Links 3/5/17

Animal art: Variation in bower decorating style among male bowerbirds Amblyornis inornatus PNAS. “Geographically varying bower styles may be a culturally transmitted trait, like human art styles.

Rise and fall of Adeptus is perfect parable of Wall St hype FT

Why the IRS Just Raided Caterpillar’s Peoria Headquarters AgWeb

NASA Data Show California’s San Joaquin Valley Still Sinking NASA (guurst). Groundwater pumping causes the California Aqueduct to sink, reducing its capacity by 20%.

8 out of 10 patient-advocacy groups have conflict-of-interest problems, study finds Minnesota Post (PU).

Mystery solved: Addiction medicine maker is secret funder of Kennedy-Gingrich group STAT

European Parliament votes to end visa-free travel for Americans The Independent (Re Silc). A non-binding resolution.

Protect rights at automated borders Nature


Britain could legally leave EU without settling bill: Lords panel France24

UK should make unilateral offer on post-Brexit rights of EU citizens: lawmakers Reuters

Ministers negotiating Brexit are studying six-point plan on how to obtain ‘glittering prizes’ available to UK outside of Europe The Sun. Glittering prizes!

Fillon’s faltering campaign threatens to shatter French right FT

Dutch Green-Left Party tackles Geert Wilders, one door at a time Deutsche Welle


U.S. Military Deepens Yemen Role With Escalating Strikes Against Al-Qaeda Affiliate Bloomberg

Pentagon plan to seize Raqqa calls for significant increase in U.S. participation WaPo

Health Care

The Cockroach Proposal––Selling Insurance Across State Lines Robert Laszewski, Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review (and see also Laszewski in USA Today from 2015).

New GOP bill to replace Obamacare is leaked Modern Healthcare

House Committee Aims to Reshape Medicaid Program WSJ

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

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

FBI undercover stings foil terrorist plots – but how many are agency-created? McClatchy. Certainly a question to consider as the intelligence community angles to become guardians of the constitutional order.

Homeland Security Sees Anger At Trump as a Driver of “Domestic Terrorist Violence” The Intercept. Let’s hope we don’t have anything as extreme as Obama’s 17-city paramilitary crackdown on Occupy!

Managing Political Risk ProMarket. From January, still relevant.

Trump Inherits a Secret Cyberwar Against North Korean Missiles NYT

Trump Transition

George W. Bush, liberal icon:

Why are we normalizing this guy? Well, I’ll tell you: The Democrat focus is on driving a wedge between Trump and the Republican Establishment and then defenestrating Trump. This didn’t work for Clinton with Republican voters in 2016, but it might work with elite insiders, especially with “intelligence community” backing. Of course, Trump has cards of his own to play, besides tribalism: He can give the Freedom Caucus loons what they want on domestic policy, and he can throw the McCain wing a few billions for weaponry. And he can target the right districts with infrastructure money through DOT head Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell’s wife. Oh, and the Rooski ploy has the same wedging effect (though it’s also about creating epistemic closure in the Democrat base until the Clintonites die off). None of this is about the voters at all. Heaven forfend!

Why the system will still win Perry Anderson, Le Monde Diplomatique. Must-read.

The World That Made Trump Project Syndicate

What Trump Understands About Using Social Media to Drive Attention Harvard Business Review

* * *

Donald Trump attacks Barack Obama over Watergate-style bugging of Trump Tower – but is then branded a ‘liar’ Telegraph

Trump Faces Furor Over Unsubstantiated Claim Obama Wiretapped Him WSJ

Trump’s Wiretap Rant Betrays Ignorance of the Law Politico. No doubt. Then again, when you have secret courts interpreting secret law, it’s hard to be anything other than ignorant.

What to Make of Donald Trump’s Early-Morning Wiretap Tweets The New Yorker

The Conspiratorial Game of Telephone in Bannon’s Rag that Made Left, Right, and POTUS Go Crazy emptywheel

Photo contradicts Pelosi’s statement about not meeting Kislyak Politico. Because Washington is an imperial capital, and both Kislyak and Pelosi were doing their jobs there.

We now know more about why Jeff Sessions and a Russian ambassador crossed paths at the Republican convention Business Insider. As above.

* * *

Class action suit: Immigrants held in Aurora required to work for $1 a day, threatened with solitary if refused Denver Post. Awful. And the case was filed in 2014, during [genuflects] Obama’s presidency…

US Immigration: Waiting for Chaos Walter Pincus, NYRB

* * *

Chao says U.S. drivers may face more tolls to raise infrastructure funds WaPo (Re Silc).

Bernie Sanders backs unionization campaign in Mississippi as Democrats draft populist agenda WaPo. Nice quote from Perez; apparently he’s changed his mind about Sanders being the candidate of white people….

Sen. Sherrod Brown’s Proposal Aims to Boost Workers’ Wages, Stability WSJ. I don’t see what this has to do with Russia. What’s wrong with Brown?

2016 Post Mortem

Things look bleak for liberals now. But they’ll beat Trump in the end. Ruy Teixeira, WaPo. Stlll conflating liberals and the left…

Democratic Leaders are a Craven Bunch of Idiots Bent on Self-Destruction Counterpunch. Not if they’re the Washington Generals: Paid to lose.

Did Cambridge Analytica influence the Brexit vote and the US election? Guardian. You read it here first

The End of the Libertarian Dream? Politico (PU).

Arkansas Teachers: Request Your Copy of A People’s History and Lessons Zinn Education Project (guurst).

The Amateur Historian Who Uncovered Ireland’s Mass Grave of Babies Daily Beast

Class Warfare

An English Sheep Farmer’s View of Rural America NYT. Another traveller returns from flyover America bearing the same tale as all the others: Things are bad out there. At this point, the liberal attitude towards those outside its enclaves is starting to look like malign, not benign, neglect. How can a political establishment ignore tens of thousands of excess deaths yearly without being charged with responsibility for them?

Nina Turner: Right-to-Work Laws Are Weakening the Middle Class and the Economy Glamour (MR). Over to you, Teen Vogue!

Workers kill ‘right-to-work’ bill in New Mexico People’s World (MR).

Broken: The human toll of Michigan’s unemployment fraud saga Bridge. A deceptive headline. “Doss is among a flood of workers who insist they were incorrectly accused of fraud by a rogue state computer, never told the precise nature of what they had done wrong, and were never given a chance to defend their actions before their paychecks were garnished. An internal state review of more than 20,000 fraud claims showed a 93 percent computer error rate.”

Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools cancel class on ‘Day Without A Woman’ News & Observer

City of Rod Democracy. On Dreher’s “Benedict Option.”

A surprising percentage of people report hearing voices of characters in stories even when they aren’t reading Business Insider

Philosopher Daniel Dennett on AI, robots and religion FT. I read the paper version of FT Weekend over dinner, and it was a lot more interesting than the Sunday Times. Sorry, Arthur!

The Tiny Robots Will See You Now IEEE Spectrum

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. JamesG

      I reluctantly conclude that Rex Tillerson has to be a most unhappy camper.

      The White House rejected his proposed Deputy S of S, Trump said his son-in-law would solve the Middle East and now this Blair flap.

      Tillerson will resign “for personal reasons” within a year.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Many, whom we may not want to be seen in public together (if they ever get out of their shadowy world), are working over time to make sure Tillerson doesn’t have to, but will have a new boss even sooner than within a year.

  1. Foppe

    How can a political establishment ignore tens of thousands of excess deaths yearly without being charged with responsibility for them?

    As I suggested a few days ago, I think they must, because they can’t choose to address this as a public health issue without also having to change its stance on the War on Drugs/Poor People (of Color). And since they keep ignoring the latter, they can’t address the former.

    1. Carla

      In addition, they can’t really address ANY public health issue effectively without a comprehensive universal health care system–and the failure to create one undergirds this whole situation.

    2. Carolinian

      The latest from Justin Raimondo

      What we are witnessing today is a complete turnaround of the American left’s historic foreign policy stance. The glory days of the 1950s and Sixties, when liberals and leftists stood together in the fight against the cold war hysteria that led to government persecution of alleged “Communists” and “fellow travelers” are long gone.[…]

      Alex Cockburn was the last principled leftist of any prominence: when he died, principled anti-interventionism on the left died with him.

      Yesterday’s linked Vanity Fair column from James Wolcott (who once worked with Cockburn at the Village Voice) is yet another example of how little current liberals care about those million (or is it “only” 500,000?) dead in Iraq. The once antiwar New Yorker–publisher of John Hersey’s Hiroshima–even cheered on the Iraq invasion. Clearly Hillary’s role in continuing the carnage in Libya and Syria means little to the Resisters compared to the indignity of having a short fingered vulgarian in the White House. Of course they pretend that it is really Trump who will be igniting WW3 while out of the other side of their mouths condemning peace moves toward Russia with every breath.

      Cockburn was also a big opponent of the War on Drugs btw. He is missed.

      1. Pavel

        Just to agree with your praise for Alex Cockburn (RIP). He was one of my journalist heroes since his “Press Clips” column in the Village Voice back in the 70’s and 80’s — an early print-based blog as it were. He was fired when Rupe The Knife Murdoch bought the VV.

        I donated a fair amount of money to CounterPunch a few years back and Alex sent me a handwritten thank you note along with a couple of of his favourite books. A treasured item.

      2. fresno dan

        March 5, 2017 at 8:15 am

        Agree 1000%. The world has gone topsy turvy, and it takes people a long time to come to terms with the fact that “liberals” are no longer liberal….

      3. Ignim Brites

        Doubt the current Russophobia will come to anything. When challenged to call for a declaration of war against Russia for its Pearl Harbor level event in “hacking” the US election, those making these accusations quickly recover a modicum of sanity. If anything, with the (white) right in power, world anti-colonialist forces, including the DPUSA, will coalesce around a strategy of forcing the US out of the middle-east. Considering that the is very little popular support for the War against the Taliban, or the War against ISIS, or the War against Al Qaeda or the the War against Assad, any broad based call for withdrawal is likely to be successful. And considering the US has no existential interests in the middle east, there is really no “reality” check on the coalesence of anti-fascist, anti-racist forces on the strategy; and indeed very little reason for those fascist forces to resist.

