Links 5/23/17

Jerri-Lynn here: Yves asked me to tell readers that she hopes they don’t mind the heavy dose of CalPERS reporting on the site at the moment. A lot is happening there, none of it good.

Sorry, you can’t protest security screening by getting naked for the TSA Ars Technica

Doughnut Economics – Grab a pencil, draw a doughnut! The Minskys. Hmmm.

Switzerland has voted to phase out nuclear power and replace it with renewable energy Quartz

Bi-partisan climate consensus is here. Just not in the US. (Yet…) Treehugger

Environmentalists Are Ignoring the Elephant In the Room: U.S. Military Is World’s Largest Polluter George Washington’s Blog

Whispers of scandal over the rescue of Timbuktu’s manuscripts Spectator

All Power to the Banks! The Winners-Take-All Regime of Emmanuel Macron Counterpunch. Make time for Diane Johnstone’s latest.


Why are so many young Greeks turning to farming? Al Jazeera. Ahem– because they have no other good options?

Greek creditors fail to reach deal in 7 hours of talks FT

4 Libs And… Clarence Thomas Unite To Smack North Carolina’s Racial Gerrymandering Above the Law

The place where old-fashioned malls are beating Amazon: Small-town America WaPo

California to Investigate Racial Discrimination in Auto Insurance Premiums ProPublica

Class Warfare

Student Debt Rising Worldwide Yale Global Online. In other words, US students aren’t alone in  suffering under neoliberal education policies.

Noam Chomsky Looks at How the System Is Rigged to Ensure That Corporations Always Win Truthdig

Cash Bail, a Cornerstone of the Criminal-Justice System, Is Under Threat WSJ

Fees Add Up The Baseline Scenario (Kim)

Lessons left unlearned in Takata air bag scandal Nikkei Asian Review. Scandalous. Nearly a decade since the problem first arose, it’s not yet been solved. Where are the regulators?

Health Care

A Quick Note About Single Payer  Ian Welsh (martha r). Calls– although not in such bald terms– for the basic Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) approach. Makes sense to me (compare the length of the seminal pieces of New Deal securities legislation against the Dodd-Frank monstrosity).

Could an Islamic reformation prevent violent radicalisation in Egypt? The Conversation

Trump Transition

Turkey tests Trump’s patience after protesters roughed up Politico

“I Could Have Died”: Protesters Detail Violent Attack by Turkish President Erdoğan’s Guards in DC TruthOut. Includes video footage.

Donald Trump focuses fire on Iran’s support for ‘terrorists and militias’ Guardian

Watch Netanyahu’s face while Trump says he never mentioned “Israel” to the Russians Vox

The Saudi Visit and Trump’s Unprincipled Foreign Policy American Conservative

What Explains Trump’s Sharp About-Face on Saudi Arabia? Nation

Iran’s Rouhani denounces US’ Middle East ignorance Al Jazeera

It’s Time to Get Rid of Donald Trump Der Spiegel (resilc)

Trump’s Budget Seeks Cuts to Taxes, Safety-Net Programs WSJ. The “Trump whacks presumed Dems hard” budget.

With a tight federal budget, here’s where to focus clean energy research funding The Conversation

G7 Leaders Expect Trump to Make Paris Accord Decision This Week Bloomberg

John Podesta Unloads on Trump Politico

Will Donald Trump Be Impeached? FiveThirtyEight. Much hot air and hedging of bets, little insight.

Citigroup Agrees to $97.4 Million Settlement in Money Laundering Inquiry. NYT. First DOJ bank settlement under new AG Jeff Sessions continues the cost-of-doing-business-slap-on-wrist settlement policies of his predecessors in the previous administration. SO much for draining the swamp….


We are ready for Brexit talks, says EU’s chief negotiator Guardian

Brexit barriers ‘would harm science’, say universities BBC

UK election

Manchester Arena blast: Election campaigning suspended BBC

Susan Hawley: UK leader pledges to bring SFO under political control  FCPA Blog

Labour is surging in the polls – and it’s all because the media is finally giving Jeremy Corbyn impartial coverage Independent. I am aware this was posted in yesterday’s Water Cooler but am including it for those readers who may have missed it there.

Oil bosses have given £390,000 to Tories under Theresa May Guardian

Theresa May accused of dishonesty over ‘dementia tax’ U-turn amid campaign disarray Independent

Police State Watch

Why it’s unfair to single out Jeremy Corbyn over MI5 surveillance The Conversation. Worth remembering that 1984 sprang from the mind of a son of the British Empire.

Joe Lieberman atop FBI would be a First Amendment disaster Columbia Journalism Review.

New Cold War

Trump asked intelligence chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence WaPo

Mike Flynn Won’t Cooperate With Senate Russia Probe WSJ

‘Morning Joe’ Panel Identifies the Most Likely Targets of the FBI’s Russia Probe AlterNet


Can the OBOR Project Be Made to Work for Countries Other Than China? The Wire



Auditor Extraordinaire: The Curious Case of NPA Underreporting in India The Wire

Facing fire: India’s poorest regions are the most vulnerable to heat waves

India power minister promotes renewables and ‘cleaner’ coal FT

Guillotine Watch

Superyachts in Southeast Asia takes luxury travel to the high seas SCMP

Antidote du jour (Up close and personal with another one of my favorite birds):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. ex-PFC Chuck

    I’m about half way through reading Kate Raworth’s book Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist and I cannot recommend it enough. It is far more than just a rethinking of Economics, as The Minskys link asserts. It could be the framework for a policy set that can redirect the benefits of civilization to all people, not just a few. Here’s a page on the author’s website that’s the best tl/dr version of what she advocates that I’ve seen. She has a knack for putting the essences of rebel economics in easily understood language.

    1. HBE

      Absolutely, the first economis ive heard of that actually includes “enternalities” (you know humans and the environment) in their analysis.

      Too bad (as the article states) Mankiw is most people’s first and often only exposure to economic analysis.

      I remember his book vividly from an intro econ course. An oversimplified piece of neo liberal propoganda that makes it appear that the market is a perfect fairyland filled with fully rational automatons who operate the on the simple principle of perfect supply and demand.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      It definitely looks interesting judging by the article. One question since you’re reading the book – in the doughnut chart it mentions gender equality as part of the social foundation. Does she get into what that means exactly? I’m guessing it’s simply that women and men should be treated and paid equally and that women shouldn’t be treated as 2nd class citizens, something most people should be and are on board with in this day and age.

      I only ask because it has become quite tiresome to have the gender warriors put the “you must respect what I do with me peepee” argument into every political discussion and I was hoping that was not what she was referring to.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Early in the book she devotes about a page to her background, saying she studied Economics as an undergrad at Oxford but was put off by the other-worldliness of the discipline and chose not to pursue graduate studies but instead to get real-world experience. For several years she worked with women in Tanzania running “micro-businesses” as she calls them, then went on to the UN team writing the annual Human Development Report. She found the power games behind the scenes in that disgusting and moved on after several years to work with Oxfam for over a decade in various locations around the world. Along the way she became a mother, and also was gestating the doughnut concept in her mind. In short, she is aware of the obstacles women around the world face that many men are unaware of or ignore, but in no way does she come across as any sort of “femi-nazi.” In short, like many other people at the forefront of rebel economics, she has come into the arena by a side door.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Thanks for the reply. That all sounds perfectly reasonable – taking your recommendation and adding it to my reading list.

    3. From Cold Mountain

      This is hard to explain, and harder to feel, but as long as we try to help humanity using any kind of economics we will live out of balance with nature. Economics describes the technologies that allows humanity to over-live and over-populate an environment.

      The author is just another person in a long line of people who think we can technology ourselves out of the natural state.

        1. From Cold Mountain

          I do not feel I have to read the book. On her website she thinks her view of economics can “ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials”. A sustainable environment by definition will mean that people will need to fall short and die. (Think of wolves dying off when they eat too many rabbits.) That death is what keeps the environment in balance.

          she thinks
          • Food: Meeting the calorie needs of the 13% of the world’s population facing hunger would require just 1% of the current global food supply

          But what happens when those not hungry and fertile people have more kids that survive longer? More food means more growth and more environmental pressure. Whack-a-mole neoliberalism is all it is.

          Besides, you would need a fascist world government to pull it off.

