Links 5/12/17

Edible insects could play key role in cutting harmful emissions Science Daily

Where have all the insects gone? Science

Flying to Europe? You Might Want to Encrypt Your Laptop First Consumer Reports (!).

Profits From Store-Branded Credit Cards Hide Depth of Retailers’ Troubles NYT

Domestic Retail Buyers Are Propping Up the U.S. Credit Market Bloomberg

Goldman reshuffle aims to shore up its core FT

Clash of icons Reuters. Canadian pension funds.

Fannie-Freddie Watchdog Says He Can’t Let Capital Go to Zero Bloomberg

To mitigate major Edge printing bug, use a Xerox copier, baffled user advises Ars Technica. Check the images; this is extraordinary.

Indian Biometric System Data leaked; over 130 M people could be affected Hackread (J-LS).


Russia Seeks Accord With U.S. on Iran Role in Syria Safe Zones Bloomberg

Southern Yemen leaders launch body seeking split from north Reuters


Poll shows people LOVE Labour’s manifesto policies – but don’t rate Jeremy Corbyn as a Prime Minister The Mirror. Propaganda works.

Labour fights civil war over manifesto The Times

General Election 2017 briefing: Everything you need to know about Friday’s campaigning The Telegraph

What will be left? LRB

Dover and Out NYRB

The Return of Tony Blair The New Yorker

The Brexit catch for North Sea cod FT

French Election

Macron’s grand unveiling of new candidates goes awry The Local (France)

6 things to watch as Macron takes office in France Vox

Macron’s France aims to challenge Germany Euronews

A Not-so-Ideal Partner in Paris Handelsblatt Global. Pre-election, still useful.

Macron’s False Documents emptywheel. Impressively devious, if true.

Political and ethnic tensions fuel fears of east-west split in EU FT


The Yield Curve in China’s Jittery Bond Market Just Inverted WSJ

Beijing, US reach trade deal to boost American imports to China in wake of Xi-Trump summit South China Morning Post

CIA Chief Lauds Chinese Cooperation on North Korea WSJ

Health Care

‘Single Payer! Single Payer!’: Key Trumpcare Backer Drowned Out During Town Hall Common Dreams (MR). Lots of detail.

The Bipartisan ‘Single Payer’ Solution: Medicare Advantage Premium Support For All Health Affairs

Donald Trump has no idea what health insurance costs Vox

‘Are we the party of Wall St. or the party of Occupy?’: Candidates to lead state Democrats hold testy debate Los Angeles Times (MR).

The Democrats’ Davos ideology won’t win back the midwest Thomas Frank, Guardian

No Left Turns The Baffler

One Bernie With One Stone Corey Robin

North Carolina’s strange election Scalawag

NAACP leader who led North Carolina protest movement to step down AP (KF).

New Cold War

What we know about U.S. probes of Russian meddling in 2016 election Reuters. “Meddling.”

A coup in real time? Historian Timothy Snyder says the Comey firing is Trump’s “open admission of collusion with Russia” Salon

A Brief Thought: the Neoliberal Establishment’s Russian Shell Game Nina Illingworth

Will FBI Sacking Affect National Security? CFR

Two Dead Canaries in the Coal Mine Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic (Re Silc).

Vice President Mike Pence Met Privately With Top Russian Cleric Time (DK). Backstage at a religious conference sponsored by Franklin Graham.

Stop promoting liberal conspiracy theories on Twitter The New Republic

* * *

Trump Fires FBI Boss James Comey – About Time … Moon of Alabama

Parsing The Comey Firing Michael Tracey, Medium

The tragedy of James Comey The Week

Rod Rosenstein, the Mystery Man Behind Comey Firing Foreign Policy. From the heart of the blob…

Rosenstein Cameo Adds Drama to Hectic Hill Day The Hill

Rosenstein meets with Senate Intel leaders after Comey firing Politico

* * *

With James Comey Gone, These Three FBI and DOJ Officials Are Running the Russia-Trump Probe The Intercept

As the FBI Reels, Candidates Emerge to Run Agency WSJ

Career attorney who oversaw Russia probe at Justice steps aside — willingly WaPo. Reads like a beat sweetener, but with an official who’s leaving. Odd.

* * *

Senate intelligence committee subpoenas Michael Flynn CNN

Iowa’s Tom Miller 1 of 20 attorneys general calling for independent probe into Russia Des Moines Register. All Democrats.

How Senate Democrats could get what they want from Comey’s firing McClatchy

Class Warfare

The Walmart Tax Every American Taxpayer Pays USA Today

A Hillbilly’s Response to JD Vance Counterpunch. About time.

The economy keeps improving. Why aren’t wages? Politico

The Huge Potential Of Investing In Products For America’s Neediest Fast Company

The Economics of Trust IMF Blog

Ohio 8-year-old was assaulted by classmate before killing himself Chicago Tribune

The City and the War Machine: Crosshairs on People and Public Lands Counterpunch. Local (genuine) resistance to the F-35.

Human ancestry correlates with language and reveals that race is not an objective genomic classifier Nature

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. timotheus

    Would that be the same Tom Miller from Iowa (“calling for independent probe into Russia”) who led the buckling of the state A-Gs to bankster pressure after the 2008 when they could have done real damage to the TBTFs?

    1. allan

      It turns out that when Miller said, “people will go to jail”, he meant Occupy protesters, not banksters.

      1. russell1200

        Most State AGs can only go after civil penalties. New York is one of the (very) big exceptions. So having the State AGs leading the charge was always problematic at best. They had a hammer, civil penalties, and that’s what they used. Criminal indictments would have had to come from somewhere else.

    2. Stormcrow

      Independent Probe: The Game Plan

      The Democratic game plan is evident
      Sic Semper Tyrannis
      11 May 2017

      It is not going to be possible to remove President Trump from office by declaring him unfit for office. … The next best possibility from the POV of the “resistance,” (with HC and the mookies in the lead?) is impeachment and trial in the senate. … Essential to this course of action is the campaign for Congressional investigations, an independent prosecutor or a commission to investigate and “expose” Trump’s treason and malfeasance in office. … Once this is accomplished the Republican weaklings in the senate could perhaps be intimidated into conviction.

      The thread is worth reading.

  2. Marco

    RE Corbyn’s car crushing reporters foot. Imagine the reporting if it was May’s travelcade doing the maiming?

    “Yay May!! She’ll do the same to Brussels”?

    Perhaps Labour needs to start crushing more things before being taken seriously? Why is the standard for our leaders a big fuzzy wuzzy super empath teddy bear. What if the Left cultivated a certain boorish no-nonsense toughness that appeals to 45% of the lizard brain voting public that always shows up at the polls?

  3. Rik

    You may have missed this one from David Roberts at Vox. Seems the best analysis of Trump to date. 40 tweets in all; ones that stand out are no.9 and no. 26.

    I’ll just quote no. 9 here:

    9. Here’s the thing: Trump, by all indications, does not have beliefs, intentions, etc. that are stable, persistent across contexts.

    See also Heidi N. Moore’s RTs (± 13:35 CET, 12-5-17) from Politico and The Hill for confirmation.

    1. dontknowitall

      Yay! Another psychiatric assessment from 140 word from all of 40 tweets. /snark

      1. jrs

        it’s moderately interesting, not bad for a twitter stream. One can criticize twitter as a means of communication, it short circuits full evaluation the message IMO, but we have Presidency by tweet at this point so … the medium is the presidency ..

        So call it speculation. I don’t think we can always fully know the motive of the powerful, though many will write books on it. Was Obama evil, corrupt, just not too bright? I don’t know. His actions like drone killing were harmful. And the same is true of Trump, his policies are harmful, only in spades and getting worse by the day.

        1. jrs

          at least a full tweet stream like that uninterrupted by replies is easier to follow. Twitter may be improving (in a few ways). But it’s all speculative, if you choose not to have a TOM, you still have a TOM (or no mind as it were).

    2. lambert strether

      I see very little point in armchair diagnosis, whether by actual doctors (Frist of Schiavo) or by laypersons

      1. MLS

        you’re right, of course, but armchair quarterbacking is a US national sport and we aren’t about to stop now.

    3. reslez

      You can’t judge Trump from his words. He contradicts himself too much. I agree with Roberts’ argument that Trump is highly focused on appearing dominant at all times. That was how he crushed his opponents in the Republican primary. “Low energy” Jeb, “Little” Marco. Primary voters loved that. They ate it up.

      To properly evaluate Trump you have to disregard his statements — he disregards them too. The only metric for Trump is what he does. And 5 months into his first term, his actions show he’s either failing or declining to do what he campaigned on. What disturbs me most is Trump pushing for the AHCA. It shows a total lack of awareness, an investment in the mendacious Republican party line. This is not a man who’s going to get re-elected.

      Trump actions:
      Withdrew from TPP
      Failed to ban Muslims
      Increased military spending 10% while pushing cuts to Medicaid
      Nominated Gorsuch
      Bombed Syria
      Heightened tensions in North Korea
      Expanded bombings and troops in America’s multiple, failed, on-going wars
      Pushed terrible AHCA through House
      Fired Flynn and Comey (The reasons behind them we can’t evaluate, because that would require examining Trump’s unreliable statements. However, Flynn is a nutjob who wanted to bomb Iran and Comey had it coming)

      So far the evidence is that Trump’s instincts on foreign and economic policy are pretty awful, that he has no intention of abiding by his campaign promises, and that he’s not competent enough to execute on most of his goals. There will be a major third party candidate in 2020.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        This is not a man who’s going to get re-elected.

        Agreed. Lots of talk about which Democrats will challenge him in 2020 however not nearly as much regarding who in the Republican party will primary him. I highly doubt it will be one of those elections where the party in power defers to the incumbent.

    1. HBE

      Yes. Bageant’s Deer Hunting with Jesus, is an absolute must read.

      It’s the perfect companion to Listen Liberal, and I might even say the first half is better than LL.

      Bageant identifies and talks with those “deplorables” left behind (no trampled) by neoliberalism all the way back in 2007, while providing some great insights into the mortgage exploitation market and the hollowing out of the manufacturing sector, all wrapped in an extremely entertaining personal story and experience.

