Links 4/18/17

Yves here. I must confess to a bit of frustration with today’s Links. You can see they are heavy on international news, for good reason. Yet I am bothered that important domestic financial and economics stories are going under the radar as a result.

Dingo Wins Competition for World’s Most Interesting Genome Smithsonian (Chuck L)

ARE SOME SOLAR PANELS MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY THAN OTHERS? JSTOR (Micael). I am surprised that this is even a matter of debate.

The Crisis of Attention Theft—Ads That Steal Your Time for Nothing in Return Wired (resilc)

Ukraine launches big blockchain deal with tech firm Bitfury Reuters (furzy). Given that Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, this does not look like all that positive a development.

New documentary gives an insight into the thankless task of moderating the internet ThaiVisa (furzy)

How a Cannabis Expert Sneaks Weed Past the TSA LifeHacker (Dan K)

A New “CRISPR Pill” Makes Bacteria Destroy Its Own DNA Futurist (Dan K)

The Endangered ‘Good Doctor’ Wall Street Journal (J-LS). Important. Hopefully you can find a way to get past the paywall.

North Korea

North Korea ‘will test missiles weekly’, senior official tells BBC BBC

The Problem is Washington, Not North Korea Mike Whitney, Counterpunch (xformbykr)

Trump Is Willing to Consider a Sudden Strike on North Korea Bloomberg. Bill B: “The missing headline award: ‘Trump’s very strong preference is for China to take the lead on dealing with North Korea.'”

North Korean Ambassador Kim In Ryong speaks to reporters ahead of a Security Council briefing. “The DPRK is ready to react to any war desired by the U.S.,” he says. He also says the U.S. is using “gangster-like logic” toward his nation. C-SPAN (Kevin C)

Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un and the risk of nuclear miscalculation Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

The History of North Korea KPFA (Gareth)

Pence takes message of U.S. resolve against North Korea to Japan Reuters (furzy)

Nuclear anxiety grows with North Korea standoff The Hill

America Can’t Do Much About North Korea Atlantic (resilc)

Burying ‘Trumpomania,’ Kremlin TV says Trump scarier than North Korean leader Reuters (furzy)

Pence to South Korea: ‘Our trade relationship is falling short’ The Hill. Weird to be raising this while sabre-rattling at the North is on.

French Election

The establishment in panic will attempt to “bury” Jean-Luc Mélenchon as it did with Bernie Sanders failed evolution

Translation: all within the margin of error

Emmanuel Macron says German surplus hurts Europe Politico

France frontrunners address supporters in end spurt of presidential campaign DW

The Last Days of Charles De Gaulle Foreign Policy

Brexit

Ireland seeks common Brexit strategy with Dutch and Danes Irish Times

Europe fears Turkey will renege on migrant deal The Times

PFI scandal as Scottish NHS faces £10billion bill for hospitals that cost £2billion Daily Record (Richard Smith)

Turkey

Protests as Turkey extends state of emergency DW

5 takeaways from Turkey’s doubt-inducing referendum Politico

Turkey’s referendum fell short of democratic standards, international observers say Politico

Syraqistan

>BRICS Issues Joint Statement: Illegal Military Intervention in Syria Is Unacceptable Defend Democracy. Oddly, not reported in the mainstream English language press.

Will Syrian State Collapse & Fall into More Chaos If Assad Is Toppled? Democracy Now! (Sid S)

Through the ‘War on Terror’ Looking Glass Consortium News (Sid S)

Stop swooning over Justin Trudeau. The man is a disaster for the planet Guardian (dc_buc)

Trump Transition

What a Perverse Presidential Incentive System! Libertarian Institute (Sid S)

Why Trump succumbed to the hawks The Week (Sid S)

US admits Trump tax reforms will be hit by healthcare setback Financial Times

Trump to overhaul visa program for high-skilled workers The Hill. A handwave. Studies are a way to kick the can down the road. They also allow vested interests to weigh in.

Trump Will Take Aim at Tech Outsourcing in H-1B Visa Review Bloomberg

Democrats push anti-Russian campaign at “tax day” protests WSWS (micael). This is pathetic. These people do not understand what is in a tax return. They won’t find the sort of information they are screeching will be there.

This is Most Dangerous Moment in U.S.-Russian Relations Since Cuban Missile Crisis Democracy Now! (Sid S)

Gauging the Trump effect on energy, the environment and land in the West Las Vegas Sun

How Trump’s Inaction on Climate Change Could Lead to Impeachment Vice. Resilc: “Delusional”.

Gorsuch Full of Questions on First U.S. Supreme Court Day Bloomberg. One can hope that he puts off his fellow jurists but he probably won’t.

Democrats welcome Bernie takeover The Hill (resilc)

New DNC Chair Tom Perez Booed At DNC Reboot Tour Daily Caller (UserFriendly). Do watch the short clip.

DNC Tries to Shame Bernie Sanders For His Email List Observer (UserFriendly). As some people close to the Sanders operation have said, this continued demand shows how clueless the DNC is. Sanders’ mailing list is productive due to Sanders. People would unsubscribe en masse and send hate mail if the DNC were to try to fundraise from them.

Reeling From Low Oil Prices, Saudis Look To Freeze Megaprojects OilPrice. Resilc: “Freezing Yemen and support to Wahabbi radicals too?”

James Bullard on Life as a Fed Bank President and Monetary Policy in 2017 Macro Musings (Scott). Podcast.

Boeing to Dismiss Hundreds of Engineers Amid Sales Slowdown Bloomberg

Theranos Agrees Not to Operate Blood Lab for Two Years Wall Street Journal. Can someone explain to me why Elizabeth Holmes isn’t in jail?

Fees fall along with performance; how much is hard to tell, exactly Pensions & Investments (DO)

Bad actors in the financial industry want the fiduciary rule weakened Economic Policy Institute

Why Cancer Drug Prices Keep Rising in the U.S. Nautilus (Dr. Kevin)

Class Warfare

Why the US science and engineering workforce is aging rapidly PNAS (micael). This deserves a major debunking. We aren’t growing our next generation of computer scientists due to offshoring and I suspect that it true for other fields. Readers also tell me getting an engineering degree does not pay (save maybe in petroleum engineering) unless you get a law degree too and do intellectual property law. Plus educational attainment in the US is falling generally.

WORKING MORE FOR LESS: DANGERS OF THE GIG ECONOMY JSTOR (Micael)

New York Moves to Require Uber to Provide Tipping Option in Its App New York Times

Pomona College Students Say There’s No Such Thing as Truth, ‘Truth’ Is a Tool of White Supremacy Reason. Dan K: ” do think there is a discussion to be had about overt and inherent racism in classical materials, but banning them is a poor remedy.” Moi: When Reason has the better argument, you know it’s bad…..The other bit is that at least historically, the Claremont Colleges were where rich families from the West who didn’t want their sons to go to college in the East sent them. So I wonder if there are big class issues there that are being conflated with racism.

The American Dream is Killing Us Mark Manson. Andrew G: “This is an older blog post by one of my newly discovered authors who very much resonates with me. I have a feeling it will also resonate with the NC readership.”

Age of sincerity aeon (Micael)

Antidote du jour (VDA via Lawrence R): “A visit from Ms. Turkey was our Easter present. Isn’t she beautiful?”

And a bonus video (furzy). The shots are amazing, such as the osprey shaking water off while flying.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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214 comments

  1. chrsity

    Pence is bringing up South Korea/US trade during NK debacle to pretty much black mail South Korea. Shorter Pence: “Do what we say or the ‘trade deal’ gets it!”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Except no way does South Korea want either a war or integration with an extremely broke North (even assuming China would tolerate that). A reader pointed out that GDP per head was over $37,000 in the South v. $1000 (no typo) in the North. A much lower gap between the income levels of East and West Germany made for a very difficult adjustment for Germany. Some experts make the argument that the wage suppression and other strategies that Germany used became the foundation of the misguided policies it has been trying to impose on the rest of Europe.

      Shorter: even if that is indeed what Pence is doing, na ga work. The question is how the South Koreans manage to be uncooperative without looking uncooperative. The Japanese are masters of that. I have no idea if the South Koreans approach their skill level on that front or not.

      1. Mark P.

        Yves wrote: ‘The question is how the South Koreans manage to be uncooperative without looking uncooperative.’

        I don’t think I’ve ever met a Korean who worried about how they might look uncooperative when they in fact were uncooperative.

        Just saying.

        1. craazyboy

          Easy enough to adopt one of the Japanese techniques – build a car plant in the USA for a model sold in the USA. In this case, maybe a Hyundai or Kia SUV plant in, say, Indiana? Win-win for all!

      2. Uahsenaa

        The stereotype of Koreans is that they are more confrontational in this regard. Of course, note the relative “more” in that statement. That said, mass protests against official government corruption are pretty rare, bordering on non-existent, in Japan, while not unheard of (see recent political situation) in SK. Also, the Japanese can usually get away with being intransigent in inscrutable ways, because they have a relatively strong economic position, even with the stagnant years since the early ’90s. Otherwise, they’re not that different from other, predominantly Confucian cultures: emphasis on establishing long term relationships, observance of hierarchy, etc.

        Ultimately, Koreans and Japanese are very similar in many regards, though if you ever said that to a Korean or Japanese, you’d get a stern dressing down.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Some even say the earliest Yamato emperors were Korean, from one the kingdoms during Korea’s Three Kingdom Period. Maybe one day, when they open the Kofun period imperial tombs, we will find out.

          Or that Empress Jingu led an expedition to Korea in the 3rd century AD.

          They may be as close to each other as the Chinese and Koreans.

          1. Plenue

            Genetic testing shows that the Japanese/Yamato people are essentially immigrants from the Korean peninsula, with some Chinese blood, mixed with the indigenous Jomon peoples (of which the Ainu are the only remnant). So you could basically say that they’re Korean, though it’s more true to say that they and modern Koreans are both descendents of a root culture (or cultures) long since lost. To the extent that the Japanese are genetically unique it’s because they possess a mongrel makeup that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.

            Much of their society is explicitly modeled on China, with various native twists. The same with Korea, only where Korea attempted in some ways to outdo the Chinese while remaining essentially a client state (eg Joseon Neo-Confucianism where women were literally just baby factories, not even worth teaching to read), the Japanese fancied themselves outright rivals to the Chinese, even having the arrogance to give their Emperor the same title as the Chinese Emperor, as opposed to just some variant on the lesser title of King.

      3. Carolinian

        Actually my understanding is that reunification is a longstanding goal with some concrete steps in that direction.

        The process towards such a merger was started by the June 15th North–South Joint Declaration in June 2000, where the two countries agreed to work towards a peaceful reunification in the future. However, the process of reunification has met many difficulties due to ongoing tension between the two states, which have become politically and economically different since their separation in the 1940s.

        More detail here

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_reunification

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think there is a big difference between what the South Koreans say, and what they think. Officially, everyone is in favour of reunification, but I think underneath the surface (both among elites and regular SK people) there would be a lot less enthusiasm, especially in the light of the mega costs involved.

      4. David

        In the 1990s, when the South Koreans were quite keen on “soft” unification, they sent teams of experts to look at what was happening in Germany. The consensus was that if unification was ever to happen, it would have to be in a totally different way, to avoid what they saw as German mistakes. They also hadn’t worked through the consequences (perhaps they have now) of being an involuntary nuclear power, and having a long border with China.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          One issue would be the handling of the Korean equivalents (North and South) of the East German Stasi.

      5. MoiAussie

        While the economics are very unattractive, attitudes of SK elites to reunification are probably diverse. Reunification was a big part of recently deposed president Park’s agenda, and she talked up the benefits hard a few years ago. Some elements of the SK military also favour it as a way to get their hands on the North’s nukes.

