Links 4/15/17

Three $5000 no-strings-attached grants available Medium (Paul R)

Hydrostor Building Underground Caverns For Affordable Compressed-Air Energy Storage IEEE (Chuck L)

The Large Bitcoin Collider Is Generating Trillions of Keys and Breaking Into Wallets Motherboard (resilc). We’ve long said Bitcoin = “prosecution futures.”

The Tesla Semi: A Bad Idea Forbes (resilc)

Sperm tested as possible candidate for delivering cancer medications in female patients PhysOrg (Chuck L)


US balks at branding China a ‘currency manipulator’ Financial Times

North Korea

Why North Korea Needs Nukes – And How To End That Moon of Alabama. Lambert ran this yesterday in Water Cooler but wanted to make sure you didn’t miss it.

Step back or it’s war The Times

China warns of North Korea conflict ‘at any moment’ Defend Democracy

North Korea Parades Apparently New Long-Range ‘Frankenmissile’ Wall Street Journal

What might a conflict with North Korea look like? Christian Science Monitor (furzy)

Refugee Crisis

More than 2,000 migrants rescued in dramatic day in Mediterranean Reuters (furzy)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Battle intensifies between Trump’s CIA, WikiLeaks The Hill

Whistleblower uncovers London police hacking of journalists and protestors WSWS


Video Evidence of False Claims Made in the White House Intelligence Report of April 11, 2017 Theodore Postol via George Washington’s blog

McMaster is pushing for US war in Syria – Cernovich Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

US claims of Syria nerve gas attack: The anatomy of a lie WSWS (martha r)

Trump Walks Into Syria Trap Via Fake ‘Intelligence Antiwar (resilc)

Did Al Qaeda Fool the White House Again? Robert Parry, Consortium News

Australian academics witch-hunted for challenging US lies on Syria attack WSWS (martha r)

Did the US cross a red line by dropping the Mother of All Bombs on Afghanistan? Scroll (J-LS)

In 3 months, Trump has Charged into 4 Mideast Wars, to no Avail Juan Cole (resilc)

As Trump Strikes Syria, We Should Revisit the History Lessons of US Intervention in Central America Remezcla (furzy)

Trump Transition

Trump Spends 10 Minutes Mistakenly Addressing Steve Bannon’s Freshly Shed Exoskeleton The Onion (furzy)

Surprise! Now the establishment is praising Trump The Hill

Trump, Moved by Blond-Haired Victims, Surrenders to War Party Black Agenda Report (resilc)

Carter Page Surveillance Doesn’t Mean Much For Trump Wired (resilc)

Pro-Immigrant ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Clash With Trump’s Lawyers In Federal Court Huffington Post (furzy)

Reclaiming Public Goods Under Trump Nation (furzy)

Contrary to Popular Opinion, Trump’s Presidency Really Is Just Business as Usual Atlanta Black Star (martha r)

Steve Bannon in (and out of?) the Imperial Court of Donald Trump Ian Welsh


Trump is now destroying a healthy health-care system Washington Post (furzy). Only inside the Beltway could you get a piece like this. On the one hand, Milbank is on solid ground in his forecast about what getting rid of the insurer incentives means for the future of exchange plans. On the other hand, anyone who can declare that health care [as opposed to health insurers] to be healthy needs his head examined.

Health-Law Impasse Puts Squeeze on Congress Wall Street Journal

How Alaska fixed Obamacare Vox

Reminder: You Are Hardly Overtaxed in America! Barry Ritholtz. Resilc: “You are if you add up all the out of pocket costs that are covered in ‘socialist” countries, like damage on my truck due to potholes, copays for health, out of pocket after school programs, lost time due to bad infrastructure…..”

Mick Mulvaney Seems Complacent About a Government Shutdown Washington Monthly

Why Do Democrats Feel Sorry for Hillary Clinton? New York Magazine (resilc). UserFriendly: “Hell YESS!” Moi: When Andrew Sullivan is good, he really is very good.

Faux-Progressive PAC “End Citizens United” run by Third Way employees and Establishment Dem Insiders reddit (martha r)

Torture hoods used in U.S. prisons Workers World. Martha r: “Story lacking in sourcing but seems important.”

Sanders wins big with free public college and Medicare for all The Hill (martha r)

Tennessee House passes free community college bill Associated Press (martha r)

Iowa’s New Voter-ID Law Would Have Disenfranchised My Grandmother Nation (martha r)

Going Solar in West Virginia American Prospect (resilc)

Chicago schools’ big experiment with a different disciplinary tool: empathy Christian Science Monitor (furzy)

How a gritty Midwestern city is emerging as a model for civility Christian Science Monitor (furzy). Being well-spoken with good manners is a class marker.


Snipers and Infiltrators at Standing Rock: Quashing Protests at Taxpayer Expense Counterpunch (martha r)

United Fiasco

The Elements of Bureaucratic Style Long Reads (martha r)

Monetary Barbarism at United Airlines Counterpunch (martha r)

Economic Gains Elusive Despite Strong Confidence Wall Street Journal. Lambert had a lot of detail on this in Water Cooler yesterday.

Fall in US consumer prices dents ‘Trumpflation’ hopes Financial Times

Class Warfare

Why libraries could soon need a national endowment Christian Science Monitor (furzy). The gutting of public libraries is yet another sign of our decline as a society.

Welfare for Everyone Jacobin (UserFriendyly). Don’t entirely agree with the claim about Medicaid expansion. It was the component that was not designed by the health insurance lobby as a vehicle for gaming. And I have trouble with the argument that it was Medicaid expansion that prevented repeal. First, low income people are not an influential political franchise Second, there was tons of screaming about getting rid of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Third and most important, the Republican were at odds internally re what to do next, and there did have to be a next of some sort.

The IRS is using private debt collectors again. That’s a problem. Slate (resilc)

Uber registers $2.8bn loss in 2016 expansion drive Financial Times

Top Frustrations With Tax System: Sense That Corporations, Wealthy Don’t Pay Fair Share Pew Research Center

Antidote du jour. Paul R: &oung mule deer licking minerals off a hewn rock by the bike trail at Grand Canyon, yesterday [as in April 11].”

And a bonus video (Ignacio). The comments in Spanish on YouTube indicate that the cat likes going down stairs this way.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. skippy

    Scroll links… green bags are not for the intended…. but to obscure the humanity of the wearer in order too off set the humanity of the protagonist under orders…

    disheveled… off too bed… barf…

      1. skippy

        The hood is used prolifically now days, even in police custody, including juvenile detention – big case in Australia of late.

        The sensory deprivation as a punishment or under the excuse of prohibiting transfer of fluids fails to reconcile the dehumanizing aspect e.g. without eye contact or facial expressions the wearer loses their identity, this is also the case for those administering the treatment.

  2. Jim Haygood

    More payback for America’s Syria bombing:

    ShadowBrokers today released another cache of what appears to be extremely potent (and previously unknown) software capable of breaking into systems running Windows.

    The leak includes a litany of typically codenamed software “implants” with names like ODDJOB, ZIPPYBEER, and ESTEEMAUDIT, capable of breaking into — and in some cases seizing control of — computers running version of the Windows operating system earlier than the most recent Windows 10.

    “This is as big as it gets,” [Matthew Hickey of Hacker House] said. “Nation-state attack tools are now in the hands of anyone who cares to download them … it’s literally a cyberweapon for hacking into computers … people will be using these attacks for years to come.”

    In keeping with Operation Mockingbird guidelines, no mention is made of WHY ShadowBrokers just upped the ante. In their April 8th online manifesto after the Tomahawk attack on Syria, the group made clear that releasing the passwords to unlock weaponized NSA hacks is payback for Trump’s war piggery in Syria.

    Where are the Congressional hearings on the NSA’s catastrophic debacle? Oh, right — they’re on vacation, stuffing their snouts with chocolate Easter bunnies and such.

    The kabuki show must go on!

    1. Old Jake

      Talk about planning to fight the last war! Congresscritters may think they are still in that world where if it doesn’t have “Raytheon” printed on it and go BOOM! when you light the fuse it’s not worth noticing. That world is a bygone era. This action is about the ultimate in assymetrical warfare, where everyone is in the field of battle whether they know it or not. It’s about to be demonstrated that when someone threatens cyberretaliation with these weapon, attention must be paid. We are all collateral damage.

  3. fresno dan

    And a bonus video (Ignacio). The comments in Spanish on YouTube indicate that the cat likes going down stairs this way.

    That’s the way I like going down stairs too…..well, better that way than falling down the stairs….after drinking.

      1. HopeLB

        Partly lazy and partly in need of a randomly applied, deep tissue message to his/her right side.

        Also, here;
        at ;
        you can spread your glorious, literary, spiritually uplifting, jubilations AND help poor John Podesta and his Center for American Progress uncover more Rooski infiltrations.They are scouring the tubes for tips. (I already did the aliens-used a neuron reorganizing device on Bill/Hill while they were having their first kiss/machination at Oxford story and a version of the Old “there is a Russian under my bed” who I have become quite fond of, due to some dastardly variation of Stockholm syndrome, since he is the one hiding, and I am the one plying him with Stolis and English translations of Solzhenitsyn, story. (See how wily they are!))

        Praying that if you do offer your Patriotic help that you paste it here for us to read!

        1. craazyboy

          Geez, what a disappointing web site. Ya’d think Podesta would post some cute pizza pics to add some eye candy to the site.

          I thought we just found out that Putin decided he likes Trump even less than Obama?? Podesta needs to read the MSM news, methinks.

          But a crowd sourced “dossier” composed by whackos, nutballs and loonies should be fun, anyway. That’ll give the MSM a run for their money.

        2. craazyman

          It’s Like “DeNiro or Pacino”

          There’s a woman by the bus stop in the morning at 48th and 2nd who sits against a building wall with a hand-lettered sigh that says she was stalked and molested by Leon Panetta. It’s a cardboard sign with magic marker letters, in black, like the hefty trash bag that sits next to her on the sidewalk. Her hair is greasy and her clothes are stained but somehow she keeps her pair of eye glasses in reasonably good shape. She must have some capacity for reality. The look on her face is that of intense certainty and a focused concentration on some object just inches from her nose, at which she seems to be speaking in silent furious bursts of words. You can look at her briefly — as you walk by for example on your way to work — and see she’s in not only a world of her own but a world that does not exist at all, other than in its physical incarnation of filth and disjoined personal squalor.

          I’m sorry but at first I thought “John Podesta” but it was really “Leon Panetta” on the sign. It wasn’t Podesta at all on her sign it was Panetta. It’s easy to get them confused. I remember years ago hearing a story about a famous actor who wanted in to a night club, put he was polite about it when nobody recognized him. Evidently, if the story is true and it may not be, it was Robert DeNiro and someone in the crowd politely pointed out to the bouncer who he was. The bouncer said “I don’t care if he’s Al Pacino!” hahahah. Pretty funny. I thought so anyway, That was a long time ago but nothing ever dies on YouTube.

          I doubt anybody who reads this woman’s sign believes it — the stuff about Panetta. I don’t believe it. I really don’t need to write that since it’s obvious. But it’s amazing to me how many obvious things even smart people either 1) ignore or 2) don’t believe. That really is amazing.

          And all the crazy shlt they believe! That’s equally amazing. If only somehow you could go long and short on people’s craziness you could make a lot of money. But they’re so crazy almost all the time that they get good at faking being sane. Then your trades go against you.

          At any rate, it’s up just abit above where that woman is and well below the world Pacino and DeNiro and Panetta and Podesta are in. It’s there in the middle where things are sane — like the grocery store at 7 pm when the cashier girls who aren’t very beautiful and probably never will leave the store unless it’s marriage or death stare out the window lost in their imaginations and you can see it briefly and think “Well, that’s pretty cool. I bet Rembrandt would understand that look on her face.”. And thank god they are too, because that makes it worthwhile to sit and read the internet and drink a Spanish wine laughing in your mind. If it was insane up and down the whole ladder of reality at every level all the time, it would be hard to be amused even for a moment. At any rate . . . here’s to sanity. LOL

            1. Ulysses

              “If it was insane up and down the whole ladder of reality at every level all the time, it would be hard to be amused even for a moment.”

              True! Like the other day I was rushing to get on the F train at 14th street and I noticed two guys who were obviously Hall and Oates impersonators that were emerging from the L train platform stairs. I chuckled to myself– because it reminded me that not all human foolishness poses some sort of existential threat.

          1. HopeLB

            Just lovely. The magic of your wording and your wording’s weave. (Bet you’d make the best baskets (and basket cases) in the whole world.)

            Happy Tomorrow!

          2. jonboinAR

            It depends on what she means by “molested”. Panetta may have “molested” you and me as well. We just haven’t recognized it yet. Maybe we don’t really want to take the red pill and end up pushing a cart and muttering stuff no one pays attention to.

  4. MoiAussie

    Big Brother

    Both of today’s links reveal how far the US and UK have gone in the demonisation of whistleblowers. Pompeo’s position is that revealing the truth about illegal state activities is hostility against the state. The mere possibility of whistleblowing is labelled as “insider threats” to security.

    “Assange is a narcissist who has created nothing of value,” the former Republican congressman charged. “He relies on the dirty work of others to make himself famous. He is a fraud—a coward hiding behind a screen.”

    Pompeo’s speech was a wide departure from President Trump’s praise of WikiLeaks on the campaign trail. Trump and his administration have taken a much more hostile approach to WikiLeaks since taking office.

    In the UK, new laws recommended by the Law Commission criminalize whistleblowing that reveals the extent of state surveillance, legal or not.

    The Guardian failed to point out in its report that new legislation proposed by the Law Commission would make the author of the anonymous letter, Jones herself, and the journalists at the Guardian, liable for prosecution—with up to 14 years in jail.

    The intention to uncover criminal activity by the police could not be used as a defense. It is the aim of the Law Commission’s proposals to prevent whistleblowing activities that reveal the extent of mass surveillance becoming known.

    The future is clear. All state surveillance will be legal, and there will be no possibility of its illegality. All revelations about it will be illegal, and severely punished, except when leaked by state actors.

    1. craazyboy

      “leaked by state actors” s/b “re-written by alleged state actors”

      More Orwellian, that way.

    2. justanotherprogressive

      Yep, there is a new “meme” that is making its way through countries that used to be more democratic than despotic in the past: “The people of the country have no right to know what their government is doing. Anyone who tells people what their government is doing is a terrorist against the government and must be prosecuted.”

      Why people, especially in Great Britain – the country of the Magna Carta, or this country- the country of the Declaration of Independence, aren’t more up in arms about this, I’ll never understand. Perhaps they’ve acquiesced to the fact that their government only serves itself and not them anymore? Or perhaps they are so afraid of the bogeyman (whoever the government tells them that it is) that they just don’t care what their government does to them, as long as it keeps telling them they are safe?

      1. perpetualWAR

        Because most people who live under either the Magna Carta or the Declaration of Independence haven’t read it, don’t care to. Even if they did read it, they are more concerned with football, the Kardashians, or whatever meaningless drivel mass media shoves in their face.

      2. I Have Strange Dreams

        Magna Carta was meant to enshrine the rights of the barons. I.e., the 0.1%. Doesn’t anyone read history anymore?

        1. witters

          “Doesn’t anyone read history anymore?”

