Links 5/4/17

Mosaic evolution in an asymmetrically feathered troodontid dinosaur with transitional features Nature. Translation: “New species of feathered dinosaur discovered in China.”

UK’s Prince Philip to step down from royal duties Reuters

Super-rich private equity stars rue ‘lousy’ reputation, say they are misunderstood Reuters

The Supreme Court says cities may sue banks over predatory lending The Economist

Giving the Behemoths a Leg Up on the Little Guy NYT. On Net Neutrality.

The Investor Anxiety that the Market’s ‘Fear Gauge’ Is Missing WSJ

If you like the euro, why not just call for a global gold standard? FT Alphaville

How Brazil’s political class came undone WaPo

Health Care

House to vote Thursday on Obamacare repeal Politico

High-risk pools won’t match Obamacare’s protections for pre-existing conditions CNN

Top 10 States for Pre-Existing Conditions All Went for Trump WSJ

What’s stopping Obamacare repeal? GOP lawmakers in Hillary Clinton districts McClatchy

The New Republican Health-Care Plan Is Single-Payer for Dummies The New Republic. Interesting article, but one gets tired of liberals deploying the “stupid” trope, given that Republicans are so stupid they now control all three branches of government.

The Daily 202: How Nancy Pelosi kept Democrats united behind Obamacare WaPo:

Pelosi, first elected to the House in 1987, acknowledged being frustrated during the health fight of 2009-10 that outside groups didn’t give her more air cover. She praised them for mobilizing in a constructive way this time: “That was very important because lots of time the outside will say, ‘While we’re at it, why don’t we go for single payer?’ I’m like, ‘Save that for another day! Because you’re not going to get anything unless we kill this bill. And the only way we’re going to kill this bill is going to be to focus on what it does.'”

“Once they take repeal off the table,” Pelosi promises that Democrats will happily work with the GOP to “find common ground” to fix problems that she agrees exist with the law. “But if you’re a deconstructionist, then there’s just almost no common ground,” she said.

“[H]appily work with the GOP.” Shorter: Once the liberals have exploited left energy, they’ll throw the left under the bus, as usual, and work with conservatives (exactly as in 2006, when the Democrats took back both houses of Congress on left mobilization, and Pelosi instantly took impeaching Bush off the table — and Bush should have been impeached for his criminal program of warrantless surveillance, which Obama voted to retroactively legalize in July 2008). Pelosi is also shamelessly rewriting history when she whinges about lack of air cover: Career “progressives” imposed a news blackout on single payer advocates, censored them, banned them, and the Democrat establishment didn’t include them in hearings and had them arrested when they protested. People who were there — and that includes Pelosi — know all this. I really don’t know what more “outside groups” could have done, other than have single payer advocates publicly whipped.

A conservative case for single-payer health care The Week

Crowdfunding for medical expenses is rising — when it should be eradicated Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

French Election

Le Pen harries Macron in hostile French TV debate FT

Sterile Elites and the French Election Ian Welsh (MR).


The six Brexit traps that will defeat Theresa May Yanis Varoufakis, Guardian

Calling our bluff: time for the UK to honour its promises to EU-27 and UK citizens The UK in a Changing Europe

North Korea

North Korean state media lashes out at main ally China Al Jazeera

The North Korean economy is actually growing despite sanctions Vox

Why Do North Koreans Hate Us? One Reason — They Remember the Korean War The Intercept. I remember, years ago, watching Korean soap operas (I was in California) where the central trope was a dreadful family secret: What mother or father had to do to get into an orphanage after the war….


Metals Slide Accelerates in China WSJ

Asia’s dynamism at risk in US and China’s competing visions for global trade Martin Wolf, FT

Chinese walk away from scandalised Malaysian development The Australian. 1MDB.

The Silk Roads, Past and Future The Diplomat (Re Silc).


How Anand Gopal Directed People To Join ISIS – Shills For “Regime Change” In Syria Moon of Alabama. What a hairball.