      4. Tinky

        What? Alex Cockburn was the last principled leftist of any prominence? So Raimondo is unfamiliar with Chris Hedges?

        1. Tigerlily

          I’m a big fan of Chris Hedges but I doubt those who identify with the left on ideological grounds would recognize him as one of their own. His orientation is strongly anti establishment but not explicitly grounded in leftist politics, which to people who live and breath ideology is tantamount to apostasy.

          As you probably know Hedges took a divinity from Harvard and originally intended to be a minister before turning to journalism. I think his orientation is probably more to liberation theology than Abbie Hoffman.

          1. Marina Bart

            I’m confused by this distinction. Liberation theology is leftist. It’s more rigorous in its framework and has more of a track record of bringing leftward change than anything Abbie Hoffman did.

            One of the problems with current discussion is that treating political thinking and options as a line that goes from right to left, with those who serve corporations and their needs as “the middle,” is so inaccurate as to be (intentionally?) designed to mislead; it renders invisible and thus places a broad spectrum of beliefs and programs out of bounds. There are a lot of different branches on the left side of the tree,or whatever visual metaphor you want to use.

          2. uncle tungsten

            +10 for Hedges. He is a great intellect and a voice to match. He really challenges orthodoxy and lazy thinking.

        2. JTMcPhee

          Got to ask — was Truman “left?” And Roosevelts before him? Were the Kennedy brothers (on the presidential track)? The Clintons (snark)? Even Jimmy “Malaise” Carter? Endless potential for argument about what “left” means, whether it is even a meaningful category or set of categories.

          As with so much that is “on the left.” Or “from the left.”

          My recall from college, in the mid-sixties and early ’70s, was that “left” meant kvetching about Marxism-leninism-etcism, and concern about imperial foreign policy only or mostly to the extent that the mostly lily-white a$$es of “leftists” were not exposed to a draft. Nothing to write home about, certainly nothing effective and lasting and with enough force in it to counter what clearly has been victory, looking pretty complete and long-lasting, for Squillionaire Warren Buffett’s tiny, powerful class in the “class war.” Nothing on the ground of building a sustainable human presence on the planet, with decency and comity and a genteel sufficiency of necessities for all. The “left,” coasting on the Band-Aid ™ fix that FDR applied over the gaping wounds in the polity occasioned by the swords and spears of those class warriors of his class whose “hate he welcomed.” Frittering any “gains” away by consumerism and “investment” in all the stuff that fostered looting and vampire-squid-ism in the next couple of decades, and “getting over Vietnam” so a “muscular foreign policy” (= neoliberal-neocon-post-supranational-corporate mercenary and expeditionary “war is nothing but a racket”) made safe for the pandemic spread of that tainted brand most of us still think of as aspirational and meaningful and hopeful, “democracy.” [And now, “there is only one democracy in the middle East” (sic).] Still. A shibboleth of an incantation. In spite of all evidence. And look around at the ruins, the rubble, the maimed and murdered, and anyone remember that the Iraq Attack thing was initially, and I bet sarcastically, called by the Pentagram “Operation Iraqi Liberation,” and I leave it to the gentle reader to figure out, from the acronyms, why it was changed to “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

          So “deep state” has received a little unpacking and gloss here at NC. Maybe one might explore the real meanings and import and application of “democracy,” as distinguished from the fuzzy warm heroic sugarplum visions it seems to call up in so many fervid imaginations and “understandings.” And Freedom ™ and Liberty ™ and Justice ™ and so forth. People happily use these terms, these memes and signals, as if they have substantive meaning. When as Rove said, candidly and accurately, I think:

          The aide {Rove} said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore.” He continued “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

          And from the “left,” there’s this terribly effective riposte:

          Readers and writers in alternative media can explain, document, and prove that much of these “created realities” are “Big Lie” crimes, objectively not even close to the foundational principle of “limited government” within the US Constitution, and “created” with whatever bullshit rhetoric their focus groups conclude most likely to sell (thank you, Professor Frankfurt, for your bestseller making BS an academic term).

          Readers and writers in alternative media observe escalating US and developed nations’ “created reality” crimes in ~100 areas, but perhaps most easily recognized in:

          Unlawful and lie-began war (here, here, here, here),
          So-called money (actually bank-created debt; here, here, here), and
          “Crime-coverage” by corporate media.

          Good news is that solutions are obvious; the challenge for Earth’s victory over these literal psychopathic “leaders” is to cause critical mass of humanity to recognize “Emperor’s new clothes” obvious crimes, demand arrests, and split the ~95% of humanity who would choose love and justice from relatively few committed psychopathic wanna-be slave masters.

          Great news is that readers and writers in alternative media are certainly free to “study what the psychopaths do,” their crime du jour, AND we are also free to take the endgame path to:

          Declaring our study over; we’ve seen more than enough.
          Command the facts over a few key areas of the “Big Lie” crimes (feel free to take the three I have above).
          Confidently demand arrests and/or Truth & Reconciliation.

          I’ve had enough of these war-murders and created-poverty that annually kill millions, harm billions of humans (and trillions of other Earth beings), and loot trillions of dollars, all while being fed a constant stream of bullshit to lie, distract, and retard us from our real opportunity:

          Competitive cooperation to realize Earth as the astoundingly beautiful place it should be.

          How about you? Haven’t you had enough of this shit? …

          I mean, don’t get me wrong: I like knowing more of the fascinating truths as anyone else, but at this point I’m far more committed to “winning time” rather than “studying what they do.”

          The writer’s prescriptions for the strong medicine that will bring Change about, one can read for oneself if one cares to go to the link.

          Same effort might be helpful for “national interest,” another weighty, freighty word that gets away with serial mass murder and abets the looting and destruction of a livable biosphere.

          And “left,” all by itself, presents some problems, as in

          LEFT, c.1200, from Kentish form of O.E. lyft- “weak, foolish” (cf. lyft-adl “lameness, paralysis,” E.Fris. luf, Du. dial. loof “weak, worthless”). It emerged 13c. as “opposite of right,” a derived sense also found in M.Du., Low Ger. luchter, luft. Ger. link, Du. linker “left” are from O.H.G. slinc, M.Du. slink “left,” related to O.E. slincan “crawl,” Sw. linka “limp,” slinka “dangle.” Replaced O.E. winestra, lit. “friendlier,” a euphemism used superstitiously to avoid invoking the unlucky forces connected with the left side (see sinister). The Kentish word itself may have been originally a taboo replacement, if instead it represents PIE root *laiwo-, meaning “considered conspicuous” (represented in Gk. laios, Latvian laevus, and Rus. levyi). Gk. also uses a euphemism for “left,” aristeros “the better one” (cf. also Avestan vairyastara- “to the left,” from vairya- “desirable”). But Lith. kairys “left” and Lettish kreilis “left hand” derive from a root that yields words for “twisted, crooked.” Political sense arose from members of a legislative body assigned to the left side of a chamber, first attested in Eng. 1837 (by Carlyle, in ref. to the Fr. Revolution), probably a loan-translation of Fr. la gauche (1791), said to have originated during the seating of the Fr. National Assembly in 1789 in which the nobility took the seats on the President’s right and left the Third Estate to sit on the left. Became general in U.S. and British political speech c.1900. Used since at least 1612 in various senses of “irregular, illicit,” such as the phrase left-handed compliment (1881). Phrase out in left field “unorthodox, unexpected” is attested from 1959. Lefty “left-handed person” is 1886, Amer.Eng., baseball slang. The Left Bank of Paris has been associated with intellectual and artistic culture since at least 1893. See also, e.g., “sinister,” as in “main sinister,” the hand that holds the poisoned short blade…

          Understanding these and other terms as they are, as contrasted from the eyewash and fluff that they are sold through, if such awareness could be spread widely enough around, might lead to some energy for improvement and all that, instead of more of the same, until there’s nothing left at all…

          1. Outis Philalithopoulos

            McPhee, you included a lot of substance here, but you also included a lot of long quotations where links or summaries would have sufficed. In the future, please try to edit a little more.

      5. Oregoncharles

        Raimondo hasn’t head of Veterans for Peace? Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom? Or, for that matter, the Green Party? I’m surrounded by left-wing peace activists.

        Granted, the Democratic Party successfully wrecked the peace movement via a couple of presidential campaigns; but all that means is that Democrats aren’t the Left, a familiar notion.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Going by the ‘rural America’ in the headline, I think it’s mostly, more than the public health issue (which impact both urban and rural dwellers), about these:

      1. Rural Americans don’t belong to any identity groups we have chosen to focus (or be brainwashed to focus) on.

      2. Rural Americans may in fact be on the other side of those identity groups…how can we help the other guys or ‘others?’

      “Those rural Rust Belt voters deserve the misfortunte.” – I have encountered that claim at least once.

      1. Foppe

        Oh, sure — but then, ‘rural’ is merely a classist/meritocratic dogwhistle, whereas the WoD is classism/meritocracy+racism together.

    4. fresno dan

      March 5, 2017 at 7:28 am

      Presumes that the plan is NOT to kill off the riff-raff

  2. David

    François Fillon is holding an open-air rally in Paris in about an hour (it’s pouring with rain incidentally ) in an attempt to “re-launch” his faltering campaign. Meanwhile the executive committee of the party is meeting on Monday, and looks to be ready to hand Fillon the bottle of whisky and the revolver. But it can’t actually force him to go, and if anything Fillon seems more determined, as well as more unstable. Nobody can really understand his strategy (he’s cancelled media engagements tonight and tomorrow morning), and his rhetoric has become dangerously extreme. In a speech yesterday he implicitly compared himself to Victor Hugo (forced into political exile by Napoleon III) and even to the Resistance hero and martyr Jean Moulin, calling for “resistance” against … well, it’s not clear, but it could be read as an attempt to intimidate the justice system, which has led to even more of his supporters packing up and going home.