          All we need to do is let nature take its course, it will fix everything.

          1. DJPS

            That may be true, but one who was going to be on the receiving end of such a die-off might find it hard to be quite so pragmatic.

            1. From Cold Mountain

              Nature does not care, nor stop, because of human emotions or if you think it is true or not.

              This is why I see the solution as more spiritual than economic. When you personally have a radical acceptance of the impermanence of everything the solution is simple.

              1. JEHR

                FCM, you seem to be resigned to an (unknown) fate. Human beings are going to have to change to a degree that they would never have anticipated; maybe to the times before the First World War. Hard to do, I know but we cannot keep on consuming, polluting and destroying the ecosystem or life will not be worth living. I suppose the change will come involuntarily but it will come.

              2. Left in Wisconsin

                Nature does not care, nor stop, because of human emotions or if you think it is true or not.

                Neither does politics. Or class. I have no opinion on the book at present but you seem to think that if we avoid economics, they will too. That seems naive. As does this:

                we will live out of balance with nature

                To understand what this might mean, you would need to specify “we,” “out of balance,” and “nature.”

                1. From Cold Mountain

                  Politics and class are both human inventions, they change when our ideas change. There was a time with no politics and class. You will die whether you are left or right, rich or poor.

                  Economics is a problem making problems is all i am saying.

                  To understand what this might mean, you would need to specify “we,” “out of balance,” and “nature.”

                  we=human race as a whole

                  out of balance=consumption that creates a debt

                  nature=the earth’s ecosystem

                  The human race as a whole is consuming raw materials at a rate that is creating an debt in the earth’s ecosystem.

                  1. Left in Wisconsin

                    But the consumption that concerns you is driven primarily by existing organization(s) of society. And the notion that our ideas will change independent of that organization strikes me as non-sensical.

                    I also think both the second and third sentences of your first paragraph are misleading. There may have been a time before politics and class – someone would need to show me when and where – but, if so, it was really a long time ago. It’s hard for me to see how that is relevant. I have noted many times at NC the fact that we have already forgotten many things that were common knowledge 50 years ago.

                    And the third sentence misses my point: social and global crises are and will continue to play out in real societies with real classes and politics. Every one ultimately dies but that hardly implies any sort of “we” in terms of the lives that are led before that – either the quality or the length.

                    If we wait for whatever it is to bring us global solidarity, we will have waited too long. But even then, Armageddon will not affect us all equally. I can confidently predict that the Big A will affect the 1% differently than the rest of us, and that there will still be classes and politics afterward.

          2. MoiAussie

            You seem unable to imagine a world other than one, like ours, which is unsustainably overpopulated, and one, like the one you seem to wish for, where life is tough and people die young, even from starvation, a ghastly way to die.

            How about one where the population is substantially lower, say 500 million, but the fertility rate is barely above replacement, just enough more to account for death by accident. One where everyone has sufficient to eat, education, shelter, “all life’s essentials”, and almost all could expect to live to a natural, not artificially extended, old age. The only difference between this world and your “natural state of affairs” is that human population is kept in check by family planning, not illness, starvation, predation, etc. But what a difference that is.

            So sustainable does not mean what you think it does “by definition”. It can mean exactly what it should do to anyone half-civilised – people living in balance with nature by voluntarily controlling their consumption and reproduction rates.

            1. From Cold Mountain

              i can imagine a lot of things, but that does not mean they are possible for humans to create. I do believe it will happen, but it will not be becasue we made it so.

              how does one get a fertility rate that is barely above replacement without suffering from either nature’s or humanity’s authoritarianism? China tried “family planning” already.

              until we are rid of our aversion to suffering nothing will change.

              1. lyman alpha blob

                how does one get a fertility rate that is barely above replacement without suffering from either nature’s or humanity’s authoritarianism?

                I don’t know, maybe try keeping it in your pants? Somehow I’ve managed to not have 18 children and both nature and humanity have left my reproductive system intact.

                1. From Cold Mountain

                  Let me rephrase that; how do you get the other 7 billion people to keep in in their pants? You seem to think it is simple to get the human species to ignore their genetic prime directive; to reproduce.

                  but here you can see the beginnings of authoritarianism; if everyone acted like me the world would be perfect. And it is self-authoritarianism as well, crushing your natural human desires.

                  anyway, i kept it in my pants, i have zero children, but the population is still exploding, so there goes your theory…

                  1. lyman alpha blob

                    Education would go a long way. It allowed me to calculate how much it would cost to raise a child, make a survey of what type of world I’d be bringing children into, and make an estimate of what kind of future both they and myself would be likely to have before deciding whether to spawn or not. I believe that’s why we see birth rates decreasing in recent years in the supposedly more ‘advanced’ nations.

                    I didn’t say it would be easy but it’s certainly not impossible. Sure beats the current policy bombing the excess population out of existence.

                    1. From Cold Mountain

                      You are walking around like everyone is you. Your ego-centrism will not let you see the scale of the problem.

                      If someone wants to have ten children aren’t you causing suffering in that person? You have only pre-bombed them out of existence. The suffering is still there.

                      My mother had five children, she said that having children was the only thing that made her happy. What about her?

                    2. lyman alpha blob

                      You are creating a strawman now – nowhere did I say anything about involuntarily limiting the number of children people should have. I said widespread education would make a lot of people see why having fewer children would be beneficial.

                      And far from being egocentric, I’m assuming the rest of the world possesses the same capability for learning that I do.

                  2. Odysseus

                    how do you get the other 7 billion people to keep in in their pants?

                    Well, we haven’t asked, so we don’t know how hard it is to get people to adopt widespread highly available contraception.

                    We’ve got 7B people. We’re in no danger of running out of people. We can lay off a bit on the fertility cult.



                    The first time Bri Seeley told her doctor she wanted to be sterilized, she was 24 years old.
                    But the naturopath whom Seeley saw for her annual exam told her that because of her age, she was not a good candidate for permanent sterilization. The following year, Seeley asked again — and was rebuffed again. Next year, the same thing.

                    1. reslez

                      > Well, we haven’t asked, so we don’t know how hard it is to get people to adopt widespread highly available contraception.

                      It seems to have happened pretty easily in industrialized countries that educate women. Pretty much all are below replacement fertility. The only ones that are at replacement fertility are some of the Nordics with reasonable social benefits for parents. The US is only at 2.1 because of net immigration.

          3. Procopius

            Why is letting nature take its course supposed to be morally superior? Civilization has advanced because humans do not let nature take its course. Malthus was shown to be wrong. Over the centuries, as the population grew, so did per capita production of food. Per capita! The argument that famine has been caused by population growth is false. It has always been caused by either natural disaster (drought, flood, blight, insect infestation) or by government policy decisions (Ireland, India under the Raj). Malthus and his disciples have always refused to accept the data. If starvation for millions is really unstoppable, well, let’s try to reduce human misery until it actually happens, OK?

        2. Gaianne

          Whether the book is worth reading, or whether it is not worth reading, depends on many things.

          But does the author understand that for economics to become a science–in the old sense of a study based on observation rather than theory based on a priori fantasy–it would have to put the biosphere at the center of its investigation?

          The biosphere is the source of all human life and all human activities. Without it, humans can do nothing, and in fact are nothing and won’t exist. This truth is too archaic for the modern mind to accept, and yet is obvious.

          Specific example: Pollinating insects of all kinds–not just honeybees–are facing population declines and threats of extinction. Our modern response to that is too fantasize replacing them with pollinating robots. Robots that in the first place we do not know how to design, nor build, nor program, nor do we have any idea where the resources–money, material, labor–to build them could possibly come from. The idea that we have–in any sense of the word–the ability to replace the essential parts of the biosphere we destroy, is pure delusion–and a sign that our modern world has finally entered straight out insanity and senility.

          If the author is no longer ignoring externalities, that is good in itself, but once you start looking at externalities, you find they are everywhere, and neither capitalism nor modern socialism can exist without them. Capitalism is–as it has always been–a scheme for shifting costs onto others, including the biosphere, and without that, capitalism makes no profit. Ever.

          Mere noticing externalities is very preliminary groping, when what we need is understanding. It will always be too slow until we recognize that the field of economics is essentially bogus–containing tricks that work under specialized conditions but with no deep understanding of why the specialized conditions are specialized and what their limits are.