          I do, and I try to avoid the genetic fallacy…

        2. Carla

          So was the U.S. Constitution.

          Okay, in 1787, white male property owners had a say. Best estimate is 5-7% of the population at the time.

          Point is, when they said We the People, they meant WE the People, and WE are the ONLY People!

          And legally, at the time, they were.

        3. Procopius

          Yeah, but it had unintended consequences that took a while to work out. Once you say that the King has to follow the rules with one group you’ve opened the door to forcing him/her to follow the rules with everybody and then you’ve got a constitutional monarchy instead of an absolute monarchy. And once you allow the barons to meet together to decide on whether they’ll pay a tax or not, you’ve created the nucleus of a parliament that includes the common people.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Bill Bonner writes about Heavily Armed Swamp Critters:

    By our calculation, it took just 76 days for President Trump to get on board with the Clinton-Bush-Obama agenda. Now there can be no doubt where he’s headed. He’s gone Full Empire.

    Middle East wars? He was against them, he said. The bill for these misadventures is now said to be $7 trillion.

    Now, the U.S. is not only fighting terrorists. It is also fighting the people who are fighting the terrorists.

    It’s a perfect Deep State war: It is guaranteed neither to win nor to lose, but simply to go on indefinitely. This gives the insiders more and more of the nation’s wealth to piddle away in absurd wars in preposterous places.

    War pigs: grinding the faces of Trump’s base into the dirt. Gold-plated billion-dollar weapons, not affordable health care.

    Do they really think they’re going to get away with this?

    1. Carolinian

      Do they really think they’re going to get away with this?

      Er, yes.

      And re the WSWS Australia censorship story–it goes without saying that propaganda and censorship are the handmaidens of fascism and that fascism is a fundamentally militaristic mindset. Perhaps the MSM’s objection to Trump all along was not that he was a fascist but that he was not nearly fascistic enough. Now they can don their flightsuits and proclaim “Mission Accomplished.”

      Maybe. It increasingly seems that with Trump it’s never clear what his next plan is or if he even has one. By next week he may forget all about his chocolate cake moment.

  6. fresno dan

    Surprise! Now the establishment is praising Trump The Hill

    President Trump is suddenly winning positive reviews from a Washington establishment that has often feuded with the White House.

    Trump has evolved — or flipped — on a series of economic and foreign policy issues, including relations with Russia, NATO’s relevance, Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen’s future, whether China is a currency manipulator and the usefulness of the Export-Import Bank.
    Republicans say they reflect Trump’s flexibility.

    “He’s not a rigid ideologue. He’s willing to change his views if he encounters new information or the circumstances warrant a correction,” said Ryan Williams, a veteran Washington operative and former spokesman for 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
    Trump may find that he likes getting establishment praise, as the president has long sought the approval of elite opinion-makers.

    He has repeatedly sought out New York Times reporters to give them interviews, even as he continued to criticize the newspaper as “failing.” Trump even visited the Times’ Manhattan newsroom two weeks after he was elected for a 75-minute discussion with reporters, editors and opinion columnists.

    “Trump does not want to look bad and that might drive him more than anything else,” said Dov Zakheim, a top Pentagon official under former President George W. Bush. “He does not want to be a loser, he’s a New Yorker and New Yorkers crush losers.”

    Jeb! 2.0 – but without the daring penchant for innovation, keen intellect, and steely resolve…
    Change that you could believe in…or sumthin’

    1. craazyboy

      I think Prez Big Hands will soon suffer the public embarrassment of global premature ejaculation if he’s gonna rely on some quick military maneuvers, bombings and missile launches to smack down all the uppity do-badders in all quadrants of the world. Even Ecuador hasn’t been silenced yet.

      1. RWood

        [trauma. The prexy is also able to do a 21st century schitzoid man. A truly feral Nixon, not knowing anyone equal beyond the trappings of tribe, and there, an autocrat’s quick eye.
        A truly mad Nixon — though the current run shows that the aging of close advisors aids more lasting effects in the annals.]

        While the official target was an ISIS cave and tunnel complex in Nangarhar Province, the real aim was to demonstrate to Iran, Russia, Syria, North Korea, China and any other nation that gets in the way of American imperialism’s global interests that there are no limits to the violence the US military is prepared to unleash on those it considers its enemies.
        Nuclear experts speak on the dangers of war between the US and Russia
        By Bryan Dyne and Barry Grey 
15 April 2017

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      He’s willing to change his views if he encounters new information…

      Maybe it’s just a show, and he was going to change his views anyway. Of course, there is one way to expose that.

      That one way was there for a brief moment, when Russian election interference was in the news every day and every night.

      Sanders could have gone in and tried to change his view on, say, Medical for All. And that was the only instance he didn’t change his view when encountering new information, then, maybe it lends great credence to the suggestion that ‘he was going to change his views because he had been always secretly for the new imperialistic views.”

      1. wilroncanada

        He has views, but not ideas.
        Once upon a time, the Canadian comedy team, The Royal Canadian Air Farce (Ici Farce Canada) did a sketch, a take-off on the CBC radio program “Ideas”. They called it “Notions: Thoughts not good enough to be Ideas.” It describes Trump perfectly.

  7. fresno dan

    Why Do Democrats Feel Sorry for Hillary Clinton? New York Magazine (resilc). UserFriendly: “Hell YESS!” Moi: When Andrew Sullivan is good, he really is very good.

    Let us review the facts: Clinton had the backing of the entire Democratic establishment, including the president (his biggest mistake in eight years by far), and was even married to the last, popular Democratic president. As in 2008, when she managed to lose to a neophyte whose middle name was Hussein, everything was stacked in her favor. In fact, the Clintons so intimidated other potential candidates and donors, she had the nomination all but wrapped up before she even started. And yet she was so bad a candidate, she still only managed to squeak through in the primaries against an elderly, stopped-clock socialist who wasn’t even in her party, and who spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. She ran with a popular Democratic incumbent president in the White House in a growing economy. She had the extra allure of possibly breaking a glass ceiling that — with any other female candidate — would have been as inspiring as the election of the first black president. In the general election, she was running against a malevolent buffoon with no political experience, with a deeply divided party behind him, and whose negatives were stratospheric.
    AND on and on. Endlessly foisting Hillary upon us reminds me of parents that fight that battle for getting their kids to eat vegetables by using brussels sprouts. You could give your kids apples, pears, peaches, oranges, and so on, but no, your gonna die on brussels sprout hill…

    1. fresno dan

      “What on earth is the point of trying to understand him when there is nothing to understand? Calling him a liar is true enough, but liars have some cognitive grip on reality, and he doesn’t. Liars remember what they have said before. His brain is a neural Etch A Sketch. He doesn’t speak, we realize; he emits random noises. He refuses to take responsibility for anything. He can accuse his predecessor and Obama’s national security adviser of crimes, and provide no evidence for either. He has no strategy beyond the next 24 hours, no guiding philosophy, no politics, no consistency at all — just whatever makes him feel good about himself this second.”
      “He has no strategy beyond the next 24 hours, …”
      I profoundly disagree….24 MINUTES…no wait – 24 SECONDS…uh, 2 seconds?

        1. Antifa

          It is, in fact, the worst thing that has ever happened to him personally, and to his family, and to his brand.

          You can get the cork out of a bottle of wine with a screwdriver. This is the Trump business model; this is the Trump administration.

          1. different clue

            What an interesting thought. Perhaps a “modify Trump” movement in many countries could draw up a list of Trumpolicies it would like to see cancelled, and organize a multi-year boycott boycott by millions of people against Trump properties and anything named Trump all around the world . . . until those Trumpolicies get cancelled. That would pressure the Trump Sons . . . who care about the brand’s value for decades ahead . . . to begin pressuring Papa Trump into doing things which would get the International Boycott to stand down.

      1. craazyboy

        Well, that’s true enough about Mr. Hillary and the DNC. Tho a rather cruel, but accurate, take on things. But he should also point out many of the similarities listed here could just as well apply to Donald Trump.

        1. Anon

          These absolute non-piquant candidates combined with an angry, but diffident, general electorate was the toxic mix that gave us our president predicament.

      2. fresno dan

        fresno dan
        April 15, 2017 at 8:21 am

        The fresno dan 8:21 posting was meant as an addedum to the 8:04 am posting about Trump – why it ended up under the 8:15 am posting about Hillary is a mystery of the bits and bytes…

      3. AbateMagicThinking but Not money

        “neural Etch A Sketch” – absolutely brilliant! Haven’t laughed so much reading NC for some time – but it begs the fascinating question: Who gets to twiddle the knobs? It would be great it someone, somewhere (we know where) could record the fight for control of the knobs in a dispassionate manner. It might make great political reading.

    2. MoiAussie

      I read it through hoping for an answer to the question of the headline, in vain.
      Rhetorical, I suppose.

      1. Quentin

        In Harper’s ‘The March on Everywhere’, linked to yesterday in Water Cooler, one of Andrew Sullivan’s main points is tellingly absent: in the article no mention is made of anyone blaming Hillary Clinton for the catastrophe Donald Trump confronts us with, of showing anger and indignation at her incompetence and blatant flaunting of self-entitlement, of accusing her of betrayal. None. She is always the victim. If enough people had any sense and civility to recognise her extraordinary accomplishments, she would have gone to the White House. After all, it was, in the final analysis, her turn. Libya, the private server, Goldman Sachs speeches were just too brilliant for the little people to understand how deeply she wants to serve them. No, the march was against Trump, and Clinton got a free pass, as always. She and her family are not going away any time soon. No way. They still haven’t got their due.

      2. Quentin

        Before you know it Hillary Clinton will be appearing on all the Sunday morning psyops to beat her drum, like another failed presidential candidate, John McCain, whom she evidently admires, to their reciprocal preening. The die was cast when the spineless Barak Obama conceded to her demand to be Secretary of State, succumbing, as always, to his respect and fascination for wealth and fame.

      3. montanamaven

        Read the comments on the piece and you will get part of the answer. It’s disheartening to read things like

        Here is a woman whose lifelong dream was stolen by a crass, ignorant man.

        For some of us this woman’s lifelong dream was a continuation of our collective nightmare.

        Look, a lot of people have dreams. I did, But I usually get over one dream and move on to the next. “Get Over It”, my rancher husband would say. On the other hand, one can admire a person’s persistence. I have a good friend who was persistent in pursuing her acting career whereas I wasn’t. She now has won three Emmys in her late fifties and early sixties. But she’s a brilliant actress and I saw this in college. Talent and persistence. But Hilary? As “Not Timothy Geithner” reminds us, there are a lot of “front row kids” in politics. And Hilary is the epitome of one of those who could regurgitate talking points and group think, but I never heard anything startlingly original or thought provoking come out of her mouth. (Or Obama’s, for that matter.) She had a terrible speaking voice that squawked out condescension and ridicule. She had ambition and persistence, but the talent part was delusional on her part and those who hitched their wagons to her. Her “lifelong dream” wasn’t stolen. She isn’t a victim. She wanted to star in this drama. Fine. But if you play Lady M as a victim in the Shakespeare play we cannot name, you won’t win a Tony. I guarantee you.

        1. John k

          Dunno. Remember you don’t have to do any peace to get a Nobel.
          And who said she can’t act? Outraged, pissed, vengeful, entitled, etc.

          1. montanamaven

            Good point on that Peace Prize deal. But I think the Nobel Committee is easier fooled than the Tony Committee.
            However, being “pissed, vengeful and entitled” wasn’t acting. “We came, we saw, he died” (cackle,cackle cackle) wasn’t acting. That was the real deal. In the theater we have an expression that comes from Vaudeville, “Get the hook!” A large sheep hook like device to snare an actor who was going on too long and won’t leave the stage. “Get the hook.”

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              I wouldn’t say fooled. Awarding Obama the prize was simply a transparent attempt to associate one brand with another popular brand and get in on the ground floor. Obama being such a dud has become problematic. A major factor driving the SS Hillary through iceberg infested waters was an attempt to get in on the ground floor of an anti-Obama, given Obama’s campaign largely revolved around how he didn’t want Hillary to be President.

              It’s no different than Hillary hiding behind Hollywood, and Hollywood jumped on expecting to be taken seriously when Hillary won.

      4. hidflect

        If you witnessed somebody laughing and clapping at a video of the torture and death of an animal, you’d rightly suspect that person was a psychopath. Hillary did that with a human being. That’s all Mr. Sullivan needed to point out about why she lost.

        1. MoiAussie

          Yes, but the question in the headline wasn’t why she lost, it was why do dems feel sorry for her?

          The best answer so far is from Dandelion at 3:53 pm below, who suggests that for (some) female dems, HRC is a totemic symbol of female aspiration onto whom they project, and that they don’t scrutinise her history and politics to any great degree.

          It’s interesting to consider whether male dems feel sorry for her, and if so why, rather than just feeling sorry that their team blew it.

          1. wilroncanada

            Ah totems! Out here in the wilds of western coastal Canada we have lots of them.
            Dogs use them too. They’re just oversize wooden fire hydrants.

    3. John Wright

      I also don’t understand the “Hillary should be the president” tact of the DNC.

      If they do get rid of Trump then they get Pence (and Ryan as VP?).

      The Democrats ran a candidate who was beloved by Wall Street, global corporations and elite professional women.

      But if one looks at HRC’s “accomplishments” such as failed health care effort (as First Lady), Iraq War vote (as senator), Honduras actions, Iranian involvement, Ukrainian actions (via surrogate Nuland), Libyan destabilization (as SOS) it is difficult to see WHY HRC should have little more than a base of unenthusiastic support in the “lesser evil” category.

      In sports parlance, the DNC is promoting a retired baseball player that could not field, hit or run for the Hall of Fame.

      It appears the Democrats believe they have no alternatives, at least acceptable to the Democratic elite, on the bench.

      So they ignore/marginalize Tulsi Gabbard, who might be the star they need..

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Part of the strategy is to deflect from what a disaster Hillary was and avoid accountability.

        Anyone above the level of field organizer shouldn’t be allowed near Democratic politics ever again. Electeds who swore by Hillary should be replaced and stopped from advancing for no other reason than putting up a candidate who lost to a game show host.

        These are people who swore Hillary’s no reign policy was a plus on the campaign trail and applauded Hillary’s weekly campaign relaunches. They aren’t exactly all there.

        1. different clue

          The only people who can do that are all the Bitter Berners, After Berners, and other etc. who were inspired by Bernie’s effort whatever they may think of it in hindsight now. The only way I can think of for them to get it done is to draw up a huge list of every DemParty person involved with the Mainstream Topside Inner Party and with the Clintons in any way . . . and defeat them over and over until they are all purged from DemParty political structures. That would probably mean voting for the Republican in every race where the Democrat is any kind of a Clintonite.
          That’s a scary thought, but how badly do Real Democrats want to decontaminate the Party? You can’t teach an old cancer cell new tricks. You have to kill it and remove it if you want it to get gone.

        1. montanamaven

          Good point about a stupid point. Most Americans hadn’t a clue who Bernie Sanders was. Huh? How come he became so popular? Huh?

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Don’t worry about her high negatives.

          “Moderate suburban Republicans” will never vote for Ronald Reagan…Shrub…wait Mittens…Donald…McCain…Nixon…SHUT UP DEPLORABLES!

      2. John k

        Tulsi might be suitably neolib, but also anti war. Totally unacceptable to some Major donors. Better to lose (again) against trump, who is now sufficiently house trained that he is on board with all the important dem voters.