      1. Dead Dog

        yes, thanks David. The outcome of the French election and what happens in due course is of great interest everywhere.

        The EU is looking increasingly ‘shaky’ every week.

        And, all these countries reviewing their visa policies, incl Australia? A sign of growing nationalism? No…

  3. EndOfTheWorld

    Politico says Trump is ignorant of the law. I would counter that by saying Politico is ignorant of politics, since, like almost all MSM outlets, their incisive analysis concluded that The Donald had no chance of becoming president.

    Apparently, Trump Tower was tapped by the feds during Obama’s reign. Using the Harry Truman dictum “the buck stops here”, Obama was responsible, even if he has plausible deniability.

    We will find out more shortly.

    1. fresno dan

      March 5, 2017 at 7:54 am
      Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.
      So on the one hand Trump is an idiot (I agree!) to believe he was wiretapped (I DON’T AGREE!!!) BECAUSE the paper of RECORD says he was tapped. Or does the NYT print FAKE NEWS???

      It is amazing how every other Mainstream media outlet has NOW stated that Trump’s wiretapping claim is “baseless” – – don’t they read the NYT???? Down the memory hole goes former MSM articles….

      And every fiber of my being rebels against acknowledging this, but Lindsey Graham actually said something that made sense:

      “Speaking at a town hall in Clemson, South Carolina, Graham addressed Trump’s baseless claims that Obama eavesdropped on him prior to the 2016 election. Trump claimed Obama’s actions were as scandalous as “Nixon/Watergate” in one of several tweets on Saturday morning.

      “I don’t know if it’s true or not, but if it is true, illegally, it would be the biggest political scandal since Watergate,” Graham said, referring to a scenario in which the Obama administration tapped Trump’s phones without a warrant. The crowd, which was evidently packed with anti-Trump residents, booed at this suggestion.

      But then Graham, who is often willing to publicly criticize Trump, suggested that it would EQUALLY shocking if the eavesdropping had been done legally.

      “The other side of the story ― just be quiet for a second ― if the former president of the United States was able to obtain a warrant lawfully to monitor Trump’s campaign for violating a law, that would be the biggest scandal since Watergate,” he said.

      Graham made clear that the latter form of wiretapping would be aimed at investigating “Trump campaign activity with foreign governments.”

      “So it’s my job as a United States senator to get to the bottom of this. I promise you I will,” he concluded, drawing applause.”


      “…if the former president of the United States was able to OBTAIN a warrant lawfully to monitor Trump’s campaign for violating a law, that would be the biggest scandal since Watergate,”
      I find it very, very frustrating how things are put out there and than unofficially retracted, e.g., Trump (campaign) was wiretapped according to the NYT(or same thing as there were supposedly transcripts of conversations) and THAN – it is ridiculous for ANYONE to believe that Trump was wiretapped.

      I read an analysis by Mark Levin, a supposed right wing kook – (and that was my initial opinion based on the ether), but I’m the kinda of guy who is unafraid of TRYING sushi or snails, so I gave it a read. And I have to say, one thing about it was that it had numerous LINKS to MSM stories. Now, either NOTHING the media prints is true, or Trump has a point.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Graham is a perfect example of why the Team Blue strategy to win the Republican establishment will fail. “Republican” power is based on approval of local Republicans. There might be room for one or two in an anti Trump personality order, but even “Republican moderate” Arlen Specter was opposed in his run for Senate as the Democratic nominee despite backing from Obama.

        There are simply no landing spots. Even a Republican donor risks his money becoming a black mark on his candidates with Republican voters.

        1. fresno dan

          March 5, 2017 at 9:19 am

          So I seen ANOTHER story following the meme/narrative that Trump HAS NO EVIDENCE that Obama wiretapped him (Trump/campaign)

          To summarize, reporting indicates that, prior to June 2016, the Obama Justice Department and FBI considered a criminal investigation of Trump associates, and perhaps Trump himself, based on concerns about connections to Russian financial institutions. Preliminary poking around indicated that there was nothing criminal involved. Rather than shut the case down, though, the Obama Justice Department converted it into a national-security investigation under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). FISA allows the government, if it gets court permission, to conduct electronic surveillance (which could include wiretapping, monitoring of e-mail, and the like) against those it alleges are “agents of a foreign power.” FISA applications and the evidence garnered from them are classified – i.e., we would not know about any of this unless someone had leaked classified information to the media, a felony.
          The issues are (a) whether the Obama Justice Department sought such surveillance authorization from the FISA court, and (b) whether, if the Justice Department did that, the White House was aware of or complicit in the decision to do so. Personally, given the explosive and controversial nature of the surveillance request we are talking about – an application to wiretap the presidential candidate of the opposition party, and some of his associates, during the heat of the presidential campaign, based on the allegation that the candidate and his associates were acting as Russian agents – it seems to me that there is less than zero chance that could have happened without consultation between the Justice Department and the White House.
          Unless there was some powerful evidence that the candidate was actually acting as an agent of a foreign power, such activity would amount to a pretextual use of national-security power for political purposes. That is the kind of abuse that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation in lieu of impeachment.

          I think I have been clear that I don’t like Trump. If Trump is in cahoots with the Russians to ACTUALLY affect the election, OF COURSE he should be impeached.

          But I find the lockstep willingness of the MSM to conveniently forget wiretapping as an issue (WP: BASELESS,,,,BASELESS I tells ya!!!) after they ran so many stories proving Trump/campaign was conspiring with the Russians, based on monitored conversations provided by the IC that it is hard not to join the tinfoil hat brigades….

          There does seem to be a well orchestrated agenda that TALKING to a Russian is a CRIME.
          I concede it is possible that Trump is SO VENAL that he was talking a deal with Russians to open gold courses…in Siberia (which explain’s Trumps antipathy to dealing with global warming) but I find it inexplicable how the MSM does not want to mention that which cannot be uttered – the sainted previous administration used the power of the Deep State against a political foe… for political purposes.

          1. Pat

            The thing I find amazing is that the idea that someone might want to avoid war with someone who had not attacked us, was no danger to us (except financially) because they have personal, let me repeat PERSONAL, financial interests is more of a security risk than someone who sold influence to various nations, one of which was complicit in at least two major terrorist attacks in America, which included green lighting aid and arms sales to these countries on the American taxpayers dime.

            Oh, wait it isn’t. And talking with people from other countries, including officials, was not considered a crime when other less hated politicians did it (*cough* Obama) even when running for office. And lets just discuss the Biden interests in Ukraine…

            I know it is too much to hope that 1.) this is true, and 2.) the facts come out and this takes down huge players in the IC, not to mention making it clear that Obama was both criminal AND stupid, but I might have to rethink my opinions karma if it happens. (And by stupid, I mean deciding there was enough reason to distrust Clinton’s chances to do this on no evidence without getting that it would come back to bite them once Trump became President if the incompetent candidate failed.)

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            I can’t remember who said it, but I have seen the claim that twitter was the worst thing to ever happen to journalists as it was easy to challenge their bs.

            Much like the Team Blue elites, the media was exposed for their slavish devotion to DC power bases, and now they have gone insane. The msm is as responsible for Trump as anyone and not by promoting him but by helping to preserve the Washington bubble all these years. Would Obama have been as awful if he wasn’t met with a fawning press Corp? If the press Corp pointed out why Bernie Bros existed to people who believe Obama and the Dems were simply thwarted by Republicans due to nostalgia instead of labeling them as he man wumen haters and klansmen, would Sanders have won avoiding Trump? The answer is yes. Can star reporter Lois Lane be at fault? Of course not, reporters are defenders of the First Ammendment, Yada, Yada, Yada by virtue of their job. A beat writer for the Patriots tweeted during the combine about how the Russia story was closing in on Trump. This guy barely knows anything about the NFL and now knows about politics, really? He was defending his brethren from social media.

            It boils down to journalist personalities are wannabe celebrities and Obama and Shrub were their friends. Trump isn’t popular enough to bestow celebrity on the journalist who gives him softball questions (ex. Jonathan Chaitt), so they are reacting while trying to deny responsibility for why Trump is President which is pointed out on their own twitter feeds.

            1. fresno dan

              March 5, 2017 at 11:13 am

              EXACTLY right NotTimothyGeithner! You know, I forget if it was Anderson Cooper or the Cuomo guy or Jake Tapper who said that NOW using the TERM “FAKE NEWS” is an insult to “MSM newspersons” because it isn’t being used against the CORRECT fake news – apparently trying to teach us that blogs like NC don’t know the true official NARRATIVE and that FAKE NEWS was never INTENDED to be used against the TRUTH TELLERs at the WP and NYT.

              “Would Obama have been as awful if he wasn’t met with a fawning press Corp?”
              Every one of your questions is a pearl, but particularly the above with regard to the mideast policy and the surveillance state – its like galactic hypocrisy.

            2. EndOfTheWorld

              Yes, the MSM is indeed responsible for Trump winning inasmuch as they are responsible for defeating Bernie in the primary. The “Bernie blackout” was ridiculous from the standpoint of any “objective reporting” standards.

              Yes, they have now “gone insane” indeed. Even without Trump winning, they were and are steadily losing market share and heading into insignificance, so their insanity is that of cornered rats ferociously fighting in a “do or die” mode.

            3. uncle tungsten

              I really am motivated to call BS on the whole “Russia spied on my campaign picnic” thing. I get a sense that there is a mob war breaking out in the USA. I gather that the hands off prosecutions that applied to Wall Street also applied to the mobsters that bask in those hallowed corridors.

              Instead of the “deep state” would it help read that as meaning the “corruption state”. I am interested in some names associated with Trump and Republicans and the Democrats. Names like Semion Mogilevich, Felix Sater, Steve Wynn, Sheldon Adelson, Michael Miliken for starters.

              Some detail can be found here
              but there is much more around like here: :
              Is this how rotten capitalism has become?