    2. Montanamaven

      Yes, the Jack Justice article was welcome and “about time”. Our Huey Long wrote this about New York state’s Appalachia where I now spend half my time:

      Huey Long

      May 10, 2017 at 7:36 pm

All of the upstate cities are bombed-out de-industrialized shadows of their former selves and NYC lost most of its manufacturing in the decades immediately following WWII. 
Most of the industry packed up and moved south of the Mason-Dixon line or overseas with Alexander Smith Carpet and American Safety Razor leading the way. Other industries became victims of technological progress, such as the demise of the American Locomotive Company and later Kodak. 
The local, state, federal governments played no small role in killing industry in NYC. The feds closed the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1966 killing thousands of industrial jobs, the state (Nelson) wasted enormous sums of money on Empire State Plaza, Roosevelt Island, and other boondoggles rather than on industrial infrastructure, while the city did all it could to zone industry out of Lower Manhattan and the waterfronts of both Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The only industries still going strong in NYC are grift, propaganda, and artisanal pickle making.

      And the Prisons.
      More on how NY led the way on that at: Prison Industrial Complex
      Here in Upstate Hudson Valley NY there are also all the prisons which seem to be a main source of work.
      When I mentioned that we had 1/5th the world’s population and incarcerate more people than Russia or China to a local, he was surprised. When I mentioned this to my rancher husband he said, “We must have more bad guys.” I said, “More bad guys than China, Russia, Mexico, Pakistan….?” He conceded that point and said there must be something pretty fishy going on. Ya think?
      Prisons are a lousy substitute for Kodak and American Safety Razor. And the local here said that many of the young guys that go into the corrections business can become kind of mean. Ya think?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > New York state’s Appalachia where I now spend half my time

        I’d be interested to hear comparisons of NY and Montana. Upstate New York is a lot like Maine, at least in terms of industrial devastation.

        1. Montanamaven

          Montana has always been a colony rather than an industrialized state like Maine or New York with their good ports for transport of goods easily. I first heard Montana described as a colony by Brian Schweitzer when he was running for the Senate in 2002. We export lumber, copper, coal and cattle and have to import most food and dry goods. Hence, a colony. He ran in 2002 and then successfully for Governor in 2004 on trying to bring industry like furniture making and slaughter houses to Montana. He wanted our own health care system like our neighbor to the North. He became popular for driving bus loads of Seniors across the border to Canada for cheaper medicine.

      2. mpalomar

        “Here in Upstate Hudson Valley NY there are also all the prisons which seem to be a main source of work.”

        I recall reading an article years ago about the prison industry and migrated upstate NY prison population, examining the mechanism by which discriminatory drug laws and sentencing were removing significant numbers of inner city blacks and hispanics, taking them off local voter rolls in Brooklyn etc. but counting them in mostly white, upstate voting districts (despite the fact they could not vote) and also using them as cheap labor for prison industry schemes. I’m not sure if it still works that way.

    3. Olga

      Great interview! Thanks.
      The section on nature and having it in one’s bones is priceless.

  4. JohnnyGL

    Can someone explain to me how Jeremy Corbyn is rated so poorly on a personal level, while Labor’s policies are so popular?

    Contrast with Bernie Sanders, who’s by far and away the most popular politician in the USA.

    What is Bernie doing that Corbyn isn’t? Or vice-versa?

    1. Darius

      If Bernie had been the nominee, the press would have spared no effort to portray his every action and word in a harshly negative light, including the words a and the.

      1. Carolinian

        Yes. In a Trump/Sanders race the press might very well have decided that they preferred Trump. The notion that Sanders would have easily won is an untested assumption that, as is so typical these days, has been converted into an indisputable fact.

      2. Andrew Watts

        Sanders was obviously a Soviet spy given his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. /sarc

    2. AbateMagicThinking but Not money

      It seems that Corbyn isn’t presidential. It is not a presidential system but the party leader seemingly has to have the expected presidential persona. We had that with Blair and that got us Afghanistan and Iraq. Of course, Trump has knocked “presidential” into a cocked hat – and a very entertaining one at that.

      I think that the main issue is that Corbyn got his position as leader in a non-traditional manner – voted in by the party membership – not by the Labour Party members of parliament – the people he has got to wrangle if Labour does win power. Legitimacy is in question.

      The interesting thing for me in comparing the British scene with the US system is that us Brits know exactly who the political leaders are. Who leads the Dem.s now? Don’t tell me who it is in the congress or senate, or potential presidential candidates, but who the Leader is.

      1. Altandmain

        Strictly if you think about it, Labour’s way of voting in by membership is more democratic than Parliament members of Labour.

        It’s sad though that people would rather vote for someone that looks like a PM on appearances rather than someone who would fight for the policies of the common citizen.

        1. Abate Magic Thinking but NOT Money

          Re Labour’s way of voting (Altandmain):

          Agreed. More democratic, but if the members of parliament don’t like the leader’s policies or persona, the team-spirit and cooperation required to gain power just isn’t going to occur. Political parties are always a coalition of factions, and if the membership vote in the member of a minor faction, the members of the larger factions are certainly going to feel aggrieved. Politics – the art of the possible.

          It would be more democratic if there were no parties, and there were was no us-and-them animus, and no not-invented-here antics. MPs from left and right could then serve as ministers in the same government, and the whole political culture would be so different that we would wonder what it used to be all about. Something like it happened during the second world war, but only because there was a more important common enemy – the Nazis.

          Unfortunately we are stuck with the party brands and laughable tactics because of the process of political evolution.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I can’t explain it entirely, but I don’t think its too hard to understand in broad terms. I think Sanders is something of a genius communicator, with an ability to de-idiologize contraversial ideas without ever pandering, patronising, or over-simplifying. And he’s a sort of loveable grandfather figure who is hard, even for opponents, to dislike (it seems that even the Republicans who have dealt with him in the Senate like him personally). Attempts to demonise him by the media have failed miserably because quite simply, he comes across much nicer than the people attacking him. He has also been politically smart enough to sidestep issues which label him in regular peoples mind with classic urban liberalism, such as gun control, abortion, etc.

      Corbyn, on the other hand, seems incapable of breaking out of the mould of the ideological lefty backroom operator, always breaking into jargon when he should be explaining things clearly. He has wasted too much political capital on issues with matter a lot with the left, but don’t resonate with the public (such as nuclear disarmament). His incoherence on issues like Brexit have turned off many potential supporters. He does not come across on TV as particularly likeable. His personal traits, such as his casual dress and cycling everywhere therefore comes off as wierd and stubborn, rather than rather loveable eccentricities as they would if they were done by Sanders. So attacks on him by the media have stuck in the way they’ve just bounced off Sanders.

      Personality really does matter. Just look at the Clintons – they are true partners in everything they have done politically, but BC’s personality makes him hard to dislike even for those who hate much of what he did, while HRC’s personality (or lack of one) attracts a level of bile (especially from the left) that Bill rarely had to face. I know people ascribe it to misogyny, but I think this is simplistic. Bill, like Sanders, has a likeable personality, HRC and Corbyn for various reasons don’t. It would be nice to say that only policies should matter, not personalities, but there are plenty of psychological studies which show that even very informed people can be swayed by people they like and respect far more than they can be by rational arguments put forward by people who they don’t like.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        A few thoughts on polls:
        -pollsters create expectations of the electorate often missing non-governmental phenomenons. Polling in 2016 was based on expectations of a 2008 turnout ignoring changes in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Brexit’s surprise was largely a surprise because of expectations created by pollsters who used previous election data to set a baseline instead of calling a representation of the populace and breaking it down from there.
        -position of questions in polls. People who stay on the phone longer are looking to give the correct answer which is “yes.” I believe this is why Obama and Clinton remained personally popular while their party’s fortunes soured.
        -polls also suffer from constantly changing political titles such as “liberal. ” Democrats pointed to Obama’s popularity with self described “liberal Democrats” to paint lefty or liberal critics as not a problem for their electoral fortunes.

        About personality, Bill Clinton had 43% of the vote and saw noticeable decline in youth and minority voting in 1992 and 1996 when the GOP faced major conservative defections to a third party or non voting. Perhaps, Bill was never that popular and was entirely reliant on Team Blue tribal loyalty? After all, he lost majorities, and his VP and wife have now lost three times in their quest for the White House. Narratives about the real Hillary who was very liberal seem to be flat out rejections of Bill even by loyalists.

          1. Montanamaven

            And the voice is important. A grating nasal unpleasant voice subtly turns people off. People suggesting Al Franken run for president may want to listen to his vocal quality.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        About the UK, the theory on symbolic monarchies is the people with an innate need to worship leaders have the Queen to worship instead of the President and have a healthier skepticism of real political leaders. Also, the symbolic monarch being a glorified celebrity is actually cheaper than the President’s pomp.

        A good juxtaposition might be the fortress we build around the President such as Jill Biden’s community college being put in lock down for a surprise visit from Biden while David Cameron was photographed napping with 10 Downing Street’s resident ratter who goes where he pleases. Can you imagine the outrage if Socks could just walk up to a tourist on Pennsylvania Avenue?

      3. vidimi

        i think this is spot on and see it in myself. in france, despite knowing on an intellectual level that le pen would be worse than macron as a president, i secretly wanted macron to lose just because he comes across as a complete twat and has an eminently punchable face.

        although another important reason was the media’s love for him and the dishonest way he was portrayed (i.e. centrist rather than right-wing). i suspect spiting the media was also motivation for a lot of people who voted for trump.

        1. Andrew Watts

          Or maybe you possess a subconscious desire for rebellion and planned to set up barricades in the streets if Le Pen actually won. I’m kidding. Nor am I being judgmental as I’m pretty sure some of my old friends were fantasizing about enacting that scenario.

          Unlike America’s reactionary liberals the French left have their priorities straight.

