Links 5/26/17

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Cougar Vocalizing Septima Trekking, Facebook. This is pretty remarkable.

Initial coin offerings risk damaging your financial health Financial Times (Richard Smith)

Bitcoin plummets nearly $400 just HOURS after Health Ranger warned of “catastrophic correction” Natural News (furzy). I would give Izzy more credit, but still…

Conservationists Could Be Saving More Biodiversity in Less Space New Yorker (furzy)

Are journalists prying too far into grief? Guardian (furzy). IMHO, they are prying into horror, not grief. But the damage is real. After 9/11, I saw a strong correlation between how much TV coverage my friends had watched and how freaked out they were.

‘Horrific’ Increase in Worldwide Displacement, Shows New Report The Wire (J-LS)


Regulator urges China banks to save ailing companies Financial Times. A widespread practice in Japan in the post-bubble years….


Land Acquisition, Neoliberalisation and Hegemony in India Progress in Political Economy (UserFriendly)

In Bonanza for Real Estate, Tourism Sectors, Centre to Dilute Coastal Protection Rules The Wire (J-LS)

The proposed Marine Coastal Regulation Zone (MCRZ) Notification, J-LS: “This is a huge deal– much of India’s coastline has to date not been developed, with a coastal exclusion zone protecting the shoreline.” Moi: And right before global warming will put a lot of it underwater? The problem is of course, that development isn’t just for rich suckers, it also creates jobs nearby for service workers, and they’ll be the ones who are hurt by developments that are not well sited.

Two out of Modi’s three biggest initiatives have been inconclusive. How will GST fare? The Scrol (J-LS)

Sri Lanka: A country trapped in debt BBC (furzy)


Trump in Europe

Trump makes forceful Brussels debut Politico

Trump pushes around NATO; lecture seen as unsettling alliance CNN

Trump Shames NATO Leaders on Defense Spending Bloomberg

May rebukes Trump over intelligence leaks Politico

German Chancellor Merkel and President Trump Remarks C-SPAN (Kevin C)

‘You tiny little man’: watch Trump’s bizarre body-language battles in Brussels South China Morning Post (J-LS)


Donald Trump says he’s concerned US jobs will be lost because of Brexit Politico

EU adds English teachers’ pay in Brussels to Brexit bill Financial Times

UK Elections

Jeremy Corbyn links foreign policy to growing terror threat Guardian (J-LS)

General election 2017: latest poll shows Tory lead cut to five points as Corbyn closes in The Times

Between Victoria and Vauxhall London Review of Books

Manchester bomb used same explosive as Paris and Brussels attacks, says US lawmaker Guardian (furzy)

Tsipras gives mixed message on expectations for crucial upcoming Eurogroup MacroPolis

Austerity Kills! Bank of Greece reports “Greek’s health deteriorating, life expectancy shrinks Defend Democracy (furzy)


US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria Counterpunch (martha r)

American Bombs Kills Over 105 Civilians in Mosul BBC

Saudi Aramco Struggles to Disengage From Royal Family’s Whims Wall Street Journal

Imperial Collapse Watch

The U.S. Intelligence Ship Is Too Leaky To Sail Bloomberg (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Florida GOP consultant admits he worked with Guccifer 2.0, analyzing hacked data ars technica (martha r)

About Face: DMV Lets Cops Search Database of Driver’s License Photos Seven Days (Chuck L)

Cartoon: The Internet of Ransomware Things Geekculture. EM: “The broom was my personal favorite.”

Trump Transition

Ruling on Trump’s Travel Order Sets Stage for High Court Wall Street Journal

‘Mnuchin Rule’ Against Wealthy Tax Cuts Comes Back to Bite Him Bloomberg

Flurry of leaks alarms US allies The Hill

Trump wants to cut funding for earthquake early warning system, which would likely kill project Los Angeles Times (furzy)

The Latest Drug Pricing Threat: The FDA Wall Street Journal. Like deciding not to undo the fiduciary rule, another unexpected position.

Lieberman withdraws from consideration to be FBI director Reuters (J-LS)


Trumpcare Is Russian Roulette for People with Pre-Existing Conditions New Republic

Single-Payer Health Care Is Less Expensive—Deal With It ShadowProof (furzy)

The Senate Can’t Pass Health Care Without This Man – Bloomberg (furzy)

A Bipartisan Way to Improve Medical Care New Yorker (furzy). This section is jaw-dropping:

A superior payment model has existed in various corners of the country for a long time. Mark Twain, in recalling his youth in Missouri, described a Dr. Meredith, who “saved my life several times” and charged the families in town twenty-five dollars a year, whether they were sick or well. This is what is now called capitation, an ungainly name for a system in which a medical provider is paid a fixed amount per patient—these days, it is typically upward of ten thousand dollars a year—whether that person needs expensive surgery or just a checkup.

This encourages maintaining health. Geisinger Health System, which is based in Danville, Pennsylvania, has used a capitation model for more than a century. Geisinger has long known that many of its diabetic patients live in areas with an abundance of fast-food places but no supermarkets. Last year, it began providing free, healthy groceries to those patients through a hospital pharmacy. “The results are so spectacular,” David Feinberg, the C.E.O. of Geisinger, told me. The average weight and blood pressure among diabetics fell, and fewer required dialysis or eye surgery, a costly side effect of unchecked diabetes. The cost for the food was two thousand dollars a year per patient. The savings from doing fewer procedures will come to more than twenty-four thousand dollars a year per patient. Similar experiments elsewhere in the country show better outcomes at a lower cost for joint replacement, post-surgical care, and over-all population health.

$10,000 a year is nearly double what I incur in medical expenses at NYC prices at my advanced age (and I did my math using rack rates, so not allowing for the discounts my insurer forces on some providers). But that does include the catastrophic care insurance component. The problem with all of these HMO-like systems is what happens if you travel or the ambulance takes you to the wrong emergency room? This is why we need single payer, but a capitation model may be the only way to radically restructure how medicine is provided in the US.

Deficit Scare Tactics Are What Citizens Should Really Be Afraid Of FAIR (martha r). I’ve been on panels a couple of times with Maya MacGuineas. She is the epitome of a relentlessly on-message lobbyist.

Mulvaney, Sanders clash on budget C-SPAN (martha r)

Nina Turner on Bitter Fight in California Democratic Party Real News Network

JW Files FOIA Request with Police, FBI over Seth Rich Murder Judicial Watch (martha r). Wowsers. This is not my area, but I would assume criminal investigations are normally not FOIA-able. They must be relying on an exception. Or this could be JW deciding to trade on its reputation for being pretty rigorous in its pursuit of pet right wing causes.

GOP holds on to win Montana House seat The Hill

Assemblyman John Wisniewski unveils legislation to create NJ single-payer health care system Burlington County Times (martha r)

Landslide Closes Section of Popular Coastal Highway in California New York Times (David L)

Kill Me Now

Zuckerberg sets out political battle agenda Financial Times

Chelsea Clinton: Climate Change Connected To Child Marriage YouTube. FWIW, Tucker Carlson plays it pretty straight for a Fox commentator. And the Chelsea clip does speak for itself. She seems to be trying to master a liberal dialect of word salad.

Fake News

Roger Ailes: The Man Who Destroyed Objectivity Bill Moyers. Ahem, there is a bit of the lady doth protest too much here. The mainstream media hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory relative to Fox. WMD in Iraq? Parroting the Obama Administration party line that it’s just too hard to prosecute banksters? Not questioning our recent rounds of nation-breaking? The treatment of Sanders’ campaign?

Donald’s Myths Jacobin (martha r)

‘Getting Trump’ with the New McCarthyism Consortiumnews (martha r)

Toronto Homeowners Are Suddenly in a Rush to Sell Bloomberg (furzy)

Indiana rolls out red carpet for Indian IT companies, offers big incentive packages to Infosys Economic Times (J-LS)

Best Buy Defies Retail Doldrums With Higher Sales Wall Street Journal

United Airlines accuses gay dad of having hands ‘too close’ to son’s genitals Metro UK (BL)

The Fees and the Darkness Bloomberg. About the fiduciary rule. CalPERS features prominently.

CalPERS: Is It Melting Down? Tony Butka, LA CityWatch

How the Fed plans to unwind massive market stimulus Financial Times

Guillotine Watch

Luxury Homes in Manhattan Are Finally Getting Cheaper Bloomberg

Class Warfare

The Devastating Effects of Dental Inequality in America New Republic

The New Class War Michael Lind, American Affairs Journal. Martha r: “Current issue of very new magazine. Not sure how important this is. Maybe an interesting take from a conservative perspective.” Moi: I only have read the first part, but so far, it looks very promising.

Ben Carson calls poverty ‘state of mind’ in interview CNN (UserFriendly)

How the Professional Class Kills Desire for Decent Employment caucus99percent (martha r)

Antidote du jour (Robert H):

And a bonus antidote (Lawrence R):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Clive

    I’ve deliberately avoided all coverage on the mainstream media about the Manchester bombing, once I had established the core facts (location, casualties).

    For one, more detail in these sorts of incidents does not lead to a better understanding and, sometimes, perversely, actually leads to less as the fact-sets overlap and are often contradictory. There will, eventually, be an official report probably in a few years when everyone has forgotten and that will be worth reading and learning from. But nothing much in the immediate aftermath is a must-see.

    And for another it was not an unexpected or unpredictable event. Get involved in foreign wars and fail to resolve Internal conflicts and this is the kind of blow-back you can expect. We can reasonably predict more of the same, unless we as a country change foreign policy and strategies.

    Finally I do wonder where some people have been in the past, oh, 50 years. As a child I grew up with the very real threat of nuclear war, the IRA and of course the usual wrong-place-wrong-time bad luck which everyone everywhere has to face. 5 people died on a freeway in a horrific accident a day later, it warranted barely a 3 minute also-ran slot on the BBC evening news. A lot of what we get presented with is mere catastrophe porn and emoting because it, inevitably, grabs an audience.

    1. Carolinian

      I visited London back in the 1970s and have a photograph of a Regent’s Park bandstand that I later heard had been blown up by the IRA. It was also a time of airplane hijackings and other very visible terrorism. To me the remarkable thing is the calm with which the British of the time seemed to deal with that violence versus the near hysteria which has prevailed in the US ever since 9/11. Perhaps we as a country need to develop a stiff upper lip or perhaps our “exceptional nation” self regard is to blame for what we’ve done in response. People–both elites and not–were all too ready to accept Bush’s “they hate us for our freedoms.”

      For the Greek dramatists hubris always led to tragedy. In America the play could just be getting started. And the most disappointing thing is that these days the Europeans and the English seem all too ready to follow our lead.

      1. vidimi

        ww2 survivors were still numerous in the 70s and 80s so they were quick to put things in perspective and smack down any chicken littles engaging in hysteria. the current generations (in the west) have forgotten true trauma.

        1. Paul Tioxon

          “I was born, in a cross-fire hurricane”, the opening line to the Rolling Stone’s hit in 1969, JUMPIN JACK FLASH is Mick Jagger talking about being born in 1943 during the height of the mutual aerial bombardment of England and Nazi Germany. By his first birthday in 1944, V-2 Rockets, buzz bombs, were landing in England. Although he wasn’t in London at the time, the area of birth was still targetted by bombing campaigns, his school was evacuated and children were placed supposedly beyond targeted areas, but still the skies were covered with bombers on their way into cities overhead along with anti-aircraft artillery firing.

          The English rock and rollers may have been too young to really recall all of this, but they grew up in bombed out villages, towns and cities which took over a decade to recover and rebuild. That generation of kids turned trauma into rock and roll songs, such as that one.

          1. witters

            Thanks for that. I’ve always been of the opinion that Sir Mick’s lyrics have been unjustly ignored (I’m leaving aside the obvious feminist scream points). Dylan and Lennon/McCartney get all kinds of literary critics pouring over their words, even Nobel Prizes for literature, but a Sir Mick lyric is typically a wonderous thing, a melding of sensibility and sound, equalled if ever only by some of the long dead blues greats on some rare occasions.