        There is still significant interest among ordinary SK people, especially the elderly, who are more likely to have close relatives across the border. Remarkably, interest in reunification increased significantly between 2010 and 2014 across all age groups; see the second figure in this Diplomat article.

        1. a different chris

          Thanks.

          It’s fascinating that our misleadership treats NK as the most horrible thing evah, and SK as some of our closest friends in the world — and yet NK and SK seem to have quite strong feelings for each other. Consummation will obviously be very difficult just from the $$* cost to SK alone, but that’s probably the biggest obstacle. Not the “NK is Nazi Germany^2” (fake no doubt) hysteria.

          Funny the way life is.

          *Don’t know what the SK currency even is, let alone the symbol for it so the old dollar has to be a standby

            1. craazyboy

              The SK “Won” was one of the major reasons Hyundai mgmt. decided to build their brand new Sonata plant in Alabama back in 2005, because it was going way up vs the dollar then, and they believed it’s strength would continue.

              It has been up and down since, driven down whenever NK worries arise, and up and down depending on interest rate differentials. Then the dollar being a safe haven currency during 2008-09 sorta surprised everyone.

      6. Susan the other

        I’m thinking that we need 3 big blinged-out aircraft carriers around Korea in order to triangulate NK missiles, and possible more than missiles. I thought that when we did NATO maneuvers in Latvia, close to the Russian port, that we were learning how to read certain signals from those Russian fly-bys. Don’t ask me why – I just thought it was part of new signal-jamming technology that the Russians are reported to have. And I think we do too. Dealing with North Korea is like taming the wild mouse.

        1. Procopius

          I’m not convinced out famed anti-missile weapons are nearly as good as their hype, especially since we see from construction in Iraq and Afghanistan just how corrupt the contractors and senior military officers are. I don’t understand your mention of signal-jamming technology if we’re thinking about ballistic missiles, which is what I understood the N Koreans are working on right now. Signal jamming would be irrelevant. I remember back during Gulf War I there were joyous reports in all the MSM about how easy it was for our Patriot defensive missiles to knock those lousy, primitive Scuds out of the sky. Afterward, in places that not many people look to, there were reports that in fact the Patriots performed very poorly and the only thing that prevented several disasters was the lousy guidance system in the Scuds, probably compounded by the weapons deteriorating in storage and poor training of the crews.

  2. allan

    Shorter Arizona: All Lives Matter Some Lives Matter More Than Others.

    AZ Gov. signs ‘Blue Lives Matter’ bill that toughens penalty for assaulting off-duty police

    In an effort to reinforce that “Blue Lives Matter,” the Arizona Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey have created tougher penalties for assaulting a police officer — even if the officer is off duty. …

    “Our police officers put their lives on the line every day to defend our communities and keep our streets safe,” Ducey said in a released statement. “Their job is dangerous enough already [alternative fact alert], and we have zero tolerance for anyone who would target officers simply for doing their jobs. …

    Defendants charged in incidents involving the assaults of off-duty officers will now be treated with the same aggravating statutes if they were to specifically target a uniformed, active officer. …

    Policing is 16th down the list of dangerous (nonmilitary) occupations in the US.
    Will AZ also add special aggravation charges for off-duty assaults on lumberjacks, fisherman and sanitation workers?
    Or, for equity’s sake, will AZ make off-duty LEO who assault others subject to more severe penalties?

    The Grand Canyon Police State – where the sunsets are red and the politics are redder.

    1. Roger Smith

      How is someone to know if they are assaulting an off duty police officer (unless you can prove it was premeditated). Why are these people getting extra protection normal citizens are not?

      1. ambrit

        Easy answer: If you want to establish a “soft” dictatorship, you must convince the “minions” that do the dirty work that they are a valued part of the “Collective.” By separating out the police forces from the common run of the population, you promote self aggrandizing thinking; “Gee. Aren’t we Special!,” and a self identification by the “minions” with the Elites that they serve; “Wow! Aren’t we Special,” and ultimately promote harsher actions in the interests of the Elites by the “minions;” “Pow! We’re Special! Take that Protestor Scum!”
        Short form; Blue Lives matter to the extent that they serve the Elites.

      2. cm

        Why are these people getting extra protection normal citizens are not?

        One could ask the same question about police dogs. Why can cops kill dogs without ramifications but people who kill police dogs are treated as though they killed a policeman?

      3. Jim Haygood

        Why are these people getting extra protection normal citizens are not?

        Because Amendment XIV has become optional, along with Amendments I-X which were de facto repealed 15 years ago by the USA Patriot Act:

        No state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

        Kiss my stinkin’ badge, serf.

  3. Ebr

    The Andrew Sullivan article that you linked to on Sunday “Why do Democrats feel sorry for Hillary Clinton” inspires a lot of pearl clutching in my news feed. For example
    Slate “Andrew Sullivan’s Pathology” http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/04/andrew_sullivan_s_perpetuation_of_model_minority_and_black_pathology_myths.html
    The Stranger “Andrew Sullivan to Black and Brown People: You’re Poor Because You’re Not Hardworking Like Asians”

    Sullivan’s article yoked together two short essays, a few paragraphs on why Hillary Clinton lost to Trump, which a dispassionate liberal could take as constructive criticism, and then a few paragraphs invoking the Asian Model Minority Myth that caused the media liberals in my feed to loose their temper. They are all responding to the Asian Model Minority Myth rather than the Clinton criticism. Does anyone in the comments section think Sullivan did this deliberately, or was he just not thinking ahead?

    the sullivan article
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/04/why-do-democrats-feel-sorry-for-hillary-clinton.html
    the

  4. Kokuanani

    this continued demand shows how clueless the DNC is. Sanders’ mailing list is productive due to Sanders. People would unsubscribe en masse and send hate mail if the DNC were to try to fundraise from them.

    Exactly!!!!

    More proof re what dopes populate the DNC.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s also a clear sign of what the DNC thinks about Sanders supporters. To the Dem elites, it’s a messaging trick they haven’t figured out. Once, Cuomo discovers the secret…watch out!

    2. Arizona Slim

      Sanders lost me when he endorsed Clinton. And that was the day I unsubscribed from his list.

      Methinks that a lot of other Sanders supporters did the same thing.

      1. AnnieB

        Me as well. Done with the Dems. If they can’t run an honest primary, they can’t run an honest administration, although I realize I am probably expecting WAY TOO MUCH of politics in general. Still, I have to say that this past presidential Democratic primary, as run by the DNC, was the dumbest in my recollection. Stupid beyond belief.

    3. Romancing The Loan

      I assume at least some of them know this and want the list to better target vote suppression efforts.

        1. hunkerdown

          I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss them. The Centerists for American Progress has “The Moscow Project” running right now, looking for reds under the bed and calling for good aspiring liberals to narc out socialists. Also, the Party has quite possibly engaged in strategic voter suppression in 2016, unless one thinks that heavy Sanders areas experiencing more voter suppression was mere coincidence. Besides, underestimating the intelligence of others is classist, as Lambert pointed out some months back. If I were Bernie, I’d burn those lists.

  5. EndOfTheWorld

    RE: DNC tries to shame Bernie for his e-mail list—The DNC is repeatedly proving itself to be the stupidest organization on the face of the earth. Bernie’s donor list has a lot of people like me, who voted for The Donald and would immediately mark anything from the DNC as spam. In fact, I am now a registered Republican, and although the GOP is not assured of my vote, I am happy so far that in their infrequent e-mails I don’t get that annoying sense that I used to get from the dems that they think they own me.

  6. Clive

    One of the things which US exceptionalism seems to allow is collective amnesia political strategy formulation. In the Korean War, the US forces under the command of General MacArthur were itching (perhaps that’s putting it too strongly; a lot was down to MacArthur gradually losing his marbles) to use nuclear weapons. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_Truman%27s_relief_of_General_Douglas_MacArthur#Nuclear_weapons

    Of course, this is absolutely not airbrushed out of history in the region and the DPRK especially will think of nothing but this near-miss with Armageddon.

    1. Uahsenaa

      It is impossible to have a rational conversation with most Americans about US militarism throughout the world. You can even get someone to admit to the basic facts of how often and how brutally the US has intervened militarily around the world, but the idea that you should consider how those who have had to suffer such “interventions” might see things differently simply never comes into view. People are so thoroughly indoctrinated with how “free” we are… why wouldn’t everyone else want to be “free?” So, the thinking goes, any brutality is worth the price for “freedom.”

      1. Darius

        The Mike Whitney article, like Oliver Stone’s An Untold Story, really rips off the mask that Americans see regarding militarism and what’s behind decision making. Well worth a read.

    2. Ranger Rick

      It wasn’t really seen as a bad idea either, militarily speaking. China was pouring over the border and nukes were, by all accounts, the only way that UN forces could have pulled off a win against overwhelming odds.

      It does fall very neatly into the mindset of US military leadership immediately-post WWII as they realized exactly what the invention of the atomic bomb did to the geopolitical landscape: that is, they could have tried to conquer the world if they were allowed to. Patton was in favor of toppling the Soviet Union and MacArthur was ready to raze China to the ground. Both plans would have culminated in nuclear war.

      Cooler heads prevailed, thankfully. The circumstances surrounding the dawn of the Atomic Age provide an interesting what-if footnote in history if Truman had no conscience.

      1. Susan the other

        To Clive and Ranger Rick: yes, we were hell-bent on nuclear war, some of us. It was like a panic caused by the realization that “it’s now or never” and we have to get rid of our perceived enemies now. And it has been air-brushed out of our history books. I remember finding tracks leading back to WW2 when I looked for reasons for the Vietnam war. Only a few writers were brave enough to put too fine a point on it – Gore Vidal being one. I was so young; I didn’t understand history like I do now – as something like the irrational accounting of human paranoia. But even so it was very uncomfortable to discover what drove us. Even in the early 70s there were Western factions, among us and our allies, who still wanted to settle it all with a nuclear war in Asia. So it is understandable that NK needs therapy. We might too.

        1. Clive

          That is a very good point and I hadn’t really appreciated it until you spelled it out — so many of our current “new” conflicts are, Treaty of Versailles-like, unfinished business of much earlier ones.

        2. Procopius

          In 1955 I joined the U.S. Air Force and was sent to their language school to learn Mandarin Chinese. The head of the school and his wife were children of English missionaries to China, and the school had been developed during World War II at Yale University Institute of Far Eastern Languages, which originated as a school to teach missionaries who were going to China. They had a small library and in my copious free time I learned about recent Chinese history, including the fact that in about 1953 there was a decisive breach between the USSR and the People’s Republic of China. The Soviets ended all financial, food, and technical assistance and withdrew all their people from China. After that there were repeated clashes along the border between the two militaries. Why John Foster Dulles was able to persuade the elite establishment of the “International Monolithic Communist Menace” has always baffled me and led me to believe that these guys just ain’t that smart. It’s very much like the widespread belief in the lie being propagated by the neoliberal elite that the election was somehow stolen by the Russians.

      2. David

        At the risk of sounding like I’m banalizing the subject, don’t forget that until the very end of the Cold War both sides had lots of tactical nuclear weapons, and it was assumed by everyone that they would be used on the battlefield. For NATO, they were one way of compensating for the WP superiority of numbers. Really big nuclear weapons would have been of little use on the battlefield because effectiveness falls away with the cube root of distance, if I remember rightly. So the weapons we are talking about are probably in the 10-20 Kt range, for use mainly against troop concentrations. Whether it was a “good” idea depends very much on your point of view, but it probably wouldn’t have led to a nuclear war as such. Among other things, the Soviet Union had no capacity to reach the US.
        In any case, at that period, when nuclear yields were still (relatively) small, most decision-makers, and certainly most of the military all over the world thought of nuclear weapons as just bigger bombs. It wasn’t until the late 50s that the idea that they were different, and very scary, began to make much headway, especially after the deployment of the hydrogen bomb.