    4. generic

      The main difference is that Corbyn won. Imagine Sanders would have become the party leader. He now needs. To work with people who despise him, mostly for the fact that he unfairly deprived them of their​ god given right to run affairs as they please. You’d get a similar level of leaks, anonymous briefings and outright sabotage as you see in Labour. And he is now the head of the party so at least some of the party’s stunts fall back on him. Meanwhile the dethroned Clintonites take all their loyalists in the press with them and spend most of their waking hours whining to them. Continue for two years, then stir.
      Also we shouldn’t forget that Corbyn’s foreign policy is far outside the mainstream whereas Sanders still signs AIPAC letters from time to time.

    5. Jeff W

      The short answer that Corbyn takes more of an anti-imperialist stance than Sanders does. Corbyn (rightly or wrongly) advances foreign policy positions that are unpopular in addition to—or, perhaps, ahead of—taking positions on domestic economic issues that are popular with his base.

    6. JohnnyGL

      I wanted to shoot a quick “thank you” comment to those who chimed in on my question from this morning. I think it’s an interesting one because there may be possible lessons that can be learned from the relatives successes and failures that we see from Sanders and Corbyn.

      Some of the highlights for me were:

      Darius and Carolinian pointing out that the Dems would have McGovern-ed Sanders pretty hard, had he won the nomination. And if he won the presidency, I think they would have Carter-ed him, too.

      AbateMagic pointed to contextual difference in party structure, asking who leads political parties in the US, and questioned what it means to be a ‘leader’ and be ‘presidential’.

      PlutoniumKun says it’s at least partially personal and Sanders is more charismatic.

      JeffW and generic pointed to foreign policy differences, Corbyn being much more overtly anti-imperialist.

      I’ll put my thoughts below:

      1) generic also pointed out that Corbyn won and Sanders didn’t.
      I think this is right that it makes him more of a lightning rod for the establishment. Corbyn grabbed(or maybe was handed) control of a major political party. That means the establishment smells danger. For Corbyn, himself, I get the feeling he didn’t really have a plan he was prepared to implement as he’s spent so much time as an activist and protest candidate. The same might have happened to Sanders, had he triumphed.

      2) PlutoniumKun is right about personal differences.
      He might be onto something with the point about Corbyn talking about nuclear arms giving the vibe that he’s a bit out of touch. Sanders is clearly a grandmaster of kitchen table issues. He’s been incredible with his ability to maintain focus on what he sees as the important stuff like higher wages, publicly funded higher education and healthcare. Without Sanders, the news would be all palace politics about Russia investigations and inside baseball in congress and in Trump’s team (of course, it still is, but Sanders just keeps hammering away). I actually think Sanders repeated disappointment on foreign policy issues partially comes from his incredible focus on the stuff that he’s confident in.

      I also think Sanders is more of a deal-maker who sits on the periphery, but is still influential and knows how to score understated, but important victories (like on ACA). Sanders immediately found himself in a very comfortable position after the election. He was still on the periphery, but much less so and now had more of a brand and a bigger megaphone. He clearly observed that what he was doing in 2016 was working and decided that he needed to do more of it. It’s still working.

      3) Societal context.
      I think the skimpier welfare state in the USA, especially the massive student debt problem creates circumstances where someone like Sanders finds a more receptive audience.

      4) The Trump factor creates fractured opposition whereas Corbyn is up against the entire British establishment.
      I think this is working to Sanders’ advantage here. Trump derangement syndrome is clearly a real thing and is deeply corroding the brain power of coastal media elites that cheer for team blue. They still haven’t come to grips with the reality that they lost to Trump and are obsessed with the idea of impeachment as a way of cutting short this ongoing ego-bruising they’re having to endure. It’s like Dems are okay with losing to another Bush or even an unelected Pence, but losing to Trump is an insult and an affront that they still can’t handle. This makes the Dem elite look more foolish to the public and reinforces the notion that they’re out of touch. To counteract this, they need to keep Sanders no more than arm’s length away because they quietly, reluctantly have to admit to themselves that they need Sanders’ voters to win elections, at least while they continue their long term project of lusting after wealthy suburban republican voters. Whenever it looks like Sanders is getting the better of the elites of team Dem, the knives come out for Sanders again. However, it doesn’t seem to be denting the popularity of Sanders.

      Corbyn is in a much tougher set of circumstances. Blairites in the Labor Party are, for the moment, happy to sabotage their own party as they focus on regaining control. They seem perfectly comfortable with May as PM and don’t mind waiting their turn. It’s too early to say Corbyn is failing. We’ll get a better read after the election, but facing a united British establishment is a much more difficult task.

      1. Jeff W

        I liked your recap and your take on both Corbyn and Sanders.

        Sanders is clearly a grandmaster of kitchen table issues. He’s been incredible with his ability to maintain focus on what he sees as the important stuff like higher wages, publicly funded higher education and healthcare.…I actually think Sanders repeated disappointment on foreign policy issues partially comes from his incredible focus on the stuff that he’s confident in.

        I don’t know what Corbyn’s background is but Sanders was a highly-regarded mayor of Burlington, a Congressman and now a Senator. In those situations, especially in a small state like Vermont, you really have to talk to the voters, I think.

        And I’ve also been impressed by his focus on higher wages, publicly funded higher education and healthcare also, not just because of those issues themselves, but because Sanders refuses to be drawn into the politics or the horse race or any of the trivial, idiotic topics that mainstream media likes to ask about. He doesn’t take the bait, he sets the terms and the frame of the conversation, and it makes him particularly impervious to attack.

        Sanders is clearly more confident on domestic issues than on foreign policy but I’ve always thought that his focus on domestic issues itself reflected a policy bias—we should be focusing far more on how to improve things at home rather than engaging in X abroad. (X is whatever the Washington Consensus says the US should be doing in foreign policy.) He’s by no means an isolationist and he’s not an anti-imperialist in the same way Corbyn is but he’s simply not interested in the “projection” (to use the international relations term) of US power around the globe.

        1. johnnygl

          Yes, he’s mastered keeping the dem party line at arm’s length. He’ll make a bland, generic statement on russia or syria that reflects a watered down beltway consensus view. He does enough so dems can’t complain he’s not playing along, but then quickly pivots back to his campaign speech.

          I think context matters here, too. His focus on issues wouldn’t work this well if the rest of the dems weren’t overcome with trump derangement syndrome and yelling about russia. If sanders had tried to start a new party or tried to push to close military bases all around the globe, i don’t think he’d resonate as much. People are desperate right now and they need solutions on immediate problems.

          Corbyn is stuck facing proud, delusional tories and blairites that want him out and don’t care what tories are doing.

          If a non-trump repub had won, things would be harder for sanders.

          1. Jeff W

            I agree completely. In a way it’s a “perfect storm” favoring Sanders.

            The fact that Trump—Trump (!)—the buffoonish reality show host who the Washington establishment laughed at—won against the reigning Washington establishment politician certainly gives credence to Sanders’ underlying critique. The Democrats can’t accept that critique—they’re in deep denial as well as being deeply cynical—so they’ve resorted to the Russia-Comey-etc. defense of why their candidate lost (i.e., anything but policy).

            If a non-Trump Republican had won, things would be harder for Sanders—it would be far less clear, at least in the minds of the media who really don’t want to know, what the voters were endorsing or rejecting. (In the typical US situation, where voters are asked to choose between two alternatives neither of which they want, it’s hard to say, on the basis of that choice, what they do want.)

            Sanders alone put things on the political agenda (Medicare-for-All, tuition-free college, higher minimum wage) that have been squelched by the Democrats for close to 40 years. It wasn’t even hard—I had been saying, like, forever, that it wasn’t hard—he just had to make a few simple statements. It wasn’t hard but he deserves the credit. He did it.

  5. ChrisAtRU

    The Return Of Tony Blair

    Christ, someone get me a bucket … early morning hurls are the worst.

    “During his lucrative wanderings …”

    I’d like to wander into something like a “reported retainer of two million pounds a year by the bank JPMorgan” just once in my sorry life of non-neoliberal galavanting

    And he has the balls to speak of “the left-wing irrelevance of Corbyn’s Labour” after he (Blair) scurried off “less than three months before the first run on a British bank since 1866” … but it’s all coming back to you now, isn’t it Tony? You “didn’t feel there was something that compelled” you (to come back from wandering) until BrExit threatened your gravy train. See, it’s all about you isn’t it Tony? If you were really interested in (potential) “millions of homeless” in UK, you wouldn’t find Corbyn’s policies irrelevant at all. But enough about the homeless … right?

    #FFS Just.Go.Away. And.Stay.Away.

    Very familiar with its relative Polistes Lanio (a.k.a. “Jack Spaniard” a.k.a. “Jep”) … aggressive little buggers!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “There is a naive-voter born every minute.”

      I think that’s the exact quote.

      New, inexperienced voters who are not likely to know, much less remember, events 10 years ago.

      New to the country voters.

      Plus old, forgetful voters.

      You go for those, you might go far.

    2. Andrew

      People like him always seem to land plum gigs, no matter what. And he takes a large share of the blame (though the rot started with Neil Kinnock) for turning the Labour party into the Red Tories and abandoning their base (the working classes). I find it amusing that he still thinks he’s relevant. He obviously can’t go away and enjoy his ill gotten gains.

  6. MoiAussie

    Flying to Europe? You Might Want to Encrypt Your Laptop First

    Indeed you might, but if doing it to protect commercially valuable data, you should probably avoid using bitlocker, which is suspected of being backdoored. The problem is that Microsoft has a bad record, on compromising security, and on its compromised security then becoming widely known. Even the CIA can’t keep hacking secrets safe nowadays, so compromised security is likely to be readily broken by bad actors.

    1. tony

      You might want to use a microSD or something like that. A lot harder to hack, since they would need to remove it from your person, and to do that they would need to know to look for it.

      1. David Mills

        Alternately, an encrypted external hard-disk. No battery means you can keep it with you… ish?

  7. Jim A

    um….wasps aren’t really an antidote for fear and tension… even if they are pretty and an example of eusocial living…

    1. justanotherprogressive

      I’d have to agree! We have a terrible wasp problem in my neighborhood – enough to keep several exterminators busy all summer! I usually have to have hives removed from my eaves at least twice a summer. If anyone knows why they choose neighborhoods or houses, please let me know!!! Or if anyone knows a way to make them stay away, that would be good too, because I really hate killing them all the time…..