      2. Clive

        The Japanese too exhibit this trait of what you could describe as stoicism. They can take it to unhealthy extremes (so can the British perhaps, I’m too close to the prevailing culture to comment accurately). The amount of shiyou ga arimasenn’ing that goes on (roughly translated “nothing can be done” / “there’s no point in trying to do anything”) over, for example, Fukushima is startling.

        1. craazyboy

          In America we call it, “The Mutant Baby Is Here Already”.

          Paul McCartney noticed it and made a song too, “Lady Madonna”.

          Codified in lyrics, making sense only to the under 30 crowd with long hair, it is an image formed from the lyrics, ” Lady Madonna, Baby Heads at your breast. Wondering how you will feed the re…est.”

          A reference to the Egyptian 3 headed Dog God guarding the gates to Hell, methinks.

          The Brits have a long history with Egypt, and these mythological anecdotes do weigh heavy on the Brit consciousness.

          P.S. The French just mutter “Faust”, and shake their heads. Then have some nice cheese and red wine.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            Sorry to be slow, but this is a joke, right? Those are NOT the lyrics!

            A much simpler song, about women and children and poverty

            1. craazyboy

              I’m sure that’s how John, Paul and George meant it. Probably even Ringo.

              But things change – song lyrics get new meaning….

        2. Plenue

          How much of that is born of disillusionment though? Specifically, once the Japanese realized their country was destined to be a one-party dictatorship run by a creation of the CIA and that what the people wanted didn’t mattered one iota, they adopted an attitude of resignation.

        3. efschumacher

          “The amount of shiyou ga arimasenn’ing that goes on “

          I never heard it used in the polite form. It was always ‘shyou ga nai’. But then I spent more time in Osaka, where they don’t bend over backwards to go round the houses to be unnecessarily polite.

          P.S. I am however completely with you on the gratuitous emotive overload in the press about Manchester and similar sad attacks.

      3. Aumua

        Something about more recent attacks, this Manchester attack, the Bataclan theater, Nice.. that is particularly heinous, is the way that they are specifically targeting people at concerts, and festivals who are going out to have fun, laugh, dance, enjoy themselves. It really undermines any sense that there are still any cool or fun things left in life. You don’t mess with rock and roll, man. It’s f***ed up, and it certainly is blowback that the state actors involved need to take responsibility for, if any change is going to happen.

    2. oho

      One reporting in was that the Libyan bomber’s parents were ex-MI5 anti-Qaddafi assets in 1990’s Libya. Haven’t seen that reported in BBC or US/UK corporate media. RT sidestepped the histrionics.

      The world is seen through the prism of the ones doing the reporting.

      1. MoiAussie

        (Most of) that was reported in UK MSM yesterday, see here for some links.

        MoA has more today: Details Emerge On Blowback From Britain’s Terror Support

        Known Libyan radicals were released from control order in Britain, given their passports back and hauled off to Libya. There British special forces were on the ground and British fighter planes in the air to support their fighting against the legitimate Libyan government. MI-5, the domestic British spy service, “sorted” the fighters sent from Britain. The responsible British Home Secretary at that time? One Theresa May, now the British Prime Minister.

        The father of the Manchester assassin fought in Libya in a gang related to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a known al-Qaeda entity. His son, then 16 years old, joined him:

        In 2011, when Abedi was still a teenager, he traveled to Libya and fought alongside his father in a militia known as the Tripoli Brigade to oust Gadhafi as the revolts of the Arab Spring swept North Africa and the Middle East, a family friend said.

        The son returned to Manchester but became a well known danger to society. Members of Libyan exile society in Manchester reported him at least five times as a dangerous Jihadi to the local authorities. There were no reactions.

        Apparently not a story that Ma Theresa wants to be widely read.

        1. visitor

          Members of Libyan exile society in Manchester reported him at least five times as a dangerous Jihadi to the local authorities. There were no reactions.

          With disturbing repetitiousness, in the aftermath of a jihadist attack — and that includes recent ones in the UK, Belgium, France, as well as the really older ones in Spain and the USA — we learn the following:

          1) the perpetrators were known to the security services, which had already a dossier on them as jihadists, and at a minimum placed them on the list of “dangerous radicalized individuals”;

          2) in many cases, acquaintances, neighbours, spouses, parents, siblings — or a foreign intelligence service (e.g. the Russians in the case of the Boston bombings) had explicitly denounced them and asked authorities to intervene;

          3) and nothing was done.

          And now, instead of sending security forces to raid the houses of those whom accumulated intelligence pinpoints as extremists, those forces are scattered throughout the country in a futile attempt to “protect” against attacks.

          Jihadists used to attack railway stations and airports; then schools, museums, sport stadiums, concert halls. What next? Supermarkets? It is impossible to protect everything.

          After the November 2016 Paris attacks, the French declared a state of emergency. It did not prevent a whole series of further attacks — and about half of them were committed by people known to be extremists, duly identified in a S-list, J-list, whatever list, under investigation by intelligence services for their contacts with Daesh, known to have been to Syria, etc, etc.

          It is as if authorities did not want to act upon the detailed knowledge their all-encompassing Big-Brotheresque surveillance network is amassing…

          1. MoiAussie

            And now: Salman Abedi ‘wanted revenge’ for US air strikes in Syria, sister says

            The sister of Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi believes her brother carried out the manchester attack because he wanted revenge for US air strikes on Syria.

            Ms Abedi said she thought he was driven by America’s military attacks in the Middle East.

            “He saw the explosives America drops on children in Syria, and he wanted revenge. Whether he got that is between him and God.”

            Just his sister’s speculations, but if he left more concrete evidence of a US trigger for his actions that would join the blowback dots rather obviously, no?

            I hope Corbyn has the guts to run on May’s responsibility for enabling this tragedy.

            1. visitor

              He would be immediately accused of a divisive attitude “at a time when national unity against the existential threat of terrorism is paramount” and of “trying to earn political points in a lowly manner while the victims have not even been laid to rest”.

              Were Corbyn really aggressive — which he is not — he would, as you stated, join the dots, clearly remind people that May was for Iraq and Libya, that she signed on in supporting and sending known jihadists to Libya, and that the security services did nothing when Salman Abedi was denounced five times(!) as a jihadist by his own community.

              I strongly presume Corbyn will not do anything beyond wishy-washy statements about “thinking about UK’s strategic interests before rushing headlong into dubious foreign interventions that bring nothing but strife and destabilize countries”.

              By the way, instead of

              the November 2016 Paris attacks

              I meant November 2015, obviously.

              1. begob

                Maybe Corbyn has left the dot-joining to the voters. Labour is closing the gap in the polls, but the polls are volatile. Keep it steady.

          2. Damson

            “Known to the security forces.”


            In the Charlie Hebdo case, one of the jihadists used a gun that was originally registered to a member of the French Securite.

            That’s how close these links are.

            And, as you point out, it provided the pretext for placing France under martial law (‘state of emergency ‘).

            Nor was that a one-off – the numbers of perps’ known to security services ‘ is too great to be mere coincidence.

            That the conflict in the Middle East is being bankrolled by outside actors – usually through those self – same’ security services ‘ – most notoriously the CIA – is an open secret.

            Michael Flynn resigned when he discovered known Al – Quaeda operatives were being given passport clearance by US Intel.

            The relationship between the jihadists – basically an international pool of mercenaries – and security services is a long one, and mutually reinforcing.

            I do not believe this guy acted without MI5/6 knowledge (and quite likely Mossad /CIA).

            Now the UK has armed guards in public areas for the first time – and May has been photographed in the aftermath smiling.

            Nothing like an especially heinous crime – mass – murder of young girls – to lure the public into acceptance of the increasing militarization of the public arena.

            I believe we are witnessing the UK version of Gladio redux.

          3. Allegorio

            Time to put on the tin foil. Years ago Frank Luntz did research for Israel that found that when discussing the Israeli Palestinian conflict, talking about the particulars of the occupation caused Americans to side with the Palestinians, but when the subject was Palestinian terrorism, that reversed and Americans sided with Israel.

            Since then it has been non-stop coverage of terrorism on the media, even though your chances of being caught in a terror incident are less than being struck by a meteor. Atrocities against Palestinians are never reported.

            The pattern of terrorists known to the police executing terrorist acts can be understood in this context. I of course have no proof, but the proliferation of terrorist acts is mighty convenient for some, not just the Zionists, but those in whose interest it is to roll back civil liberties, institute universal surveillance, ( the better to blackmail politicians), and distract from the general corruption of our ruling classes.

            When Israeli’s were interviewed about 9/11 a common response was now they know what we in Israel have to deal with.

            Draw your own conclusions.

    3. Optimader

      “Get involved in foreign wars and fail to resolve Internal conflicts and this is the kind of blow-back you can expect. We can reasonably predict more of the same, unless we as a country change foreign policy and strategies.”

      While not advocating ANY military incursion in sovereign countries that have not attacked the country I live in, I fail to see how targeting young girls/women at a concert is likely an expression of retaliation for foreign wars and unresolved internal conflicts.

      I think more likely it is an expression of theocratically driven intolerance of diversity in social norms and religion that deviate from ultraconservative muslim theocratic practice (think Wahhabism). This is a historical thread that winds back beyond any contemporary foriegn wars to Egypt in the 1920s and before.

      If this most recent bombing were merely a foreign wars/unresolved conflict “blowback event” how does targeting of unescorted women in public conform with objectives? Puzzle me the equivalence of that with say the IRA blowing up Lord Mountbatten of the coast of Ireland?

      I think a more likely motivation is social intolerance,in this case of a ultraconservative (British national) muslim who was suckered into blowing himself up in some twisted religiouly driven caliphate.

      ISIL is hardly an insurgent force (again, think IRA) with an organizing principle of removing what they percieve as an occupying force from a Sovereign country. It is intolerant theocratic gangsterism that is self described as a “global caliphate” vs regional or sovereign. (File that under: good to have an unachievable goal if you are at the top of the religious equivalent of ponzi scheme).

      I happen to believe the ISIL mission self-description, and it is consistent with their history of terrorist bombing targets worldwide:

      Targets which IMO are overwhelmingly expressions of thoecratic/social intolerance rather than a pushback against, in this case, British “foreign wars”

      I do agree with your sensibilities regarding MSM breakingnews porn btw. As Taleb has pointed out in the past , if it is important enough to know, it will persist and render, in the meantime allocate your intellectual bandwidth/time to actually learning things that are enriching.

      1. MoiAussie

        For more speculation on his motive, see just above.

        His motive and his backers’ motives are unlikely to be well aligned. I think your analysis of ISIL motivation is pretty accurate, but his own may well be closer to blowback/revenge.

        1. optimader

          his own may well be closer to blowback/revenge

          May well, otoh we will probably never know because he was such philosophically nuanced person that he didn’t leave a note/message?
          That said I buy into his sisters presumably self-serving explanation maybe less than the next person coming through the revolving door that has no financial/social benefit attributable to burnishing the motivation of a brother-martyr. Perhaps one of her only avenues to get ahead in a misogynistic society?This, if for no other reason than the choice of young British girls/women as targets for “American bombings” is utterly inconsistent. Are there no low hanging American targets in the UK?? Of course there are.

          Personally this strikes me as a misogynistic act performed by an idiot inculcated with toxic social/theocratic sensibilities living in a society he chose to not integrate into at even a minimal level.

          1. a different chris

            Wow she is amazingly cunning, who would have known? She probably talked her brother into blowing himself up, yes? I mean, it opened up “one of her only avenues”….

          2. witters

            High Level Analysis. [summary] “Done by a brainwashed idiot, who chose to do it”.

      2. TK421

        It’s simple: the West kills innocent middle Eastern people with drones, so jihadists kill innocent Westerners with bombs in retaliation.

        1. optimader

          It’s simple

          Simple solutions for simple minds..

          So why kill Indonesians, Pakistanis Iraqis, blow up Shi’a muslims in Yemen mosques etc. etc. etc.

      3. Jeotsu

        War is how the rich inflict terrorism on the poor.

        Terrorism is how the poor bring war back to the rich.

