Links 4/14/17

Cassini finds molecular hydrogen in the Enceladus plume: Evidence for hydrothermal processes Science

Legendary Climate Scientist Likes a GOP Proposal on Global Warming Scientific American. James Hansen prefers “carbon fee and dividend” to regulation.

KPMG scandal highlights problem of auditing’s revolving door FT

Uber may face $1 million fine over California drunken-driving complaints Reuters

Uber’s self-driving plans hit legal roadblock FT

The IRS took millions from innocent people because of how they managed their bank accounts, inspector general finds WaPo (Furzy Mouse). Between Wells Fargo and the IRS, it looks like the only safe place for your money is a coffee can buried in the back yard. That should boost the economy!

Tiny, family-run newspaper wins Pulitzer Prize for taking on big business Poynter Institute. Well worth a read for Iowa’s complexity.

Corporations and Human Life The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation

Navy SEAL drug use “staggering,” investigation finds CBS. More deaths from despair…

New Cold War


Pompeo Likens Wikileaks’ Release of CIA’s Hacking Tools to Philip Agee emptywheel. Read to the end, which is more interesting than the headline.

CIA chief calls WikiLeaks ‘non-state hostile intelligence service’ LA Times

Will Russiagate Become Obamagate? Philip Giraldi, The American Conservative

British spies were first to spot Trump team’s links with Russia Guardian


US Drops Most Powerful Non-Nuclear Bomb in Afghanistan

MOAB, the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used by the US military, explained VOX (DK).

* * *

Erdogan and opposition play last cards before vote Al Jazeera

* * *

Erdogan and Putin back investigation into Syria chemical attack Reuters. Here’s the Russian readout.

Lavrov says Russia, U.S. agree U.S. strikes on Syria should not be repeated: Interfax Reuters

Chuck Spinney explains why both parties love the Syria poison gas story Fabius Maximus

Don’t Start a New Cold War Over Syria The American Conservative. The view from Cato.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon promises ‘no Red Army tanks’ in France if he wins presidency after spectacular late surge Telegraph

The French Election’s Only Sure Thing Is Gridlock in Parliament Bloomberg

North Korea?

U.S. May Launch Strike If North Korea Reaches For Nuclear Trigger NBC. Source: “[M]ultiple senior U.S. intelligence officials.” Nine?

(LEAD) Speculation lingers over Chinese envoy’s trip to N.K. Yon Hap News

China is suddenly leaning on North Korea — and it might be thanks to Trump WaPo

Vice President Pence heads to Seoul as North Korea tensions flare Reuters

* * *

Xi swayed Trump on North Korea, but who has Chinese president’s ear on crisis? South China Morning Post

China Experts See Low Chance of Korea Fighting Bloomberg

The Case for Engaging North Korea The Diplomat

It’s Time for America to Cut South Korea Loose Foreign Policy

Let’s stop calling North Korea ‘crazy’ and understand their motives Guardian

Noodles, Not Nukes: Many in South Korea Ignore Tensions US News


Can the US Be Reassured by China’s Quiet Compliance With Court Ruling at Scarborough Shoal? The Diplomat

China’s Trillion-Dollar Yuan Defense Puts Growth at Risk WSJ and The ‘Trilemma’ According to China’s Central Bank WSJ

Trump Transition

What’s really behind Donald Trump’s flip-flops WaPo

McConnell: Trump ‘learning the job’ The Hill. With friends like these…

The astonishing reinvention of Donald Trump Edward Luce, FT. Everything is a trade…

The first 100 days don’t matter. For Trump, they matter even less. Matt Bai, Yahoo News

The Brilliant Incoherence of Trump’s Foreign Policy The Atlantic

Trump’s base turns on him Politico

The Democratic party is undermining Bernie Sanders-style candidates Guardian. Film at 11. For those of you who like podcasts, “This is Hell!” has a fine interview with a suitably gobsmacked Thomas Frank, who concludes:

The Democratic Party represents a class. It is a class party, and they act on that class’s behalf and they act in that class’s interests and they serve that class. And they have adopted all the tastes and manners and ideology… It’s just that class is not the working class. It’s not the middle class. It’s the professional class – affluent, white-collar elites. They can’t see what they’re doing. This is invisible to them, because it’s who they are.

Health Care

Trump’s threat prompts Democrats to play hardball over Obamacare payments WaPo. So the Democrats are “fighting” to make sure heatlh insurers get paid. But #MedicareForAll? “Never, ever.”

Looking To The Future Of The US Military Health System Health Affairs. Paper (PDF) Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC). Lots of red flags, including partial funding from the austerity mavens at the Peterson Foundation, and the committee personnel (Panetta, Shalala, Domenici), as well as policy nudges toward privatization.

White House finalizes ACA rule to strengthen individual market Modern Healthcare. Worse but not as bad as insurers would like it to be.

United Removal Fiasco

United offers to compensate passengers on Flight 3411 CNN. Original email to passengers offered a voucher in exchange for “releasing” United from lawsuits. United later walked this back.

United apologizes — again — after attorney describes dragged passenger’s injuries LA Times. A lawyer for passenger Dao, “[Tom] Demetrio had a hand in winning several large settlements over the years, including a $1-billion class action settlement of concussion litigation against the NFL and NHL.” More on the same press conference from the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Towards Democratic Regulation of the Airline Industry Matt Stoller, Medium

Boycotting United Will Never Work. Here’s Why Bloomberg. Stoller a source.

Quick thoughts about airline economics Interfluidity (IDontKnow). Must-read, after reading Stoller

This economist had the simple solution to United’s debacle — in 1968 MarketWatch. Breaking up the airline monopolies is simple, too. At least conceptually…

Class Warfare

‘Thought Leaders’ and the Plutocrats Who Love Them The Nation (Furzy Mouse).

Workers Find Winning a Wage Judgment Can Be an Empty Victory NYT

New Night Lights Maps Open Up Possible Real-Time Applications NASA (GF). Spectacular. Includes this video (sadly, captioned, but still lovely):

Careful with it, mkay?

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. bwilli123

    “Professor Emeritus Theodore A. Postol has produced an addendum to his original critique of the flawed and deceptive propaganda churned out by the Trump White House and presented as if it was intelligence. If you take time to read Professor Postol’s thoughtful analysis, the fraud being perpetrated by the Trump team will become quite clear. Theodore Postol is Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is not some arm chair quarterback lacking in experience and judgment.
    Let me give you the bottomline from his analysis–there is no credible evidence that the Government of Syria launched an aerial chemical weapons attack with Sarin on the people of Khan Shaykhun, Syria:

    First, nobody from the United States or Western Europe has been at the scene to collect forensic evidence because the area is under the control of radical jihadists (and that is a point originally raised by Pat Lang).
    Second, the photographic evidence the Trump White House has relied on to reach its conclusion that the Government of Syria was responsible for a sarin gas attack show clear signs of evidence tampering.Third, the device the Trump Administration points to as the culprit for the release of the alleged sarin is an artillery rocket that is not dropped from a plane.”–1.html#more

    1. craazyboy

      Adobe has a new release pending for Photoshop. It has a new menu item named, “Sarin Gas Analysis[Or some such chemically gaseous similar thing – see your terms of Adobe Service Agreement].

      The release has been delayed due to heated arguments among the Adobe programming staff over the correct wording of the menu item. Management has decided to send the issue to Focus Group for binding arbitration. Focus Group has queue’d it up next after they are all done exploring their feelings about hippie punching Asian doctors on airline flights. They also define hippie punching as – a very powerful sucker punch to the face resulting in a(?) broken nose and missing teeth plus Unconsciousness [ Unwokeness is a synonym, now, and morely PC.] and some blood.

      The code will be re-written one the programming staff has a clue. Customers are advised [per you favorite fake news outlet and also Adobe Face Book Page] not to believe anything until the new release, and any necessary forthcoming patches to the new release, are successfully installed, even if you do get a “registry error”, or the dreaded, “Oopsie, we bricked the processor” error, and your computing device is rendered inoperable.

  2. Marco

    So Bannon is out…and he will be quite harmless resuming his perch at Breitbart? A more thoughtful analysis could conclude that his campaign function was merely to bamboozle his alt-right media minions.

      1. a different chris

        Yes I don’t know where Marco got that either, and one story (Salon) was only 56 minutes old when I clicked on it.

        1. MoiAussie

          Thanks for that. Trompe doesn’t seem particularly inclined to take advice from anyone except family members.

          1. craazyboy

            He is busy, and travels to NYC and FL a lot. I’d hope someone has a pixel editor and modifies the Walmart Smiley Face Emoticon to have some blonde hair – and a comb over. This could be used as an email urgency level emoticon – this being the highest emergency level, of course.

            Hillary needs one too. But it will take the DNC and Media Megaphone two years to design it and it will only render on 129 bit operating system computing devices with the optional tri-red-state logic hardware. It does come with a free AI chess program.

              1. craazyboy

                Of the 17 intelligence agency moves, only 6 agency movements are visible on the board. The chessboard uses proven Magic 8 Ball and Ouija Device display simulation technology – plus audio enhancements – It can say, “Warning [Will Robinson] the Axis of Evil is about to do something terrifying….”

                For a fair price, CrowdStrike will install a macro capable of substituting the “Donald Trump” brand for the generic “Will Robinson” placeholder. Comes with a free keyboard logger. This may clear up any copy write infringement issues. Please check with your legal staff. See the privacy disclosure for some completely made up BS details.

                A 6 month subscription is offered at a awesomely discounted price, if you suspect you may need to do name substitutions in the not too distant future.

        2. nothing but the truth

          (((kushner))) and (((cohn))) team gets rid of Bannon.

          Syria fake flag and bombing soon after.

  3. Tenar

    Re Jean-Luc Mélenchon promises ‘no Red Army tanks’ in France if he wins presidency after spectacular late surge

    The French elections have really heated up since the polls began to show slight declines for Macron and Le Pen and a spectacular increase for Mélenchon after his two impressive debate performances. Late last week the surprise regarding Mélenchon’s increasing popularity was markedly visible in the headlines of Le Monde, Le Figaro, L’Obs, Libération, etc. Surprise quickly turned to hysteria once it became clear that Mélenchon might make it to the second round (Le Figaro referred to him as Maximilien Ilitch Mélenchon – references to Robespierre and Lenin…).

    It’s now being reported in Le Monde that Macron’s campaign team is concerned that their candidate won’t make it into the second round. This backs up an exchange I had with someone who’s partner works on Macron’s communications team – they also indicated that, in the last week or so, Macron campaign staff is increasingly nervous that he won’t make it to the second round. I’ve been wondering if Macron’s decline is in part due to his lackluster debate performances. Similar to the US presidential debates when the media proudly declared HRC the “clear winner”, the French press, for the most part, gushed over Macron’s performance, but after watching the first debate I was struck by his lack of charisma (he seemed nervous), the vacuity of his talking points (he spoke at length, but said nothing) and the fact that he repeatedly veered off topic into subjects that left him wide open for attack (in his opening statement he said, without provocation, that despite the criticism of his banking past, he was proud of his time at Rothschilds (!)). I’m not sure if this, coupled with a few other campaign blunders and the fact that an increasing number of French voters no longer see a vote for Macron as a “vote utile”, means that Macron won’t make it to the second round, but for the moment it does mean that there is a four way race between Le Pen, Macron, Mélenchon and Fillon (despite the numerous sordid affairs he’s implicated in, he still has a solid base of support…).

    1. MoiAussie

      Go Mélenchon! Now if only Hamon, who stands no chance, would have the decency to drop out now and urge his supporters to get behind Mélenchon. It would be wonderful to see the centrists soundly rejected and a glorious battle between left and right in the second round.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            “Front row kids”

            Much of the political elite are well trained doofuses who haven’t been told no or removed for one reason of the other. Bill and Hillary surrounded themselves with brain dead loyalists while Bill destroyed the party. Famed Clinton strategist, James Carville, has come up with gems such as “it’s the economy, stupid.” Wow, if only Hoover knew…

            They are doubling down on what the perceived worked for them in the past. Like the kids who repeat what the professor said In question for as if if they just made a great point, they don’t think. They look like society’s expectation of smart kids, but they are playing a role. They have to be replaced, or you get guys like TruJu in Canada.

            The other side is Sanders is a threat to the front row kids gravy train.

      1. EmilianoZ

        Piketty (Hamon supporter) says he prefers Melenchon to Macron. Here’s what he says about Macron:

        le truc tout à fait étonnant, c’est que bien qu’il ait été sans doute premier responsable, après François Hollande, du désastre économique de ce quinquennat, il arrive à faire croire qu’il n’y est pour rien

        He basically says that although Macron is almost as responsible for the current French economic disaster as Hollande, he astonishingly gets away with it.

    2. HBE

      Thanks for sharing.

      I’ve seen some great comments on the subject before. I would love to get more “on the ground” analysis on the election and outcomes as it seems the race continues to tighten.

      It appears the results could be a bellwether for the future state of the EU and potentially German elections.

    3. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Emmanuel Macron – ” Proud of his time at Rothschild’s “.

      This does not strike me as an inspiring motto or association for a population who are obviously not too happy with the Neoliberal road to nowhere good, except of course for a small percentage including those who are still proud to be spending time at banks.

      I have a suspicion that whatever the election result, it will all become an increasingly bumpy ride.

    1. JeffC

      I was a fan of Postol’s cold-war analyses in the 1980’s (RAWR!), but this “analysis” appears to have issues.