          Once you see the primacy of the biosphere, then you can look at how it makes possible particular human activities of production of goods and services. This is secondary. It is also worth studying, but the point is it only exists in the context of a functioning biosphere that allows it to happen.


      1. LT

        Exactly. It’s a frame of mine so detached from, maybe even in fear of, the natural world, some think they live in a computer simulation or even think such a mechanized state of being is desirable.
        It really circles back to the age old fear of death.

    4. Susan the other

      Yesterday’s link to Stiglitz, – re ‘Agent based-Stock Flow Consistent Macro’ was just too much to read. But I noticed that Raworth talks about stock flow and about stores of stuff. Maybe these two models are both talking about social purpose being compatible with environmental purpose and creating the only possible viable economy for the future. Raworth is so sensible, immediately, that it’s like looking at MMT for the first time.

  2. Jim Haygood

    In advance of today’s budget theatrics from DJT:

    While defense spending is set to see a boost, Medicaid cuts of $610 billion would come alongside $250 billion savings from repealing Obamacare. Food stamps would be cut by $193 billion.

    The budget also makes use of several other classic accounting gimmicks. It assumes that the wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East will cause future Congresses to allocate $593 billion in extra war funding that won’t be needed and then claims to save that amount by not spending it.

    This is the same way Ronald Reagan broke the Soviet Union: engaged it in a value-subtraction arms race that it couldn’t afford, as its broke government starved out the babushkas and pensioners, and encouraged superfluous older men to off themselves with cheap vodka.

    Except now WE’RE the targets. Message to the dying middle class: BEND OVER, SUCKERS.

    Don’t waste your time on the diagnosis of the MSM chattering classes. Mike Krieger cuts straight to the chase:

    This country is becoming a total joke and it’s not merely because of Donald Trump. While he’s certainly becoming a key player in our national embarrassment, this country’s descent into a reckless Banana Republic has been a long time coming.

    Let’s take stock of where things stand in mid-2017. Our opposition Democratic Party (Hillary in a leather jacket yelling about Russia) is a joke. Our corporate media is a joke. Our foreign policy is a joke. Our economy is a joke. Our justice system is a joke. It’s all a joke, and it might even be somewhat humorous if it weren’t so incredibly dangerous.

    Let it bleed …

    1. Darn

      “If it bleeds, we can kill it”. The USSR had an anti-drinking campaign though because of rampant alcoholism, and it was working, but hurt govt revenues in the process. Iirc the increased mortality rate had actually begun under Brezhnev before Reagan came on the scene. The IMF or OECD published something about the collapse of the Soviet Union and said the “new cold war” was not a large percentage increase in the (already-large) Soviet military budget.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Back in the Homeland:

        DAYTON, Ohio (KDKA/AP) – For the second time this year, a coroner’s office in Ohio has run out of space for dead bodies due to the opioid epidemic.

        The Trib reports the Montgomery County, Ohio office had 13 bodies yesterday, and 12 of them were overdoses.

        Coroner, Dr. Kent Harshbarger, says they have already expanded the cooler once last year because space for 36 wasn’t enough, it now holds 42.

        “If this pace continues, I’m not really sure what we’re going to do,” Dr. Harshbarger told the Trib. “It’s full every night.”

        “I’m looking at 2,900 autopsies, 2,000 of them overdoses,” Dr. Harshbarger told the Trib.

        Checking out of the middle class for good … it’s never been easier.

      2. hemeantwell

        Thanks for the clarification, Darn.

        As I repetitively have noted here, the Soviet economy was still capable of anemic expansion into the 80s, something on the order of the 1.5% that is common now. The appearance of the economy blowing up was brought about by a poorly managed transition from a command to a market economy. E.g. enterprise directors making wage increases that could not be spent on products of limited availability>>> long queues, and said enterprise directors having to suddenly cobble together suppliers and buyers in the face of an economy that was suddenly opening up to competition from firms in the West. As we know, it doesn’t take much competitive disadvantage to bring a firm down.

        David Kotz’ “Revolution from Above” is a helpful guide to the disaster, with compiled results from interviews with Russian elites that give you some sense of how better options were blown off by larval neoliberals.

      3. gepay

        Gorbachev’s alcohol campaign reversed the decline in Russian longevity that began in the late 60s. Yeltsin’s Western dominated economic policies reversed that improvement.

    2. jrs

      Yea but the title: “Trump’s $3.6 Trillion Budget Cuts Hit His Supporters Hard” and the text: “President Donald Trump’s first full budget would dramatically reduce the U.S. government’s role in society, hitting hard many of the rural, working-poor supporters who propelled him into office”

      Hasn’t it kind of been proven by now that MOST of Trumps supporters were not working poor? They are above medium income and the don’t rely on most of these programs (maybe with the exception of some of the healthcare stuff but probably not even that). The gist is supposed to be: see what those poor white trash get for voting Trump. Some of them did and so maybe for them (no great choices there though), but that’s not Trump’s base. Let’s call out well off Republicans who don’t care about those who aren’t for what they are. They aren’t betrayed, voting THEIR interest does not have anything to do with working poor people.

      1. nobody

        From Alexander Zaitchik‘s reporting:

        Human beings are complicated. If you try to reduce them to something, in almost every case you’ll be proven wrong. And that goes for [all] people no matter who they supported in the election, but it’s especially true in the case of Trump supporters. Trump represented this kind of hybrid candidate that was more complicated than anything we’ve seen recently in American politics. He came out with fire defending Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, [he] attacked the Bushes on the wars, [and attacked] free trade. Nobody knew what to make of him… The people I spent actual quality time with for the book weren’t the crazy ones screaming about Mexicans and Muslims. Actually, most weren’t that way at all. There were surprises all over Trump Nation… When people have grown up in a talk radio and in cities where their jobs that have turned into service jobs that don’t pay anything, and half the people they personally know are on heroin, it’s not as simple as them mumbling about Mexicans and Muslims, even if some of them do that. They’re not stupid; they know it’s not poor migrant workers that have caused big changes they’ve seen in their lives, and most are more likely to direct their anger upwards to who they understand as “the elites” within both parties.


        I think people and mainstream journalists… often don’t realize they’ve never left the bubble and don’t have much experience actually talking to people in the country…. They really just have no clue what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck, or to have all your nephews hooked on smack, or to have good factory jobs replaced by McDonald’s and Payless Shoe jobs. Those are real realities for a lot of the 13 million people that voted for Trump [in the primaries].



        I would say that there is a large percentage of the Trump base that is familiar with government support, or has been in the past. And those people who are on disability, or Medicaid, and they do not take kindly to being, you know, denigrated for that. These are people struggling just like any other American and they often… often the problem is one of language. The difference between somebody on Medicaid and, the local term might be Badgercare, for example, in Wisconsin. And so a Trump voter is more likely to call it Badgercare, and maybe blush a little bit at the word Medicaid because they’ve had it pounded into them for so many years on talk radio that this is something to be ashamed of. But I think a lot of them are kind of stepping out in the space created by the Trump campaign to say, Enough of that, we’re not ashamed to be on these programs, and we are going to defend Medicare and Social Security, which is part of the Venn overlap with the insurgency on the other side, you saw with the Sanders phenomenon.


        [T]hat’s a phrase I heard a lot talking to people, ‘it’s our last chance.’ You know, we’ve tried everything, we’ve tried Democrats, we’ve tried, you know, we voted for Ross Perot, we’ve tried the Tea Party, and it just ended up being the same sort of recipe of sort of corporate duopoly and people not representing our interests and this guy at least is talking a very different game. And we’re gonna give it a shot… [There’s] this sense of losing grip… most of the country’s living paycheck to paycheck, it’s getting harder and harder to get by, the next generation behind many Trump supporters they’re seeing in even worse shape and there’s a real sense of everything’s slipping away and things are going to get much worse.

    3. mpalomar

      “Let it bleed”
      -or maybe dead man walking.

      “The Soviet Union’s defense spending did not rise or fall in response to American military expenditures. Revised estimates by the Central Intelligence Agency indicate that Soviet expenditures on defense remained more or less constant throughout the 1980s”

      “In the fall of 1985, Saudi Arabia announced plans to increase oil production. By the spring of 1986, the world price of oil plummeted from more than $30 a barrel to less than $10. Without hard-currency oil revenue, there was no way for the Soviets to pay for imports of grain and other basic commodities while servicing their foreign debt and keeping up militarily.”
      -the Atlantic

      I always thought the disastrous Cold War did in both parties in the dispute, the US collapse has just dragged on longer.