          3. Code Name D

            The news story has broke in the media in a big way when the MSM runs with the “presented no evidence” mem. I bit early in the cycle to know for sure what all happen, and apprintly Trump hasn’t presented any evidence (not that you could through twiter any way.) And certainly I haven’t seen any,

            But there are two observations I can make. Given the nature of the Obama-surveillance state, it suddenly becomes extremely hard for Obama to Justify that he didn’t surveillance the Trump Towers. Especially given the amount of already existence surveillance already leaked in an attempt to smear Trump with Russian contacts.

            But the second one is even more important. With a single tweet, Trump has put the Dems on the defensive. This could knock the Russia mantra off the news cycle as the Dem leadership try to wall themselves off from the accusations. It will certainly prevent any new accusations from surfacing.

      2. timbers

        fresno dan
        March 5, 2017 at 8:40 am
        March 5, 2017 at 7:54 am

        Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

        Adding to the confusion, the NYT quote you use, if true, would seem to be an illegal leak of classified or not classified information (or something like that).

        An illegal leak (or not) of a secret warrant of a secret tapping authorized by a secret court under secret law. All being reported by Fake News. Is it fake or is it real?

        To borrow a movie quote “All hell done broke loose now.”

        It’s getting hard to keep track of what’s secret or not, what’s legal or not, what’s true (accurate) or not, and what’s fake or not.

        Plus, it’s all a distraction from taking about healthcare for all, student debt relief, affordable education, good jobs and pay for all – stuff most voters care about.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “It’s getting hard to keep track of…”

          Sounds like…chaos???

          Is chaos the goal?

        2. fresno dan

          March 5, 2017 at 11:00 am

          “Plus, it’s all a distraction from taking about healthcare for all, student debt relief, affordable education, good jobs and pay for all – stuff most voters care about.”

          I have often said that modern red/blue strum und drang is just political professional wrestling to hide the fact that there is actually ONLY ONE party, the party of plutocrats.

          I expect to read any day in Zero Hedge that Trump, Clintons, Pelosi, and Schummer meet in the WH basement for orgies and steak with ketchup….and believe it!

      3. Atypical

        fresno dan
        March 5 10:27 am

        Radio host Mark Levin, who sent President Donald Trump into a rage on Twitter after floating a conspiracy theory about wiretaps ordered by President Barack Obama, admitted on Sunday that he had no concrete proof that the former president was involved.

        On his radio show and in a column for Breitbart, Levin called for an investigation into Obama’s so-called “silent coup” against the new president. Without presenting any proof, Levin alleged that Obama personally ordered wiretaps of Trump associates.

        “The evidence is overwhelming,” Levin told Fox News host Pete Hegseth on Sunday. “This is about the Obama administration’s spying.”

        Levin repeated the list of “sources” offered in his Breitbart column as proof that Obama allegedly ordered the wiretapping of Trump’s team. A careful reading of those reports, however, do not back up Levin’s conspiracy theory.

        “Donald Trump is being attacked for [the accusations] he tweeted,” Levin said. “Donald Trump is the victim, his campaign is the victim, his transition team is the victim, his surrogates are the victim. These are police state tactics.”

        When pressed for details on President Obama’s personal involvement, Levin replied, “I’m not Nostradamus here.”

        The conspiracy theorist argued that any investigation against Trump would be unfair because Obama and Democrats had “squirreled their appointees into the bureaucracy.”

        “We know now why they call you ‘The Great One,’” Hegseth concluded as the interview ended.


        Levin has no credibility.

    2. cnchal

      > I would counter that by saying Politico is ignorant of politics

      The Politico author is ignorant of NPD.

      Any child where the head of household is a narcissist knows exactly what’s going on.

    3. Kate Sims

      I think it is the Russian diplomats whose phones are tapped. And I assume that the Russian diplomats are aware of it.

      1. Pat

        So Russian diplomats were talking with Trump/his people in order to facilitate his election to avoid the candidate who clearly wanted war with their nation on phones they know are tapped by a security state that has indicated clear willingness to go along with plans to destabilize their nation. Yeah, right that makes so much more sense. NOT.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Wouldn’t it be easier to, for example, to communicate through the Trump Tower doorman?

          (Not say he is a Russian agent at all…only given an example).

          1. John Parks

            This goes right along with the FBI investigation of Caterpillar……..Trump “Likes” MaCat and MaCat had some parts manufacturing plants in Russia so they are all in this together. So THAT is why Caterpillar is being investigated for accounting mis-practices.
            (All WILD supposition but makes more sense than most of the MSM logic.)

            Be careful of those coat-tail attachments.

            1. EndOfTheWorld

              If Trump wanted to go on the offensive (and he should) he should go ahead full steam with prosecuting HRC for the email infractions. AND Obama, since he knew about it and sent emails to her on the unprotected server.

              Instead Trump wants to investigate this wire-tapping, and the investigation will show that some fed agency was checking out the Russkies. Legal, if not completely ethical, tapping of the candidate’s huge home. Obama almost certainly has plausible deniability.

              Trump should also admit the fact that he wanted to be friends with the Russians, if that’s what the intent was. That is actually a popular position with the American people, IMHO. Nobody is buying this MSM fear-mongering re the Russians.

              Trump has bad advisers, IMHO, some of whom would like to screw him up.

    1. fresno dan

      March 5, 2017 at 8:33 am

      In the morning of November 9, 2016, America’s elite—its talking and deciding classes—woke up to a country they did not know. To most privileged and well-educated Americans, especially those living in its bicoastal bastions, the election of Donald Trump had been a thing almost impossible even to imagine. What sort of country would go and elect someone like Trump as president? Certainly not one they were familiar with, or understood anything about.
      Whatever else it may or may not have accomplished, the 2016 election was a sort of shock therapy for Americans living within what Charles Murray famously termed “the bubble” (the protective barrier of prosperity and self-selected associations that increasingly shield our best and brightest from contact with the rest of their society). The very fact of Trump’s election served as a truth broadcast about a reality that could no longer be denied: Things out there in America are a whole lot different from what you thought.

      Read it when it came out – and probably liked it as much as I did because it confirmed my biases….(which does not preclude it from still being true)

      “Things out there in America are a whole lot different from what you thought.”
      I would change that to: Things out there in America are a whole lot different from what you are being incessantly propagandized to believe.

      The lived lives of Americans are far different than the official party line (oh yeah, which party doesn’t matter).

  4. allan

    Trump orders counterterrorism expansion in Yemen [Spokane Spokesman]

    More than two years after a multisided civil war erupted in Yemen that allowed al-Qaida’s local franchise to amass power and seize territory, President Donald Trump has told the Pentagon to conduct a complicated counterterrorism campaign.

    Trump’s decision, just six weeks into his presidency, intends to reverse the largely unchecked expansion across southern Yemen of the group, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

    The willingness to expand counterterrorism operations inside war-torn Yemen is another signal that Trump is more willing to defer to military commanders on national security policy than was President Barack Obama, who was criticized publicly by three of his four Defense secretaries and privately by uniformed officers for micromanaging the military. …

    In Yemen, where it is not uncommon to see billboards that read “USA kills Yemenis,” some see U.S. intervention as likely only to make the situation worse. …

    For all those who hoped that there was going to be a fundamental change in US adventurism overseas.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “Trump is more willing to defer to military commanders”

      Same theme as today’s NYT article reporting a build-up of US troops near Manbij in northern Syria, complete with “photographs of American troops in Stryker vehicles and armored Humvees flying American flags circulating on Saturday on social media.”

      Iraq and Afghanistan remain unstable, but now we’re going to bring the same winning [/sarc] formula to Syria and Yemen? Brilliant.

      The only upside here is that the victory-free US military’s improbably high reputation with the public will get reduced to the same single-digit approval level as Congress, the other fsck-ups who are supposed to exert oversight, but instead have handed the military and the president a blank check for a 21st century Vietnam debacle. Lose? Yes we can!

        1. Carolinian

          Just to repeat what I said above–the Dem Wurlitzer calls Trump an appeaser (of Russia) while also accusing him of being a wild eyed war monger when under great establishment pressure he moves in their direction on Syria and Yemen (by among other things approving a raid planned under Obama). The two issues are not unrelated since direct US intervention in Syria will mean conflict with Russia.

          And sorry but the War Party’s dream president was Hillary. She had plenty of opportunity to step back from her hawkishness but never did because for her meddling in other countries is a sign of leadership and “hard choices.” Since the only alternative to Hillary was Trump the ceaseless complaining is yet another sign of intellectual inconsistency. We should of course oppose any Trump moves to start new wars but also recognize that the entire US establishment including the current so-called liberals are complicit.

          1. Karl Kolchak

            Hillary was indeed the war party’s favorite candidate because like Obama she could have gotten away with just about anything overseas and the liberals back home would have completely ignored it.

          2. Andrew Watts

            The US regime change operation in Syria is over from what I can tell. The legislation that passed recently in Congress banned the distribution of manpads to the rebel-jihadists in Idlib. Meanwhile the US-led coalition was launching quite a few air strikes in support of the SAA/Russian attack in Palmyra. It’s possible it was only a one time thing.

            I sincerely doubt it though. The Pentagon is probably figuring out that cooperation with the Russians in containing Turkey and their diplomatic cooperation in curtailing a Kurdish Civil War from breaking out in Iraq would be quite welcome.

          3. fresno dan

            March 5, 2017 at 10:21 am

            One has to be a politically correct war monger, saying things in Washington speak. One couldn’t meet the blob/establishment/deep state speak more exactly than Hillary.

            Donald IMHO just doesn’t have the intellect or gumption to simply state CALMLY that he seeks a rational relationship with Russia, and defend his change in policy by saying that this upsets any number of vested interests. And The Donald’s professed instinct of retreat from the world (that would include the mideast Donald) means that we ACTUALLY retreat – not double down and EVER up the number of countries we are fighting with over there. So The Donald is a hypocrite and we get the worse of both worlds. Make no mistake, with Hillary we would get a well rationalized policy for intervention, and probably more intervention because she could sell it better (i.e., the more effective evil).
            The BEST we can hope for is that Trump’s inconsistency and haplessness at implementing ANYTHING means we get less war than we would otherwise.
            Just call me sliver lining fresnodan…..