      1) Wind direction refers to the direction the wind is coming from, not the direction it is blowing to. It’s an international standard. Can’t have pilots getting it wrong by doing this different ways in different places. Comparing his figures suggests he has this backward.

      2) He cites Google Earth for the image of the crater, but Google Earth does not provide a real-time satellite view. These are stored images that may be months or more old. So unless he somehow knows the image was refreshed in the past few days, he is pointing to an old crater, not one created in the way he suggests.

      I am not sure what to make of this. One of us certainly has some things wrong here. MIT Prof Emeritus certainly outranks me on the a priori credibility scale, but…

      1. JTMcPhee

        All we mopes got is FUD: fear, uncertainty and doubt. Brought to us via the daily bowl of bs that our Betters, who actually run and own everything, ladle out from the giant pot labeled “Soupe Bernays… ” ladled by the 10% who grow fat as burghers on the extra crumbs they get– “You serve your master well, and will be rewarded.”

        Too bad “we” who are wiser and more perceptive don’t have any way to organize, or any banner and principle to hold to. “Marchons, marchons” and all that. As if even having an anthem ever kept the kleptocrats from ending back up on top…

  4. Jomo

    From TOLO News: MOAB is a concussive bomb, meaning it detonates above ground rather than penetrating hardened defenses, and was designed in 2002 for “psychological operations.”

    Anyone within 300 meters will be vaporized, experts say, while those in a 1km radius outside ground zero will be left deaf.

    Bill Roggio, of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and editor of the Long War Journal, told Military Times Thursday night that the weapon is effective on softer targets such as caves and tunnels opposed to hard, infrastructure.

    “What it does is basically suck out all of the oxygen and lights the air on fire,” Roggio said.

    “It’s a way to get into areas where conventional bombs can’t reach.”

      1. Christopher Fay

        So we know where the tunnel entrances are. MOAB is Pentagon and Mujahadeen Freedom Fighters are CIA. It’s Spy vs Spy but operating from two ends of the Fed government spending spigots. Clever.

    1. a different chris

      >“It’s a way to get into areas where conventional bombs can’t reach.”

      Proof? It can’t knock down a building (“hard, infrastructure”) and it cost how much? But magical things happened where we can’t see them…sigh, OK.

      1. DH

        This new TV series “Guerilla” looks interesting:

        I don’t think people have really internalized that racial unrest in the US, white working class voters going for Trump, Brexit, Marine Le Pen, ISIS, Taliban, etc. all have common roots in people being looked down upon, marginalized, humiliated etc. When they eventually strike back in some way, the elites, racists etc.are all surprised that these people can’t just be accepting of the way things are supposed to be for the greater good.

        Every now and then, we run across great feel good stories like told in “Hidden Figures” where quiet subversion is able to upend centuries of discrimination by recognizing at least a partial meritocracy. But we still have Ferguson and other areas today that inform us that Hidden Figures is still only a partial victory for both women and minorities.

        Ultimately, the Middle East conflicts are currently about groups that have been crapped on by other Middle East “elites”, colonial powers, ethnic and religious intolerance for decades or centuries will strike back when they have the opportunity. Usually, they have come not to lose hope in peaceful means as the protagonists in “Guerilla” appear to end up and violence is the last remaining hope or simply a revenge if they believe even violence is beyond hope of change.

        Behavioral economics research has shown that at a certain level of unequal outcomes, the losing side prefers for everybody to come out with nothing at all instead of something small for them while the winning side gets vastly more. History has shown that elites don’t understand this and don’t even try to comprehend it, leaving them all the more surprised when everything burns down around them as they keep trying to get more of the pot. I think the big question for the Trump Administration is whether or not they have learned this lesson and Trump actually tries to achieve what he campaigned on for the working class. It is clear he does not understand this on an international level, but maybe he gets it on a domestic level.

        1. neo-realist

          History has shown that elites don’t understand this and don’t even try to comprehend it, leaving them all the more surprised when everything burns down around them as they keep trying to get more of the pot. I think the big question for the Trump Administration is whether or not they have learned this lesson and Trump actually tries to achieve what he campaigned on for the working class. It is clear he does not understand this on an international level, but maybe he gets it on a domestic level.

          Based on the policies promoted by Trump, I have the impression that his stumping for the employment interests of the domestic white working class was just a ruse to get the rubes to vote for him. He may get it, but use his understanding to perpetuate his con-game against them.

          I recall watching an old video clip on an interview with Trump, and it may have already been mentioned on NC, where he described republican voters as stupid, gullible and easy to manipulate and that’s just what he did for the most part. Who would have thunk it?

      2. JeffC

        North Korea’s military has many, many tunnels throughout the mountains there. As a bomb, this MOAB was aimed at Afghanistan, but as a message, it was aimed elsewhere.

        As I typed the last line above, msnbc asked the “was it a message?” question, and their consultant mentioned the NK tunnels in response. The word is out!

        1. Procopius

          I’m retired Army, a former NCO, not a strategically trained officer (they don’t seem to have been terribly successful anyway). I remember the Korean War. I was just too young to enlist in time to get the GI Bill from it. I served in Vietnam and in Germany, and actually spent a twelve month tour in Korea back in 1956-7. I have been thinking for several years that the people who got control of our Deep State after 9/11 are lunatics. The neoconservatives obviously did not go to school where they taught “duck and cover.” They don’t seem to understand chemical or biological weapons, and they seem to think that somebody can win a nuclear way. Our nuclear missiles now have a fuzing system that they think will allow a successful first strike. It sounds like they are saying that we can fight a conventional war against North Korea and their nuclear weapons will not be used because, hey, we didn’t drop a nuke on Pyongyang. I really, really don’t think they will react that way.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Probably a more cost-effective weapon than all the bombs used in firebombing Tokyo, Dresden and Hamburg.

      Saving money – that’s almost like running the government as a household.

      1. DH

        The fire bombings, A-bomb etc. resulted in the civilian populations in Germany and Japan never wanting to go to war again. WW I was largely fought on the front lines so even though the trenches were horrific, the civilians were largely unimpacted except in the parts of Belgium and France where the battles were.

        By the summer of 1945, none of the remaining Germans or Japanese had any interest in going to war again. This combined with the Marshall Plan etc. set the stage for decades of peace afterwards unlike the end of WW I.

        The US was the only major country that did not have significant WW I battlefield losses and did not get invaded or have major air raids in WW II. Pearly Harbor is minor compared to what happened during the Blitz in Britain.

        I don’t think it is a coincidence that the US is the only country that has regularly sent its military abroad some distance to invade other countries. The British and French had some colonial wars but pulled out within a few years after WW II. The US went into Vietnam because the French were pulling out as they did not want to take the human losses. Even Russia has not sent any significant forces into other countries beyond the Iron Curtain that they captured at the end of WW II.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          WW2 still it seems casts a long shadow over Russia, which is hardly surprising considering the losses. Perhaps the difference in attitude could be summed up in the difference between Hollywood films & Russian efforts such as ” Come & See ” & ” Ivan’s War “.

          Perhaps the US is now at the stage of the European powers when they were involved in Colonial wars which for the most part meant mowing down natives with machine guns. Then they all got together for a punch up & it all became a very different story.

        2. PhilM

          I would offer a different take on that history, because that post kind of makes it sound as if WWI were like Vietnam, or something, for the civilian populations back home. The reality was that the war was utterly traumatizing to every nation that fought it; it officially ended modernity as it had been conceptualized up until that time. The English and the French were so averse to war that they gave up Czechoslovakia before finally getting the idea, and drawing the line at Poland. Churchill was considered a bloodthirsty hawk until he was proven right in September 1939.

          Even the victors had been so traumatized at every level by World War One that they invented a policy that was brand new for peoples that had gleefully spent the last millennium at war with each other: appeasement.

          Germany was not occupied after World War One; it did not surrender unconditionally, and the peace terms that were negotiated were, in the minds of the, by then, fully militarized German people, even worse than continuing to fight, even if that meant trenches again. Indeed, some soldiers were so angry that they had not been allowed to fight it out by their leadership that they carried on a propaganda, and a socialization, of “heroic militarism” after the war. So they went back to war when the opportunity presented itself. It was effectively a second Thirty Years’ War with a period of truce, rearming, re-thinking, and repopulation in between.

          There is no evidence anywhere that bombing civilians reduces anybody’s desire to fight. If anything, what doesn’t kill them, just makes them angrier, until the war is completely lost. That is what happened in World War II: Germany was finally decisively defeated, partitioned, occupied, and politically restructured.

          Japan is a different case, but they have one thing in common: Germany is still occupied; as is Japan, effectively. The carrot, in the form of the Marshall Plan, joined with the stick–NATO.

          1. Procopius

            Excellent summary. For details of what “modernity” meant pre-Sarajevo I highly recommend Barbary Tuchman’s The Proud Tower.

    3. cyclist

      My friends and colleagues sometimes accuse me of being too much of a cynic and they encourage me to adopt a more positive outlook on life. Reflecting on our use of the Mother of all Bombs to quell the terrorist threat to our great homeland has made me realize that I have much to be thankful for.

      First, as a scientist, I need to acknowledge the sacrifices of those who spent long nights studying in the libraries at Stanford and MIT so that we can have the very best devices for burning and shredding of human flesh. Our country certainly leads the way in this area. Also, let us not forget those brilliant minds from Harvard and Princeton, who have sacrificed Wall Street careers in order to develop the nuanced strategic plans that are finally bearing fruit in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere.

      Thanks to my fellow taxpayers: we cannot contribute enough to the defense of the homeland. Contrast this with the soft, spendthrift Europeans, frittering money away on silly orchestras, parks, hospitals, trains, and even handouts to undeserving students and the elderly.

      Most of all, I need to thank our troops. Your bravery and obedience has again assured triumph for the Motherland. When an order needs to be followed, we can be sure that you will be there.

        1. craazyboy

          Use the other hand to hang on to your wallet. I read long ago that 95% of R&D spending in America – Land of Exceptions, went to technology which devised new and better ways to kill humans.

          Peace, and Good Will towards Men. [the youngish wimens draft is on the way. Camouflage yoga pants will make your butt look smaller!]

      1. Jef

        “March was the deadliest month ever recorded by Airwars during the Coalition’s campaign in Iraq and Syria. This coincided with the greatest number of munitions dropped by the allies so far in the war.”

        “March saw the highest number of civilian deaths likely caused by the Coalition so far in the 32-month war,…”

        More than one hundred a day every day. That doesn’t include the dozen or so other areas we are activeily warring around in.

      2. John Wright

        Perhaps you need to also thank the so-called “liberal” Hollywood entertainment industry, that cranks out violent action films where the bad guys eventually lose.

        People in power should be at least more than mildly chagrined, perhaps even view it as a desperate act, that the USA had to use a MOAB in a country that had already “benefited” from USA military actions since 2003.

        This is about 14 years of the USA “winning the hearts and minds” of the Afghan people.

        The MOAB is direct evidence of the failure of the USA to achieve its goals after much loss of life and treasure.

        One can hope that TPTB might be reflecting that they have created far MORE terrorists as a result of their actions.

        But I suspect they are building more MOABs to have ready.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          What do you do when the GAB (Global Alpha Bully) flings bombs around the world with complete abandon?
          I would think the rest of the world hunkers down in tunnels like the Viet Cong until they get their chance to run an American, any American, through with a sharpened piece of bamboo.
          Fast forward 10 years or so, the GAB is flat broke (economically and morally), and is being attacked on all sides.

          1. AbateMagicThinking but Not money

            If the US dollar is fiat, there can never be any lack of supply. Whether the world is prepared to accept it instead of good old fashioned trade for much longer is one of my main fascinations.

            From my point of view, if US goods are no longer in demand or even produced, the buck is backed by the almighty military.

            Gold and precious metals can and do leak away; but the US military isn’t going anywhere as it is practically everywhere on the planet already.

            If it isn’t going to be something big like mutually assured destruction that reduces the US military and the US dollar, it will be something seemingly minor. I can only speculate and search for canaries in the coalmine in places like NC.

            One of the things that strikes a chord is that the US military seems to cope with race issues relatively well. That seems to be under attack with old, barely closed wounds reopening and festering like crazy.


      3. FCO

        Maybe you could have left the troops out of your cynical comment? They are just young kids who don’t know any better and who have been effectively sweet talked to by military recruiters and their propaganda.

        1. perpetualWAR

          Mostly “the poors” who have no way out. No money for college and the only job opportunities is the corner drug store.

          1. witters

            “There is no other way! I’ve got to go out and kill people for the oligarchs! I have duties to myself and (some) other human beings, that demands the $$$ I’ll get for killling people. Don’t blame me. Don’t judge me. Honour me (with your pity, if that helps you) & give up your seat for me on an airplane.”

        2. cyclist

          Maybe it is time for the young ones to wise up and just say no? I come from a background where I am acutely sensitive to a lack of choices. Militarism is simply out of control in this country, and not just the military: the police, media, industry…. People need to start taking a stand and we can’t leave out “the troops”.

          1. clinical wasteman

            The actual troops — the economic draftees — and The Troops as ‘patriotic’ meme — an insult added to injury — are two different things. The first are cynically sacrificed to the bloodthirsty whims of those who make speeches about the second.
            “We’ll support our troops when they shoot their commanding officers” goes back at least to Vietnam (when the lower-case troops sometimes did precisely that). Already during the protests against the early-onset War on Terror it got angry reactions from liberals who found the war distasteful (“not in my name” indeed!) but couldn’t even imagine being on the receiving end, whether as quasi-draftees or as collateral damage.