Talented Syrian Artist Creates Beautiful Functional Sculptures From the Remnants of War Weapons Laughing Squid (Re Silc).


India’s controversial national ID scheme leaks fraud-friendly data for 130,000,000 people Boing Boing

Inside the competitive Indian-American spelling community Harpers (Re Silc).

Our Famously Free Press

New York Times Co. Reports Rising Digital Profit as Print Advertising Falls NYT. All those subscriptions! Epistemic closure can be an important component of a succesful business model.

Imperial Collapse Watch

US company turned blind eye to wild behavior on Iraq base AP

Hack Job: How America Invented Cyberwar Foreign Affairs. More blowback…

Still Chasing the Wrong Rainbows The American Conservative

From Ancient Greece, Lessons On The Risk Of A Modern, Accidental War NPR. The Thucydides Trap (and how I wonder if there’s a parallel case from the Chinese literature).

New Cold War

Debugging the Russian hacking narrative (podcast) Yasha Levine, This Is Hell! The only link I can find for this (although it appears in iOS, there seems to be no way to find the link on a generic website).

FBI director says he feels ‘mildly nauseous’ about possibility he affected election, but has no regrets WaPo. Buries the lead, which is that Huma Abedin forwarded Clinton email (including classified email) to her then-husband Anthony Weiner (!) so he could print them out (!!) for Clinton to read (!!!).

‘Really bad’ or ‘catastrophic’: Comey defends Clinton choice AP

As Russia Investigation Widens, U.S. Lawmakers Get Rare Access to Raw Intel Foreign Policy

Susan Rice Won’t Appear at Senate Hearing on Russia Interference WSJ

Trump Transition

Inside Evangelical Leaders’ Private White House Dinner Time

Trump order to ease ban on political activity by churches Reuters

Tillerson faces his toughest audience yet: The State Department Politico

President Trump is launching a new tech group to ‘transform and modernize’ the U.S. government Recode

Senate Kills State-Sponsored Retirement Plans For Private Sector Workers Forbes

Trump Isn’t a Pragmatist. He Doesn’t Understand Ideology. Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine (Re Silc). Chait: “Politics is a strange institution that forces committed professionals who have coherent philosophical beliefs to persuade voters who mostly do not. ” Oh?

Trump Adviser Kushner’s Undisclosed Partners Include Goldman and Soros WSJ. Wait, what?

If Progressives Don’t Wake Up To How Awful Obama Was, Their Movement Will Fail Medium (KH).

Freedom Rider: Obama Gets Paid Black Agenda Report (UserFriendly).

Guillotine Watch

Mount Everest is so crowded this year, there is a risk of ‘traffic jams’ WaPo

Class Warfare

The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class The Writing of John Laurits (MR). Very interesting. What do readers think of Laurits’ proposed structure?

A Marxist Critiques Identity Politics Seattle Weekly (KF). KF: “I have no love for Marx but this is interesting.” Laughably, the introduction ascribes the identity “Marxist of Color” to the interviewee. But everybody knows all people of color are Clintonite liberals. What’s wrong with these people?

Ro Khanna Wants to Give Working-Class Households $1 Trillion The Atlantic (UserFriendly). Interestingly, a shout-out from Khanna to Stephanie Kelton. This paragraph caught my eye:

People want to be useful. I think it would be very patronizing to go to folks who are coal miners and say, “Look, here’s your check because all the productive work is going to be done on the coasts.” These are hard-working people who believe they’ve contributed to the country, whose dignity and sense of self-esteem is linked to work and productive work. I think a better argument is to say, “Look, we’re going to help prepare these areas for diversification, so they can succeed economically.” Then boost wages through the EITC.

Khanna, it seems to me, is really arguing for a jobs guarantee, as opposed to a basic income guarantee or tax credits. That is, he seems to be as soon as you put yourself in the shoes of the “hard-working people.”