          1. craazyboy

            I’m one of the lazy ones, but I firmly believe pollinators should just do it for fun.

            Now, if I could only golf well.

      1. polecat

        Just blast their nests with a strong jet of water on a coolish evening … they’ll disperse !

        I did that to a covered nest about the size of a cantaloupe (Hornets !) that had formed at the gable end of my shop building. The water disintegrates the paper, turning it to mush, and with no pesticides !! I have to be careful due to having honeybee hives in the vicinity.
        What remained of the ‘nest got fed to the hens ….. tasty wasp larvae … Yummy protein !

        1. Susan the other

          yes, I can confirm this cheap and easy technique, and you don’t have to stand there and do it all the time – sometimes when the nest is attached under a ridge, ledge, deck or something similar you can just position the hose and turn it on to a drizzle and leave it there for a few hours. Does the job.

    2. upstater

      Hey, the wasps may be on the eaves of Jamie Dimon’s modest beach cottage in the Hamptons, for all we know.

      There is always hope…

      1. Brian

        I see a connection between Jack Spaniard and Tony Blair. Little Tony Wasp, bloody useless until hidden in amber.

    3. Alex Morfesis

      What is wrong with wasps…they are great for keeping yards free of certain pests naturally…and have never had an aggressive one attack or even been worried…when they end up on the wrong part of the glass here in flow rid dah…I usually take a large clear leftover chinese soup takeout container with some heavy stock paper as a cover and take them outside to freedom…and off they go…bees, wasps, dragon flies and butterflies to me are the sign of a healthy wild garden without pesticides…

      1. cm

        What is wrong with wasps

        Wasps sting when not provoked. Particularly bad if young children are involved.

        Too late now for many, but the most effective time to set out traps is in early spring, when the queens are looking to set up a nest. Killing the queen at this point effectively removes hundreds of future wasps. At that point the queens are looking for protein, so meat is more effective than sugar.

      2. polecat

        I agree Alex Morfesis … by1000% !

        last year, I let a celery plant go to seed .. and while in flower, it drew ALL sorts of beneficial insects, including many wasp and bee species, some which could sting if provoked, all rather docile if watched but not ‘touched’ ‘;] I noted some very cool Ichneumon wasps in my observations ….
        So yeah, as you intimated, Insects barring stingers are OUR friends … Most of the time !!!

        1. lyman alpha blob

          After picking the large heads on my broccoli I’ve been letting the secondary smaller heads flower and go to seed in recent years. The late summer early/fall insects that are left, especially bumblebees, really enjoy it as all the other flowers have gone by in our area by that point.

        2. polecat

          With regard to traps, I take soda bottles (Large ones), cut off the top an inch below the shoulder, invert it, place it inside the ‘new rim, and either staple, or tape (aluminum duct type works well), then attach a wire hanger on it, and fill 1/3rd -1/2 with water/honey combo (sugar water or pop can be used, but not as effective). Works great !
          I do make a flap-shaped cut further up the trap (leave the bottom of flap UNCUT) so one can empty drowned wasps and old syrup before refilling. I use these when the wasps begin to predate on my bee hives in late summer. It doesn’t eliminate them, but does nock-down their numbers somewhat.

          PLEASE NOTE : Be careful while cutting bottle plastic … as cutting blades can SLIP or cut where you don’t want them to, such as fingers ! ‘;0 …. best to drill a small hole, and then proceed with a small scroll saw blade to complete the cut. FYI

    4. lyman alpha blob

      They are an antidote for that disturbing article on the disappearance of insects though.

      Just don’t throw rocks at their nest, as I learned the hard way when I was about 10, and you’ll be fine.

  8. financial matters

    I’ve been liking the things I’ve been hearing from Ron Paul.

    Taleb is definitely an interesting character, his book, ‘The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable’ was one of those books I had to read twice because I thought it had so much good information on how common unusual ‘game changer’ type events happen.

    NassimNicholasTaleb‏ @nntaleb

    In the presence of conflicting narratives, I resort to @RonPaul as there is not one fake bone in his body.

    1. PKMKII

      I’ve been liking the things I’ve been hearing from Ron Paul.

      What about the gold bug and Austrian nonsense?

      1. vidimi

        he’s often bonkers on economic policy (i.e. comparing socialised medicine to slavery) but at least it’s out of misguided beliefs, not corruption. on foreign policy he is as good as they come. that puts him in the top 1% of congresscritters of this millennium.

        1. HopeLB

          I recall Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich being the few voices of reason post 9/11 (and the few dissenting votes) at many critical junctures.

        2. Katharine

          But considering the importance of economic policy in the work of Congress, how much does it matter, practically, whether he is merely nuts or corrupt?

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          For a small country , gold standard offers an alternative to the Economic Hit Men of the world.

          That small country can issue bonds to international buyers.

          For the global hegemon, the gold standard gets in the way. In fact, it poses an existential threat

          “Sorry, no money for more color revolutions.”

          At home, the best thing we can do is to give all the gold in Fort Knox to the people…Gold People Power…or People Gold Power.

          In and of itself, gold is not bad. Don’t lust after it, but don’t fear it either.

          1. José

            One could also argue that in the European case adopting the gold standard would have been not as bad as adopting the euro.

            For one simple reason: it’s very easy for a country under the gold standard to either devalue the currency relative to gold or go altogether off gold. A mere stroke of the pen is suffficient in both cases – while unilaterally exiting the euro is so costly and risky that it’s virtually impossible.

            A country under the gold standard is not a full monetary sovereign – but it keeps its own currency. A Eurozone member lacks both sovereignty and a currency. That makes it much more a type of inmate of a prison with no exit than would be the case under gold.

          2. John k

            I fear it.

            Recessions prior to 1933 were depressions. GD was neither the longest or deepest in the previous century. Recession/ depression happened every 3.5 years. Banks and deposits can’t be saved… liquidate, liquidate, liquidate was the only solution, offering great opportunities to those not extended in the previous expansion. Totally disastrous system. And country size does not matter, if you can’t save the banks and depositors every few years you get routine chaos.

            During GD farmers were very near armed insurrection.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              During the Great Depression, the government removed gold from the private sector.

              FDR should have distributed gold from Fort Knox.

              Also, part of the reason for bank runs was not deposit insurance.

              If the government wants to give you and me gold, we should not fear that.

      2. financial matters

        Yes, agree that that’s nonsense. But Stephanie Kelton wasn’t even able to get through to Bernie Sanders. Also would be nice for Tulsi Gabbard to adopt a more MMT oriented economic stance. (understanding that money is available for useful projects.) Naomi Klein made it clear that political progress isn’t all that useful without economic progress. Wealth inequality should be one of the major themes for progressives.

        1. Susan the other

          I wish we could have a big fat brawl about “money”. As it stands now, the way we use it, it is a negative incentive. It causes all sorts of aberrations in what might otherwise become – finally – a good, sustainable human civilization. MMT is the logical beginning but I wish the MMTers would just take it over the top. They are too tame.

          1. financial matters

            It would be nice to get some prominent people on board, like actually Naomi Klein.

            Naomi is pushing to get carbon corporations to fund the bill where she could come out strong for state sponsored spending on green energy, more like Mariana Mazzucato. (The Entrepreneurial State and Rethinking Capitalism)

    2. sid_finster

      I may disagree with Dr. Paul on many of his beliefs, but his beliefs are held honestly and not because they happen to be convenient at the time

    3. HBE

      Millennial here.

      Ron Paul is largely the reason I ended up here at NC.

      Back when he ran in 2012, was the first time I was really exposed to non-mainstream worldviews especially on foreign policy and that was because Ron Paul actually said (and I think more importantly) believed in an alternative to imperialism and reached a mainstream audience (me) with those views.

      That led me to Greenwald back when he was at the fairly decent Rusbridger Era guardian. And from there I wound my way from Washingtonblog and zerohedge, to here.

      While I now disagree with most of Paul’s economic views, his foreign policy is still amazing, and without his impetus I’m wary to think about where I might be on the political spectrum.

      Unrelated but I’d be interested to know how others found NC.

        1. timotheus

          Found NC through Calculated Risk, which was doing excellent background on the housing debacle through the late Tanta.

          1. katiebird

            I think that’s how I got here too. But it may have been through Lambert’s Corrente. (I never go to Calculated Risk anymore….) It was back around the financial crisis. But not sure of the date 2008?

        2. JohnnyGL

          I caught on in 2007, friend of a friend thing. Once I started reading, things made too much sense when explained here.

          You guys knocked off the FT and Economist from the top rung on my regular reading hierarchy.

          Comments section is top notch, cross posts are great, cameos from Dave Dayen and Matt Stoller, lots of good news round up stuff in links and water cooler each day. Original content is consistently good, with some real home runs around 2007-8, Euro crisis, chain-of-title crisis and cover up, Greek crisis, especially, post-Syriza election was brutal, but Yves called her shot and called it right. 2016 election coverage was another big win. I’ve never seen so many ‘smart’ media pundits look so overtly worthless, but this site kept delivering quality stuff.

          I’ve just talked myself into making my annual donation. I’m going to go hit the tip-jar now.

        3. Scylla

          Late comment, but I found my way here via, which sadly no longer exists beyond an archive. One of the commenters there linked to something here. I want to say it was in early 2008, but not completely sure.

      1. Freda Miller

        I’m an aging hippy. My first presidential vote was for McGovern. I found NC through the now defunct Firedoglake in 2011 during the Occupy movement. It feels like home.

        1. robnume

          I found NC via ZeroHedge back in 2009-2010. And thank God I did. This blog is truly indispensable and through NC’s “Links” I found virtually all of the 49 RSS feeds present on my home page.
          Thanks so much, Yves, et al.

      2. Nic the Lurker

        I found NC through the Archdruid Report – JMG once mentioned that it was one of the only websites that he visited regularly.

      3. alex morfesis

        via yannis pappas as mister panos from a treasure hunter/gold bugger who was constantly reading 1(pl)edge and insisting gold was going to 5000…since crazy pants and me dont mesh…went down the blog roll and found marc2market and then peace at nc…

      4. Ed Miller

        Another one from the 2008 financial crisis – I believe I found NC through Barry Ritholtz ( but it could have been Calculated Risk because I was reading both at that time. I am still amazed at how the MSM failed to report the facts back then. This changed my whole view of this country.

