make sense.

    2. reslez

      You seem to believe the deductible is some sort of “cap” on what the patient has to pay, like “pay your deductible and you’re done”. Um, no. The deductible is only the beginning. After that you’re on the hook for at least 20% coinsurance — if you’re lucky enough to find an in-network provider. If not your coinsurance is even higher. Furthermore, if you’re the son of an elite rich guy you probably want to go to some fancy specialist who blithely ignores the “usual and customary” charges your insurer is willing to pay, which means you pay every cent above that. If you want any experimental drugs you have to pay for it yourself plus anything else your insurer won’t approve. Meanwhile you have no income because you’re too sick to work. Some providers won’t treat you until you pay your bills. It’s not like they’ll just treat you when they know you can’t pay.

      Chemotherapy drugs can easily go for hundreds of thousands of dollars per treatment cycle. I have zero difficulty imagining someone on a politician’s salary having trouble paying for any of this.

      1. perpetualWAR

        Obamacare was put in place so that you wouldn’t need to file bankruptcy if you should fall sick.

      2. Marina Bart

        She’s still fundamentally correct, however, that there’s no version of this story that isn’t an indictment of Obama.

        If the son of the Vice President of the United States, the Attorney General of a state in his own right, doesn’t have the coverage or resources for his cancer treatment, and his Dad has to personally pull strings with the President to keep from selling his house — THAT IS TERRIBLE.

        That means ACA/Obamacare fails even the affluent and well-educated. That means it fails, period.

        Some providers won’t treat you until you pay your bills.

        This is not health care. This is the most fundamentally brutal form of rent extraction short of slavery.

        Whatever happened with Beau Biden, this story demonstrates not that Obama is a great guy, but that he is, instead, a moral monster.

        – He created a horribly dysfunctional health care system to feed the insurance sector at the expense of his voters. He lied about many of its features at the time, and continues to lie about them.

        – It is so horrible that (so the story goes) it eventually financially broke HIS powerful and wealthy (compared to most people) Vice President.

        – Then, when his close associate the Vice President asked for personal help, Obama helped him — and ONLY him — while actively working to undermine the only hope every other American citizen had to get help with the health “care” system.

        – As a reminder, this health care system is killing Americans and destroying the lives of people whose bodily function is still intact.

        It doesn’t really matter if Beau pursued off-network specialists or experimental drugs. If this was Beau being profligate, it would be a different story. If it wasn’t still common for people to go bankrupt if they got sick, Joe wouldn’t be telling this story; it would a shameful embarrassment (like every single thing Hunter does).

        So it doesn’t even matter if any of it is true. Because even if Joe is lying from start to finish, it is still an indictment of Barack Obama and the medical rent-extraction system he set up, and continues to protect. It shows that Biden and Obama are fully aware of how much people are suffering under their system. Because otherwise, they wouldn’t be telling this story, whether it’s true or not.

      3. Dead Dog

        If you are diagnosed with cancer here in Australia and you can go public (if you are a citizen with a medicare card) then your treatment, whatever it is, MRI Chemo… you don’t pay. Even if you have to travel to Brisbane for a week or two – you don’t pay.

        These hospitals are public, their budgets are limited, but they treat the poor and the rich just the same. Our politicians still sprout the same bullshit that the health budget is limited by tax revenues, but the system mostly works pretty good.

        I just can’t seem to believe how the system in the US has come about. It is obscene, corporations pursuing profit before people. They are in the sickness industry, not healthcare.

  25. european

    France: More and more pressure is put on Fillon to step aside. Juppé apparently has signalled that he is ready to step in (after saying for weeks that he was not available). The Conservatives will meet on Monday to “assess the situation”.

  26. allan

    GA Democrats cry foul as House Republicans redraw district lines [AJC]

    Georgia House Republicans made a late bid Friday to change the district boundaries for eight Republicans and one Democrat.

    The one Democrat, Rep. Sheila Jones, D-Atlanta, is not happy.

    Jones said she didn’t know about House Bill 515 until it was being presented to the Reapportionment Committee late Wednesday afternoon.

    The House voted 108-59 on Friday to approve the bill, which allowed it meet the “Crossover Day” deadline for bills to pass from one chamber to another without parliamentary maneuvering. The House vote came just three days after the bill was first introduced; most bills take weeks or months to reach the House floor.

    HB 515 takes two, predominantly white, precincts from Jones’ district 53 and gives them to Rep. Rich Golick, R-Smyrna. In exchange, Jones gets two predominantly minority precincts. …

    The biggest changes strengthen Republican districts that have become more competitive. …

    File under Extreme Gerrymandering in the Defense of Liberty is No Vice.
    Or, Republicans Play to Win, Dems Play to Fundraise.

    1. voteforno6

      Uh oh. I think that Amanda Marcotte might be stomping through the Salon offices, looking for blood. Either that, or she’s hunkered down in her woke space, her head spinning around like the little girl in The Exorcist.