        1. Procopius

          … it probably wouldn’t have led to a nuclear war as such. Among other things, the Soviet Union had no capacity to reach the US.

          I’m sorry, but you need to recalibrate your memory. The first Soviet atomic bomb test was 1949, and their first hydrogen bomb test was 1953. At that point they had long range heavy bombers that could reach the U.S. coming over the north pole. I don’t remember if they could return, but that wasn’t something we took into account. I was in high school until 1955, and a member of the Civil Air Patrol Cadets. We participated in the Ground Observer Corps, copied from England during the blitz, where civilian watchers on the ground tried to fill in the spaces between radar coverage. We certainly believed the Soviets could reach the U.S. and we were very scared. It wasn’t until the ’60s that they started the Duck and Cover Drills in the schools, but before the end of the Eisenhower administration there was tremendous fear about the missile gap, the perception that the Soviets had far more, or far better, or far more powerful ICBMs than we did. Trust me, we were sure the Soviets could reach the U.S. with their nuclear weapons, long before “late in the Cold War.”

  7. dk

    Can someone explain to me why Elizabeth Holmes isn’t in jail?

    Because acknowledging her criminality would mean that a lot of well heeled investors weren’t that smart after all, and we can’t have that. They’re the elites, best and brightest, even if on has to completely subvert justice and the law to sustain that fiction. Sort of a reputational blackmail… okay, that’s kind of far fetched, but so is Holmes remaining on the loose.

    Pomona College …
    Yves: … historically, the Claremont Colleges were where rich families from the West who didn’t want their sons to go to college in the East sent them. So I wonder if there are big class issues …

    Pomona is exactly that kind of school, a real bastion of conservatism, or was until fairly recently when some more “progressive” students (as in, “of color”) were electing to go there to more or less storm the gates (I lived in the San Diego area for some 27 years, saw/heard of this first hand). My guess is that the conservative faculty started messing with the progressive kid’s heads, and got them spun up enough to issue the manifesto. It should be a total embarrassment to the school, instead it’s being used to ostracize and humiliate students; because they’re academics, and real academics would never do something like that. (similar to the Theranos situation above).

      1. Kurtismayfield

        Considering the makeup of that Board, it looks like they wanted to go after Government contract business. Not many science and medical backgrounds on that board at all, and a lot of retired brass. Is there a lucrative business in doing blood testing for the VA or the Dept. of Defense?

        And we know why she will never go to jail, she is a CEO and there will never be a connection between her and falsified quality controls.

        1. blkwhiskey

          DoD healthcare is a ~$60 billion dollar morass…

          Pharma loves milking this cow (especially for clinical trials, on-brand Rx, and medical hardware) and has been for some time.

          I’m surprised the diagnostic cartels are just waking up to the opportunity

    1. Mark P.

      ‘acknowledging her criminality would mean that a lot of well heeled investors weren’t that smart after all,’

      Basically, yes.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Well-heeled people are the target market for a lot of stupid investments​. Which a lot of them fall for.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Like those who invested with Bernie Madoff.

          After that, they have nothing to worry about acknowledging what is simply a plain fact.

          1. Anon

            Well, the Ponzi scheme at least “chums” clients (marks) with incidental “returns”. Theranos was pure fiction, with zero returns.

    2. InquiringMind

      Pomona College has been fairly lefty since (at least) the late ’80s when I was there.

      Claremont-McKenna College is the conservative-leaning school of the five. What you are seeing in this dust-up is the CMC folks doing their usual thing to tweak the sensitivities of the other schools (Pomona, Pitzer & Scripps). In my day, the CMC guest speaker-as-provocateur was William F. Buckley…who stated in his speech that HIV-positive people should be tattooed as such “on their buttocks” so they don’t spread the virus to un-knowing sexual partners. Yeah, not sure there were many takers on that idea…but it’s how conservative speakers earn their honorariums, right?

      For the record, the fifth school is Harvey Mudd College, a science and technology school like CalTech or MIT.

      1. dk

        Then I have confused Pomona with another school. Sorry for the misstatements, and thank you for correcting them.

  8. Roger Smith

    Daily Caller: It was great to see Perez getting the welcome he deserves. In all honesty they should have booed Sanders to for his persistent deference to these horrible decision makers who we all know make life worse for everyone. The Unity tour? How pathetic. Come on man! They cheated everyone for themselves!

    1. Arizona Slim

      Booing Saint Bernie Sanders? Can you imagine the extent to which they would be ostracized by the Bern tribe?

      Truly horrifying to contemplate!

    2. Carla

      “they should have booed Sanders too for his persistent deference to these horrible decision makers who we all know make life worse for everyone.”

      YES. And not just deference. Sanders is doing his best to gin up support for the Democrat party. It mystifies me, but I had very limited expectations of anyone who would run on that party ticket, so I’m not surprised.

      1. Katharine

        He appears to be reasoning as Jim Hightower does in the Lowdown:

        Why bother messing with such a vacuous political entity? Literally, because it’s there. Even though the party has long been run by insiders as a top-down operation, its old, bottom-up organizational structure of precinct, city, county, district, state, and national committees is still in place, and all its members are elected by majority vote. With a focused effort, grassroots people themselves could begin winning these slots and start democratizing the Democratic Party.

        https://hightowerlowdown.org/article/how-to-be-an-activist-part-2/

        It’s easy to play holier-than-thou. It’s not easy to create a complex organization from the ground up. If you actually want to produce results, there is much to be said for using the available structure.

        1. SpringTexan

          Yes, ballot access as I believe Yves said once is a huge asset.
          Need a hostile takeover so that asset can be seized. And I think that is what Sanders is trying to do.

        2. montanamaven

          Well, I tried that as did others across Montana in 2004 to 2009. But when the national party sends in its SEIU and paid staffer henchmen, it’s hard to fight them. They also do things like advertise a town meeting on healthcare and then show up an hour early and then leave. As much as I admire Jim Hightower’s humorous writing style, he’s been beating this dead donkey for over 30 years which is far too long. Did you see his recommendations for “issues” to rally around? Fracking, Reproductive Rights, and Sanctuary Cities.
          What people like Hightower and the people that organized the “Tax Return Revolt” are doing is sheepdogging people into the roach motel called the DNC.

        3. witters

          “If you actually want to produce results, there is much to be said for using the available structure.”

          I think you meant: “If you actually want to produce THE SAME results, there is much to be said for using the available structure.”

          And it is a bit rich to accuse anyone who doesn’t want more of the same of being “holier-than-thou”. Though it is a standard Democrat trope.

          1. Procopius

            So, are you suggesting that, instead of trying to seize control of the Democratic Party, The Revolution should try to seize control of the Green Party? Or the Libertarian Party? Because that ballot access in all 50 states is indispensable, and I don’t think either the Greens nor the Libs has it, but they aren’t that far away.

      2. Terry Humphrey

        As a donating Bernie Bro, Berniecrat, etc. I give Bernie the benefit of the doubt in his dance with the Democrats. One of the toughest questions for American Progressives is the time honored, “should we go or should we stay?” with these incompetent abusers. I’ve done a lot of reading supporting both options but still can’t come to a conclusion in my own mind. I just guessing Bernie, who has spent his life in a third party, might know something I don’t.

        1. Eureka Springs

          Independent is less of a party than anything I can think of. Not even a platform or as far as I know a friggin’ donate now paypal button for it. It’s more like decline to state. Bernie is a crat. Give him a chance and he’ll getcha a public option and still bomb Syria before lunch.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I try to imagine Sanders’ take over of the D party, given his close relationship with Schumer.

            The latter sounded like a mentor when I from a 5/20/2016 Politico article:

            Schumer also helped recruit and coach Sanders for his Senate run in 2006 — and it was Schumer who lured the populist Vermonter to the gilded Democratic donor retreat in Martha’s Vineyard for the annual Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser last year, according to insiders.

            1. barefoot charley

              “should we go or should we stay?” riddled me for decades, till now. I finally gave up on them this election cycle, thanks to

              –their brain-dead Putin Kool-Aid–they’re the co-stupid party now

              –their tone-deaf identity politics that determines advancement

              –their service only of them ‘n theirs

              –their contempt for their historic base, ignorance of who they’ve left behind, and endless triangulation/masturbation of careerists that they think improves their electoral odds

              –they can’t learn, they can only blame, this professional wing of the one Money Party. Which brain damages my friends.

              1. UserFriendly

                Geeze you people are cynical. He just popped Perez’s Acela Bubble. Watch for it to be stomped on and crushed in the remaining cities.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Cynicism, from Wikipedia:

                  Cynicism (Greek: κυνισμός) is a school of Ancient Greek philosophy as practiced by the Cynics (Greek: Κυνικοί, Latin: Cynici). For the Cynics, the purpose of life is to live in virtue, in agreement with nature. As reasoning creatures, people can gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which is natural for themselves, rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, sex, and fame. Instead, they were to lead a simple life free from all possessions.

                  Very few today are Cynics, or Cynic-like (cynical).

            2. Vatch

              his close relationship with Schumer.

              I don’t think that Sanders has any illusions about Schumer. Sanders knows how much money Schumer has received from Wall Street, and he knows that Schumer was a Hillary Clinton superdelegate.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Illusions….about Sanders.

                It seems people here are divided

                1. Those who no longer have faith in him.

                2. Those who still believe in him.

                Which group will prove to have no illusions about Sanders? Only time will tell, I guess.

    3. Vatch

      they should have booed Sanders to for his persistent deference to these horrible decision makers who we all know make life worse for everyone.

      No, Sanders is not persistently deferential to the Democratic party. See this, for example:

      http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/31/politics/bernie-sanders-elizabeth-warren-boston-rally/

      Sanders understands the importance of opposing the Republican party’s harmful agenda. Let’s not forget that it is Republicans who put Scott Pruitt in charge of the EPA, Steven Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury Department, Tom Price in charge of HHS, Betsy “Grizzly” DeVos as Education Secretary, Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, and Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. It’s the Republicans on the FCC who are intent on destroying net neutrality, and Republicans who are opposed to the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule. Republican Scott Pruitt refused to regulate the poison chlorpyrifos (dursban).

      If the Green Party had managed to gain 5% of the Presidential vote in 2016, they might be a viable alternative to the Democrats, but the Greens didn’t come close to 5%. If we want to effectively oppose the destructive Republican agenda, we need the Democratic party. Let’s oppose the establishment tools among the Democrats, and use their infrastructure against Trump, Ryan, and McConnell.

      Sanders endorsed James Thompson of Kansas for Congress — that’s not an act of deference to the Democratic party establishment.

      1. Roger Smith

        We all understand how flat and unrealistic the GOPs policy views are, there is nothing new there. The real problem is that there is almost no opposition to those lawmakers when the Democrats are beholden to the exact same interests. I don’t want to hear Sanders or anyone bemoaning the ‘awful GOP’ (weren’t the Bush 2 years and the following smug liberal news market enough?), because there could be a viable path forward if it wasn’t for the real circulation killer, Democrats. Trump and his cabinet could have been easily avoided if anyone else but Clinton with an ounce of sincerity had been medevaced to the podium.

        Case in point: Sanders endorsed the self made Kansas candidate, Democrats completely ignored him, he lost a close race he probably could have won with marginal support from the beginning. If they can’t do it there way, it isn’t worth doing at all. The Democrats want everyone to ignore how much of the problem is their doing and it is working.