Gap between gig economy’s winners and losers fuels populists FT

The Anatomy of Liberal Melancholy The Baffler

Lebanese Photographer Visits U.S. Cities Named ‘Lebanon’ NPR. Notice the distinction between the photographer’s message and what the bien pensant NPR interviewer hones in on. There should be photos from Fadi BouKaram here at Foreign Policy, but I can’t get the link to work.

High Ground Is Becoming Hot Property as Sea Level Rises Scientific American

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by .

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. fresno dan

    Still Chasing the Wrong Rainbows The American Conservative

    The essence of that conventional narrative, as Williams later wrote, was that the “American Empire just grew like Topsy.” According to this interpretation, the United States became a superpower reluctantly, almost inadvertently, as if through the workings of Providence. Its rise to preeminence ostensibly occurred despite the inclinations of the American people who viewed the outside world with suspicion and disdain and who wanted nothing more than to keep to themselves.

    Williams argued otherwise, crediting American statesmen with having pursued a sophisticated, if opportunistic strategy of expansionism. Over the course of nearly two centuries, the United States had sought power and had succeeded spectacularly in acquiring it. Furthermore, Williams dared to suggest that this longstanding penchant for expansionism was essential to understanding the ongoing Cold War.
    How many times have I said it? If you studied studiously in high school, your view of the FACTS of history is probably very, very misinformed….

    1. James Levy

      Tooze argues in his book The Deluge that the whole “isolationist” meme viz. the 1920s is completely off. The Americans worked very hard to influence global affairs via dollar diplomacy, not wide-scale intervention (although they did intervene in Nicaragua in 1925). The Americans functioned a bit like the Germans today inside the EU. The US walled off their economy and made it difficult to earn dollars. Since people needed what the Americans produced (oil and food) they had to take out loans, which the US government could then use as leverage over those countries. But it was a one-way street, and eventually the US pushed too many loans that foreign governments could not repay (part of the chaos of 1929-31 was a global debt crisis which is not talked about the way the stock market crash always is). Smoot-Hawley made it virtually impossible to earn dollars. So the system collapsed. American international clout only waned for a while after the defaults and when America itself was too poor to export capital (1931-1940). But the will to dominate remained (at least among the Eastern Establishment, which really existed back then).

      NOTE: countries could use Sterling instead of dollars, which the Americans would take (along with gold), but to shore up the pound at its too high peg of $4.86 (thanks Churchill) Britain could not flood the market with pounds, and going back on the gold standard made this worse, so nations most times did have to earn dollars to trade with the US (making Washington happy and powerful).

      1. Darius

        Haven’t heard the foreign debt factor in the Great Depression but it makes sense. The recent PBS series on WWI touched on Wall Street being highly invested in an Allied victory, through loans to the British and French, suggesting to me that Wilson was merely their instrument.

        So glad to hear from you, James.

  2. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    With regard to the French election links, this phrase, “just hanging on”, caught my eye. There is a UK equivalent which has just come into fashion, “just about managing (JAM)”. Ed Miliband had a similar phrase, which I can’t recall, when he led Labour.

    The concept is not new. In the 1990s, Will Hutton coined the term society of thirds in The State We’re In. Hutton talked about the third at the botton, the third JAM and staring at the abyss, and the third doing well. In the book, he quoted a stat showing the UK having a quarter of the then EU’s poor. The seeds of Brexit were being sowed then.

    I watched the first half of the debate on TV5 last night. Macron chucked in some identity politics with regard to gays, just as Ian Welsh writes about. I don’t think that Macron dominated as the BBC and Grauniad reported.

