Links 3/6/17

Michigan to offer prize in fight against invasive Asian carp AP

Sea Ice Extent in Antarctica Bottoming Out at Lowest on Record Weather Underground

7 Major Experiments That Still Haven’t Found What They’re Looking For Nautilus

Why the Fed means business this time FT

Deutsche Bank to Raise $8.5 Billion and Reorganize Some Operations NYT

Heavy-Duty Truck Orders Rose for Fourth Straight Month WSJ

Trends in Merger Investigations and Enforcement at U.S. Antitrust Agencies: 2006–2015 Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation

As Israel-based financial fraud soars, police swoop on 20 suspects as part of global, FBI-led sting Times of Israel


Brexit: Ending free movement will not reduce immigration, peers warn Independent

More than 600 health quango chiefs on six figure salaries amid cash crisis Telegraph. Yes, minister.

‘No one can stop me’ standing in French election, says Fillon France24


China overtakes eurozone as world’s biggest bank system FT

Words Count: Chinese State of the Nation Speech All About the ‘Party’ WSJ

Japan, South Korea markets muted after North Korean missile tests MarketWatch

New Cold War

Eat Your Spinach LRB

2016 Post Mortem

DNC has No Plans to Publicly Post Officer Election ‘Roll Call’ Tally Progressive Army. From the DNC bylaws:

[A]ll meetings of the DNC, the Executive Committee, and all other official Party committees, commissions and bodies shall be open to the public, and votes shall not be taken by secret ballot.

During the election for DNC chair, the ballots were not disclosed. Asked to disclose the ballots, and not mere tally sheets, the DNC responded:

To review actual ballots, please see the process below:

1. DNC officer election ballots will be available for review beginning Monday, March 6th at 10:00am, at Democratic National Committee offices, 430 South Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003.

2. To schedule a viewing session, please contact Julie Greene, Director of the Secretary’s Office, at Appointments may be booked in one hour increments, and multiple sessions may be reserved, based on availability.

At least one journalist is following up:

For the record, I don’t think even Donna Brazile would be stupid or corrupt enough to alter the paper ballots. But you’d think that, after the primary, the DNC would be making every effort to live up to that “ic” suffix following the “D.” Even if it gives all the consultants who voted themselves fat contracts with Perez a smidge of agita. Apparently not.

Special elections spark Democratic hopes Politico

Trump’s win revealed the hollowness of US politics. Stronger leaders will exploit this. Fabius Maximus

Trump Transition

Leashes Come Off Wall Street, Gun Sellers, Polluters and More NYT. Look! Over there! Trump is tweeting again!

Do You Feel Lucky? Econbrowser. On Trump’s trade policies.

* * *

Trump’s ‘evidence’ for Obama wiretap claims relies on sketchy, anonymously sourced reports WaPo. Were there nine?

Why the White House defense of Trump wiretap accusation is misleading Politifact

Former DNI James Clapper: ‘I Can Deny’ Wiretap of Trump Tower NBC News (Furzy Mouse). There are Five Eyes, though. The U.S. is only of of them.

If Trump Tower Was Wiretapped, Trump Can Declassify That Right Now The Intercept

Nunes, acceding to White House, says Trump’s wiretap claim will be investigated Los Angeles Times

How Trump’s Tantrum May Lead Trump Transition Official Devin Nunes to Delegitimize the Investigation emptywheel. I think I’ve entered “Can’t tell the players without a scorecard” territory. Nunes is chair of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Is “transition official” then irony? Anyhow, interesting wrap-up…

Axelrove’s tweets are the best tweets:

The FISA Court is Caesar’s wife, apparently.

* * *

The Russian election hack: bullshit Hatuey’s Ashes

The Dirty Secret Behind the Jeff Sessions Mess T. A. Frank, Vanity Fair. I’m re-upping this, and if you didn’t read it last time, read it. Not all Vanity Fair writers are has-beens phoning in brand fumes.

* * *

The Wall Explore the US-Mexico border fence Reveal. Interactive map. Plenty of wall right now…

Schumer’s plan to stop the wall Axios. “Chuck Schumer has concluded that denying President Trump his wall is perhaps the surest major defeat Democrats can hand the President in his first year.”

After travel ban, interest in trips to U.S. declines Seattle Times

Guilllotine Watch

Around the World by Private Jet: Cultures in Transformation New York Times.

Fly around the world in a customized Boeing 757 jet for the ultimate in luxury travel. Spend 26 days visiting such places as Iran, Cuba, Colombia, Australia, Myanmar and Iceland. Four award-winning New York Times journalists will accompany you, each for several days as you visit areas where they have expertise.

Departures: Feb 8–Mar 5 2018

Cost: $135,000; Deposit of $7,500 per person; For full payment schedule, see terms and conditions.

Looks to me like the catchphrase “limousine liberal” might need an update? And did I miss the “Advertisement” label?

SpaceX to fly two space tourists around the moon in 2018 CNN.

Class Warfare

When Factory Jobs Vanish, Men Become Less Desirable Partners The Atlantic

Do Consumers Rely More Heavily on Credit Cards While Unemployed? Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. (No.) From 2016, but interesting data.

‘Lower Ed’ looks at the controversial role of for-profit colleges Marketplace

The Decline in US Public Companies Conversable Economist. Note the last paragraph.

Texas is the Future Harpers

While the Iron Is Hot n+1

802.eleventy what? A deep dive into why Wi-Fi kind of sucks Ars Technica

The plane so good it’s still in production after 60 years BBC

Vietnam’s architectural gems are disappearing USA Today

The Magic Lantern Show The Archdruid Report. Fun with Schopenhauer!

Antidote du jour. I think it’s time for a cute, or at least a skeptical, cat (more here):

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. nycTerrierist

    From the link, this cute and pensive kitty is scheduled to be put down today, unless someone
    steps forward to adopt or foster.
    Read his profile: found as a stray, he’s a sweet, sociable fellow.
    Yves, thanks for helping out a needy cat.

    Anyone out there with a kitty-sized vacancy to fill?

    1. craazyboy

      He’s giving the camera a “Pantsuits will never, ever be a fashion item” look. The poor kitty needs to get outta NYC, and fast! He’ll never get adopted there. I strongly suggest they put him on a plane and fly him to Columbus, Ohio where he probably has a great chance of being adopted by a new caring family. But I’m not sure if they have an airport to land on in Columbus. Maybe he should be put on a helicopter instead?

    2. petal

      I just posted his ad on my faceborg page. I hope he is saved. Breaks my heart thinking about it. Am nowhere near NYC or I’d take him.

      1. nippersmom

        I also shared on my page, and the primary thing I use faceborg for is networking for shelter/pound animals, so I have a lot of “friends” in rescue. Hope the right person sees him in time.

        1. petal

          Same here-am connected to a few people that either run rescues or are involved. Am hoping for the best.

  2. hidflect

    I spend 5x more time reading NC’s comments than I do the articles. It would be amusing to one day find all the comments about the antidote du jour.

  3. funemployed

    I’ve been confused about the wall hysteria since the dumpster caught fire. Does it really take rare insight to understand that it is not hard to get over a wall, but it is hard to cross a desert? Harder even to scrounge up the fee for a coyote and leave family behind.

    Why is it not obvious that border guarding is an issue of manpower? I’m so confused. I say let the man occupy himself playing in the sand. At least that will actually create a few short-term jobs.

    1. Bill Smith

      “The wall” supposedly comes with sensors that let the admittedly limited manpower know when and where someone is climbing over it.

      A retired Border Patrol management guy was quoted recently that they really only need to add about 700 more miles of ‘wall’ to the 600+ miles they have because to your point the remaining 600 or so miles is desert and very difficult to cross. They find bodies there fairly frequently.

    2. ProNewerDeal


      also IIRC 60% of undocumented people merely overstay tourist visas, illegal border crossers are a minority portion.

      No word about ANY penalty/fine much less criminal charge for Illegal Employers. If Illegal Employers were fined $100K/undocumented worker found, this would massively reduce Illegal Employer demand for undocumented workers, & reduce the incentive for future undocumented people. Even if you limit the $100K fine it to larger companies with over 50 workers, e.g. exempt a sole-location family biz restaurant or a family hiring a nanny. In contrast to right-wing propaganda, Undocumented people by definition are not eligible for “Da Welfare”, if anything they are net contributors to the Social Safety Net, on non-“cash under the table jobs”, they are paying towards a fake SS number into SS & Medicare for benefits they will never receive.

      I wonder if the C0nManD0n Regime has a coherent goal in its immigration policy? If it has a coherent goal, my guess is it to deport say 10% of noncriminal undocumented persons even “model citizens” like the 37 yr old MEX restaurant manager in rural IL, civic-minded guy that has the white citizen locals like the fire chief saying “illegals r bad m’k, but this one guy is a model citizen pls leave him be!”, to make the remaining 90% superscared with even LESS worker negotiation leverage in the workforce at their jobs at Illegal Employers.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I believe one of the reasons is the concern that freedom-hating bad guys will

        1.overstay their visas (the travel ban) and

        2. cross the porous southern border (a sector commander pre-election claim)…after entering our less-vigilant neighbor countries.

        By countering both arguments effectively, maybe we can stop this Wall proposal and travel ban.

        1. DJPS

          I think it’s more symbolic than functional. The wall sends a clear message that the US is serious about enforcing immigration policies. The opposite idea to a “sanctuary city”.
          If you don’t think you’re going to be allowed to stay, you’d be less likely to make the trek.

          1. marym

            If the US were “serious about enforcing immigration policies,” as ProNewerDeal said the employers would be penalized.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Take anti-dumping for example.

              When a foreign country allows its exporters to sell below cost, many American corporations are driven out of business, even if later, the government takes action.

              We should not put an employer, particular a small business, in the position of hiring as others in the same field do in order to stay competitive, to stay in business and put food on the table.

              Then, you have giant greedy corporations who simply play the H1B or other similar games. They don’t worry about getting penalized over hiring their foreign workers, ever. The most is we talk about reforming and changing the visa laws.

        2. wilroncanada

          To MyLessThanPrimeBeach
          Freedom-hating bad guys cross the southern border every day, most with US or Canadian citizenship and passports. They are heading south. Some have papers identifying them as police, FBI, CIA, NSA, ATF…(I can’t identify all US “police” and “Intel” agencies), along with RCMP, CSIS, or many other of the similar Canadian “police” and “Intel” agencies. Oh, and don’t forget diplomatic passports and military transportation.