        I get what Terry said above but I really don’t think there is evidence to support Sanders playing some sort of clever role to co-opt Democrats. He is being co-opted and for support of the same old Democrats. When anything beneficial does happen because of him, they will immediately be the receptacle for the outpouring of support.

  9. MoiAussie

    A Human Rights Watch report is now out on the US strike on the Omar Ibn al-Khatab Mosque in Al Jinah discussed at NC 4 weeks ago. It confirms the strike was based on sloppy intelligence and did strike a mosque where civilians were gathered for prayers, killing 38. The pentagon denials at the time were BS.

    US military authorities have acknowledged that they carried out the strike, saying that they targeted a meeting of al-Qaeda members. A US military spokesperson said that the US military carried out extensive surveillance before the attack and that they take “extraordinary measures to mitigate the loss of civilian life” in such operations. However, Human Rights Watch research suggests that US authorities failed to take all feasible precautions to avoid or minimize civilian casualties in the attack, a requirement under the laws of war.

    Human Rights Watch has not found evidence to support the allegation that members of al-Qaeda or any other armed group were meeting in the mosque. Local residents said that there were no members of armed groups at the mosque or in the area at the time of the attack. They said that the victims were all civilians and local residents. First responders said the dead and injured wore civilian clothes and that they saw no weapons at the site. US authorities have so far released no information to support their claims.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      May be Human Rights Watch should change its name to “Anonymous Sources” and the msm would actually cover this.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Even Bellingcat, with its dubious associations, is reporting this in detail. The evidence points to a ‘double-tap’ type attack, which strongly suggests a deliberate attempt to cause mass casualties.

  10. Tom Stone

    Elizabeth Holmes is not in Jail because she is connected, wealthy, Blonde and pretty ( Vipers are pretty too).

  11. cnchal

    The American dream is killing us:

    The American Dream indirectly encourages people to feel justified in exploiting others. A couple years ago, a friend of mine was accused of a serious crime that he did not commit. He hired a lawyer, went to court, and was found not guilty.

    About six months later he received a letter from a legal office threatening to sue him for the exact same offense he was just found “not guilty” of in criminal court. After consulting his lawyer, the lawyer said that this was basically just a scare tactic, probably an automated letter, designed to scare people into paying a settlement rather than going back to court again.

    So think about this a second. There is a lawyer out there (or team of lawyers), who go down to city hall and look through the registry of people who have been acquitted of major crimes. These lawyers then, without even knowing anything about the people involved, send a letter to the acquitted person, threatening to sue them on the victim’s behalf, hoping that maybe, one out of ten or one out of twenty will be scared enough to pay up some money so that the lawyer will go away.

    This is pure exploitation. And the sick thing is, it’s perfectly legal. In fact, the lawyers who do this probably make decent money and have nice cars and live in nice neighborhoods and seem like nice fucking guys as they fetch their newspaper and pet your dog and comment on the latest sports scores.

    But they’re total scumbags. Scumbags to the point where I’m getting angry typing this right now.

    But in a culture where your worth as a human being is tied with your level of socioeconomic success, there will arise a kind of “might makes right” principle — i.e., if I do something that gets money out of you, well, it’s your fault for not knowing any better.

    That’s a nightmare.

    1. Whine Country

      What’s the difference between a lawyer and a hooker? A hooker will stop screwing you when you’re dead.

    2. Tom

      As a tiny subset of what you are describing, you get in your mailbox a magazine you never ordered as a “free trial”.

      It comes for a couple of months. They they send you a bill. If you don’t pay, they threaten to ruin your credit. I have had some amusing conversations with the poor clerks at the other end of the 800 number.

      I come across all business like I’m about to pay and ask them if the call’s recorded, ’cause it is at my end. Then I lay into them:
      “Readers Digest? I didn’t order that. It goes straight to the recycling bin. It’s pro-war and looks like it was written for high school dropouts? You are part of a scam, I know it’s just a job and is not your fault. Take me off your list. By the way, I’m recording this call and it’s going on youtube if I get one more bill…”

      Wonder how many suckers pay for “their subscription?”

    1. Olga

      The American Dream is Killing Us (or US) – yes, some good points, but overall, am struck by a rather simplistic look at the subject matter. As commenter Uahsenaa above notes, it is very hard to get Americans to see their militarism. Manson writes that, “[i]n no other time in world history has a group of relatively well-educated and industrious people been essentially handed a sparsely-populated continent replete with natural resources, wreathed by two vast oceans on each side protecting it from any potential invaders.” While US settlers certainly seemed industrious (not sure about that “well-educated” part) – they were definitely NOT “handed a sparsely-populated continent.” In fact, they took the land in a rather violent manner, in the process committing one of the worst genocides ever (if not the worst). Then – to grow – they brought in slaves and maintained the system of slavery with savage brutality. The entire system – from the very beginning – was built on exploitation, with specifics determined by the available technology in each period (the first fortunes were made in the South, before the Industrial Revolution, via cotton). Once all of the land was taken over in the US, its military went to other parts of the world. And after WWII, US enforced hegemony through more violence, coercion, and exploitation – the likes of which the world has not seen before.
      It is very hard to get Americans to understand this – the country originated in violence – in spite of lofty and attractive ideals – and the violence persists. Except that – like a boomerang – it has now turned inward. In that system, people have always been disposable – Indians, Philippines, and now Americans.
      I fear that until this society processes and deals with the violent past, we’ll not have peace on Earth. (And that is not even talking about an economy that is based mostly on greed – which not only slowly corrupts the soul, but ultimately is a dead end.) Sorry for the bleak picture… perpetuating the illusion would have been easier, but also fundamentally dishonest…

      1. Carla

        Thank you, Olga. This:

        “In fact, they took the land in a rather violent manner, in the process committing one of the worst genocides ever (if not the worst). Then – to grow – they brought in slaves and maintained the system of slavery with savage brutality. The entire system – from the very beginning – was built on exploitation, with specifics determined by the available technology in each period (the first fortunes were made in the South, before the Industrial Revolution, via cotton). Once all of the land was taken over in the US, its military went to other parts of the world. And after WWII, US enforced hegemony through more violence, coercion, and exploitation – the likes of which the world has not seen before”

        … could and should be the basis of a four-year degree in American history. You stated it both succinctly and eloquently.

      2. montanamaven

        Thanks, Olga. Very well put. So I am going to amend my comment below (which was not well thought out) to say that the US acts like an 8th grade class with a bunch of stupid school yard bullies beating up on anybody they can while the rest of the class averts their eyes. USians are exceptional, all right. Exceptionally crass and violent.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thus, we are not exceptional.

        We are not exceptional for that’s how empires were built in the past.

        Russian expansion into the Caucasus and Siberia (“We welcome German immigrants”). The Spanish in Latin America and elsewhere.

        The Chinese trace their imperial history back to the Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties, that were located mostly in what is Shanxi, Shenxi and Honan provinces today. Through wars of conquest, they expanded into Shantung (the Yi people), into Anhui, Hebei, and the Yangtze Delta…the one-hundred Yue tribes or Viet tribes, Viet as in Vietnam, meaning Nam (or South) Viet…, and later Fujian and other areas in the south, where many of today’s Chinese ethnic minorities live (mostly mountainous areas, because low lying fertile lands have been…well, taken, just like the Han Taiwanese took fertile agricultural lands from the Aborigines there…No, they are not giving back, but renaming a street was a nice gesture for showing the world Taiwan was different from China, thus the need for independence).

      4. jrs

        I don’t think dwelling on the past is really that necessary for solving anything. Or it might just be better to see how nothing has changed. Native Americans being driven off their land for white conquest, well it continues with the Dakota access. A lot of particulars have changed, but on some level Nothing Has Changed.

        So what is the difference between focusing on the past and the present? Well the past tends to just make a lot of white people who often have nothing to do with anything defensive about “white guilt” etc. but there is also nothing anyone can do about the past, so it’s pointless guilt without any call to action at all. It’s probably accurate to call it a “depressive-guilt” as it has the depressive characteristic of non-action. I suspect it has a reactionary element as well.

        If there is going to be guilt, it should at least stimulate an attempt to change things! A guilt about the intolerableness of the present. The present is at least theoretically changeable. Know the past is fine, but processing 150 years ago, less important than really seeing the present.

        1. BillC

          “… processing 150 years ago [is] less important than really seeing the present.”

          Oh come on! Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

          White middle-class USians (of which I am one) are in fact guilty of cultivating — or at least tolerating — willful ignorance of our own history, and learning and teaching that history is its best expiation. That is one of the many good things NC does. If you need to catch up, try “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn.

      5. Roger Bigod

        “Then – to grow – they brought in slaves and maintained the system of slavery with savage brutality. The entire system – from the very beginning – was built on exploitation, with specifics determined by the available technology in each period (the first fortunes were made in the South, before the Industrial Revolution, via cotton).”

        Olga, you make some good points, but this omits about 150 years of economic history. Cotton wasn’t an important crop before the invention of the cotton gin (1793). There were many fortunes during the preceding period of tobacco culture, especially in Virginia. The business went into decline around 1750, due to exhaustion of the soil. The planters abandoned land on the first-settled part of the Tidewater and moved up the rivers. In the late 18th C. there were newspaper editorials suggesting that tobacco culture had been a big mistake. Some planters freed their slaves (Jefferson and Washington in their wills). Jefferson had expressed abolitionist sentiments around 1790, but came to support slavery because of the problems of assimilating the freed slaves (“holding a wolf by the ears”). Also around 1790, the law teacher at William and Mary wrote a treatise on the law of slavery, denouncing it as providing little protection against mistreatment. He proposed a program to pay slaveowners off and free the slaves. But it would have been expensive and would have taken years to carry out. He would up a Federal Judge. In New Orleans in 1850 he’d have been lynched, of course.

        Slavery was certainly brutal. One view is that the colonists were immoral people with funny accents, so it was to be expected. An alternative is Marx’s suggestion that social patterns adapt to economics. This would explain why slavery in the West persisted longest in places that produced a valuable, labor intensive cash crop (tobacco, cotton, sugar cane). American history has a lot to say about cotton, but not the fact that it wound up in the dark satanic mills that Marx was interested in.

    2. Montanamaven

      Yes, I liked his lemonade stand analogy; his statistics and his conclusion. I often use the US as teenager analogy, but he puts it very succinctly.

      The US is a young country. Culturally, we are teenagers — just a couple generations out of our golden years of innocence. And as a country, we are coming to realize that our young idealism has its worldly limits. That we are not exceptions. That things are not just. That we cannot fully control our destiny.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We are teenagers, culturally.

        On the one hand, youth, is the future. Is our culture what tomorrow will be like?

        On the other hand, look at what we have done to the ‘older’ cultures of the world.

    3. fresno dan

      Merf56
      April 18, 2017 at 8:40 am

      But in a culture where your worth as a human being is tied with your level of socioeconomic success, there will arise a kind of “might makes right” principle — i.e., if I do something that gets money out of you, well, it’s your fault for not knowing any better.
      ……
      When you’re a kid, you believe everything is right in the world. You go to school, you do what your parents say, you believe what people tell you, and you assume everything is going to work out.

      But when you’re a teenager, you come to realize that a lot of this is bullshit. By the time you reach adolescence, you are subjected to life’s first traumas and failures. You recognize that the world isn’t fair. Things go wrong sometimes. Bad things happen to good people and vice-versa. And in many ways, you’re not as great as you had always thought or realized.

      Some teenagers handle this realization well and with maturity. They accept it and cater themselves to it.