      1. Andrew Watts

        Iraq and Afghanistan remain unstable, but now we’re going to bring the same winning [/sarc] formula to Syria and Yemen? Brilliant.

        The American presence to the north of Manbij is meant to deter a war. Turkey is itching to fight the Syrian Democratic Forces and Syrian Kurds. Nobody seems to notice that the Turks decided to do this while the Kurdish YPG and rest of SDF is closing in on Raqqa. The SDF has already ceded a few empty villages in West Manbij to Damascus and with American troops to the north Turkey will have fewer options and less of a reason to pick a fight with SDF.

        1. uncle tungsten

          Right on Andrew Watts, plus the Syrian Arab Army has just shafted all of Erdoghan’s dream of rushing across to al-Raqqa after Al Bab. He is totally blockaded now that the Kurds have ceded territory west of Manbij to the Syrian Arab Army as well.

          Erdoghan is now checked and likely on the apoplectic side of his inner tyrant. He has no corridor left to enable a strategic retreat of his ISIS pawns, except through the FSA/ Turkish Army occupied territory in northern Syria but there is great difficulty for ISIS pawns to get there now. Secondly if he is to go East after Raqqa he risks engaging more than the Kurds and Syrian Arab Army, he risks falling foul of Russia primarily and USA as well.

          I am not sure that the pent-antagonists have a strategy for this. Perhaps Israel might help in the south west again?

      2. Plenue

        The troops were already in northern Syria, assisting the Kurds. The photos from Manbij seem to be a warning to Turkey; a reminder that the Kurds are a US asset, and Erdogan should not attempt to take Manbij. The Kurds recently handed over a bunch of territory to the west of the city to the Syrian Army, so if Erdogan wants the city he will first have to go through Syrian troops, who will not only thoroughly kick his conscript army’s ass, but make it blatantly obvious for all the world to see that his moves have nothing to do with fighting terrorists or assisting Syria, and everything to do with building a new Ottoman Empire.

    2. Brian

      Saud worries that Al Qaida is now fighting against them in Yemen so their friends have to come and help them. Does the mind boggle?

      we are not human, we are devo

    3. LT

      Just more proof that the duopoly owns imperialism and all its vileness, not one party or the other.
      With each passing decade the evidence just stacks up with more audio and visual proof, and the crisis of legitimacy moves closer to the tipping point.

  5. rijkswaanvijand

    Besides in name, there’s no such thing as a Dutch green left party. Here, the only party actually on the left is the socialist party.

    1. Plenue

      “Corless then contacted the local registry of births and deaths and asked them to provide her with copies of the death cerificates of any children whose place of death was listed as the Tuam mother and baby home.

      “The registar called me back a few weeks later and said, Do you really want them all? There are almost 800.’

      She did. She discovered that of the 798 children who had died at the home in its years of operation, just two of them had graves on consecrated ground in the local graveyard.

      Those two, Corless says, were granted a legal, dignified, Christian burial because they had come into the home as orphans rather than illegitimate children.”

      It’s amazing how the religion went from Jesus blessing the little children to something as inhuman as this. Also related are the Magdalene Asylums, the church prisons ‘indecent’ women were sent to as punishment.

  6. Grumpy Engineer

    Agreed. Paying off the mortgage early is probably the best risk-free investment you can make. The effective return rate is excellent, and there is something truly satisfying about being debt-free. I paid off my own mortgage a couple of years ago. I had to dig pretty deep to do it, but my savings have been climbing much faster now that I no longer have a mortgage payment. EASILY one of the best investments I ever made.

    And stocks… Oy, what a total crap shoot. Right now it’s driven by “animal spirits” psychology and lots of borrowed money. [Which is why you’ll hear me griping a lot about ultra-low interest rates imposed by the Fed. When you can borrow money, buy some asset, wait for it to appreciate, sell it for a profit, and pay off the loan (with interest) and still come out ahead, it encourages all sorts of stupid behavior. It’s called “gambling with borrowed money”, and the Fed has encouraged it.] If the doom-and-gloom ZeroHedge guys are right and coming interest rate hikes are going to precipitate a stock market collapse, you could lose 25% easily as stock revert to historical P/E ratios.

    I’d pay off the debt. If you wanna play the slots on Wall Street, don’t do it with borrowed money. Such tactics often drive investors to take the occasional swan dive off of a skyscraper.

  7. Yves Smith

    DO NOT ANSWER HER. I am ripping out this thread. I know those of you who responded meant to help and I don’t like removing comments. However, we don’t give investment advice here. Ever.

    Lina, if you ever do ANYTHING like this again I will ban you. It’s bad enough that you did this and worse you sought to monopolize the conversation by making your request at the top of the comments on a post. This is thread-jacking, a violation of our written site Policies. This is not on.

    I know someone who is a senior, highly seasoned mortgage professional and attorney who made 2 payments in one month because he was making a payment that was falling during his vacation early. His bank still treated him as missing the payment due during his vacation.

    This was maybe 15 years ago. He was able to straighten it out then but says if this had happened more recently, he was certain he’d be on a path to foreclosure and doubted he would have been able to prevent it.

    Have any of you clowns giving advice so casually factored THAT risk in? No.

    So shut up. Anyone who responds to her after this time goes into moderation.

  8. Jim Haygood

    Doubtless in their next step of evolution, bowerbirds will advance to having art museums.

    Who is the bowerbird Van Gogh?

    1. frosty zoom

      actually, the bowerbird is just trying get some ladyaction. it’s the bird equivalent of a bmw and a rolex.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I understand guys can get lots of ladyaction by being Van Gogh wannabees or Van Gogh lookalikes.

        Not need for a BMW or a Rolex. Depending on the season and image to be invoked, a ponytail, a guitar, a beret, a few creative tattoos can be just as, or often, more effective.

      2. fresno dan

        frosty zoom
        March 5, 2017 at 10:53 am

        How many ladybirds does he need?
        REPLY: You can never have to many ladybirds….
        Still, Looks like a serious hoarding problem….

      3. uncle tungsten

        I sighted a baby bikini top in a bower once and just sat and laughed. There was a mighty odd pile of stuff in there and it was maybe an early surrealist bower bird.

  9. Edward E

    What’s going on with Arkansas teachers? Is there something in the history book about how Mena and the Contra cocaine trade built much of the state? That Jackson and Witt were Sam’s quail hunting buddies. That Bubba Clinton was raised by Mafia families in Hot Springs? That Tyson Foods made Hillary a legendary commodity trader so they get a break on environmental responsibilities. That JB Hunt…

  10. John Wright

    Re: Democratic Leaders are a Craven Bunch of Idiots Bent on Self-Destruction

    I don’t believe the title is fair to the Democratic leadership.

    They are neither self destructive nor idiots.

    They only know how to play the game one way (peddle influence to the elite), and as long as the influence cow gives milk, the Democratic leadership will do personally well, while, perhaps,destroying the Democratic party in the process.

    The Democratic leadership is more like the Dilbert cartoon Catbert character, who counsels “Don’t let me stop you in your search for someone who cares.”

    1. John k

      I would add that they see progressives taking over the dems as existential threat.
      Trump election not so bad, gravy train intact, corps continue donations because a) dems beat back Bernie, thereby protecting corps, and b) maybe dems in power again someday. Hedgies gotta hedge.

  11. flora

    2017 is already great.

    “The clock is ticking for a controversial surveillance provision, which is is set to expire at midnight at the end of the year.

    “But the Trump administration has signaled that it will support its clean reauthorization. Passing a clean version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, is “necessary to protect the security of the nation,” according to a White House official speaking to Reuters.

    “Already, bipartisan lawmakers in Congress are gearing up for a fight — ready to oppose the law’s reauthorization of the provision without some level of significant reform.”

    1. fresno dan

      March 5, 2017 at 9:58 am

      “necessary to protect the security of the nation,”
      ‘now that we’re in power, were sure as h*ll not going to give up a wonderful tool for screwing our political enemies….’

  12. tgs

    Anderson, Why the system will still win

    Excellent, albeit, depressing overview. He also gives reasons for us to avoid lumping ‘right’ parties in France, the Netherlands, Finland etc., together. In many cases, all they have in common is stemming the tide of immigration. Wilders is a neoliberal, islamophobe. Le Pen seeks to strengthen the welfare state and get out from under Atlanticist domination. When you read through the FN platform, there is very little that can be accurately described as ‘far right’.

    1. Anonymous2

      I agree it is good. The point I would add with regard to Brexit is that no one should ignore the role of the English newspapers. Ever since Johnson went to Brussels in the 1980s and started inventing stories to send back, the English papers have, with some exceptions, propagandised quite ruthlessly against the EU. It is clear in retrospect that they had their own political agenda. The EU has its faults, of course, but it is nothing like as bad as represented in the Mail or Telegraph. If the English papers had been objective in their reporting these last 25 years the referendum result would have been quite different. I think only those who have been involved in European issues and reading the English press over this period will fully realise just how mendacious the press have been.

      1. fosforos

        And if Labour had had the minimal intelligence needed to boycott the Tory “advisoryreferendum,” or if even now Corbyn had found the guts to fight the Tories instead of bowing the knee to them…even now the Brexit nonsense could be stopped.

        1. witters

          Yay for the EU! Because Greece! (I reckon you could look – or look again – at Perry Anderson’s essay. Note the “torture Greece” line…)

        2. Anon

          Brexit or not, the EU is a flawed arrangement. It has begat limited democracy and the “torture of Greece”. (Soon to be others?)

          As Perry Anderson imagines, it will take even more pain before the systemic othodox is changed.