          Of course most of these don’t pass through, but rather fly over.

      2. clarky90

        When I go away from home for a few days/weeks, I always leave the front and back doors, of my home, wide open. It is commonly known around town- just come and help yourself to anything- or move in! I love the surprise when I return. And “helping”. (sarc)

      3. DH

        The employers get nominated and confirmed to Cabinet Secretary positions instead. If yet is no employment market there won’t be undocumented workers.

    3. Anne

      Since Trump says he plans to eliminate a number of government jobs, perhaps he would consider giving those about to be RIF’d the option to relocate and take up a border-related job of some kind.

      Don’t know if he will break even, but that would beat being in the negative.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Probably an all voluntary Border Corps, if he can’t find money for the wall, though the government can always spend.

    4. Carolinian

      It’s the symbolism of it that motivates both proponents and opponents–a giant “keep out–no trespassing” sign. Of course spending 20 billion on symbolism is ridiculous however our 500 billion a year military is kind of symbolic as well. Trump’s wall is a stupid thing but there are others.

      1. Uahsenaa

        I’d take issue with the suggestion that our bloated military is symbolic. It’s just that we don’t really see it in full force in the US. Whereas in Japan or Germany, where the US has a large military presence, you see it plain as day: the US military exists in the world so as to maintain a particular, largely softly imperialistic order. Insofar as power is projected around the global for to discourage others, then yes, maybe it’s symbolic-ish, but in the seven countries we’re currently bombing, the projection of power is all too real.

        1. Carolinian

          True enough but I suspect our generals would prefer to remain well financed symbols as much as possible. It’s the chicken hawk neocons and other civilians who are often the enthusiasts for actually bombing people.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The bigger wall is not physical, but mental, in our hearts.

      We put those dying in the Rust Belt as deserving of their misfortune, because they are ‘the others’ we have to beat up, destroy (politically speaking) to get to the White House.

      They are on the other side of the wall.

  4. Kokuanani

    I clicked through on the $135K NYT adventure and was relieved to find that a participant wouldn’t be cooped up with Friedman for 26 days. Worth the $$$ to escape that fate.

    1. Wyoming

      Another interesting point to use to shame the participants might be the following (though there are many I admit).

      A first class passenger (which it sounds like all of them would be) taking a flight from LAX to LON to Tokyo to LAX with no intermediate stops would have a share of the CO2e emissions of 8.25 metric tons. Since there will be a couple of dozen take offs and landings and a much longer itinerary than a direct circumnavigation the individual passengers share of the emissions will very likely be on the order of 20 metric tons of CO2e. or 44,000 lbs.

      Anyone want to take a bet that most of the participants are not dyed in the wool whiners about how the new administration is going to gut climate change regulations and efforts? The hypocrisy just drips.

    2. Benedict@Large

      Regarding the SpaceX tourism, my reaction when I first heard about this was the same as yours, but after thinking about it, I’ve changed my mind. You see, I was around for those space trips this country was once capable of, and was a big fan of them. I remember when I first heard that we were making our last one, with no plans to ever make another again. I was completely baffled. How could we even think to take such great research and such a great adventure and simply drop it? It made no sense. We were losing our vision for the future, and I perhaps should have known then how bleak the coming decades were going to be.

      Anyway, we’re going back. Maybe we’re taking a few people along to help foot the bill, but after all these years, we’re finally going back. I want to believe that says something about our future. Maybe that science is getting cool again, or even knowledge for knowledge’s sake. Or maybe it just means we’re starting to believe we have a future. And that would be a good thing.

      1. justanotherprogressive

        I wish I could share your optimism. But unfortunately, SpaceX’s vision is only for the 1%, not for me or my children or grandchildren. Yes, I like you, lived through our early days of exploration and I was incredibly saddened by our country’s lack of enthusiasm for that great adventure. But back then, there was incredible hope that all of us would have a chance to be going “out there” someday. Now it just feels like “out there” is something for rich people…..

        1. Emma

          Hmmm…….and today is the 80th birthday of the retired Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova. Valentina was the first woman to fly in space. Beforehand, she had been a mere textile-factory assembly worker but in her spare time was an amateur skydiver! After her famous flight in space she was further helped by the Soviet Air Force Academy to graduate with distinction as an engineer.
          Just goes to show that every nation has its fair-minded share of cool, progressive and open-minded citizens……… if only we could just get a whole lot more of these types into power instead of the ‘narcassists‘ who hog the corridors of power these days…

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      My first thought:

      How much to have the 4 NYT “journalists” NOT go on the trip and propagandize you the whole time?

      Oh who am I kidding? It would be a virtue-signaling affirmation party. Over/under on how many times “deplorable” or “proles” is used on the trip is 40. I think I’d take the over…

    4. Musicismath

      Jesus H. Christ. The sheer amount of obliviousness in that schedule. I lost track of the number of “colourful native dances” there are going to be. Because that’s one thing we in the non-US bits of the globe can be relied on to be: colourful. Perhaps also “authentic,” but certainly engaging in harmless and interesting ceremonies, frozen in time, the witnessing of which will be a Testament to Diversity and a source of true understanding on behalf of the witness.

      I also loved the bit about Rapa Nui being Easter Island’s name in “Polynesian,” which is a bit like saying Germany is known as Deutschland in “Germanic.”

      But I’m sure that all of us, when viewed from the vantage point of 38000 feet, will look like flies to them anyway. So who are we to cavil?

  5. Anonymous2

    Re Fillon, Juppe is now reported to have definitively refused to re-enter the race. If so the republicans presumably face a choice of sticking with their current damaged candidate, recalling Sarkozy or backing Macron. Quelle farce.

    1. David

      Yes, there’s the full story here, including some pretty savage criticism of Fillon by Juppé, who clearly doesn’t think that he himself is capable of bringing the Right together, especially since the diehard Fillonists will try to sabotage him.
      There’s a meeting tonight with a number of the head honchos of LR, but it’s hard to see what they can do now. It was assumed they would put pressure on Fillon to stand down, but Juppé has removed the only plausible Plan B, and there’s no other remotely consensual candidate. Sarkozy is still dancing up and down making waving signs with his hands, and has offered his services as peacemaker (sic) but he has his own legal problems, and there is no way on earth that Fillon would voluntarily stand down for him.
      Fillon is right to say he can’t be forced to go. The only body that could decide such a thing is the Bureau of the party, and only Fillon can call a meeting. It looks like the Right is stuck with Fillon, since, even if they have some lever over him we don’t know about, they can’t use it because there’s no Plan B.
      The Right is starting to implode, and for the first time they are contemplating a Presidential election without a candidate in the second round. If the other leaders can bring any pressure on Fillon, it will be to act more reasonably, stop his paranoid rhetoric and in general behave more like a traditional right-wing candidate. But Fillon appears to have calculated that he has nothing to lose by running as a victim of the system – outside and above normal politics- a bit like Trump in fact.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, David.

        Have you further thoughts about the Northern Irish elections. Plutonium Kun, too?

        When I saw the final seat and vote tally, I thought that the Unionist community had lost its majority and, with Brexit going on at the same time, will Northern Ireland make its hundredth anniversary or much more than that.

        Needless to say, the UK MSM preferred to wet itself over Trump, Putin and other cartoon character villains than report another nail in the coffin of the union. What little reporting that was published or aired was poor and showed how little mainlanders know or care about Northern Ireland.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I haven’t really had time to look closely at the NI elections, but the consensus seems to be that Sinn Fein managed to really rally their base, against a very demoralised set of opponents. I’m not really sure that can explain the extent of their near-victory – since the SDLP did quite well, its not a case of all nationalists getting behind SF. I think its a case of the Unionists and centrists just running out of steam and enthusiasm. I suspect Brexit has really done a lot of damage to Unionists – since nationalists and republicans have made all the running in being against Brexit, those Unionists who see the extreme dangers for the Union don’t seem to know what to do. They don’t want to be seen to echo SF, but neither can they bring themselves to support the DUP.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Standing up a fossil like Juppe was always a very weak plan. So we get the “socialist” Macron, who seems to have learned his brand of socialism at Goldman. And I wonder how many on the right will conclude that Marine is talking some sense, at least on some big issues (kind of like the votes that leaked from “otherwise Dem” voters who chose The Orange Man). So it’s Macron for the win, Marine will just have to wait until everything she’s talking about just gets even worse (read The French Intifada for the full cultural background on Islam and France)

  6. Alex Morfesis

    Nyt: Leashes come off…looks like steve bannon’s former father-in-law, the honorable elihu smails, is quite pleased…time to break out the old bell bottoms…have a nice 4 door 1973 dodge dart available…was that dita beard I noticed walking into the west wing last week in that fixxx network video on rudetube ???

    1. lyman alpha blob

      wait a minute – Smails is Bannon’s father in law?!?!? Then how did Bannon ever get to be such pals with President Al Czervik, snobs v. slobs and all?

      1. Alex Morfesis

        Danny (former son in law) chooses the new money over the old crumbs…bannon basically…harvard and goldman or the guy with the gold plated/painted toilets…

        kabbyshank part 3 straight to video where ted knights daughter (Laura)finds out about danny from Lacey…she gets pregnant…we find out later it wasn’t his kid…

        It’s complicated….

  7. fresno dan

    The Dirty Secret Behind the Jeff Sessions Mess T. A. Frank, Vanity Fair. I’m re-upping this, and if you didn’t read it last time, read it. Not all Vanity Fair writers are has-beens phoning in brand fumes.

    fresno dan
    March 3, 2017 at 7:20 am
    THE DIRTY SECRET BEHIND THE JEFF SESSIONS MESS Vanity Fair. “It’s hard to avoid the sense that Washington is losing its mind.” When you’ve lost Vanity Fair…

    Originally, when writing this story, I intended to offer three hypotheses for what could have happened: (1) Sessions was colluding with Moscow and trying to hide it. (2) Sessions wasn’t colluding with Moscow, but he forgot about his meetings with Kislyak. (3) Sessions wasn’t colluding with Moscow, but decided to lie about contacts with Russians.
    Then I reviewed the tape. And now I dismiss all three.
    But, sorry, if you care about this, then let’s back up and see the exchange in context:
    [see article for what Franken said in its entirety]
    Now, unless you’ve gone into full “time for some game theory” mode, you would be hard-pressed to miss that that “communications with the Russians” is shorthand for “communications of the sort that CNN is alleging,” not “any sort of communication with any Russian official ever.”
    How many books and articles came out during the Obama years suggesting the president was secretly pushing for Sharia law, violating espionage law, trying to destroy Israel, or surrendering to Russia by whispering about post-election “flexibility” to Dmitri Medvedev (hats off to Breitbart for promoting that last claim)? Lots. If you wanted to believe Obama was a Muslim who was trying to subvert the nation from within, you could find what you needed to find.