      5. Aumua

        I don’t know how I got here.

        But.. it’s as good a place as any I suppose, to hang out.

      6. financial matters

        I was very interested in the financial crisis and was following a paid subscription Roubini service when he made the mistake of linking to this site. :)

        I found it much better and free. (So yes I like to contribute to the tip jar).

        The commentariat is the best around and they and the owners have steered me in many useful directions. A very helpful place to refine my thinking.

  9. S Haust

    Who are the Justice Democrats? Do they have a party? An organization?
    They are apparently already putting forward specific candidates for 2018
    congressional elections. What are the chances any of them might succeed?

      1. Katharine

        They are collaborating with Brand New Congress to such an extent that I have not figured out why they formed a separate organization.

        1. Vatch

          It does seem to be a bit peculiar. Perhaps the answer is that the Justice Democrats are willing to endorse existing members of Congress who support their goals, but that Brand New Congress will only endorse non-incumbents?

          Q. What about good candidates already in Congress? Are you going to run against them?

          A. We won’t run against candidates that fully support the Justice Democrats platform. We believe many current members of Congress will support this plan, and we expect that as the campaign becomes stronger, more and more members of Congress will endorse our platform.

          1. Katharine

            But I don’t think Brand New Congress absolutely rules out existing members if they are sufficiently progressive. They’re not crazy enough to waste resources trying to replace someone sufficiently progressive to work with.

            1. Vatch

              Well, I don’t know. But this part of their web site seems to imply that they don’t want incumbents. Maybe I’m wrong.


              Basically, we want to do what we have to do as a country and remove ‘politically impossible’ as a reason not to do it. It will take at least until 2020 to achieve all of that, but the first step is to achieve a majority in the House and win as many of the 33 seats up for re-election in the Senate as possible in 2018.

              Our plan to accomplish this is to recruit over 400 extraordinary ordinary Americans to challenge both Democrats and Republicans in congressional primary races across the country in order to replace almost all of Congress in one fell swoop. These will be people who have track records of integrity and service in their communities and who are not all career politicians — we’re looking for nurses, teachers, engineers, scientists, factory workers, and so on. They will represent not just all the various professions in our country (unlike our current Congress which represents mostly lawyers), but also be representative of our population’s demographics — more than half of them will be women and we will have just representation for people of color. Every candidate we recruit, regardless of party, will be a firm believer in the Brand New Congress platform and pledge to work to enact it once elected to office.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                I don’t see Justice Democrats adopting this strategy at all.

                I think of Brand New Congress is offering the perform the “back office functions” for candidates (i.e., replacing parties as institutions, as opposed to ballot lines) and policy could, I suppose, be thought of as a back office function.

                It’s an interesting idea.

              2. Katharine

                I was concerned about that and asked them, and what I was told was:

                You can be confident … we’re not going to be picking fights with acceptable progressives when there are much, much more important seats to score.

    1. armchair

      They’re going to primary blue dog and corporatist democrats. Candidates are being chosen as we speak.

        1. Katharine

          Oops! Finally grasped that you meant run people against such Democrats, not run such Democrats. Sorry. I seem to be missing on at least one cylinder today, and having never accepted primary as a verb I failed to read it right. Sorry!

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      They seem to emanate from Cenk Uygur and The Young Turks (and for that reason I didn’t take them all that seriously*). They have some ex-Sanders staffers on board. I believe they have some Silicon Valley funding.

      * Partly because media, partly because I’d prefer that media not become more politicized tha it already is.

  10. Jim Haygood

    From a Goldman Sachs analyst report, quoted at the Z site:

    Ahead of the upcoming iPhone 8 product cycle in the fall, we take a look at the potential implications for Apple’s P&L from what we expect to be the first $1,000 iPhone.

    Sticker shock: I would stoutly resist paying more than $500 for a phone (though I’ve never even paid that much). Same principle as buying a 2-3 year old car instead of a new one. All of the basic functions are there, although it may fail Veblen’s conspicuous consumption test, if possessing an “object of desire” is how you struggle to impress peers and romantic partners.

    Apple had better pray that iPhone 8 don’t rhyme with the disastrous Windows 8. Eight is considered lucky in China because it rhymes with the word for wealth, but the “eight magic” don’t work in the anglosphere, as exemplified by the expression “behind the eight ball.”

    Operator, well let’s forget about this call
    There’s no one there I really wanted to talk to
    Thank you for your time
    Ah, you’ve been so much more than kind
    You can keep the dime

    — Jim Croce

    1. Carolinian

      $10 gets you a Tracphone as used by poor people. Give Apple credit for their masterful marketing snow job.

      1. fresno dan

        May 12, 2017 at 10:14 am

        I lost my 10$ tracfone and got the advanced (sarc) 20$ tracfone flipphone, which I like much, much better, as I never understood where the best place to listen to the old rectangular box one was, as well as where was I suppose to speak into the thing?

        1. Carolinian

          I’ve used Tracfones and their cell coverage is pretty good! Of course with a flip phone you are missing out on all those Youtubes.

        2. sleepy

          I love my flip net10 phone, owned by the tracfone company. Plus in my experience their help service is surprisingly good if you run into problems. The phone was $10 and $25/month buys all the minutes and text I could ever use.

          1. robnume

            I used tracfone for years and years. I don’t use mobile phones all that much; I don’t like being on a leash. I recently bought a “smartphone” because my sons have started families and I love having new and portable pictures of my grandsons to tote around so I pretty much bought the damned thing to be able to skype with them and stuff like that. I don’t do any type of social media so I can’t see them on Faceborg or Twitter. My iPod classic recently broke so I also use the “smartphone” when I take my daily long walks to listen to music on Pandora.
            I downloaded the National Weather Service app and I do have fun with their satellite, using it as a live atlas. I uninstalled pretty much all of the apps that came with the thing since I don’t like their TSA’s.
            If I didn’t have those grandkids I would still be using tracfone. I paid less than $10.00 per month, since I only reloaded 120 minutes every 2-3 months. And it doesn’t spy on you!

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From Chinese Numerology, Wikipedia:

      The word for “eight” (八 Pinyin: bā) sounds similar to the word which means “prosper” or “wealth” (發 – often paired with “發財” during Chinese New Years, but is used alone or paired with numerous other “compound words” that have a meaning of luck or success, Pinyin: fā). In regional dialects the words for “eight” and “fortune” are also similar, e.g., Cantonese “baat3” and “faat3”. The word is also phonetically similar to the word for a hundred (百), alluding to greater wealth. Note as well, this particular symbol matches the mathematical symbol of infinity. While Chinese does have other words for luck, this full understanding of luck that includes the infinity concept marries into a Chinese understanding of this particular word.
      There is also a visual resemblance between two digits, “88”, and 囍, the “shuāng xĭ” (“double joy”), a popular decorative design composed of two stylized characters 喜 (“xĭ” meaning “joy” or “happiness”).
      The number 8 is viewed as such an auspicious number that even being assigned a number with several eights is considered very lucky.
      In 2003, A telephone number with all digits being eights was sold for CN¥2.33 million (approximately US$280,000) to Sichuan Airlines in Chengdu, China.[2]
      The opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing began on 8/8/08 at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 pm local time (UTC+08).[3]
      China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia and Singapore use the time zone UTC+08:00.
      A man in Hangzhou offered to sell his license plate reading A88888 for ¥1.12 million (roughly $164,000).[3]
      A Chinese man in Las Vegas purchased bulb #8 and #88 from the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on 8/8/2008.
      The Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia each have 88 floors.
      The minivan that GM makes for the Chinese market is called the Buick GL8, but the minivans it sold in other countries didn’t have that name.
      The Air Canada route from Shanghai to Toronto is Flight AC88.
      The KLM route from Hong Kong to Amsterdam is Flight KL888.
      The Etihad Airways route from Abu Dhabi to Beijing then onwards to Nagoya is Flight EY888.
      The United Airlines route from Beijing to San Francisco is Flight UA888, the route from Beijing to Newark is Flight UA88, and the route from Chengdu to San Francisco is Flight UA8.
      The Air Astana route from Beijing to Almaty is Flight KC888.
      The British Airways route from Chengdu to London is Flight BA88.
      One of Cathay Pacific’s flight numbers from Hong Kong to Vancouver and New York is CX888.
      Singapore Airlines reserves flight numbers beginning with the number 8 to routes in China.
      SriLankan Airlines reserves flight numbers beginning with the number 8 to routes in China.
      The US Treasury has sold 70,000 dollar bills with serial numbers that contain 4 eights.[4]
      Boeing delivered the 8,888th 737 to come off the production line to Xiamen Airlines. The airplane, a Next-Generation 737-800, features a special livery commemorating the airplane’s significance.[5]
      In Singapore, a breeder of rare Dragon fish (Asian Arowana) (which are “lucky fish” and being a rare species, are required to be microchipped), makes sure to use numbers with plenty of eights in their microchip tag numbers, and appears to reserve particular numbers especially rich in eights and sixes (e.g., 702088880006688) for particularly valuable specimens.[6][7]
      As part of grand opening promotions, a Commerce Bank branch in New York’s Chinatown raffled off safety deposit box No. 888.
      An “auspicious” numbering system was adopted by the developers of 39 Conduit Road Hong Kong, where the top floor was “88” – Chinese for double fortune. It is already common in Hong Kong for ~4th floors not to exist; there is no requirement by the Buildings Department for numbering other than that it being “made in a logical order.”[8] A total of 43 intermediate floor numbers are omitted from 39 Conduit Road: those missing include 14, 24, 34, 54, 64, all floors between 40 and 49; the floor number which follows 68 is 88.
      Similar to the common Western practice of using “9” for price points, it is common to see “8” being used in its place to achieve the same psychological effect. So for example menu prices like $58, $88 are frequently seen.

      You wouldn’t expect a socialist country to be so superstitious as to open the Olympics at a certain time.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps iPhone 9 is the one to get, for Chinese phone buyers.