        The two parties, their donors, and MSM are now closing ranks around their president.

        Marches against trump will continue, but the elite panic is ending, energy pushing marches is ending. Dems are now free to house cleaning, keeping progressives from winning any election anywhere.
        Someone’s gotta do it…

        1. PH

          That is the plan.

          But the plan can be defeated.

          We need primary candidates.

          Five Dem candidates in that GA special election. No campaign website calls for Medicare for all, Wall Street regulation, or an end to all our wars.

          Someone has to hoist the banner. The first ones may not win, but we need a beachhead. Give voters at least the option of voting for a Progressive.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          We’ve had the illusion of two parties, of actual opposition and differing policy agendas, for two decades or so (by my estimate). Perhaps this next period will finally see real recognition by people that we have one party, and that everything it ever does is for war, bank crime, spies, polluters and nothing it ever does is for actual people. The Pelosi and Jeff Flake town halls showed that across the so-called political spectrum the serfs are getting pretty upset.
          Wonderfully clarifying election indeed

          1. PH

            From 1990 to 2008 (roughly), we had a bubble. Lot of things seemed reasonably to the general public that seem stupid to the people who comment here.

            During same period and to this day, a moneyed bureaucracy of propaganda developed in the media/think tanks/political consultants that I think is different in kind — or extent, at least — to what went before.

            And we had the terrorism of 9/11 followed by a war fever and unquestioning subservience to the military/intelligence/ surveillance bureaucracy that has not run it’s course yet.

            There is a lot more going on than mere incompetence and venality in the Dem Party. But that is a big problem. And where I think we need to focus a lot of energy.

        3. different clue

          People whining about how Gabbard is so very “Islamophobic” and “Fascist” have just recently suddenly been showing up here and there. They are probably working for Clinton, Howard Dean and David Brock.

      3. Dandelion

        What I saw from the women I know who fervently supported her — they didn’t know about any of that. What they knew was that she was a woman. These are either Gen-x or Boomer middle class or upper middle class women, majority but not all white. The Boomer women had strong memories of the terror of unwanted pregnancy and then of having to get on the “mommy track” or of being pushed out of work specifically because they had children. It was not so much, then, the cost of childcare — though that was a real burden, their wish to work carried more weight — as the complete inflexibility of their superiors (men who themselves had children but a stay-at-home wife to take care of “all that”) and the general hostile attitude that once a women becomes a mother she loses 30 IQ points. The Gen-X women are in a different place: a good percentage of them never even tried to keep working once they had a child, because the cost of childcare has risen relative to female salaries for all but the really well-off, because the zeitgeist has told them not to work, or maybe because it was just easier not to. Regardless, they now perform nearly 100% of domestic and child care labor while their husbands work an ungodly number of hours per week and therefore aren’t much available to share household work or emotional support. When I work with these women, their frustration, isolation, and feelings of being mired in drudgery while losing any sense of power surface. Though yes overall they’re financially comfortable, they’re essentially 1950s housewives, and ALL of them are on anti-depressants and/or anti-anxiety drugs. So Clinton, for them, was more totemic than political, a nostalgia for the 1990s in which they came of age and so much seemed personally possible (and in fact actually was, for them) as well as a woman who had power they’d thought they’d have and no longer did. Unfortunately, liberal third wave feminism, because it validates their situation as a choice and therefore empowering by definition, offers them nothing. So Clinton, for them, took on a numinous quality. For both sets of Boomer and Gen-X women, the idea that Clinton was “cheated” is a projection of their feelings about their own lives. Very few of these women I know evaluate her through a political lens.

        1. DJG

          Dandelion: Quoting you, ” So Clinton, for them, was more totemic than political, a nostalgia for the 1990s in which they came of age and so much seemed personally possible (and in fact actually was, for them) as well as a woman who had power they’d thought they’d have and no longer did. Unfortunately, liberal third wave feminism, because it validates their situation as a choice and therefore empowering by definition, offers them nothing. So Clinton, for them, took on a numinous quality. For both sets of Boomer and Gen-X women, the idea that Clinton was “cheated” is a projection of their feelings about their own lives. Very few of these women I know evaluate her through a political lens.”

          Definitely my experience, and I have had to talk a few women friends out of veritable rages. The problem, too, is that these same women are also determined to keep the Putin thing alive, consider impeachment, and quote the “intelligence community.” Women in this situation don’t seem to understand that they are undermining their own moral authority.

    4. Enquiring Mind

      Deep-fried brussels sprouts, with a medley, even a bevy, of dipping sauces, yeah, that’s the ticket! Sleight of hand, misdirection and other tools in the modern parental arsenal, key to surviving election day, I mean, dinner. ;p

      Question: What if we had a candidate’s dinner instead of a debate, where they really did have to eat those brussels sprouts and other delicacies in front of the electorate? Imagine the advertisers clamoring to sign up! Heard off camera, ‘I did not have dinner with that young carrot.’

  8. Jim Haygood

    Why won’t the Syrian tar baby let us go? Some clues from Robin Wright:

    Henry Kissinger made twenty-eight trips to Damascus—fourteen in a single month—to deal with the fallout from the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. He finally brokered an agreement with Assad, in 1974, to disengage Syrian and Israeli troops along the Golan Heights.

    Jimmy Carter met Assad in Geneva, in 1977, to explore prospects for a U.S.-Soviet conference on Middle East peace. Assad was unyielding. He demanded the return of territory seized by Israel.

    Tensions between Ronald Reagan and Assad turned openly hostile after Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, where Syria had thousands of troops deployed.

    Between 1993 and 1996, Secretary of State Warren Christopher made almost thirty trips to Damascus, to broker a deal on the Golan Heights.

    In 2007, the C.I.A. corroborated Israeli intelligence that Syria, with North Korean blueprints and technicians, was building a secret nuclear reactor in the remote city of Deir Ezzor. Israeli warplanes attacked the site.

    It’s all about America’s squalid little nuclear-armed apartheid project on the Mediterranean, and the running sore of its illegal occupation and annexation of Syrian territory.

    Of course, the New Yorker’s tendentious headline calling the Assad family “the nemesis of nine US presidents” assumes that everything must be this way. After all, The Lobby demands it.

    But in reality, were the US to leave squabbling mideastern tribes (including the Israelis) to their own devices, Syria would be of no more import to America than Paraguay or Upper Volta.

      1. MoiAussie

        +100. Nowhere on earth is immune from US interference, unless it’s resource free, completely uninhabitable, and of no strategic value whatsoever.

          1. ambrit

            Call it the “White Revolution” and you’ll include all of the colours, plus gladden the hearts of the Pro Tsarist Revanchists.
            You could call it a stepping stone to Regime Change in Russia. Isn’t everything nowadays?
            No “Free the Penguin” slogans since that will run into serious copyright infringement problems. (Mick Fleetwood, call my people and we’ll do lunch.)

      2. Carolinian

        But you will concede that the US elites seem to be a lot more interested in Israel than they are in Paraguay.

        1. MoiAussie

          You may have just identified the one place on earth that is most immune to US interference, and most capable of interfering in the US. I knew I’d missed something.

        2. RabidGandhi

          Definitely. I think Comrade Haygood nailed it

          It’s all about America’s squalid little nuclear-armed apartheid project on the Mediterranean

          Here in the Imperial Backyard, we have the natural advantage over our Middle Eastern brethren of not having been deemed the strategic grand prize of all imperial planning, namely due to the Persian Gulf being cursed with an overabundance of the Texas Tea that happens to be the preferred libation of our betters (excepting of course Venezuela, which for some odd reason happens to receive an inordinate amount of attention from Washington).

          In the post-WWII order, the Empire always sought to establish an (eventually nuclear armed) puppet state to further consolidate its control over the ME: first Iran (oops), and now Israel. By contrast, in what Henry Stimson called “our little region over here”, such drastic means were not deemed necessary, with Washington instead resorting to various small-scale Vietnams (see ReMezcla link above) to keep us meddlesome outsiders from perpetrating “internal aggression” to control our their resources.

          Same is true in the case of Burkina Faso: not a huge Imperial priority, but they still can’t help themselves from interfering to prevent “excesses of democracy”.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Very few ask the glaringly obvious question: why US Congressmen, Senators, and high-level government officials (and the #2 at the Federal Reserve) are allowed to be dual Israeli/U.S. passport holders.
            Why would we not insist that people in these posts swear their sole allegiance to the country they represent?

        3. Enquiring Mind

          Paraguay seems to get inordinate interest because of the potential for a .01% Bugout Spot, with sumptuous digs on large, defensible estancias to ride out any First World unpleasantness. Didn’t various Bushies and others lay out plans, and make purchases, in that vicinity?

          1. RabidGandhi

            Paraguay gets inordinate interest because (1) it’s of huge interest for mega-agriculture interests like Cargill, Monsanto, Dow, et al. (mostly soy and corn) and Lugo began implementing moderate land reform; and (2) Paraguay is sitting atop of the Guaraní Aquifer, one of the world’s largest fresh water aquifers.

            Yes the Bush family was reportedly planning to buy a large parcel in Paraguay, but that is probably more a function of the factors listed above.

        4. Gavin

          When it comes to natural resources.. the massive Leviathan gas field was recently discovered just off Israel’s coast.. and speaking of Paraguay, it’s fun you mention them. In about 20 years one of the majors will probably add a lot more wealth by taking the risk of drilling in Paraguay.

      3. Olga

        Yes, thank you. JH’s points are good, but the last sentence does not follow… All one has to do is read Chalmers Johnson’s “Blowback” and/or the story of a silent coup d’etat in 1975 Australia. The forces manipulating all these events have had an unimpeded run since the end of WWII – and there’s little stopping them now…. unless, of course, a majority of Americans (Europeans, too) become much better informed – and/or the dollar tanks. But we may see some sort of a dictatorship before that happens. Welcome to the boiling-frog world!

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Very, very few Americans know that America overthrew the government of Australia in 1975, it’s one thing to topple a country full of brown people who speak a funny lingo but I’d think this fact might give a few of the sheeple some pause

    1. financial matters

      It’s interesting to compare this timeline to the development/rise to power of neoconservatism. Although not a blanket statement and certainly not anti-Semitic, many of the early neoconservatives (a relatively small group) were Democrats and Jewish. They became concerned when McGovern became strongly anti military and thought this might not bode well for Israel. This became amplified when Carter reached out to the Soviet Union (the neocons arch enemy for supporting states hostile to Israel).

      Many of this small group switched to the Republican party under Reagan as they liked his pro military and anti Soviet Union stance. They tended to be well published intellectuals and their liberal background helped give credence to Regan’s policies. (The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel by Stephen Sniegoski, 2008)

    2. Susan the other

      Thanks JH. Our new ambassador to the UN re Israel said she was shocked that all anyone talked about at the UN was Israel. I think it was a slip of the tongue as no further naive insights have come from little Nikki. And also, here on NC it was speculated a while back that Israel wants Syria’s water more than anything. Would Israel really be wiped off the face of the earth if we cut ties? Or would Israel be better off?

      1. John Wright

        I had two business trips to Israel in 2013.

        On one weekend (Friday/Saturday in Israel), the Golan Heights was toured.

        There were a lot of signs in the fields to keep out because ground mines might be active.

        The guide hazarded that Israel would be unlikely to give up the Golan Heights, as that helps keep Israel’s access to the Sea of Galilee, which is actually a freshwater lake.

        If one looks at the map, it does appear Syria’s access to the Sea of Galilee is now restricted.

        As an aside, during the tour bombs could be heard in the distance. The guide suggested that was the IDF on maneuvers, but later he said that did not make sense, because this was the Sabbath.

        Fresh water is certainly of strategic importance in this hot/dry area.

    3. DJG

      Jim Haywood: And the demonization goes even further back. I just dipped into entries at Wikipedia for Syrian president Shukri al-Quwatli and for the military coup of 1949. This coup, which has CIA fingerprints all over it, was the first coup post-WWII against an elected government in the Arab world. And our chattering class wonders why Assad (father and son) don’t trust the U S of A. We could have dealt with Quwatli, but we chose not to. (Cf: Ho Chi Minh.)

      Meanwhile, very similar meddling was going on in Iran. And now U.S. foreign policy toward Iran varies between demonizing the Iranians, listening to McCain’s famous bomb-bomb-bomb analysis, and the occasional essay, “Just Why Don’t Those Darn Iranians Wike Us?”

  9. timbers

    How Alaska Fixed Obamacare

    So the state tried something new and different — and it worked. Lori Wing-Heier, Alaska’s insurance commissioner, put together a plan that had the state pay back insurers for especially high medical claims submitted to Obamacare plans. This lowered premiums for everyone. In the end, the premium increase was a mere 7 percent.

    “We knew we were facing a death spiral,” says Wing-Heier. “We knew even though it was a federal law, we had to do something.”

    Now other states are interested in trying Alaska’s idea, especially because Wing-Heier is working with the Trump administration to have the federal government, not the state, cover those costs.

    Just a quibble, but IMO this really isn’t “fixing” but merely applying Obamacare to it’s logical conclusion: generously giving tax dollars to rich gigantic insurance corporations.

    Seems easy to hand out tax dollar to rich corporations but the thought of using those tax dollars instead to help people (in this case people who need healthcare) is unthinkable.

    Chaos breeds opportunity, so Trumps healthcare chaos gives single payer Medicare for all maybe more hope than it had under Democrats calmly managed give a way to corporations. That’s something. It’s not a lot of something, though.

    1. a different chris

      arrgh yet another type of donut, taxpayers pay individually at the bottom and collectively at the top …. howcome healthcare donuts don’t taste good. Insert hospital food joke here…

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Doesn’t seem like a “quibble” to me. Or a “fix.”

      A “mere 7 percent” annual premium increase implies a doubling of premiums in about 10 years.

      And this remarkable “savings” was purchased by agreeing to assume financial responsibility for “healthcare” these bargain policies are supposed to provide but can’t do so profitably. This sounds like the same “fix” the Trump administration may be refusing to defend in court on the national level, thereby destroying a “healthy” insurance market, according to dana milbank.

      So, a “healthy” system looks, as far as I can tell, like this: every american is required to buy a medical insurance policy at a price set by the insurance company. Provider networks and limits of “coverage” are specified by the company, with certain requirements dictated in the obamacare law, and, in the event the plan price is deemed excessive, the cost is subsidized by the taxpayer. In the event that the company still cannot make a profit, the taxpayer can be required to step in again, this time to assume some of the financial burden for the “healthcare” that was the reason for buying / selling the insurance policy in the first place. The insurance company reserves the right to threaten abandonment of this program at any time, and its participation is essential to maintaining the illusion that there is any program at all.

      At the risk of stating the obvious, if the taxpayers have to pay for the healthcare anyway, why does the system need “insurers” at all? If the taxpayers have to pay, just pay and stop pretending that private insurance has any function at all, other than rent collection.

      1. Olga

        “At the risk of stating the obvious, if the taxpayers have to pay for the healthcare anyway, why does the system need “insurers” at all? If the taxpayers have to pay, just pay and stop pretending that private insurance has any function at all, other than rent collection.”
        Exactly – but that is the question the establishment has been afraid to ask. One wonders why? Could it be that more than the ins. industry benefit from that money?