      Other teenagers, particularly teenagers who are pampered and learn most of what they know about the world through TV or internet, don’t handle it so well. The world doesn’t conform to their small-minded belief system and instead of blaming the belief system, they blame the world. And that blaming doesn’t turn out well for anybody.

      The US is a young country. Culturally, we are teenagers — just a couple generations out of our golden years of innocence. And as a country, we are coming to realize that our young idealism has its worldly limits. That we are not exceptions. That things are not just. That we cannot fully control our destiny.

      The question is how well we will adapt and mature to this new reality. Will we accept it and modify our ethos to match the 21st century? Or will we become petulant and angry and scapegoat our cognitive dissonance of our national consciousness away?

      ============================================================
      I agree Merf56.
      We are on an island, and there are fewer and fewer lemons available for the increasing number of people, and ever more of the lemons are owned, harvested, distributed by fewer and fewer… and fewer people. Lemons were abundant and available to any who had the desire to pick them.

      Lemons were not invented by people, and lemons exist and thrive due to sun and water, again, two things that were not invented by humans – but we invent a religion that we call “economics” that says that it is natural and good that fewer and fewer benefit from the fruits (pun intended) of nature.

    4. RenoDino

      I apologize that I can’t recall the thinker who said that a word can sum up the mindset of three counties. For America it’s frontier, for Canada it’s survival, and for England it’s class. I’ve superimposed this word on Mason’s article and I find it fits nicely. Without constant expansion, we are doomed.

      As for the article on Trudeau, Canada sees itself at war with its environment for survival. Nothing will ever stand in its way of resource exploitation. It’s a gaping mouth devouring every natural resource it can find, and don’t you ever forget it no matter how much Canadians make nice about saving the planet.

      England’s Brexit has been all about class distinction. The psychological damage over the upending of who has the advantage was greater than the immediate economic outcome.

    5. Deschain

      I like the psychological analysis of how the American Dream = the just world hypothesis. However he seems to be saying that our current malaise is a product of external, inevitable events, which gives a complete free pass to neoliberalism. We could have made different political choices that would have led to different economic outcomes.

      1. Oregoncharles

        That might have helped, but we’d still be bumping up against underlying resource restraints.

    6. Susan the other

      Manson was great. Question: why doesn’t anybody else say it like it is? It really stinks.

  12. Linda

    Osprey video. Man, it’s a cold, cruel world, eh? That was a bit difficult for me to watch. Amazing though, as well.

    1. vidimi

      what an amawing video. those shots of it shaking off water, with its wings in wave-like motion, and of taking that large salmon out of the river were very impressive.

    2. craazyboy

      It was disturbing to realize you are not even safe if you are a highly camouflaged flounder laying flat on his side on the bottom of the lake – one eye peering upwards at a winged thing plummeting down in your direction with large claws extended.

      I’m going to be spending the rest of the day wondering if flounders can blink.

      1. Anon

        Yes, and that ignores the fact that the flounder would appear in a slightly different location on the lake bottom when viewed from the air by the fish hawk (Osprey).

        Also notice how the osprey rotates the salmon prey to an aerodynamic position while in full flight mode. Even birds understand the laws of physics.

      2. McKillop

        I don’t wish to quibble but I don’t think that any of the fish were flounders. There was much floundering going on though – both fish and bird.

    3. Susan the other

      beautiful video of the osprey; and just think how many times bigger an eagle is – although not as quick. wicked claws.

      1. McKillop

        In my part of the country we often call the osprey a fish eagle or fish hawk – I’d never heard the word osprey as a youth and still quietly think of it as a bit of a show-off term
        The bald eagle had only been a creature talked about until i lived on the west coast and learned that what I saw perched as part of a flock was a bald eagle waiting to scavenge the corpses of the salmon that had spawned.
        I also remember slighting references to the fact that the bald eagle figured heraldically as belonging to the U.S.A.ian part of America (north) and it was a scavenger.
        Not only that, yeh? But some Canadians can be so cruel or judgmental, forgetting that the beast is also a voracious hunter.
        As far as feeling sorry for the fish, think, if you will and it won’t destroy your appetite, of how many little fishies were eaten by the salmon. Besides. would those of you squeamish rather eat the bird?

  13. blue streak

    NORTH KOREA:

    An internet search shows that South Korea has 23-25 nuclear power plants. If a war were to begin and these were targeted, even with just conventional explosives, there could be a staggering and unprecedented release of radiation. Consider 25 Fukushima reactors going off at once. Kiss the region goodbye. And what of the rest of the northern hemisphere? What a nightmare.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Given some of the characters and the fear of a rising China in Versailles (Asian pivot anyone?), I wonder if Trump (mostly Kissinger types) is trying to goad the Chinese into occupation of North Korea to replicate the Soviet experience in Afghanistan and to make the Chinese appear less than credible on the world stage.

    2. Katharine

      Indeed. I was wondering, when I read Pence had assured Japan of the US resolve to rein in North Korea, whether the official he addressed might not have had greater interest in the US resolve to rein in the US. Given the present state of both weaponry and infrastructure, I see no happy ending for anyone in the region if something starts over there.

  14. DorothyT

    A New “CRISPR Pill” Makes Bacteria Destroy Its Own DNA

    Early stage NIH-funded research. Always appreciate NC following the all important but generally under the MSM radar antibiotic resistant bacterial news.

    “The downside of antibiotics is they are a sledgehammer that depletes and destroys the gut microbial community,” van Pijkeren said to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “You want to instead use a scalpel in order to specifically eradicate the microbe of interest.”

    CRISPR is ideal for this use because such drugs would be very specific to the user. They could kill a single species of germ while leaving good bacterial untouched. In contract, regular antibiotics kill off both good and bad bacteria, leading to resistance.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      If they are worried about specificity, just use anti sense RNA. Going in and completely knocking out the gene sounds like overkill. Or is this one of those “hot topics only get NIH funding” moments.

      1. DorothyT

        This is above my pay grade but would appreciate knowing from others who are following further research by NIM or other sources regarding antisense RNAs and antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.

        See 2010 article: “Bacterial antisense RNAs: How many are there and what are they doing?”

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3030471/

        Not surprisingly, the use of synthetic antisense RNAs as antibiotics and in biotechnology has been under investigation for quite some time.

        1. Kurtismayfield

          There are already anti sense RNA treatments for certain human hereditary diseases. For example Duchene MD has a new treatment approved.. the initial costs are ridiculous because it is a niche medicine. But for Bacterial infection anti sense RNA should work if it is specific enough.

          1. giantsquid

            The molecule used in the antisense treatment of Duchene Muscular Dystrophy is a morpholino, a nucleic acid analog that is more stable than either single-stranded DNA. or, especially RNA. And indeed similar methods are being developed for treating bacterial infections:

            https://academic.oup.com/jac/article/72/3/782/2691388/Peptide-conjugated-phosphorodiamidate-morpholino

            In this case, the modified morpholino knocks down the expression of a specific bacterial gene that mediates antibiotic resistance, and by so doing make the resistant bacteria susceptible to antibiotics once again.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Back in the stone age, there used to be a fairly reliable, albeit unglamorous, way to do this.

      The infected area was swabbed, the infectious bacteria was cultured in the lab, and discs impregnated with specific, limited-spectrum antibiotics were introduced into the culture. Whichever disc killed the offending bacteria was the antibiotic prescribed.

      Decidedly low tech, but an embarrassingly effective default technique until the gods of genetic manipulation can get their shit together and deliver what they’re so fond of promising.

      1. DorothyT

        Yes, exactly what should be done if an infection is, first of all, deemed to be bacterial before an antibiotic is given. How often does this occur? My guess would be less than 1% of the times that a patient seeks medical help for an apparent infection. Instead an antibiotic is usually prescribed blindly.

        In this era of increasing antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, this is the risk (and if the infection is due to a puncture or other wound or surgery, the worst case scenario leads to sepsis):

        Inappropriate antibiotic use is not only ineffective for treatment, but may actually drive an epidemic caused by drug-resistant strains and worsen patient outcomes by increasing the bacterial density at the site of infection and inducing toxin production.

        1. Susan the other

          and I’ve wondered about the migration of genes from both bacteria and viruses into each other and us… we’re just one big chemical reaction

          1. Moocao

            Genetic information cannot pass from bacteria to viruses. The reproduction process of virus would preclude it from receiving DNA information or from bacteria

      2. Moocao

        This back in the stone age approach is fortunately dying away. PCR techniques can reveal the bacterium faster (2-4 hours), and can tell you genetic resistance patterns of the bacteria (MRSA vs MSSA).

        Unfortunately PCR tests are not cheap. It does save lives, and decreases antibiotic resistance development, if only it can be broadly used…

  15. Ook

    “New York City Moves to Require Uber to Provide a Tipping Option in Its App”
    More 3rd-worldization for the United States as you emulate the baksheesh economy, where everything requires greased palms to work properly. You pay the soon to be required tip and the driver won’t knock your rating down. Maybe. And Uber gets more subservience from its workforce. A win-win-win for New York City!

    1. Montanamaven

      This is a pet peeve of mine. We should be moving towards a European model of paying a proper wage rather than the tipping or, as you say, “the greased palms” approach. And rating drivers or passengers without knowing the context or the personalities of the drivers/passengers makes no sense to me. I rated him a two because I didn’t like the way he looked. I rated him a three because he talked on the phone the whole time.
      I rated her a one because she was pissed that I took her to the wrong side of 57th Street. And her perfume sucked.

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Why Cancer Drug Prices Keep Rising in the U.S. Nautilus (Dr. Kevin)

    So the “experts” consulted for the article–oncologists and public health professors–content themselves with beating the now familiar dead horses of patent manipulation, refusal to “negotiate” with drug companies and prevention of “re-importation” to explain the exorbitant prices.

    (And since when is this true: “Insurance companies don’t want to say they’re not going to cover a new treatment,” he said. Insurance companies have a long-standing “tradition” of refusing to pay for treatments that they can define as “experimental.”)

    While the usual suspects are no doubt contributory, conspicuously left undiscussed is the unique position the system has conferred on oncologists. They are the only physicians allowed to operate their own personal pharmacies, buying chemo drugs at low prices, marking them up and “reselling” them to their patients, on their own orders, at a profit. And they’re the only sources of supply and administration–not sold at the corner drugstore, price-shopped on the internet or swallowed with a glass of water.

    Added to that is the “standard of care” which allows only three possible treatments once cancer is the diagnosis–surgery, radiation or chemo (or some combination of all three)–and that with a cancer diagnosis the patient is terrified and in no position to question recommendations or costs.

    The incentives to treat with the highest priced, most profitable drugs, and as many as can be therapeutically rationalized are unmistakable and built-in to the system. They don’t call it the “business” of medicine for nothing.

    1. allan

      Insurance companies have a long-standing “tradition” of refusing to pay for treatments that they can define as “experimental.”

      Experimental treatments – like contraception:

      Excellus fined $1M for denying contraceptive coverage [D&C]

      ALBANY – Excellus BlueCross BlueShield will pay a $1 million fine after state regulators found that the insurer illegally denied claims for covering contraceptives.

      A coding error led to the 1,000 denied claims between 2008 and 2014, according to the state Department of Financial Services. State law requires insurers to cover various forms of contraception. …

      Jim Redmond, an Excellus spokesman, said the “key findings” in the state’s report “relate to items from a few years ago.”

      “Those issues were addressed when we completed a major transformation project which consolidated several computer platforms down to one,” Redmond said. …

      When in doubt, blame the IT guys.

    2. Moocao

      Nowadays with the data from NCI and NCCN, it is unlikely to find reputable oncologists prescribing drugs without having guideline backed approach. This is due to the now rigid requirements of insurance mandated evidence backed prescribing (if you don’t follow guidelines, we the insurance companies will not approve).