    So if you’ve determined that Trump is the Siberian candidate, you’ll find what you need to find. And this time high-ranking government officials are trying to help you.

    I am not going to say that because it is the intelligence community involved that it is worse than what happened to Obama. Any time reality is given over to implausible and tendentious interpretations of reality, whether due to ideology or ratings or bias, we end up worse off.

    If we can have re-runs of posts, it only seems fair to have re-rungs of comments ;) But I swear this will be my only comment today (because technically, it is predominantly a re-run…. ) – one and done.
    As I have said, I’m getting overly obsessive (isn’t “obsessive” “overly” by definition???)

    1. clarky90

      I have unsettling news for all the “folks” out there. The Russians (The dastardly Vlad Putin), have infiltrated and compromised the Democrats. Maybe the Greens are the only safe haven remaining?

      Six Democratic leaders were revealed to have been in a meeting with Russia’s Ambassador with Claire McCaskill

      Democratic Senator McCaskill denied ever meeting with Russian Ambassador. Old tweets proved the lawmaker had met with Sergey Kislyak in 2013

      1. DH

        Its OK. Everybody knows that Democrats are secretly Communists. That is why it is a scandal when Republicans are consorting with them (either the Russians or Democrats).

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        Do as I say, not as I do
        Because I s**t so deep you can’t run away

        I beg to differ, on the contrary
        I agree with every word that you say
        Talk is cheap and lies are expensive
        My wallet’s fat and so is my head
        Hit and run and then I’ll hit you again
        I’m a smart ass but I’m playing dumb

        I have no belief
        But I believe
        I’m a walking contradiction
        And I ain’t got no right

        Green Day, “Walking Contradiction”

  8. voteforno6

    Thanks for the antidote. We had a cat that looked like that, when I was a kid. He was a bit on the ornery side. It was fun watching him go after the dog. Also, you didn’t want to get between him and ice cream or turkey.

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      He reminds me of our one time moggie, who went by the name of “Jones ” – after the cat in ‘ Alien ‘, although he was not ginger, but very much like the above.

      He was a raggamuffin, had no problem with dogs & loved Ragu Bolognese with spaghetti. One of my regrets is that I did not take a photo of him with his bright orange chops, although I can see him like that in my head.

      He reserved a particular look of contempt for myself, which according to an article I read is due to the fact that he considered me as a poor excuse for a cat. He lived until he was twenty & died a few days after he had managed to somehow get up onto a worktop, to eat a good part of a chicken which we had considered safe due to his apparent infirmity.

      My late wife had a gliablastoma multiforme which Jones would rub his head against, until she had chemotherapy which shrank it somewhat – we knew it was back when he started rubbing again. A few weeks later when she was waiting for an ambulance, he climbed up onto her chest & while purring sat still & stared into her eyes for around fifteen minutes & then left the house & didn’t return for around three months until after the room she had died in a couple of weeks earlier, had been re-decorated.

      1. Portia

        Ack, they always know. nursing home cats are reliable indicators of imminent “transition” of residents. {{{Jones}}} {{{Eustache de Saint Pierre}}}

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre


          I often wondered whether Mr. Jones was alone in this – thank you for the information.

          Perhaps it might be a behaviour that partly led to them being believed to be witches familiars.

  9. Kokuanani

    You might think from the headline that the “Texas is the Future” article in Harper’s would be a downer. Au contraire, it’s quite inspiring, plus contains some accurate, hefty kicks at Hillary & the Dems.

    1. gsinbe

      That is a good article – shows that progressives can win in politics with hard work and a focus on local issues that affect people’s lives. Scary to read about what has been happening in Texas in recent years, but maybe that’s part of our future, as well.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      The bit I liked best:

      Beginning with the 2012 election, TOP canvassers — volunteers and paid employees working their own neighborhoods — were trained to open a doorstep interview not with statements about a candidate but with a question: “What issue do you care about?” The answer, whether it was the minimum wage or schools or potholes, shaped the conversation as the canvasser explained that TOP had endorsed a particular candidate (after an intensive screening) because of his or her position on those very issues. These were not hit-and-run encounters. Potential voters were talked to “pretty much nonstop for about eight to ten weeks leading to the election,” according to Goldman. “They got their doors knocked three to five times. They got called five to seven times. They signed a postcard saying, ‘I pledge to vote.’ They circled which day they were going to vote on a little calendar on the postcard, and we mailed those postcards back to them. We offered them free rides to the polls. We answered all of their questions, gave them all the information they needed, until they cast a ballot. And what we saw was that the Latino vote grew by five percentage points in Harris County in 2012.”

      Two years later, Texas Democrats nominated Wendy Davis, a state senator, as their candidate for governor following her filibuster against further restrictions on abortion rights. Her stand brought her national attention, a flood of campaign money, and the arrival of out-of-state Obama operatives who vowed to boost minority registration. Yet she lost by 20 percent to Greg Abbott and scored comparatively poorly with Latinos. Meanwhile, in the same election cycle, TOP and its allies blocked a bid by business interests to privatize the public-school system in Dallas. A year later, the organization helped to elect Sylvester Turner, a black Democrat, as mayor of Houston.

      Of course, it helps to have candidates that focus on the issues real people care about.

      1. charles leseau

        Unfortunately, if it works it will simply be copied and subsumed by the insects on the other side.

        1. John k

          The pendulum has turned, now swinging progressive because a generation of neolib.
          Most respond to the question with a progressive issue. The other side – whether neolib dem or neolib rep – can’t deal with that, would have to turn conversation to something else.
          What other issues are important to you? Well, what’s number 3?

  10. stillfeelintheberninwi

    From the weekly letter sent to WI Dems from the chair, the Mar 4 issue is entirely from Jason Rae, the new Secretary of the Dem party who is from Wisconsin:

    In the interest of transparency, as well as in compliance with the DNC Rules regarding no secret ballots, we have consulted with the Chair and a tally sheet of how each member voted in contested elections will be made available to interested parties upon request. This sheet will list each member and how his or her votes were cast.

  11. IDontKnow

    From the links article When Factory Jobs Vanish, Men Become Less Desirable Partners

    This group includes Olivia Alfano, a 29-year-old single mother living in Evansville, Indiana, where she works as a waitress at Red Lobster. The money is pretty good, she told me: She drives a BMW and was able to buy a house last year. Alfano now wants to go into management, which she thinks will give her more security in the long run. When I asked her why she hadn’t married, she told me, “I haven’t run into someone I would consider doing that with.”

    Of course, Alfano still has obstacles: for instance, finding childcare while she’s at work and getting good health care for her family (she doesn’t work enough hours to qualify for Red Lobster’s plan).

    Wow, Red Lobster pay and tips in a area where employment (and thus paying customers) are rare, can still generate enough income for that it’s part-time single parent waitresses, can afford a BMW and House Payments? Someone help me. Is the reporter asleep at the wheel, or is this legitimately possible?

    1. bronco

      Depends on the BMW , I fix cars for people and I have 3 customers with BMW’s that they drive every day that date to the mid-1990’s. Incredibly well made cars , engines last over 200,000 miles , power to spare too you can burn up a set of rear tires in an instant if thats your thing. Book value of the 1997 I just did an alternator on is about $1300. I’ll buy 20 of those before I’d buy a new ford focus without batting an eyelash. They are so well made that maintenance is under 500 a year excluding fungibles (tires, wipers, oil blah blah) . She may be smart enough to own one of the older ones thats through depreciating relentlessly.

      1. Lord Koos

        $500 a year doesn’t sound that good to me, compared to older Toyotas, Subarus, Hondas etc. But I’m sure the BMWs are a lot more fun to drive. I’m curious, which models do you favor?

    2. Benedict@Large

      I’m with you. Something really stinks about this. Forget the BMW. A 29-year old PART TIME waitress at a cookie cutter restaurant who’s packing some kids along with her just bought a house? I’d be surprised if anyone in that situation could even buy a trailer. No, the credibility meter on this one is stuck on zero.

      1. diptherio

        1. That beamer could be from the 70s-90s, as pointed out above. I know a couple of broke young women who drive old Mercedes they picked up on the cheap. Just because it’s a high-end brand, doesn’t mean it’s an expensive car.

        2. The sub-prime mortgage thing never really went away. I first showed up here in 2011 to comment on my friend being offered mortgages for which the payment would be 80% of their stated take-home pay. The same friend just had to upgrade to a bigger house and they got the same treatment. The loan officer pre-approved them for a loan who’s payment would eat up basically all of their money. When she questioned the guy about why they would do that, his response was: “it’s up to you to figure out how to make the payments.”

        So maybe not as unbelievable as you might think.

      2. diptherio

        1. That beamer could be from the 70s-90s, as pointed out above. I know a couple of broke young women who drive old Mercedes they picked up on the cheap. Just because it’s a high-end brand, doesn’t mean it’s an expensive car.

        2. The sub-prime mortgage thing never really went away. I first showed up here in 2011 to comment on my friend being approved for mortgages, for which the payment would be 80% of their stated take-home pay. The same friend just had to upgrade to a bigger house and they got the same treatment. The loan officer pre-approved them for a loan who’s payment would eat up basically all of their money. When she questioned the guy about why they would do that, his response was: “it’s up to you to figure out how to make the payments.”

        So maybe not as unbelievable as you might think.

        1. diptherio

          Heads up for the techies at NC. When I edited the comment above, it duplicated the whole thing…just FYI.

      3. DH

        Uhhh…its Evansville, IN – current median home price is $105,700. So a waitress could afford something in the bottom 50% of available homes. This is a major difference between flyover country and the coastal blue cities.