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          The incredible irony of the State of Alaska becoming the “reinsurer” of choice for the almighty “healthcare” industry is too delicious to ignore.

          And yet Vox and Sarah Kliff make ignoring it look effortless. The desperation to preserve some shred of legitimacy or relevance for obamacare is palpable.

          1. Enquiring Mind

            How long before the North Slope contributions to Alaskan well-being become less able to fund corporate welfare? With the melting ice floes, that leaves the old hop on a berg exit plan in doubt.

        2. craazyboy

          Why, ’cause someone has to control prices!

          Which is an interesting concept. If you are a defense contractor, the USG can send in auditors who will demand to see da books and supporting spending and revenue documentation. This is why defense contractors don’t have a 3000X overhead assigned to the biz, like I just read is the case with the healthcare biz. It’s not allowed by the gummint. Food for thought.

    3. PQS

      The word that came to my mind was “Bailout”.
      Insurance company can’t make gigantic profits in a small population rural state so they go crying they’ll take their toys and go home. Government gives them money to keep them on the playground. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  10. fresno dan

    A 75-year-old woman who tried to sell a paperweight containing a speck of moon rock may try to hold a federal agent liable for detaining her for two hours in a public parking lot in urine-soaked pants, a federal appeals court decided unanimously Thursday.

    The federal agent “organized a sting operation involving six armed officers to forcibly seize a Lucite paperweight containing a moon rock the size of a rice grain from an elderly grandmother,” Chief 9th Circuit Judge Sidney R. Thomas wrote for a three-judge panel.

    Davis’ late husband, Robert, was a brilliant engineer who managed North American Rockwell’s Apollo project, the court said.

    During that time, he was given two Lucite paperweights — one containing a fragment of lunar material, the other a piece of the Apollo 11 heat shield — as gifts.

    She decided to try to sell the paperweights and contacted auction houses without success. She finally emailed NASA for help in finding a buyer for what she called “rare Apollo 11 space artifacts.” She explained how her late husband had received them.

    Norman Conley, a special agent and criminal investigator for NASA’s Office of Inspector General, was assigned to investigate whether Davis really possessed a moon rock.

    He had someone pose as a broker and call Davis. During several conversations, all but one recorded, Davis explained how she obtained the moon rock and insisted she wanted to do everything legally. She also mentioned that she hoped to sell her late husband’s firearms.

    At no point was she informed that all lunar material is the property of the federal government and that possession was a crime, the court said.

    After obtaining a warrant to search Davis and seize the moon rock, Conley arranged a meeting with her in 2011 at a Denny’s restaurant in Lake Elsinore.
    n rejecting Conley’s appeal, the 9th Circuit said Davis had presented enough evidence to show that her constitutional right to be free of unreasonable seizure may have been violated.

    “Conley had no law enforcement interest in detaining Davis for two hours while she stood wearing urine-soaked pants in a restaurant’s parking lot during the lunch rush,” Thomas wrote.
    The more you read the more outrageous it is. A cynic might say that this getting resolved 6 years with a 75 year old victim is part of a Fed racketeering scheme to delay, impede, and thwart accountability – but than I’m pretty cynical….

    And of course, what I find frustrating is: the legality and correctness of the warrant is not looked into by the paper. Did NASA give out moonrocks? Is it in fact a crime to possess moonrocks? How about counterfeit moonrocks?
    Again, can anyone seriously claim that there is accountability for police power abuse in the US?

    1. a different chris

      Jesus, why not a phone call followed up by a letter? “Dear Ms Davis, although the moon rock is in your physical possession we are sorry to inform you that it is government property and you cannot sell it. We will send you appropriate shipping materials for you to return it to the NASA Space Museum. Thank you for taking care of it all these years.”

      I have s*it at home that belongs to my employer that they are darn well getting back at some point (inc. obsolete osciliscope that they would be happy to never see again). It happens, chill the f out.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The resources (read: your money and mine) expended on this matter are truly infuriating.

        Can’t we just hire our government officials to sit opposite each other and hit each other over the head with hammers? We can even pay them lavishly if they want…just leave the rest of us the f*ck alone

      1. fresno dan

        April 15, 2017 at 11:09 am

        There is a reason cats are entrusted with constellations…. ;)

        April 15, 2017 at 10:28 am
        Laziness – a profound understanding that no matter how much ambition you have, entropy wins…

    2. Jim Haygood

      all lunar material is the property of the federal government and that possession was a crime

      From 1933 until the last day of 1974, this was true of gold as well.

      But USians were illegally holding gold in Canada. So Usgov gave up on its quixotic quest to suppress a medium of exchange that’s been in use for thousands of years.

      Pet rocks good; moon rocks bad!

      1. I Have Strange Dreams

        Except for the fact that gold has only relatively rarely been used as a medium of exchange, you would be right.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Silver was used extensively and for many dynasties in China.

          Saw one Yuan dynasty silver ingot at an auction recently. Looked genuine…holes on the bottom from air bubbles trapped during casting, and had writing on the top side.

    3. Katharine

      It’s hard to say whether the discourtesy or the stupidity is worse. If it is really true (and I’d want that verified) that all such materials are supposed to be government property, why did NASA not simply respond to her inquiry with a polite letter explaining that fact and requesting that she send it to them? They could even have looked up their own records about past interactions with her husband, but if that was too much effort for them they should have had the simple courtesy to accept her report of them as accurate to the best of her recollection. Treating her as a criminal to be investigated was wholly unwarranted and a witless waste of money.

      1. Enquiring Mind

        There is probably a good bureaucratic explanation for the failure to respond via letter. Nobody contemplated such an event and it was outside the parameters of standard operating procedure. In keeping with the overall NASA theme, they went into a gimbal lock and then their brains tumbled out of control. Quadruple redundancy with checks and balances in the contraband moon rock response unit seemed to be missing.

    4. Alex Morfesis

      Well this craziness might explain what happened to nate twining, jr at the “forced” end of his life…yes, the son of general area 51…he purportedly had a “golf ball” from the moon from his dad, former chairman of the joint chiefs…he had a small retinue around him tied to baltimore but had lived mostly in new mexico and arizona…he did not trust his “crew” anymore and videotaped his signing of paperwork to move into a senior housing apartment building (not a nursing home) and long winded conversation to “protect” himself to prove he had all his faculties…to no avail, as the next day one of his “crew” drugged him, put him half groggy onto a plane to baltimore, got some iranian doctor who had never been his physician and did no blood work, to claim he had advanced signs of dementia and his recently fired lawyer and property manager, along with a dumped ex-girlfriend moocher, signed “under oath” that he had no living relatives, even though his brother and sister are alive…he was bounced around from facility to facility, as it was obvious he was fine and just being kept drugged…when friends finally found him, twinning was beaten black and blue a few times, where he stopped talking out of apparent fear…despite the evidence, the baltimore courts refused to release him, and millions in assets just “disappeared”…he had no children of his own…

      or maybe they were just stealing his money..

  11. ChrisAtRU

    Tesla Semi Truck

    I dunno … bad idea? Possibly.

    But in the way interesting things get stitched together here:
    Wasn’t Bezos just looking for owner-operators to do last mile Amazon delivery?
    Looks like said truckers would (optimally) be looking to operate “within a 100- to 150-air-mile radius” in order to be “exempt from the same federal ‘hours of service’ rules governing driver operations”.

    Sounds like a match made in heaven for non-gas-guzzling truck with a range of 200 to 300 miles (just enough for the round trip), no?

    Maybe Jeff and Elon have been talking about more than rockets …

    1. justanotherprogressive

      “Looks like said truckers would (optimally) be looking to operate “within a 100- to 150-air-mile radius” in order to be “exempt from the same federal ‘hours of service’ rules governing driver operations”.

      Errr……It isn’t the miles you drive that makes you exempt from FMCSA regulations (the Federal regulations that apply to trucking companies, 49 CFR 300-399), it’s the size of the truck…..

      You will note that local delivery trucks are usually all about the same size? There is a reason for that…..

      About the only thing a short haul driver (who drives a large truck) gets out of is keeping a log, but his employer has to maintain time records for him……

      But I am not sure that companies that run short haul drivers would be any more impressed with the Tesla truck than anyone else – perhaps Jeff would know that if he operated his own fleet instead of sending everything via UPS and FedEx……

      1. a different chris

        I can’t figure out why they are working on a semi when there are 8 zillion UPS trucks (as you say, all the same size) running around except for the fact that UPS wouldn’t give them money to develop it.

        Or just they are all splash (let’s replace the most expensive vehicles on the road — made sense I think car-wise but not for commercial vehicles) and nothing really there.

        Can’t they just hyperloop packages everywhere? :)

      2. ChrisAtRU

        Thanks for pointing that out. I’ll post the larger paragraph in entirety for context:

        “Some of the drivers who sign up may have Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDLs). However, because CDLs are not required for drivers who operate vehicles of less than 26,001 pounds and aren’t carrying hazardous materials, the license would not be an absolute requirement, especially since many of Amazon’s shipments are 5 pounds or less.
        In addition, drivers operating within a 100- to 150-air-mile radius would either be exempt from the same federal “hours of service” rules governing driver operations, or would be subject to looser restrictions. It is believed that many of the hauls for Amazon would fall within that mileage range.”

        So my quote was predicated on the tonnage of the vehicle being less-than-or-equal-to 26,000lb. Also, I’m not sure this is really last mile, but more like penultimate mile (?):

        “The operation supported by the on-boarding platform resembles that of a less-than-truckload (LTL) model, where an Amazon fulfillment center would act as a hub to receive inbound traffic from various shippers and then consolidate those goods for additional transporting to the final destination, Healy said …”

        So, are these the trucks that bring it to your door, or bring it to a smaller truck that brings it to your door?

        Now I’m wondering if Musk’s “semi” will be a semi at at all, or really just something to support this LTL model.

        1. craazyboy

          Or they think long haul trucks will operate between warehouse and post offices, then share revenue with the US Postal service to handle the last mile. (fitty sent?)

          That model was used by FedEx and UPS for a while, tho I haven’t noticed them doing it recently.

    2. craazyboy

      Except, AFAIK, Semi Truck means an 18 wheeler, and those aren’t really suitable for suburban package delivery. I think they need to head father down the scale from galactic rocket ships.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        True. In that case, either this potential use case is more penultimate mile than last mile, or it’s not really going to be a “semi” at all.

  12. diptherio

    Reminder: You Are Hardly Overtaxed in America! Barry Ritholtz.

    By “you” I can only assume that Ritholtz is referring to the affluent in this country. That is, after all, his audience. If, however, you are not affluent, if you are say, working in construction for $15-$20/hr as an “independent contractor,” then you are responsible for paying about 15% for FICA, then another 5% or so for State taxes. For the self-employed (or the employee misclassified as a contractor), you’ll be sending about 1 in every 5 dollars you earn off to one government or another. In exchange, or course, you’ll get entirely ignored by your representatives, so I guess it’s fair….[/sarc]

    1. ambrit

      Here Down south, we would slaver for a $15-$20/hr job. Unfortunately, the pressure from “illegal” labour has stagnated, if not actually depressed construction wages. (I include most skilled occupations in this.)
      I’m presently working for less than $10/hr and still send off 15% of my wages to taxing entities, just through the employer. Said employer adds some percentage to this via matching funds schemes. Also consider that the forty hour per week job is a dying beastie. The retail workers in the store I toil in get roughly twenty to twenty five hours of work per week. Now, an opportunity cost comes into play. Said hours of work are spread out capriciously throughout the six day work week. Plus, said hours are shifted and adjusted to fit the employers labour needs. Bottom line is that the worker “dedicates” an entire work week in return for a half weeks’ wages.
      Wages might be stagnant, but expenses are not. Many of the younger people I talk to say that they have moved back in with parents, or share accommodations just to survive. One young man bought a bicycle to start cutting down on automobile expenses. Mandatory vehicle insurance rules is another expense that comes in for severe criticism on a regular basis. Redlining seems to be a well known quirk of that system. (We carried our son on our vehicle insurance policy for a decade to alleviate that burdens effect upon him.)
      Now, if the system as a whole ignored us, as in no gratuitous surveillance, we could consider our taxes as money well spent.

    2. Susan the other

      speaking of both taxes and “insurance” so close together – private insurance is just another tax, the proceeds of which go to a private monopoly of rentiers. Whereas health care insurance is just flat-out extortion.

    3. DJG

      diptherio: And besides the self-employment tax when I was self-employed, I was always amazed at the amount of the excise taxes on utility bills. People pay hundreds a month in excise taxes on phone, ISP, electricity, and natural gas, along with state and local sales taxes at the grocery store and shoe store.

      Americans seldom factor in these taxes, but I think that they are part of the reason why Americans feel endlessly fleeced.

  13. justanotherprogressive

    A Tesla semi? Seriously?
    I won’t give up my ad blocker to read Forbes, so I didn’t read the article, but I can see a couple of problems already.
    1. Unlike Tesla, trucking companies have to make actual money. They just can’t go sell some stock or inflate their stock prices to make them look good…..
    2. Trucking companies usually upgrade their tractor fleets about every five years because of the wear and tear to those vehicles. You think they are willing to pay Tesla’s high prices for a tractor they will have to replace that often?
    3. Tractors carry about 250 gallons of diesel – that takes them about 1700 miles with a load before they have to refuel. From what I’ve read, the Tesla semis have to be recharged every 300 miles……drivers and dispatchers aren’t going to love that truck!
    4. And then there are those incidentals, like finding mechanics that can repair that truck in Boondock, MT or finding an electric “refueling station” in the middle of Nevada, etc…..

    I’m all for making electric semi tractors but, come on, they have to be at least reasonable and not toys for rich people…..

    1. MtnLife

      1) I think the market is mostly for short haul local trucking, especially in urban centers where the route is usually less than 300 miles with lots of stop and go traffic.

      2) For long haul, 300 miles at 60-70 mph is 4.25-5 hrs between charges which is roughly how often people need a food/restroom/stretch break. If the charger is under the parking spots their stops will actually be streamlined as the “fueling” process will be seamless.

      3) Adding said chargers into the parking spots will stop those truckers from runing their engines all night to power the cab apt while they rest. Massive fuel and emissions savings.

      4) wear and tear is usually much less on electric motors. Electric motors are also much more efficient in high torque situations.

      5) I would love an electric pickup. 300 miles unloaded and 100-125 fully loaded would be more than enough.

      1. justanotherprogressive

        Well….a couple of things you learn by working in or around trucking companies….
        2) Truck drivers don’t take that many bathroom breaks – when you are not driving, you are not earning……just don’t pick up those bottles of “gatorade” that you see on the side of the highway…..
        3) And where do you think drivers park when the truck stops are full as they usually are? Rest stops, if they are lucky! You want to put electric charging stations in all the state rest stops? Who is going to pay for that? You?
        4) It isn’t only the wear and tear on the motors – it’s the wear and tear on the suspension and brakes and air lines and other parts that usually puts a truck out of service……and btw, exactly how do you know that under the conditions that a tractor has to operate, that an electric motor WOULD actually last longer?
        Yea, it makes sense for small trucks to be electric, and I would love to see electric semis some day, PACCAR is actually working on that, but there are A LOT of problems that still need to be overcome……

        1. a different chris

          Not violently disagreeing with you, as I think it’s a stupid idea and totally agree with your last sentence but #4, no.