        The number 9 is associated with the emperor.

    3. reslez

      After 3 or so years smartphones stop getting security updates. You do NOT want an unpatched phone.

  11. Jim Haygood

    For today’s CPI release, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has revised its format to include an exciting new technology — charts! See for yo self:

    Headline CPI is running at 2.2% (trailing 12 months) while the core rate checks in at 1.9%.

    Of course, Fedsters have their own inflation indicator: the dull-as-dishwater core Personal Consumption Expenditures, which moves with all the alacrity of an elephant zoned out on carfentanil.

    Nevertheless, inflation is about where the central planners said they wanted it to be.

    1. Katharine

      Charts! Is this like the utility company introducing little bar graphs to track your usage and changing the format every couple of years as they make your bill easier to read (sic)?

      1. polecat

        What a rip-off !! Crapifying the billing so one has an even harder time trying to parse a month’s energy/water consumption charges from the previous years ‘less costly’ fees/rents ….

        Sorry for the rant, but it seems that EVERY statistic, put out by ANY level of government, is a LIE !

  12. vidimi

    guillotine watch:

    If you spill some cabernet, no worries: pick up the phone and within minutes a man in a blazer will wheel in a cart with Calvin Klein socks, Banana Republic dress shirts, Anne Klein blouses and Steve Madden shoes. If the weather at your destination looks a bit damp help yourself to a water-resistant jacket.

    If in need of some Hunger Games-style schadenfreude check out the iPad showing the hoi polloi running gauntlets over at the main terminal.

  13. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Donald Trump has no idea what health insurance costs Vox

    I often ask Obamacare enrollees what they think would be a fair price for health insurance. Usually I hear something between $50 and $100 seems reasonable. The mental math going on here is that you have to pay something in order to get a plan that will cover doctor visits and hospital trips and prescription drugs. They know, from their experience, that health coverage is not as cheap as $15, and have more realistic assumptions than the one Trump makes in this answer.

    Is she seriously suggesting that $50 or $100 per month is more “realistic” than $15, or that obamacare defenders, who routinely ignore un-meetable deductibles and narrowing networks, do have “an idea what health insurance ‘costs’?”

    This is just pure piling-on, which seems to be preferable, these days, to making substantive, constructive suggestions that might actually address the issues.

      1. Brian

        It if it is true and 16% of our populuation works in the health denial business, and it is true that only about 10% of those do actual health care work, what does that tell you about busy work, and the billions in salary to uneccesary paper shufflers?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Exactly. Nobody else knows what health care costs either, except in the aggregate, because the pricing structure is opaque and riddled by gaming and phishing.

        Of course, “free at the point of care” is the way to go, so $15 is high.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    ‘Single Payer! Single Payer!’: Key Trumpcare Backer Drowned Out During Town Hall Common Dreams (MR). Lots of detail.

    Recently, incremental progress was mentioned here.

    Public Option first, then Single Payer later.

    Surprising there were no shouts of “Public Option, Public Option’ there by the more practical attendees.

    1. Eureka Springs

      I’m thinking H.R. 676, or just 676, might be a better/more specific chant. Otherwise single payer could be bastardized/used in a private option bill.

      Also been wondering:

      Why Sanders doesn’t jump on the 676 bandwagon rather than drag out (years in waiting now) a bill of his own?

      Is there a better bill/single payer plan than 676?

      Also been wondering if Sanders will run again. If so, say so now. If not, say so now and find /announce another ASAP.

      All of this does not mean I would vote for him… but it seems most prudent for him and his base supporters.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        About Sanders age, 77 and campaigning is not 73, and Sanders rally strategy around the country and not in say Iowa or Nevada (where he lost close margins) always struck me as avoiding some of the rigors of meet and greet campaigning which will come back without a celebrity candidate such as Obama and Hillary or even Trump who could command a certain crowd size or at least enough media attention.

        Look at Pelosi, Feinstein, and Waters in recent days. 77, 83, and 78. You can see their anger over Trump, but they don’t seem to be as credible as they used to be. Pelosi unlike most Congress Critters has a real job in Speaker. She actually has to do stuff everyday. She works for 180 or so people in a way. I checked this yesterday, but if ballotpedia is up to date, Waters is serving on one committee the last few years.

        A 77 year old run that is serious and not Mike Gravel style (which was awesome) would be a terrible idea. Assume Bernie Sanders will not run for President unless he is suffering from old age’s effect on the mind. If Bernie had not been actively searching for people to run against Hillary, his eventual run might have been easy to dismiss as an old man. Given Sanders almost did it, it would be best if he wasn’t encouraged. He’s a Senator. Hes still a narcissist.

        Sanders age was a legitimate concern in the Spring of last year, just not next to a 69 year old. Hillary’s mother (how old was she? 147?) was alive in 2008 if I recall, and she seemed alert on tv. That alone probably diffused question about Hillary’s age this cycle.

      2. marym

        It’s extremely important IMO to reference HR 676 and to keep concepts like public financing, public administration, and not-for-profit in the discussion.

        HR 676 addresses most of the mostly false or alarmist trolling of single payer, for example. in today’s Health Affairs “Premium Support” post, the claim that it would raise taxes (without analyzing the kinds of taxes or savings on out-of-pocket costs, or claiming it wouldn’t be as good as employer based coverage).

        In addition HR 676 has provisions for salary continuation and priority job placement for insurance company workers; migration of private provider entities to strictly public or non-profit; and price negotiation. All are much better grounds for discussion than just a reference to single payer.

        Sanders has introduced a bill in the past that was similar to HR 676, but with some differences. One was that it was a state-by-state plan, not a national plan. I think during the presidential campaign he may have been persuaded to change his recommendation to a national plan.

      3. Elizabeth Burton

        My thoughts on Bernie’s wanting his own bill in the Senate is that having two provides more wiggle room. It also keeps the opposition having to expend time, effort, and money attacking two targets, which might not be a bad thing. Finally, given the ratios of GOP to Dems in both houses, he may be thinking that if 676 gets shot down in flames, there’s still a chance of finding enough courageous moderate Republicans fearful of losing their seats to help support it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It was back in March. I just googled it, morphing Single Payer into Public Option.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > there were no shouts of “Public Option, Public Option’

      I think people are tired of adding yet more moving parts to what is already a Rube Goldberg device.

    3. Daryl

      I’m quite amazed at single payer being chanted anywhere, granted that people who attend a “town hall” are probably not representative of the general population.

  15. HBE

    Insects disappearing.

    They are measuring the insects we see, but almost just as important as bees to plant growth, and especially important to soil health are the multitude of insects that live and interact within soil.

    If these are dissappearing at the same rate, crop yields will drop (continue to drop?), soil will degrade and dissappear even faster, and we will end up in a very bad place.

    We only have about 200 years of topsoil left, 1inch of topsoil takes 100-500 years to form naturally (if you are bringing in soil or anything external to the area of degradation you are not renewing you are externalizing).

    Now that disappearing topsoil is even less productive, as more and more food is needed due to uncontrolled population growth.

    Goodbye insects, Mass starvation here we come.

    1. subgenius

      See above. Most comments were distinctly anti wasp. The idea of the preeminence of man continues to hold in the minds of the unenlightened. Chances of change are slim. Chances of survival are increasingly slim as a result.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The headline is wrong. IIRC there are two separate tweets. From memory:

      1) Staff can’t speak with perfect accuracy because Trump is Trump and volatile (my summary), which is, in its way, an alibi for the staff.

      2) Maybe we should just cancel press conference and do handouts (my summary), which is a dig at the press for putative misreporting

      Not to go to the mat for Trump, but during the campaign we often found that Trump wasn’t quoted accurately. I don’t think “any stick to beat a dog” is a good tactic at any time, and there’s a lot of that going around. Trump is also a world-class troller and sh*t-stirrer, and I don’t think hysteria at every tweet is a useful response.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Jihad on Drugs redux:

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned the sweeping criminal charging policy of former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and directed his federal prosecutors Thursday to charge defendants with the most serious, provable crimes carrying the most severe penalties.

    The Holder memo, issued in August 2013, instructed his prosecutors to avoid charging certain defendants with drug offenses that would trigger long mandatory minimum sentences. Defendants who met a set of criteria such as not belonging to a large-scale drug trafficking organization, gang or cartel, qualified for lesser charges — and in turn less prison time — under Holder’s policy.

    But Sessions’s new charging policy, outlined in a two-page memo and sent to more than 5,000 assistant U.S. attorneys across the country and all assistant attorneys general in Washington, orders prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” and rescinds Holder’s policy immediately.

    What a horror: fill the Gulag to bursting; bust up families; ruin lives — all to act out Ku Klux Jeff’s medieval fanaticism regarding forbidden substances.

    As the designers of the Jihad — Nixon and Agnew — well understood, it functions with wonderful precision to target minorities. Round up the usual brown folks.

    Of course, the Congressional Black and Hispanic caucuses will promptly introduce legislation to reinstitute Holder’s more lenient policy. Ha ha, just kidding! ;-)

    This is the dark side of R party: its scorched earth social conservatism. Retrograde policies like this one render me entirely indifferent, should the Trump administration suffer a meltdown.

    1. Vatch

      I tried to reply with a comment about civil asset forfeiture, but I ended up trapped in Captcha, and couldn’t get out. Oh well. Sessions is Orwellian.

    2. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      May 12, 2017 at 10:18 am

      Marijuana legalization, the dawning realization of the ….dare I use the word “carnage”….across the land, and the whole zeitgeist is that the war on drugs was a….bust (pun intended)
      Why O why are there so many dead enders in the republican party??? Might as well have elected JEB!

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      It’s just legally reinstituting slavery, as should have been obvious decades ago when Slick Willy launched it.

  17. marym

    Between the Health Affairs “Premium Support” post and this from Vox [emphasis added]:

    “Single-payer, I think we should have that debate as a nation,” Aetna chief executive Mark Bertolini said Thursday.
    “The government doesn’t administer anything. the first thing they’ve ever tried to administer in social programs was the ACA, and that didn’t go so well. So the industry has always been the back room for government. If the government wants to pay all the bills, and employers want to stop offering coverage, and we can be there in a public private partnership to do the work we do today with Medicare, and with Medicaid at every state level, we run the Medicaid programs for them, then let’s have that conversation.”

    are we seeing it the preemptive privatization of single payer?