        I live in Upstate NY. Our home barely factors into our retirement planning as it is already only 20% of our assets. By the time we retire, I expect it will be only 10% – 15% of our assets. In our urban county, you can go a couple of weeks without a single sale over $500k in the weekly real estate closings reported in the newspaper.

        1. IDontKnow

          and I guess food, child medical care, clothing (to go with the BMW) and the local flat rate income tax, property tax, 7-10% sales tax, etc in IN are all non issues?

          One thing the article doesn’t mention is that many single mothers can give their child up for adoption to their parent(s), who will then qualify for social security payments for the child. One of the many acts by the Clinton time in government to destroy stable family life for low income children.

          1. DH

            The barriers to owning a house in places like Evansville are saving the downpayment and having the employment history to get some mortgage. The monthly costs are similar to renting. Sales tax etc. are the same whether or not you are renting or own.

            1. IDontKnow

              Actually Lord Koos and Alex hit it, she was indicted for dealing cocaine, but managed to beat the rap. Wrote the reporter with the FBI press release and just got the reply.

              As to the later, the point about taxes, etc; is even at the optimistic predictions elsewhere in the comments about her income, she’d have a hard time saving any money, period. Is prostitution legal in IN, because the IRS should be all over her now that she’s got an arrest record for dealing; and so she’s got to have a legal 2nd income now. That’s about the only income I can think of that she could do legally but not want to let the reporter know about. Maybe someone could think of others?

    3. Alex Morfesis

      Being a waitress is a great way to claim drug sales are tips…7 years ago a 22 year old woman with the same name caught the attention of the fbi for helping people powder their nose on a regular basis…the “zoe pound” miami to Midwest gang…

      She might have not been that person with the feb 4, 2010 press release from the us atty southern district in indiana…or she might have changed her ways…or she might do a mean load of washing clothes…and other things

      1. Todde

        gotta say no on this one.

        The employer pays taxes on tips, and there is no way any sizable amount of drug money could be ran thru the system as tips.

        1. Alex Morfesis

          Ummmm…maybe it’s just a florida thing…bartenders & strippers maybe more than waitresses at corporate chains…and money laundering is not impossible at 300 buxxx per day even in a corporate environment

      1. Rhondda

        It says she “drives a BMW”…So it might be a lease. I know a lot of people who “don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of” who drive spankin’ rides. Subprime auto.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      As a former restaurant worker I’d say it’s possible but not highly probable.

      The clientele at those types of restaurants isn’t known for being big spenders/tippers in general and no waiters I knew ever wanted to work at chains like that. That being said, if this woman takes on extra tables and skimps on what she tips out to her coworkers (not cool), and then takes all the $$$ straight home and doesn’t spend any of it frivolously, she might clear $200-300/shift if she’s working in a very busy location. If she’s declaring all her tips, then her paycheck is likely $0, if she’s not it could be a little more but not substantial. I’m guessing that if all those things go in her favor she can clear $1000 per week at part time hours. Not likely though. I’m guessing there’s another source of income.

      1. m

        I worked in both fancy and low brow places. I hate to say it, but over all poor people tip better than rich.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Oh I agree – but I don’t think Red Lobster necessarily caters to poor people. Never eaten there but I’m guessing the prices are along the lines of most of the other similar chains with $15-25 per entree.

          I worked in a similar but non-chain restaurant and it was hell. Way too many customers who had enough money to eat there but just wanted to order someone around to vent their own frustrations and then stiff you.

    5. WheresOurTeddy

      My friend is 31, is the *head manager* of a chain restaurant, full time, no kids.

      Makes less than $20/hr.

      1-room apartment, 12 year old Honda Civic that looks like it’s been through the war, zero savings.

      Which Red Lobster is SHE working at? They hiring?

    6. Tigerlily

      That was my reaction as well.

      To me the “maybe the BMW is 20 years old” argument is a red herring. The writer’s intention in specifically mentioning that she drives a luxury brand was to enhance her perceived affluence. If the BMW is in fact 20 years old it was intellectually dishonest of her to omit this detail.

      I suspect the truth is a whole lot more prosaic. Like a great many of her fellow Americans this Red Lobster waitress is probably leveraged up to her eyeballs trying to sustain a standard of living she really can’t afford.

  12. RenoDino

    It’s no secret that Obama is “secretly” undermining Trump. If Trump has a strategy here, it may be to out Obama and force him to defend himself against a charge, the more outrageous the better. We know Obama spied on everyone of interest. Trump now asks the loaded wife beating question “When did you stop spying on America’s enemies?” Trump will eventually force him out in the open to defend himself and adopt a more offensive posture. We know how Obama hates direct confrontation because he’s really at his worst in these situations and Trump is going to exploit that weakness.

    1. dontknowitall

      You may be right. Emptywheel wrote that if Trump has evidence he should just declassify it but maybe he wants his opponents on a slow burn as Devin Nunes investigates.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      One imagines Jimmy Carter fomenting “#Resistance” to the newly inaugurated Reagan, then puts that thought out of one’s head. Mr Carter has far too much class for that. He is, in my opinion, the template for what an honorable post-POTUS life should be.

      If a John Hinckley type took a shot at Trump, one wonders what the reaction would be. Cheering from WaPo and NYT?

  13. Clive

    Re: Experiments That Have So Far Proved Diddly-Squat

    The article in the link is very good and has a bias towards physics. I’m going to chuck in my own pet peeve of experimentation where a lot of research $’s are thrown about, seemingly willy-nilly, with not a great deal to show for it.

    In Biology, the human genome and “gene therapy” regularly features in Mainstream Media stories about “medical miracle breakthroughs” (you might know the genre, whereby some so-called research which when you dig into it a little more, which you have to do because the reporter hasn’t, you find the usual small sample sizes, limited follow-ups, pre-selection of participants and lack of a true double-blind methodology) that we get subjected to in our daily doses of Hopium.

    I’ve been interested in the progress — as in, real, workable treatments with curable intent, rather than palliatives — for genetic research for 20-odd years. I’ve a condition called Keratoconus which has a strong genetic link (increased prevalence in immediate relatives, coincidences in identical twins, increased prevalence in specific ethnicities (east Asian), comorbidity with Down’s Syndrome) and — most of all — an identified “genetic marker” or “genetic markers”.

    But in terms of developing a therapeutic approach, all that has happened has been to have a lot of research, clinician and patient time wasted on dead-ends. Because while the disease process has an autoimmune response component (in essence, the body’s own immune system seems to overreact and degrade healthy tissue in the cornea) which is identified in the implicated genes, simply modifying these genes is way, way, too simplistic to adopt as a treatment avenue. The current thinking is that evolution has resulted in a constant — ongoing — “experimentation” in what is the optimal aggressiveness of the immune system.

    For people like me with the condition I have, it is highly suggestive that the immune systems we have are skewed too far towards the “hit everything the moment it looks like it might be a harmful external agent” side of the scale. For example, I never get sick (or rarely). I get flu once every 10 to 15 years (I can’t remember the last time I had it) and get one common cold a year or less. Which is great. But not so great if you get corneal damage just because a few grains of pollen get into the eye. Similarly, multiple sclerosis, rheumatism, hay fever and other allergies, psoriasis and related diseases are all symptomatic of immune systems which are too clever for their own good. So simply “switching off” particular genes because they produce one sort of unintended consequence isn’t going to work because that consequence which is unintended in one way can be beneficial in others. It’s far trickier to work out what the optimal autoimmune balance should be than to merely push it in one direction or the other.

    So, generic research and gene therapy, take a bow — and add yourselves to the list of “experiements which haven’t found anything useful” list.

    1. knowbuddhau

      Very interesting, Clive, thanks for the details. Mom (or in your case, “mum” :)) has rheumatoid arthritis. So every time a joint aches (pretty much every day), I think, “Oh god, here it comes.” And every time I see her increasingly deformed hands, I get a little more infuriated with the gd neoliberal dispensation, imagining the world we could live in were it not for the trillions spent on war and Wall St..

      You might like this short Stephen Jay Gould article. Not only does he completely discount the “central dogma” of geneticists, he goes on to announce the death of reductionism.

      Human complexity cannot be generated by 30,000 genes under the old view of life embodied in what geneticists literally called (admittedly with a sense of whimsy) their ”central dogma”: DNA makes RNA makes protein — in other words, one direction of causal flow from code to message to assembly of substance, with one item of code (a gene) ultimately making one item of substance (a protein), and the congeries of proteins making a body. Those 142,000 messages no doubt exist, as they must to build our bodies’ complexity, with our previous error now exposed as the assumption that each message came from a distinct gene.

      We may envision several kinds of solutions for generating many times more messages (and proteins) than genes, and future research will target this issue. In the most reasonable and widely discussed mechanism, a single gene can make several messages because genes of multicellular organisms are not discrete strings, but composed of coding segments (exons) separated by noncoding regions (introns). The resulting signal that eventually assembles the protein consists only of exons spliced together after elimination of introns. If some exons are omitted, or if the order of splicing changes, then several distinct messages can be generated by each gene.

      The implications of this finding cascade across several realms. The commercial effects will be obvious, as so much biotechnology, including the rush to patent genes, has assumed the old view that ”fixing” an aberrant gene would cure a specific human ailment. The social meaning may finally liberate us from the simplistic and harmful idea, false for many other reasons as well, that each aspect of our being, either physical or behavioral, may be ascribed to the action of a particular gene ”for” the trait in question.

      1. diptherio

        I’ve heard lots of good things about cannabis lotions for arthritis. If you live in one of the groovy parts of the country, you might try picking some up for her.

      2. Yves Smith

        I don’t think this applies to Clive’s condition, but for RA (the most common supposed autoimmune disease), the clinical research up to WWII was on the track of investigating pathogens. One type, mycoplasma, are never tested for (your standard clinical lab can test for only three specific pulmonary mycoplasma to which HIV positive patients are vulnerable).

        After WWII, a new class of drugs were very successful at suppressing symptoms of RA and similar ailments for a few years. The “autoimmune theory was applied to them out of whole cloth with no evidentiary foundation.

        A professor and board certified rheumatologist. Thomas Brown, was frustrated that all he could do was manage symptoms as his patients. He investigated the research history and was shocked at what he found.