          We pretty much know an electric motor would last longer. Go stand by some railroad tracks sometime. The brake wear will be substantially reduced as regenerative braking will be way more effective than a jake, and the whole drivetrain will last due to no longer being exposed to 12 or 16 little explosions every moment.

        2. MtnLife

          2) well how about we just keep encouraging littering and long, unbroken periods of driving that have been proven to be unsafe? Or maybe we could just legislate a break every 4-5 hours the same way we limit total time on the road per day. Divert a portion of money saved on fuel to drivers salaries. Pay problem solved.
          3) won’t monetizing a previously non-monetized parking spot (now parking/charging) incentivize markets to expand capacity? Nearly all interstate rest stops (the most likely place to start with the charging infrastructure) are in wide open areas that are perfect for the addition of solar and/or wind to reduce additional grid load.

          I not saying this is some sort of panacea but it will immensely help the heath of urban dwellers who are subject to substantial diesel emissions in a rather confined area. Is it going to hit long haul trucking in remote areas? Not in the immediate foreseeable future.

        3. bob

          These are reality based problems.

          “and btw, exactly how do you know that under the conditions that a tractor has to operate, that an electric motor WOULD actually last longer?”

          Because SV told us they would!

          Old world problems like gravity and friction can be completely ignored because there is a Billionaire selling this stuff*.

          *stuff is not being sold yet, but we’ll take your money. Not that the Billionaire needs it, it’s just nice to have.

          It’s all marketing without a shred of real world anything. Just assume your problems away because a Billionaire is grave robbing the good name of a true genius.

          1. Mark P.

            They are reality based problems, Bob. How about you look at the reality?

            It’s the moving parts in a regular IC engine that tend to fail and can include anything from transmission to the pistons to the belts. If you actually go look at an electric car’s specs, the great advantage of an electric car engine is that it’s got very little in the way of moving parts to fail.

            But don’t believe me. Here —

            ‘The Big Problem With Electric Cars: They’re Too Reliable’


            “…Marc Detsch, Nissan’s business development manager for electric vehicles said some salespeople just can’t rationalize the time it takes to sell the cars. A salesperson “can sell two gas burners in less than it takes to sell a Leaf,” he said. “It’s a lot of work for a little pay.”

            “… the potential loss of service revenue. “There’s nothing much to go wrong,” Mr. Deutsch said of electric cars. “There’s no transmission to go bad.”.

            “…Jared Allen, a spokesman for the National Automobile Dealers Association, said there wasn’t sufficient data to prove that electric cars would require less maintenance. But he acknowledged that service was crucial to dealer profits and that dealers didn’t want to push consumers into electric cars that might make them less inclined to return for service.”

            1. craazyboy

              There are two bearings on the rotor. This is the only moving parts. They may have to be replaced after 10 or 20 years. Industrial motor bearings go 3 years, operated 24X7. Then all the labor of pulling out an “engine” that doesn’t look like an octopus from hell mating with a porcupine from hell. Then there’s a few bolts to remove from the end bells to replace the bearings.

              If it’s an AC induction motor, the only other thing that can fail is the stator winding insulation. But the motor is cheap, so just toss in a new one. If the rest of the car still works.

              So, I can see where the auto dealer/repair shop people aren’t happy with it.

              1. bob

                ” This is the only moving parts”

                Electric cars don’t need “old things” like drivetrains, wheels, brakes, suspension, doors, heat, AC…. These are all obsolete, if you believe this BS.

                A “car” is a moving collection of parts. That’s where the problems come from.

                1. craazyboy

                  But the electric motor isn’t one of them. Or it’s easy to find a better motor vendor! I know.

                  No pollution controls either – that’s a bunch more mechanical parts, sensors and electronics that disappears.

                  The electronic drive inherits about 50 years of industrial advancements in reliability, performance, efficiency, and much lower cost too. Plus the high volume infrastructure for manufacturing them exists already.

                  Transmissions and drive train gets simpler too. Plus, regen braking is cool and puts some charge back in the battery. Beats oil changes.

                  If it weren’t for our crappy, expensive battery tech, they’d be great!

                  1. bob

                    It’s just trading one set of problems for another.

                    They’re very real problems, as crappy, expensive batteries will tell you.

                    1. bob

                      If it’s just the one problem, you should be able to buy a car from elon and use it forever, without a thought.

                      I didn’t think so.

                      There are several sets of problems. Cars today have huge networks of millions of people set up over decades to “solve” them, and the best they can do is manage the problems.

                      Hand waving by techno-utopians doesn’t count as managing, or even acknowledging the problems. It’s an attempt at dismissing the problems. Better PR solves everything!

                    2. hunkerdown

                      bob, why are almost all locomotives electric-driven? Management can ruin anything. Elon is irrelevant to the benefits of the technology proper. In the interests of not talking past one another, please argue against the technology rather than the grifter currently associated with it.

                    3. craazyboy

                      I’ll buy a horse and buggy and put the horse somewhere where it can have some fun and install an all electric drive train on the buggy.

                      I’ll still have to put on headlights and tail lights. Cree LEDS last almost forever, but if I gotta replace them some day, so be it.

                      But only if I can buy good batteries that don’t exist yet.

                    4. bob

                      Arguing against the technology-

                      What technology? We currently have nothing that can even attempt to compete on a level playing field with cars, let alone trucks.

                      Which is why “argue the technology” is handwaving.

                      There are a few very expensive one off examples, that don’t work in real life situations, and LOTS of “technology” just around the corner

                      The Big Dirty Secret of electric cars is that they’re where they were 100 years ago when “cars” were invented. It was easier to replace the dead simple “electric” with a complicated, dirty internal combustion engine. Why is it easier? Because it works.

                      Where do you plug a locomotive in? How big are the batteries?

              2. jCandlish

                There are two bearings on the rotor. This is the only moving parts.

                Then why do servomotors, and their amplifiers, whine?

                Bearings make a different noise.

                1. craazyboy

                  That’s usually the stator laminations vibrating, driven by harmonics in the drive current.

                  Then friction and windage has some audible effect too.

                  But I think bearings can make a high pitch noise too sometimes – at least the small precision very high speed ones. It does get hard to pin down where all the noises come from.

                2. bob

                  That’s just another dirty little, realty based problem-

                  High power electric requires lots of moving part to “make” the electricity, and then more very expensive moving parts to make the electricity into a form that can be used by that dead simple non-moving part motor.

                  1. craazyboy

                    Nah. 3 phase bridge using IGBT power transistors and flyback diodes. Piece of cake up to 1200 volts now I believe in the newer devices. The rest of it is not much more than a 5 volt microcontroller and firmware. Then they probably still need some sort of feedback sensor reporting rotor position to the microcontroller. Even AC induction motors still need that, I think, in order to develop torque near zero speed.

                    Microcontrollers have been commutating power transistor bridges to make near sine wave power output to the motor phases since I first got in the biz back in the 80s.

      1. bob

        Damn, they stole his first name too now?

        All they need is to make the truck? What about the infrastructure around delivering and and dispensing the hydrogen?

        Where does the hydrogen come from?

        Every few years this comes up again, with no answers to the well known problems that came up last time. It’s more vaporware, without the all important vapor, in this case.

        1. jo6pac

          In the site they say Hydrogen stations are being built now on the major hi-ways across Amerika.

          Hydrogen is just water, most station being installed in Southern Calif. us solar power to make it.

          The owner is the former engineer that put Mosk dream into reality.

          Ridder trucks will handle the maintenance.

          I do hope they make it

          1. bob

            More techno utopian selling, nothing real.

            “Hydrogen is just waterHydrogen is just water”

            And water is also oxygen, which is why you can breathe it. Right?

          2. craazyboy

            The truck has 1200 mile range, so maybe not that many hydrogen stations are needed. The specs are impressive.

            All along we have assumed that there would be large regional hydrogen manufacturing plants around the country, and then gas station like things would be at truck stops for fueling. That approach has distribution and storage problems that are really worse than you’d initially think.

            But say they are building manufacturing stations on truck stops, or close by, then those problems go away. The way hydrogen is affordably made now is using some kind of hydrocarbon cracking process – you can start with coal, NG, or oil as a feedstock. That of course takes all the fun out of it because it also makes a huge amount of CO2 – near perfect conversion. Then the other way is electrolysis from water. So far it’s very pricy and only 5% of industry hydrogen is made that way.

            So, I didn’t see anywhere on their website where they went into detail on the filling stations. They do say you get a million free miles of hydrogen with your truck purchase – so they are on the hook for that! But is sounds like they are moving forward and we’ll soon know the answers.

            The truly refreshing thing about this company is they didn’t say a word about self-driving trucks. Good for them. I can still drive my car on the freeway.

    2. Dead Dog

      Perhaps the utopia Musk et al seek is where humans aren’t allowed to drive. I mean humans do have accidents which the robot cars can avoid
      Maybe there’s only ‘Jonny Cars’ in the future?

  14. Bill Smith

    Video Evidence of False Claims Made in the White House Intelligence Report of April 11, 2017

    It doesn’t seem like a very well written article. For example, what is the point of “note shadows” that is here:

    “This image was extracted from a video of a worker during midday (note shadows)”

    There is no reference made to that outside of the note under the pictures.

    How long would Sarin be lingering in the air that it would be dangerous? Would it still be in a dangerous enough density hanging in the air 30 hours later?

    How much Sarin would be needed to disperse over the area to kill and injure as many people as are alleged to have been killed or injured? Would a mortar round be big enough to hold that much Sarin? How big a mortar round?

    1. human

      This is my third report assessing the White House intelligence Report of April 11, 2017. My first report was titled A Quick Turnaround Assessment of the White House Intelligence Report Issued on April 11, 2017 about the Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria and my second report was an Addendum to the first report.

      This report provides unambiguous evidence that the White House Intelligence Report (WHR) of April 11, 2017 contains false and misleading claims that could not possibly have been accepted in any professional review by impartial intelligence experts. The WHR was produced by the National Security Council under the oversight of the National Security Advisor, Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster.

      To be clear, these videos and images are the evidence of “false and misleading claims.” “Note shadows” indicates that this image was not captured at “midday” as the caption states.

      All governments lie. They have inherent conflicts-of-interest. It is the public’s responsibility to point this out.

      As Hamilton Action for Social Change has noted “Under the Nuremberg Principles, you have an obligation NOT to follow the orders of leaders who are preparing crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. We are all bound by what U.S. Chief Prosecutor Robert K. Jackson declared in 1948: [T]he very essence of the [Nuremberg] Charter is that individuals have intentional duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience imposed by the individual state.” ~

      The evidence for geo-political manipulation of the event is strong.

    2. craazyboy

      “How big a mortar round?”

      Prolly one big enough to make the crater in the video. The crater needs carbon dating too.

      I think the author stepped into the unenviable position of trying to disprove available “evidence” beyond the shadow of a doubt. American and British Law say it’s supposed to work the other way around. The prosecution bears the responsibility of proving the evidence and therefore guilt.

      The small size of the crater struck me as suspicious for a gravity bomb. If it was detonated above ground, you’d think the bomb casing would have shattered and hit in multiple locations. In either case – where are the bombshell casings? This one is not the MOAB that self disintegrates. Let’s keep our weapons straight, please.

      As far as sarin killing the workers – this can happen from residual being absorbed thru the skin. Note that they wore sandals while walking in and around the crater. Touching clothing and face mask could be a problem too. I’ve read small amounts don’t result in near immediate death, but will still kill over a day or two timeframe.

      However, I agree with the author that the A-Team wasn’t involved in this analysis.

      1. Bill Smith

        What is the size of the explosive charge on a chemical munition? Clearly not as big as as one that doesn’t carry chemicals. Aren’t chemical munitions air burst? (Unless they malfunction?)

        Who put the caption on the video? What does midday mean? If they meant exactly noon wouldn’t they say that? 11:00? 1:00? How far off is solar noon from noon on a watch there? What is the solar time estimated to be based on the size of the shadows?

        1. craazyboy

          Chemical bombs are air burst and don’t make a big boom. That’s why I think you get scattered kinetic energy shrapnel, after being dropped from altitude.

          A real bomb, especially dropped from altitude would make something bigger than this pothole size hole, I would think. Maybe even if it was a dud. I dunno. No experience with that I guess. That’s why we have experts in our government and military. But where is the friggin bomb casing??

          It sure looks like a mortar shell, and may have been from last weeks skirmish too. Then someone set off a homemade chemical bomb in the hole. Just thinking how a resourceful terrorist might do things.

          I really don’t get the whole point about midday and the shadows either. Maybe there will be a 4th report?

        2. JTMcPhee

          Trust that there will be someone, maybe someone who was once or is still “involved” in the Great Gamery, who knows from personal experience what happened in Chile, maybe, ready to deliver a load of FUD about the latest episode of the arrant idiocy that is the Imperial generation of “war, everywhere, all the time.”

          People pointed out elsewhere here that the burden of proof is, or ought to be, on the Fokkers and Fuggers who have so demonstrably, unarguably lied through their brass-encrusted hats and past their government-health-cared teeth, time and again. How did Pat Tillman die, and who made a hero out of him? “Just 10,000 more troops to Vietnam/Iraq/Notagainistan and we’ll win this thing.” “Just another half a trillion for the F-35, and it will all come good.” “You can’t prove that the Israelites knew they were trying to sink an American intelligence-gathering ship.” “Jellocake,” was it? Hangouts, modified or otherwise, FUD, Booolsheeet in bumper quantities, and the churning and burning and overthrowing and disinformation and all that goes on, and on, and on — whole long careers with good pay, middle-class jobs with great benefits, wonderful second-career opportunities in the “Security (for whom?) Bidness.

          So, people of the Great Game, where’s the PROOF, from the A-Team, whatever that is (you FUDders pooh-poohed and shut down various UN-sponsored investigations into stuff like WMD in Iraq, let’s say), who can be trusted to deliver truth about what happened — the old investigative six-pack: who, what, where, when, and how, with a dessert maybe of “WHY?” It is, or ought to be, laid on YOU cretins to lay it out clearly and honestly and testably, when you Fokkers and Fuggers are telling the rest of us that our lives, our futures, our prosperity, our Freedom (TM) and Liberty (TM) (both sic) all depend on letting you sh!ts drive the whole bus right up to the edge of the crumbling cliff.

          Say again, “what is the national interest?” What are (y)our “vital national security interests?” Why does your Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, , not even include a definition of “war,” or “victory,” or “success,” or much less that term we never use, “defeat?” Along with a bunch of other terms that “policy discussions” ought to include? But there sure is a ton of milbabble relating to the complexities of managing a large Milo Minderbinder Enterprise….

          You know, I kind of hope that all the sh!t that these people have stirred up, all the hair-trigger weapons of annihilation they have put on line and are “improving” and adding to every day, I kind of hope that the idiocies currently on tap will finally result in a great big “OOPSIE,” [OH-OH-PUSHED-SUPERBOMB-ENNIHILATION] that will take them and their defective genes (looking at it from the position of all the rest of living things blessed to be born on this fortuitous planet) out.

  15. marym

    It’s not accurate to consider Medicaid as being outside the sphere of insurance industry interest and influence.

    Reuters 2012 – Medicaid expansion

    Health insurer WellPoint Inc will buy rival Amerigroup Corp for $4.46 billion, nearly doubling its Medicaid business in a major bet on the expansion of the U.S. government’s health plan for the poor.