  27. SpringTexan

    There are huge #SavetheNHS marches in Great Britain, today. Check out the coverage. USians mostly have no grip on how the Tories have gutted and undermined and back-door privatized the service (hoping to create a profit machine like the one we have, after they destroy the public service — note that the Blairites have also played their role). but there are many others.

    Bernie Sanders’ brother has it right:

  28. LT

    Re: The Wid 2020 Elections…

    The Oprah running for President is nothing more than rumor stemming from her covert criticism of Trump. Saying “now I realize that you don’t need highly specialized knowledge or experience to be President” was nothing more than criticism of Trump without having to mention his name.

  29. Ed

    I rarely see it reflected upon in the media the fact that the ACA made many companies cut their hours down for individuals to 28 or less when pre-ACA they would give you as many hours as they needed or wanted out of employees.

    I saw a lot of articles about how it didn’t change anything but I know in my line of merchandising work it was like we all got gutted by it. The people I work with in the various retail and grocery stores said the same thing happened to them. I guess we just didn’t realize that nothing had actually changed for us.

    1. Tom

      This point is often overlooked. That employers can simply reduce employee hours to avoid providing them with healthcare is a loophole big enough to drive an ambulance through.

  30. bob

    ‘Mob’ Attacks Middlebury Prof and Controversial Speaker Charles Murray SevenDays (resilc)

    How great is it that 7days kept quoting Bill Burger-

    “About half an hour after the event ended, Burger said, ”

    “Burger said someone threw a stop sign”

    “Members of the Middlebury Police Department eventually arrived on scene, said Burger,”

    HST is proud

  31. Pat

    Bobcat or lynx that is one beautiful animal. And no I wouldn’t really like it hanging around my backyard, despite being a crazy cat person. Good thing I live in a city.

    Wonderful nonetheless. Thank you.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      They are not very big at all so you would not be worried even if you saw one. They are maybe 20-25 lbs full grown, so the size of a pretty big cat.

  32. Oregoncharles

    From “How the Amazon’s Cashews and Cacao Point to Cultivation by the Ancients New York Times (martha r)”: “But several archaeologists argue that ancient civilizations once thrived in its thickets and played a role in its development.”

    As I posted yesterday, although there is evidence of ancient civilizations in several places, such as the Delta, this doesn’t necessarily follow. The shifting cultivation (aka “slash and burn”) practiced into modern times would have the same effect over many cycles. That’s because primitive people are very good seat of the pants naturalists, so they don’t cut down useful trees when they clear for their gardens, or they encourage the stumps to resprout. Once fertility falls off, they then move to the next plot and let the forest regrow, and so on through endless cycles. They also know what seeds are for. So over time, areas subject to shifting cultivation become, effectively, orchards. Other trees affected are Brazil nuts, breadfruit, and avocados, whose frequency is otherwise pretty mysterious. Plus others I’ve never heard of.

  33. Alex Morfesis

    NATO Brit i.e.:russian “meddling” in election is an ARTICLE 5 moment…right…so sir Bradshaw wants to watch americans die because john podesta did not secure his email account to protect his criminal acts against the voting rights of registered democrats…when the KKK used to do that, the FBI was sorta kinda gonna do something about it…let us repeat once again…this is the rat fink capone defense…

    yu hanna…dis here evidence should not be allowdz into da recurd cause it came from a rat fink who dun killed a few folks and iz of questionable charactuh and there 4’s is inadmistablz evidence and my client should be set free and mize motionz to dis and dat miss should be approved likes….

    but, sir Bradshaw…when might we americans be allowed to see a non redacted version of that little agreement the high command of UKstan made with the nazis which allowed all those german soldiers to leave athens and join in the battle of the bulge and the death of members of the 101st…you wouldn’t mind us all having a look see, since you want to send americans to die defending NATO…

    what if nato europeans declared a war and neither the americans nor the russians bothered to do anything other than laugh…??

  34. fresno dan

    So I am at the post office (I must have ranted before about how I have to go to the post office to pick up my mail because two of the POB at the apartment complex I live in broke, and we have to do this for months until its fixed)
    Anyway, a black women is standing in line and tells the postal worker her apartment number and I ask if she happens to be from my apartment complex – no, its a different one, but we mutually commiserate about how ridiculously long it will take to get the mail boxes fixed and get normal service reestablished. Spontaneously, she says she really hopes Trump can fix the government because it needs a lot of fixing and takes too long to do anything. I noted that she seemed pretty hopeful about the president and she said she voted for him….
    What are the odds that I ran into the only black person to vote for Trump…in Fresno

  35. Altandmain

    Speaking of Susan Sarandon:

    The actress and activist — who had previously been a vocal Bernie Sanders supporter — told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes in March last year that although she hadn’t decided which person to vote for, “some people” felt that Donald Trump would “bring the revolution immediately” — whereas Clinton was all about “shoring up the status quo.”