      Reagan was the beneficiary of the death of hardliner Brezhnev and the advent of Gorbachev.

      1. JohnM

        clever reagan baiting the soviets into an arms race that bankrupted them always seemed like an after-the-fact rationalization to justify wasting our own money on the MIC. but regardless it still gets repeated as fact, much like putin hacked the election, americans won’t do that work, etc., etc

        1. Rich

          That ‘Americans won’t do that work’ is misstated. What should really be said is ‘Americans won’t do that work for a price that maintains the current standard of living for other consumers’.

          In Australia adults working a checkout make about A$20/hr (US$15) by state diktat so as a result Aussies are happy to work on checkouts. However groceries are very expensive (A$5 for 4.5lbs of potatoes for example and the price of beer **eek!**).

          If you change the mix of workers or mandate higher wages then there will be lots of flow on effects, many of which could be unpredictable or unstable. If you mandate that there will be no more unskilled migrant labour for example you will probably push up wages but that is likely to push a lot of middle class women out of the workforce as they can no longer afford child care (while not all child care in the home is done by women most of it is).

    4. FiveNineteenOnEverything

      What did Reagan have to do with the collapse of the Soviet a Union? Nothing. The cause was a decline in oil production, something that had not happened until that point, so you can’t blame communism. Reagan was just lucky to be out of office when it all came crashing down and, somehow or other, to get the credit. Go figure that one out; I can’t.

  3. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

    Thanks for the recommendation– I’ll try and grab a copy and devote some time and attention to it.

  4. fresno dan

    What Explains Trump’s Sharp About-Face on Saudi Arabia? Nation

     But once in office, Trump’s criticisms were quickly muted. By February, CIA director Mike Pompeo had traveled to Riyadh to bestow the George Tenet Award upon the kingdom’s interior minister, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef.

    I would think that the George “slam dunk”Tenet award is some kind of clandestine insult, but for the hundreds of billions in military hardware…

    1. Jim Haygood

      I’m conferring the Mohamed Atta award on the Orange Flake for helping America’s enemies attack us again fight terrorism. :-)

      1. craazyboy

        It’s an Arm’s Race against our old captured and abandoned stuff..

        Strategic placement of stockpiles in Afgan, too!

        Besides, Israel…gas and stuff..

    1. craazyboy

      Seems we need a Twitterpated Index to go along with our Fear and Greed Index. The Parrot can be the Wise Oracle Of Understanding. And provide much needed commentary.

      ISIS claims responsibility for Manchester. Of course they did. That’s not news, but the thought should count for something.

      “The Trump administration will propose the deepest cuts to government programs in a generation, proposing to cut $3.6 trillion in spending over 10 years across all discretionary spending and non-discretionary spending.”

      Ah… Trump Admin discretion?! Offset by Saudi Deal – GDP Neutral??

      “South Korea Military Fires “Warning Shots” At Unidentified Object Flying From The North”

      Space Aliens decide enough is enough. Parrot agrees and tweets support. Paris claims responsibility for Paris. Parrot craps on major Paris newspaper, and Spiegel, for good measure.

      Market futures up 50 points.

  5. Boiled Coffee

    Why it’s unfair to single out Jeremy Corbyn over MI5 surveillance The Conversation. Worth remembering that 1984 sprang from the mind of a son of the British Empire.

    You may also want to look into who invented the Panopticon.

  6. Jim Haygood

    The Revolution was …

    Protesters set fire to late President Hugo Chavez’s childhood home in western Venezuela on Monday, an opposition lawmaker said, as protests against the South American nation’s socialist government grew increasingly hostile.

    While demonstrators are decrying current President Nicolas Maduro for the country’s triple-digit inflation, rising crime and shortages of food and medicine, they have also destroyed at least five statues commemorating Chavez, Maduro’s mentor and the founder of Venezuela’s “Bolivarian revolution.”

    Demonstrators lit the house in the city of Barinas where Chavez spent his early years aflame Monday afternoon along with several government buildings, including the regional office of the National Electoral Council.

    Why won’t they listen:

    During his State of the Union speech, Maduro went on to highlight the differences between his administration’s socioeconomic policies and members of the Venezuelan opposition stating, “There are two models, the neoliberal model which destroys everything and the chavista model which is centered around people.

    “Centered around people” … AH HA HA HA. Help, I’ve fallen off my chair laughing and I can’t get up.

    1. Carolinian

      Aren’t those “protesters” usually the kids and apparatchiks of Venezuela’s upper middle class with a smattering of CIA agents thrown in? I will say that burning down Chavez’s old house is a klassy touch. Sounds like you wish you had been there with your Zippo.

    2. JohnnyGL

      And if a group of people were to light the White House on fire, would they be “protestors”??? Or perhaps “arsonists” or maybe even “terrorists”?

      McClatchy’s sticking to the Beltway approved narrative and you’re letting them get away with it, Comrade Haygood! :) You don’t have to be a Maduro-lover to see when the opposition is led by criminals and would clearly make things worse. This is why the Chavistas are regaining support. The opposition has NO plan.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        No plan? Sure they do – I think it’s something like this one:

        1) Collect underpants
        2) ??
        3) Profit!

    3. Olga

      Maybe if you studied the history of the Chilean coup d’etat (9/11/73), you’d laugh a little less, Jim H. The script is very similar.

      1. witters

        In the end Jim is a neoliberal, a pure one, who imagines neoliberalism without all “the corruption”. He has the peculiar view that this makes him a realist.

    4. John k

      Self inflicted is two exchange rate, with cheap access to dollars granted to insiders.
      Plus creating food shortages.
      If their brand of socialism is so great, why can’t they make it work with all the oil exports, no matter what the world price is? Corruption and mismanagement just like Zimbabwe.

      And if popular, why put off elections?

      We all need more progressives and democracy, less corruption. Not least in US, of course.

  7. allan

    CEOs got biggest raises since 2013 [AP]

    The typical CEO at the biggest U.S. companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year, raking in $11.5 million in salary, stock and other compensation last year, according to a study by executive data firm Equilar for The Associated Press. That’s the biggest raise in three years.

    The bump reflects how well stocks have done under these CEOs’ watch. Boards of directors increasingly require that CEOs push their stock price higher to collect their maximum possible payout, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index returned 12 percent last year.

    Over the last five years, median CEO pay in the survey has jumped by 19.6 percent, not accounting for inflation. That’s nearly double the 10.9 percent rise in the typical weekly paycheck for full-time employees across the country. …

    You can’t make a social Darwinism omelette without breaking some equality eggs.

    1. ambrit

      Those figures are even more skewed when you remember that “full time employees” are a shrinking part of the workforce. Now, if we contrasted CEO pay jumps with median hourly employee pay of all classes; full time, part time, zero hour, gig, etc. etc.

        1. ambrit

          “So many money making opportunities, so little time.”
          I want to write a series of “New ” Horatio Alger books. First plot idea; how little Jamal rises to middle management after saving the local oligarchs’ daughter from being crushed by a runaway Uber self driving taxi.
          Another good idea is “Tommy ‘Wast’em’ Schweitzer-Sanchez on the Border.” Two fisted adventures keeping America safe from “los deplorables” continuous attempts to illegally cross the southern border, into Mexico for their superior health care services.
          Any decent pulp fiction series needs a stable of villians, so, how about: Algernon ‘Algae’ Soykantzler, a rabid and dangerous eco-terrorist, Sirena Marx, a devious chanteuse spreading pernicious doctrines through subversive song lyrics, Prof. Angus “Dingle” Procto, arch plotter who washes minds for fun and profit, always promoting ‘tail risk’ for some unknown reason, finally, various and sundry “Fake News” bloggers, always guaranteed to try and corrupt the minds of the young and the weak willed through imaginative flights of feckless fancy.
          See you in the funny papers!

          1. craazyboy

            Good idea, it is!

            [Yoda pulls himself off the ground 12 feet . Does ninja flip move. Audience cheers!]