      4. Aumua

        The fundamentalist, extremist ideology has a life of its own, and this bomber was obviously not someone who grew up in a war zone, watched his parents get maimed or killed, never got to be cool.. like Neil Young says. He was born and grew up in the West, so you can’t really say he was personally driven to his actions by the U.S. or whatever.

        But where does the extremist ideology take root, and flourish? It’s under conditions that state actors most definitely are perpetuating in their imperialist, corporate, empire building activities in volatile parts of the world. That is why this is blowback, whether directly or not.

      5. I Have Strange Dreams

        I believe you are right. These young men are in revolt against modernity. That is why they strike at (perceived) lurid displays of Western degeneracy. Millions of young men are crying out for purpose and meaning in life that our materialistic society cannot give them. Sadly, IS offer one.

    4. Off The Street

      Manchester is the latest in the breaking news / broken news trend. One axiom in the intelligence world is that raw data tends to be unreliable and subject to significant revision upon confirmation. Too bad that our networks are so bent on rushing out the latest breathless update to fill up those precious minutes of advertising lures, instead of practicing real journalism. Practice makes perfect, so why not aim for that instead of mediocrity and a misinformed populace?

    5. RudyM

      Yeah, wait until the PTB have all the loose ends smoothed out, and it reads like a novel (as Philip Zelikow intended the official 9/11 report would read).

      Not saying this is necessarily a false flag, but of course I’m going to wonder. Some good background here, though this probably overlaps with things that have already been posted (especially from Moon of Alabama):

      At any rate, I agree with you that there needs to be a drastic change in foreign policy.

  2. Quanka


    I’ve been thinking for a long time that Big-AG must play one of the more important and overlooked roles in the medical crisis. But then – if you factor Big-AG into the picture then you also have to factor in your franchise-model “restaurant” industry serving “food” — in addition to your Walmarts, Safeways, etc peddling aisles and aisles of “food” that wont spoil if it stays on the shelf for months.

    A) Not surprising at all that the Geisinger Health System found correlation b/w availability of this non food and higher rates of endemic health problems. My guess is that this is the source for 50% or more of heath problems in the U.S.

    B) Also not surprising that the key is to remove the food from the equation and all the other problems go away.

    C) No consultants or lobbyists get paid for figuring this out — thus, this model will not propagate in the U.S.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      Yea, let’s blame all illnesses on what people eat. Make people the responsible parties for all their ills. That is so convenient for those who don’t want single payer, isn’t it?

      But let us not forget what polluting our environment does to our health either. For instance, how big will the medical costs be from the lead pollution in Flint? Or the medical costs that people who worked in the nuclear industry will end up paying. Or the increase in the amounts of asthma in this country from air pollution, or the medical costs for miners working in the coal industry……..and on and on…….

      I know there are many many people who would like to blame most illnesses on “what you eat”, especially among the neoliberals, but so far the medical evidence of that is fuzzy at best. Correlation is not causation. And although I applaud Geisinger Health for selling groceries to people who don’t have access to supermarkets, aren’t those the same groceries that Big Ag sells to everyone? So how did they magically change and become more healthy because Geisinger is selling them? Methinks that Geisinger’s “study” is more a self fulfilling prophecy than actual science…..

      1. MoiAussie

        I think you’re being a bit pessimistic about this. There’s no question that poor diet and a lack of exercise are key factors in the development of type-2 diabetes, and plenty of evidence that it can be controlled and even reversed by controlled diet and exercise programs. Same poor diet causation is probably true for some other chronic conditions, even for alzheimers.

        If you object mainly to the “make people the responsible parties” part of this, you should learn about “obesogenic environments”. This meme attempts to shift the blame from the person onto the environment in which they live or work.

        1. jrs

          There is evidence of diets influence on cancer, it is large and specific fruits and vegetables help a lot in preventing cancer and it’s spread, but of course genetics and pollution still play some smaller role (look if one is living on top of a superfund site they may well be screwed regardless – cancer clusters are also real).

      2. Steve Roberts

        Sorry but the medial bills of those within the nuclear energy is a microscopic fraction compared to those generated by carbon burning energy sources like coal and gasoline. Jet fuel alone probably generates more medical expenses than the entire nuclear energy sector by a factor of 10.

        1. Vatch

          Hi Steve, perhaps you missed this part of JustAnotherProgressive’s comment:

          Or the increase in the amounts of asthma in this country from air pollution, or the medical costs for miners working in the coal industry……..and on and on…….

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Geisinger has long known that many of its diabetic patients live in areas with an abundance of fast-food places but no supermarkets. Last year, it began providing free, healthy groceries to those patients through a hospital pharmacy.

        Free and healthy groceries.

        No supermarkets.

        I don’t sense blaming people for what they eat.

        1. justanotherprogressive

          Yea, I saw that “free” line and then I noticed this: “The cost for the food was two thousand dollars a year per patient.” I’m not sure from the article who picked up the cost for the food or how much Geisinger charges their patients…..

      4. OIFVet

        We can point out the terrible health effects of food-like “foods” without blaming the people who have little choice but to eat this crap. First, it is a fact that real, fresh food costs more than processed crap due to the government choosing to subsidize certain Big Ag interests at the expense of others. In these days of vanishing jobs offering living wages, many people have no choice but to subsist on processed junk and fast food. Then, there are the food deserts that the article does mention. They are very real, even in a big city like Chicago, where the only food available in some neighborhoods is junk food sold at the corner liquor or dollar store. It is not helpful IMO to simply ignore these issues just because neolibs and conservatives engage in victim blaming. Best defense is a good offense, and confronting the issue head-on is a must.

        1. TK421

          Only a fraction of Americans live in “food deserts” yet two-thirds of us are overweight or obese–and eliminating those “deserts” has little effect anyway.

          And my local grocery store routinely sells instant oatmeal for ten or twenty cents a serving, bananas for 25 cents apiece, and eggs for half a dozen per dollar. Plus I’m pretty sure that tap water is cheaper than soda.

          1. OIFVet

            Fine. Sometimes deals can be had on fresh unprocessed foods. But generations of people have grown up knowing nothing but the taste of crap “food,” and when you give them the real thing they find the taste inferior to that of the additives they have become addicted to. I remember Jamie Oliver’s attempt to make school lunches healthy, children didn’t even know what bell peppers looked like, and they wanted the crap that the food-industrial complex pushed on cash-strapped schools. No doubt that’s people’s fault too… Not to discount the role of personal responsibility, but it is a lot mote complex than simply blaming people for their “choices.”

            And going back to my original point, being thin and eating healthy has become a status marker in these here parts. I am sure income and cost of real vs processed “food” have nothing to do with this phenomenon /sarc

            1. jrs

              yes they get addicted to the specific stimulation of processed foods I think.

              However maybe the taste ACTUALLY IS pretty inferior! While berries and other fruits and greens from the farmer’s market may be delicious (and in some cases even supermarket organic tastes better than conventional), maybe tasteless out of season super market tomatoes and apples out of season, and imported produce all times of year, and produce picked long before ripeness and etc.. JUST DOESN’T actually taste all that good much of the time. It doesn’t help that the fruits and vegetables we are trying to get people to eat in this country are pretty flavorless. It helps to be hungry to enjoy food of course, so constant grazing may not help, but inferior food is still not superior food.

              And maybe even more so based on distance from where all this stuff is grown (maybe in California some of the stuff is somewhat fresh but less so if it’s traveling forever). And if the quality of the basic food isn’t that great, then maybe it’s reverse Alice Waters at this point (who was of course all about simplicity and quality of basic ingredients), and knowing how to cook and use spices etc. is really necessary when the quality of the basic ingredients isn’t that great.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            I weighed 30 lbs when I was one year old being fed the same Gerbers baby food all babies of my generation ate. Please explain that.

      5. TK421

        It seems like every month, another study links obesity to some dire health outcome. Cancer, brittle bones, and cognitive failure are just some of the latest findings.

      6. Quanka

        I am not blaming people in my response. Just trying to draw cause and effect, mmmmkay. I am well aware of how its next to impossible for most people in the U.S. to avoid consuming chemicals even if they want to, whether it be in the form of cost, availability, or any other constraint.

        Let me state it another way. I am surprised in all the discussion around health care – from access to drugs to pricing of everything — that food is not a bigger part pf the story, because it should be.

        1. jrs

          Yes, but the order is probably reversed: maybe FIRST we get universal healthcare and THEN the government starts to care that people are being poisoned by produce full of chemicals and meat raised in horrible conditions and poisoned water and restaurants serving cr@p and etc..

          Because I think having such healthcare systems might be why Europe is a lot more on the ball with this. THEY HAVE SKIN IN THE GAME. The government and society has SKIN IN THE GAME, in keeping people healthy! Whereas here we still think it’s “every man for himself” even though in reality we are already all paying for this. Of course even Europe is succumbing to GMOs unfortunately.

    2. craazyboy

      I wonder what you eat for a broken arm? I’m hoping 3 Frappacinos a day does it.

      Also, we now know preventative health is important – stay away from R campaigns, airline personnel, DNC operatives, cops, The ME, Europe, spies in general – too hard to tell if they are double agents… – that sort of thing.

      1. Jacobite_In_Training

        Well, its elementary my dear craazyboy: One must eat large quantities of calcium and exercise to strengthen ones bones and supporting cartilage/muscle mass etc. to prevent breakage. The dosage will be determined based upon various blood and other tests the average citizen needs to either do themselves, or pay for out of pocket in order to prove they are pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps, showing personal initiative, and gettin’ ‘er done.

        Of course, one had best not increase ones calcium dosage *too* much, as some studies have possibly shown some increased risk of heart attack at higher dosages…but thats an easy fix, as most citizens will be able to check through the free online medical journals using their moderately priced broadband access on their modern speedy PCs or smartphones (that we all know they buy with their spare discretionary income after purchasing illegal drugs) …in order to keep up to date on the studies in their spare time…oh, on the bus when they are looking for work, maybe at the beach on weekends, or when they are on holiday in the south of France.

        And if they have a heart attack anyway, well…its self-evident that those citizens were not sufficiently diligent in their research and lab/blood work analysis, so clearly those folks should just die.

        But, at least they can die secure in the knowledge that they took no charity (PRIDE!) and showed admirably levels of gumption (DISCIPLINE!) in avoiding becoming a burden on the rest of us who do this the right way.

        Lord knows I need the tax breaks thus saved in the budget by avoiding financing the sloth and laziness out there. My schooner needs a new set of diving gear, and a dive boat….and them marble countertops aint gonna install themselves!

        1. craazyboy

          Sure, and I’m certainly hoping that’s where my Frappacinos go now.

          Still, I’m concerned about the case where something causes a bone to exceed it’s shear or tensile strength. Then it just goes *snap* !

    3. Jef

      You are spot on Quanka!

      There is a large number of studies documenting the lack of nutrition in the most common consumed foods. Sure big ag produces ever larger amounts and are always touting the increase of a certain vitamin or protein as increasing nutritional value but for every nutrient added there are untold dozens that are key to good health that are missing. Not to mention all the trace pollutants/chemicals present.

      There is no question that eating better will decrease disease. Problem is we could not possibly feed even half the current population with healthy food produced from healthy soil.

      A factory farmed egg or meat, where the animal has not had live grass to eat as a regular part of their diet are not good for you. If they have access to grass they are some of the most healthy food you can eat.

  3. Octopii

    So…. the Montana result is decisive. Perhaps voters liked that takedown of the Guardian reporter? Fascinating to me is the county by county results — in Garfield county for instance, it’s 90% Gianforte vs 5% Quist. Astounding.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      And that is Montana! They love to shoot themselves in the head every few years. It is amazing that ranchers voted for a person who wants to privatize their grazing lands, but yea, they did that!!

      1. leftover

        We do like to shoot ourselves in the head. But…
        Where are you getting the data on how ranchers voted. Or Gianforte on privatizing public grazing lands?

        I’m missing something here. In Missoula County.

        1. justanotherprogressive

          As for how ranchers voted:
          Look up the results for yourself……if you are a Montanan then you must know which counties have the largest population of ranchers……hint – big counties in area, small in population…..

          Don’t you remember the public lands debate when Gianforte ran against Bullock?