        He picked up on the infectious agent thread, and got good results with a protocol using tetracycline, an old, cheap, off patent antibiotic. The problem was: 1. For the first six months, patients didn’t show much net improvement, since they typically got a Herxheimer reaction (pathogen die-off) and then showed progress after that. Clinical trials seldom go beyond 8 weeks due to costs. 2. There’s no money to fund research for off patent drugs.

        But most would be symptom free after 2 years.

        My father had scelorderma. 5/6 of the people who get it are dead within a year. He was in the lucky 1/6. I found the Brown protocol late, after his first line of drugs stopped doing any good. His rheumatologist pooh-poohed the Brown theory, which slowed my father down.

        It took him and a retired MD friend 6 months to figure out how to get my father’s blood across state lines to a lab where it could be tested for mycoplasma. MD called with test results: “Your blood is swimming in it.”

        But by then, my father had irritable bowel syndrome, skin so sensitive he couldn’t sleep, ulcers in his mouth so he couldn’t eat, had lost 25% of his body weight, and was on prednisone, which makes most people miserable. He shot himself.

        1. paul

          That’s one problem with medicine, people respond quite differently to similar treatments.

          3 years ago mother literally started seizing up with what looked to me like a classic case of polymyalgia rheumatica. Prednisone was prescribed but abruptly curtailed after the blood test said no. We persisted with the GP pointing to an initial improvement (keep a diary on new medication) and the fact that symptomatically it looked like PMR, only the blood test said otherwise.
          The GP,all credit to them, agreed to give Prednisone another go and the results were pretty miraculous. She’s still fully mobile and tapered down to a maintenance dose.
          Incidentally, her night cramps disappeared after I advised her to throw the statins (routinely handed out here after 65) in the bin.

          1. Yves Smith

            I’m glad she got good results, but I have to tell you, every other person I have ever heard of who has been on prednisone has wanted to get off it as soon as possible.

            1. paul

              I agree that all medication should be carefully judged (keep a diary).
              Good faith is a great timesaver, but it can be over extended.
              Patients need to speak and doctors need to listen.

              Reminds of John Brignell’s defence of Vioxx.
              It’s certainly very dangerous for most but it worked for him

              Take it from one who knows, severe arthritic pain is absolute hell. Many sufferers were bereft when their vioxx was taken away, as more will be if the same happens to diclofenac. No ingested substance has just one effect on one part of the body: everything has side effects. Keep the clinicians informed and let them make the decisions.

              While he is/was a bit of a crusty reactionary, he didn’t strike me, when not over exercised, as anything but honest.

    2. paul

      I’d nominate brain imaging, nice expensive gear,lovely pictures for the sunday supplements.
      Clinical applications; bugger all so far.

      1. clinical wasteman

        Yes, neuroimaging and in general the reductionist-style application of neuroscience to social and psychological questions. (Most often, of course, social ones made psychological by the exquisitely question-begging means of … applying neuroscience!)
        The blogger known as ‘The Neurocritic’ — a former (or ongoing? not sure) patient turned critical expert — is has been very good — and often very funny — on this stuff for years, from a perspective slightly less skeptical than mine. []
        When no psychotheology (you know the sort of thing: “this is the part of your brain that responds to sad songs”/”…that’s larger than normal in successful drone bombers”, etc etc) is added at all, I don’t see any particular problem with neuroimaging in diagnosis/treatment of physical problems affecting the brain as organ, but nor — from admittedly limited reading on this aspect — do I know of any famous successes. It has certainly proved useless so far in helping a close friend who received a serious, electronically visible brain injury when attacked on the street (hit hard on back of head with blunt instrument) and whose “cognitive damage” has only gotten worse over several months, notwithstanding his helpless lucidity about it throughout. But perhaps there are useful applications against, say, brain tumours or physically induced motor impairment?

        1. paul

          It’s the former that fails to impress, you are this way because this part of your brain lights up on our contraption.
          Raymond Tallis is a fair critic of what he calls neuromania.
          A standard brain scan showing injury/pathology is pretty useful, like an x ray of a bone fracture.

    3. cocomaan

      Great rundown of the problems in medicine. In my neck of the woods, Lyme disease sickens many, many people each year. Yet the vaccine is not available!

      A Lyme disease vaccine is no longer available. The vaccine manufacturer discontinued production in 2002, citing insufficient consumer demand. Protection provided by this vaccine diminishes over time. Therefore, if you received the Lyme disease vaccine before 2002, you are probably no longer protected against Lyme disease.

      Why can’t someone else produce it? Probably because that company owns the IP. We have structured our IP laws in such a way as to destroy new ideas. With copyright sunsetting with lifetime + 70 years, and patent trolls ruling the process, new ideas cannot see the light of day. It is causing stagnation.

      Also, just to add to the failings of theory lately, from the banker’s banker:

      Today I would like to reflect on some ways in which the events of the past few years have revealed limits in economists’ understanding of the economy and suggest several important questions I hope the profession will try to answer. Some of these questions are not new, though recent events have made them more urgent.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Lyme disease is rampant in the east, even among city dwellers who only take rare weekend jaunts in the countryside.

        When polio was raging post WW II, a vaccine was developed and distributed as a public health service. Lyme sufferers wonder why a widespread disease that saps energy and productivity gets such low priority, when a vaccine is available to reduce its spread.

        As soon as Lymerix hit the market, I got the three-injection series because I spent a lot of time in the woods and knew I was at risk. Really frustrating that protection technology exists, is held off the market, and all the public health authorities have to say is “Let them eat DEET.

        1. DH

          Small critters like mice are key to maintain tick populations. In our area the likelihood of getting Lyme disease is the same in the city and suburbs.

      2. Vatch

        It appears that this was a victory for the anti-vaxxers. There are three canine vaccines available on the market, but nothing for Homo sapiens at this time.

        A recombinant vaccine against Lyme disease, based on the outer surface protein A (ospA) of B. burgdorferi, was developed by SmithKline Beecham. In clinical trials involving more than 10,000 people, the vaccine, called LYMErix, was found to confer protective immunity to Borrelia in 76% of adults and 100% of children with only mild or moderate and transient adverse effects.[127] LYMErix was approved on the basis of these trials by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 21, 1998.

        Following approval of the vaccine, its entry in clinical practice was slow for a variety of reasons, including its cost, which was often not reimbursed by insurance companies.[128] Subsequently, hundreds of vaccine recipients reported they had developed autoimmune side effects. Supported by some patient advocacy groups, a number of class-action lawsuits were filed against GlaxoSmithKline, alleging the vaccine had caused these health problems. These claims were investigated by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control, which found no connection between the vaccine and the autoimmune complaints.[129]

        Despite the lack of evidence that the complaints were caused by the vaccine, sales plummeted and LYMErix was withdrawn from the U.S. market by GlaxoSmithKline in February 2002,[130] in the setting of negative media coverage and fears of vaccine side effects.[129][131] The fate of LYMErix was described in the medical literature as a “cautionary tale”;[131] an editorial in Nature cited the withdrawal of LYMErix as an instance in which “unfounded public fears place pressures on vaccine developers that go beyond reasonable safety considerations.”[132] The original developer of the OspA vaccine at the Max Planck Institute told Nature: “This just shows how irrational the world can be… There was no scientific justification for the first OspA vaccine LYMErix being pulled.”[129]

        New vaccines are being researched using outer surface protein C (OspC) and glycolipoprotein as methods of immunization.[133][134] Vaccines have been formulated and approved for prevention of Lyme disease in dogs. Currently, three Lyme disease vaccines are available. LymeVax, formulated by Fort Dodge Laboratories, contains intact dead spirochetes which expose the host to the organism. Galaxy Lyme, Intervet-Schering-Plough’s vaccine, targets proteins OspC and OspA. The OspC antibodies kill any of the bacteria that have not been killed by the OspA antibodies. Canine Recombinant Lyme, formulated by Merial, generates antibodies against the OspA protein so a tick feeding on a vaccinated dog draws in blood full of anti-OspA antibodies, which kill the spirochetes in the tick’s gut before they are transmitted to the dog.[135]

        1. Portia

          pressures on vaccine developers that go beyond reasonable safety considerations.

          OK, what’s reasonable? who decides? and can your dog reliably report an issue?

          my father had an acute case of Lyme, but his doctor tested early for that possible diagnosis, and treated immediately when it was found. Awareness and quick action go a long way to avoiding problems.

      3. Bob
        There’s a good vaccine available…if you are a dog. Apparently the vaccine for people was abandoned due to “concerns about potential side effects with this vaccine like there have been with many other vaccines. It was completely unsubstantiated, but that got out in the public and that turned into a great concern.” The development of another compound to prevent lyme disease is hampered by the cost of development vs. the expected return on the effort to develop and test it.

    4. Steve H.

      Clive, this is a quarter-twist of speculation, but there are aspects of your description which coincide with what I’ve been reading lately. If it seems to fit, another quarter-twist goes to what-to-do, which would be protein intake a couple times a day. But it’s likely that if this catches your interest, you’ll do your own follow-up, which is as it should be.

      Autophagy by Fung.

    5. L

      Clive let me offer a bit of a counterargument.

      First there is an important distinction between what science and science reporting.

      Unfortunately public reporting of science is basically awful and tends to be heavily biased towards things that look good, press releases with a lot of marketing behind them, and seeming big names. This in turn lends itself to a lot of articles claiming amazing things that turn out to be nothing. In some cases there is nothing because the science is bad, in others there is nothing because what the reporter claimed was not the science at all.

      One unfortunate side effect of this is the premise that dollars are spent on nothing. Indeed this environment plays into the hands of the “cut wasteful spending” crowd who like to claim that all science is too much and who most recently claimed that we spent 3 million on a “shrimp treadmill” that actually cost 50 bucks see here and here.

      As a consequence I always take popular press claims of spending and “grand successes” with a big pile of salt as they are rarely reliable.

      Secondly, and more directly to your point, I would argue that Gene Therapy has yielded some big results, just not for your disease of concern. Tailored medicine for Cancer has been a major improvement for patients, and the more that we understand about the gene generally, the better we have done.