            1. ambrit

              Alas, that once pure of heart farm boy from Tatooine has become a jaded cynic.
              See Mark Hamill disses Disney Star Wars:
              Master Yoda? He hasn’t been heard from in a while. (They aren’t allowed to die in the Disney Universe.) Maybe he’s retired to that place where Culture Heroes, like JJ Jelincic, Bill Black and Cookie Monster while away their golden years.

            2. craazyboy

              Gave this sumore thawt. I think that Chewbaca should finally get iNet connected and become the activist spokesperson and capture the weak thinkers with his incisor sharp and furry around the edges deep thawts on the subject of fake news.

              If we don’t do it, someone else will it do.

    2. John k

      And the 10% increase includes the highest paid workers with their high raises. What was avg for bottom half?

  8. Dean

    Flynn won’t cooperate with Senate Probe

    Once again the media furthers the corrosive myth that asserting one’s constitutional right to remain silent is ‘uncooperative’.

    But maybe that’s the point?

    1. doug

      Well, he is not cooperating. I think ‘uncooperative’ is a reasonable adjective to describe someone in the state of not cooperating..But willing to be corrected and shown my ignorance.

      1. Alex Morfesis

        Flynn is refusing to “submit” to the overlordship of the senate…our regurgitation of the acela nobility…
        or is that no-ability…

        And “dean”…the constitutional responsibility of our “overlords” is to have an actual set of prosecutable data before disrupting the lives of the citizenry…

        the situation is now so twisted the constitutional is being used as toilet paper by a self proclaimed nobility which has replaced our eternal and complete freedom, with selected, selective and sundry “freedoms”…

        The “privilage” of driving…

        “bestowed” upon a citizenry by “the state”…

        We have been told, the “chinese govt” hacked into us govt databases and stole information on govt employees including our clandestine intell…and no great screams yells and shouts…

        It is all theatre sadly…but…

        Language kills freedom when placed in the hands of those who imagine the “perogatives” of “the state”…

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Uncooperative is somewhat negative.

        Defiant, unbowed – one would think of standing up for some just cause.

        Which word to use depends on what the propaganda minister has in mind, and what prejudgment the reader has.

        1. Dale

          Co+operate, to operate together, to share the same goal(s).
          Un-cooperative, the opposite, to operate independently, separately.
          Is this too simple?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Code words are simple, in and of themselves.

            The way they are used is more subtle.

            1. ChiGal in Carolina

              Right, otherwise we could say the Senate is not cooperating with Flynn…

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                It’s assumed that the Senate never has to cooperate with anyone.

                Maybe sometimes it extends courtesy, but independence is maintained always.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      I would have said “knows better than to open his mouth when he’s the target of a witch hunt,” and yes, that would in fact be a deliberate lack of cooperation. The real question is how long before he’s locked up for “contempt of Congress”?

  9. Bandit

    Lessons left unlearned in Takata air bag scandal

    “Where are the regulators?” Watching porn and masturbating, as usual. Anything to keep their attention off the serious regulatory issues. Watching porn is generally tolerated for 2 reasons, I would guess: It keeps the regulators distracted from carrying out their duties; and federal employees can’t be fired because they are following directives from their superiors.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      Another one! Federal employees make good targets to unload on, don’t they. You can say anything you want about them and they aren’t allowed to fight back – soooo convenient for some of you.

      When are you ever going to make the distinction between Federal employees and their political appointees? Federal employees have NO INPUT into policies or who is investigated. As for the Takata air bag thing? I know for a fact that there were many Federal employees who wanted to stop those air bags a long time ago…bet you didn’t know that, did you? But they couldn’t – ever wonder why?

      1. Spring Texan

        Thanks. I too get really sick of federal employees being a punching bag.

        “Divide and conquer” is how the oligarchs stay in power. Don’t aid and abet it.

      2. mpalomar

        Thanks, I basically felt the same way about the comment and didn’t find any connection in the article to Bandit’s point re: distracted, porn watching, masturbating regulators.

        1. JTMcPhee

          But yes, there are rotten scum corrupt “regulators” too., as just one example. But from my own experience, there are many, many more people working in the “civil service” who are just trying to do the right thing, to carry out their responsibilities as decent people. And citizens.

          My guess is that the majority of baddies are of the “conservative” persuasion.

          1. mpalomar

            “My guess is that the majority of baddies are of the “conservative” persuasion.”

            – I wouldn’t hazard a guess along those lines, I suspect susceptibility to corruption is endemic in humans. Particular circumstances factoring in probably have little to do with political leaning.

            The agency in the NYT’s item you cite, was set up to fail and was staffed during the ethically failed Arbusto junior’s administration. The top administrator’s of the Minerals Management Service got off by retiring early behind a wall of lawyers with their ill gotten money.

            Quite a party while it lasted.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        Exactly, its a cheap shot which should only be made if there is some substance to it. I suspect the problem with the airbags is that it falls into a regulatory lacuna so can only be addressed at a political level.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Yes! Such a pretty bird, as are all the macaws. I originally thought this might be a hyacinth macaw, but the yellow bit on this one is more prominent than on the hyacinth so I think your identification of this as an indigo (aka Lear’s) macaw is correct. (The hyacinth is a bigger bird, but one can’t make out the size of the bird from this pic, and the range is different of course).

      As for intelligence– macaws are certainly very clever, and mischievous. Between an indigo macaw and Joe Lieberman, I’d certainly bet on the bird– which is certainly better looking to boot.

      1. KFritz

        According to the Wikipedia article (“Lear’s macaw”–not terribly well referenced) it’s a very specialized dry climate bird, whose liveable habitat in Bahia, northeast Brazil, has shrunk drastically. Its prospects have improved from ‘criitcally endangered’ to ‘endangered,’ in the last 3 decades.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          Never seen a Lear’s but have seen a hyacinth, in the Pantanal in Brazil, as well as blue and yellows, scarlets, and chestnut-fronted, on various trips to Brazil and Peru. Hyacinth macaws are merely vulnerable.

          Habitat loss is a big problem, not only for the Lear’s, but also threatens the survival of many types of birds. Don’t know whether this applies to the other types of macaws, but for the scarlet, one problem is that even though more than one chick is hatched at a time, the parents only feed one chick. My husband and I once spent some time at a project in the Tambopata Nature Reserve in Peru, on the Madre de Dios River, where some ornithologists were trying to increase the size of populations by themselves feeding the second, and IIRC, in some cases, third chicks. Don’t know whether that project is still running or how successful it proved to be.

  10. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    In a world full of unapologetic hacks, liars & those whose souls ( presuming they had one in the first place ) are completely in hock to the bank of Mammon…..I & all of those here, receive an apology from Yves – for writing what appears to be a sterling example of that increasingly rare thing called investigative journalism.

    This apology for my part, is completely & irrevocably unaccepted, but I bow before your integrity.

  11. DJG

    Al Jazeera on young Greeks returning to the land: A good profile with much detail, although I have been reading articles about this phenomenon for several years. For instance, the mastic (mastikha) growers are thriving on Chios, and anecdotally, all of the (rather modest) restaurants where I had dinner in Athens in late February offered a shot of mastikha liqueur after dinner. So there is much stress on raw materials like olive oil and fish, and the producers have to produce. And Athens is, ironically, in the midst of a culinary renaissance that includes many peasant-based recipes.

    I’ve also read that Crete, which is a major center for agriculture, has an unemployment rate of 4 percent.

    The quote at the beginning of the article explains everything. And it is poetry! >>
    Odysseas Elytis, the Greek Nobel laureate and poet, once wrote: “If you disintegrate Greece, in the end you’ll see that what you have left is an olive tree, a vineyard, and a ship. Which means: with these you can rebuild it.”

    Also, and anecdotally, along Adrianou, the main road to the Akropolis from the direction of Monastiraki, there are many shops selling foodstuffs: Jams, olive oil, vacuum packed olives, herbs. Many shops also deal in handicrafts: Clothing and jewelry. It made me wonder if the new economy is somehow a return to these basics. It also reminded me that the U S of A doesn’t have these resources to fall back on: How many Americans have been on a farm or have relatives who own land?

    Not saying that Greece is turning into an economic paradise: But there was a debate here in the past few days about the U S of A, energy inputs (enormous / unaccounted for), climate change, and fossil fuels. Greece has had to face these crises starkly. The U S of A? Sheeesh. My neighborhood is suddenly full of Cadillac SUVs.