          1. leftover

            Thank you. I knew I was missing something. I remember when Gianforte ran against Bullock but most of what I heard was centered around Gianforte’s lawsuit. Thanks again.

            The Secretary of State results doesn’t supply any demographic information. So it’s a presumption, not data, to State how a certain demographic voted based on location. I know one rancher who more than likely voted for Quist: Jon Tester. My cousin ranches north of Philipsburg and she voted for Quist. In fact she called me to lobby for Quist on several occasions. I couldn’t say for sure, but I’ll presume Dave Letterman voted for Quist…well…maybe Wicks…but not Gianforte. If he votes in Montana. The point being Montana’s political culture is much more complex than the blue/red characterizations employed in the media. Just because a rancher voted for Gianforte doesn’t necessarily means said rancher supports transferring public grazing lands into private hands. Or into State control. It’s just not that simple.

          2. Montanamaven

            Yeh, I did a quick look and, Overall my county went 69% for Gianforte and 26% for Quist. We have no big city. My precinct is heavily ranching and it went 82% to 13% for Gianforte. In Precinct 4 though which has more Democrats it was 70% to 25%. The town of 1500 went 61% for Gianforte to 32% Quist.
            In the 2016 Governor’s race, Gianforte got 64% and Bullock 33%
            When I was county chair we got Tester 32% of the vote. Prior to 2006, no Democrat had got much more than 21% of the vote. That was a lot of hard work getting out people who gave up voting. But my precinct with a lot of BLM land use, they go total Republican. Montanans seem more self interested at the state level and more idealogocial at the national level. But then we had two Democratic Senators with Baucus and Tester. It also comes down to personality at lot of the time. They loved Brian Schweitzer’s brashness and smarts. Bullock is more polished and a lawyer but also very smart. Oh, heck, I have no idea.

        2. Carla

          So, I heard on the MSM that Montana’s governor and one of the state’s U.S. Senators are Democrats and checked it out online. Could part of the support for Gianforte be chalked up to voters wanting to maintain “bi-partisan” balance in that state? Just a thought.

          1. Montanamaven

            Yes, Montana likes to keep things balanced. But we do have only one Democratic Senator , Jon Tester, so they might have be OK with a Democratic Rep although they haven’t had one since the 1997; Pat Williams, who was very well known and respected as was Mike Mansfield.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Time is important. Tester won in 2006. Schweitzer was Governor on a similar model. Again he had money and time in which said money can be used. Ads in the last week are somewhat meaningless. You have to build long term especially when you are asking people to trust you.

            Disaffected, potential voters do use a basic strategy. Does the candidate ask for your vote or ignore it? I know people don’t like it, but many low-info voters accept they might not make the best decisions or have the resources to make the best decisions. They do choose to make a decision based on who asks for their vote. If no one asks, they don’t vote.

            For the less than regular voter, what was the campaign presence of Quist? Ad buys in the last week of a campaign mean nothing except “hey, this guy wants a cool job.” Do Quist supporters believe in Quist enough to ask people on Indian reservations for their vote? Not everyone has time to do this, and field operations need organization and discipline. The best thing the DNC could have done was to have field organizers on standby they can drop in to jump start a campaign. Even with the distance involved, wins have been achieved in the past.

            Gianforte has run statewide before. He has a huge leg up on Quist when it comes to reaching the base.

            Tom Periello won the largest congressional district by area East of the Missippi in 2008. He didn’t win because he was just so awesome. There had been several full time attempts at party building by two candidates who knew they were sacrificial lambs. Convincing people Democrats could win the district was a huge obstacle to getting non-voters to vote. His win in 2008 wasn’t from old voters switching. It was from non-voters becoming voters.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              The last national election is important. Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the campaign of Democrats everywhere was built around winning “suburban moderate” Republicans or more accurately a unicorn who had a black belt and won Dancing With the Stars.

              Although Quist might be aligned with Sanders, the larger Democratic Party has not been party building but chasing after a mythical animal that reflects their views of themselves. The famed convenience store clerk of Montana who was quoted as saying “sounds like my kind of politician” should have voted for Quist, but at the same time, the national and permanent Democratic narrative suggests the clerk isn’t worth their effort.

              Quist had no money, no pedigree, no name recognition, and ran against an opponent who had already taken 48% statewide. These are obstacles to say the least.

    2. oho

      >>n Garfield county for instance, it’s 90% Gianforte vs 5% Quist. Astounding.

      No more astounding than the 95/5 pro-Dem split you see in some urban precincts.

    3. leftover

      Official County results here.
      Not surprising at all if you’re familiar with Montana’s political culture.
      I’m a little surprised Quist did as well as he did.

    4. Vatch

      It will be interesting to see Montana town hall meetings with their new Representative. Will citizens who ask the wrong questions be body slammed?

      1. Emma

        Vatch, you raise a valid question.

        For in the face of disagreement, this man seems quite willing to opt for a pure and unfettered form of physical abuse in all its simplicity. This is clear evidence that in the public workplace at the very least, when aggrieved, he has an inability (presently? temporarily?) to conduct himself appropriately, for physical abuse is his default response.

        But hey, it could always be worse couldn’t it? There are other GOP-ers, so-called ‘leaders’, who are prepared, and normally permitted the privacy, to bare their arms so-to-speak behind closed doors at home. Just like Chris Corely:

        What is also appalling is that many GOP brethren permit such action. They simply don’t care to request such a troubled man remove himself and seek help, until capable of conducting himself with both reason and restraint….and in a more consistent manner. This only diminishes the GOP as a whole, and is a rapidly increasing debasement of what the GOP, indeed, US politics represents, both at home, and abroad. It’s quite disingenuous for the present US government to assert to the rest of the world it ensures the dignity of man, expects others to do likewise, and respects this in both law and practice. It’s ludicrous.

        If, without any genuine risk-assessment, US politicians accept the influence of ‘marginals’ like Gianforte in his present shape and form, they have serious work to go through themselves to sort out what are serious problems…..and that’s before they even attempt to sort out their fellow citizens and the issues they are daily confronted with.

        I would dearly like to see more actual GOP-ers speak up and out about it, particularly female representatives, and do something constructive about it. Like putting such juvenile delinquency, and here I’m being polite, into a custom-built mini-pen…..with a lid on it. For otherwise, things will continue on a downwards trend for America.

    5. Lynne

      CSPAN has what purports to be video of the incident (on YouTube), although it doesn’t appear to be on the Guardian page. The Guardian does have an extended video of the reporter’s pontificating, but not the video. Oddly enough, the video shows two guys grappling with each other, and certainly not the image I formed from hearing the reporter’s version.

      Bottom line for me is that “the press” still doesn’t realize how much damage they caused themselves and, by extension, democracy with the last 16 years of hypocrisy and mendacity. I wager there were more than a few voters in Montana who pictured body slamming their “news” person of choice and smirked with satisfaction when they heard about this.

      1. leftover

        CPAN video is here. Certainly not a WWE move. More of a Greco-Roman approach. But we don’t get to see the final takedown.

        1. cats paw

          Are you going for the lulz with this video?
          Or do you really take this as evidence of the actual event?

      2. Vatch

        The irony is that when the press has been slanted or otherwise unfair, they almost universally do so in support of billionaires, hecto-millionaires, or giant corporations. Middle or lower income people who resent the press and then support savages like Gianforte are shooting themselves in the foot.

        1. Lynne

          The problem is that middle or lower income people at this point have nobody to support. Surely you don’t think Pelosi and Schumer care one dime about them. We had someone who at least appeared to support the non-oligarchs, and the DNC buried him.

          1. Vatch

            Lynne, they had James Thompson in Kansas, and Rob Quist in Montana, and middle and lower income people outnumber other people by very large number, yet they rejected those candidates. I agree with you that Pelosi and Schumer do not care about middle and lower income people, but they are less actively hostile to such people than the great mass of Republican politicianss are. Examples of such hostility:



            The level of contempt that conservative politicians have for their constituents is almost surreal. Unless a person is genuinely wealthy, voting for a conservative Republican is a symptom of the Stockholm Syndrome.

            1. Lynne

              I was very disappointed by the Kansas vote, but not surprised by the Montana vote. I keep hoping that the DNC will get a clue and stop promoting Pelosi, etc. The LA Times just did a piece on Maxine Waters, and I thought there was a chance with Ellison, but instead we got Perez who immediately doubled down on the Resist nonsense instead of promoting a genuine progressive plan. So yeah, voting for a Republican (not many non-conservatives left out there — remember the good old days when freedom of choice was the Republican platform?) is bad, but the Democrats have no alternative that is any better, and they have made it very clear just how much they despise their constituents as well. (I could tell you stories about Tom Daschle that would leave you wondering how he could have ever been elected anything but dog catcher — but that all eventually caught up to him).

              I understand that Quist tried to make it clear he was not a fan of Pelosi, but we all know that once in DC, he becomes part of the blob. Seen that way too many times.

                1. Lynne

                  Thanks, Vatch. I’m not a big fan of out-of-state donations, but may just make an exception for Jaffe. Fingers crossed in any event for both.

    6. Ernesto Lyon

      My suspicion is that it was a setup, the same as when the Dems were sending black provocateurs into Trump rallies in order to provoke racists incidents.

      I suspect most professional journalists at the high levels are intelligence resources that are tapped to shape narratives on occasion.

        1. Lynne

          No, afraid not. I think you’ll find the current standard is probation with anger management classes thrown in to drum up $$ for the counseling contingent. Prisons are full, don’t you know.

          1. Vatch

            Hah! Yes, no tolerance for minor drug offenses, but probation for someone who actually hurts another person!

    7. Roger Smith

      This was the most interesting comment I saw, via Michael Tracey

      I have also seen brief mention of Quist playing up Russian ties. Classic Democrat mistake if true. Sanders throwing in with the party was a huge mistake.

    8. diptherio

      Montana does vote-by-mail, which tends to increase turn out, which is generally good for the Dems, but it also means that a lot of people had already cast their ballots by the time the bodyslam hit the news.

      Interestingly, Gianforte’s home county (Gallatin) went for Quist, has did three of the other major population centers in the state (the largest of which is ~100,000). Most of Quist’s support is centered around the two university towns and Butte, an old mining town and union stronghold. Hill, Blaine, Roosevelt and Big Horn counties all have Indian Reservations, which I would guess account for Quist’s wins there.

  4. Jim Haygood

    B-A-A-D-D-D Germans!

    “The Germans are bad, very bad,” Trump told EU officials in a closed-door meeting, Der Spiegel reported, citing unidentified attendees.

    “Look at the millions of cars that they sell in the U.S. Terrible. We’re going to stop that.”

    Really, the Orange Flake is more entertaining than the Saturday morning cartoon shows we used to watch as kids.

    Let’s go out and torch some Beemers to support the pretzeldent. Oh wait, they were made in Spartanburg, South Carolina! :-(

    1. Marco

      I have family near Spartanburg (closer to Greenville) The BMW plant has really transformed that whole part of SC along I-85. Greenville home to Bob Jones Univ no longer has that snake-charming Bible Thumper vibe it used to have when I visited as a kid.

      1. Carolinian

        The area has had a considerable German presence even before BMW with chemical plants such as BASF. Perhaps that’s one reason BMW chose to move there. It seems doubtful that Nikki Haley will be scolding the Germans regardless of what her boss says.

        1. Marco

          It wasn’t a thirst for cheap compliant local non-union labor? One has to wonder if there is some natural temperamental / cultural harmony between educated working and middle-class right-wing southern baptists and a rigid work ethos typical of German industry.

          1. Carolinian

            Oh sure but one should note that before we were colonized by the Germans we were colonized by northern mill owners for the same reason. One could also point out that unions aren’t exactly soaring in the rest of the country either and you can’t really blame that on the south although some would like to. Now many car makers including BMW are opening or planning to open plants in even cheaper Mexico.

            1. jrs

              Minimum wage is often higher elsewhere (cost of living may or may not be, that varies). So that is more labor protections as well.

          2. I Have Strange Dreams

            Could be that the Germans are used to being masters and the Southerners are use to being slaves.