    1. Pat

      Absolutely. Otherwise…

      So the good thing is that people who would lose the most with single payer are trying to get in front of it. IF it were dead in the water they wouldn’t bother. The bad thing is they very well could get their sticky greedy hands on the controls and screw it up.

      1. Toolate

        And very likely will mind you. But it needn’t be so. Take Switzerland for example

          1. Toolate

            If we could remotely approach their success I think we would all be delighted.
            Not that I think it likely.

    2. a different chris

      >The government doesn’t administer anything


      I guess I should check on the whole thing and see if that remark is carefully constrained to health care. But of course even that would be comically misinformed by somebody who somehow got to be a CEO of a major company.

      Actually being comically misinformed now seems to be how you get to be etc.

      1. marym

        The medical loss ratio for Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, and Medicaid managed care is 85%. For ACA exchange private insurance it’s 80-85%. This is far more than the 2%-3% administration cost for regular not-for-profit Medicare.

  18. David

    For those who are following Macron’s progress (the coronation is on Sunday) the Local’s story gives a good idea of where things are. It’s clear that team Macron put most of their effort into the Presidential elections, and didn’t give the parliamentary elections the attention they deserved. Some cock-ups are inevitable for a completely new party, of course, but these mistakes are bound to have an impact on Macron’s image: he has so far been uncritically presented by the media as a kind of boy-wonder savior of the nation. The interesting point is Bayrou though. There was a lot of speculation at the time of his declaration of support for Macron about what he was getting in exchange. As of today, it looks like nothing at all. Had Bayrou run in the first round, he might well have peeled off enough of Macron’s support to stop the young chap getting into round two. It now looks as if Macron has stiffed him, just as he hung Valls out to dry. This looks like turning into a government of Me, Myself and I.

  19. temporal

    Perhaps one of the more irritating stories of the day.

    The DNC has a new CEO

    Veteran Democratic operative Jess O’Connell will take the reins as the CEO of the Democratic National Committee, the DNC announced Friday morning, putting her in charge of its day-to-day operations as she oversees its rebuilding project.

    The DNC as an institution was largely hollowed out last year after a Russian hack and subsequent email leak forced the ouster of then-Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in July over accusations that she had favored Hillary Clinton over Sanders during the primary. The committee’s value to the party had diminished during Barack Obama’s presidency, as he put little emphasis into using the DNC as the party’s central political mechanism.

    Russian hack asserted as proven, quadrupling down on identity politics and rebuilding the DNC to look more like a corporate entity. Almost certainly a winning strategy.

    1. a different chris

      Beyond the “asserted as proven”, it would be nice (connecting with my other comment about the cluelessness at high levels) if DWS just got fired because she sucked at her job.

      1. John k

        She was tremendous at her job!
        She was given the task of getting herself the nom, and succeeded! And without a single populist position!

        Mission accomplished.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      So despite the crisis of the Democratic Party, its taken Perez three months to fill this role…i sure am glad we have “pragmatic adults” at the DNC who are ready to roll.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      I liked the part where the DNC hadn’t decided to whether or not to publish their reports on the election.

      Also that they were only just now hiring people. The administration isn’t the only Beltway institution with empty seats, apparently. Obama was a real neutron bomb for the party….

  20. optimader

    Edible insects could play key role in cutting harmful emissions Science Daily

    Who doesn’t like a nice Arthropod with strained butter once in a while ?

    1. Vatch

      If we had a working time machine, we could dine on members of the Arthropod sub-phylum Trilobitomorpha. Do people eat horseshoe crabs?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        According to the internets, we can only eat the eggs which probably explains why I’ve never had any.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To diversify one’s 401K portfolio, it is said that one should not buy shares in the company one works for.

      Somehow, by disregarding that advice, owning a few shares in the company one slaves for will stop jobs from being shipped overseas?

      Does he believe the government should nationalize banks or drug companies?

      1. jrs

        There is a difference between owning a few shares and ownership. Employee ownership would be full ownership. It’s true employee stock plans might be just a few token shares (which may or may not be a good investment for an employee, but have absolutely nothing to do with ownership and control). So equating employee ownership with ESOP, as these proposals might, doesn’t seem to make sense.

        Nationalizing banks and drug companies isn’t even designed to address the same issue that employee ownership is, which is working conditions, not the whole of every possible thing that might be wrong with the economic system (including externalities), but primarily the workers powerlessness in this economic system. Something nationalizing banks and drug companies might not do (they still might be terrible places to work afterall).

        It’s true worker owned businesses are a very small part of the economy, which is a decent reason for some skepticism IMO. But maybe favorable bills could help as long as they aren’t equivocating between owning a few shares and real daily control over the business. Because worker owned businesses do I think need some government help to become a larger share of the economy.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I ask the questions because the economy is dominated by big corporations.

          Is it possible for workers to have full ownership of Apple, Amazon or Chase bank by buying shares themselves? It’s good the corner pizza place is employee owned and I will do business there. The real impact is with the big companies, who will send jobs overseas. If workers had the money, why hadn’t they bought up Amazon already?

          I can see a socialist or communist government nationalize a humongous corporation and turn it over to the workers.

          1. Jeff W

            “It’s true worker owned businesses are a very small part of the economy…”

            In the US, worker-owned businesses have very little support, politically or financially.

            In Italy, by contrast, the Marcora Law allows a group of ten unemployed workers to receive a lump sum of money as capital for a cooperative, instead of the monthly payments they could receive as individuals. As a result, two out of every three people in the Emilia Romagna region of northern Italy belong to worker coops which produce about one-third of that region’s GDP. (I’m not sure what to make of the fact that two-thirds of the workers produce one-third of the GDP.)

  21. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Human ancestry correlates with language” — Although this link seemed more like an extended discussion of statistics and arcane techniques for genome studies than a report on what I understood as the very recent and essentially common orgins of present day humankind — the link reminded me of other links I ran across a few months ago following leads from one of Noam Chomsky’s recent lectures.
    The short version — []. Chomsky the linguistics professor has been speaking to punctuate his concepts of the innate capabilities of the human cognition coupled with the theme how innate capabilities are innate limitations on what we can truly know and understand. There are several hour plus lectures on youtube exploring these themes and calling attention to recent work substantiating what is one of Chomsky’s life works. I haven’t been able to parse it all yet but what I have grasped is extremely intriguing — relating to questions of consciousness, AI, what makes us human and how remarkably recent and homogeneous humankind is relative to other creatures.

    “What happened in the origin of human consciousness?”

    “The precedence of syntax in the rapid emergence of human language in evolution as defined by the integration hypothesis”

    “Language as a Critical Factor in the Emergence of Human Cognition”

    1. Susan the other

      I really enjoyed that article/research too. And yes, reading it was like incipient brain damage – because I didn’t have the words! But I got the drift. I suspect the origin of human consciousness is just finding the right word ;-). When it said that “ancestries (variations in genes) fluctuated but remained distinct long enough to correlate with language” I thought that was the coolest sentence I had almost ever read. And the conclusion to all those correlations was to point out that evolution of the genome is kinda socio-cultural. So which came first, the gene variation or the word? Hmmm.

    2. makedoanmend

      Thanks for the links. Verrry interesting stuff.

      Twas funny (as in strange) that I was pondering upon how inflection and audible emphasis on specific words or phrases can completely change the meaning of a sentence (thought) only this very a.m. How near to this is bird song which changes inflection (and possibly meaning)?

    3. subgenius

      innate capabilities of the human cognition coupled with the theme how innate capabilities are innate limitations on what we can truly know and understand.

      Godel got into the ballpark with the incompleteness theorem….put simply, a system cannot be understood from inside…

  22. rich

    The Audacity of Sleaze: Profiles in Corruption

    Photo by Carlos Pacheco | CC BY2.0

    It actually doesn’t take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential.
    — Barack Obama, Acceptance Speech for the Kennedy Library Foundation’s “Profiles in Courage” Award, May 7, 2017

    What could be more absurd than Drone War King Barack Obama getting an award for courage?

    The speech that Obama gave after getting the 2017 “Profiles in Courage” prize from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation last Sunday – that’s what.

    The Venality of Hope

    In his ponderous address, Obama showed that his aptitude for grandiose, fake-progressive oratory has not been extinguished by dips with Richard Branson in the cool Caribbean (more on that below). Obama’s brash Orwellian chutzpah was on grand display. He praised freshly elected Congresspersons for having the “political courage” to “save the financial system…even when it was unpopular” in 2009.

    Yes, these dauntless peoples’ representatives had the epic valor required to boldly defy public opinion by expanding a major taxpayer bailout to the well-heeled Wall Street parasites who crashed the national and global economy through their selfish and reckless behavior –opulent bloodsuckers who grant lucrative salaries, speaking fees, and other neoliberal disbursements to not-so public officials who do their bidding while “serving” (the Few) in government.

    Ask Obama. Ex-prez “O” has been spotted kiteboarding with Branson, the British billionaire airline mogul,

    who is leading the charge for the privatization of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service.

    Obama’s been seen boating in the Pacific with Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, and Bruce Springsteen on a $300 million luxury yacht owned by recording mogul billionaire David Geffen. The Obamas reached an eight-figure publishing deal ($65 million) for his-and-her memoirs on their years in the White House. And Obama will speak for $400,000 at a Wall Street health care conference in September, hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald LP.

    Nothing says, “show me the money” like POTUS on your resume. Call it the Audacity of Sleaze. The Venality of Hope.

    “The Ultimate Owner”

    “Mr. Mendacity of Hope.” from article says it all…..

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We knew this was going to happen, more certain than Trump gets a hotel project in Russia in the future.

    2. polecat

      ‘The courage to grift’ !

      It’s a big club … and he’s finally in it …

      … along w/ the wifey and girls …

      1. Jim Haygood

        I might actually buy Obama’s book if he titles it Nothing Down: My Epic Journey From Tiny to Trillions.