    1. craazyboy

      At $15 gas, one needs a good Greek plow women to till the rolling hills…

      Or goats would be good? As livestock, I mean.

      Feta cheese industry? Export? Hmm?

      1. ambrit

        Don’t forget what the “Good Book” advises; “Yoke not a Syrian and a Turk together to thy plow.” Those “illegal” immigrants should be good for something!

          1. craazyboy

            I think DARPA and perhaps even the CIA could contribute here. We need basic R&D on a more nipple friendly milking machine. Our Feta cheesers need protection, and our cheesers are about as honest as one could hope. They need our help!

            The Sore Goat Nipple problem is well known in Ag circles. A few million in R&D money would be well spent, and this problem can’t be that difficult to solve!

            Next, I would suggest Buckethead help out with a Feta Walk Free Concert Walk. Perhaps play Soothsayer in the background. Sure, the CIA will object and want to do it, but they got Greece to worry about.

            I think Buckethead should wear his KFC Bucket – bonding with the goats and forming lasting, real friendships. Not this phoney political stuff all the time with stooped slogans and a bunch of fake people pretending they like fried chicken with their Feta cheese…

            Anything would be better than sticking a cold, metallic, noisy, vibrating machine between a goats hind legs!


            The cow market is ripe for milking too! Much bigger market, obviously.

            In CA, the DNC astro-pasteurized dairy lobby made the cows pretend on TeeBee they like the stooped milking machines! Udderly irresponsible representation.

            That’s right in Buckethead’s back yard. He should start right there!! F*ck Jerry Brown. He’s useless.

      2. DJG

        craazyFetaboy: Head over to my neighborhood in Chicago. Yes, we have imported Greek feta, in regular and organic, for your refined tastes.

        One insight that the article provided was that Greeks were once lackadaisical about agricultural exports. Now, I’m buying organic olive oil from Crete with groovy labels and brand names that evoke classical myth.

        The article also mentioned using horses to eat the weeds in the olive orchard. (Check out Wendell Berry’s essay about running a small farm these days using a couple of horses to avoid having a tractor.)

        Riding my goat over to the dairy case…

        1. craazyboy

          I was concerned the goats may eat the land barren? My solution – grow pot and maybe poppy plants. Could double as an export crop and animal feed. Either could cause the CIA or US Military to show up. So caution ! The CIA has those dudes that make goats faint at a distance in a most terrifying way. They would feel their jobs being threatened with a development like this. Also, Reserve Currency.

          The military never makes any sense, and would just show up outta pure habit.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Labour is surging in the polls – and it’s all because the media is finally giving Jeremy Corbyn impartial coverage Independent. I am aware this was posted in yesterday’s Water Cooler but am including it for those readers who may have missed it there.

    And what caused the conversion on the road to Damascus, assuming it’s not a feint?

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      As per the article, the British media is now operating under some genre of ‘fairness’ law this close to the election. The balanced reporting is mandated by their electoral regulations, not goodness. Also, it was implied that media other than right wing propaganda rags are now covering politics, and that they are likely to do so up until the vote.

    2. begob

      Sanders-style enthusiasm for an engaging man with benevolent policies. Plus it’s becoming increasingly clear that May is a poor performer, a poor thinker – she was particularly weak in a forensic style interview conducted by Andrew Neil, worth watching 27 mins on youtube:

      And now we have the Manchester massacre. Campaigning suspended, everything about national security. It’s a vicious world.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe it’s the fairness law, otherwise, the British media is doing something their US counterpart did not do in 2016, with also enthusiasm for an outsider, and a weak, poorly performing Hillary.

    1. voteforno6

      I find it more likely that Seth Rich (or really anyone from the DNC) leaked those emails, than it was the Russians. That doesn’t mean that he leaked the Podesta emails, though, since those seem to be from a different hack. I also find it more likely, even if he was the leaker, that he was killed by a botched robbery, than “silenced” by the DNC. Quite often, what people attribute to conspiracy can be explained by incompetence.

      1. Alex Morfesis

        Perhaps…although since he was awake, alive, breathing and talking…and died in the hospital 90 minutes later…not in the street…one might imagine seth rich described the events to the various officers on the scene…but no mention of what seth rich told them…

        he could have said…

        I didnt see them…

        or it happened too fast…


        but we know nothing…

        There is some document floating around purporting to be a police report which apparently suggests a number of the officers on the scene had bodycams…

        considering the infotainment acela vanity press can tell us the bra and shoe size of bruzilla kardash in his new form…

        Rich had accepted a job offer to work at the brooklyn hq of queen in waiting $hillary and was apparently distressed about his soon to be commuter relationship…

        Our grandchildren will probably read one day it was actually a suicide…

        1. voteforno6

          Most of the time, police will withhold some information regarding crimes, to help them to evaluate any new leads that come in. That’s probably the case here. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had strong suspicions as to who did this – it could be that they just haven’t gathered enough evidence yet. I have a hard time believing that he was murdered because of those emails. There’s some salacious material there, but not that salacious. A botched robbery attempt is a more likely explanation. If he was the leaker, and the DNC knew about it, that would also explain why they would want to keep this under wraps. They know very well how bad it would hurt them – just look at what happened to Gary Condit.

          1. MoiAussie

            It’s not about salacious material. It’s about disloyalty.
            Pour encourager les autres.

      2. nobody

        There was another flaw, though. It’s actually quite a common failing among Washington intellectuals. They wish to prove that they are not just ivory-tower or pointy-headed; that they can be tough and practical and even, when occasion may demand it, ruthless. (One might instance Arthur Schlesinger’s Camelot prose, or the crackpot realism of the Robert McNamara set, or the moral rough stuff generated by the subacademic subordinates of Henry Kissinger and Oliver North.) And one could not avoid sometimes hearing Blumenthal, in his hard-boiled mode, speaking rather alarmingly of Chicago relatives who knew what was what and how to fix things, even people. I admit that I thought of this as a bit of a pose, because his general appeal depended so much on his almost foppish manner and tenue and also on his happy resemblance to the young Christopher Reeve. Every now and then, though, I would detect a semi-audible note, as of a dog whistle subliminally summoning a sleeping Doberman…

        In March of 1998, having not seen much of Blumenthal since he had joined the Clinton team (I had been teaching at the University of California at Berkeley), I was eager to catch up with him. With my wife, Carol, I took him for a reunion snack. I don’t think I will or could ever forget the transformation. Where was my witty if sometimes cynical, clever if sometimes dogmatic, friend? In his place seemed to be someone who had gone to work for John Gotti… There’s much else about that lunch I need never disclose, but I remember that he twice hushed my questioning wife by saying, “Carol, I could go to jail for what I’m doing now.” I didn’t know then, and can’t guess even now, what he meant by that…

        (Christopher Hitchens, “Thinking Like an Apparatchik“)

    2. Carolinian

      Thanx for link.

      These disgusting parasites have been terrorizing the American people with Russophobic fairy tales since the DNC leaks dropped last July, and if they are shown to have been wrong about the leaks that started this whole thing, they are done. Democrats have to make changes to their party and WaPo needs to find a new way to sell infinitely overpriced subscriptions.

      “Disgusting parasites”….the sobriquet we were all looking for…..

      1. jrs

        But at this point how many people even remember what started the Russiophobia thing? Always been at war with east-asia at this point.

  13. PlutoniumKun

    A Quick Note About Single Payer Ian Welsh (martha r). Calls– although not in such bald terms– for the basic Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) approach. Makes sense to me (compare the length of the seminal pieces of New Deal securities legislation against the Dodd-Frank monstrosity).

    As an outsider it seems to me inevitable that the Dems are being dragged into acknowledging the necessity for single payer – once some major establishment figures accept it in order to cling on to power, this becomes inevitable. They will then set about trying to adopt it while simultaneously crappifying it by introducing multiple layers of privatisation and ‘market’ solutions. They will no doubt learn from Blair and the Tories in the UK – support the NHS while gradually undermining and privatising it with ‘reforms’.

    Its vital therefore I think that those fighting for it precisely define what it is and what the law will look like – and it should be short and simple. Otherwise, you will see the establishment take on the words ‘single payer’, but produce something which will look remarkably like the current system.

    1. ambrit

      “Medical Cartel Coordinating Committee” is my guess for what a “single payer” would be ‘spun’ into.