      Onto evil oncologists: you are allowed to have second opinion referrals, although I do believe that our rural citizens have less access to reputable oncologists and this may have an impact on getting proper care.

      You are correct that there are perverse incentives of pharma “overselling” their products and making themselves “guideline mentioned” or even “guideline preferred”. An example would probably be Avastin (Bevacizumab). Very costly, very limited data showing its effectiveness. On the other hand, Evidence based medicine produced the standard chemotherapy of Herceptin for Her+ breast cancer, making what used to be a death sentence to be a survivable form of cancer in certain subtypes of breast cancer patients. What is unconscionable is how expensive the medication still is after 2 decades of this drug on the market.

      With regards to the sentence “Added to that is the “standard of care” which allows only three possible treatments once cancer is the diagnosis–surgery, radiation or chemo (or some combination of all three)–and that with a cancer diagnosis the patient is terrified and in no position to question recommendations or costs.” I am unsure as to what to make of this. What other therapies would you suggest other than these 3? Please point to me evidence based medicine that would cure a cancer without utilizing any of the 3 approaches stated – surgery, radiation, or chemo

  17. cocomaan

    Came for the turkey, stayed for the links.

    Every spring we see turkey hens and big groups of fluffy poults running out of the woods and into our yard. The hens band together while the toms go off on their own. The grouping helps the hens protect the poults better from predators.

    Stopped reading the links after I got to the Turkey, which has turned sour. What a mess.

  18. dontknowitall

    There is an interesting nexus between the French election which is within the margin of error for the three top candidates LePen, Fillon and Sanders-like Melenchon and the North Korea situation. Melenchon has referred to NK and repeatedly called for an end to the US role as the global gendarme. It is a call that has a significant resonance on the left and may help propel socialist Melenchon ahead of Fillon if the US has a hot crisis in North Korea in the next few days before the French first round election.

    The North Koreans know they can throw missiles up in the air all day long and that as long as they “explode” shortly after leaving the pad the US can’t do a damn thing since it is all within their national boundaries. Trump will get his nose tweaked pretty severely I imagine. People voted for Trump for many reasons but getting us into what is sure to be a genocidal war in Korea is not one of them.

    1. UserFriendly

      I think people are underestimating Melenchon’s chance at making the runoff. It’s a tight race and presumably Hamon’s voters look at polls. The other candidates don’t have a reserve of potential voters.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        That is my instinct too, although it could just be wishful thinking. The left in France has to be super unhappy about years of Blairite sellouts by the Socialists. And one of the articles said turnout was key, so the question is whether the Melenchon voters are motivated. They seem to be and a late surge also helps feed enthusiasm.

  19. DJG

    Yves Smith: The mix of political and economic news. In a way, I am not surprised. What we are seeing is political decisions and maneuvering that are reshaping economic arrangements worldwide. Brexit is one, and it may result in the self-pauperization of the English (a remarkable result in that one must be truly bull-headed to do such a thing). France’s election has to do with ideas about France’s economic organization internally as well as its relation to the EU. Turkey’s disastrous referendum of Sunday has economic implications (given that some comments from EU politicians indicated that Turkey’s EU application is now suspended forever). And so forth.

    It isn’t remarkable that Pence is trying to change the trade balance with South Korea even as the U.S. attempts to blow up North Korea. Our clueless elites believe that economics is politics. If you can’t get what you want from some inconsequential country like Syria or Yemen or Korea, you bomb. See: the remarkable sage, John McCain, he of the incredible lightweight moral compass.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s fairly simple. The domestic Administration is over. There isn’t a working majority, so Trump is trying to reinvent himself as a foreign policy President.

      One notable problem is with the exception of an eight month period in 2001 and another 14 month period in 2009 and 2010 there isn’t “low hanging fruit” out there. Shrub and Obama more or less bombed every easy thing and started plenty of fires.

      I believe there is an expectation in Versailles that bombing brown people will make one popular, so why not try yellow people? We are sending troops to Somalia.

      Rumsfeld in one of Woodward’s books complained about how Afghanistan didn’t have the kinds of targets for CNN coverage. This is about polling and 2020. A Sanders style candidate might win 60% of the vote if not more. As bad as Kerry was, he was 10,000 votes away from being President.

      1. ChrisFromGeorgia

        Very astute observation. It must have dawned on one of Trump’s advisers that the domestic issues facing us are simply intractable without not only serious lifting, but also real sacrifice. Take the health care issue for example … without systematically dismantling the corrupt cartels that insist on preventing price discovery, collude to over-bill and otherwise scam and defraud us, there is no way to “reform” the current system. It must simply be blown to pieces and then you can rebuild with either single-payer or something like the plan outlined at: http://fixhc.org

        So much easier to just watch Fox news and send a few cruise missiles into the ME. Or get into a war with North Korea.

  20. BeliTsari

    Thank god, somebody’s noticed The Resistance™ becoming progressively ever less subtle in their red-baiting. I’m wondering who exactly will be attending protests by the time Trump unleashes Erik Prince’s dogs o’war Oath keepers on peaceful dissidents this summer? Probably be four or five agents provocateurs for each beaten down marcher? Just the notion that the Democrats still have the power to co-opt protest all these decades later; the victim’s disgust at the obvious, smug and dismissive nature of our dead-eyed duopoly, instills a hopeless cynicism… guess that is the whole idea? Capture, corrupt and spin the message. Obama stifled any outcry on the part of affluent liberals, indentured working class, Blacks being shaken down & shot by law enforcement, people concerned with fracking, GE monoculture crops gavaged to CAFO meat, perpetual war along with folks driven into bankruptcy (or an early grave) by the ACA, loan swindles, foreclosures, ALEC kleptocracy & other FIRE sector swindles, unreported by their media. It’s always been a tag-team kleptocracy, they probably had the anti-Roosky signs laying around since the 1950s? Just another excuse to incarcerate or beat down their victims?

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Democrats push anti-Russian campaign at “tax day” protests WSWS (micael). This is pathetic. These people do not understand what is in a tax return. They won’t find the sort of information they are screeching will be there.

    Of all the protest-issue-joints in the world, they pick this one.

    Why?

    Incompetence or evil?

    1. Montanamaven

      I used to think the Dems were both incompetent and evil, but in this off-the-charts Putin bashing foolishness, I’m tending towards stupid. A young relative of mine was at one of these silly rallies with an anti- Russia sign. I know she is not evil, so I would imagine most of the participants are not evil. There are some real evil bastards in the upper eschelons of the party though, but most of the leaders and speakers at these rallies appear to be weasels. I think it was Scott Adams who said in “The Weasel Way”, that 5% of people are good; 5% are evil; and the remaining 90% are weasels. (I might have the percentages slightly wrong.)
      Note: Apologies to weasels.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The banality of evil.

        Dickens had a line about the twin sins of mankind being want (greed) and ignorance. Ignorance was the doom of mankind. Scrooge wasn’t without compassion (even early on, he was concerned for the well being of Marley), but he is no different than the study determining that people’s attitudes towards gays will change for the positive if they know gay people. Ignorance is easy. “Obama has this” and “constitutional scholar” nonsense were public celebrations of ignorance and handing off problems to a celebrity because it was easy.

        There are very few people going, “haha haha, I’ll get you next time, Superman!” Except “OMG Putin!” He has a kind of kryptonite. …

        1. reslez

          I think it’s more likely he views himself as a weasel, when in reality he’s one of the 5% evil making the assumption that everyone else is as rotten as himself.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Weasels are probably the same way.

        Fun to watch on Youtube, though (seriously – try it).

    2. Eureka Springs

      Surprisingly effective misdirection. What surprises me most about this is after Maddow demonstrated (to her audience in particular) it’s a big nothing burger but it still works.

      1. montanamaven

        This morning on Morning Joe, they showed a clip from a town meeting of Tom Cotton of Arkansas. A guy got up and asked Cotton to subpoena Trump’s tax returns (Applause, cheers, waving of green cards). He continued and said, “We have to know what kind of ties he has to foreign countries.” (HUGE screams, cheers, applause, more waving of green cards). Sheer pandemonium. They all get their news from MSNBC and NPR and feel quite smug about it. This is a great example of groupthink and mob mentality. This is so not good. Stay away from Democrats. Toxic.

    3. RUKidding

      Some friends of mine in their 50s are just getting involved in these “political protests” for the first time in their lives. They mean well, but they are totally naive, completely ignorant about how things work, indulge themselves in binary thinking & thus are easily manipulated to focus their truly justified anger into worthless meaningless exercises in futility. I’m sure the PTB see these protests as good distractions for easily manipulated rubes.

      That’s how I see it.

      Those who are “organizing” these “protests ” are cynical parasitical bastards. No doubt they’re highly compensated by the PTB for distracting the tubes.

    4. jrs

      I know. Protest the budget, wake people up, that matters, they’re after Social Security. Protest for science (and against defunding the EPA and climate science), that protest I agree with. Protest the escalating wars, it’s a just cause, even if it’s largely futile. But tax returns in a political system drowning in corrupt bought and paid for politicians? (including Trump). Meh is it more good or not good to go to such a protest? I don’t even know. I hate when expressing justifiable outrage at the Trump administration becomes a philosophical debate on the message one is sending. I’m against Trump’s and the R’s policies (no Dems have no power so it’s pointless to worry about them right now). Period.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Ouroboros?

    A New “CRISPR Pill” Makes Bacteria Destroy Its Own DNA Futurist (Dan K)

      1. polecat

        In Margaret Atwood’s novel ‘Oryx and Crake’ there was the ‘BlissPlus pill, sooo, hypothetically speaking, what COULD go right …. in the eyes of a CRISPR creator ….. clandestine, or otherwise ??

      2. craazyboy

        Well, according to Michael Crichton , lots. Say some errant bacteria don’t destroy themselves and end up duplicating T Rex DNA?? Next think you know we have millions of T Rex dinosaurs taking over the planet and gobbling up every human in sight – because that’s what the terrifying creatures do!

        What then? Nuke ’em all and get nuclear winter and the New Ice Age, plus probably screwing up the Earths magnet field and reversing North and South poles with all the confusion and destruction that entails?

        Or wait it out and global warming takes it course and makes the environment even more comfey for the dynos and the leftover humans scurry around from cave to cave, forced to wear unseasonably warm furs and uncomfortable leather footwear?

        Humanity does not have a clue to where this may lead.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not a clue, as in ‘the blind leading the blind.’

          “But she’s or he’s a Ph.D. and teaches at an elite university…many awards.”

          Logically, to me, the smartest of a no-so-smart species is still not-so-smart.

  23. RenoDino

    The Problem is Washington, Not North Korea Mike Whitney, Counterpunch

    No argument here. We created the problem, and now we are going to solve it. Past is prologue.
    Unless the Chinese can pull off a miracle, solving it will mean resorting to what we do best when things don’t go our way. The author can’t be blamed for wanting the impossible, but a lot has happened since 1994. Nothing and everything. It’s just another sign post stretching out over the last 70 years on the way to Armageddon.

  24. dcblogger

    Writers Guild Activist’s Home Raided by DC Police This Week

    Dylan Petrohilos is a long-time champion of digital media workers’ rights and led a successful organizing drive and first contract campaign at Think Progress. This week, Petrohilos’ home was raided by the DC Metropolitan Police Department.

    The cops raided Petrohilos’ home for his alleged role in helping to organize anti-Trump protesters. They are investigating Petrohilos on conspiracy to incite riots during the Trump inaugural ceremonies.