        2. Tom_Doak

          I was in the South last week, and my host remarked on the strength of the economy in the belt from northern Alabama and Chattanooga, through Georgia and into S.C. It’s not just German companies who have set up there: we were having a nice dinner in a small town in Georgia, and more than half the customers were Koreans who work at a nearby auto plant.

          Seemed like a really good topic for a national news story about the changing economy [and possible ties to visa rules and tax breaks to foreign businesses] — if the national news organizations had any interest in covering such things.

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            Maybe someone else has the link handy but there was a link posted here a month or so ago about auto parts manufacturing in the south – low wages and lots of damaged bodies.

            1. Jim Haygood

              Elon Musk isn’t going to let the South beat his record in sunny Fremont, Cali:

              Ambulances have been called more than 100 times since 2014 for [Tesla] workers experiencing fainting spells, dizziness, seizures, abnormal breathing and chest pains, according to incident reports obtained by the Guardian. Hundreds more were called for injuries and other medical issues.

              In a phone interview about the conditions at the factory, which employs about 10,000 workers, the Tesla CEO conceded his workers had been “having a hard time, working long hours, and on hard jobs”, but said he cared deeply about their health and wellbeing.


              Just wait till he switches on the world’s largest factory in the Reno-Sparks Industrial Park. One can easily forecast, simply based on its inhuman scale, that it’s going to have terrible labor relations.

  5. sleepy

    The media has gone completely bonkers in its non-stop coverage of Trump minutiae. This obsession with his handshakes/handholding is over the top tea-leaf reading.

    1. Clive

      As Lambert said (about a different but related topic), this isn’t like Kremlinology; it is Kremlinology.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Made the mistake of turning on the telly last night to try to get news about MT special election. Jared Kushner under investigation was on endless loop on both CNN and MSNBC. In the cacaphony of talking heads there was a lot of slippage: JK as target of investigation. Quick internet check and it is just that they want to see what he knows. Imho pretty likely they will uncover corruption among Trump’s associates, but not collusion with the Russians to perpetrate election fraud.

      No actual news to be found. Reminds me why I haven’t watched since last June, with the sad exception of the debates.

    3. RUKidding

      Don’t have a tv, but my gym rat pals – who watch while on stationary bikes – have been vetching about the incessant fixation on the minutia of every little thing about Trump. FWIW, they are sick & tired of the whole insane spectacle and wish the media would, you know (ha ha), do it’s job and report on real stuff.

      Most of my gym rat pals don’t like Trump and didn’t vote for him, but they’re all saying: for heaven’s sake, let him get on and do his job and forget about all of this meaningless nonsense.

      I avoid even glancing at the tvs in my gym. TV nooz is deadly.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is anecdotal evidence of the flaw with “OMG Russia.” In the long run, it discredits and discourages genuine opposition to a Republican President. Uncouth Mittens is a very bad man.

        1. jrs

          We all know the Dems compromise any principles for payola and can’t stand up to big donors. But maybe it’s just one step more obvious than this: maybe they are paid to be an ineffective fake-opposition party so that the donors get everything they want with the Republican budget for instance and Dems are merely actors paid for acting a bit part enabling this to happen.

        2. hunkerdown

          It is an error to define “opposition to a Republican President” as Democrats, who are demonstrably enablers more than opposition. Democrats couldn’t do much worse than to hire some of their aspiring professionals to whisper in the ears of every hack and office holder that “Thou are but mortal”. “Google Seth Rich and shut up about it” is a good start, however anecdotal that account may be.

      2. Antifa

        My local gym just had an informal vote by members on what channels to put on the half dozen TV’s in the main room. They always used to be either on Fox, CNN, MSNBC or soap operas, some in Spanish with English dubbing.

        And the kvetching was constant — hence the vote.

        The six winning choices were History Channel, National Geographic, Oprah, ESPN, Discovery, and Comedy Central. No news channels even made the list.

        Now the kvetching is about the History Channel having become the Conspiracy Channel. What happened to Hitler, and all the maps and arrows heading into Poland? That was comfort food to some of us.

      3. jrs

        or at least oppose the job he is doing, I mean one could start with the proposed budget …. this is what any politician should expect from an opposition party (if we had any of those) and if Trump is too snowflake oh well. But the witch hunt with every little thing is getting annoying.

    4. From Cold Mountain

      On the contrary, I do not think his handshake stuff is minutiae. Handshakes have an important social function and can effect diplomacy.

      However, did you see Trump wander away from Netan-yahoo?

      Just like he walk away without signing one of his executive orders.

      1. Off The Street

        Fortunately, Netahyahu can be patient at times with the public spectacle and thus get his executive orders signed by Trump when they meet off-line. :p

    5. Arizona Slim

      Agreed. I mean, come on. It​ isn’t as if he’s the first boorish president in history​. LBJ was no slouch in that department.

  6. MoiAussie

    Lieberman withdraws from consideration to be FBI director

    A bullet potentially dodged there. According to the Independent report:

    White House officials confirmed to The Washington Post that the administration also had concerns about nominating a former US senator to a traditionally non-partisan position.

    The removal of Mr Lieberman leaves acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating on the White House’s short list for consideration.

    So the former governor would be seen as partisan, leaving an awfully short shortlist.
    And what’s the scoop on McCabe?

    1. oho

      no way to prove this…but it smelled like Liberman’s name was purposefully thrown into the wind by Trump’s inner circle to see whether the Lieberman idea would be leaked to the press.

      1. MoiAussie

        Interesting theory. First mention I could find was on 5/17 from NBC and several others, with the story based on remarks made by Sean Spicer to journalists on a plane. Not the kind of leak you had in mind, I suppose.

        1. polecat

          ‘story based on remarks made by Sean Spicer to lying journo SNAKES on a plane ….

          sorry Mr. Moi .. couldn’t resist

      2. hidflect

        I agree. No way was Holy Joe ever a serious contender. I think he’s 76 years old and it’s a 10 year position.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          If we accept:
          -Trump is a dope
          -he watches cable news non stop and is heavily influenced by the last thing he heard

          Its believable that Trump might have considered Lieberman as someone who could get McCain off his back.

        2. hunkerdown

          Trump seems to always have a rabbit on the inside track of the hamster wheel, if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors. If he didn’t, the “muh Russia” agitprop would be deafening. The rumor on the imageboards is that DWS is being set up as the fall guy for various criminal activities. I’m also seeing the word RICO over there recently. I doubt it’ll happen but anyone with contacts in the DNC services/DWS suit should whisper that word around and see if we can’t blow the Party wide open.

  7. Jim Haygood

    Non sequitur of the day:

    The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved on Thursday the most sweeping sanctions against Iran since the United States and five other nations reached an agreement with Tehran in 2015 to sharply limit that nation’s nuclear capability.

    Because Iran has complied with the nuclear accord, the Senate committee had to find other reasons to impose the sanctions, and linked the penalties to Iran’s continued support for terrorism and its human rights violations, among other concerns.

    But the timing of the long-planned punishment was awkward, coming right after Iranians overwhelmingly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani, who has moved to expand personal freedoms in the country and integrate its economy with the West.

    Senator Corker noted that the committee had waited to take up the sanctions bill until after the Iranian election, at the request of some members.

    What on earth could push Senators into the awkward position of punishing a country that just held democratic elections to choose a moderate leader? This is all you need to know:

    “Iran remains the greatest long-term threat to U.S. and Israeli interests in the Middle East.” — AIPAC

    When the Lobby commands “Jump!” Senator Corker squeaks, “How high, kind sirs?”

    1. John Wright

      But a democratic election in Iran in 1953 resulted in electing a leader, Mohammad Mosaddeq, who wanted to nationalize the Iranian Oil fields.

      Sixty years later the CIA confirmed its role in a coup to remove Mosaddeq

      “Britain, and in particular Sir Anthony Eden, the foreign secretary, regarded Mosaddeq as a serious threat to its strategic and economic interests after the Iranian leader nationalised the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, latterly known as BP. But the UK needed US support. The Eisenhower administration in Washington was easily persuaded.”

      “Mosaddeq’s overthrow, still given as a reason for the Iranian mistrust of British and American politicians, consolidated the Shah’s rule for the next 26 years until the 1979 Islamic revolution. It was aimed at making sure the Iranian monarchy would safeguard the west’s oil interests in the country.”

      Note the Guardian article mentions Mosaddeq as “mercurial, maddening, adroit and provocative”

      Trump might be viewed the same, except for “adroit”.

      The USA is always promoting democracy around the world, but if the foreign democracy is a strategic country, it should fear electing other than the USA approved candidate.

      With the election of Trump, this time the USA democracy produced the incorrect result at home, a result that must be corrected ASAP.

      Perhaps Trump can be “reformed” in situ, otherwise he will be removed.

        1. Aumua

          Trump claims he doesn’t ever drink, or use drugs. Hey maybe that’s his problem. Maybe that’s why he can’t seem to get in sync with the beats he is supposed to hit as president. He’s missing the chemical alteration needed for that.

      1. Alex Morfesis

        Mosaddeq had to go because he was an actual persian royal…a monarchist…the shah was borderline make believe persian royalty…mosaddeq was not exactly a “man of the people”…his ascension was a persian nobility move against the shah…not that mosaddeq might not have been a better leader…nor to discount the american and british counter coup to keep the shah in place…mind you, an argument can be made the shah was getting his comeuppance and not exactly “following orders”…

        and with the shadow movement of the ayatollahs from iraq to france for kabuki purposes before they made their grand entrance…

        It’s complicated….

        1. marym

          Wasn’t Mosaddeq’s objection to the coronation of Reza Khan based on constitutional and democratic grounds, not any goal of Qajar restoration or his maternal lineage?

      2. Off The Street

        There is a certain Peacock Throne-ness about the current administration, after all.

      3. Olga

        Truman had a good opinion of Mohammad Mosaddeq.
        Also, he was popular enough to make it on the cover of Time as the Man of the Year (1951 or 52, not sure).
        The short-sighted Eisenhower agreed to the overthrow plans in 1953.
        The coup d’etat is described in detail by the guy who carried it out – in this article, there is a description:
        The link to the interview with Roosevelt today says “removed by Scribd.”
        I had copied it long ago and have it in printed form.
        It was the full interview Scheer did with Roosevelt in 1979 (after the shah overthrow).
        Too bad it is gone.

    2. curlydan

      The committee vote was 18-3. Bipartisan foreign policy stupidity on display once again.

  8. allan

    Nice detailed NYT video analysis of the Turkish thuggery in D.C. the other day.
    This is just as brazen as the Letelier assassination back in the 70’s.
    No fatalities, but much more in-your-face, since the Embassy Row bombing at least had plausible deniability. Any non-craven U.S. regime would at a minimum expel the Turkish ambassador,
    and this might have been Erdogan testing Trump to see how low is low.

    The connections between Turkey and Trump’s circle are at least as interesting as Russia’s.

    1. OIFVet

      Americans should be grateful that these Turks did not come to enforce the blood tax by snatching little infidel boys to fill up the Sultan’s Jannisseries Corps. They used to do that in my native land. The Neo-Ottoman Empire is very enlightened now under Padishah Erdogan the Magnificent…

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Sri Lanka: A country trapped in debt BBC (furzy)

    There was a discussion BTL a week or so ago here about how China would fund its Belt and Road project, especially as many of the projects look unlikely to generate a conventional economic return (i.e. a direct profit, as opposed to generating wealth in spin-offs)

    Hambantota was built by a Chinese company and funded by Chinese loans.

    But now Sri Lanka is struggling to repay that money, and so has signed an agreement to give a Chinese firm a stake in the port as a way of paying down some of that debt.

    I wonder if this is one strategy China will follow. Extend a loan for a major piece of infrastructure to a third party country. When the country struggles to pay back the loan, then offer a loan to equity swap. Then tie this in to ‘consessions’ to build free trade zones to boost the profitability of the port/railway/airport. Hence friendly loans will be turned increasingly into direct Chinese ownership of infrastructure and land.

    1. knowbuddhau

      Thanks PK. Can you compare/contrast that approach with that of economic hitmen? It seems “same same only different.”