      1. Off The Street

        The follow-up question may be “How many divisions do the patients have?” while daring anyone to answer.

    2. Darn

      I think HR676 is now so prominent that it and the PNHP proposal are the model. Comprehensive insurance for all residents, medical, dental, optical, arrangements to get foreign countries to pay for their citizens in the US, all providers to be non-profits, free patient choice of provider from within those non-profits, separate operating budgets and capital budgets, no deductibles or copays, private insurance may not duplicate anything provided under the scheme.

      Unfortunately although Medicare-for-all and single payer are in common parlance I’m sure most ppl dunno what those terms mean. The UK’s NHS is not single payer for example. And European countries usually have non-profit universal private insurance like Obamacare on steroids.

      1. marym

        Yes to all of this, and I hope it’s ok to steal your concise summary of the bill.

        It was nice to see some of Ian Welsh’s commenters reference HR 676, but to be honest I’m getting a little impatient with it not being referenced more regularly, as if the bill hadn’t been around for years, and didn’t address most of the objections/concerns that are usually offered.

    3. PKMKII

      Probably a combination of supplemental private plans like we have with Medicare currently, plus a lot of the admin work will get unnecessarily contracted out to third party vendors.

      1. curlydan

        Yes, first the Democrats likely will get dragged into a 1,000 page bill model despite the warnings from Ian Welsh. And this CEO parasite will try “administering” the program for us.

  14. Darn

    Re surging Corbyn from yesterday’s Water Cooler. I’ll repost this (about the IRA) now because it has got buried in the news on the same day of the Manchester bombing! But I’ll put the conclusion first.

    Fortunately he has now said this Maybe there is still wiggle room, or he is pretending. But I feel 90% better about him becoming PM than I did before.

    I’m a Labour Party member in Northern Ireland. Corbyn’s remarks on the IRA have been infuriating but I voted for him as party leader in both elections because even if he fails the Blairites must be shown that a pro-austerity leader can’t be elected, and healing politics and the economy after the GR and austerity is priority number one.

    Private Eye showed how he stated in a publication he edited that an anti-IRA article that appeared when he was away shouldn’t have been printed. And there were McDonnell’s comments… and yet, would they be pro-Sinn Féin if elected? Interestingly, after he was NI Secretary, arch-Blairite Peter Mandelson called the IRA “freedom fighters” as part of the peace process. Comments he later “clarified” and the DUP accepted this. Something similar with Corbyn and the DUP last year. Meanwhile, the Tory-appointed ambassador to the Irish Republic went to a book launch for Sinn Féin and called the recent 2 murders committed by the IRA “bumps in the road” of the peace process, and this got no attention…

    The IRA is still, effectively, armed with the remains of the Northern Bank robbery proceeds (I suppose £5 million after seizures etc), it also makes millions every year from organised crime in the south. So they can rearm any time they want and the govt knows this. Would Corbyn help swing things SF’s way? His comments yesterday about “opposing all bombing” were not good enough. What about shooting? What about the morality of the entire IRA and other terrorist campaigns?

    1. a different chris

      Why is what he says/said/will say* about the IRA important? Isn’t that the issue of a different country now? If he says they are wonderful, what changes in London? If he says they are Evil Incarnate, again what changes?

      I don’t care about what Trump or Clinton thinks about the Basques, for instance.

      *none of which will necessarily be, or at least come across thru the media as, logically coherent.

      1. broadsteve

        The Basques didn’t live in your backyard and bomb New York, Pittsburgh and sundry other places, killing many of your fellow citizens in the process; nor did they try to take out the GOP convention, slaughter serving personnel from the1st Armored Division while they were on parade, blow up a Senator on his way into the Senate, or murder a Kennedy while he was out sailing.

        Whether or not these things would matter to you now is for you to say, but I bet they’d still be in your folk memory.

        And actually no, it’s not a different country’s issue now. Northern Ireland is still part of the United Kingdom, and still returns MP’S to Westminster.

        1. I Have Strange Dreams

          ” Northern Ireland is still part of the United Kingdom, and still returns MP’S to Westminster.”
          There’s your problem, right there. Blowback is a bitch.

  15. cm

    Yves asked me to tell readers that she hopes they don’t mind the heavy dose of CalPERS reporting on the site at the moment.

    Please keep CalPERS as a top priority. You are making a difference.

    1. fresno dan

      May 23, 2017 at 10:41 am

      I agree. And it certainly is a primer on the nefarious scams and grifting that pervades government and both parties at all levels.

    2. Vatch

      It’s useful to see just how bad the pension finances are in the most populous state in the United States of America. 12% of Americans live in California, so when something is done wrong there, it affects a lot of people. It also hints at how bad things probably are in other notoriously corrupt states, such as New Jersey and Illinois.

      1. craazyboy

        As long as they got half a mill or more home equity to tap into, CA house pensions are looking pretty good.

        But that can change in the time it takes to brush your teeth.

  16. Pat

    An addendum to the report on the rise of CEO pay, one more focused on one segment of the corporate world, and from a somewhat surprising source. Deadline of any of the usual entertainment business sites was more sympathetic to the idea that the below the line workers should get paid, but after the founder left and the site was merged with others that was not as clear. My less cynical sides says to call it another sign that the apocalypse is happening and a fair number of those holding some sort of megaphones have gotten that the masses are restless and not entirely stupid. People are not going to ignore that top management pay can not be justified by the bull they have used for decades.

  17. Vatch

    Environmentalists Are Ignoring the Elephant In the Room: U.S. Military Is World’s Largest Polluter George Washington’s Blog

    Yes, the U.S. military is responsible for terrible amounts of pollution, and it’s good that this is getting some attention. However, I think the click-baity headline is unfair to environmentalists. Many eco-activists are stretched to the breaking point by all of the different types of pollution, habitat destruction, and other environmental problems. At a time when the budget for the US EPA is again being slashed (after previously being slashed during the Bush II administration), the US Defense budget is being increased, and the world’s population continues to rise, it’s impossible to keep up. If any group of people deserve criticism, it’s not environmentalists, it’s the apathetic majority.

    1. MoiAussie

      If the apathetic majority deserve criticism, what do you think the anti-environment anti-regulation corporate plunderers and their enablers and apologists deserve? I suspect being torn to death by starving dogs would be too good for them.

      1. a different chris

        Yes!! — and how sure is it that the majority is “apathetic”, not simply scared?

        If you tell me that I can stay in one place and, yeah maybe starve to death over the next say 2 years, and agree that my other option is to climb out of the valley for a weeks walk to a better life… sounds like I would start walking, right?

        But: You also tell me that I have a 95% chance of being eaten by a bear during that walk. Makes it a wee bit harder for me to hit that trail, right? I’m not starving yet, so I’ll give it another week and see if something changes…. and another week, and another…

        Of course there is no bear but I don’t know that. You just don’t want me to leave. Am I being apathetic?

      2. Vatch

        It goes without saying that the greedy destructive oligarchs and members of the Power Elite who cause the worst pollution deserve to be prosecuted. That will never happen unless members of the sleepy apathetic majority wake up and take action. Trump remains inexplicably popular among his base, even though he is responsible for the proposed budget changes that I listed, and for the appointment of the execrable Scott Pruitt to high office.

        In two days, we’ll have a chance to see whether the people of Montana are awake or not.

        1. Vatch

          Flint, Michigan, has serious environmental problems. Would this have happened if the local voters had a history of a high turnout for elections? I think it was easier for Governor Rick Snyder and his stooges to abuse the people of Flint, because the people of Flint were less willing to stand up for themselves than people in other counties. Here’s the Genesee County election data for 2010 and 2014. 40% turnout both years, which is better than some places, but it’s still quite bad:

        2. witters

          “Members of the sleepy apathetic majority wake up and take action! For I am the resurrection, and the life: he that waketh in me, though he were asleep, yet shall he taketh action: And whosoever waketh and taketh action shall slay the demon Trumpeth.” (John,11)

  18. Susan the other

    Thanks for another Diane Johnstone. She really nails Macron. And her summary of the “fascist ghost” reminds me of Phillip K. Dick’s question, “Who is the real fascist?” There are so many illogical things going on in the EU right now. One thing she said was that Macron is going for a federalized EU but it will never fly with Germany; Macron’s call for a development fund (much like Varoufakis did) will be rejected. But I did recently read a blurb on Schaeuble wherein he advocated sharing Germany’s surplus. And he recently accepted Trump’s criticism about the euro being undervalued, showing he understands the advantage this gives Germany. So it must be panic time for all this to come to the table. I’m still having trouble with the disintegration of politics: if the world deindustrializes and destroys labor and promotes “vertical egalite” and startups, etc. then what happens to capital? Corporations need a state with sovereign currency to maintain their monopolies. It’s going to be a strange synthesis when we all realize that we can’t all entrepreneur our way out of this dead end. And politics and sovereignty will both be dead too. Never mind. Good article by Johnstone. Confusion compliments of me.