          2. PhilM

            Stop that. You’re just making them more expensive; and if they get expensive enough, they’ll start the draft again.

      4. Montanamaven

        But, But, But, this is the first step in some sort of grand infrastructure plan. First you bomb them. Then you “turn it into a parking lot”. So you bring over Caterpillars manned by Muricans to make said parking lot. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Or am I being too cynical also?

      5. Arizona Slim

        And, just to keep thing straight, I may be a cyclist, but I’m not the same poster as the cyclist who just posted.

        However, *this* cyclist agrees with *that* cyclist.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      The MOAB is being relentlessly referred to as “the mother of all bombs.”

      Assad “gassed his own people.”

      Awaiting a little vial of sinister yellow powder.

      It deja vu all over again.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Speaking of deja vu, where have we heard this meme before:

        “We have the greatest military in the world,” Mr. Trump said. “We have given them total authorization, and that’s what they’re doing, and frankly, that’s why they’ve been so successful lately.” — NYT article

        Yes, this glorious success is why today Congress is legislating a new national holiday, Victory in Afghanistan Day.

        Oh wait … they’re not, you say? Well sh*t … looks like the Orange Twat confabulated again. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell him apart from Bill Clinton. :-(

    5. tgs

      I am seeing reports that the bomb killed 30+ militants. If what Roggio says is true, then how could anyone know? How do you count bodies that have been ‘vaporized’? I have read that there are or were villages in the area in which the strike occurred. How could there not be destruction and death?

      The death toll figures are apparently coming from the Afghan government. Are they trying to do damage control?

      If Trump seemed ‘presidential’ after the Syria strike, what is he now? The greatest president since Truman?

        1. DH

          Satellite sensors should provide an accurate count.

          If that doesn’t work, I am sure some in-country person will provide an accurate boots on the ground count for a nominal sum like $1 million to be paid to the Taliban.

      1. a different chris

        Thirty? Thirty!!!???!! How much did that cost per person… we could have paid their mothers 1/10 of it and they would have turned them in.

    6. DH

      The brain doesn’t do well with big concussion waves, which is why grenades in small spaces are very effective even if somebody is hiding behind a desk to avoid shrapnel. So MOAB’s concussive waves underground and traveling through tunnels after entering an opening can damage “soft targets” (e.g. people). It also effectively creates a mini earthquake that can collapse soil tunnels or break apart fractured rock that would also collapse tunnels which could isolate areas so that people can’t escape or be rescued.

      1. hidflect

        It’s quality, not quantity. Any terrorists who qualify to reside in a complex tunnel system are probably of high importance and rank. That’s better than killing 300 Kalashnikov sand squatters.

  5. ambrit

    Apologies if it’s a bit off topic, but just look at the blatant propaganda about Syria being dished up by Yahoo “News” courtesy of the Washington Post. The outright lies and character assassinations in the “news piece” would be laughable if it wasn’t for the ubiquity of the meme in the MSM. Considering that most people here still rely on the “Official Version” for their world view, and the machinations promoting war are frightening.
    Sorry for linking to either, but the depth of the status quo’s depravity is no respecter of boundaries.
    Similarly, am I alone on viewing the MOAB bombs use in Afghanistan as a “show of force?”

    1. Eureka Springs

      Not nearly as alone as sitting on the back porch drinking coffee, box calling the turkey gobblers in the yard whilst thinking what if we didn’t bomb or even so much as threaten to bomb people all of the time? And thinking what if all those D vs R voters actually felt shame, total and complete embarrassment and gut wrenching shame, as they should at times like this?

      1. uninvited guest

        Maybe it’s like the Japanese – they turned pacifists only after a few bombs were dropped on them.

        1. HotFlash

          Oh, now, by ‘the Japanese’, do you mean the Japanese govt at the time or the totality of Japanese citizens/residents at the time? And ‘after a few bombs were dropped’, do you mean to imply that ‘Merkins might be less warlike after a few bombs were dropped on them? Would like to read your evidence.

          Have to go out for a bit, but will keep checking for your reply.

      2. HotFlash

        Dear Mr/Ms Springs, I am pretty sure I agree with you about most you write, esp the not bombing people part, but please what is “box calling”?

          1. HotFlash

            Thanks, Kurt. Not like a turkey drop, then (no link provided on purpose). So, Mr/Ms Springs, good hunting!

    2. vidimi

      oh come on. asma al assad is and always was out of touch, repulsively so. before the war, vogue would profile her extravagant shopping trips to paris like a saudi princess. if that isn’t out of touch then what is?

        1. perpetualWAR

          Doncha know you can’t criticize the first black 1st Lady or you look racist? At least that’s what they report.

    3. Jim Haygood

      Am I alone on viewing the MOAB bombs use in Afghanistan as a “show of force”?

      No. The Z site called it “a clear show of force meant to send a signal to North Korea.” So far, this linkage has not been made by the Trump administration, as far as I know.

      If it indeed was a show of force, it would meet the legal definition of terrorism:

      “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).

      That is, one can’t blow up people in one country to intimidate the leadership of another country. That’s terrorism of the purest sort.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There are good laws and there are bad laws, where good and bad can be not quite person, personal or very personal.

        We then can speak of goodlawful and badlawful.

        Similarly, you get goodlawless and badlawless (when you ignore badlaws).

        Here, the relevant point is, is that ungoodlawful and unbadlawful, and who is to decide on such a personal issue?

        In the case of defeating Kaiser Wilhelm, for example, it was lawful (to many) and force was used, to coerce others (then, and into their future), in furtherance of political objectives.

      2. RenoDino

        It was a test using expendable human subjects as crash test dummies. War crime or terrorism? Either way, no one is going to the Hague. That’s only for losers. USA!

      3. Lona

        Weren’t the Japanese really ready to surrender when we dropped atomic bombs on them, initiating the Cold War with this ‘message’ to the USSR. Sounds all too familiar.

        1. Gaianne

          The Japanese had been trying to surrender for a while. The US kept turning them down.

          The atomic bombs dropped on Japan were meant to be a demonstration that would cow Stalin into submission.

          It surely had an effect, if not the one intended. Stalin massively ramped up the Soviet Union’s own atomic bomb program and had operational weapons within five years.

          (This was anticipated by those not drunk on feelings of limitless power. The main atomic secret–the only real one–is that they would work. Once the world knew that, it was a matter of engineering from known principles.)


  6. cocomaan

    Canada set to legalize marijunana:

    Jodie Emery, activist, wife of Mark Emery, longtime activist, says that the driving penalties are ridiculous, which seems to be the case, but not one I’m particularly worried about. Impaired driving is not a joke. But the cannabis test won’t stand up in court, either, because the drug is in your blood for weeks. Lots being left up to the provinces, too.

    1. cnchal

      > Impaired driving is not a joke.

      So much pot is used that stoned drivers are crashing into each other left right and center causing deadly mayhem on the ‘high’ ways. Yes? No?

      1. cocomaan

        I mean, it happens, right? And it’s entirely avoidable behavior.

        Plus, if you read the article, you’ll see that this includes drunk and other impaired driving penalties. They are using the legislation as a way to go after all impaired driving.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Funny, I didn’t see anything in the article about rendering “smart” phones inoperable inside a moving vehicle.

          According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an auto crash than driving when intoxicated.

          1. polecat

            … and what about those drivers who can’t resist reaching around the back seat, suffering from an acute Doritos johns ??

        2. cnchal

          > They are using the legislation as a way to go after all impaired driving.

          Pot legal, police power increased exponentially again.

          “We have with this bill, if it passes Parliament, one of the strongest impaired-driving pieces of legislation in the world, and I’m very proud of that. Ensuring that we have safety on our roads and our highways is of paramount concern. I will, as I do with all just as pieces of legislation, be tabling a Charter statement. I am confident of the constitutionality of the mandatory roadside testing. This is not a device or a tool that does not exist in other places in the world. In fact, mandatory roadside testing in many countries has significantly reduced the number of deaths on highways.”

          “I want a sample of your spit” will be the demand by the police, any time while driving.

          The whole thing stinks. With no evidence that current pot use is the cause of any significant contributor to the carnage on the roads, the cops need moar power.

          That’s what this legislation is about. You are right. The pot is a sideshow, misdirection, the con.

            1. cnchal

              Granting police greatly increased power means taking rights away from everybody else. That’s the point.

              If somehow the pot laws were reversed in the future, you can bet anything that the police powers will never be rescinded or reigned in. Pot legalization is smoke to ram draconian police power through.

              Spit patrol, on a highway or side street near you!

    2. sleepy

      Most states that have legalized weed have recognized this problem. In CO for example, 5 nanograms of thc in your blood only creates a “permissible inference” of your impairment whereas a .08 blood alcohol level is automatically a flat out violation of the DUI laws. Not a perfect solution, but at least it recognizes the difficulty of assessing impairment using thc levels.

      Afaik, in all states whether weed is legal or illegal, driving while impaired after using marijuana is against the law.

  7. oho

    Re. United.

    Behold the power of setting the public relations narrative. (thankfully Munoz is an insincere apologist)

    Apart from the serious injuries, many people—including politicians and non-lawyer ‘experts’ (and attorneys whose clients are large airlines) are still towing United’s line re. overbooking/oversales and avoiding the actual unquestioned facts of the situation (ie removal after seating, not pre-boarding in the holding pen).

    To drone on….unless there is some obscure case law involving stagecoaches or steamers from the 1840’s or an obscure provision in United’s TOS/carriage contract, Dao was not a trespasser on that flight and violated no crime.

    No law enforcement should’ve been involved unless Dao was a safety threat.

    “Jeff Redding, deputy commissioner of safety and security for the city’s Department of Aviation, told aldermen that operating procedures bar aviation officers from boarding a plane “if it’s a customer service issue.”

    “If it is a customer-service related incident, then you don’t need to board the plane at all,” Redding said. “If there’s no threat, there’s no imminent threat or no charges being drawn, then you don’t need to board the plane. There’s no purpose for it.”

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Undoubtedly the “remedy” will be what has become the default–better “training.”

      But this does beg the question of what “security” was told by united personnel when they were called.

      Either way, Chicago is going to pay, with money they don’t have for something that never should have happened. Has mayor rahm weighed in?

      1. Christopher Fay

        By the time any money penalty is levied, Rahm will be long gone. I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone Market Law applies.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Heard this morning on msnbs. I’m paraphrasing:

          “You’ll notice that the three security officers were wearing police department jackets. They are NOT police. They were told to stop wearing those jackets months ago, but they were wearing them anyway.”

          Let the finger-pointing begin.

          1. Anon

            Let us not forget the crew who were to be given these seats worked for Republic Airlines and needed to get back to Kentucky to fly a Delta Connection flight (Delta’s regional airline). What pressure did these pilots put on the gate agent to get this chain of events started? Could his incident been just as equally likely to happen​ on one of the other airline’s regional carriers that Republic Airlines flys for? I think yes.

            1. BillC

              How about support for these parts of your post, which go beyond what I have read elsewhere:

              * The assertion that the four required deadhead seats were for a Republic (not United) crew.

              * The reasonable (at least to me) inference from your post’s wording that the gate agent involved was a Republic (not United) employee or contractor — or a clarification that no such implication is intended.

              If you’re the same “Anon” who submitted multiple posts the last couple of days, you seem to feel it’s important to direct attention to Republic’s culpability and away from United’s. If this is indeed your interest, a statement of your motives would be illuminating (like Jerri-Lynn’s explanation re. JetBlue yesterday).

              1. BillC

                Never mind. I now see the citation for at least the first point in your later post, below. Still wonder why you seem to feel that United is not ultimately responsible, since they are the entity with which passengers contract, but I see you’ve addressed that issue as well, albeit unconvincingly IMHO.

                1. Anon

                  Liable yes, but if none of United’s crew were involved (no pilots stewards or other crew) how do you persecute them? Sure go ahead blame management and the airline responsible and whom ever dragged the Doctor off but in the court of public opinion why is nobody blaming the people who did this? Republic Airlines. Just because they’re​ contracted you let them off the hook? That’s pretty crazy if you ask me.

                1. Yves Smith

                  As Jerry Demin explained at length earlier, the pilot had nothing to do with this incident. The plane is under the control of the airline, United, until the door is shut. This was entirely United’s gig and United bears responsibility.

                  You increasingly look like a professional troll paid to promote disinformation, in conjunction with United and its allies. United pilots will be hurt if United suffers, since they will reduce the number of flights. I would bet a large amount of money the pilots’ union was enlisted as part of the lame United damage containment campaign. They are totally irrelevant to this story.

            2. JerryDenim

              “…needed to get back to Kentucky to fly a Delta Connection flight (Delta’s regional airline).”