    1. David

      You stuck it out longer than I did. I gave up after an hour or so – couldn’t stand the shouting. The format was partly to blame, with the two contenders sitting head to head staring at each other, and the poor journalists, who completely lost control, off to one side. (Apparently one viewer emailed FR2 to ask if the journalists were being held hostage and needed to be rescued). I think Macron probably “won” in the sense that his performance had improved, and he was often technically correct on the detail of disputed points. Whether this will impress the electorate remains to be seen. But he’s still vulnerable because of his record. When he said that France was the only country in Europe with massive unemployment (which even Le Monde felt it had to correct), Le Pen snapped back that he’d been in charge of French economic policy for years – what had he done about it?
      I suspect that Le Pen may not, in the end, be terribly worried about winning on Sunday. She’s young enough to have another go, and in any event, a narrow victory, a weak President and a Parliament hopelessly divided after the June elections would suit her very well. If the parcel is going to blow up, you want somebody else to be holding it. She can come along later and save the nation.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, David.

        I agree with you about Macron winning in that sense.

        I thought that Le Pen missed a trick by not explaining that Macron had written la loi El Khomry and foisted it on the hapless ministre maghrebinne. That would have shown how Macron and Hollande operated, including exploiting a neophyte woman and Arab minister, shoving their identity politics back in their faces.

        I also agree with you about Le Pen being young enough. As the Front National is a family business, Marion Marechal Le Pen will have several chances, too.

        I don’t know if you pay attention to Swiss politics. If I was an FN strategist, I would build on the alliance with Nicolas Dupont-Aignan and transform the FN into a French SVP / UDC, much as I detest the SVP and the Blocher family, or something softer enough to peel off some Republicains.

        I can imagine une rentree chaude from September, so also agree with you about June and beyond. The “fun” starts after elections to the National Assembly. I am visiting France in late August, mid-September and early December, so looking forward to these interesting times.

        One thing that I can’t understand, having worked with the firm and observed the family at the races, using a former employee like Macron seems so direct and unsubtle. The link is just too obvious. The family is usually much more discrete.

      2. EmilianoZ

        In 2002, there was not even a debate between Chirac and Le Pen pere. A debate would have been seen as “normalizing” the Front National. Maybe Le Pen fille considers it already a victory that a debate took place at all.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, EZ.

          Further to an exchange between us some weeks ago, I wonder if my distant cousin, JMG Le Clezio, will have to hand in his French passport next week. He has been threatening that for a couple of years.

          1. DJG

            Colonel: Doesn’t Le Clezio still live here in the U S of A in New Mexico? Some ironies, given that N.M. is by most measures the second-poorest state.

            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you.

              He does mainly live in NM, but moves around, including France, Mauritius and Blighty. He has French and Mauritian nationality, but is entitled to British, too.

              The family is very interesting and has provided much of JMG’s material.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Apparently one viewer emailed FR2 to ask if the journalists were being held hostage and needed to be rescued)

        If you think the French republic is being held hostage by the EU, then the viewer has Stockholm Syndrome, in the sense of identifying with the captor (the EU), not properly realizing who or what is being held hostage here.

    2. paul

      ‘The squeezed middle’ was, I think, Milliband’s tin eared phrase.
      Almost as bad as Cleggski’s ‘Alarm clock Britain’.

      As Gorgeous George Galloway would say, I salute your indefatigability in wading through Hutton’s turgid book like thing.

      I did enjoy le pen’s crack about France being ruled by a woman whoever won; Le Pen or Merkel.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Paul.

        I had not heard Clegg’s quip. Clegg is the worst sort of hypocrite. He lives with his family in south west London, but represents a northern seat, well to do Sheffield Hallam. He refuses to live up there, citing family commitments, but thinks HS2 (a proposed railway for those outside the UK) good for people to commute from the north to London. For those not familiar with the UK, this commute would take 2 – 3 hours each way and cost at least USD10k pa.

        Le Pen was right.

        Fingers crossed for Gorgeous George in Manchester Gorton today. US readers may remember him as the UK politician who gave the neo-cons both barrels at a Capitol Hill hearing about the Iraq War.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think it’s too late for Hillary to get a French citizenship and jump into the race.