    PNHP 2012 – kicking poor people off Medicare into Medicaid managed-care

    But back in Washington, his [Obama’s] Health and Human Services Department is launching a pilot program that would shift up to 2 million of the poorest and most-vulnerable seniors out of the federal Medicare program and into private health insurance plans

    “The managed-care industry is gearing up for the expansion. Three large insurers have purchased companies that insure Medicaid beneficiaries. For years, states have been moving Medicaid patients into managed-care plans, with mixed results. But this pilot represents a new market: It is the first large program that would pool Medicare and Medicaid benefits in a single, state-administered plan.”

    PNHP2015 – privatized Medicaid

    More than one-half of Medicaid beneficiaries are now in privatized plans, which have been catching on in many states based on the unproven theory that private plans can enable access to better coordinated care and still save money. That theory is not just unproven, it is patently wrong. Privatized programs have high administrative costs, built-in profits, and do not save money or improve care. Their route to financial success is by finding more ways to limit care and deny services.

    Medicaid medical loss ratio

    Until recently there wasn’t a federally mandated MLR, and only a small number of states had one. In 2016 HHS finalized a rule setting it to 85%. The link describes a number of Medicaid managed care issues supposedly addressed by this rule. I don’t know why the Obama administration waited so long to finalize the rule, or how readily it can be rolled back.

      1. marym

        I apologize if I misinterpreted what you wrote. I’ve posted these and similar links before with basically the same perspective on insurance industry involvement in the Medicaid expansion. Won’t happen again.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I agree 100% that the insurers benefitted from Medicaid expansion and have said so repeatedly. However, the point in the post was to dispute what the article said re Medicaid expansion saving Obamacare, and that the exchange plans were crapified as a result of how the insurers wrote the regs. Too little value for money and many gaming opportunities. They didn’t meddle with Medicaid much in the expansion.

  16. From Cold Mountain

    On “Mick Mulvaney Seems Complacent About a Government Shutdown”:

    I was wondering why I was hearing nothing in the news about a possible government shutdown and why the state media was not tagging their broadcast banners with countdown clocks of conflict.

    Then I realized it could only mean the deep state is preparing for war. The state must remain open for war. Always.

    To me, this means there is 100% certainty that we will be at war with North Korea before the end of April.

  17. fresno dan

    All the stories about Trump flip flopping, and flipping, and flips…. and it was vaguely reminiscent of something – and than I remembered!
    From the old TV show – Flipper! And just changing “under the sea” to “by the sea” (at Mar a lago) makes it perfect. I will leave it to crazyboy to make the lyrics completely topical….

    They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
    No-one you see, is smarter than he,
    And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,
    Flying there-under, under the sea!

    Everyone loves the king of the sea,
    Ever so kind and gentle is he,
    Tricks he will do when children appear,
    And how they laugh when he’s near!

    They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
    No-one you see, is smarter than he,
    And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,
    Flying there-under, under the sea!


    1. craazyboy

      hmm. No clear improvements are coming to mind. Must not have the song writing muse today. I’ll probably have this earworm for the rest of the day, so I may think of something later. craazyman will probably beat me to it.

  18. RenoDino

    Only quote worth noting from above on N. Korea:

    “We don’t have much choice any more but to do something about this,” warns Bruce Bennett, a defense researcher at the Rand Corp., a Santa Monica-based think tank.

    What the “something” is the only question. Diplomacy is no longer one of the options on that famous table. Trump’s only choice, as he see it, is whether to go nuclear on the first strike or send a message with a conventional bombing and then go nuclear in response to a reprisal. Either way, it’s a Hellscape with millions dead. The most important thing to remember about Trump is that he does not see the negative consequences of his actions before or after an event. He acts, and if thing don’t work out, he ignores it, lies about it or blames something or someone else, not unlike most most politicians.

    As a side bonus, the Democrats will rush to support him on his actions and pass every piece of his legislative plan that is currently stalled.

    China will step aside after being promised no restrictions on trade and probably a free hand in the South China Sea.

    A reluctant NATO will be forced to back us in a war they want nothing to do with. This is where their precious alliance will take them.

    In other words, nobody wants this so it will probably happen.

    1. From Cold Mountain

      As I mentioned above, I am 100% certain there will be war with NK because talk of a government shutdown is nowhere in the news.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The threat of retaliation is a real issue. Dempsey didn’t argue against Syria because of morality or such but because the Syrians could and would retaliate. They don’t build statues for losers except maybe in Ukraine and the South. You got me there.

        Afghanistan whatever it’s merits today was not the craziest event in human history.

        Iraq was against a country which had come out of a 10 year war with Iran, had infrastructure bombed out by an alliance that included the USSR, suffered from over 10 years of crippling sanctions, and the U.S. had preposition ed equipment all over the region.

        Libya was not much of anything in NATO’s back yard.

        The low hanging fruit has been picked. How will U.S. soldiers react if they can’t call in air support or go to an air conditioned TGI Friday’s in June? The answer is probably not going to be good.

        1. RabidGandhi

          But there was Grenada, where Clint Eastwood heroically disarmed almost a dozen commies who were aiming Weapons of Mass Nutmeg (WMN) directly at Boca Raton.

        2. Mark P.

          TNG wrote: ‘The low hanging fruit has been picked. How will U.S. soldiers react if they can’t call in air support ….?’

          Eh. Everybody’s wrong at some point and you’re wrong about this. Part of what’s scary is that the DPRK’s air force and missiles are 1950s-70s era tech and would do about as well as Saddam’s did against merely the Southern Korean (Republic of Korea) Korea’s Air Force. This is without the U.S. even being in the effing picture.

          Putting it another way, all those mainstream media reports you’re reading that reassure us that of course the U.S. could never ever drop those enormously large MOAB bombs on the N. Korean tunnel network in a real war against a real enemy are wrong. The U.S. and S. Korea would have de facto air superiority from the beginning. So conceivably, yes, the effing U.S. actually could systematically target Norkean tunnel entrance and ventilator sites by dropping those truck-sized bombs on them

          That in turn means — because Pyongyang isn’t stupid — that it has to go straight to the nukes if war starts.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            N Korean conventional artillery dug in at the DMZ could rain regular old bombs all over Seoul in about 60 seconds, no troops or jets or missiles or nukes required. The estimate is they could shoot 200,000 rounds in the first hour, even if Tomahawk missile launches smashed up 90+% of the artillery Seoul would still look alot like Aleppo.

            1. Mark P.

              @ OpenThePodBayDoorsHal —

              Oh, I agree. That is the threat.

              That said, tunnel-detection technology isn’t all we might like it to be, either. If I were the Kim regime I’d have tried digging a tunnel through to under or near Seoul, via which I could run a nuke in underground.

      2. RenoDino

        Cold Mountain, I like your curious example of the silence surrounding an eminent government shutdown that doesn’t seem to square with the traditional news cycle.

        Budgets don’t matter when it comes to war.

        When I first raised the issue of an eminent war with N.Korea four weeks ago, it was dismissed as ridiculous. A lot has happened since then. It is now the dominant concern. I said that China would be given a deal to stay out of the conflict. Since then, Xi met with Trump and was promised no new trade restrictions and no new tariffs. They are also no longer labeled a currency manipulator by Trump.

        China has massed troops on its border with N. Korea to prevent refuges from escaping. China has also warned N. Korea that this time is not a drill. So much for allies.

        Trump is in thrall to China’s wealth and power. He is developer of sky scrapers and China is the world leader in this category. When he leaves office, China will make Trump insanely wealthy developing his branded buildings around the county. Ivanka
        is already one of the most popular foreign celebrities in the county.

        The Chinese love Trump more than we do, and Trump love China more than we do.

      3. Dead Dog

        yes, mate, ffs…. nothing about the shutdown, just the football.

        I reckon that MOAB dropped in Afgan was a proof of concept thingy. Drop it from like 80000 feet ie above the radar.

        It might work, until it doesn’t.


  19. NotTimothyGeithner

    One quibble with the Andy Sullivan piece is his assessment of the economy. He claims Hillary had a good economy to run on, and much like Gore in 2000, a Democratic President had just presided over a massive uptick in wealth inequality, growth in poverty, and brutal incarceration rates.

    Hillary never effectively dealt with the poor economy offering up her “husband” in lieu of policy. Partisan loyalty and TINA covered for Team Blue. Too much energy was devoted lobbying Hillary to not run a coronation ceremony instead of organizing.

  20. MoiAussie

    I suspect you’re wrong about China. The last thing they want is a US-occupied state on their border. They’re strongly opposed to a unified Korea, though they might conceivably allow it if SK completely cut their ties with the US. Consider also their reaction to Thaad missiles in South Korea.

    And the US won’t give them a free hand in the South China Sea. China may however take one.

    1. MoiAussie

      To clarify, the above is a reply to something that seems no longer to exist, or has gone walkabout.

  21. River

    The worst thing about libraries being gutted is that in poor economic times the circulation and usage stats go up, but they are one of the first things to be cut from a municipal budget when it should be expanded to handle the volume. Couldn’t agree more with the comment that it is a sign of decline.

    One problem with libraries though, is it suffers from credentialism big time. Want more pay, you’d better pay for an MLIS and hope like hell you can get a job with it. I like many classmates moved on from that career path due to lack of employment opportunities. Partly, due to cuts, entry levels simply aren’t there and general scarcity. But if you want to go above $25/hr. you need the paper.

    Cash grab for the universities though.

  22. Corbin Dallas

    That Pew “fair share” article is interesting. If I’m reading it right this AM, it means among Republicans, *fewer* think that corporations “don’t pay their share” now than 2 years ago?? What in the hell?? And how in the hell does that square with the thought class/tax-the-oligarchs messaging will appeal to more Trump voters (which is a message I support).

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Self identification matters.

      Do all Trump voters identify as Republicans? I believe Bill O’Reilly has always identified as an independent.

      The point of “higher taxes” on the wealthy messaging is largely to appeal to non voters. The DLC Dems are the ones who have hard ons for Republicans.

  23. montanamaven

    Regarding the article on “Monetary Barbarism at United Airlines”; somewhere in the 1970s John Q Public became Joe SixPac. 1972 keeps coming up as the year the terminology of the Shock Doctrine began to be stealthily woven into our conversations. As Matt Stoller pointed out, the Civil Aeronautics Board responsible to citizens became a thing of the past when Carter took regulation away from citizens. Once citizens became “consumers”, they were really seen by Wall Street as commodities. So now we are like packages in an Amazon Warehouse being thrown on conveyor belts and loaded on to UPS trucks. But unlike packages, we don’t get deposited right to our doors.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Was Carter the most sane, comparatively speaking, president we have had in, say, at least the last 50 years?

      His competition? Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush II, Obama and now Trump.

      If during his presidency, citizens became consumers, what hope do we have now or in the future?

      1. montanamaven

        I can’t get too hopeful. Carter pretty much started the Shock Doctrine. During Carter the cap on interest rates (Usury laws) was also eliminated. Labor lawyer Tom Geoghagen’s article in Harper’s 2009: Infinite Debt

        And then we dismantled the most ancient of human laws, the law against usury, which
        had existed in some form in every civilization from the time of the Babylonian Empire to
        the end of Jimmy Carter’s term, and which had been so taken for granted that no one ever
        even mentioned it to us in law school. That’s when we found out what happens when an
        advanced industrial economy tries to function with no cap at all on interest rates.
        Here’s what happens: the financial sector bloats up. With no law capping interest, the evil
        is not only that banks prey on the poor (they have always done so) but that capital gushes
        out of manufacturing and into banking. When banks get 25 percent to thirty percent on
        credit cards, and 500 or more percent on payday loans, capital flees from honest pursuits,
        like auto manufacturing.

        Finance should be a mechanism that serves the citizens not a money making venture. I was disgusted when only 33 Senators voted to cap credit card interest rates at 15%. This article profoundly affected me. It was in the day when Harper’s was pretty heterodox. Geoghegan’s books too are good looks on labor history.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Good stuff, but go a bit deeper, MM, and ask yourself about the nature of debt-based money itself. We separated “money” from “work” in 1971 and people’s relationship to real wealth has gotten sh*ttier every year since

          1. montanamaven

            I’m working on trying to figure this thing out. But I’m a beginning student:
            It’s about who CONTROLS the money. If money is defined by credit/debt then the bankers control it. If money is created by government, then the money would be in the hands of the people. If we took the Fed and put it into the U.S. Treasury, we could then spend it into circulation for the general welfare. Banks could go back to doing what they should do. They can pay interest on savings accounts and they can lend money to private individuals or corps. But the private banks should not create money, only the US government should do that.

            1. HopeLB

              Montanamaven, maybe look into when,why and how usury was no longer looked upon by the WASPs as such a great sin. Who got the churches to go along?

            2. craazyboy

              Who controls issuing new money has been the battle of millennia.

              Under the current(worldwide) system, the Central bank is the only one that creates “money”. The term for this is often liquidity, indicating that taking on debt isn’t the only way one may get their hands on some. Getting paid is the only way most of us are familiar with. In that case, there is no loan contract or financial product( bonds, whatever) that specifies a repayment schedule and interest.

              If you are curious how much liquidity there is, it is about $4.6 trillion – the current amount of the Fed balance sheet because they first buy treasury bonds, then create “keyboard money”, by simply adding a money transfer to the Treasury to pay for new bonds and making an accounting entry of the transaction on their books. The Fed balance sheet then indicates how must money they “spent” and how much in Treasury bonds they hold in their inventory.

              Next, the reason we have a $18 trillion economy and only $4.5 trillion in “money” is because of the “velocity of transactions”. GPD is really quantity of money times the velocity of transactions.

              So neither the USG or banks create “money”. The USG has to tax or borrow to spend.

              The world really does have a fractional reserve banking system. They are allowed to loan out around 92% of what they have on deposit from savings and checking accounts. They also have other ways of getting their greedy, grubby hands on money, but I’ll skip that part for now.

              So they can create debt individually, but not by lending out more than they have. However, looking at the banking system as a whole, they create a loan contract, hand out money they really have, that money gets deposited in another bank, whom sends 8% to their Federal reserve required reserve account, then can lend out 92%, keep a new loan contract on the balance sheet, and this keeps cascading thru the system, bankers willing and able, and the math says the system can increase credit to the tune of 10 times the quantity of circulating money, every year.

              But in the modern world, banks get regulated by auditors looking at their “capital ratios”. The takes into account the fact that loans may not be so liquid, and also difficult to value, or even went bad. This is supposed to be the “reality check” and may limit a particular bank to lend less than it may under a system regulated only by system level multiplier math. ( It’s called the Money Multiplier in econ, but I’m trying not to use the term)

              The only one that can reduce the quantity of circulating money is the Fed, or lots of people with coffee cans. These coffee cans could also be in tax shelter islands, but generally they have a hedge fund manager do something with it.

              So banks can create credit. Which is been a good biz for a long time.

              That’s good for a BS degree in econ.

      2. Oregoncharles

        I thought Carter was a really terrible President. For one thing, he refused to promote solar electricity when it was beginning – he was beholden to the Rockefellers and Kissinger. And at their instigation, he decided, against warnings, to let the Shah come to the US after he was overthrown. That precipitated the Teheran Hostage Crisis, which Carter proved unable to cope with. He also started the jihadi war in Afghanistan.