              As an airline pilot and former regional airline pilot who flew for United Express post-merger I find your assertion highly unlikely, and illogical- but maybe. Do you have any source you can cite or evidence for this claim? Why would United choose to bump revenue (passengers) to help their competitor, Delta, operate a flight. Sounds ridiculous, I’ve never heard of such a thing. All regional airlines operate under what is known as a ‘capacity purchase agreement’ with their patron/partner/parent airline that states the contracting mainline air carrier owns all of the seats on board the regional aircraft and can do as they wish with them. United is not going to bump paying passengers to help Republic honor it’s obligations to Delta, but they would bump 4 paying passengers in Chicago to avoid inconviencing 75 paying United passengers in Louisville the following morning. I doubt the pilots would have brought any pressure on the gate agent whatsoever, if anything probably the opposite was true. Dead-heading crew is always on the company clock and is getting paid to fly somewhere to operate company aircraft that the company (United/Republic doing business as United) needs moved. Could be a maintenance flight, a repo flight or a revenue flight. I thought the dead heading crew that night was a complete crew of four (E170 = 2 pilots + 2 flight attendants) so that would indicate the airline needed this crew in position to operate another revenue flight. (normal airline flight with paid passengers on board) I have no familiarity with the Republic pilot’s contract, but typically airline pilots are guaranteed their pay once an assignment is made. Pilots and flight attendants are typically pay-protected for flights that are scrubbed or schedule modifications that occur due to company blunders. (Gate agents fully boarding an airplane you were scheduled to dead-head somewhere on would count) As long as the pilots showed up at the gate in Chicago when they were supposed to, they had nothing else to worry about that night. If the pilots were genuinely motivated and concerned about the United passengers that were going to be stranded in Louisville the next morning then perhaps they were personally motivated to be seated on flight 3411, but it is more likely the pilots that night were hoping David Dao would get to keep his seat and they could have gone home or at least gone to a hotel room and got some sleep. I doubt they were strongly motivated either way. Instead of getting pay protected for missing a fully booked flight and going to the hotel that night, the Republic pilots were forced to fly (dead-head, seat in the cabin) to Louisville on a blood-spattered plane full of traumatized passengers whom I imagine were hostile to the new-company representatives on board. Not a very enviable position or comfortable situation for the pilots or anyone replacing David Dao. I have a hard time imagining the pilots were anything less than innocent victims. What does an outsourced, over-worked, under-paid, 2nd-class employee, regional pilot really care if United has to cancel or delay a flight due to operational screw-up that had nothing to do with them?

              [*****] What-ever happened to Colgan after the Buffalo crash? Yep, bankrupt, deep-sixed. What happened to Continental? Yep. alive and well, albeit merged. Handy little playthings these regional airlines. Every major airline should have a few sacrificial regionals laying about that can be commanded to fall on their swords at any time for the sins of their father.

              1. Anon

                The crew was definitely Republic Airlines who is definitely in bankruptcy for lack of pilots.

                If you really are a pilot you should be able to get the inside scoop. Don’t take my word for them going to fly a Delta flight but if you find out that it’s true do let us know.

                I’ve already posted twice an article by the Indystar. If you Google United right now you will find many an article with a title similar to

                ‘Infuriated’ United pilots blast police on removal of passenger

                I’ve read an articles that said no united employees were involved and another that said 1 United gate supervisor was involved. The truth is starting to come out. If I’m right, you heard it here first.

                1. JerryDenim

                  If you’re really being genuine and not some kind of paid PR troll then you really are confused about how this whole airline outsourcing thing works. First off, let me say, it’s supposed to be confusing like your cell phone bill or the Federal Reserve so don’t feel bad. If everyone could understand what a scam it was, the scam wouldn’t work because the public would demand that it be stopped. But any scam complicated and convoluted enough to be unexplainable in one sentence is sure to bore the public to sleep, forever ensuring it’s safety. That’s what you’ve discovered. The essence of it all is this; Regional Airlines are fake airlines. They exist merely as playthings of the parent mainline carriers. They only exist to arbitrage and leverage labor groups against one another. The exorbitant salaries paid to the do-nothing regional airline executives is the transaction cost of this arbitrage trade. They sell no tickets, collect no money from the flying public, have zero marketing expenses, and have no business decisions to make. The routes, the schedules, the snacks, what they pay for fuel, the interior colors- everything- is decided by the client/parent mainline company. The regionals make exactly as much money as the Mainline carriers are willing to let them make. Not a penny more, not a penny less. Everything is determined by the ‘capacity purchase agreements’ (CPAs) the regional airlines sign with the contracting mainline carrier. If the mainline carrier wants to bankrupt a regional or squeeze the regional employees for concessions they simply agree to pay less in the next CPA. If they want things to be hunky-dory and reward the regional execs they pay more. End of story.

                  Regarding UA 3411 being a regional flight, you’re not Nancy Drew, it’s been a known fact from the get-go that the flight 3411 was a United Express flight operated by Republic Airways. It’s also completely unsurprising to anyone that knows anything about the industry that a bunch of bitter old baby boomer legacy UAL pilots with a 15% profit sharing checks from UAL, ( 0% UAL profit sharing checks for United Express pilots, although their paltry wages subsidize the whole operation) that belong to a different union, (ALPA vs. Teamsters) that never had to drag around a 200k Sallie-Mae student loan for flight training while flying 75 seat jets for $20k a year would want to distance themselves from the regional pilots at Republic that they feel no kinship with. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, United PR people might be attempting to place stories in the media that would unfairly blame vassal airline Republic for this gigantic fiasco creating a little bit of distance for United? Only one United gate supervisor involved in Flight 3411 mess according to the media you say? How many United “supervisors” need to be involved before United has culpability? How many United gate supervisors do you think it takes to call the airport police? More than one? Wow. You’re reaching, but its almost like you’re debating yourself.

                  Then there’s this: “If you really are a pilot you should be able to get the inside scoop. Don’t take my word for them going to fly a Delta flight but if you find out that it’s true do let us know.”

                  So basically you have no idea if your wild claims I already shot down are true, but you want me to go out and do the homework just to check if your wild claims might contain a small kernel of truth? I already shredded your claims about United bumping passengers to help Republic help Delta so I believe that’s your job Anon. If you find out otherwise, please let me know and I will profusely apologize. Your comments have only convinced me my original hunches based on ten years of United Express experience were all correct.

                2. Yves Smith

                  This is totally bullshit and is also agnotology, which is a violation of our written site Policies.

                  When a company files for Ch. 11, its creditors are stayed and it also gets DIP (debtor in possession) financing. Its operations are stabilized.

                  United would know fully well what crew members were available when and how. United, not Republic, is in charge of logistics. So the idea that United somehow had a crew shortage that caught it by surprise is nonsensical. This was a logistics screwup, which as Hubert Horan put it, was on the level of not having fuel for the plane.

                1. Anon

                  And for those interested in the financial statement of Republic Airways here is were you can find them

                  This is a bit I found there…

                  “The Company’s controllable completion factor and operating revenues were significantly lower than expected due to a high number of pilot related cancellations as a result of the growing national pilot labor shortage and our on-going labor dispute with International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT).”

                  Form 10-Q pre bankruptcy 08/06/2015

                  This too

                  “As a result of the pilot shortage, the Company has been forced to ground operating aircraft and reduce scheduled flying for each of its Partners, which has adversely affected the Company’s financial position and cash flows from operations. Although a new three year collective bargaining agreement reached with its pilots in late 2015 has enabled the Company to stem the rate of attrition and significantly increase new pilot hiring, the Company needs time to be able to train new pilots, return more of its idled aircraft to revenue service, and restore higher levels of scheduled service for its Partners.”

                  Form 10-Q March 31, 2016

                  So what I’d like to know is why doesn’t anybody care to place any blame on the Airline this happened on, Republic Airways Holding, why the focus on United.

                  Here’s what Yves said,

                  “In fact, as careful readers know, United wanted to free up four seats so that crew members could fly to from O’Hare to Louisville. The excuse for United’s urgency was that if these crew members didn’t get to their flight, it would create cascading delays.”

                  will she correct herself if now she understands it was Republic Airways crew, plane and dead heading crew? Or does it only come down to who is liable?

                  1. Yves Smith

                    No, United is liable. The carrier is in control of the plane’s operations until the doors were shut, and they were open when Dao was manhandled. The ground crew is United’s. United was responsible for the logistical screw-up. And it has been reported that United has threatened passengers with forceable on other flights when they had been seated and wanted it given up for a VIP. This appears to be a United policy.

                    The attorney representing Dr. Dao, who has won billion dollar settlement, filed in Illinois State Court against United and the City of Chicago ONLY to preserve records.


                    And assignments are also against our written site Policies. You are accumulating troll points at a record pace.

          2. oho

            Chicago Dept. of Aviation “security police” are sworn law enforcement (like meter maids and police officers).

            But in Illinois Chicago Dept. Aviation security do not have arrest powers (maybe be different in your state). They do have powers to detain and ticket (dunno about eject), but they need a Chicago Police Dept. officer to write up an arrest.

            Just flabbergasting how so many presumed safeguards and basic common sense failed. Smells like UAL and Chicago Dept of Aviation security are institutionally drunk w/power and/or flat out incompetent.

      1. Anon

        What is your opinion of Bryan Bedford?

        Who is Bryan Bedford you ask? Well he is the CEO of Republic Airlines the culpable party in this incident. Which is in bankruptcy, one reason being lack of pilots.

        The liability for this incident was possible equal likely to fall into America or Delta Airlines laps. Both carriers have contracts with Republic Airlines.

        1. Vatch

          That’s an interesting question. Who’s to blame for the wretchedly poor working conditions of the workers in warehouses that provide services for Is Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO, responsible for this terrible situation, or is it the CEOs of the various smaller companies that are hired by Amazon?

          1. Anon

            Who’s buildings do they work in? The planes are owned by Republic Airlines not United Airlines or United Express.

            Also do this companies have workers that work for similar companies? Like Republic Airlines does for Delta and American Airlines?

            1. Vatch

              Your questions and comments make me think that Oscar Munoz is even more like Tony Hayward than I realized at first. The Deepwater Horizon disaster involved BP, but also the contractors Halliburton and Transocean.

              The situation also reminds me of the Apple computer company and the horrors at the Foxconn manufacturing facilities. Who’s to blame? Both Apple and Foxconn, that’s who.

              As for United Express and United Airlines, if they want to protect their brand name, they need to keep a closer watch over what Republic Airlines does. The airplane may have been owned by Republic, but it was a United Express flight.

              Maybe the solution is to resurrect the Civil Aeronautics Board.

            2. HotFlash

              Whose buildings do they work in? whose planes , whose employees? whose contractors?

              Don’t care. Passenger pays $$ to United, or United Express, Delta or whomever, the corp that they pay is the ‘person’ they sue (remember, corporations are people, too). If United contracts to Republic and Republic screws up, then United can subsequently sue Republic. Not passenger’s problem.

            3. JerryDenim

              “The planes are owned by Republic Airlines not United Airlines or United Express.”

              Are you sure about that? That is sometimes the case but most definitely not always the case. Many regional airlines have been screwed in the past by taking ownership of jets to operate on behalf of a mainline partner only to lose the mainline contract after a few short years and get stuck with jets that have no routes to fly. I believe Republic was burned badly along these lines with the E190 and most regionals these days insist on making the mainline partner own the jet while they just staff it. Each capacity purchase agreement is different, but I know United bought the latest batch of E175’s being flown by SkyWest. I imagine Bedford would have sought the same deal for Republic having been on the wrong end of RJ ownership before.

              1. Anon

                Just Google Republic Airlines you can find out for yourself. Looking at Wikipedia it looks to me like they own their planes. Think about it, what other reason (asset) would they have to be in bankruptcy over? If they’re in bankruptcy then it It makes sense they own their planes, right?

            4. Yves Smith

              Yes, and Ritz Carlton’s hotels are owned by real estate investors. Ritz Carlton is the hotel operator. Who owns the planes is utterly irrelevant.

              You are spreading disinformation. This is against our site Policies.

        2. oho

          the media STILL hasn’t reported who called security.

          Was it a United gate agent? A Republic flight attendant? A outsourced gate agent working for United?

          Bedford and Munoz definitely did create the environment—-likely low employee morale, low training, low pay with presumably a performance evaluation system that emphasized on-time gate push-offs and the lowest possible $$$ spent on bumping compensation.

          But Bedford likely doesn’t have much bargaining power v. United and the other majors—even if he wanted to raise the quality of life for his employees

        3. Anon

          ‘Infuriated’ United Airlines pilots want you to know that passenger was dragged off Republic plane

          Story here

          Maybe Yves will decide to link to this story tomorrow so everyone gets a chance to read it. Remember you heard it hear first. Is it fake news? I don’t know but it backs up everything I’ve been saying.

          1. HotFlash

            That is nice for the UA pilots, but not sure it cuts any legal ice. UA purported to be the principal, ie advertised flights, times, rates, and took money (and that is the clincher, *took money*) to provide a service. No service, not passenger’s onus to track it down. You sue the people you paid. Unless you live in a banana republic (which you may).

    2. olga

      Has NC linked to this? :

      “Of course, these threats of capitalist violence are so credible that few dare to act in ways that will trigger them. But the violence is always there, lurking in the background. It is the engine that makes our whole system run. It is what maintains severe inequalities, poverty, and the power of the boss over the worker. We build elaborate theories to pretend that it is not the case in order to naturalize the human-made economic injustices of our society. But it is the case. Violent state coercion like what you saw in that video is what runs this show.”

      There is a chilling conclusion coming out of this…

  8. Kurtismayfield

    Similarly, am I alone on viewing the MOAB bombs use in Afghanistan as a “show of force?”

    No you are not alone. On NPR last night this was mentioned by an interviewer of a Marine Corps Times reporter as a “Show of force to North Korea”. I don’t know why we would need a show of force like this, because if the USAF has the aireal superiority to use this kind of ordinance then China is letting it happen and NK is screwed anyway. This bomb needs a cargo plane to drop it.

    (I know I should be reprimanded for listening to NPR, but there was nothing else on!)

    1. oho

      This ‘show of force’ is insane as NK has a bigger trump card—-hundreds/thousands? of artillery pieces that can bomb US sites and millions of civilians 10-30 miles away across the border in South Korea.