      JOHN PERKINS: Well, really, I think it’s fair to say that since World War II, we economic hit men have managed to create the world’s first truly global empire, and we’ve done it primarily without the military, unlike other empires in history. We’ve done it through economics very subtly.

      We work many different ways, but perhaps the most common one is that we will identify a Third World country that has resources our corporations covet, such as oil, and then we arrange a huge loan to that country from the World Bank or one of its sister organizations. The money never actually goes to the country. It goes instead to U.S. corporations, who build big infrastructure projects — power grids, industrial parks, harbors, highways — things that benefit a few very rich people but do not reach the poor at all. The poor aren’t connected to the power grids. They don’t have the skills to get jobs in industrial parks. But they and the whole country are left holding this huge debt, and it’s such a big bet that the country can’t possibly repay it. So at some point in time, we economic hit men go back to the country and say, “Look, you know, you owe us a lot of money. You can’t pay your debt, so you’ve got to give us a pound of flesh.”

      For those unfamiliar:

      After being rejected by a number of large publishers, John Perkins sold his memoirs to a smallish press called Berrett Koehler in 2004. Confessions of an Economic Hitman —equal parts political exposé and James Bond novel—recounts his role in what he claims is a carefully choreographed effort by the U.S. government to promote American commercial interests abroad. In Perkins’ retelling, everything from economic advising to CIA paramilitary operations served the same master: U.S. corporate interests. Confessions struck a chord among believers in grassy knolls and Roswell and became a best-seller. (Berret claims on its Web site that 850,000 copies have been sold, making the book its top-seller ever.) The State Department responded with “Confessions—or Fantasies—of an Economic Hit Man,” a document disputing many of Perkins’ claims of government involvement.

      But conspiracy theories die hard. Is the State Department response setting the record straight, or is it just a coverup? Though most of Perkins’ book may be pulp fiction—we’ll probably never be able to verify his tales of payoffs, espionage, and sexual escapades—one of his claims just received unexpected confirmation from a group of serious scholars. New York University researchers Daniel Berger, Bill Easterly, Shanker Satyanath—together with Harvard economist Nathan Nunn—have analyzed Perkins’ “economic hitman” theory—that is, the theory that the U.S. government has used the CIA to promote American corporate interests abroad. (The economists prefer the term “political influence hypothesis” to “economic hitman theory.”) Based on information from declassified documents detailing covert CIA operations during the Cold War, the social scientists find that Perkins’ claims are backed up by the numbers: Countries targeted for CIA political interventions started importing more U.S. products, a sign of American economic imperialism at work.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Well, I was about to write that the Chinese certainly aren’t the first to use debt to gain foreign leverage, but thanks for the detailed reminder. The Chinese are very careful students of more more economically advanced countries, no doubt this is one US economic trait they’ve diligently studied.

        1. UserFriendly

          Any country that takes a loan in a foreign currency is submitting to unending subjugation.

          So the advice to borrow from abroad was largely against the interests of the developing countries: it exposed these countries to foreign currency risk, often resulting in mounting debt and interest outflows in excess of any loans received. But it triggered such ‘solutions’ to the problem as debt for equity swaps, handing over national assets to the foreign lenders. Bankers suggesting debt relief, such as Alfred Herrhausen, head of Deutsche Bank, were unpopular with their colleagues. To add insult to injury, it is now established that the foreign loans were not necessary for domestic growth, after all: the foreign lenders merely created the money out of nothing through bank credit creation, something the borrowers could have done themselves at home without the foreign loans.

          The alternative to this Washington Consensus approach to ‘aiding’ developing countries has been showcased in East Asia. The highly successful economies of Japan, Taiwan, Korea and China all used mechanisms to guide domestic bank credit to productive use, funding import substituting domestic and exporting industries, as discussed above in section 5.3. The findings in this paper provide fundamental support for this argument.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s the need for some small or poor countries to borrow, and borrow with dollar denominated loans, that stand out from his book.

        When they fail to pay back, more than US corporations can benefit from that. Politically, they can be exploited too.

      3. Off The Street

        The US domestic hitmen use mortgages, auto loans and student loans as needed to tame a restive populace. Sub-prime lending is one of many arrows in their quiver. One of the best life lessons you can teach your children is to avoid debt. If you must use it, do so sparingly.

        Don’t become someone’s b****.

        There are too many forces, seen and unseen, allied against you to proceed without awareness.

        1. Allegorio

          The ancient Roman population was about 75% enslaved. It is commonly believed that the slaves were conquered peoples when in actuality the majority of slaves were people who could not repay their debts or taxes, much like student debt today, which thanks to Joe Biden is not dischargeable by bankruptcy. But unlike the ancient Roman slaves, the creditors have no obligation to feed and clothe them. Wasn’t it Einstein who said that compound interest was the most destructive force in the universe?

      4. Olga

        One of the things not mentioned is Perkins’ assertion that if non-compliant, a country’s leader could be assassinated. It happened to a couple of leaders he befriended (Ecuador and Panama). Call me naive, but I doubt China would go there… Like I said previously, if we live in a world that has to have overlords, a benign one is always better than a violent, destructive one.

  10. PlutoniumKun


    In Bonanza for Real Estate, Tourism Sectors, Centre to Dilute Coastal Protection Rules The Wire (J-LS)

    The proposed Marine Coastal Regulation Zone (MCRZ) Notification, J-LS: “This is a huge deal– much of India’s coastline has to date not been developed, with a coastal exclusion zone protecting the shoreline.” Moi: And right before global warming will put a lot of it underwater? The problem is of course, that development isn’t just for rich suckers, it also creates jobs nearby for service workers, and they’ll be the ones who are hurt by developments that are not well sited.

    This is pretty sad to hear. All over the world countries and communities have deeply regretted not controlling seafront developments. India is one of the few with the foresight to have done so, now it seems greedy developers have won the internal battle. There is no need whatever to build on coasts for tourism – well designed hotels and other facilities can be built away from the coast with shuttles for those too lazy to walk 500 metres or so to the beach. Ultimately, it will benefit tourism to keep the beaches and cliffs untouched.

  11. XXYY

    A Bipartisan Way to Improve Medical Care

    For some reason there is a certain species of American healthcare fanatic who perpetually feels that the United States has to invent some new, untried, untested, never seen before healthcare system. The underlying idea seems to be that no workable national healthcare system has evolved anywhere to date, so let’s keep trying new stuff!

    Let’s all get with the program, people! Examples of extremely workable healthcare systems, which cover everyone at surprisingly low cost, are all around us. All we have to do is pick one, and do it!

    1. justanotherprogressive

      But unfortunately, none of those excellent health care systems we see around us make the plutocrats any richer………they will just keep looking for something that will increase their profits and shut the rest of us up…….

      1. Tom Stone

        We can’t do Single Payer here in California because it would instantly bankrupt the state!
        All the local news outlets had the number at their fingertips $400 BILLION!!
        Big headlines about how it would exceed California’s entire budget!!!
        And we have a much more pressing need for High speed rail.

        1. jrs

          It’s actually only 200 billion, as half of the 400 billion is public sector (ie state and federal) money that California is already getting and spending for healthcare.

          High speed rail does seem to be going ahead unfortunately, I mean there are battles right now about which route it will take. Jerry Brown really wanted and fought for that and so it is I guess. It might be the only rail option (whenever it finally opens) the way Amtrak is supposed to be cut by Trump etc..

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      No, the underlying idea is to actually make the community healthier despite being embedded in an unworkable national health care system.

  12. craazyboy

    Elephant antidote

    What an entertaining video. Nothing like a nice mud hole to brighten up one’s day. Funny how baby likes to splash with it’s trunk. Just like real babies.

      1. craazyboy

        Yup. Made friends with an elephant at the zoo here once. He was about pre-teen age, I think. Came over to me at the fence and stuck his trunk thru. I had read earlier this is how elephants greet you, and they want to smell your hand. They have a great nose and remember your scent for a long time, they say. This is your “name”. Hopefully, not “smelly”. “Lilac” would work for girls, woody or earthy for guys. You get the idea.

        Having been around a while, he knows peanuts is the expected human response to signal friendship. I had to figure that out on the fly, so I quickly went off to the peanut concession near the Giraffe feeding elevated platform. Ouch! $3, but now I was diplomatically equipped to re-visit the elephant.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Elephants and other zoo animals love orange quarters. The peanuts get old for them.

    1. Stephanie

      My favorite bit was when they got to the watering hole and it was just sooooo exciting he had to run in circles a few times before wading in. Also very much like a human baby. Well, like a human toddler.

  13. Doug

    Lind’s New Class War — while a good summary of various forces at work in the world for some time now — is, nonetheless, ‘stupid’ in the sense of yesterday’s link to Rick Pearlstein. Essentially, it’s warmed over “There Is No Alternative” that assumes, e.g., global supply chains are always good and worthy, that there is no such thing as modern monetary thinking, that climate change is not happening, that digital rights can shift in various ways, and that elites are unstoppable.

    1. HBE

      I agree with that analysis, especially his failure to address global warming and resource restraints. Which makes it unlikely India will become part of the multipolar power bloc he describes.

      That said, his analysis of the managerial elite and their relations (and its effects) on labor are detailed and insightful. The first half is really a history of the rise of this new elite.

      With the second half getting into predications and pronouncements, which are always hard, but in this case there is still some great analysis mixed in.

      I would definently recommend this one, with the caveat that it is a long read, ~1hr.

      If you don’t have the time at least read the better first half.

    2. grayslady

      Agree. I found his conclusion to be nothing short of condescension–along the line of “let’s agree to give the little people a few crumbs so we can avoid a populist uprising and all go back to our anti-democratic dream of oligopoly rule.”

  14. cocomaan

    Ben Carson on poverty as a state of mind: “there’s also a poverty of spirit. You develop a certain mindset.”

    I worked in welfare. Carson is a loon, but he’s not wrong on this. Though sure, maybe he’s right for the wrong reasons.

    Many times, I’d help someone get their first job after being in some kind of rut (health problems were common). They’d show up for a few weeks, then quit. The excuses varied. Maybe more health problems, family issues, problems with their kids, or, oftentimes, for no reason at all. They’d be back at my desk later, saying that they needed a new job, with me getting increasingly frustrated at what happened. This was in white communities and it was in black communities.

    Carson is the head of an agency that’s supposed to create affordable housing. But says that the solution is parenting. He makes it an individual struggle, or a family struggle. But Carson is probably going to ignore the fact that entire communities in America are blasted lands of psychological torment.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      From Wikipedia:

      Learned helplessness is behavior typical of a human or non-human animal and occurs where an animal endures repeatedly painful or otherwise aversive stimuli which it is unable to escape or avoid. After such experience, the organism often fails to learn or accept “escape” or “avoidance” in new situations where such behavior would likely be effective. In other words, the organism learned that it is helpless in situations where there is a presence of aversive stimuli and has accepted that it has lost control, and thus gives up trying.

      Being poor in America is the definition of an aversive stimulus.

      1. Allegorio

        Some people just don’t take to wage slavery where they give up all agency for not enough money to live on. I think that is pretty rational don’t you? So frustrating I know.

    2. RUKidding

      I don’t really know what causes some of these issues, but I have heard from friends who worked in welfare – and who were sympathetic to the plight of many citizens – similar stories to yours. People can fall behind for legit reasons. So they get a leg up, get a job, and then there they are back in the welfare office once again.

      I’m sure it’s not everybody, but there does seem to be a certain subset of the populace who have this difficulty holding down a job and keeping it. Why? Myriad of reasons, but… frustrating.

      Friends who teach in low-income areas see similar things happening with students, especially when their parents or grandparents aren’t motivate enough to help the kids get to school, do their homework, etc, and/or may even have a bad attitude towards the school/authority anyway and pass on that bad attitude to the kids.

      I’m not so sure that starving these people and forcing them to be homeless is the solution, but that seems to be what our 1% Overlords propose to do and are doing.

      1. cocomaan

        It’s definitely frustrating. I burned out and had to move on to another job. A few months after I moved on, the center I worked for closed due to budget cuts, so I was going to lose my job anyway, hah!

        Two more examples that come to mind about this problem:

        1. I’ve also seen some poor people come into windfalls. Often injury settlements. So many end up pissing the money away on consumer items and throwing themselves into awful depressions as a result.