    1. Carolinian

      Part of “making the lie big enough” seems to be accusing your opponents of your own intentions. It’s a classic strategy for deflecting guilt.

    2. vlade

      Most of the ordinary Germans would like EUR to be stronger. Or to have higher interest rates. It’s an article of faith in Germany these days that people should save, and with zero rates even they don’t see much point.
      So obvious calls for stronger EUR/higher interest rates are a good domestic policy for Schauble. Whether they really want it, is an entirely different story though.

      That said, there was an interesting article on BBG few days back ( about Merkel wanting Weidmann as the head of ECB in 2019. Which would be fascinating..

  19. ChiGal in Carolina

    Wow, the Spiegel article pulls no punches…from the point of view of our erstwhile allies, it’s like nobody’s home in DC.

    Of course, given what DC has been spewing forth for decades, maybe there’s a silver lining in that dark cloud…

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Facing fire: India’s poorest regions are the most vulnerable to heat waves

    That is likely how global warming, in conjunction with wealth inequality, will play out.

    1. jrs

      Yes those LEAST responsible (afterall how much are the very poor in India really contributing to climate change?) will suffer MOST. I wish there was a hell.

      1. Tim

        Can’t you read? There is a hell, its located in the poorest regions of India. Hell is not for the better portion of humanity (sarc off)

  21. Alex Morfesis

    I koodadyed…amy goodman interviews fidel Guevara bin laden…in no which way, shape or form is this to even begin to suggest the insane criminal assault and battery by the turkish govt thugs should be just talked about by diplomats over mint tea and some yogurt with honey…

    But a person with the name seyid riza desimi is NOT a peaceful protester…the American equivalent would be someone named fidel Guevara bin laden…

    Seyid riza was a kurdish revolutionary who set up his own self proclaimed govt in desim…as in inside current turkish borders(modern day tunceli province)…not to gloss over his death sentance nor the retribution against those who dared rebel…

    It should be noted erdogan actually publicly gave a govt apology for the events of 1937-38…calling it a dark chapter in turkish history…

    Seyid riza desimi is a self described professional protester…add what his name is and means…this might not have been a random act of turkish govt thugs…

    1. reslez

      In most courts of law a person’s name doesn’t constitute evidence they’ve committed violence. And it certainly doesn’t mean they should be beaten on the street by heavies with diplomatic immunity.

    2. Massinissa

      So because a person is named Fidel Guevara bin Laden or whatever, they no longer have rights to a fair trial or equal treatment under the law? That doesn’t make any sense.

      I don’t care if the person is named Adolf Genghis Stalin. Treating someone differently because of their name is not how ‘equal treatment under the law’ is supposed to work.

      1. Alex Morfesis

        Goodness…the guy claimed he was just an average joe who got american citizenship and is just a regular kinda of guy who was peacefully claiming erdogan blah blah blah…

        Seriously if some clown called “david duke de la beckwith” showed up in Harlem in front of the Apollo theater with a sign saying lynch the kneegrows…

        Me thinks this was not a random act by the turkish govt thugs…but the guy who ended up with stiches with a name like his and the signs he was carrying is not a candidate for mister innocent bystander…which he provided as his narrative to amy goodman…

    3. Massinissa

      “It should be noted erdogan actually publicly gave a govt apology for the events of 1937-38…calling it a dark chapter in turkish history…”

      The public apology was for killing 10,000 of Seyid Riza’s Kurdish anti-government rebels during the rebellion. So I don’t see how this supports your case, if anything it makes Seyid Riza more sympathetic.

  22. ChiGal in Carolina

    Re the Saudis and Iran

    We are now watching another slow-motion train wreck in the unfathomable embrace of a medieval regime over one that is actually organically moving toward a more open and progressive society.

    Both have sponsored terrorism, but the terrorism that most affected us came care of the duplicitous Saudis. Now they are getting into bed with Israel, a nation of apartheid.

    We have NO BUSINESS taking sides between Sunni and Shia Islam. And since oil is no longer a scarce commodity, I can only assume Israel is now the driving force for our doing so.

    Unutterably depressing as the consequences for our poor choices can be seen today in the slaughter yesterday of the children of Manchester.

    We never learn.

    1. Dead Dog

      Yes, thanks for the reminder ChiGal, the blood of those children was spilled as a direct consequence of our interference in the ME

  23. rich

    Jared Kushner’s Other Real Estate Empire

    Baltimore-area renters complain about a property owner they say is neglectful and litigious. Few know their landlord is the president’s son-in-law.

    Kamiia Warren still had not paid the $4,984.37 judgment against her by late 2014. Three days before Christmas that year, JK2 Westminster filed a request to garnish her wages from her in-home elder-care job. Five days earlier, Warren had gone to court to fill out a handwritten motion saying she had proof that she was given permission to leave Cove Village in 2010 — she had finally managed to get a copy from the housing department. “Please give me the opportunity to plead my case,” she wrote. But she did not attach a copy of the form to her motion, not realizing it was necessary, so a judge denied it on Jan. 9, on the grounds that there was “no evidence submitted.”

    The garnishing started that month. Warren was in the midst of leaving her job, but JK2 Westminster garnished her bank account too. After her account was zeroed out, a loss of about $900, she borrowed money from her mother to buy food for her children and pay her bills. That February — five years after she left Cove Village — Warren returned to court, this time with the housing form in hand, asking the judge to halt garnishment. “I am a single mom of three and my bank account was wiped clean by the plaintiff,” she pleaded in another handwritten request. “I cannot take care of my kids when they snatch all of my money out of my account. I do not feel I owe this money.

    Please have mercy on my family and I.” She told me that when she called the law office representing JK2 Westminster that same day from the courthouse to discuss the case, one of the lawyers told her: “This is not going to go away. You will pay us.”

    The judge denied Warren’s request without explanation.

    How does this fit with Ivanka’s empowering women thingy?

    1. jawbone

      Well, it’s empowering for Ivanka when her husband’s business makes more money, keeps up the revenue flow. So, as far as she is concerned, it’s damn well empowering.

  24. Tim

    United Airlines new policies in action: Flight attendants behaved very well. If you have to bring in the fuzz, and the situation does not de-escalate, then de-board the entire plane prior to attempting to remove the employee. (get the camera phones Outta there!).

    Of course the police still brought the man back though the terminal where all the passengers were waiting so if he had been bloodied or bruised it would still be evident for all to see.

    A United spokesman said that the man became “increasingly disruptive when asked to deplane”. The spokesman added: “Local law enforcement was called to assist.”

    Police were unable to persuade him to leave the plane, so passengers were forced to return to the terminal and wait for officers to remove him.

  25. ewmayer

    o “Doughnut Economics – Grab a pencil, draw a doughnut! | The Minskys. Hmmm.” — ‘The resulting figure, interpreted as a number, represents an upper bound on the percentage of economic-productivity and wage gains which have accrued to the bottom 90% during the past 40 years.” Because lack of skilled workers, unforeseeable economic boom/bust cycles and the need to rescue not just the banking *system* but handsomely reward all the top crooks in it after 2008, dontchaknow.

    o “Lessons left unlearned in Takata air bag scandal Nikkei | Asian Review. Scandalous. Nearly a decade since the problem first arose, it’s not yet been solved. Where are the regulators?” — Enjoying expensive Kobe-Beef-and-French-wine dinners and high-end ‘evening companions’ with Takata execs – where else? You need to get with it, Jerri-Lynn. :)

    o “John Podesta Unloads on Trump | Politico” — Mr. P, who has been clinically diagnosed with end-stage irony deficiency, reveals he really has never heard the one about the pot and the kettle.

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