      100% reckless and even more reckless of the media to cheer it on like a 12 year old watching a recess fight. Too bad the current South Korean gov’t is so kow-towed to the US that it isn’t raising a fuss.

      Bomb them back to the Stone Age? They’ll shell you back to 1954.

      PS, the Winter Olympics are next year in South Korea.

      1. craazyboy

        ‘show of force’ is insane as NK has a bigger trump

        Bad news is NK has “radar” tech and will now assume any little blip on a radar screen is “The Big Hand of Donald Trump”*. They will then have a window to fire the thousands of howitzers at full rate, because conserving ammo has zero future value, and financial futures derivatives on NK howitzer ammo [including the associated “short” insurance hedging products] will have immediately crashed around the entire world – thereby collapsing the entire western fractional reserve banking system [because the reserves went to zero, but that data is not due out for a month, yet. It takes 3 months to re-figure liabilities on the balance sheet.] and tipping the world economy into depression. (analysis due in 6 months – keep watching the nightly news at 11] Worser still, The Craazyman Fund goes to zero, and Kirshner buys all the shares for one penny to corner the craazy people market. Then gets fired and sells for a quarter penny to pay the rent.

        * Yes, it’s a Freud thing.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Olympics or a renewed Korean War? It’s a Catch 22 if there ever was one.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        So, who’s running South Korea these days?

        The court upheld the impeachment [of former South Korean Prime Minister Park Geun-hye] on March 10, 2017 in a unanimous 8–0 decision, removing Park from office. A fresh election will be held on May 9, 2017 to elect the next president.[2]

        Could pose a bit of a problem.

    2. MoiAussie

      It’s certainly a show of force and an in-theatre ordnance test, but it’s also an indication that commanders in the field have been let off the leash with delegated authority to act. Let’s hope that there are less crazies in the field than in DC.

      It’s also worth mentioning that a US soldier was killed last week in the area the bomb was dropped, so it’s not all about North Korea.

      1. skippy

        DMZ good times…. anywho its something on the order of 24 divisions on the north side, albeit winter is when the ground is hard and its chocker block with bottle necks…

        disheveled…. the old plan was to run fast and then counter strike at some point….

    3. a different chris

      Yeah when again was the last time the Air Force won ground, let alone stopped a war?

      Still believe the best* Air Force strike ever was Pearl Harbor, and that didn’t work out the way the Japanese envisioned, did it?

      *not “best” in a “good” sense, f*cking war, but “best” in “was enormous and went off as close to it was drawn on the board as anything any military ever tried”.

      PS: agree with the “if China lets it NK is screwed”, although who else it will drag down with it is horrifying to contemplate, but the bomb itself won’t be the difference.

    4. YY

      Problem is that the bomb is so big that the plane carrying can only be big slow and vulnerable to any country with half decent air defense. So no chance of dropping it on NK, in any preemptive sense.
      It should also be noted as an aside that the hero of recent wars, the drone, is also pretty useless in any area with half decent air defense. America is getting too used to having ridiculously unmatched high tech wars against men with guns and rockets on foot/motorcycles/toyota pickups, or non-states.

  9. edmondo

    U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake endured a brutal face-to-face confrontation with angry constituents Thursday as liberal voters dominated a standing-room-only audience at a town-hall meeting in downtown Mesa.

    Even before he took the stage, the audience chanted “health care for all,” showing their support for former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the health-care-reform law that Flake, R-Ariz., has opposed.

    Since when are “Obamacare” and “health care for all” synonymous? I always considered them antonyms.

    1. a different chris

      Yeah and did the voters wear labels identifying themselves as “liberal”… maybe they were just people who needed health care and understand that it just doesn’t work in the free market.

      I like sports but I don’t want my employer run by the guys who can shoot a basketball the best.

    2. Jim Haygood

      “Flake was battered with questions about … his resolution to stop an Obama administration-era rule on internet privacy.”

      Flake was the sponsor of the ISP spying bill. Flake peddled his pimply white Republiclown ass to AT&T, Comcast and Verizon like a ten-dollah crack ho.

      Thus the denouement, courtesy of the Arizona Hilla-Republic:

      “This is what democracy looks like. This has been a great evening, [Flake] said.

      “(Expletive) you,” one man shot back.

      Flake …

      1. Carolinian

        Feisty those Arizonans. Unfortunately they keep re-electing Lindsey’s bro from another mo. There was also that whole Joe Arpaio thing–best forgotten.

  10. Anonymous

    (1st class) Another United Airlines horror story: ‘They said they’d put me in cuffs’

    In the week before David Dao was dragged off United Airlines flight in scenes that drew worldwide condemnation when the video went viral, another passenger was threatened with handcuffs if he didn’t give up his seat for a “higher priority” passenger.

    Geoff Fearns paid about A$1300 for a full-fare, first class ticket to Los Angeles from Hawaii, theLA Times reported

    It made no difference that Mr Fearns was a frequent flyer who’d paid a full, first-class fare.

    The “compromise” was a downgrade to economy class, to a middle seat, between a couple who he said refused to be seated next to each other and “argued the whole way” of the six-hour flight.

    In reply, a United corporate customer care specialist emailed back, apologising for Mr Fearns’s unpleasant experience, but offered no refund, nor a donation.

    More clueless corporate behavior in story.

    1. Uahsenaa

      An economy ticket from LAX to Honolulu is about 600 USD. So, they just stiffed him the 700 bucks?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The 1%ers or those close to 1% are not that elite.

      The real, real elites, lest we continue to confuse ourselves, fly their own jets.

    3. RUKidding

      Reason Number 5349 why I stopped flying the unfriendly skies of United a long long time ago. That airline truly sucks.

      1. grayslady

        United has always been terrible as an airline and as a corporation. Back in the 1970s, I was forced to attend the annual shareholder meeting for business reasons. During the part of the meeting when shareholders were allowed to ask questions, an employee stood up and asked why United had eliminated the gold lapel pin for employees that denoted 15 years of service. The chairman said he was unaware of the issue, but that he would “look into it.” I’ve never forgotten that. What kind of corporation tries to save money by eliminating employee loyalty awards?

        Also in the 1970s, United was awarded the route for non-stop Chicago-Honolulu flights. This should have been a great opportunity to promote the airline; but, guess what–no food on the flight! You could purchase an Arby’s-type roast beef sandwich, wrapped in tin foil, for $4, but that was it: no french fries, not even a tray to put the sandwich on! And that was a 9-hour flight! Fortunately, my dad had warned me about the policy before I traveled, so I purchased some “picnic” style food at the airport before boarding. Keep in mind, those were the days when airlines practically stuffed a meal down you on even a 2-hour flight.

    4. FreeMarketApologist

      “United offers to compensate passengers”

      Headline should be “united offers to buy passengers’ silence”.

  11. justanotherprogressive

    Pompeo”s CIA or Assange? Which one should I believe?
    Which one is known to have interfered in elections and brought down democratically elected officials?
    Which one is known to have tortured people in violation of the Geneva Conventions?
    Which one is known for droning innocent civilians?
    Which one is known to have performed “chemical” tests on American citizens, causing their illnesses and deaths?
    Which one is known to have released computer viruses that they lost control of?
    Which one is known to have a “Chief” who lied to Congress?
    And I could go on…….
    Yea, hard choice……

    1. craazyboy

      They also covered up making South Nevada radioactive with above ground nuke testing and killed John Wayne [after too many gambling trips to Vegas], but who’s counting….

      1. Carolinian

        John Wayne and Susan Hayward. They were on Utah location near one of the bomb tests while making something called The Conqueror (I’ve seen it, actually). Wayne improbably plays Genghis Khan.

        1. RUKidding

          OMG!! Wayne playing Chingis Khan???? Egad. I think I need to see that movie.

          That sounds almost as “good” at Yul Brenner playing Taras Bulba in the eponymous movie… eg, really terrible casting but leading to many good yucks.

          Of course, Yul was often the go-to guy to play all sorts of “foreign” dusky-hued types including the Egyptian Pharoah who opposes Charleton Heston’s ever-believeable Moses. ha ha

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Sorry. The Yul Brenner comparisons are off base. John Wayne as Ghengis Kahn is well….something else. Nope, not Heston as Judah Ben Hur. Whatever springs to mind as a comparison is simply wrong.

            Try a YouTube search of “John Wayne, conqueror, fake trailer”

            It’s only shocking Kang and Koloth don’t show up.

        2. Pat

          Not just them, 91 of 220 members of the cast and crew developed cancer and 46 died of it. That was almost three times the numbers it should have been according to statistics. Mind you some, like Wayne, were heavy smokers so it isn’t cut and dried. Still.

          Edited to add: The government said it was safe for residents. Where have we heard that before.

          1. Da Bomb

            Check out one of the documentaries by john pilger about the nuclear tests in the bikini atoll. People were used as test animals.

            It is evil on a surreal level.

      2. Arizona Slim

        A family friend developed blood cancer as a result of that above ground testing. While the tests were going on, he was a public information officer for the USMC.

        Friend died a slow and horrible death.

  12. Anonymous

    No, no its not. Read your own article.

    US federal law is responsible for the United Airlines incident

    The Department of Transportation’s Fly Rights not only makes overbooking completely legal, but it makes it legal for airlines to kick someone off against their will if they are deemed not to be in a hurry.

    All they have to do is give all passengers who are “bumped involuntarily” a written statement describing their rights and explaining how the carrier decides who gets on an oversold flight and who doesn’t.

    And according to aviation lawyer Thomas Janson, airline crew needing to get to a destination to work are classified as “must-fly” and are given priority under this regulation.

    “Such a practise is called ‘deadheading’ and it means that flight and cabin crew are given first priority over passengers in the event that they are required to crew a flight,” Mr Janson, National Manager of Transport Law at Shine Lawyers told

    However, even though Mr Janson said the airline acted in accordance with the law — putting aside the violent way in which the situation was handled, which does spark legal questions — he said it shouldn’t have been United’s first option.

    “Given that the flight that the cabin crew were meant to work was not going to depart until the next day, United Airlines should have paid for alternative transport. For example, by land as it is only about a 4.5 hour drive between Chicago and Louisville, or they should have paid for the crew to fly on another airline,” he said.

    Mr Janson (who is apparently not a lawyer) seems not to be aware of the basic facts of the case or of what he told the newspaper. No Mr Janson, according to your statement, the airline did not act in accordance with the law. Far from it in fact.

    Additional worthwhile details at link.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      if they are deemed not to be in a hurry.

      They deemed him not in a hurry.

      He said he was in a hurry.

      ??? How much time did they have to investigate whether someone iwas in a hurry or not? ???

      Mr. Janson possibly is correct, that they had to make a decision, and they deemed he not in a hurry.

      And according to aviation lawyer Thomas Janson, airline crew needing to get to a destination to work are classified as “must-fly” and are given priority under this regulation

      Here, it’s ‘needing to get to a destination,’ and not ‘with only one option, this flight, and needing to get to a destination.’

      Maybe driving was another option, or to fly on another airline. Those are additional options. But the priority could be given, without it being the only option…at least according to the quoted passage.

  13. craazyboy

    “New Night Lights Maps Open Up Possible Real-Time Applications”

    The “Light Switch” may be invented, but patent searches are still underway.

    1. polecat

      I would much prefer to view starlight, rather then from the constant light pollution emitted in, and around, my semi-rural local …..

      1. craazyboy

        This is how Mother Earth camouflages herself whilst spinning round and round in outer space. She knows the Space Aliens are coming…

      2. Katharine

        +1000 for my urban area

        I was glad when we got new street lights with less glare, so that I could actually see some stars and the fireflies were happier (it was the first time in years I’d seen them high in trees), but I have neighbors who seem to believe their homes need to be floodlit. Exasperating.

    2. Citizen Ken

      I always cringe when I see these images (and I’m a hard-core space guy), as I can’t help but reflect on the massive amount of resources wasted to shine light into the sky. Huge amounts of coal burned to shine light out into space where it does no one any good and provides zero ‘safety’.

      Everyone – please check out the International Dark-Sky Association, who have been working for years to reduce this waste:

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Beautiful video clip, but the lights also caused me to wonder about the long-term sustainable carrying capacity of the planet. Since much of the landmass isn’t arable or is marginally inhabitable, Malthus should be accorded some credibility IMO. Recall such maps from a couple decades ago didn’t show lights to a similar degree in some regions where they are now rather intense, such as northern India.

    1. Pat

      And he makes a whole lot of sense in his dissection of her terrible campaign, yet reading the limited comments the excuses and blaming continue. Russians! Russians! Comey! Russians!

      I weep for my country and the idiots who refuse to recognize that winning the popular vote doesn’t mean diddly if that is not what determines who becomes President.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One conspiracy theory was the Trump was running to put Hillary in the White House.

      The current theory is Hillary ran to put Trump in there.

      1. Pat

        I’m a great believer in many conspiracies, but that…no. Similar to the Assad gas story of the last few days, Clinton running to put Trump in really does not work because it really doesn’t do anything for Clinton. Oh, sure they could pay her off with a few board seats, but do you really think that would be enough for Bill and Hillary? Think of the millions that came in when she Secretary of State. I don’t think so. Nor do I think anyone would give the Clintons a billion dollars to burn up to run an intentionally losing campaign. Half that maybe, but a billion, no.

        I also don’t give TPTB enough credit to be able to figure out that Trump could win. Oh, yeah some of us got there before during the Republican primaries, but most of the intelligentsia, Democrat elite, media and even a whole lot of Republican elite were fully expecting there to be a President Hillary Clinton.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            When people don’t get my jokes, I only have myself to blame.