        He’s been a wonderful ex-president, though, probably trying to make up for his previous failures.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I hate to tell you but there are serious problems with the Stoller article on airlines. He’s normally very sound and I’m in an awkward position over this.

      1. Oregoncharles

        There’s an obvious question here – no, two: what problems? and why awkward? You don’t usually let that stop you.

        I confess I haven’t read that article, but I don’t think the problems would be obvious to me.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          To be more blunt, it’s factually wrong in many important ways, staring with saying that the Dao mess was the result of overbooking and that the airlines have bad, antiquated reservations systems (they don’t, it’s very large scale software that is robust and reliable). Also wrong that the CAB was pro-consumer before dereg and regarding the claim that dereg was a fail (it worked very well for the first 25 years, the story is way more complicated as to why there were problems later, and those weren’t the result of the 1970s dereg but later measures).

          Stoller is trying to be an important voice on the left but he’s gone out over his skis on this one. He’s opened himself up for attack by Cato types as proving that leftists are ideologues who don’t bother understanding what they are opining about.

          1. skippy

            Under that criteria, Stoller could get a job with Cato et al after all the dreck they have spewed over quite some time.

            Cato et al basic methodology is to call everyone else derogatory group think ideologues and get them in to defensive posture.

            Anywho I think the relevance of such institutions are reaching their use by date due to diminishing returns. The strange thing about having so many billionaires stomping around is it has created, how should I say, a much broader and complex market place wrt preferences at this strata. Hence the consolidation the old right wing think tanks once had is not as dominate.

            How this washes tho is anyone’s guess.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Sperm as candidate for delivering cancer medications for female patients?

    Orally or how?

  25. montanamaven

    “Why North Korea Needs Nukes” at Moon of Alabama is fascinating, as most of b’s posts are. Let them harvest their crops in peace and they will give up their nukes. Sounds too sensible. Wouldn’t it be great if we all gave up our nukes? Again, too sensible.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Probably the US strategy toward North Korea is the same one applied against the former Soviet Union — that is, engage them in an arms race that bankrupts them.

      It never occurs to our brilliant military planners that we are now using the strategy on ourselves.

      1. craazyboy

        Yes, well, we almost starve them, once every year, even since the 90s. I guess the idea is use this leverage to “soften them up” and undermine the government with hungry pissed off peasants.

        Then, as MOA points out, the step 2 part of the strategy would be to get the woozy and weakened NK government to the negotiating table and demand they stop this nuke and missile madness. So…2018 rice season, then?

      2. ambrit

        And very effectively as well.
        I just got a mental image of the President of Mexico standing at the Mexican side of the border, say at San Ysidro, and crying out, to thunderous applause; “Mr President, tear down this wall!”
        Afterward, of course, International Oligarchs can feast on the remains of the American economy. Oh wait, I must have missed something…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “Morning in Mexico again!!!”

          Kids in Southern California eagerly tune in to Radio Mexico, dreaming of hip mariachi music, freedom loving working young ladies and cheap marijuana.

          Instead of denim jeans, young people are crazy about sombrero hats.

          It doesn’t help that Americans have to earn the new global reserve currency, the Peso, and so, those hats are hard to come by.

          1. ambrit

            I can’t resist the remark that a wall less America would devolve to “All Hat and No Castle.”
            Remember, you herd it here. Much as I dislike the “Sheeple” meme, the counter meme of “Cattple” is much too ambiguous.
            Indeed, this is proof of the Alchemists’ Creed; As above (America,) so below (everywhere else.) As an example of Hubris, this cannot be equaled.
            Yes, let us change our lead back into gold. (Much American gold lately has been flying overseas as lead.)

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Peopleple sounds like a pure form of people, only the essential parts remain..

                  1. ambrit

                    Good catch MLTPB. I hadn’t considered that perhaps, the PTBs are inadvertently embarked upon the Eightfold Path.
                    It would be truly amazing if “Shock and Awe” was a form of kensho. Then we could get on with the real work.

          2. craazyboy

            I have a feeling Trump Piñatas will get big again. Certainly the hands will. Mucho demand, I think, in both the Spanish speaking and English, and perhaps even Asian and Muslim world. That would be a youuuuge export market.

            Thing is, if we could manufacturer in the US, say in south San Diego (looks the same as Tijuana – no one would know the difference – except the hookers charge more. But the ones with Sombrero Hats are still pretty cheap.) then we would have enough export biz to support our own foreign currency! The $20 bill! Guess whose face goes on it? Just kidding. No Snowflake stuff for our money under this administration. Snowflake money would just get terrified of being manhandled and stuffed into anyone’s jeans and pass out anyway. Then Central Banks will have no choice but to make the $20 bill a reserve currency along with the Peso.

      3. John k

        Good point.
        I guess for a while now… we spend more than the next ten combined?
        Not a new thing. Big o spent a trillion on nukes because he could. Now trump boosting mil spending because everybody who is anybody wants him to.
        And if you don’t approve you just prove you’re nobody.

      4. I Have Strange Dreams

        Why do you repeat a well disproved Reagan myth? That is not why the USSR ended. It rotted from the inside out. This is all historically documented but you continue to engage in agnotology, despite being regularly called out on it.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          There is the destination, the end, and the time it will take to get there.

          In Zen, there is a saying.

          The mother hen will help, by hatching but the chick has to peck her way out, by her own efforts.

          That is, there is so much the old monk can do.

          Was the same with the USSR – it was rotting on its own, and Reagan hastened from the outside?

          1. Mark P.

            ‘Was the same with the USSR – it was rotting on its own, and Reagan hastened from the outside?’

            No, no, MyLessThanPrimeBeef. Don’t you know that only binary thinking is correct thinking? All else is agnotology.

            In any case, you’re arguably nearest to the truth. But you’re all sort of wrong. See here —-


            The Soviet Union was rotting by virtue of the deterioration of its economic system in the late 1970s and was already spending too much of its GDP on military spending then, before Reagan. Reagan helped that excessive Soviet military over-spending hit the wall, but it was already hitting it.

            That being said, it wasn’t the systematic rot that actually triggered the USSR’s fall, either. The key Soviet mistake, ironically, was Gorbachev’s because he tried to conduct political and market reforms at the same time.

            No good deed goes unpunished: the actual result was to provoke a recession while simultaneously making the Soviet state answerable for it and enabling the airing of formerly repressed nationalist sentiments.

            1. voteforno6

              If I remember correctly, Soviet military spending plateaued in the mid-’70s. The Reagan buildup (which actually began under Carter), had no impact on Soviet spending.

              1. ambrit

                And still Americans are using old Soviet era launch systems to get up and down from space.
                Reagan was the quintessential huckster. Just ask Twenty Mule Team.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Rotting can be economically, culturally, spiritually, militarily, politically, technologically, etc…

                  It could have been one or more of those. Technologically, it is amazing as you say about the old Soviet era launch systems.

                  Educationally, I hope it is still free college over there, still not many fancy campus buildings.

    2. Alex Morfesis

      Ok…let’s not be silly…fearless leader number 3(aka 1dumbsun) could simply dismantle his military, remove all his land mines from the dmz, tear down his fences and invite the acela vanity press to record the demilitarization…and then the blob would have to find a new sandbox…and that is the problem today…the blob needs to create new sandboxes…but then again, there has always been a blob and there has always been financial rentiers…

      Who can forget the john McCain of yesteryear, general james wilkinson and his games with that other senator from new york, aaron burr…burr, the inventor of Tammany hall(the one who politicized it) was all wall street all the time…and wilkinson had married into the biddle family…that biddle family…

      So, despite the best laid plans of evil doers, this great democratic fantasy has a life of its own…as displayed by the full retreat of United airlines…

      The telescreens record and display mode has created a bit of a little monster that may not be able to be put back in the bottle…

      Prodigy, compuserve, aol, earthlink, yahoo, globe, myspace…and now gargle and faceborg…yoyoyotube, instaglam and twitcher…

      Who will win the race…will the nsdap/ao and their global keystone kop associates be able to openly declare victory on 9-11(nov 9) six years from now in marienplatz or will they keep hiding and hope no one calls their bluff on the emp thingee they did not actually develop and can not physically deliver…

      I will keep my bet on the warm blooded carbon based life forms, no matter how easily we are distracted…

    1. craazyboy

      Looks authentic, but who knows anymore.

      All the way at the end they answer the question, “Wafo?”

      “The five US bases in Syria are part of Trump’s three-pronged strategy which aims at a) fighting Islamist terror; b) blocking Iran’s land and air access to Syria; and c) providing the enclaves of the Syrian Kurdish-PYD-YPG with a military shield against the Turkish army.”

      Looks like a cozy place, tho I’d suggest renting rather than buying.

      1. Susan the other

        Trying to make sense of this my first attempt is this: The Caspian. We will eventually use the Kurds to get direct access to the western Caspian (as we are getting nowhere fast in the eastern Caspian unless it is also kept secret). In the meantime we will protect the devastated terrain across Syria to supply Europe via pipelines to secure both Europe – and SA and the Gulf States – a brisk European trade. And eventually we will have control of a huge bank of oil (Caspian) to see the world through global warming/cooling/whatever. And all action/propaganda to obscure these blatant goals should be ignored. We are going to create an on-the-ground reality in spite of all the civil squabbles in the ME. And never underestimate how ruthless we can be.

        1. Susan the other

          this also helps me try to understand where McMaster is coming from… clear goals. As Trump himself repeated “take the oil.” 150,000 troops is serious business. No matter how nauseating. Russia is playing the role of international diplomat – so I’m guessing Assad is toast and will soon be given asylum on the Riviera.

            1. ambrit

              “We create our own reality,” to quote a past aparatchik of the PTB.
              Unless some anti imperialists knock some F-16s out of the Syrian sky with S-400s.
              The first attack on a Syrian unit or base with manned aircraft will tell the tale. Then watch the UN scramble to untangle it’s internal divisions as a result.
              Also, ask yourself, how successful was the last American incursion into Middle East nation building? I sense that the fools who lost the last war will double down on the failed strategy because; “Things will be different this time.”
              It would be funny to contemplate if it were not for the fact that it will be our children and grand-children who will be fighting and dying for yet another iteration of an age old insanity.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                One difference is the officer corp. The drivers of the first Iraq War were often Majors and Lt. Colonels in the Persian Gulf War and too young for Vietnam. Those fresh faced Lieutenant of 2003 have been promoted in the interim. They are likely to be more on the ball than their bosses were.

                McMasters was a Captain who shot up a bunch of Iraqi tanks from his defensive position of modern Abrams versus 25 year old Soviet tanks under the allied air umbrella as the Iraqi tanks passed by in their general withdrawal pattern. Who knows what lessons he learned. He got some good press for writing a book which is great.

                What the rest of the army thinks matters. Syria doesn’t have the geographical features of Iraq. Syria will have better air defense. This is important: Syria will have battle hardened soldiers not expecting to be turned into the next Japan or Germany but knowing full well Libya is the future. They will fight back.

                Even with career soldiers, one of the problems noticed in various wars was guys who had been around for too long were known for blowing off orders.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Russia playing the international diplomat role and Assad is toast – Russians will do that with Russia being forced out of the eastern Caspian?

            That’d be huge, as huge as when they expanded into Siberia centuries ago, but in reverse this time (from their point of view).

    1. different clue

      Well . . . that certainly is a theory. And it certainly is a bunch of predictions. Luckily for us, they are specific enough that they can be tested by comparing them to events over the next couple of years. If the Takimag author is proven right, then we will have to give him all due credit, and see what else he is predicting.

  26. s.n.

    i found this of some (moderate) interest as I’d forgotten all about the Google Books hype:
    How Google Book Search Got Lost
    Google Books was the company’s first moonshot. But 15 years later, the project is stuck in low-Earth orbit.
    “...In its youth, Google Books inspired the world with a vision of a “library of utopia” that would extend online convenience to offline wisdom. At the time it seemed like a singularity for the written word: We’d upload all those pages into the ether, and they would somehow produce a phase-shift in human awareness. Instead, Google Books has settled into a quiet middle age of sourcing quotes and serving up snippets of text from the 25 million-plus tomes in its database….”

    1. Aumua

      Yeah that was a nice vision.. but, you know we can’t have that. Because copyright something something, markets. 25 million books for free? Haha, we’re not socialists, for god’s sake. Lock it up, baby.

  27. RabidGandhi

    Re: As Trump Strikes Syria, We Should Revisit the History Lessons of US Intervention in Central America [Remezcla]

    The article is worth a read to remember some important facts that normally get flushed down the memory hole, but the opening is jaw-dropping:

    Could the use of direct US military force in Syria help stop the unfolding humanitarian crisis there? Or does military action, (even if we assume the best of intentions), do more harm than good? While Obama took the latter position during his presidency, Donald Trump has adopted a more hawkish stance, authorizing the launch of 59 cruise Tomahawk missiles at an airbase in Syria last week.

    Is there any other country in history where a leader who bombs just 7 countries (or more?) is considered to be one who believes that “military action does more harm than good”?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Or dumps billions of dollars into the Syrian Civil War, but gosh darn it, Obama is a reluctant warrior.

      I do belive media people are so vacuous they can’t function beyond reciting press releases and incapable of reassessment beyond initial impressions which were formulated years ago. Everyone knows Democrats are pansy assed whimps of the Mommy Party whereas Republicans are tough guys who drive big trucks!

      Im pretty sure half of one Franken’s books is dedicated to assuring everyone Democrats love military spending.

      First impressions are everything. Obama is a cool dude, and if he did something bad, he must have been forced to and felt really bad about it. In “Audacity of Hope,” Obama noted people projected their values onto him. Admitting to the obvious flaws with Obama that existed prior to 2007 would force a certain amount of self reflection which people just aren’t ready for.

  28. DJG

    Jared Ball, Atlanta Black Star, Trump as Business as Usual. I have been using this argument with my hyperventilating “liberal” friends, who also were hoping that Hillary “Incremental Change” Clinton would be business as usual: Sushi at fund raisers, low taxes, all kinds of breaks so that they can keep their assets, little enforcement by the IRS, unauthorized immigrants attached to leaf-blowers cleaning lawns and minding little Jayden and Madison. For some rather exciting dinners, I recommend that you point out that Trump is just Reagan with fewer filters.

    Stressing that Trump is business as usual is clarifying. No, you are not Jean Moulin in the French Resistance. The problem for Trump voters, disappointed or not (Betsy DeVos is not), and for liberals is that they have persisted in voting for mediocre neoliberals. Now we must nuke North Korea, just as Reagan rampaged thorugh Central America. Consistently voting for the lesser of two evils gets you less.

    Added business-as-usual bonus: For Chicagoans, I recommend that you point out that anyone who voted for Rahm has no reason to complain about Trump. Conversations suddenly will get extra-spicy!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s business as usual. because even though the president is very powerful, you still have Congress, the permanent Mandarin class in government, consultants, lobbyists, money people, the very powerful media, foreign spies, etc.

      Will it be any different with a president Sanders and his friend, Six-Ways-From-Sunday Schumer there to guide him?

  29. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump Walks Into Syria Trap Via Fake ‘Intelligence Antiwar (resilc)

    I think the IC gave him about a month or two, and no one came forth to confront the Six-Ways-From-Sunday IC and their best buddies (in Congress and in the MSM). he has by now accepted the can’t-refuse offer.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I believe this gives “our leaders” way too much credit.