        2. There’s no education on what to do with money or how to “get rich slowly over a lifetime of hard work”. One of my clients, a really bright girl who was able to climb out of her situation so I thankfully never saw her again, told me before she moved on that her West Philadelphia high school was basically run by the students, with teachers declaring study hall when the students got too loud or rowdy.

        ChiGal has a suggestion above. In terms of human society, the behavior probably arises from being at the center of a nexus of failing systems: healthcare system in crisis, warzone communities, broken families, crappy education system, no ability to create skills for changing job market, etc.

        Ben Carson’s familial solution is way too limited, and like you say, making people homeless isn’t going to help. The work has to be holistic, but in America, we’re often focused on the atomistic.

        1. justanotherprogressive

          “1. I’ve also seen some poor people come into windfalls. Often injury settlements. So many end up pissing the money away on consumer items and throwing themselves into awful depressions as a result. ”

          Odd! I thought that was what middle class people do…….oh, I know, the poor are supposed to be different from everyone else…..

          “2. There’s no education on what to do with money or how to “get rich slowly over a lifetime of hard work”. ”

          I sincerely hope you don’t bring out that line in a meeting of former blue collar workers who were once middle class…..

          1. Expat

            I love the “get rich by working hard over a lifetime of hard work” bullshit. Classic American propaganda propagated by the rich. You will NOT get rich. You will NOT be richer than your parents. You will slave away all your life in quiet desperation and die wondering why you failed.

            America has a lower class transition rate than most of Europe, including all those evil Commie countries like Sweden and France. In America, you are born poor and stay poor; you are born rich and get much, much richer.

            Americans are incredibly naive and proud of it. It allows them to believe all the lies they are told. In reality, American exceptionalism is really a measurement of how exceptionally stupid, gullible and uneducated they are.

            1. jrs

              of course in reality I think it’s even more naive to think the political system is ever going to change.

      2. From Cold Mountain

        Why is there is so much work to be done but no jobs? It is because work is not done based on need, rather, it is done based on profit.

        Capitalism creates the welfare sate.

      3. Allegorio

        The middle class is now learning what it feels like to work hard at an education and then not be able to find a job. Oh yes, what we need is continuous education, feed that education industrial complex. People of color have been experiencing this phenomenon for generations. I suppose that leads to a bad attitude, much like the bad attitude white middle class millennials are being accused of these days. Education has been the way that the privileged have been justifying their privilege. But ultimately it is not what you know, but who you know that gives people their incentives.

    3. justanotherprogressive

      As someone who actually grew up on welfare, perhaps I can explain it to you.

      1. People on welfare have many unresolved medical and physical issues created by poverty. They aren’t eating right so they don’t have the energy to fight many of the battles in life that must be fought. For instance, I can remember going to school so hungry that I couldn’t think about anything else, much less about what that teacher was insisting that I do. I got to the point where I just didn’t care what the teacher wanted. Not eating right also makes you depressed. How well do you cope when you are chronically depressed?

      2. People on welfare are looked down upon, at work and at school. There is a heavy psychological burden that they have to carry that other people don’t. So at work, the other employees often intentionally make their jobs harder for them. At school, I was known for coming from a “bad family” so often the teachers wouldn’t give me the attention they gave the other students or they would just pooh-pooh anything that I said. Pretty soon, if you aren’t strong enough, you start believing what all those other people say about you.

      3. You work hard because you expect something from all that work. Most people on welfare know that all their hard work probably won’t change their circumstances much – and that in itself causes depression and defeatism… takes a huge amount of courage to keep going when you see that the whole world is stacked against you – more courage than most of you have, yet you expect it from them… somehow they are different than you……

      And I could go on….but it is obvious that most of you insist on blaming the whole of the poor on just a few of the bad examples you have seen…..

      Yes, it is easy to “blame” and make the poor people you see “responsible”. It is much harder to put yourselves in their shoes and see that they face issues you can’t even imagine……

        1. UserFriendly

          Yes +10000 when you feel like no matter what you do there is no chance of your life getting better depression is a huge trap. I worked my ass off when I thought I had a chance at a decent life, once it became clear I will be a debt slave forever I could barely manage to get out of bed anymore and I now just want to end it all.

          1. justanotherprogressive

            Well, don’t!
            Somewhere there is someone who will give you the helping hand you need – you just have to be there to take it….

            1. UserFriendly

              Unless that helping hand has $100k in it I doubt it. There isn’t a minute that goes by that I don’t think about how pointless it is to even try to work because I will not be seeing any of the gains from it.

      1. cocomaan

        but it is obvious that most of you insist on blaming the whole of the poor on just a few of the bad examples you have seen…..

        I’ll proudly take responsibility for – and was told by the folks I helped – that I changed people’s lives because of the interventions I made. There were nights were I couldn’t relax or get to sleep because I was thinking about my clients and their various situations (lawless homeless shelters, domestic violence situations, illness, and so on). The work took a toll on me and my spouse.

        Like I said in my other post, the mental breakdown of the poor comes from “being at the center of a nexus of failing systems: healthcare system in crisis, warzone communities, broken families, crappy education system, no ability to create skills for changing job market, etc.”

        I think you’re projecting some emotions here. Nobody is blamed in my posts. In no way do I need anything explained, or need to imagine any of the reasons for these things happening. My memory’s pretty good. I saw thousands of clients in my time and each of them had a story.

        1. justanotherprogressive

          You are probably right, I probably am projecting a bit, and I didn’t mean for my post to sound like an attack against you although after rereading, I can see how it sounds that way. I know from your posts that you are a caring human and I know you tried to do your best for those you had responsibility for. It is just that the welfare system we have in this country today is in no way intended to help the poor escape poverty, even though there are many, many good people in that system trying to do their best. They just aren’t allowed the resources to do their jobs properly. It is no wonder that they burn out!

          But I still resent it when a few bad apples have you saying things like:

          “Many times, I’d help someone get their first job after being in some kind of rut (health problems were common). They’d show up for a few weeks, then quit. The excuses varied. Maybe more health problems, family issues, problems with their kids, or, oftentimes, for no reason at all. They’d be back at my desk later, saying that they needed a new job, with me getting increasingly frustrated at what happened. This was in white communities and it was in black communities.”

          as though we were all losers that couldn’t be helped. Why didn’t you tell us about all the people you know who actually got out? And how they got out? Those are the stories we never hear about. Why are you feeding the “poor-bashers”? Thank God there aren’t many here!

          I remember when my mother got a job mopping floors at night – and then Welfare cut all of her benefits (because that was the law back then – I don’t know what it is today). My mother brought in less money than she would have gotten from Welfare and she was exhausted (working all night – taking care of six children during the day). Hard to hang onto a job under those conditions…….she couldn’t keep it up for long before she got sick (and unable to afford medical care) and then sicker…..and we were back on Welfare. I guess she would have been one of your failures……some free medical care when she first got sick probably could have saved her job…..

          The welfare system didn’t help me escape welfare. Other people who believed in me helped me escape. I know many others that did so also with help from outside the system. Poor people aren’t losers, any more than any other class is. Give them decent jobs that actually make a difference in their lives and support them through the first few difficult months and then see what happens……

          I would also like to remind you that seeing something from the outside is not the same as living it……

          1. cocomaan

            No hard feelings, I just wanted to make sure you knew that I don’t blame these people. Capitalism makes its victims.

            I’m also completely with you: the welfare system involves just enough paperwork and just enough money to make sure that children don’t die. Starvation in the streets will not be tolerated in 2017, thankfully, but mere homelessness still is, with an impoverished neighborhood being completely acceptable.

            The Ben Carson comments, unfortunately, elicit only the bad stories.

            So a good story was a young muslim girl from West Philly, abused by her husband. She came in bruised. I worked with the therapist/MSW on staff to make sure she got the psychological help she needed while I tried to work the system to get her into the right place financially. It took months. She’d come in with more bruises. Eventually, she did leave him, went to a distant relative, and we did get her into a program to earn a GED, learn computer skills, and make money in a minimum wage job. Never saw her again, which is a good sign.

            Another good story was a guy with narcolepsy who fell asleep on the job. The problem was that his job was as an armed security guard at a retail store! They fired him immediately. He struggled through several jobs, but the narcolepsy got worse and he was fired again and again. Finally, he ends up on welfare.

            Then the story reverses. He gets Medicaid. He goes to Penn Hospital and goes through a sleep study. The guy has the worst sleep apnea in history. Waking up multiple times a minute or something absurd. Gets himself a sleep apnea kit. Finds out that he’s no longer sleeping on the job. I provided him with info to get whatever carry license he needed back, got him some employers hiring security guards, got to meet his beautiful little daughter, and that was all the last time I saw him.

            The other thing I left out, but gets honorable mention, were criminal records. The criminal justice system operates like a meat grinder.

            The problem with welfare is that there’s a dozen, corrupted systems working at odds to it. It looks good on paper, but the tornado of shit surrounding it ruins the entire concept.

            1. alehteia33

              coco and justanother,
              thank you. good dialogue.

              reply to this whole thread so far–
              because no one has yet mentioned the jobs–if available:
              soul-crushing, body-crushing, health-crushing

              mopping floors all night?
              barbara ehrenreich wrote about trying and failing herself to live as a poor person. she lasted for only a fraction of the period she had planned. and she knew she had security to go back to.

              just working at night is so bad for your health i doubt it’s advisable for anyone if you can possibly avoid it.
              working at night and managing children during the day–with no partner–
              people who continue to hang in doing this over time are heroic.

              warm bodies are needed to work at the jobs no one wants
              and some form of parenting is needed to raise these warm bodies…
              also for wars.
              humans who have no options can be controlled much more easily.
              let’s not pretend the intention is otherwise.

              but it’s hard to work in the system if you don’t lie to yourself about what you’re doing, to some extent.
              maybe better training is needed for those types of jobs.
              they attract well-meaning people who feel they want to “help others”.
              they burn out living the contradiction of a system that is not really intended to help but pretends that it is.

              i imagine some of the clients “served” are well aware of the true intention and purpose of the system, an awareness they well know they must keep to themselves if they want to get the most they can from the system/their “helpers”.

              what is now called depression and is medicated used to be called despair and was understood to be a predictable result of real helplessness determined by circumstances beyond one’s control. now one is given a drug that it is pretended will transform one into a person who is “better able to function”. what an expectation.

              i’ve seen and heard expressions of frustration by system workers who just don’t understand why their clients can’t seem to learn and develop with the help and training they’re getting. yet some such workers seem to do much better than others at coming to terms with the difficulties and finding ways to avoid burnout and find real, lasting rewards in their occupation.

              so one could as easily say, why are some of these system workers so unable to do that? is there something wrong with the system, or with them, that they can’t learn and develop the right way?

      2. Povertytrap

        Typically listed that it takes two years for the average person to settle in a new job.

        It’s not just the fact that it is more expensive to be poor and lack of support systems that must be managed and overcome. Entering the job market has factors such as the most basic of not having the correct wardrobe (or quarters/laundry soap, iron) and fresh haircuts and other status symbols of a particular industry make a person stand out. Poverty is a trap. A person has to go further into poverty as food, housing, child care programs etc are cut more quickly than a person can accomodate to the pay check and likely hasn’t the education to grow into a higher wage job.

  15. Jim Haygood

    The Jihad on Drugs is FED UP. They ain’t gonna TAKE it no mo’:

    “Tonight’s the night our SWAT team blows your front door off the hinges.”

    You could be forgiven for thinking this video of a fulminating martinet flanked by masked, armed thugs was taken in Tadjikistan or Somalia.


    1. cocomaan

      This is insane. Looks like something that should be on LiveLeak and involve beheadings.

    2. Aumua

      Jesus, it really does look like an ISIS video.. but less professional?

      Let’s just not mention that the upsurge in deaths from fentanyl spiked heroin is a direct result of the war on drugs, ok?

  16. Craig H.

    After 9/11, I saw a strong correlation between how much TV coverage my friends had watched and how freaked out they were.