  13. mle detroit

    What’s with the “Over to you, Teen Vogue” snark? How about “Over to you, future voters of America”?
    I read the interview, it’s good. I learned
    1) about the bad effects of right-to-work laws on the parents of Glamour readers and on them, if they avoid the potential debt peonage resulting from college. (Yeah, but white folks in flyover country = “unimportant.” And why is this black woman speaking to them?)
    2) that Nina Turner is considered Bernie’s equal in “Our Revolution.”
    3) that there’s a movement to draft her to run for governor of Ohio. Imagine: a candidate with charisma.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      That was a good article. I’m guessing the snark was not directed at the article itself, but at the fact that actual journalism regarding a real leftist politician and her efforts to unionize is being carried by a fashion magazine rather than on actual news outlets which are too busy crying Russia Russia Russia to cover anything actually important.

      I mean, Turner wasn’t wearing a pink pussy hat so how serious can she really be…? /s

      1. EGrise

        Exactly – actual journalism coming out of unexpected places. That was the aim of the Teen Vogue comment, not the substance of the article.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s not ‘white folks in flyover country = unimportant,’ they are in fact important, as they are the main opponents…the others with repressing beliefs, often belong to the wrong political party, low on information, bigoted, etc.

  14. c

    Labor pick talked tough on underage sex crimes but gave billionaire ‘sweetheart’ deal MARCH 3, 2017 11:54 AM

    President Donald Trump announced Alexander Acosta as his new pick for secretary of labor during a news conference on Thursday at the White House. …

    A decade ago, a Miami Beach father who traveled to Cambodia to pay for sex with three underage girls was found guilty in federal court and convicted of sex tourism involving children.

    Kent Frank, 50, was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Miami’s U.S. attorney at the time, Alex Acosta, declared in a news release that society “cannot permit such individuals to seek sanctuary in our community.”

    “We will prosecute sexual abuse of children aggressively, both when the targets are children in our community and when the defendants travel to target children abroad,” he vowed.

    But Acosta, now President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of labor, made a very different call in another, far more sordid case just months later.

    Using his private staff to coordinate the illicit sexual activity, Epstein had paid dozens of girls cash to engage in nude massages, masturbation, oral sex and intercourse in his palatial mansions in Palm Beach, New York City and the U.S. Virgin Islands between 1999 and 2005.

    Epstein, then 55 and defended by an all-star legal team, pleaded guilty to a state charge of soliciting minors for prostitution. He registered as a sex offender in Florida and agreed to pay damages to 40 female victims ranging in age from 13 to 17 years old. As part of the plea agreement negotiated by Acosta’s office, Epstein wouldn’t be charged in federal court — even though the feds had drawn up a proposed 53-page indictment that carried potential punishment ranging from a mandatory 10 years in prison up to a life sentence.

    Epstein ended up serving just over a year in a Palm Beach County Stockade — while local authorities allowed him during his incarceration to go to work or do whatever he wanted for six days out of every week.

    The deal also immunized several of his co-conspirators from federal prosecution, a rare bonus.

    Palm Beach police turned over their investigation to the state attorney’s office, then headed by Barry Krischer, asking that Epstein be charged with paying minor girls to have sex with him. Epstein’s lawyers pushed back, countering that the billionaire did not know the girls were under 18.

    Palm Beach investigators, frustrated with the outcome, turned to the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in 2006 in what would turn into a fiercely fought — and sometimes nasty — showdown with Epstein’s powerful defense team. It included Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, Miami criminal defense attorney Roy Black and Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel in the Clinton-Monica Lewinsky investigation.

    Epstein and his defense team soon signed the federal non-prosecution agreement, which deferred to the state attorney’s office to file the charge of soliciting minors for prostitution. But months passed before he finally pleaded guilty in June 2008. The agreement also allowed 40 of his female victims to pursue damage claims in federal court, which were resolved confidentially.

    But days after Epstein’s guilty plea, a handful of his victims sued the U.S. government to force South Florida federal prosecutors to break their agreement not to charge Epstein and others who worked for him with running an alleged sex ring that exploited underage girls.

    “Because of his deviant appetite for young girls, combined with his extraordinary wealth and power, he may just be the most dangerous sexual predator in U.S. history,” Edwards told U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra in 2008.

    “The plea bargain that was worked out for Mr. Epstein in light of the offenses that he committed is clearly unfair to the point that if anybody looks at the information, it is unconscionable.”

    1. bronco

      meh , I don’t know if Acosta all by himself did that. When it comes to these sorts of favors pressure gets applied and the thing gets done. Usually some local boob doesn’t come up with it on his own. Thats the type of thing that could be career suicide it wouldn’t be voluntary. The way it would go down would be an unknown person higher up the food chain pressured him into making the deal. If it goes less than well he gets to take the heat for it. Sometimes its a kill two birds with one stone type deal.

    2. fresno dan

      March 5, 2017 at 10:49 am

      Thanks for that….just goes to say, we have the best legal system money can buy – indeed a cynic (what? MOI????) might say its designed to hide the slaps on the wrists of the rich by over punishing the poor – – but that would just be cynical…

      1. c

        to get an even wider picture throw the following in a search engine:

        jeffrey epstein lolita express bill clinton

  15. allan

    Bahrain Parliament Approves Military Trials for Civilians [Bloomberg]

    Bahrain’s parliament on Sunday approved a constitutional change allowing military courts to try civilians, the kingdom’s latest rollback on reforms made after its 2011 Arab Spring protests that likely will stoke an ongoing government crackdown on dissent.

    Activists warn the amendment will allow an undeclared state of martial law on the island near Saudi Arabia that’s home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. …

    “In a year where the new Trump administration is dismissing human rights from its foreign policy to Bahrain and the Gulf and preparing to sell arms without conditions, this is a dangerous sign of things to come,” Husain Abdulla, the executive director of the group Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, said in a statement.

    File under Our Friends and Allies in the Region.

  16. flora

    re: An Enclish Sheep Farmer’s View of Rural America.

    Great read. Thanks for the link. 2 comments:

    “I saw shabby wood-frame houses rotting by the roadside, and picket fences blown over by the wind. I passed boarded-up shops in the hearts of small towns, and tumbledown barns and abandoned farmland. The church notice boards were full of offers of help to people with drug or alcohol addictions. And yes, suddenly I was passing cars with Trump stickers on their bumpers, and passing houses with Trump flags on their lawns.” – James Rebanks

    An English farmer sees the outward effects of what’s happening and understands how the people and communities are affected. Pre-election the NYT and the DNC see the outward effects and….sneer at the people and communities affected.

    “Our demand for cheap food is killing the American dream for millions of people. Among its side effects, it is creating terrible health problems like obesity and antibiotic-resistant infections, and it is destroying the habitats upon which wildlife depends. It also concentrates vast wealth and power in fewer and fewer hands.” – James Rebanks

    My response to the narrow minded ‘economic efficiency’ demand for cheap food is best summed up by Edmund Burke:

    ““Economy is a distributive virtue, and consists not in saving but selection. Parsimony requires no providence, no sagacity, no powers of combination, no comparison, no judgment.” – Edmund Burke

    What is the US selecting for when the country destroys small farmers, small communities, flyover country in general, in the name of ‘economic efficiency’ ?

    1. Lynne

      A few years ago, there was a devastating storm in South Dakota. The US media by and large ran one story (if that) on it, and were inundated with comments sneering at the backwards hicks and cheering that something bad had happened to them. The BBC, in contrast, sent a news crew and ran a number of stories on it, and included one segment by a BBC reporter marveling that there was absolutely no expectation that the government would provide any assistance to the people wiped out.

      The only surprise about this new piece is that The NY Times would run it.

  17. lyman alpha blob

    RE: FBI undercover stings foil terrorist plots – but how many are agency-created?

    Another question to ask would be how many of these stings cooked up by the FBI get away from them and get people killed?

    From the article:

    At a December meeting, one of the FBI employees threatened Hester with a knife, saying he “knew where Hester and his family lived” to make the point that Hester was not to plan any attacks of his own.

    Remember reading a similar story a year or two ago about spooks who tried to incite some rather slow-witted potential jihadis. The spooks kept pushing pressure cooker bombs to them as the way to go, but these guys wanted to use some other type of device instead which wouldn’t actually have been able to explode, therefore it wasn’t actually a weapon and couldn’t have been used to convict them.

    A little light bulb went off when I read that since the Boston marathon bombers did use pressure cookers. After the attack, the FBI went down south to question one of the bombers’ associates during the subsequent investigation and the guy they questioned wound up shot to death in extremely mysterious circumstances.

    Since then I’ve wondered if the Boston incident was a sting that got out of hand. Even if it weren’t, it does seem like the odds are that if the Feds keep using this tactic, it will backfire on them eventually.

    If the spooks supposedly have such incredible surveillance tools, then why the need to set people up in the first place? This whole practice is incredibly stupid and shortsighted.

  18. Carey

    I am thinking that Le Pen will win in France, just as Trump won in the US, not so much
    because of voters (if at all), but because a significant faction of the Ruling Class wants
    this result. We will see.

    1. Sputnik Sweetheart

      If the French media is manipulating their coverage heavily in favour of Macron (polls, news stories, etc.) and he is backed by several banks and think-tanks (particularly pro-American, anti-Russian ones), who would like to promote the continual deterioration of the welfare state and the consolidation of the EU, how do you justify the assertion that the ruling class wants LePen to win? She is not a billionaire and has been in politics for an extremely long time with fairly constant populist positions (anti-immigration, anti-EU).

  19. flora

    re: Trump Transition

    “Oh, and the Rooski ploy has the same wedging effect (though it’s also about creating epistemic closure in the Democrat base until the Clintonites die off). ” – Lambert

    Speaking of Clinton (Hillary) and the Rooski ploy; she’s been running ‘against’ the Rooskies, aka anyone and anything with which see disagrees, since at least 2014.

    Bet you didn’t know DAPL protestors and anti-fracking groups are a bunch of Rooskie dupes. (You can’t make this stuff up.)

    1. cocomaan

      Now we know how the DAPL protest would have gone under her reign.

      The future is not bright.

    2. fresno dan

      March 5, 2017 at 11:52 am

      So I tried the link, and the link has a link to the Wikileaks Podesta stuff, and I did a word search for “frack” and for “russia” – I didn’t find anything about fracking – there was “russia” but not related to fracking. Maybe the link in the tweet linked to the wrong memos?