      Unfortunately as friends of mine who have worked in the medical area note, for many of these research projects either it works or it does not and it can be quite difficult to predict. But with each experiment we learn a great deal more about what we can and cannot do. It is true that we have been hearing about the future of genetic medicine for years now without seeing much of it, but that does not mean that we’ve made no progress, only that the great white hype exceeds the reality.

      1. Clive

        Yes, I do agree and am maybe a wee bit too harsh on all genetic research. No information is ever wasted. What I have a problem with is the constrained approach which has hitherto been the norm which is “find the gene, you cure the disease”. knowbuddhau’s excellent quote above captures in the most succinct way I’ve seen expressed how inadequate an approach this is. And I’d hate, as you say, this to be taken as carte blanche for the slash ‘n burn’ers of any-and-all government expenditure on research to justify their own equally dumb theories.

        1. L

          I think you have a strong point about the “magic gene finding” approach to this. Certainly what little I know about genetics indicates that such an approach is limited at best. On the other hand, genetic data is so densely packed and gene expression so variable that decrypting the Voynich manuscript would seem easy compared to tracking down some conditions unless they respond to single-gene therapies.

          And rest assured I did not see you as a slash and burner. I just take ALL public reporting on scientific progress, or lack thereof, as suspect.

      2. Jeotsu

        I would also characterize biology based research (especially down at the molecular level) as being much, much harder than even the folks who do it daily (as I once did) really want to admit.

        Ask an immunologist to explain how the immune system can distinguish self from non-self. When they are done, tell them to start over and explain it, without hand-waving, down to the molecular level (epitopes, etc). They can’t. Dig deep enough and it is nothing but Balrogs an other frightening aspects of our ignorance.

        I used to propose to my fellows in the protein function/structure/folding field that the problem is too challenging for the human brain to crack. (And throwing extra computer power at it does not help, due to the garbage in:garbage out quandary). This pretty much universally got an immediate very defensive denial. Of course the solution is almost at hand!

        We do need to keep working on these problems, INMSHO, but we need to be patient. We also need to completely restructure the way we fund and reward biological sciences research, as the “because markets” approach is nearly done plucking the easily harvestable fruit from the last 50 years of work, and nobody wants to “invest” in research that will no produce returns rapidly (or possibly ever, since a failure rate is expected and part of open-minded research)

        1. knowbuddhau

          >> Ask an immunologist to explain how the immune system can distinguish self from non-self.

          OMG, my favorite subject. I wish I had more time. If you really want to drive psychologists crazy (and what lover of exquisite irony doesn’t?), ask them that, or “What’s an ego?”

          IMNSHO, in psychology, it’s all about neuronal models of stimuli. But the leading researcher of that theory was Yevgeny Sokolov, who continued Pavlov’s work, and he was developing it during Cold War I. So American psychology doesn’t know a damn thing about it.

          Which, I confess, is what I know about immunology. Unlike you. Thanks for the food for thought. God I love this site.

  14. Jim Haygood

    ZA goes Zim:

    President Jacob Zuma has called on parliament to change South Africa’s constitution to allow the expropriation of white owned land without compensation.

    [Zuma’s] ANC [African National Congress] is under pressure from the radical Economic Freedom Fighters, led by Julius Malema. Mr Malema has been travelling the country urging black South Africans to take back land from white invaders and “Dutch thugs”.

    [Malema] told parliament this week that his party wanted to “unite black people in South Africa” to expropriate land without compensation. “People of South Africa, where you see a beautiful land, take it, it belongs to you,” he said.

    The Boer Afrikaner Volksraad, which claims to have 40,000 members, said its members would take land expropriation without compensation as “a declaration of war”.

    “We are ready to fight back,” said Andries Breytenbach, the group’s chairman. “We need urgent mediation between us and the government. “If this starts, it will turn into a racial war which we want to prevent.”

    After a couple of decades of seizing white-owned farms, neighbouring Zimbabwe’s formal economy has collapsed to the point that 95 percent of employment is off the books.

    From the widely-admired Nelson Mandela to the thuggery and corruption of Jacob Zuma didn’t take long. If South Africa goes down the Mugabe road of race-based expropriation, Africa’s most successful economy will go dark.

    1. paul

      I always thought pre destruction libya was Africa’s most successful economy.
      Don’t remember SA launching any pan afican communication satellites (2007)

      1. human

        Yes. Libya was destroyed by the 21st century colonialists.

        If South Africa goes down the Mugabe road of race-based expropriation, Africa’s most successful economy will go dark for western colonialists/global capitalists. Fixed it for ya, Jim.

    2. David

      The Telegraph (the Torygraph as we used to call it lovingly) is not usually a reliable guide to what’s going on in countries run by people with black faces. I defer to any readers from SA (I think we have a few) but this has been coming for some time. The bargain in 1994 was that the whites would hand over political power but keep control of much of the economy. This was probably inevitable (and was defended by ANC people I knew then) but almost by definition it can’t last forever. The SA economy is still largely white owned, and more importantly much of the land is still in white hands. This is partly historical (colonialism) but partly also the result of the apartheid years when blacks were systematically driven off the best land. So land reform has been a bomb waiting to explode for some time now; That said, Malema has been making wild noises for years now, and has had little or no actual effect on government policy. There’s also a very serious move to unseat Zuma. Oh, and the SA Constitution would require a two-thirds majority to change the Constitution, which the ANC don’t have, even if they all voted that way.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Also the ANC after 1994 came around to embracing privatization and global neoliberalism and has become, in addition to a magnet for corruption, a relatively traditional center-left party (at least on the big economic issues). Now facing populist revolt and attack from the left, the totally corrupt Zuma is raising the stakes. Ramaphosa (smart but no longer radical) and allies need to find a way to move him aside.

          1. clinical wasteman

            The economy there probably already looks fairly ‘dark’ from townships, even worse from the shacks on the outskirts of Durban and worse still from the remains of the shacks after the government bulldozers come.
            Despite all the outside pressure/blackmail they faced at the time, there’s at least a case to be made that both Mugabe and Mandela/Mbeki made a big mistake in failing to work coherently from the outset on a massive medium-term land-redistribution plan. When Mugabe did nothing for decades then abruptly acted all at once, Zimbabwe was effectively left with a bunch of latifundia minus the latifundistas. And if Zuma were to do it with rural land now it might not do much for the urban and semi-urban very poor, i.e. the largest single group of all those living on fairly typical Southern African incomes within sight of the gated enclaves of white (and now ‘Empowered’ black elite) Australian-type wealth. (Although perhaps what he has in mind is reshuffling economic and ethnic hierarchies/antagonisms among the poor, encouraging them to fight each other and thereby taking some pressure off the ANC?)
            Anyway, Zuma has incredible gall in even suggesting this, given the years of systematic and violent attacks by the state on the shack-dwellers/squatters movement. (See: []; please note, these ‘red shirts’ have nothing to do with Malema’s.)
            And sad though it is to say, “no longer radical” is putting it mildly concerning Ramaphosa, who is now a multi-millionaire Lonmin shareholder notorious for personally demanding the “concomitant action” against striking miners, i.e. the Marikana massacre of 2012.

    3. River

      It’ll be worse. You have a few people who follow a “Year Zero” philosophy and will get rid of everything Western. There’s a student in youtube video arguing that Western science should be “de-colonized” and re-discovered as no one knows what is true, and things like shamans conjuring lightning bolts is true.

      Seriously, this was a debate, one student off camera burst out laughing and was immediately scolded and forced to apologize.

      The video was from a South African university.

      1. Massinissa

        Sorry, but links or it didn’t happen. Sounds too much like a rumor from facebook or something.

    1. John Wright

      I am surprised the USA is, seemingly, unconcerned about a hacker gap with Russia.

      If the financial incentives are there, the equipment and access to the internet are available, then why do we not hear about USA based hackers?

      Some USA hackers must have some time on their hands to pursue this lucrative opportunity.

      I can’t believe it is due to a sense of fairness or decency when there is apparent hush money available.

      Is the “Russia hacks better than the USA” the real story behind this story?

      One can remember that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak “hacked” the phone system, and made some spending money, with their audio tone blue box in their early days.

      What caused the disappearance of American hackers?

      First the USA had the “space gap”, then the “missile gap” and now the “hacker gap” all with the formidable Russians.

      Frightening times indeed.

      1. Ranger Rick

        The DMCA caused the disappearance of American hackers. Presently it is illegal to do just about anything you can name using electronics because despite “reverse-engineering to ensure interoperability” being an explicitly called-out exemption the path to actually making anything useful is full of copyright legal landmines.

  15. tgs

    The Russian election hack: bullshit

    Excellent overview and reminder that not only is there no conclusive evidence, the story barely makes sense. But as CJ Hopkins put it in an excellent article on Counterpunch:

    The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an “official narrative” that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point. The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between “the truth” as defined by the ruling classes and any other “truth” that contradicts their narrative.

    Why Ridiculous Official Propaganda Still Works

    That is indeed what has happened. The Russians hacked our democracy is now part of the official narrative and is the basis for all the other mainstream anti-Russian hysteria.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Well, eventually the DNC and FBI do get it together, and at the end of April, seven months after the original contact, the committee’s network tech installs proper monitoring software. As a result, they find not one but two penetrations and that a remote user has administrator privileges. In other words, they hadn’t just been hacked, they had been completely owned.

      So CrowdStrike, a private security firm comes in, says yeah, looks like the Russians, and finally gets rid of them in the middle of June. To do so they have to nuke the entire network and all the computers, i.e., takes it all off line and replace or reinstall everything.
      There is in science a principle known as Occam’s razor: the simplest explanation is usually the right one. Massive document leaks are typically the work of lone wolf insiders, like Daniel Ellsberg with the Pentagon Papers, Chelsea Manning with the State Department cables, and Edward Snowden with the NSA files.

      Two other things happened shortly after CrowdStrike’s “revelation” of Russian involvement in mid-June–the clinton / lynch tarmac meeting at the end of June, and Seth Rich’s murder on July 10. This in addition to the two requests for fisa warrants, in which lynch’s justice department would have been involved, in June and July.

      As the nyt helpfully explained in January, ” In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections,” and as it has recently reminded us, the obama administration spread all the Russian goo it found around in an attempt to “preserve” the “intelligence” for the record.