    Do you have friends who are members of the neanderthal clan like myself who never watch it except for NFL, NBA, and MLB? The worst thing for me is I had to hit the mute button more often for the stupid patriotism inserts.

  17. DH

    Re: Single payer costs less – deal with it

    Much of the US has an ideological block against universal single-payer healthcare (they also often don’t realize that Medicare is a government program either). The real problem with the US healthcare costs is not that it is not single-payer, it is that it is simply too complex and inefficient, dominated by special interests. The US already spends more money per capita on PUBLIC funded healthcare than most other developed countries. The private expenditure is on top of that.

    There are more successful models out there than just single-payer. Canada happens to be like Medicare for all, but a number of the European countries have different models. The one unifying thing between every other developed country is that they have figured out how to do it at a fraction of the cost the US pays. When you add our out-sized military spending costs on top of our ginormous healthcare costs, the US is at a major competitive disadvantage with the rest of the developed world.

    There should be congressional hearings right now exploring the multiple models used around the world that deliver as good or better healthcare at a fraction of the cost, but that won’t happen because Congress is in the pocket of the healthcare special interest that are milking the country dry.

    1. Off The Street

      Print out that linked article and graphs.

      Calculate the billions in play for your state and the millions (and hope it is less than billions!) for your district.

      Ask your Senators and Representative to explain why they support a system that is demonstrably more expensive than alternatives. Also ask how much they get in fundraising from insurance, pharma and fellow-travelers. Quantify that per capita as mentioned above and ask why the extra billions of burden should not be eliminated to make more healthy the people they allegedly represent.

      Pin them down with details and keep asking so that they run out of excuses, weasel words, platitudes, mid-direction and all-around douchebaggery.

  18. Expat

    Trump, or any other politician, complains about leaks only when they damage him. When leaks help a politician, it is is considered patriotic, the leaker is lauded for his courage, and there is no talk of punishment. American democracy has been helped more by leaks and anonymous sources than by the veil of secrecy covering the nefarious activities of our government.

    It is also possible that there are more leaks these days simply because there are so many more agencies and people in “intelligence”. Additionally, so much more is classified. Secrets and secrecy lead to illegal and immoral actions.

    I say we need more leaks, not fewer. And we need to laud the leakers, not arrest them.

    1. MoiAussie

      This one is a definite must read, and reads like the authors have been following NC recently.
      The headline doesn’t do justice to the true depth and breadth of the piece. Some gems:

      Liberal myths cannot lead the struggle against Trump. Most of them no longer mobilize supporters, while others too closely resemble Trump’s own beliefs. Indeed, the focus on factuality, civility, and procedure in liberal centrism reveals that the Democratic Party has largely abandoned the struggle over ideas and now attaches itself to the reality of the current institutional setup.

      The liberal refusal to recognize structural racism and diverging class interests has created space for Trumpism. Understanding this entails that we move the struggle against racism beyond diversity management and begin developing economic policies that genuinely benefit working-class people — not just those white working-class voters whom Trump mobilized, but also the white and non-white working-class people whom Hillary failed to mobilize, and the vast number of people who have been disenfranchised, never enfranchised, or simply chose not to vote.

      To form collective interests that include the poor — whatever their background — it is necessary to break with the bipartisan myths of American preeminence, white entitlement, and national shareholder capitalism.

      To fight this reactionary wave, we must construct our own reality, based on ideals and practices of solidarity and economic justice. This politics would promise to free people from shame because it would engage them in the fight against the shameful. This project demands the critique of dearly loved liberal myths and institutions, genuine democratic participation, and real movement building.

      Any anti-Trump movement that doesn’t reach beyond the president’s personal antics will be powerless after he is gone. If Trump were impeached tomorrow, the world would still be stuck with Ryan, Pence, Breitbart, and the Koch brothers. Within and beyond the US our movements must oppose the world that created Trump, not just his revolting personality.

      1. Lynne

        Very interesting article. Unfortunately, in my view, it not only fundamentally misunderstands what it takes to win and what Trump’s message was, but it also has an extraordinarily naive view of Democrats. And, in the end, the authors are captives of their own myths that they are morally superior to the vast majority of US voters, who are racist scum. Consider:

        Trump differs from past presidents not because he lies, bullshits, or engages in morally repulsive acts but because he does so shamelessly.
        Yeah, so how many lies did LBJ tell? How many people did he send to their death? Anyone else recall how that went: “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today”? And how can anyone seriously still claim that Obama was not a serial liar? Or that was ok to joke about using playing cards to decide who he was going to kill that day. Didn’t see much shame in either one of them, not to mention the astounding notion that Nixon and Clinton felt shame about their misdeeds.

        And then we have this: The two key tenets central myths of Trumpism are: “America was once great, but outsiders destroyed it,” and “Islam is a threat, and (only) I can protect you.”

        But they don’t get it: the claim was never that outsiders destroyed it, but that we have been hollowed out FROM WITHIN, and that the neolibs (liberals, in Republican lingo) are the ones responsible. If they cannot accept that fundamental distinction, they will never get past the condescending view of flyover hicks as too stupid and insular to understand people from other continents bleed and love their families just like everyone else.

        Then we have this: Americans of color and the working poor have always seen through the myth of the United States’ greatness. But while Obama could bring them to the polls by producing hope and promoting change, Clinton offered them nothing.

        Once again, tone-deaf: Obama got us to vote for him by promising hope and change and did not produce hope and did not promote change. Clinton offered us a continuation of the betrayal.

        They are correct that the only way to succeed against Trump in the long view is to come up with a solid plan and hope. Why doesn’t the chattering class notice that every time the presidential candidate has offered hope and change (Reagan, Obama, Trump), that candidate wins. What is so hard about that? Instead, we get the warmed over stuff about how we have to accept that everyone is racist and Americans don’t value people of color. Well, yes, everyone is racist. But we need a little more than that to be going on with.

        I had hope when I started reading this that they would be a little more original. The constant lament on the left is that poor and middle-class people vote against their own interest by electing Republicans. Yet, these guys once again have made it clear that it’s against my interest to elect their candidates. All they are interested in, so far as I could tell, is making that I KNOW that I must be racist because I don’t approve of people throwing concrete over the side of overpasses at cars in the Twin Cities, as Black Lives Matter was known to do.

        How about instead of making up their own myths and beating down the majority of the country (a sure way to win votes, yeah?), they concentrate on coming with some ideas that really do deliver hope and change?

  19. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Roger Ailes/Bill Moyers

    “What if some criminal raped and murdered Dukakis’ wife, Kitty. Would Dukakis still oppose capital punishment?” -Bernard Shaw 1988

    Then of course, there was Nightline which was just an anti-Carter Pro-Republican infomercial.

  20. JTMcPhee

    “a capitation model may be the only way to radically restructure how medicine is provided in the US.”

    Might be “the only way” for those situated with a certain amount of wealth and income and nearness to “providers?” The vast majority, maybe not so much? Of course there could be ‘subsidies’ and ‘tax deductions’ to let the mopes be, on paper, able to “afford” a nice system that will require a certain number of credentialed people to administer…

    Did “we” not just go through one of those games where we are told “it’s the only political way” to get to ‘reform” of “how medicine is provided” (far more accurate statement than “how health care is rationed and toll-gated provided”)? “Capitation” smells a lot like a rotted version of “concierge medicine,” which is what the 1% have access to.

    1. hunkerdown

      I’d think capitation less labor-intensive than insurance billing, and a step closer to putting doctors on salary and away from cost-plus fee-for-service billing and the unnecessary tests and procedures encouraged by that payment model. Karl Denninger was linked by kareninca a couple of months ago, using this so-hoity-toity outfit in so-hoity-toity Brighton as a sample:

      Why would you need health insurance if the following pricing was commonplace for the following routine medical things — and remember to extend these representative samples to everything else in the medical field:

      MRI: $275
      CT scan: $167
      X-Ray: $37
      Mammogram: $142
      Ultrasound (pregnancy-related primarily, I suspect): $94
      A1c test (common for diabetics): $4
      CBC (complete blood count; common for a lot of diagnostics): $3.13
      Metabolic panel (common diagnostic as well): $3.50
      PSA screening (common for men over 50): $7
      3-Panel cholesterol (the cheap and common one): $3.94
      Tetanus booster: $20
      90 Prozacs: $1.98
      30 Prilosecs: $1.44
      30 Plavix (blood thinner; newer generation of Warfarin): $2.76
      90 Zocors (which I’d argue you probably ought not take at all!): $2.16

      These are not fantasy prices — they’re real. They’re what you could have today, or darn close to them if we had a conversation about competitive markets in medicine. I didn’t pull these numbers out of my ass; they’re on a “concierge” site for a “direct care” practice in Michigan and none of them are being provided at a loss.

      Perhaps it is the “only way” to reach an objective under current cultural constraints, that is, a pivot toward single-payer that a sadomasochistic, business-fetishizing, most heavily propagandized populace would accept and an indebted, business-minded physician class might support. Liberals will hate it precisely because it doesn’t have a place for their self-appointed role of weighing the worthiness of souls and dividing and ruling them through differentially-delivered benefits

      1. Off The Street

        You made my day with those low prices.
        Maybe some clever people can gin up an app or two to allow comparison shopping in the competitive medical care market? Hey, it is really late and I needed something to continue the weekend.

  21. allan

    Nunes still has say in issuing subpoenas in House Intel’s Russia inquiry [CNN]

    Rep. Devin Nunes, who stepped aside from leading the House intelligence committee’s Russia probe under a cloud of controversy, still is in charge of a key decision: Whether to issue subpoenas to obtain records and testimony central to the investigation.

    In a private meeting this week, House intelligence committee members discussed their plans to move ahead with the Russia investigation into meddling in the US election. And the GOP members made clear that the current rules of the committee still apply: That Nunes can issue the subpoenas “upon consultation with” ranking Democrat Adam Schiff or by a vote of the full committee, according to several sources familiar with the matter.

    The decision means Nunes still has significant sway to influence the direction of the probe, despite announcing in April that while he would still remain chairman of the committee but temporarily step aside from leading the investigation as the House Ethics Committee planned to investigate him for potentially disclosing classified information. …

    Recusal is a state of mind.

  22. ChiGal in Carolina

    Weird combination of authoritarian strongman and little boy bully, with the occasional simper – and there are ninjas!

    Hilarious, thanks

    Oops, meant as reply to previous Haygood comment

    1. hunkerdown

      The down-arrow below the Reply button is rather confusing. Yves/crew, next time you talk to your web person, can you have them set up the reply box to be indented when replying to a comment vs. replying to the post?

      1. MoiAussie

        I’ve noticed that replies to comments end up as replies to the post about 5% of the time, worse on some days. It’s annoying, but seems quite random. If it happens and you get the 5 minute edit option, which doesn’t always come up, you can save the text, delete the comment and try again, which usually works.

  23. ewmayer

    “Cougar Vocalizing | Septima Trekking, Facebook. This is pretty remarkable.” — The last time I encountered cougar vocalization it was something along the lines of “so, young fella, ya gonna buy a thirsty lady a drink, or what?” Perhaps my experience is rare in Trekking contexts – can any trekkers (as opposed to Trekkies) comment?

      1. craazyboy

        Just watched the vid. Hope he was using a long range lens. Cougars are a bit frightening. They had one that went a little looney in the OC mountains years ago. It attacked a hiker and bit thru his spine, far enough down to just paralyze him. It was very large for a cougar – after they did catch it weighed 130Lbs, IIRC.

        It dragged the hiker to his cave lair and chewed bits of the hiker off for dinner over a period of days. The hiker stayed alive and somewhat conscious the entire time. Who needs refrigeration?

        They killed the cougar eventually, but it was too late for the hiker by then.

  24. Plenue

    >Austerity Kills! Bank of Greece reports “Greek’s health deteriorating, life expectancy shrinks Defend Democracy

    “Infant mortality increased by nearly 50%, mainly due to increase of deaths of infants younger than one year, and the decline of births by 22,1%. Infant mortality increase: 2.65% in 2008 and 3.75% in 2014”

    If someone would show this to Trump, I’m sure he would get right on solving this problem of beautiful dead babies by bombing Greece.

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