    Several computers, phones, and electronic items were confiscated from Petrohilos’ home. Petrohilos has launched a GoFundMe to raise money to replace the items.
    http://paydayreport.com/emails-tn-state-senator-got-lesbian-npr-reporter-fired-dc-cops-raid-activists-home-wv-to-cut-benefits-for-strikers/

  25. allan

    Former CEO of Microsoft decides to give government revenues and expenditures a closer look.
    Hilarity ensues:

    … Mr. Ballmer said he wanted the project to be completely apolitical. He has given money to candidates on both sides of the aisle. But as he speaks, you can tell that some of his preconceived notions could change his own politics.

    At one point, as he showed me the value of certain tax deductions and blurted out, “If you look at these tax deductions for employer-provided health or for state and local taxes or mortgage-interest deductions, they’re really subsidies to the affluent, which I guess I hadn’t thought about them.” …

  26. voltgloss

    Re: Why the US science and engineering workforce is aging rapidly

    As a young scientist that graduated during the worst effects of the Great Recession — my experience is that academia is aging because as currently structured it exacerbates the inequalities that broader society is struggling with. As a result, many of the best of my generation left academia and science for more lucrative positions in banking and finance. I will give a few examples of the inequalities:

    The most successful academics are those from wealthy families where individuals could rely upon family wealth to augment meager graduate student and postdoctoral pay. This limits the pool of individuals that enter academia in the US to largely the wealthy and foreign immigrants.

    Individuals whose parents are already tenured faculty have significant advantages in being able to get the right awards/fellowships, the right letters of recommendations, and making the right social/academic signals through being able to leverage their parents’ established networks and connections. This again limits the pool of individuals.

    Funding is nominally allocated by the Federal funding agencies through peer review of grant proposals. But after having participated in peer review panels at the agencies, it is apparent that networks and prestige (which come with age) play a larger role in receiving funding than the quality of grant proposals. (Not that funding is easy for older scientists, or that the quality of the work is lower; simply that older scientists can better leverage their networks.) This limits opportunities for younger scientists, and can even lead to them being fired for not being able to get enough funding.

    Many established scientists have an attitude of “I got mine”. They fully support increasing the number of non-full-time teaching, increasing the number of administrators, reducing hiring of new faculty, etc — as long as it does not lead to decreases in their own salary or increases in their own teaching requirements. When funding priorities are decided, they support increasing funding for temporary research positions like postdoctoral positions, rather than increasing funding for permanent positions. This is again in their interest because they can exploit the labor of scientists with precarious positions. There is in my opinion no need for professors with 20 PhD students and 10 postdoctoral scientists working under them — at that point the professor is exploiting their labor, reaping the main rewards, and then the scientists under them are forced to leave academia after a few years due to a lack of permanent positions. Yet this behavior is rewarded by the tenure process and the current academia structures.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is VERY helpful. I should have realized the drain to Wall Street was a big part of the equation, but the “having relatives who can pull for you” never occurred to me.

    2. Ulysses

      “The most successful academics are those from wealthy families where individuals could rely upon family wealth to augment meager graduate student and postdoctoral pay.”

      Yes. The only time when this was somewhat less true was during the postwar decades, when GI bill students, from families of modest means, could take advantage of a rapidly expanding academic job market. Even then, many of these scholars from working-class backgrounds had real difficulties assimilating into the elitist culture of some universities.

      As an undergraduate I noticed that very few of my fellow students whose parents were nouveau riche, gave serious consideration to pursuing academic careers. Their families pushed them into law school, med school, biz school, etc. They were still in the “primitive accumulation” phase of building their family fortunes.

  27. Rick

    A nice dose of irony this morning: the Wired article on the theft of attention by ads is unreadable if you have an ad blocker installed.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump to overhaul visa program for high-skilled workers The Hill.

    The Trump administration says it believes the order will be supported by labor unions, although it will likely be met with opposition from the tech sector, which has used the H-1B program to boost its workforce.

    Tech leaders and advocacy groups have long called for expanding the program, saying it’s necessary for hard-to-fill and highly specialized software and engineering positions.

    It seems like a good start, and unlike health care, they are not rushing into this one. Perhaps kicking the can down the road, and letting various interests weigh in. But they aim to fence that off:

    “There will be an immediate culture change across these agencies,” a senior administration official said. “Buying American is the Trump administration’s highest priority for taxpayer dollars. Agencies will have their marching orders and will be held accountable for failure.”

    Cultural change = rooting out vested interests?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      They can change the political appointees, which they would do anyhow. It is actually pretty hard to fire career bureaucrats. So I regard a lot of this as bluster.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      I can’t think of any buzzwords or fnords that apply to h-1b visas. I’m not sure I could start a fight in meatspace by braying some opinion about h-1b visas. I had to check where the hyphen goes.

      There’s an awful lot of things on the horrible spectrum that we, as a nation, are doing that are like that.

      A lot of room to play there for ideologues and idealists, e.g. ‘a law forbidding the USA from ever helping Haiti again, full stop.’

  29. Juneau

    The Endangered Good Doctor.
    Rest in Peace Dr Lee. Doctors like you continue to be a shining example of what is best about the practice of medicine and you and your proteges will continue to be an inspiration no matter what the system does.

    I remember his department at MSK provided a consult to my family for free when I pulled strings and manipulated to get my dad seen by one of their multiple myeloma specialists. Dad was from out of state, no usable insurance coverage. I was an underpaid trainee. The oncologist at MSK waived the fee with the mandate that I would pay it forward. He was quite serious about that agreement. That’s called teaching the next generation. How different would I as a doctor be if he had turned us away or billed us into oblivion.

    Fortunately he didn’t and now I definitely pay it forward.

    1. Jagger

      I have noticed independent tradesmen/craftsmen such as electricians, plumbers, etc., will often deeply discount their work for the elderly. Although I wonder if it is a tradition or simply an expression of their humanity.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Maybe I should act more feeble and confused when dealing with them. (To be Fair, this may have happened in our recent plumbing disaster – I don’t know what normal practice is.) Thing is, I’m a tradesman of sorts myself, and most of my clients are elderly. But then, I’m working pretty cheap.

        1. wilroncanada

          charles
          Your toilet is leaking?
          Give it two aspirins and bring it in tomorrow morning at ten.

          1. Oregoncharles

            It was much worse than that; trust me, you don’t want the details.

            I think I’m finally done with it; fortunately insurance covered the monumental cleanup bill – but not the plumbing bills.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        They work a trade for a living. They were told by their Masters about what life is like. When someone says mystery, don’t smirk. Wiki apprenticeship.

  30. allan

    An Analysis of the House GOP Tax Plan [Tax Policy Center]

    Updated. From Table 4 on p. 17.
    Shares of total federal tax change going to the percentiles of the income distribution are:
    0-19 0.8%
    20-39 1.4%
    40-59 2.8%
    60-79 3.7%
    80-90 1.2%
    90-95 0.7%
    95-99 11.0%
    top 1% 76.1%
    top 0.1% 46.5% (that is, top 1% ex 0.1% get 29.6% of the total).

    Takeaways:

    1. The current regime wants to deliver another solid for the back row hedge fund kids.
    2. The bottom 5% of the top 10% are not the enemy.
    They have more in common with those below them than with those above.
    It makes sense to point this out to those in the 90-95% range,
    rather than alienate them by using the convenient epithet of `the 10%’.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Shares of total federal tax change

      By ‘tax change,’ I assume it is ‘tax reduction.’ That is, for example, the top 0.1% are going to see their taxes reduced by 46.5%.

      And why are the top 1% getting more reduction (76.1%) than the 0.1% (46.5%)?

      Who is in charge here?

      1. allan

        My reading of the table is that the bottom quintile would get 0.8% of the total tax cut, the next quintile would get 1.4% of the total, … up to the top 0.1% getting 46.5% of the total cut.

        The last two columns do show the reduction in the effective tax rate.
        For the top 0.1% (the kind of working stiffs Paul Ryan kicks back with over $350 bottles of red Burgundy),
        the effective rate would go down 11.1%, from 34.5% to 23.4%.
        Slightly more than a 1/3 tax cut. Because job creation.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thanks, upon further reading, I see that the 99.9 to 100 (46.5%) is getting a better deal than the 99 to 99.9 (76.1%-46.5%, or 29.6%)

          The ones getting a raw deal are those in the 90 to 95 bracket (0.7%)

  31. The Heretic

    https://reason.com/blog/2017/04/17/pomona-college-students-say-theres-no-su

    Concerning the leftwing identity politics students of Pomona college 😆😆😆. Funny, Pathetic and sad. Interesting enough, this is the mindset shared by many members of the neo-cons, militant interventionist , stalinist russia, George bush inner circle (Karl Rove “we create our own reality”), radical feminists and many totalitarian states.

    The College president should encourage a campus wide debate so their silly ideas can be heard and properly mocked, and enforce a campus code of decency that gives all persons freedom of speech (with some degree of balance so that it does not devolve into personal adhomenim, persona antagonism and threats)

    1. oho

      College students are consumers now. Keep them happy, keep your school popular or else they’ll take their tuition dollars somewhere else.

  32. Tom

    “The Crisis of Attention Theft—Ads That Steal Your Time for Nothing in Return”

    Not mentioned, Urinal TV.
    Yves, you have been spared this. As you stand there to take a leak, there is a TV playing ads less than a foot away.

    Like self checkout lines, gaspump TV, in store floor advertising, billboards etc, I consider it my First Amendment right to sabotage, tweak, plaster stickers on and generally monkeywrench all forms of advertising in my face that I cannot avoid.

    Inserting pennies under the scale in self checkout lines, or using a laser pointer to fry their bar code scanners seems to work pretty well. Yes, I was a check out clerk once.

    1. Oregoncharles

      That is a barbarism I haven’t encountered; perhaps Oregon is more civilized than I thought.

      OTOH, women are not immune: they could hang one on the back of the door.

  33. a different chris

    AND FOR WHAT?

    To preserve the image of “tough guy”, to convince people that the US doesn’t negotiate with weaker countries, to prove to the world that “whatever the US says, goes”? Is that it?

    No! Nobody cares about that. It’s to keep the money flowing.

    economic ties can be strengthened,

    That’s the thing. The MIC doesn’t do “economics”, so if (and hopefully when) this happens the benefits will flow away from them and to… hell, us maybe. Although I don’t underestimate TPTB’s ability to put us workers in conflict with *another* low cost country.

    You know, if we can work with the Vietnamese for god’s sake we can certainly work with the Koreans.

    Yeah and I just said “Koreans”, no North/South dichotomy that I, as a whitebread middle American, have no clue about and don’t actually have the standing to make the distinction.

  34. TarheelDem

    On attention theft, Wired’s demand that you subscribe or give up your anonymity before you can read the gist of the article on attention theft is a prime example.

    There are people in the world who cannot subscribe to everything linked as relevant in a blog post. Aaron Schwarz understood this fact and the necessity for the free flow of information in democratic societies.

  35. two beers

    Can someone explain to me why Elizabeth Holmes isn’t in jail?

    Ooh, let me try! Because she’s rich?

  36. MNEng

    I’m a chemical engineer who’s worked in the food processing industry for 20 years. It’s no way to get rich, but my degree has certainly paid for itself.

    1. UserFriendly

      I’m a Chemical Engineer who will never pay off my student debt. I graduated from the UofMN in 2008 with $120k in debt for out of state tuition. There was no jobs anywhere for 3.5 years. That destroyed my self confidence, just thinking about job interviews gives me a panic attack. When I finally got my job it was through a friend and it paid $48k. Even after 3 years of raises to $62k I was still paying 65% of my income straight to making minimum payments on my debt. I gave up. There is no chance in hell my life will ever not suck, going to college was the worst mistake of my life. 9 years since graduation and I owe $130k and and I can’t even find a reason to bother getting out of bed. I figure I’ll be homeless soon and I just don’t give a fuck because there is no point. I worked my ass off and got completely screwed.