      And, in a oldie but goodie, here is a reminder about the concept of “parallel construction”:

      The government is “laundering” information gained through mass surveillance through other agencies, with an agreement that the agencies will “recreate” the evidence in a “parallel construction” … so they don’t have to admit that the evidence came from unconstitutional spying.

      The whole thing stinks to high heaven.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Philosophy professors would argue that the simplest explanation is Occam’s Razor is a principle in logic, not science.

    2. peter

      Thanks for the link. Enjoyed reading it. I must say, though, that I’m shocked by the number of people who actually ‘believe’ the propaganda despite, according to the article, the substance of the Russia hysteria being ‘beyond ridiculous’ and despite the fact it’s almost impossible for liberals to really believe the propaganda in this case.
      I regularly visit the Guardian’s ‘Comment Is Free (CIF) sections and most commenters there truly believe the propaganda. I can’t really fathom it, but it’s undeniable. Of course the Guardian is not any more what it used to be and has become more mainstream, but I think that’s exactly the point. The majority of mainstream readers believe in this nonsense.

      1. Anonymous2

        I am afraid it is well established that if something is repeated often enough a significant proportion of the population will believe it on the grounds it must be true or people would not keep repeating it.

        Provided it is not too ridiculous of course.

        1. Vatch

          Provided it is not too ridiculous of course.

          Oh, I wish that were true!

          * Jonah was swallowed by a giant fish, and after 3 days the fish regurgitated Jonah, who hadn’t suffocated or been digested.
          * Jesus walked on liquid water.
          * Muhammad rode a flying horse to Jerusalem.

          These are just the tip of the iceberg.

          1. peter

            “Oh, I wish that were true!”

            Exactly. I remember how upset I was during the buildup towards the war in Iraq.

            USAToday poll 2003:
            Saddam Husain had something to do with 9/11: Yes – 70, No – 30

            Any slightly intelligent non mainstream media consumer knew it was a load of bullocks, but this is what the average American had to believe.

            Then I saw the following poll one day.
            I made a note of it at the time.
            (USA today / Gallup 2007):

            Creationism, that is, the idea that God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years

            Total true: 66%
            Total false: 31%
            dunno: 3%

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              How will Americans respond to this one:

              Is the Homo Sapiens sapient?

              Just because we repeat the term, Homo Sapiens, everyday, does it make it true that we are sapient?

          2. knowbuddhau

            Yes, it’s ridiculous to take metaphors literally, isn’t it? Your examples are of degenerate forms of mythological metaphors. Instructively similar to political propaganda, but not the same.

            One similarity lies in the way they become tests of faith/anti-faith. Disputing Russophobia among liberals is like self-excommunicating.

            How does propaganda work? How does it relate to mythology? I think they both rely on the power of narratives and metaphors to move people beyond logic and rational analysis. The scariest thing to me about Russophobia’s hold on so many is how our political discourse has devolved into cultishness.

            People are using the recitation of the “facts” as ritualized markers of group identity, utterly devoid of any grounding in actual evidence. And effectively casting spells to bring about coups and wars and all manner of horrors.

            With regard to your specific examples, the mistake here lies in applying the rules of prose to poetic metaphors. Both the people who believe they are meant as facts, and believe them, and the people who ridicule said beliefs because they obviously can’t be true, make the same mistake.

            Is there a direct analogy in this to the Russophobia case? I’m not sure. I’ve written way too long already.

            Propaganda’s power, I believe, comes in part from being couched in forms that do indeed trigger responses in us two-legged voting machines, ever so easily hacked.

            When we watch movies, do we apply the same rigorous factual standard as when conducting a scientific experiment? Different orders of truth, right?

            The language of mythology is metaphorical. Reading the bible, or any mythological text, as if it were a newspaper, whether to confirm or refute, entirely misses the point.

            An important distinction to keep in mind is between folk ideas and elementary ideas (Bastian’s Elementargedanke and Völkergedanken ). Folk ideas are highly specific to time and place, and speak to a specific people. Taking them out of context reduces them to absurdities. The great tragedy is that absurdities then get pedestalized and become tests of faith or buffoonery to lampoon, while the meaning in the message gets completely overlooked.

            After all, we all believe silly things. I used to believe in an absolute self/other divide.

            It ain’t there. It’s made up. To my knowledge, other Buddhists don’t point and life at people who still believe in it. Wouldn’t be compassionate. Except maybe if you’re doing it as an upaya , a skillful means of instructing? Could be a loophole.

            I will say this: The propaganda is working when we’re dividing and conquering ourselves.

            The important point is one Lambert has made recently: pointing and laughing gets us nowhere. In the face of all this weaponized bullsh!t, and the resulting mass delusion, we need to keep our eyes on the Elementargedanke.

            Keep the faith!

            1. Vatch

              Millions of fundamentalists believe in the literal truth of the fables I listed. They also believe in the young Earth fantasy that Peter discussed. Such people train their children from an early age to believe falsehoods, and they are not training them to recognize metaphors. So we end up with millions who believed that the Iraqis were responsible for 9/11 and were preparing to use weapons of mass destruction against us. As Voltaire said:

              Certainly any one who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.

          3. wilroncanada

            Jonah and the whale is proof you can’t keep a good man down.
            Once made this comment in church!

    3. Ignim Brites

      “The Russians hacked our democracy is now part of the official narrative and is the basis for all the other mainstream anti-Russian hysteria.” It is not yet so much an official narrative that any Democratic member of Congress will (yet) call for a declaration of war against Russia.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Trump is said to be simultaneously the worst possible war-monger (Pentagon budget) and a highly dangerous peacenik (Russia).

        Kind of like Dems being “progressive” and “corporo-fascist” at the same time.

        Quantum politics?

  16. Portia

    James Brennan, thank you.

    There’s a “bounty on pictures of my daughter,” Brennan told Marine Corps Times. “It has been suggested that my wife should be raped as a result of this, and people are openly suggesting I should be killed. … Can you imagine being one of the victims?”

    The story was “exhaustively researched,” he added, noting that the Defense Department is conducting an investigation “to ensure the victims receive justice” and no one else falls prey.

    1. EGrise

      Good grief. So much for the honor of the Corps.

      It seems like so-called “social media” corrupts everything it touches.

      1. Portia

        sunlight disinfects, hopefully in this case. somehow I don’t think it’s the fault of “social media”

        1. EGrise

          Here’s hoping the sunshine will indeed disinfect all this.

          Regarding social media: agreed, and my half-thought-out response wasn’t intended to place blame on social media in and of itself. Rather, I was thinking that if it were not for access to such media this wouldn’t have happened in the first place.

          But then I read the article(s) at length, and discovered that social media ultimately led to the exposure of the photos: originally the photo collections were kept on thumb drives and circulated manually, it appears that it wasn’t until collections started to show up on the the Facebook group that Brennan found out.

          So I was wrong to blame social media. Still, I’m disappointed in the individual Marines, members of a branch with a strict code of honor and pride in (and generally protective of) its reputation.

    1. Lee

      A comment on the article with which I agree. Am I missing something?

      JHU Trustee • 5 hours ago
      We are definitely living in the world of Alice Through the Looking Glass when a law such as ADA is enforced in such a way that those not suffering from disabilities are denied access as opposed to seeking ways to allow the disabled to secure access. Based on this logic, if a ship is sinking and not all passengers and crew can fit in the lifeboats, we should drill holes in all of the lifeboats so all will be equal.

    2. Musicismath

      Looks like a basic cost-cutting/privatisation of the commons move to me. Captioning and transcribing all of the existing content will be prohibitively expensive. Taking it offline, though, enables the university to comply with the order while also giving it the opportunity to severely cut back its free content provision, which can be replaced with MOOCs and other subscription-based or paid-content options. All in the name of anti-discrimination.

  17. Vatch

    DNC has No Plans to Publicly Post Officer Election ‘Roll Call’ Tally Progressive Army

    Remember when the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was in the final stages of being negotiated, and members of Congress had to go to a private room to see the draft of the document? They weren’t allowed to make copies of it, and they had to be accompanied by a chaperone.

    1. Oregoncharles

      The real scandal about that was the Congresspeople went along with it. Remember, they have absolute immunity for anything they do in their official capacity. Any ONE of them could have gone into that room, scooped up the documents, and read them into the Congressional Record. What’s the escort going to do – tackle a Congress member? But they didn’t.

      The same thing was true of the torture report – which belonged to Congress. Again, any ONE member could have published it. Not one had the nerve. I even asked Wyden about that, since he was making a fuss; he replied that he thought it was more important to remain on the committee. IOW, he was chicken family blog. In reality, he was posturing but not willing to pay the slightest price (he’s a slime.)

      Why bother to run for Congress, if you refuse to use its powers?

  18. EGrise

    For the record, I don’t think even Donna Brazile would be stupid or corrupt enough […]

    Now that is a low bar.

  19. Isolato

    Hey, I’m getting in a deHavilland Beaver today, in production from 1947-1965. Sturdy, reliable workhorse seaplane of the PNW. Eat that 172!

  20. tommy strange

    The Fabius post….Interesting for the graphs mostly. His/Her idea of the ‘left’ here is the usual infantile american view that anyone ‘left of fox news’ is left, rather than liberal bourgeoisie managerial class, etc….rather than a real anti capitalist left. To be blunt: ‘liberals’ did not do seattle 1999 or Occupy…..or mostly black lives matter….etc..
    Still. the one showing upper class skyrocketing up to ‘authoritarian government’ is of interest. Not that I hold polls to be some standard, but you know….. REAL fascism comes when you get most of of the upper middle class and the upper class (of course) in favor. Then we are all toast. The catch 22 of this, is that a real militant outside the party system ‘bottom up left’ is exactly what we need now, must have now, but it would also spark the upper middle and upper class to go full bore with authoritarianism to ‘restore’ order. ..

    1. shargash

      I thought the Fabius post was bizarre in its attribution of the problem. We are weak. We’ve lost trust in our government. We are ready to vote for a strongman. It is all our fault.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      We’ve had American style fascism for decades now. Abolishing elections and the appearance of courts and free speech are too ingrained on the American identity to be replaced. Goering and Himmler simply don’t like each other and want the rewards for themselves, and since there Isn’t an obvious enemy, there is no single purpose to drive the state. The Team Blue types have picked Russia as a threat with agents everywhere but simultaneously a Yakov Smirnov routine. David Brock whined he couldnt compete with the army of twitter trolls arrayed against him. The Republicans are divided over Muslim extremism, minorities, Muslims, women, etc, but their enemies are simultaneously all powerful and weak. Spectacle has replaced substance.