            “Must get better with the delivery..”

          2. Pat

            If I missed the snark, I apologize. I fully admit I don’t have any sense of humor regarding the various real and unreal ‘theories’ that attempt to hide, obfuscate, or just disregard the arrogance and incompetence of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party (even if it is intentional 99% of the time) in this campaign. Maybe because so many people making her a ‘victim’ means she will once again not fade into the oblivion she so richly deserves (since prison isn’t possible), and that the Democratic Party grift will continue long past its expiration date.

            1. JustAnObserver

              I’m always reminded, when the question of “Why is she still there!!” comes up, of that scene in the original Alien where Ian Holm (playing the disembodied head of the Android) says something along the lines of :

              “Don’t you see! Its beautiful. The perfect organism. The ultimate survival machine.”

              The push this on one might say that the Alien’s corrosive blood is the neoliberalism flowing through the Dem party. As the Nostromo’s crew realized Killing It With Fire would be the only means of destroying it.

              Interesting that the films date – 1979 – corresponds pretty much with the dawn of Reagan/Thatcher, deregulation/privatization, and the destruction of the commons. Was Ridley Scott trying to tell us something here ?

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From Mareketwatch’s United debacle:

    As detailed in a story in an alumni magazine, it took about a decade for Simon’s idea to be turned into reality. He pitched it to Alfred Kahn, who oversaw deregulation of the airline industry under President Jimmy Carter.

    “I was shocked along with everyone else when Julian actually sold it,” the alumni article quoted fellow economist James Heins as saying. “Even good ideas are often a tough sell with government, probably for reasons of inertia.”

    Is that ‘Simon’s idea to be turned into reality,’ or ‘a version of Simon’s idea?’

    In the paragraph above:

    That is not what happened, as anyone following the United saga will know by now.

    Here, the ‘that’ in ‘(t)hat is not what happened’ refers to Simon’s idea (which involves asking passengers to bid for the compensation he/she will take to leave voluntarily).

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Cassini finds molecular hydrogen in the Enceladus plume: Evidence for hydrothermal processes Science

    One day, Don Juan’s will be taking their 20-something model dates to Enceladus cuisine restaurants or Martian food restaurants.

    “How do you like the alien life form? I just love how the chef prepared it…raw, un-sterilized. If you like, we can go down to the portal where they bring in fresh batches every Wednesday morning. You’d love that? Go ahead, get on your knees so I can kiss you…You’re just too tall.”

  16. justanotherprogressive

    Re: “Legendary Climate Scientist Likes a GOP Proposal on Global Warming”

    It appears that James Hansen has been caught up in the neoliberal thinking trap. A carbon tax sounds nice, but the reality is that it will accomplish nothing. The more wealthy among us will pay the tax (or get it deferred) to maintain their lifestyles – a few more dollars isn’t going to cause them to cut back on their carbon spending any more than any of the other luxury taxes do. It is already true that the poorer among us put far less carbon into the atmosphere than the wealthy so how making sure the lower classes put less carbon into the atmosphere actually going to help climate change? How can it possibly offset the carbon spending by the wealthy?

    Perhaps people need to be reminded that it is the total amount of carbon released into the atmosphere that is the problem, and all the money you collect in taxes just isn’t going to fix that problem, is it?

      1. GF

        It’s not a tax!!

        Hansen states in the article:

        “I call it a carbon fee because you would give all of the money to the public, a dividend to each legal resident. [A group of Republicans] have adopted [this approach] almost precisely as I proposed it in 2008. The starting level of the fee varies from one proposition to another—I believe that they start at $40 per ton of carbon. [I] suggest $55 per ton—[that price] yields a dividend of $1,000 per legal resident and $3,000 for a family with two or more children, with one half-share for each child [and] a maximum of two half-shares per family.

        This way it actually stimulates the economy. If it’s a tax taken by the government, it makes the government bigger and it depresses the economy. That’s why I object to the Democrats as much as to the Republicans. The only way the public will allow a carbon fee is if you give the money to them—people don’t want to see the price of gasoline at the pump going up.

        That’s what’s frustrating about this problem—the fact that there’s a solution, which is not difficult and not economically harmful. It would be remarkable if the Trump administration would actually understand this and realize that it would be popular. It would work, unlike some of the things that Trump is advocating.”

        1. justanotherprogressive

          Call it what you will – a “tax” or a “fee” (I think that anyone who thinks this money will be returned to the public is being very naive.). But you are missing the point, aren’t you?
          Let me repeat: All that money you think will be raised to “stimulate the economy” or whatever else it will be spent on, doesn’t do a damn thing to reduce or stop the damages of climate change, does it?

          1. skippy

            Its just a neoclassical band aid to a problem neoclassical economics enables….

            disheveled…. self licking style….

              1. skippy


                Sorry I can’t agree with your perspective or the semantics its couched in.

                By disagreeing with the neoclassical perspective it does not indicate doing nothing, just the opposite imo, in fact, its pointing out the fundamental flaw in both how we got into the mess – in the first place – and then what methodology [same] is used to remedy or mitigate the problem created by the aforementioned.

                disheveled…. the idea that creating property out of whole cloth resultant of the sins of the past and monetize it e.g. subjugate externalities again to price mechanics and the track record for that incentive does not bode well….

                PS. please refer to post below.

              2. skippy

                Amends for the double comment.

                To be more concise – there is nothing – too stop the government from being pro active wrt a scenario that for all and intent is as threatening as war too both the well being of its citizens and its sovereignty.

                Leaving it up to the market and price mechanics seems like a huge gamble in retrospect. I mean do I want some derivative exposure to AGW and let that position inform my perspective on AGW – ?????

                1. different clue

                  The carbon workers and the carbon merchants are so far enough to stop the government from forcing down carbon emissions to dewarm the global. Hansen recognized that as a problem here.

                  You live in Australia. Do you think it is possible that the Australian government will ban coal mining in Australia and forcibly close every coal mine in Australia? If you think it is possible for the government of Australia to ban coal mining in Australia, then you think it is possible for more-or-less Democratic Government to ever be permitted to solve the problem.

                  So . . . do you think it is possible for the government of Australia to forbid coal mining in Australia? That would be a test of whether a government can take pro-active steps to dewarm the global.

    1. Susan the other

      Jim Hansen’s new position is depressing. Fee and dividend. Direct dividends to the people – except the fees paid by, say coal fired utilities, etc, will be passed on to users. So his excuse for “stimulating the economy” falls flat. He should stay out of economics and stick with science.

      1. skippy

        In the vain of Vidal’s Propertarians’ – Philip Mirowski makes the argument that its just more property ™ for the ownership classes which will increase “their” rights vs. the unwashed….

        In this sense were actually moving backwards whilst not unlike green or environmental economics confusing a scientific reality with a metaphysical purview of choice e.g. the starting point of the observation is ex ante from a neoclassical matrix.

        disheveled…. increased financialization of a core problem – created – by a dominate metaphysical camp seems to be a case of failing upwards thingy…..

      2. skippy

        As an after though per your view on science staying out of economics I would posit just the opposite… econnonomics should stay out of science per Mirowskis ‘science mart’….

        disheveled… went the fool is driving the bus don’t blame the people that enabled the bus to be driven….

      3. different clue

        I believe this has been Hansen’s position and suggestion for some years now. The theory is that the sellers of coal, gas and oil who pay the fee at the point of very first sale of their fossil carbon fuel into the economy will of course raise the price of their fuel by the amount of fee they had to pay for selling it. That will increase the price of the fuel to every downstream user, making every downstream thing involving coal, gas and oil more price-painful to use and pay for.

        The fee-money collected would be divided into exactly equal-sized dividend pieces to give to each legal resident of the US. If each dividend-recipient used the dividend to buy fossil carbon intensive products or services, their dividend check would go not very far at all. If they used the dividend to buy goods or services produced with less fee-price-raised carbon input, their dividend check would go farther. And thingmaking and service-performing involving less carbon emissions would be incentivized and increased.

        The fee would be set punitively high enough to make the purchase of fee-price-raised coal, gas and oil genuinely painful and lead enough people away from high-fee-priced fossil carbon enough of the time that less fossil carbon would be sold. Hansen thinks that setting the fees high enough and using the money strictly to give every resident an equal sized dividend payment would eventually lead to the extermination-from-existence of the coal industry, and then the oil and gas industries after that.

        Am I correctly understanding what Hansen thinks his fee and dividend plan would achieve?

        1. skippy

          Doesn’t that just end up like the solar death spiral wrt line energy suppliers, due to reduced consumer base impairing their ability to manage debt loading.

          1. different clue

            My question is: am I correctly understanding how Hansen himself says his plan is structured and what Hansen himself says he thinks his plan will do. If I don’t even understand correctly what the Hansen Plan even is in its own terms, I can’t begin to discuss what it might do if applied in the real world.

            So . . . do I appear to understand the Hansen Plan in its own terms?

      4. different clue

        Hansen spent many years sticking to his science. He spent some years after that testifying before Congress and other places. Then he began overtly agitating for “something to be done”.

        When he realized that government belongs to the Merchants of Carbon, he tried thinking of some other way to force a solution to the problem. He went beyond sticking with science when he saw that science by itself was never going to get anyone anywhere with regard to dewarming the global.

  17. NotTimothyGeithner

    Call me a cynic: Pence is expected to be in South Korea on Sunday for Easter with the troops. Trump has sent Pence to “Hamilton” to be booed and the Clinton Library.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Another short term insurance policy?

      Those who want to replace Trump with Pence, likely the same ones itching to go up against Kim, don’t want to risk losing the VP while he is in S. Korea.

    2. RenoDino

      Pence will likely be the new provisional governor of the Korean Peninsula. This is what happens to anyone who becomes too popular and then screws up the ACA repeal.

        1. RenoDino

          Fantastic and timely must read Wiki Bio. Thanks! Seems to imply that he divorced his first wife, who was from Iceland, because she may have had communist tendencies. The good old days are back again. “Russian Stooge” is most often reason cited for today’s breakups.

  18. djrichard

    Towards Democratic Regulation of the Airline Industry Matt Stoller, Medium

    I have to admit, I didn’t think this topic could be a platform for a bigger conversation beyond the airline industry, but it is, and a quite effective one. Notice the key word “utility” in both these bits.

    Prior to 1978, airlines were regulated by the Civil Aeronautics Board. Airline service was held to be a “public convenience and necessity” — much like a utility — and the CAB worked to ensure simple goals.


    In the 1970s, many liberals — led by Carter-Administration official Alfred Kahn — began to embrace the long-standing conservative argument that public utility rules protected unionized employees at the expense of the “consumer.”

    This issue (of regulation and “liberalization”) applies to all things we conventionally think of as utilities, e.g. power and gas.

    But it goes even beyond that. Apply this same thinking to businesses in general. That is, if instead of thinking of x-as-a-business, think of x-as-a-utility. For instance, we on NC do this quite frequently with banking. Instead of thinking of banking-as-a-business, the idea has been to turn that thinking around so people think of banking-as-a-utility. If banking is a utility, then there’s a lot of change to the status quo that should be happening. We already know what the arguments are against that, we’ll be stifling the creativity. But look what the creativity of banking has brought us: pirates on the high seas. Similarly, look at what the creativity of the airline industry has brought us: frankly nothing.

    De-regulation is good when you need “creative destruction” to get past barriers to cannibalizing business models. But at some point a new equilibrium is achieved. And when it’s achieved, it’s time to come back into the fold of being run as a utility. For instance, time for Uber to be treated like other taxi companies.

    1. Pat

      It is the result of both greed and our ‘capitalistic’ belief system that business owes no responsibility except to its shareholders (although greed has twisted that one to bits as well). Forget as a public utility, all business should be responsible to its employees, its customers and its community as well as to its shareholders. No, you cannot poison the community you operate in because it will enrich your shareholders more than if you clean up your mess. No, you cannot cheat your employees or your customers because it will look better on your balance sheets for your shareholders. No, you cannot beat up your customers because they don’t kowtow to your demands when they are unreasonable.

      But that would be recognizing that businesses are tools of human behavior and like human behavior must be regulated because of greed and selfishness and inhumanity of some of the humans.

  19. Susan the other

    Foreign Policy. Let the Koreans settle their differences without us. Makes a good point about how different the world is today from 1945 and how South Korea is capable of dealing with North Korea on its own. It does seem laughable that North Korea could even try to spread its wonderful society into South Korea. And since it looks like Kim has been abandoned by his 2 big friends, why are we still coddling South Korea? One interesting point was that if we left South Korea to its own devices it would force dialog between them and Japan and serve to preclude the nationalists in each country from exploiting old resentments. FP didn’t come right out and say that having to mess around with a weirdo like Kim was a virtual waste of time, but it implied it. Nobody thinks Kim is worth it.

    1. John k

      Seems NK can easily take over the south by force without US protection, and they would have every incentive to do so.

      1. Mark P.

        ‘Seems NK can easily take over the south by force without US protection, and they would have every incentive to do so.’


        For instance, on paper the (North) Korean People’s Air Force has 458 fighter aircraft and the (South) Republic of Korea has 408.

        But the most numerous fighter the Norkeans have is the subsonic MiG-21, first flown in 1953. Their most modern fighter is the MiG-29, from the 1970s, and they’re all armed with Vietnam War-era weapons. The South, conversely, is flying F-15Ks and F/A-50s, and has all the ability to sling smart supersonic missiles around that a modern First World state has.

        Arguably, therefore, a matchup between both sides’ air forces would be no such thing — as uneven as that between the U.S. and Saddam’s forces.