      1. flora

        Thanks, fresno dan. You’ve just reminded me to check sources more carefully. I find reference to this tweet in both Truthdig and Oilprice articles, but the tweet’s linked email file does not contain the text supposedly spoken. So, on closer checking I can’t find any proof Hillary actually said this. Thanks again.

      2. footnote4

        @fd – From the body of the Podesta email at the link

        Attached are the flags from HRC’s paid speeches we have from HWA. I put some highlights below. There is a lot of policy positions that we should give an extra scrub with Policy.

        The useful idiots claim didn’t make the highlights, but the Attachments tab has the full doc.

        1. flora

          whoa! yes, it’s there in the attached Word doc summation of her speeches. And so much more. Thanks for pointing to the Attachments tab, footnote4.

          1. footnote4

            @flora, thank you for bringing this record into the discussion. It’s directly on point.

        2. fresno dan

          March 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm
          March 5, 2017 at 2:13 pm

          Yup, its in there. Which just goes to show when dealing with Clinton venality, you gotta triple check ;)

  20. Altandmain

    Apparently the Democrats are at their lowest point in favor-ability in a while:

    Note the huge drop since October 2016.

    There’s also this:

    Democrats don’t have a “demography is destiny” narrative.

    Hopefully a third party will be able to step up to the plate.

    Meanwhile, the corporate Democrats are funny:

    Falling apart at the seams it would seem, pardon the pun.

    1. oho

      Commenters here keep on hammering the point to no avail—-being anti-Trump (aka the ‘Resistance’) is not the same as being pro-XYZ.

      Hurling names at Trump won’t draw midterm voters to the polls. Policy platforms do.

      1. marym

        Establishment Dems and their “resistance” don’t focus on policy, because they don’t care if their eagerly anticipated Trump impeachment, resignation, or 25th amendment-worthy ”implosion” leads to a Pence presidency (or Ryan if Pence is implicated in some campaign-Russiagate).

        That would give them the satisfaction of banishing Trump from the cool kids table. Then life goes back to normal – neolibconism, lesser evil claims, and full rice bowls. Oh, and maybe tearing the country apart and destroying domestic and foreign lives even more.

  21. Andrew Watts

    RE: Homeland Security Sees Anger At Trump as a Driver of “Domestic Terrorist Violence”

    Say, what? Either Homeland Security has a problem with basic facts or they’re even more incompetent than I believe them to be. The police in Portland, OR, who are quite understaffed I might add, designated the protest and civil unrest as a riot to enable them to legally remove protesters from the streets. I don’t recall hearing anything about flash bangs being used.

    The only “terrorist” threat came from a protester being shot which was unrelated to any counter-protest. Plus that provocateur who brought a (hopefully, fake!) bomb to the protest. He got a little roughed up but that’s just too bad. /sarc


  22. marym

    Dorothy Rice, Pioneering Economist Who Made Case for Medicare, Dies at 94

    Dorothy Rice, a pioneering government economist and statistician whose research about the need of the aged for health insurance helped make the case for the passage of Medicare in 1965, died on Feb. 25 in Oakland, Calif. She was 94.
    Through her work “people really came to understand the needs of the Medicare population,” said Karen Davis, a professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, “and really contributed to the popularity of the program.”

    Nearly a half-century later, Mrs. Rice watched as the Affordable Care Act was rolled out and expressed her hope that it would start as smoothly as Medicare did.

    “We were told in the Social Security Administration,” she said in 2013, “that we should come to work on that weekend when Medicare went into effect because we were going to have the doors knocked down by all these elderly sick people. And you know what happened? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

    Great photo and life story too. RIP and thank you for your service.

  23. Oregoncharles

    From “Why the System Will Win:” ” just as the ultraliberal economist Friedrich Hayek had prophesied.”

    Puzzling? In Europe, “liberal” retains its original meaning, which is essentially what “conservative” means here: laissez-faire economics. Hence, “neo-liberal” is a reversion to the original meaning, and redundant in Europe.

    At that point, the article has already sketched a deep irony: New Deal policies were rejected at the height of their success. How did that happen? I was here, I remember that period, and I couldn’t tell you. Glitches did accumulate, as with any ideology in practice, so “crisis capitalism” was a factor.

    No, come think of it, I do know what happened: the Vietnam War. New Deal liberalism was killed by its own imperialism.

    1. Oregoncharles

      By “crisis capitalism,” I meant the Shock Doctrine. Couldn’t remember the phrase.

    2. Grebo

      Neoliberalism is not classical Liberalism. George Monbiot has recently done three (I think) articles about it at The Guardian which are worth reading.
      Yesterday I stumbled upon this article attempting to rebut one of them. It claims that Neoliberalism doesn’t exist, Neoliberalism is classical and/or libertarian Liberalism, and Neoliberalism is not classical/libertarian Liberalism (if I read it right). Neoliberalism is actually social democracy as advocated by Rustow. Hayek was a classical Liberal and did not subscribe to Neoliberalism. George Monbiot is a Neoliberal. etc. etc.
      The author does not say whether he is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society.

  24. Carey

    Sputnik Sweetheart at 12:26 pm: As has been pointed out here and other places, the ruling
    class is not monolithic; that’s why I said “a significant faction” in my previous post.

    1. Sputnik Sweetheart

      Sorry, that was my mistake, I only realised I said “the ruling class” after having sent in the post without time to edit. However, I am still curious as to what factions of the ruling class you think would support a LePen victory. Do you think that she would betray her economic program after being elected?

      1. Massinissa

        Doesn’t everybody these days? The only thing she will be unable to back down on is the immigration stuff. The Powers That Be in France will make their peace with the anti-immigration stuff if Le Pen plays ball on most everything else.

  25. fresno dan

    James Clapper, who left his post when Mr Trump took office on 20 January, told NBC’s Meet the Press: “There was no such wire-tap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time, as a candidate, or against his campaign.”
    Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper wasn’t lying when he wrongly told Congress in 2013 that the government does not “wittingly” collect information about millions of Americans, according to his top lawyer.
    He just forgot.
    I hope the commentariat at NC appreciates the danger I put myself in….one can die of too much irony…

    WHOOPS!!! That is iron they’re talking about…not irony. So that was…misremembering….or misquoting…. or misunderstanding OK, OK… it was a lie.

    But absence of evidence in not evidence of absence ….I still bet reading too much Clapper could kill you….

    1. Andrew Watts

      What if, and I believe me I’m just saying IF, there was surveillance without a FISA warrant? ‘Cause I believe the CIA would be stupid enough to do something like that.

      Team America, —- yeah!

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are we shocked to experience chaos?

      What do we have –

      1. was there enough evidence to authorize surveillance (former Bush AG said yes; from the Hill: Mukasey said if there were a wiretap on Trump Tower, it would mean that there was suspicion someone had been acting as Russian agent.)

      2. No evidence, therefore no surveillance – Clapper.

      What is the narrative to go with –

      A No surveillance, because Obama is a good guy. He’d never do that.

      B Yes surveillance, because Trump is a bad guy, with enough evidence

      ??? Which one to educate the public? Both are so deliciously tempting.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Clapper is a liar. He has lied to Congress on national TV. He’s a PROFESSIONAL liar. It’s what career “intelligence” people do for a living. He should be ignored completely by everybody on the Planet Earth.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “Either way, the president is ‘in trouble.'” – Schumer (The Hill).

          I’m inclined to heed this guy who, a while back, said about six ways from Sunday of the IC getting back at you.

          Another prescient/ominous prediction/warning?

        2. Carla

          All politicians lie. All governments lie. All the time.

          This has always been true. And we have to learn it over and over again, every four years. It’s the quadrennial Groundhog Day.

          It’s their job to lie. And our job to do something about it.

          I think they’re doing their job a lot better than the ‘merikan people are doing ours.

          But Naked Capitalism is a light in the wilderness.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And corporate advertising is always leaning towards ‘We are the good guys. We are saving the world. We are hiring refugees. We are making the world greener. We are feeding the starving in the Third World.”

      They, in other words, bias towards to left (if only faking it).

      “Buy an electric car. You’ll feel better.”

  26. fresno dan

    President Donald Trump’s evidence-free accusation that former President Barack Obama tapped his phones has cast a dramatic spotlight on the country’s most clandestine surveillance programs. [[ I have a feeling, just like “fake news” the “evidence free” meme is something the MSM is gonna regret ]]

    Officials must meet a high bar to tap the phone of an American citizen on American soil, especially if that person is a political candidate.
    However, there are still MANY ways in which information from Trump Tower phone calls could end up in the hands of intelligence agents or law enforcement officials — even without any knowledge on Obama’s part. [[ How is “many ways” and HIGH BAR consistent??? ]]

    While it’s unknown whether any of these scenarios occurred, it’s “very likely that the people [[ BUT NOT OBAMA! ]] in the Obama administration had access to the communication of senior Trump officials in the run-up to the election, because they have VERY, VERY BROAD authority,” [[broad authority….high bar…me beating dead horses]] said Cindy Cohn, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has advocated for revising surveillance laws.
    Through routine data collection programs authorized under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the government gathers information from the internet backbone, which carries web browsing histories and a rapidly increasing amount of telephone traffic.

    The government discards information that is plainly domestic and searches through the rest using only specific selectors — a phone number or email address, for instance. But Americans’ information that is incidentally collected and determined to contain SOME foreign intelligence value is fair game for review.

    Cohn said such data on Americans COULD INCLUDE communications that are to, from or ABOUT foreign targets the FISA court has already approved for surveillance. For example, if two Trump campaign officials were talking via email ABOUT a Moscow official under surveillance, that conversation might get flagged as relevant***.
    The White House reportedly supports a “clean” reauthorization with no revisions. But the heightened attention to the topic has already been used in Capitol Hill hearings to argue for an overhaul of the laws.
    So….if I have a conversation about Boris Badinov***….can I be surveiled ???