    This naturally led to cries of outrage from the Clintonista center-left. Sarandon is not a good feminist, they seethed. She’s a traitor to the liberal cause, they fumed. She would put the country at risk. It was people like her, they said, that risked putting Trump in office. This went on for a while, with articles popping up all over the place condemning Sarandon for not falling in line with the rest of politically-conscious Hollywood. Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald called out Sarandon’s “narcissistic purity” on Twitter and blamed her for Trump’s win.

    1. It’s uncomfortable for Clinton supporters to admit this, but the fact is, Sarandon was awake when many Democrats weren’t. She was a vocal supporter of Sanders, the only truly progressive candidate with any chance of securing the nomination. Clinton was a status quo candidate and, as Sarandon has pointed out, if you back the status quo when people are desperate for change, “you’re going to have a difficult time.”

    That’s the crux of the matter. When Sarandon says Trump is bringing the revolution faster, what she’s really doing is pointing out liberal hypocrisy. Far too many liberals who have developed a newfound passion for environmentalism and world peace displayed little interest in either of those things during Obama’s presidency — and very likely would not have batted an eyelid over a Clinton continuation of similarly disastrous policies either.

    One of the few people who did GET IT during the election.

    1. ChrisAtRU


      Also, she called out Chris Hayes! Twice!

      “4. Sarandon has also laid some blame for the current political situation on the media. In one particularly awkward exchange with Hayes, she questioned his journalistic credibility:

      Sarandon: You consider yourself a journalist, right?

      Hayes: Yeah, I spend 15 hours a day covering what’s going on.

      Sarandon: So how many hours did you spend on Standing Rock?

      Hayes: Not very much.

      A while later, Hayes asked Sarandon to look him in the eye and say whether Trump was as bad as she expected him to be as president. She dismissed the question and asked him this:

      Can you look me in the eyes and tell me you were doing your job to cover these issues completely? You just told me that you didn’t really cover DAPL. Are you covering now all of these [pipeline] explosions that have just happened? Because that’s what we need you to do — what we need from you is to allow people to understand what’s happening.”

      But Russia! #MSNBSeeYaLaterSuckas

      1. Baby Gerald

        Thanks to both of you for sharing this, Oregoncharles and Altandmain. Since Greenwald left, I generally avoid Salon like the plague, so it’s nice to see something worthwhile still appears there on occasion.

        It was disgusting how the press and other Hollywood types trash-talked Ms. Sarandon when she first expressed her opinion during the primary season. The vitriol she attracted was way out of proportion to anything she deserved, exacerbated by the ‘place-in-hell’ kind of attitude voiced by warmonger Albright and the Clinton hit squad at supposed traitors to their own gender.

        It gave me particular joy to see the election night results vindicate her and I wondered how long it would take for someone in the media or not affiliated with Trump to own up to this. They owe Ms. Sarandon an apology, but it will never come so long as the vindictiveness of this so-called resistance nonsense continues unabated.

        I have co-workers who can attest to my proclaiming the title of this story to them for the past three months. In fact, I literally said this to an obstinate Clintonista just last week. I hope Ms. Sarandon shares this story with friends the way I plan to– with a gleeful ‘told ya so’ grin.

      2. Ruben

        I cannot be impartial with Susan Sarandon, she looks so much like my mother! But if I really try hard to look at her past her resemblance to my adorable mommy, I still find myself loving her like she was my mother plus she is so brave and incisive.

  36. bmeisen

    Stuttgart smog – der Hammer! The Guardian article is good – and there’s more to tell. The 2 locals are heros! Stuttgart and Baden-Württemburg are booming, hard to imagine a place in the world that is doing better economically, an industrial paradise, free public universities, effectively full-employment, unions and works councils still heavyweights. Daimler is still licking its wounds after Chrysler but Bosch, the global King of auto-parts – its HQ is outside of Stuttgart, manufacturing clusters all around the area. And then there’s Porsche. Just an amazing place. And a Green mayor and a Green governor and a Green Secretary of Transport. They must be hoping the diesel black lung cases don’t turn ip before they leave office.

  37. ewmayer

    o Cardiff Metropolitan University Bans All “Politically Incorrect” Words: Re. snowflake – since standalone ‘flake’ has pejorative connotations in current usage, the PC term is ‘snow crystal’. Just stay away from any mention of the [white] color of same! Also, replacing ‘mankind’ with ‘humankind’ is still considered outré since it contains ‘man’. If you must, please use ‘personkind’ instead. Oh wait, that contains the gender-specific ‘son’, so better use ‘peoplekind’. See how easy that was? I just don’t understand why anyone would consider such rules – note, ‘mandate’ is out as well – at all constraining. Newspeak is all about making things easier, as reflected in the fact that every year the dictionary gets shorter, even of some of the individual words get longer.

    1. JustAnObserver

      I wonder how many women would actually prefer to be called a “consumer” instead of a “Housewife” ? Shades of the Stepford Wives.

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