      My theory is this:
      -Trump hot off his ACA failure goes looking for something to do to regain the narrative. I don’t think there is a workable majority in Congress right now.
      -Trump has already accused Obama of using bombing to bump his poll numbers.
      -the various actors out to bomb the planet are always at it
      -Trump perceives an opportunity to build a coalition and take out Assad by “working with the Russians.”
      -Trump not being experienced in foreign affairs and operating under the assumption Obama was “not man” enough to use America’s invincible wunderweapons latches onto the idea of replacing Assad with Russian cooperation.
      -The Russians naturally say no to Trump’s offered deal.
      -Trump launches a bunch of cruise missiles where over 1/3 miss and the rest knock out a run way for 12 hours
      -Trump is explained the situation by self serving generals who don’t want to oversee a disaster in Syria
      -Trump’s strongest supporters start calling him Hillary in a dress. This is problematic for a guy with such little Republican establishment support.
      -Trump turns to North Korea. Everybody hates that crazy guy. Again Trump and most of Versailles have very little if any knowledge about the Korean peninsula. Trump tries to get Xi to help.
      -The Chinese don’t take Trump’s deal for a variety of reasons.
      -Trump drops the MOAB bomb to look tough while his proposed deals have been rejected.
      -the “beautiful armada” was dispatched at some point in this
      -Pompeo attacks Wikileaks fearful of leaks about the intelligence around the chemical attack coming out.
      -Polls showing significant Democratic and independent opposition to even limited strikes in Syria serve a problem. Any bad news will further strengthen this kind of opposition.
      -morale of the troops themselves. They didn’t enlist to fight for Saudi Arabia.
      -the expectations that the North Korean regime will force everyone to cooperate misses that the North Korean regime effectively serves as a buffer between much larger problems. “American Exceptionalism” doesn’t really acknowledge that other countries might have their own interests and ideas.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Where the IC in all of this?

        Coincidentally, not much Russian-Trump campaign news (not totally receded from view though) these days.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Borg is too large and too full of competing interests to function coherently. If there is a war in Syria, there is no war in the Ukraine except in the minds of the most simplistic thinkers. Only the President possesses the power necessary to focus the direction. In many ways, the 2003 invasion of Iraq was only possible because the material build up had occurred over the previous decade, necessitating only soldiers being moved.

          As Hillary reminded everyone, there are 17 different intelligence agencies. Being a muckety muck in one doesn’t mean much if you aren’t noticed by the President, and if the President favors one above the others, the other projects will be ignored.

          Many in the Pentagon understand that they aren’t going to get statues or their names etched in marble columns if a carrier sinks under their watch. People leaked the results of Rummy’s Iran war games for a reason.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Coherent enough to make Trump go where they wanted, judging by the events of the last few months.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              A half assed airstrike? Moving a carrier group to North Korea? Yammering about Iran?

              The coherence of the IC is grossly overrated. They are so anti-Iran, they let Iran select the Iraqi government and give out the oil contracts to China as an elaborate psyop. It was all part of the brilliant plan!

              Can you unravel how the new plan is to run pipelines from the Caspian and how that affects energy prices for the Saudis, their proposed pipelines which dont go to the Caspian, the U.S. fracking industry and its need for high energy prices, and how the would be Sultan of a renewed Ottoman empire fits into all this?

              Or is it all so complicated only the shadow masters truly know?

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                The relentless and pervasive Russian election interference fake news the last few months, it seems to me, shows they are (if this will help with better communicating) ‘effectively coherent’ enough, even ‘with internal dissent.’

                A force big enough to impact the nation, regardless of size, as they have’t not been checked by other groups in their world.

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  I think you are confusing a Democratic Party tantrum with an intelligence committee platform. Russia is an easy target for Western audiences.

                  Trump just lost on ACA and learned Paul Ryan was a world class idiot leaving him with very little achievable activities.

                  Why would the MIC want to risk 27 year old planes against modern air defenses if they are all knowing? The Pentagon threw water on Obama’s plans for Syrian conquest after all. What has changed?

                  You still haven’t explained what they hope to achieve or why they have so many conflicting goals.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    For me to explain in detail what they hope to achieve, their real goals, I would have to be with them.

                    So, many conflicting goals may be to divert attention or maybe not.

                    I can only describe what I’ve in the last few months…attempts at soft coup, intelligence leaks, warmongering… These are their ostensible goals.

  30. Vatch

    Three $5000 no-strings-attached grants available Medium

    No theoretical physicists investigating string theory need apply. No violinists, guitarists, or harpists, either. I guess pianists would be ineligible, too. Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

  31. Oregoncharles

    From “Whistleblower uncovers London police hacking of journalists and protestors WSWS:”

    “Green Party representative in the British House of Lords, Jenny Jones, exposed the unit’s existence in an opinion piece in the Guardian. The facts she revealed are based on a letter written to her by a whistleblower.”

    Credit where it’s due. There is just one British Green Party MP; Jones appears to be another, but in the upper house. Unless they got that wrong. This is an example of the advantages of having even one outsider close to power. Members of Congress, for instance, have extreme powers to reveal virtually anything under Constitutional immunity, but rarely use them because they’re part of and beholden to the System.

  32. Vatch

    Mick Mulvaney Seems Complacent About a Government Shutdown Washington Monthly

    This means right wingers like Mulvaney believe that the federal government is bloated, and needs to be reduced in size, so they don’t care whether it shuts down. This got me wondering about the number of federal employees over the past half century, and I found this:

    1962: 5.354 million employees.
    2014: 4.185 million employees.

    Federal employment maxed out in 1968 and 1969 at 6.639 million and 6.575 employees, respectively. (Note that Executive branch civilian employment includes the Postal Service.)

    Now let’s compare this to the U.S. population over that period of time. The Census Bureau web site has too much information, so for simplicity’s sake, I went to Wikipedia:

    1960: 179,323,175 people.
    1970: 203,302,031.
    1980: 226,545,805.
    1990: 248,709,873.
    2000: 281,421,906.
    2010: 308,745,538.

    So the U.S. population almost doubled from 1960 to 2010, but the number of federal employees dropped by almost 22%. If we ignore the military, we see that the employees rose from 2.515 million in 1962 to 2.726 in 2014. That’s an increase of only 8% over a period when the population rose by about 72%.

    What conclusion can be drawn from this? Either the U.S. federal government has become extremely efficient, or it is much smaller than it should be.

    1. SpringTexan

      It is much smaller than it should be. Hence, long delays, inability to get phone answered by IRS, etc.

      There is however a LARGE shadow workforce of contracted-out jobs. Blame Al Gore for that. I think he was the most responsible for undermining the traditional civil service. Nowadays federal offices are often a few regular employees alongside a lot of contractors working for sometimes not much money, sometimes pretty good money, but all with huge markups over that for the entities holding the contracts. Privatization, ya know?

      And a lot of postal delivery employees are now second-class folk too with no job security and lousy pay.

      Thanks for presenting these little-known and accurate numbers.

  33. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Reminder: You Are Hardly Overtaxed in America! Barry Ritholtz. Resilc: “You are if you add up all the out of pocket costs that are covered in ‘socialist” countries, like damage on my truck due to potholes, copays for health, out of pocket after school programs, lost time due to bad infrastructure…..”

    The government doesn’t need taxes to live on, and so, it seems a bit sadistic to not reduce taxes for the 99% these days.

    “We tax you, and tax you at a particular rate, just because we can.”

  34. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chicago schools’ big experiment with a different disciplinary tool: empathy Christian Science Monitor (furzy)

    So, instead of punishing Republican or neoliberal Democrat politicians, we empathize?

    Do we completely eradicate punishment or do we need to keep a few?

  35. Kris

    Excellent article in The Guardian: No, Wealth Isn’t Created at the Top, It is Merely Devoured There. “The financial innovation concocted by all the math whizzes working in modern banking (instead of at universities or companies that contribute to real prosperity) basically boils down to maximising the total amount of debt. And debt, of course, is a means of earning rent. So for those who believe that pay ought to be proportionate to the value of work, the conclusion we have to draw is that many bankers should be earning a negative salary; a fine, if you will, for destroying more wealth than they create.”

  36. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why North Korea Needs Nukes:

    They had agreed on a short trusteeship of a united and independent country. In the upcoming cold war the U.S. retracted on the agreement and in 1948 installed a South Korean proxy dictatorship under Syngman Rhee. This manifested an artificial border the Koreans had not asked for and did not want.

    Yet, they still want this:

    “As a first step, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) may suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises,” Wang told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress.

    Do they think we won’t retract again?

    How desperate are they?

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      When we put our nukes in S Korea in the 1960s how were the N Koreans supposed to react?

    2. JustAnObserver

      I’d say that the DPRK learned the truth back then that, as per the Saker the other day:

      The US is “not agreement capable”.

      So why would they give up their nukes in exchange for a meaningless form of words ?

      In Russian the Saker wrote this as “недоговороспособны”. Are any of the NC commentariat sufficiently versed in Russian to know if this translation accurately reflects both the direct meaning and the connotations that would be automatically understood by any native Russian speaker ? ‘cos if so this is damning since it implies – In English – that the US (+Europoodles) are “not diplomacy capable”.

  37. Alex Morfesis

    So much for freedumbs…down here in floriduh, boss hogg is dead and sheriff rosco has taken over…sheriff rosco got his son in as a state senator now…and his son, state senator greg steube of sarasota has finally gotten the Senate to dismantle the foia (freedom of information act) laws of florida…

    one might not imagine, if one has bothered dealing with any bureaucracies in floriduh, that the sunshine laws here actually have teeth…the acela vanity press(avp) would not like the little people to know since they (avp) get cost free foia access where the little people at least have to pay for copies…

    yup, unbeknownst to most floriduhinz, one can just walk in asking for most records without showing id or even have to explain why…and it is (or was until sheriff rosco’s kid) backed by heavy fines, legal fees, and in fact is a misdemeanor if a gov’t official refuses…

    But we can’t have nunuhdat freedumb stuff gettin into peeps heads…they might imagine they live in a democracy…

    So…sb-80 has passed the Senate and is now before the floriduh house for a vote…

    the official cover story is that municipalities that regularly ignore the florida sunshine foia laws have been getting spanked hard with heavy legal fee reimbursements for foia requestors by judges trying to send a message to local govt officials to abide by the law and stop wasting the courts time by refusing to follow the sunshine foia laws…

    Well actually, the phony cover story is that the little people have been “abusing” the process with “gotcha” lawsuits because…the bureaucracies refuse to release documents and information as has apparently long been the law in floriduh…

    The story was buried under the fold on a secondary page inside a synopsis of “legislation” on the sunday edition of the tampa bay times…I never buy any papers anymore and had not bought a sunday paper in years, but a front page article had peaked my interest…

    Yes the honest press…burying the story…formerly the saint pete times…you know…

    googles glavlit on the bay…


    poynter institute…

    the ones who are going to make the world safe from buried…I mean fake news…

    Triple pants on fire back to ya there…

    see ya on central ave…

  38. ewmayer

    Re. Sperm tested as possible candidate for delivering cancer medications in female patients | PhysOrg — I’m trying to picture how this might work for, say, a cancerous mole on the patient’s nose. #BeachBlanketBukakke

    1. ambrit

      Please tell me that you weren’t referring to the olf—tory nerves. At best, I’d guess that this treatment would be classified as a form of “sinaesthesia.”

  39. cripes

    Well, maybe low income voters/non-voters don’t count, but the money going into the state budgets sure does. Even republican governor’s budgets.

    “Some Republican governors who have expanded Medicaid, along with their Democratic peers, don’t want Congress to kill the provision that has allowed 11.3 million low-income adults nationwide to gain health care coverage…Medicaid expansion has meant even more money for participating states since the program began in 2014. The federal government, which covered 100% of the cost of newly eligible adults for the first three years and is slowly tapering that reimbursement to 90%, pumped an additional $72.6 billion into the expansion states last year.
    “It’s gotten baked into the state budgets,” said Guyer.””

    Whether the insurance industry was focused on gaming medicaid at the ACA’s inception, they sure are now. I attended an Affordable Care Act symposium at the Hyatt Regency or something in Chicago back in 2013 or so, and after they let the U of Chicago academics and community org types have their say, the insurance company reps took over the dais and proceeded to unroll their Medicaid privatisation plans.

    Accountable Care Organizations–ACO’s–that would be paid capitated fees per patient and incentivized for reducing return hospital visits, more useless “wellness” programs and capping patient prescriptions at 4 drugs per month, etc. With a schedule for moving every patient into these plans over time and a fancy state map of regions they would phase in during the transition.

    Seems pretty well gamed out to me.

    And who knows, a few hundred thousand Medicaid recipients dumped from health care might be motivated enough to vote out republican governors who failed to protect their interests. Or Congresspeople. Doesn’t take much to turn close race anymore does it?

  40. tony

    Just wondering, wouldn’t it have been easier to reclaim public goods under Obama? Or would that lack challenge?

    1. Lambert Strether

      I think if that were true, we’d have #MedicareForAll by now, and Obama wouldn’t have pushed charters as hard as Bush. And maybe we’d have a Post Office bank.

  41. IDontKnow

    Hydrostor: If it isn’t in GW, it’s a long way from being a solution.

    For all that effort, the system will be able to supply just a megawatt of electricity for up to three hours. Eventually, the company is aiming for a capacity of 20 to 30 megawatts that can be discharged over 10 to 20 hours. But a big wind or solar farm would require a lot more storage than that.

    All of these compressed gas technologies are pitched against battery storage, vs. hydro-electric pumped storage. In terms of safety and energy density, they are not competitive. The energy efficiency seems to go away to as they scale (heat transfer gets more expensive and less efficient upon reaching very large scale).

  42. jackiebass

    I would like to respond to the comment added to the article about high taxes. To use a republican talking point in the US all of these are called personal responsibility. Pay your own way even if you can’t afford to.

  43. Vatch

    Regarding the suspicions about the “End Citizens United” organization: this warning appeared on the MoveToAmend website in June, 2015:

    Are you getting daily emails from a group calling itself “End Citizens United”? We’ve been getting tons of questions about who this group is, and a bunch of messages from confused people thinking that these emails are coming from Move to Amend. Let me assure you, they are NOT Move to Amend.

    We’ve now been asked by dozens and dozens of our supporters to send an email to our full list to shine a light on what’s going on here…

    This shadowy “End Citizens United” group popped up on the scene just as the 2016 Presidential candidates are starting to declare their campaigns. This Super PAC claims to be working against Citizens United and putting an “End to Corporate Personhood” but a visit to their website says otherwise:

    No suggested language as to what the amendment should say.
    No suggestion that corporate personhood is the root problem.
    No information or support for any of the myriad amendments already under consideration, including the We the People Amendment.
    No information about who is behind their group.
    No field operation to help organize people.
    Just a petition (to collect names for their database), and a Donate button (to collect money for ??).

    They say they’ve already collected a million dollars. But what are they going to do with the money since they have no actual campaign against Citizens United? Our sources tell us they are a group of individuals who formed this PAC to raise funds for Democrats running for office in the upcoming election. Recently they updated their website with some information about this, but details on how this will help end corporate personhood are thin at best.

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