        Though The Courage To Grift is admirably crisp. :-)

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I was wondering what he was getting at there.

      So much nonsense it’s hard to keep track of what’s true but IIRC, the reason they defenestrated Flynn was because he claimed one thing and then the spooks came out and said that didn’t match what he said on the recording they had. (Of course the fact that the spooks are recording everything anyone in DC says is just taken for granted, but that’s another issue).

      Is he implying that when Comey starts chirping, he has recordings that might contradict what Comey says?

      Very odd, much like that “I know you told me three times I wasn’t under investigation but you’re fired anyway” line he threw at him.

      Could be he’s crazy like a fox but judging by other comments and actions he’s made, it seems like that would be giving credit where it isn’t remotely due.

      1. fresno dan

        lyman alpha blob
        May 12, 2017 at 2:08 pm

        Apparently, if it is not outright bribery, what exactly did Flynn do wrong? The non reporting of foreign contacts is obviously wrong and something Flynn is guilty of, but I don’t its all that big a deal. Proving actual “collusion” and “conspiracy” I think would not be possible.

        I think the only person who can really harm Trump is Trump….and I think Trump is up to the task. I think this is where Trump’s sense of grievance and vainglorious self image can do Trump real harm. One gets the impression that the blob thinks DISCUSSING sanctions – with Russians – before Trump was inaugurated is a crime – something I do not believe is true (I would appreciate if anyone can speak on this authoritatively). But if Trump believes – from watching TV – that the kerfuffle over sanctions is something he could never own up to, I could see Trump denying that he ever was involved. Does Trump HAVE tapes???
        Trump is getting himself ever deeper into subpoena land – and Trump’s thoughtless answers that he provides that are inconsistent will be to people and institutions that will have the means to take actions much graver than yammering about 2 scoops of ice cream on cable TVee….
        Just because your paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to getcha…..but if you break the laws, than you fall right into their hands….
        Gerald Ford – An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history; conviction results from whatever offense or offenses two-thirds of the other body considers to be sufficiently serious to require removal of the accused from office.

        Are the repubs so anti Russian that they will give up Trump? Trump may get himself in a situation that he has to discredit the 17 intelligence agencies – I’m thinking the repubs are more tied to the MIC than they are to Trump….

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think Trump’s lawyer would tell him to put a sock in right now. Apparently, there’s a well-known dynamic where accused people, even innocent ones, spout off when they feel attacked and do themselves damage.

          1. fresno dan

            Lambert Strether
            May 12, 2017 at 3:12 pm

            “I think Trump’s lawyer would tell him to put a sock in (it) right now.”
            I was a union representative when I was at FDA – and getting people to shut up was the most difficult task I had.
            Do you think Trump CAN refrain from spouting off?

  23. JTMcPhee

    “Macaroon’s France Aims To Challenge Germany.”

    I thought all that France vs. Germany stuff was going to be cured by mooshing all the bits of Europe together in one great tradingspace with no borders and common currency and well-crafted rules for everything? Who would have thought that ancient nationalism coupled to neoliberal innovation would come out the way it seems to be going, “Deutschland uber alles,” vs “La Marseillaise” noch einmal?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      With the UK aligning with whoever that will prevent continental hegemony.

  24. allan

    Austerity can literally kill. From December:

    NHS Hospitals Putting Data At Risk With Outdated Windows XP [Silicon UK]

    Back in April 2014, Microsoft officially ended support for Windows XP, once its most popular operating system (OS) which was favoured my many businesses and government agencies around the world. …

    The UK government [paid] Microsoft the princely sum of £5.5 million to continue providing security support for Windows XP. This deal came to an end in May 2015 and was not renewed, with a the government citing “good progress in moving away from Windows XP across departments and government organisations”. …

    However, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by Motherboard to over 70 NHS Hospital Trusts revealed that thousands of NHS computers across the UK are running the outdated OS, potentially leaving confidential patient data vulnerable to attack. …

    With around 18 months to go, the revelation that so many NHS Hospitals are still running outdated and unprotected software is a worrying one, especially as the threat landscape is continuing to develop at an alarming rate. …

    How’s that working out for you today, Theresa May?

    1. Jim Haygood

      She’s got the IT boffins working 24/7 to migrate the NHS app over to COBOL. ;-)

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        I feel that deprecating XP was like the deprecation of COBOL and mainframes.

        With today’s technology, you can patch a working system like crazy. With today’s management, building a new one is a MF. And CF.

    2. WeakendSquire

      The NHS–exhibit A for why single-payer is just as bad as private insurance, and possibly worse–endless opportunities for incompetence, corruption, and outright theft, the beneficiaries of which depend only on which group of foxes are running the henhouse. Give me a universal basic income and let me and my doctors make our own choices about healthcare, please. Neither government nor insurer should be allowed to play middleman. If I can’t afford a heart transplant–well, that’s where healthcare sharing cooperatives come in.

      1. Andrew

        The NHS is one of the few things left that’s yet to be privatised in the UK. I believe it’s been deliberately run down for many a year so when it’s finally scrapped and replaced with private health care the Conservatives can say “look, socialism doesn’t work, markets are so much more efficient.” It’s no secret that has long been the dream of the right. I doubt very much we’ll end up with something better, rather like in the US with Trump scrapping the Affordable Health Care Act, as rotten as that is.

      2. hunkerdown

        And if you can, like Mr. Rockefeller, should you be allowed to have it? No. Why should people be allowed to buy their way out of the human condition?

      3. makedoanmend

        Please cite examples of the incompetence, corruption and outright theft in the NHS on a systemic basis.

        Today I went to my local surgery to obtain a repeat prescription. This service cost me nothing at point of origin, and the prescription costs me nothing at point of origin.

        I filled out exactly zero (0) forms – i.e. no paperwork involved.

        I made an appointment with my GP for next week. Again no paperwork involved.

        I’ve only been to a hospital once in my life (knock wood) for ligament surgery and subsequent physio. Again, no paperwork and no hassle. The cost at origin was zero.

        No paperwork, no deductibles, no “interpretation” of covered procedures and on and on.

        And the service has always been excellent and hassle free.

        The NHS is fully audited.

        Hell, if your accusations had any validity the Tories would have gleefully closed down the NHS long before 2017. That they have had to underfund and undermine the NHS through nefarious means puts paid to your rather spurious assertions.

      4. vidimi

        this is absurd. one need only look at the benefit to cost ratio and compare it to the US. The UK spends about half as much per capita and has better longevity and morbidity.

      5. skippy

        You are aware that modern proponents of a UBI [econnmists] have suggested that diminished voting rights applicable because they would just always vote for a raise…. right…

        disheveled… so your ready to throw those rights away for a stipend…. ?????

  25. DWD

    This is not directed at anyone in particular, but what the hell?

    I have now officially given up on what passes for Democrats (Maybe they can redeem themselves in my eyes, but I doubt it) The Republicans are beneath my contempt and no one in any position of authority represents the views of enlightened people who can see the obvious problems and the lack of will to even begin to address them favoring instead a bunch of conspiracies designed to never look at the actual problems.

    So, we have a bunch of miscreants peopling websites passing bullshit off as knowledge and being seconded by a giant cadre of those unwilling to ever consider much of anything. I wish I could say that such nonsense is restricted to right wings sites, but the supposedly liberal sites are not much better.

    Why is it so hard to actually think? I don’t get it.

    Trump is a buffoon and a fool and (he knows) he will only be tolerated as long as he adheres to conservative dogma. The Democrats are just casting about looking for villains who deprived their champion of her deserved victory (Well, except that voting thing \:but she got more votes!)

    Fie on both of their houses.

    I think I will just go back to my writing – I have two novels in process and two more than need revision.

    What a joke this country has become.

    1. jrs

      There are some of us who as soon as politics abandons issues want to abandon politics. Even a compromised “lesser of two evils” focus on issues is STILL a focus on issues (although the best one can hope for is some watered down compromise). But since the election of Trump politics is near 100% issue free (well except for activists and the few issues that do get some focus like the AHCA for being so abhorrent). Why should anyone even want to bother with the soap opera for people with incredibly boring tastes in soap operas, that politics has become?

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Russia Seeks Accord With U.S. on Iran Role in Syria Safe Zones Bloomberg

    Is that why more pressure needs to be brought to bear on Trump? He needs to know who is in charge here.

    “Get me the FBI!!!”

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The economics of trust.

    Still don’t get it. I think lack of trust leads to inequality, not the other way around (or maybe they reinforce each other, but I think lack of trust comes first).

    In that case, what causes lack of trust?

    Trust but verify.

    If you verify, you don’t need trust. If everything is written down and verified, you don’t need trust.

    When you are Robin Hood and men in tights, you have to be able to trust each other. In simpler times, there is more trust. When the other guys are too learned, too educated, you have to be careful…well, you have to respect them…their chess moves…Not simpler times, less trust…but more smart men.

    1. Jeff W

      I’m not sure that lack of trust leads to inequality but inequality can leads to lack of trust in the following way:

      Person A has more money, time, resources than person B. In given situation, A can “spend more” to arrange the contingencies so that the outcome favors A (or is adverse to B) than he might otherwise if A and B were on an equal footing.

      So, for example, the Koch brothers can spend more to get the outcomes they favor than you (presumably) or I can. They can “buy outcomes” where, ostensibly, the outcome is something that is determined by that is not subject to buying, i.e., one person/one vote.

      I’m not so sure, in a theoretical sense, you need to actually see something like the influence that the Koch brothers have on affecting outcomes for trust to be eroded. It might be that just the presence of the inequality (in the absence of some countervailing force, like publicly-financed campaigns) is enough to erode trust.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Assuming lack trust occurs first before inequality, your example shows the subsequent ‘they reinforce each other.’

        I think lack of trust occurs before when people become apathetic, stop caring for people in general. It becomes easier to take advantage of others. That leads to concentration of wealth and inequality.

        Then comes the reinforcing each other part.

  28. ewmayer

    I hope I’m not the only one here who found the juxtaposition of the 2 top links – “Edible insects could play key role in cutting harmful emissions | Science Daily” and “Where have all the insects gone? | Science” – amusing.

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