      1. vidimi

        emigrate and (after a while) renounce your citizenship. you can have a new life somewhere else where they won’t look at your american credit history.

      2. MNEng

        I’m sure this will be of no consolation, UserFriendly, but I declared bankruptcy once and had two foreclosures and a divorce before I got my college debt paid off. I have plenty of regrets, but getting an engineering degree isn’t one of them. I’m very sorry to hear about your situation; let me know how to contact you if you are ever interested in engineering work.

  37. Oregoncharles

    “ARE SOME SOLAR PANELS MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY THAN OTHERS? JSTOR (Micael). I am surprised that this is even a matter of debate. ”

    Me, too. A couple of points:

    Copper oxide. Copper is BOTH a necessary micronutrient AND a toxic heavy metal, especially toxic to microbes. Quantity counts. Copper is often used in horticultural sprays; DO NOT INGEST. On the other hand, it won’t burn your skin, like lime-sulfur. Some very old vineyards have problems with copper toxicity in the soil, where it has accumulated. On yet another hand, copper oxide is pretty sure not to burn.

    And another point: most solar arrays are mounted over an existing roof. It would be much more efficient if they were the roof; indeed, our co-op used some in that way over a porch. The recent development of solar roofing is a real improvement, at least in new construction, even if it is from Musk.

  38. TheCatSaid

    On Gorsuch’s first day on the SC he indicated he’d refuse the CalPERS request for an extension. Too soon to know what the full court will decide. I’m not familiar with the specifics of the case and don’t understand the impact on CalPERS one way or the other.

  39. Oregoncharles

    “Ireland seeks common Brexit strategy with Dutch and Danes” – the smaller neighbors. A bit of history: Holland, Denmark, and the bit of Germany in between are where the Anglo-Saxons came from. To this day, people along the coast facing Britain speak a language, Frisian, which is in between English (the Angles came from Denmark) and German – I remember a man in Denmark remarking on that, many years ago.

    Not mentioned in the article, Poland also has a strong interest in amicable ties because so many Poles work in Britain. Of course, sending them home was one of the motives for Brexit. A grandfathering arrangement might be to mutual benefit, though.

    1. Susan the other

      that was interesting; it showed how everything is negotiable, or probably should be.

    2. Montanamaven

      Very Interesting. My father’s peeps are from Friesland. Kampen is the town. They were looked down on a bit by other Netherlanders as being provincial aka farmers. Well, as family stories go. My grandfather married a girl from Leyden who had a degree from U of Leyden and spoke 5 languages. (They had hidden him from the Germans in WW I.). So maybe also looked “down on” because they were a different tribe.
      Thank you.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I’ve seen it listed among the “lost nations” of Europe, like Provence, Valencia, or Scotland. No secessionist movement that I know of. More interesting than average ancestry.

        There is a book by Thomas Mann, called “The Holy Sinner.” The main character is Frisian, and large parts of it are IN Frisian. The translator solved the problem by not translating it. With a glossary, you can read it.

  40. Susan the other

    Thanks for the Las Vegas Sun article on environmental issue in the US west. I thought/think the issue of giving federal land back to the states was a dead, and even dangerous, issue since populations are declining and development projects that spread us out (for no good reason) into the landscape are now counterproductive both environmentally and economically. The article was also encouraging because it showed that the disbursement of federal money for environmental mitigation was basically a good idea and a well-conceived federal program. (But not perfect because our policies have failed so far to create the necessary laws.) I also liked the references to Anschutz’ wind project in Wyoming and it’s yuuge electric cable off to where it’s needed. It is a good example of how corporations are leading the way. Don’t tell the Donald.

  41. JEHR

    I’m too old to swoon over anyone, but I was pleased when Justin Trudeau was elected instead of Harper who was busy getting rid of a lot of legislation that protected our environment. I agree that Trudeau is a big disappointment for supporting two (2!) pipelines. But he has also left a lot of Harper’s laws on the books for future difficulties such as the law that proceeded from Bill C-51 which gives surveillance powers to our spooks and spies without a proper overview of its powers. He is also raising money by giving access to politicians and spending like a drunken sailor on his vacations with millionaires (e.g.,the Aga Khan). I am very concerned about the direction of his future leadership when he proposes changes to parliamentary rules without input from the opposition who may have some very good ideas. And that Senate continues to have a bad reputation.

    1. TheCatSaid

      Has Trudeau done anything significantly differently from Harper? I’d appreciate your perspective.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Je’s legalizing marijuana, as promised. That’s significant, but there’s an awful lot it doesn’t address.

        What does the Parliament look like? He’s PM, not a president..

  42. Oregoncharles

    The osprey – it interests me that the bird goes in the water, which most birds avoid. They must have significant waterproofing on its feathers, like waterfowl.

    It reminds me of an exciting sight at the nearby game refuge, when the lakes were partly frozen: two young eagles trying to catch the geese, of which there were hundreds on the open water. The eagles were essentially harassing the geese, trying to make them fly; evidently they were afraid to get wet. Eventually, both eagles landed on the ice and held a very frustrated conference. Apparently the geese were too smart for them, though they must catch one occasionally.

    (The Willamette Valley is a wintering ground for a lot of birds from as far as the Arctic, both geese and birds of prey – we see far more of both in the winter. So there’s a string of federal refuges up and down the valley, which are refuges for city dwellers, too.)

    1. Eureka Springs

      Osprey nest here in my North West Arkansas, Kings River back yard every Spring. Such deliberate flight… lots of wing work compared to hawks and eagles. Unlike eagles I’ve never noticed an osprey scavenging.

      1. Edward E

        Well hey I figured you might be another razorback, howdy neighbor, we live between the upper Buffalo and the Big Piney. I’m just a couple miles from Glory Hole water fall. When not traveling in a twuck…

        Wonder how Yves took such a close looking picture of the hen turkey? They usually don’t pose for those very close. Anyways, a few turkey in the gardens means you likely won’t need any chemicals​. In fact chemical is a no no where wildlife feed.

        Here’s what you need to help keep them around. http://www.wildturkeyreport.com/managing-perennials-for-turkeys-part-1

  43. ewmayer

    “Pomona College Students Say There’s No Such Thing as Truth, ‘Truth’ Is a Tool of White Supremacy Reason.” — So why should we believe them?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Sounds plausible…another tool to sow chaos, to cast doubt with conflicting statements or contradictory information.

      2. TheCatSaid

        Sheesh! I posted with 3 links with various documentation of the CIA link, including a meticulous transcript of second-generation artist/activist Arundhati Roy and it has disappeared or perhaps stuck in moderation (though I got no such message)

        I hate this issue regarding links–if I post with no links, then I’m asked for links. I post with several links (3 or more?), the posts disappear (or appear only after the thread is inactive). It’s frustrating.

        1. Marina Bart

          If your post just vanished, email support@nakedcapitalism.com directly. If Yves, Lambert or Outis (not sure if this is something Jerri-Lynn gets involved in) know about it, they can usually fish it out of spam.

          Wait, so “postmodernism” the actual theory was created by the CIA? Please tell me I’m misunderstanding that.

          1. Plenue

            More likely the CIA saw that this new, deeply stupid thing had come along that was disrupting the issues based Left and decided it would be useful to patronize it.

            The actual origins of Postmodernism seem to basically be that a bunch of die hard Stalinists/Maoists became completely disillusioned after Mao quickly and totally fell from power (Norman Finkelstein says he was literally bed-ridden for a week straight after Mao fell). Their ‘Science of Leninism-Marxism-Maoism’ turned out to be a farce as a description of reality, so some of them then got hooked on the idea that all metanarratives are bunk (which is itself a kind of metanarrative), and that we can’t ever fully identify or understand reality, so we shouldn’t even bother trying. Basically Postmodernism is one giant pseudo-intellectual hissy fit.

            1. Marina Bart

              I had a rough day, so I’m only returning to normal now.

              Do you mean “postmodernism” or “post structuralism”? Because those are different things, and I can’t really figure out how or why the CIA would get involved in defining the artistic movement that came after modernism.

              And I think post structuralism is getting a bad rap in the comments section round these parts. Pretty much all philosophies can be misused and become too extreme. I guess now I wait for the links to be fished out of the spam filter to learn more about the CIA’s role.

              1. TheCatSaid

                Modern art–particularly the idea of abstract art was the brainchild of the Rockefellers et al for social engineering purposes. They wanted people to be confused, to feel unsure, to not be able to agree about things and thus doubt themselves.

                Here’s my transcript of what Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy (a second-generation writer/artist and activist) said in an excellent brief interview on Al Jazeera’s “South 2 North” a couple of years ago–it’s about half-way through the segment, which also has some musicians from Mali:

                16:00
                Redi Tlhabi [interviewer]: There’s a fascinating theme that you explore in your non-fiction work. You talk about “perception management”. And you talk about the corporate philanthropists. You are talking about how the likes of Tatas, the Ambani brothers, they are financing and sponsoring artists, festivals, literature—looks good, that’s the veneer. But your interpretation of that, is that they are buying out potential revolutionaries; they are buying out the voices that should hold corporate power accountable. And you liken it to what happened in the United States in the 1914’s with J.D. Rockefeller. Tell me about him; tell me about his foundation, and how it bought—or silenced—the radical voices.

                Arundhati Roy: It was—I mean, now it sounds quite normal, right, for an industrial house to have a charity, or a foundation, and run NGOs. NGOs are like the New World’s visionaries. But in those days it was a brilliant move, where you took the profits from your business and you funneled it into these charities, which were completely non-transparent, completely non-accountable, and could then move into making policy and so on. So the Rockefeller, the Ford and the Carnegie Foundations—actually, they worked very closely with the CIA, they kick-started—they bought the land for the UN, started this thing called the Foreign Relations Council [Council for Foreign Relations], and the men from these councils, then—almost every president of the World Bank has been a member of the Foreign Relations Council. So you create these kind of overlapping cells, you know, and they run the world. They are themselves really non-transparent. And they are busy—millions of dollars are being spent in Africa, and in India, you know, asking for transparency, asking for rule of law, as long as they are the ones making the laws, you know?!

                RT: You do talk about how Rockefeller in particular basically silenced the voice of Martin Luther King of the black consciousness movement, Steve Biko’s Black Consciousness Movement. How did he do this?

                AR: A, by funding the moderates, you know, and gradually edging out radical movements. But in the case of Martin Luther King, you know, beginning with the Martin Luther King Foundation, and then slowly kind of changing its program from everything that Martin Luther King ever stood for. So you actually—it’s not just the man, but the memory itself that is so dangerous that you have to change it.

          2. TheCatSaid

            I redid the info and broke it up. I was particularly impacted by the interview segment that I eventually transcribed, with Arundhati Roy.

            More about the CIA, Rockefeller & abstract art was also in covered in Adam Curtis’s HyperNormalisation. With the caveat that Curtis’ work talks about “perception management” and he is simultaneously part of the BBC misinformation system. (Truth/disclosure + some disinfo mixed in on some topics –> public confusion.)

  44. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    (In reply to ewmayer’s 5:54PM comment)

    True, dat.

    Or maybe I can’t say dat.

    “Not true, not true.”

  45. Montanamaven

    RE: article on Rep Tom Reed being screamed at by his liberal constituents. Then raising over $400,000 . Lambert has sometimes described Republicans as “feral”. I am intrigued by this word. Is this an example?

    1. Plenue

      I’m reminded that Douglas Adams once had a group of Young Republicans at a table at The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. They were literally dogs in suits.

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