        As a result, Norkean ground forces might have no air cover at all, thence would be as vulnerable to being incinerated en masse as Saddam’s forces were while retreating on the Basra road during Gulf War 1. They would also be facing a South Korean ground army with the same technological preponderance over them that U.S. ground forces enjoyed over the Iraqi army.

        Except ….

        As opposed to the perfect sandbox-type terrain of Gulf 1 and 2, and the tribally-compromised, industrial-era Iraqi army, in Korea there’s mountainous terrain and an extensive networks of tunnels the Norkeans have built, which go up to the hills at the border overlooking Seoul (where those 60,000-some Norkean artillery pieces are emplaced).

        It all comes down to those tunnels. Thus, the U.S. demonstration in Afghanistan with MOAB, which is designed for sucking air out of tunnels and sending human-killing shock-waves through them.

        Note that despite this bomb’s ridiculous physical size making it apparently impractical for actual battlefield use, it’s conceivable that the South Korean air force and the U.S. military could achieve the same kind of air superiority as the US and allies had over Saddam’s air forces. They could effectively control the skies and, therefore, have the ability to bring in planes to target the tunnels, and their entrances and ventilator sites.

        If hypothetically a real shooting war started, much — probably everything — would come down to how well the S. Koreans and the U.S. could target the Norkean tunnels.

        I wouldn’t risk it. The Norkeans are the same level of human capital — just as smart — as the South Koreans. If they’re going down, they’ll have some way of bringing everybody else with them.

        In this context, that region of Asia is the main high-tech manufacturing center of 21st century global civilization, and would anyway be where any WWIII-level conflict would be most likely to break out since there are a number of nuclear states that share borders and have histories of mutual hostility — China, India, Pakistan.

        A shooting war between the two Koreas, possibly involving nukes, would be high-risk for the whole world.

  20. flora

    re:The Democratic party is undermining Bernie Sanders-style candidates – Guardian.

    “Contrast this with what Perez said just a few months earlier when he promised “a 50-state strategy” complete with “rural outreach and organizers in every zip code.” In a post-victory interview with NPR, he specifically name checked Kansas as a place Democrats could win. Wither the sudden about face?”

    Why the sudden about face? My guess: in the special Dem primary for the KS-04 contest Thompson beat the state’s Dem estab candidate. The candidate Thompson beat is a former state party officer and a state rep. My guess: the state Dem estab was miffed that the guy from the wrong side of the tracks won the primary.

    Interesting that in 2016 Bernie won the Kansas caucus by convincing numbers. The state Dem estab was not pleased.

    1. Pat

      So does that explain the lack of support for Rob Quist in Montana. Another populist style Democrat with a better chance of getting elected than Ostroff. (Yes, I said it, Ostroff is a loser. Moderate Republicans are not going to send him to Congress, but he is the Bees Knees when it comes to Clintonian Democrats).

      And how does the state party being miffed change the idea of the national arms of the Democratic Party – DNC, DSCC, DCCC – supporting a candidate with both money and resources? It doesn’t. It is the lack of NATIONAL Party support we are talking about here. There is really only reason for the about face: it was never the truth to begin with. Can’t be supporting people who might actually want to push things like Medicare for ALL or card check or right to repair or expanded SS or …

      1. John k

        Dems cannot be reformed, their pay checks depend on not reforming.
        Only way out is third party. Bernie must know this, just can’t bring himself to make the jump, knowing that the dem establishment plus MSM will openly hate him… as opposed to just quietly obstructing everything he tries.

        1. HotFlash

          Hello, Bernie *is* third party. He is an independent, a Social Democrat, who caucuses with the Democrats. If anybody knows the problems of getting national recognition with a 3rd party, it would be him, or else Jill Stein.

          If you think it it so easy to get ballot access in 50 states plus, go right ahead a get it in your state, then link up with 49+ others. Good luck with that.

          Not to say you shouldn’t try, but pls don’t obstruct or berate those who take another route.

          1. John k

            I remain strong Bernie supporter. Only candidate I ever gave money to. Voted for him in primary and general.

            It’s because I know how difficult ballot access is that I advocate taking over the greens, which was offered to Bernie in the last election.
            Still available? IMO probably.
            Then convert to functional.
            Maybe convert name to progressive greens.
            Generate platform based on Bernie stump speech.
            Offer to help all candidates that adopt platform.
            Raise money.

            The pres numbers:
            Dems 30%, reps 30%, indies 40%
            Bernie gets 1/3 of dems, = 10%
            Gets 1/6 ogbreps, = 5%
            Gets 75% of indies, = 30%
            Total = 45%, easily enough to win in 3-way race.

            But… he’s old. Would take more effort than primary fight did. And this is a direct attack on not just establishment but especially dems. The hate he endured in the primary from dem colleagues and MSM would be nothing like what he would receive if he goes rogue. Clearly too much to ask.

            And the alternative…
            at least Bernie was an established pol when he entered primary. But he’s a rare fossil from another era. Who else?
            I don’t know any established pols that are progressive. Tulsi anti war, Elizabeth anti bank, neither cares a fig for the working class. Helps to have a pulpit… or an oligarch. Alas, none of them are for workers, either.

            Incertainly agree Bernie’s done his share, just don’t see any other alternative given the oppo. But here’s a question: does he think he’s really accomplishing anything for any progressive cause by staying on the reservation and running around holding Perez hand? And if not, what’s the point?

        2. montanamaven

          Yes, it does partially explain it. Quist beat the State Democratic establishment candidate. So I bet the establishment is miffed. It’s always about power and not even money. It’s about petty fiefdoms like who gets to be head of the gambling commission. It’s sad because Montana has a history of renegades and real reformers. There were also times when Republicans and Democrats got together to make change happen. With the help of the League of Women Voters and it’s president Dorothy Eck, a referendum for a Constitutional Conventional was called in 1970. The new constitution adopted in 1972, gave citizens the right to a healthy environment. The preamble reads:
          “We the people of Montana grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to improve the quality of life, equality of opportunity and to secure the blessings of liberty for this and future generations do ordain and establish this constitution.”
          But in my brief sojourn into party politics from 2004 to 2009, it pretty much was a bunch of go along to get alongers; weak appendage of the national party.

          1. Pat

            Once again that explains the STATE party apparatus not supporting the candidate, but in a season where there are four, count them four, candidates for state representatives to national office AND the National Party is claiming to be once again embracing a 50 State plan to elect more Democrats there is NO excuse for the national party and its arms not at least ponying up some mailing and phone banking money to both Quist and Thompson. Certainly they should have given them at least as much attention as Ossoff.
            Quote from Business Insider:

            In addition to being well-funded, Ossoff is also heavily staffed. The DCCC sent eight staffers to Georgia in March to help his election efforts, bringing his total to 70 paid staffers and 2,000 volunteers. The DNC’s bylaws mandate that the organization stay neutral during the primary, but the committee is prepared to deploy staffers and high-profile surrogates to the district for Ossoff if he finds himself in a head-to-head runoff.

            This compared to waiting for the last days of the race to phone bank for Thompson.

            I’m sorry if the state establishment is upset about the candidates. They need to get over their hurt fee fees, take a good look around and figure out why their candidates didn’t make it onto the ballot. There probably is a reason – like they don’t represent the interests of the voters. But in the meanwhile Quist and Thompson ARE/were on the ballot and are/were as deserving as Ossoff of support from the DCCC and DNC, perhaps more so because once again they are on the ballot.

        3. Marina Bart

          Backing up HotFlash: the legacy parties have worked for over a century to make sure neither one can be superceded, either by adding a third effective national party or replacing either of the existing ones.

          It isn’t Bernie’s job by himself to fix this problem. If you can build an effective third party in time for Bernie to run in 2020, great. Draft him then. But “effective” is relevant here.

          It isn’t clear which approach will work, because the obstacles to all improvements are so entrenched and numerous. But the great thing is, we can ALL do something to make the process forward easier: vote against every corporate Democrat, in every race, at every level. Explain to your friends in ways they can understand that the national leadership of the party doesn’t care about voters, and doesn’t care about winning back a governing majority. They just want to keep this game going, and trick enough people to get the presidency, so they can continue to serve their wealthy donors. Their small dollar donors are just livestock to be served up.

          Vote against them, always and everywhere. Do not help Ossoff in Georgia. Do not give money to the DNC/DCCC/DSCC. Don’t vote for or support ANY candidate backed by the DNC/DCCC/DSCC — the Thompson/Ossoff contrast tells us everything we need to know about their values and strategy. Do not let any “grassroots” organization talk you into helping corporate Democratic candidates for any reason. If they endorsed Clinton before Bernie was forced to in July, vote against them. If they voted for Perez in the DNC race, vote against them. If they won’t clearly state they are for universal health care, vote against them. All the way to the final election.

          The left has to be tough about this, and work to persuade all those regular folks who don’t want to think about politics, they just want everybody to be “nice.” The propaganda is intense. People want to believe one of the two available options is “good.” But neither party is good. It is the Democratic Party that is weak enough to take over, which makes more sense anyway, because it the Democratic Party that has more betrayed its base, stopped universal health care always and everywhere and forced more warfare.

          Whether you work towards a building a viable third party, running insurgent primary challengers, or focus your efforts exclusively on extra-electoral activism, don’t forget to always vote against the corporate Democrats to weaken their parasitic hold over government, media, surveillance, and the levers, wealth, systems and brand identity of the party they are holding hostage on behalf of their owners.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Sorry, Marina, but you distort the events of last year. Bernie was offered a 3rd-party nomination, which certainly would have been “effective” with him at the head of it. I don’t really have to go over all that recent history, do I? Given his level of support and the effect of a 3-way split in plurality voting, he would have had a real shot at winning. He was already the most popular politician in the country, and his opponents were, shall we say, not.

            He chose not to run 3rd party, even so. I don’t pretend to know his motives, nor does it matter: there is no reason whatever to think he might accept ANY 3rd-party nomination – besides the point that he’ll be nearly 80.

            And addressing your main point: there is now a long history of progressives trying to “take over” the Democratic Party. Turns out it isn’t very democratic, the reason Lambert refuses to call it that. Those attempts have only driven the party, and our whole politics, to the right, to our present disaster. While they’re very weak in government and their popular support has fallen to new lows, the party isn’t “weak” in the face of a takeover bid, as they demonstrated by electing Perez to the chairmanship. All their safeguards are still in place. You might accomplish one useful thing: finding out just what those safeguards are. I have no idea, because I’m not a member. If you do find out, please report back.

            And yes, I’m “obstructing” the proposal because I think it’s a tragic waste of your time and resources and will only make things worse, to say nothing of “obstructing” alternatives.. Not that I have the slightest power to stop you, or anyone else.

            I’ve been following your final request for many years now..

            1. different clue

              That Green Party Headship Bernie was offered was just a sucking tarpit of tar. He would have sunk into it without a trace. He was wise to avoid it.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                Sanders also lost in Vermont when he ran on third party tickets, so he was coming from a place of experience.

                And I’m shaking my head at the idea that when a party turns to somebody outside the party for leadership, why that lucky someone would automatically regard the offer as a sensible one to accept.

        4. different clue

          The Democratic Party can in theory be conquered and purged, step by step. The DLC ThirdWay Clintonites can be viewed as cancer cells and treated as cancer cells, gangrene, guinea worms, whatever . . . and purged and burned from pieces of Liberated Democratic Party territory, one piece at a time.

          That is certainly a theory. And it sounds like a worthwhile theory too, if it is applied by people who genuinely hate the DLC Clintonites and genuinely want to make them all as personally close to personally dead as it is legally safe to do. Of course people who do not have the necessary level of hate in their hearts needed to really and truly seek the extermination of Clintonism from the Democratic Party should not and hopefully would not get involved in the effort.

          Third Partyism is another theory. People who believe in that approach should certainly try it.

  21. Chauncey Gardiner

    Regarding the two Wall Street Journal articles about China’s monetary policy makers confronting the “Trilemma”: In light of the well-publicized growth and size of debt owed by China’s private sector and state-owned enterprises, together with lingering questions about the channeling of debt proceeds into nonproductive assets, it will be interesting to see whether China will be able to defend the value of the yuan and maintain a stable yuan currency exchange rate through currency controls, or if there will be other significant policy changes and ultimately sacrificial lambs. Also interesting but unmentioned is why China needs to maintain such large foreign currency reserves?

    China’s curtailment of capital outflows by foreign transnational corporations that are reportedly affecting current account transactions raises a red flag in my opinion:

    1. djrichard

      I’m assuming the wealthy in China are doing what the wealthy in India are doing. Game the currency, betting that their central bank will be forced to devalue, per

      The pitch is primitive: take your dough out now, convert it into a hard currency, wait for the rupee to fall to 70 against the dollar, then bring it back into the country and convert it back to rupees at the more favourable rate.

      Eventually the central banks will be forced to capitulate (devalue) when they exhaust selling their US dollar holdings (US bonds) into this game. And they’ll capitulate even earlier than that because unwinding their US dollar holdings means they’re doing reverse QE, which means asset inflation in the mainlands are at risk. Hence their need to lower the reserve ratios (RRRs) to keep asset inflation parties going. Unless of course they re-institute capital controls, then it’s back to status quo currency manipulation.

      Of course, what Trump is told is that China hasn’t been engaging in currency manipulation the last so many months. LoL, that’s meaningful if you don’t mind balanced trade resting on currency games by the wealthy elite. In any case, I’m guessing that Trump could care less; he just needed breathing room so that he could have China as an ally against North Korea.