      The mistake is the belief that fascism will be an obvious boot stomping on the face of humanity. The people who wear the boots don’t look where they walk. Many of them will smile while they do it.

  21. Benedict@Large

    Just curious. With all this bru-ha-ha about Trump and wiretaps and the Left saying “no way”, why is the left always phrasing their responses as if the operating assumption is that our intel agencies always operate within the law and in observance of chain of command?

    Just curious. Since we all now “know” that Trump’s people were having off-the-record meetings with Putin’s people, why do we then insist Trump was not being wiretapped? Doesn’t that suggest the incompetence of the people who reported to Obama who are supposed to watch out for such things?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I believe even Schumer and Pelosi were seen together with Russian officials. That would make the incompetence complete, for failing to monitor or wiretap them as well.

      1. Buttinsky

        I don’t believe for one second that Schumer and Pelosi aren’t monitored like everyone else. After all, it was Schumer himself who warned Trump that the Intelligence Community has a million ways of getting back at anybody who crosses them. That takes constant “vigilance.”

    2. barrisj

      Re: Trump was “wiretapped”…all of DC’s great and good are weighing in against the Donald’s claims…I clicked on a link that began: “Former DNI Director James Clapper categorically denied…”, and this is where I stopped reading. Nuff said.

  22. Antifa

    To solve the invasive Asian carp problem in Michigan, simply pipe some of that lead-laced water from Flint to wherever the carp are advancing.

    Within six months, these fish will be so “intellectually-challenged” that they won’t be able to find the Great Lakes, or even tell upstream from downstream.

    Lead poisoning is forever.

  23. Paid Minion

    Corrections to the “60 years” link

    The “regulation” that stopped production of the C172 (and all the other Cessna singles) was the then current “product liability” laws.

    Production of the 172 moved to a new plant in Independence, Kansas when production restarted in 1995

    Another aircraft “in production” for 60 years is the C-130 Hercules

    1. shargash

      I no longer have much contact with private aviation, but back when I did I remember old timers grousing that the only reason we were stuck with the 172 for so long was that no private aviation corporations wanted to deal with the product liability of developing new planes. The technology exists (and has existed for a long time) to build better planes.

      That’s not to take anything away from the 172. It was a great plane for its day.

  24. Stormcrow

    Not sure what you mean by “the Left” here. Seems to be another example of confusing mere “liberals” with the Left. The actual Left makes no such assumption as you attribute to it. Same problem with your use of “we” in the second paragraph. But perhaps you mean it ironically. Can’t tell.

    William Binney, who ought to know, suggests, according to a summary of his views, that “Trump’s phones were bugged by the NSA without a warrant – remember, top NSA whistleblowers have previously explained that the NSA is spying on virtually all of the digital communications of Americans. – and the NSA shared the raw data with the CIA, FBI and other agencies.”

    Like Binney, wikileaks thinks Trump’s concerns may be justified.

    Clapper said over the weekend that he sees no evidence of Russian interference making any difference in the presidential election.

    Scott Horton on Democracy Now said today that he expects the Russian factor will bring down the Trump administration.
    (Transcript not up yet, but will be soon.)

    Others are thinking, or hoping, that Trump will bring Obama and Clinton down. Not likely, but Trump is so erratic and outrageous, bordering on bonkers, I think, that there may actually be method to his madness, at least unwittingly.

      1. Stormcrow

        Not sure what you mean by “the post.” I was responding to Benedict@Large 12:07pm, where, as you will see, these terms are used. Unfortunately I neglected to place my comment under Reply to that post. Thanks for taking me out of moderation, but by the time my comment was posted, the reference I intended was not clear.

        In another development we have this comment today from Joanne Leon, who also rerpresents the actual Left.
        “Not only do we not have real evidence of Russian hacking we have witness (Craig Murray) saying DNC was an insider leak.” This point is widely overlooked among liberal or neo-liberal MSM sympathizers.

    1. Katharine

      Were you by any chance trying to reply to Benedict@Large? I was totally at sea till I searched the page for “the Left” and found it only in his comment and yours.

  25. JohnnyGL

    Yes, it’s early, but since the Dems are being quite clear about their unwillingness to change anything, it’ll still be relevant in a few years’ time.

    The scenario at the end where Dems can recreate the Repubs’ problem from the primary season could absolutely happen. If several establishment candidates split the establishment vote and there’s a rebel, berniecrat candidate who is leading with a plurality, but not a majority, the Dems would possibly be in a position where they’d either 1) go with a berniecrat who didn’t win a majority or 2) take away the nomination from the person with the most delegates by combining the delegate totals of a few establishment candidates to agree on one establishment candidate to carry the flag.

    It’ll prob be the 2) because the establishment makes their decisions ahead of time and then looks to the electorate to endorse afterwards.

  26. SpringTexan

    The “Lower Ed” discussion — about the subsidy of for-profit education through federally-guaranteed loans — is really terrific . . . I rarely have heard a discussion so focused on root causes but in an accessible way. Can’t recommend too highly.

    The “Lower Ed” author really understands the role of worker desperation in making the whole exploitation system work . . . and that something else IS possible despite the fact that as the interviewer points out, in the current situation the actual solutions are not considered “politically feasible.”

    She has the Sanders’ knack of not letting the interviewer distract from really talking about the important stuff that matters.

  27. Stormcrow

    The question of whether Obama (or his surrogagtes) spied on Trump seems an important one.

    Mark Levin, the apparent source of Trump’s Saturday morning outrage, seems to be almost as intemperate as Trump himself. I don’t think he has made a compelling case, but nevertheless it is a strong prima facie case. The problem is not just the (alleged) spying, but also and perhaps all the more, the illegal (and highly selective, suspiciously timed) intelligence leaks.

    Levin has now posted an interesting timeline. I think he is right that a genuine invesgitation is needed. But can our system as currently constituted, or perhas better, compromised, really come up with one?

    1. human

      This is just more distraction. That he, as a person of interest, was “spied” upon is a given.

      The question is, “Who got to see the product?” As POTUS he should be able to readily find the answer. Hence the faction friction.

    2. integer

      From Col. Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis:

      I am told that Clapper and Brennan avoided relying on a FISA warrant by going to the British equivalent of NSA (GCHQ) and suggesting that they search their records for information that could be used against Trump and company. The British could collect against this target as a “foreign intelligence operation” without an American warrant and the information could be passed back to the conspirators where it could be spread across the US government ensuring that there would be leaks. pl

      1. integer

        FYI scroll to the bottom of the comments section from the above link to see the above quoted comment from Col. Lang (turcopolier).

  28. UserFriendly

    Do Consumers Rely More Heavily on Credit Cards While Unemployed? Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. (No.) From 2016, but interesting data.


    1) Respondents who were unemployed at some point during the sample
    period are demographically distinct from the average respondent: they are significantly younger, have lower incomes, are less likely to be married, and are less likely to be white; 2) Respondents who were unemployed at some point during the sample period adopted a different set of payment instruments than the average respondent: they were significantly less likely to have had a bank account and significantly less likely to have had a credit card;

    Shockingly, people who don’t have credit cards don’t go into credit card debt when they lose their jobs. I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that you can’t get a credit card without listing your job on the application.

    Doubly shocked that my generation is once again so completely screwed financially.

  29. Oregoncharles

    From “Do You Feel Lucky? Econbrowser. On Trump’s trade policies.” –
    The graph (possibly inflated a bit by Goldman Sucks, for alarmist purposes) indicates a MAXIMUM penalty of $500 billion. That’s really a lot of money; but how does it compare to the overall economy? Is it enough to cause a recession, especially if qualified by production moving onshore?

    Personally, I think a 20% tax on imports is both excessive and most unlikely to get through Congres. It makes sense to encourage self-reliance with a basic import tax; it used to be 10%, with exceptions for materials (like tea!) not produced here. That’s enough to give domestic producers an advantage, but not prohibitive. A penalty for offshoring companies is different, very selective, and is shown with a much smaller impact. It it wasn’t retroactive, it would be very little used – it’s a preventive measure.

    Remember, the WTO is the foundation of Corporate Globalization; it’s something we’re against – the Battle of Seattle is what got me into politics. Forcing a complete revisit of that agreement would be a good thing, one of the few Trump is likely to do. Not that his administration has the administrative capacity to do it right, but a little chaos might be worthwhile. It would certainly discourage off-shoring, which is trickier than it sounds. There’ve been companies, like Tecumseh-Sherman, that went broke trying.

  30. Oregoncharles

    “Not all Vanity Fair writers are has-beens phoning in brand fumes.”

    I think this is wrong about Wolcott’s piece. It’s certainly brand fumes, but it isn’t phoned in. Au contraire, it’s a full-court press, an extremely strenuous exercise in rear-end-licking. He earned a lot of points with that one, which is why Yves felt the need to write a passionate defense against it, which I hope has been submitted to other publications so more than us fans see it.

  31. DH

    Re: When Factory Jobs Vanish, Men Become Less Desirable Partners

    As the father of several millennial daughters, my observation is that dogs and horses win out in comparison to the available men. Young college-educated women can get good jobs that pay over the median income so they are not reliant on a “provider”. They generally deal with enough chest-thumpers at work – so are generally not looking for it at home as well. Spending time in their off-hours with a dog or horse is far preferable.

  32. Jen

    DNC Chair ballots round 1 and round 2 according r/Sanders for President, courtesy of Ray Buckley of NH.

    Round 1

    Round 2

    Makes me a bit happier about the state of the D party in NH if true

  33. wilroncanada

    Re the article on fraud linked to Israel:

    CBC-RadioCanada had a story late last week on the binary options scam targetting Canadian investors. The locus has been, apparently, Israel.

  34. wilroncanada

    Re: the Seattle Times article on the drop in tourism:

    One of the school boards in Victoria has put on the hold planning for any student trips to the US. Those trips already planned and paid for are being allowed to go ahead tentatively, depending on the individual schools or parent advisory groups. Some classes scheduled to tour may include Syrian refugees, so the option to cancel is available to those trips also if prepaid expenses can be recouped.

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