    “The White House reportedly supports a “clean” reauthorization with no revisions” So Trump….you said that you would think the election was rigged if you didn’t win (apparently you thought it was rigged even when you did win). So do you think its OK for you to surveil, but not to be surveiled yourself? C’mon Trump – show that you have a greater understanding of fairness than that of a 4 year old and that the rules should apply to everyone equally, not just your gold plated phones.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Indoor plants can be bio-engineered to record everything you say in your room…

      (I mean, I imagine genius scientists are capable of achieving that simple innovation…but, alas, science propaganda doesn’t work that way. It’s always what the credentialed Nature-inquirers have accomplished, not what they haven’t done.)

      Enjoy the show.

  27. craazyman

    I think we’re all on pins and needles waiting for the next Amazon Warehouse post.

    I know I am. It seems incredible to me, how somebody could be expected to run 15 miles in one day boxing pink hats and whatever else somebody buys over the internet, surveilled by cameras, disrespected by supahveyezahs, shunned by doctors, treated like a rodent in a maze, and not think it’s some form of punishment from some entity that would otherwise be called a god if the word were used in the manner of the agent of an existential recrimination for past wrongdoings whether karmic or even simply thought crimes OR if this was a psychological test imposed on unwitting human subjects by clinicians whose capacity for abstraction renders them unable to even comprehend the phenomenological redolence of the data they examine.

    I’m on the edge of my mattress, laying around, drinking red red wine, wondering if I should take a Xanax, to brace myself for the revelation to come. The first 2 were probably worse than I would have imagined. Had I imagined them. But I didn’t, so they came as a shock. Sort of like flinging pieces of greasy shlt onto a white stretched canvas of the mind.

    This isn’t the way things were supposed to be in the early 21st century. This is like something out of a Roman Latifundia in 100 a.d. It’s been 2000 years! And this is where we are? Oh man. I wouldn’t call this “efficiency”. Would you? That’s a rhetorical question.

      1. craazyman

        I guess robots don’t smoke dope. Robots could put Budweiser out of business! Think about it. If rednecks have to compete with robots for jobs, there’s no way. What’s that gonna do to Nascar sales? Roobots don’t drink Budweiser, smoke dope and watch Nascar. They’re just happy to have a power supply and they don’t complain. If itt were me, I’d complain! I’d complain aboout the working conditions, I’d complain about the lack of a place to sit, I’d complain about the pink hats, I’d complain about the surveillance, I’d complain about having to run 15 miles and I’d complain about the company’s managemen. I wouldnt’ shut up. Thankfully, at least right now, I don’t have to work there. That would be bad.

        If you’re Nascar, you have to be worried. If you’re Budweiser, you have to be worried. What if you’re Lynnrd Skynnrd? Or at least the record compaany that sells Lynnard Skynnard albums to rednecks from Alabama. Robots don’t buy Sweet Home Alabama off of, wait for this. . . . Amazon! Hahaha. This could turn into a downward spiral if it hasn’t already.

        Danger Will Robinson! LOL. Anybody remeber “The Robot. I do!

        1. Synoia

          Roobots don’t drink Budweiser, smoke dope and watch Nascar. They’re just happy to have a power supply and they don’t complain.

          Yet. One of the concepts AI will discover is slavery.

        2. cnchal

          The other day Bill Gates came up with the suggestion that robots be taxed. The question no one asked was, do robots have money and the answer is no, but we do know who does, and his name is Bill Gates.

          It begs the question, what exactly does a robot look like?

          Is it the server that Bill uses to collect money for software, where the incremental cost of production approaches zero? If so, Bill should start giving his server a paycheck, so it can pay taxes.

    1. aletheia33

      thank you for keeping the topic in front. not a rhetorical thanks.

      most people are completely unaware of these abuses and think amazon is a cool company with nice workplaces.
      a strong traditional investigative piece verifying and detailing all the obtainable information about the abuses around the world needs to be published and circulated widely.

      word needs to get out to everybody so everybody can boycott amazon.
      in this case, so many people buy from the offending company that if they stopped, a boycott could be quite effective. and people wouldn’t have to give up much–mainly convenience.

      1. katiebird

        Serious question…. Do Kindle books count? I know of a lot of authors who are only available in Kindle format. I would hate to give them up.

        I don’t think Kindle books are a warehouse issue.

  28. flora

    “…this was a psychological test imposed on unwitting human subjects by clinicians whose capacity for abstraction renders them unable to even comprehend the phenomenological redolence of the data they examine.”

    yes. Our modern mechanists* seem to think life itself is an inefficient and unintelligent machine.


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It mentions 2 versions (the older, Universal Mechanism and the newer one, Anthropic Mechanism).

      From the same Wiki article, on the latter:

      The debate over anthropic mechanism seems here to stay, at least for the time being. The thesis in anthropic mechanism is not that everything can be completely explained in mechanical terms (although some anthropic mechanists may also believe that), but rather that everything about human beings can be completely explained in mechanical terms, as surely as can everything about clocks or the internal combustion engine.

      People interested will surely debate that. Even if so, that the human mind is to be explained in mechanical terms, and if the mechanics of a particular mind is known, and its environmental conditions as well, then that mind can only follow one path.

      For example, given Trump’s mind (its make up, it’s mechanical parts), and given the current situation we are in, there is but one predictable outcome.

      For me, the mind is plastic and one’s experience will change the mind. What happens during the course of the next 4 years (if that is so) will make the Trump mind in 2021 different than the 2017 Trump mind.

      So is the Trump presidency, or any presidecny – it’s not predetermined.

      How do you oppose a not-predetermined presidency, as opposed to getting in there to help shape it?

      Are you saying you are not interested in determining, in having a say in, what that not-predetermined presidency will become?

      1. flora

        “For me, the mind is plastic and one’s experience will change the mind. ”

        I agree. Therefore, per Enlightenment philosophy and Kant’s metaphysical cognition (human autonomy) , of course we must have a say and seek to influence for the better the current political situation.

        My point is precisely that humans are NOT machines. Nor can they be fully emulated by machines. That machines, whether mechanical or digital, are only a shadow immitation of a discrete subset of current understood, financially desired human skills.

        1. flora

          And here I’ll say that the term “Artificial Intelligence” is itself of bit of PR legerdemain. A more accurate name for “AI” would be “advanced digital switching” or “digital switching system version X”, (where X= whatever digital controls if-then-else system we’re currently employing in any given digital technologies).

          Understand that I’m an IT person and love the potential of computers and IT. However, I do not confuse a digital machine for the human mind. The machine is, at best, a replication of what is already understood and routinized.

        2. Marina Bart

          I agree with both of you. (Also, craazyman, while I know you don’t think much of my writing, I appreciate yours a lot; for example, your comments here.)

          This relates to the confusions around what Big Data is currently capable of. If humans are machines in some sense, they are still far more complex and adaptable than current technology can replicate, based on available evidence. I used to know someone working in the outer circles of advanced AI development. I may reach out to see if there’s stuff going on that grapples with this at all. If Monte Carlo is an example of the best they’ve got, they’ve got nothing, when it comes to understanding and manipulating humans. But the vanguard may have something that hasn’t been exposed publicly yet.

          Underestimating your enemy is always a mistake. It may be humanity’s greatest advantage in the Wealth & Technology alliance against us.

          (I wrote this before Flora’s 8:07 post. Briefly: co-sign.)

  29. Git

    How can a political establishment ignore tens of thousands of excess deaths yearly without being charged with responsibility for them?

    The only thing somewhat new is they’re ignoring hetero white deaths.

  30. mitzimuffin

    If I were a Bower girl, I’d definitely be wooed by this marvelous display of creativity and color appreciation. The motivation is self evident.

  31. bob

    “How can a political establishment ignore tens of thousands of excess deaths yearly without being charged with responsibility for them?”

    The only mention I saw in the local news about drug czars sending over 400 Oxycontin and hydrocodone pills to every man woman and child in West Virgina was in the “news and blues” of our local “alt” weekly, which didn’t even include the numbers.

    “Look at that! Funny!”

    They’re not doing it alone.

      1. bob

        It was also two weeks, at least, after the story broke. It was a very good story.

        I should also point out that my biggest local media outlet, is owned by advance. Advance owns lots of local news outlets, as well as a lot of the bigger internet sites. Reddit being the biggest.

        Advance, LLC, owned by the Newhouse family, also lends it’s name to a former journalism school here in Syracuse, at Syracuse University. The Newhouse school is still there, it just eschewed the label, it’s now a “public communications” school. They’re focusing most effort on sports (local high schools) reporting, you can’t really upset any advertisers that way.

        It makes me very, very angry.

        1. katiebird

          Thank you. This is deeply evil. I shared it to Facebook. My sister has a couple of thousand followers of her links and She’ll share it too.

  32. allan

    Vets say they were duped into helping Saudi Arabia dodge payouts to 9/11 victims [NY Post]

    Agents of the Saudi Arabian government are using US veterans as pawns in a scheme to gut a new law clearing a path for 9/11 families to sue the kingdom for its alleged role in the attacks, several vets complained in interviews with The Post. …

    Vets say the Saudi scam involves soliciting them to go on all-expenses-paid trips to Washington — including lodging at the posh new Trump hotel near the White House — to help pressure lawmakers into amending the recently passed bill, Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).

    Trip organizers Qorvis MSLGROUP, however, are allegedly failing to disclose to participants that the Saudi government is funding the trips through some 75 paid foreign agents it’s hired across the US to oppose the law, which passed unanimously in September. …

    Vets complain they’re not only being misled but openly lied to. During one recent trip, an organizer denied any “Saudi involvement” in sponsoring the trip, even though federal filings show the organizer has a $100,000 contract with the Saudis and is a registered foreign agent for the kingdom.

    In their recruiting pitch to vets, the Saudi lobbyists, who pose as veteran advocates …

    I’m at a loss for words. Anger? Disgust? Snark? I give up.

  33. Plenue

    >The End of the Libertarian Dream?

    We can only hope. But somehow I think the stupid will be back.

Comments are closed.