  22. fresno dan

    The IRS took millions from innocent people because of how they managed their bank accounts, inspector general finds WaPo (Furzy Mouse). Between Wells Fargo and the IRS, it looks like the only safe place for your money is a coffee can buried in the back yard. That should boost the economy!
    The IG took a random sample of 278 IRS forfeiture actions in cases where structuring was the primary basis for seizure. The report found that in 91 percent of those cases, the individuals and business had obtained their money legally.

    “Most people impacted by the program did not appear to be criminal enterprises engaged in other alleged illegal activity,” according to a news release from the IG. “Rather, they were legal businesses such as jewelry stores, restaurant owners, gas station owners, scrap metal dealers, and others.”

    More troubling, the report found that the pattern of seizures — targeting businesses that had obtained their money legally — was deliberate.

    “One of the reasons why legal source cases were pursued was that the Department of Justice had encouraged task forces to engage in ‘quick hits,’ where property was more quickly seized and more quickly resolved through negotiation, rather than pursuing cases with other criminal activity (such as drug trafficking and money laundering), which are more time-consuming,” according to the news release.

    As economists like to say, incentives matter. I wish everyone would consider that prosecutors always have incentives, and as men are not angels, some of these incentives put a higher priority on convictions, rather than justice…
    As well as the fact that any law can be misused.
    AND…what will happen to all these over ambitious IRS employees and prosecutors, as well as these judges who are apparently not quite as useful as potted plants???? I think the term is….collateral damage /sarc

    1. PhilM

      It is not widely known that the Spanish Inquisition, like the DEA and the IRS, was funded by what it confiscated from victims of its “investigations.”

  23. marym

    After his evening prayers, Mohammad Shahzadah closed the house gates and sat down for dinner. Then the blast came, engulfing the sky in flames and sending tremors through the ground.

    “The earth felt like a boat in a storm,” Shahzadah said. “I thought my house was being bombed. Last year a drone strike targeted a house next to mine, but this time it felt like the heavens were falling. The children and women were very scared.”
    The US had sustained an air campaign to eradicate Isis in eastern Afghanistan for more than a year, and according to Borhan Osman, an Isis expert with the Afghanistan Analysts Network, it had already been effective.

    “Isis was on the brink of losing their stronghold. It didn’t seem like there was a need for such a dramatic military measure,” he said.
    Donald Trump is not the first US president to bring heavy weapons down on Isis in Afghanistan. Last year, under Barack Obama, the US military deployed B-52s, which pack a payload three times greater than the Moab.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I’m really tired of oh-so-reasonable parsing of thoughtful strategies, initiatives, and policies, as though any of this is anything but complete and utter collective insanity.

      We need to get on message, just like single payer. When we contribute to a “reasonable” debate about strategies and tactics and this bomb over that bomb we just reinforce the very idea that any of this is anything but disgusting and deadly cruelty and madness.

      Just like in 1968 the message is: STOP THE WAR

      Not “Stop this particular war or this particular battle or this particular weapon”

      It’s like the whole world has given in to a pervasive global war culture, and we desperately need a massive countervailing force to emerge: PEACE

    1. witters

      Is Andre Levine related to Andrew Levine – the man who famously and endlessly announced the inevitability of President HRC and the utter inconceivability of a Trump presidency?

  24. Oregoncharles

    About the IRS forfeitures: has anyone succeeded in auditing the IRS? Last I heard, it couldn’t be, but that was quite a while ago. Since it’s more than a little of a scandal, it might have been remedied – but not that I’ve heard.

    I ask because the report says that the forfeitures continued AFTER the change of policy. That implies that individual IRS agents or offices had an interest in continuing them. Was that by any chance a personal, financial interest? If the system can’t be audited, we can be certain that there’s significant embezzlement going on. Maybe this should have been under “the Bezzle.”

  25. Oregoncharles

    “Pompeo Likens Wikileaks’ Release of CIA’s Hacking Tools to Philip Agee ”

    Underlines something I’ve long thought: that the real revelation of both Snowden’s release and this latest one is just how poor the “security” agencies’ internal security really is. The CIA LOST CONTROL of all those hacking tools? Just how much more embarrassing could it get? No wonder they’re so mad.

    Pompeo is right, of course: Wikileaks IS a “hostile intelligence agency;” all journalists are, or should be. They’re always the enemy, unless they’ve been suborned, which is why so much energy and money has gone into capturing them.

  26. ewmayer

    o Jean-Luc Mélenchon promises ‘no Red Army tanks’ in France if he wins presidency after spectacular late surge | Telegraph — Given that the Red Army hasn’t existed for over 25 years, he’s not exactly going out on a limb here. But illuminating the long-livedness of Cold-War-think.

    o China is suddenly leaning on North Korea — and it might be thanks to Trump | WaPo — After ripping candidate Trump for his unconscionable peacemongering in daring to say he’d be willing to talk with the Norks, The Blob is clearly most pleased with having gotten its way.

    o What’s really behind Donald Trump’s flip-flops | WaPo — One wonders if a disgracefully corrupt MSM preying on a weak-willed approval-hungry media-star president might have a smidge to do with that.

  27. different clue

    So , a United boycott will “never” work? This sounds like it was written by a secret undercover agent for United, designed to pre-demoralize people so that a boycott is never even tried.

    How thin are United’s margins? How much bussiness can United lose before it goes extinct? Does United control 85% of the flights from any single point A to point B? Well then, what stops committed extermicotters from booking only on the other 15% of flights controlled by “others”? How less-than-totally full would United flights have to be before each flying plane loses money?

    An extermicott deserves to be tried. At least people who think so should understand when they are being hasbarafied as part of a hidden-hand psychological warfare operation engineered to get them to accept their fate and not even do something which they actually have some individual power to do.

    Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat. If you actually get a clear properly scoped-in head shot on your economic enemy, you have every right to squeeze the trigger. The worst that can happen is that you miss. To not even take the shot is to never even know what could have been.

    1. Yves Smith

      I’m not a fan of United, but I am booked on them later this month, and they are the only carrier going direct from the point A and B I want. People who are invested in United’s frequent flier program also aren’t going anywhere, and they are hubs they own, like Denver. And business travelers (who are more lucrative by being more regular and sometimes paying for the front of the bus) are very convenience driven. If United fits their out of town meeting schedule, they’ll take it.

      So this isn’t as easy as you might think.

      1. different clue

        I know little about air travel since I rarely do it. Once a year for the last couple years, and once every few years before that. And never for time-is-money bussiness. So I can see from the explanation that it is not going to be easy.

        The Montgomery Bus Boycott was not easy either. But the stakes were very high. If the regular lucrative bussiness travelers can be confident that they will never be selected for a random beatdown and expulsion from a bought-and-paid-for-and-already-sat-in seat on a United plane, then they will see no reason to join any effort to “change” United.

        What about non-regular non-bussiness travelers going forward? Are they willing to take a train to a city with a non-United plane getting to where they want to go? Since they are starting to realize that they could be dragged and bone-broken and concussioned any old time United feels like it. And if they are, would they be enough to bankrupt United and take it away from the bussiness travelers, leaving the bussiness travelers without any airline at all until other airlines take over the places and routes which a hopefully-exterminated United would leave behind?

        If they are not willing to invonvenience themselves now in order to avoid the risk of a United beat-down later, then I suppose United will remain free to administer beat-downs whenever it feels like it. United will pay their cost-of-doing-bussiness settlement and waltz away scot free to keep beating people down whenever United feels like it . . . and paying more cost-of-doing-bussiness settlements as part of its price of doing bussiness . . . the United way.

        Since I don’t have to fly for reasons of economic job-survival, I am in a position to be picky-choosy about whom or what to fly with. If there are too few other potential fliers in that same situation to be able to extermicott United even though it is not easy, then I guess United has already won. In which case, the only thing I can do is to quietly and humbly keep avoiding United myself, so as to spare myself from becoming a United beat-down statistic.

        1. Yves Smith

          The United horrorshow was an extreme rare event relative to millions of passenger flights taken every year. Even thought this is super bad, only one other incident of United threatening someone with the police to make them get off a plane has surfaced so far.

          I am chronically time stressed and cannot afford to take trains. I suspect most people who fly are in the same boat.

  28. JerryDenim

    I absolutely adore Matt Stoller and I have been impressed by his knowledge, thoughts, and writing since his Alan Grayson days but I wasn’t so impressed with his piece on Airline deregulation and monopoly. I’m not necessarily in disagreement philosophically, I just took issue with his claims on pricing and some sloppy quoting and fact checking.

    First, price; No way is Stoeller going to convince me deregulation hasn’t radically lowered the consumer cost of flying. I’ve seen airline price lists/time-tables from the 1950’s and the inflation un-adjusted prices from over 60 years ago were actually higher ( ! ) than what consumers pay now in 2017. Seriously, is there anything on the planet that is cheaper in unadjusted dollars than it was in 1957? I don’t remember the 1950’s but I remember buying tickets in the late 1990’s when oil was really cheap and just before internet price shopping became ubiquitous, but, same thing- airline tickets were a heck of a lot more expensive. I don’t have any charts and graphs but I can’t imagine anyone over 40 needing hard data to be convinced on this point.

    Second, David Cush is the ex-CEO of the now defunct Virgin America Airlines and spent roughly 20 years at AMR (parent corporation of American and American Eagle) before his time at Virgin. David Neeleman was the founder and former CEO of JetBlue, but he was pushed out of the company by the board ten years ago in 2007. Any ideas Neeleman proposed for JetBlue were longer ago than a “few years”

    Regarding the awful manhandling and possible beat-down suffered by David Dao, I am more inclined to blame the creeping, fascist police-state mentality of post-9/11 America than callous monopoly. Law Enforcement in America is more belligerent and violent than ever, and post BLM they are on more of a war footing, us-vs.-them mentality than ever before. Of course near-monopoly market conditions and bad business practices (Balkanized, out-sourced, poorly trained, disgruntled work force) (probably) contributed to the poor decision making and bad customer service element of the recent UA debacle, but the actual brutality and injury suffered by Dao was of a uniquely American police state flavor that had very little to do with United Airlines itself. Goon squads like the one that boarded UA 3411 to forcibly remove David Dao can be found all around the country, not just airports. That said, US airports are extraordinarily fraught environments, chock full of fascists and aspiring junior fascists eager to escalate any minor exchange into a full-blown violent conflict. This is what most needs to change about air travel and I am hopeful this sordid Dao/United affair may finally help the flying public push back against this virulent, creeping American authoritarianism, at least in airports. Even as a privilege-soaked, white airline pilot I have had TSA threaten, and attempt to intimidate me while trying to peacefully pass through security. Security is serious business, but things really have gotten out of hand. I would address that first, then add more layers of consumer protection and regulation, then if the airlines still needed straightening out perhaps consider ‘trust-busting’.

    The United States has the world’s largest domestic air travel market with three mega-carriers, one really big domestic carrier (Southwest) and at least five other minor carriers that would still be considered major airlines in any other country besides the US. To me that doesn’t qualify as a monopoly condition, but the government needs to do much more to keep the playing field level and to ensure fair competition going forward. Allowing flag-of-convience foreign carrier, Norwegian, to enter the US marketplace was a big step in the wrong direction if you believe neo-liberal, race-to-the-bottom capitalism is one of the main factors driving airline degradation (I do ). For the first time in my memory the DOJ didn’t even require the very recently merged Alaska/Virgin entity to give up any of their gates in their most dominant and coveted markets, SFO and LAX, as requirement of their marriage. JetBlue is extremely interested in West coast expansion but can’t find the gates to do so. I’m sure Frontier, Allegiant, and Spirit would have appreciated at least a chance to bid on some gate space at SFO or LAX as well. Government regulation works and I have seen it work wonders where the market has failed during my short aviation career. I un-fondly remember terminally clogged airports in NYC, 2004-2009 where normal, blue-sky, taxi times would routinely exceed three hours. Slot controlling the three NYC area airports and the Passenger Bill of Rights did wonders for the amount of time air travelers were trapped on planes while not flying, and those actions deserve more accolade and recognition than they have received. Well-concieved and well enforced regulation can still do wonders for a market and I would recommend pursuing that course of action first before endeavoring to bust up any of the recently approved airline mergers. Such action will be very difficult and painful for the workers of the affected airlines and in the short term, painful for the flying public as well.

      1. JerryDenim

        Thanks Lambert, I think you guys are running the best blog on the net. I will look forward to it. The Norwegian approval is a very big development in the industry and they have quite the skeezy and interesting business model. Republic Airlines is another very interesting topic. Denied requests for waivers to hire Brazilian pilots precipitating bankruptcy proceedings, 99% of pilot group voting to strike for higher wages, but being denied the right by the arbitrator, only to receive massive raises during bankruptcy, outside of the negotiation process years later to stem pilot attrition. Sordid tales from the outsourced regional ghetto. I’m full of ideas for Naked Capitalism themed aviation topics if you need them! Hit me up.

  29. dk

    Something missing form that SEAL drug use article..

    SEALs have extremely high injury rates, even during training. I’ve never met a SEAL or ex-SEAL that didn’t have multiple prescriptions for pain, inflammation, and trauma recovery (steroids). I mostly meet these people in a martial arts context, where we discuss injury more readily.

    The article seems to indicate that the Navy is treating this as a drug/discipline issue, not as a manifestation of issues arising from trauma (physical and psychological).

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s why I said “deaths from despair.” The hidden subtext was how many of them, deep-down, believe in their mission, and if you don’t have a mission…

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