    3. cocomaan

      I was amazed to hear Le Pen, allegedly far right, talk about lowering the retirement age in France to 60 if you’d worked for 40 years. Macron’s response was that the proposal was unaffordable.

      We certainly have some weird notions about right/left these days.

    4. Dead Dog

      Thanks Colonel. All we heard from the MSM was that Macron won convincingly.
      They are all lining up for their preferred candidate.
      I don’t think the voters are stupid and many will vote for Le Pen because they want things to change.

  3. allan

    so he could print them out (!!)

    Knowing how well the Abedin-Wiener household seems to have functioned,
    one can rest assured that their Wi-Fi was protected with a strong password.
    So it’s not as if the printing queue was being broadcast onto the streets of NYC, amirite.

      1. skippy

        That would under ‘mine’ the whole concept of having eager underlings poised to serve their masters… needs….

        disheveled…. “your all a bunch of communists”.

    1. dontknowitall

      The best part was when Comey was asked if Wiener read the emails as he was printing them and Comey says no, he doesn’t think so. How could Wiener even avoid reading them as he was printing and making sure the prints were legible…was he wearing a blindfold?…Did Comey’s investigators take this for truth…

      The sweet spot was hit when Comey said Abedin did not get charged because there was no evidence she knew the law or had intent. The information security course everyone is required to take at State counted for nothing…and all those whistleblowers who argued they had no intent to spy when they took paperwork home but were sent to jail anyway because a showing of intent was not required were just mistakes…

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Comey is not a law enforcement guy at all—he is some kind of a public relations operative—and a very poor one at that.

      2. Optimader

        Hrc was legally obliged to take the course as well. She had no intent … to be caught, that counts for something, no?
        As for Comey, it doesn’t matter a whit what he “thinks”, his only mission is to collect facts not indict-edjudicate…but apparently Law is a fungible commodity subject to substitution on the fly.
        But i am wasting bandwidth on thie arent I

      3. Optimader

        Hrc was legally obliged to take the course as well. She had no intent … to be caught, that counts for something, no?
        As for Comey, it doesn’t matter a whit what he “thinks”, his only mission is to collect facts not indict-adjudicate…but apparently Law is a fungible commodity subject to substitution on the fly.
        But i am wasting bandwidth on thie arent I

  4. fresno dan

    The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class The Writing of John Laurits (MR). Very interesting. What do readers think of Laurits’ proposed structure?

    Most fundamentally, the 20th century income distribution system has collapsed. The share of income going to profits has rocketed and will continue to rise, the share going to rent will rise even more. Real wages will continue to stagnate.

    In pursuit of competitiveness, governments have implemented policies of labor flexibility, making labor more insecure, leaving millions without health care, pensions or other benefits. Governments have turned to means-tested social assistance and to workfare. The welfare state has withered.

    Meanwhile, a global class structure has been taking shape, superimposed on national structures. At the top is a tiny plutocracy, many with criminal backgrounds. Their economic and political power is awesome; they have no responsibility to any nation state.

    Just returned from a trip from San Diego – a friend of a friend died, but it was a chance to see east coast friends. What was elucidating is that the friend had too (and two) well educated sons….very well educated, as both went back to college after getting their first degrees (and these were not basket weaving degrees) because even with their education, jobs prospects were poor.

    What is interesting is just as the American Conservative article points out the bullsh*t that pervades American mythology with regard to foreign affairs, I think more and more people are seeing (and EXPERIENCING) the fact that the economic system is carefully crafted and designed to exploit them – and that this is not some random attribute of nature. IT IS a zero sum game, and it is gamed by the rich to get ALL the resources…

    1. Jane

      The gig-economy is finally driving home, to those in Western democracies, Bertrand Russell’s point that “Nature is raw material; so is that part of the human race which does not effectively participate in government.” History of Western Philosophy Chapter 21. The truth of this has been clear for years re: Latin Americ and Asia but we’ve thought ourselves otherwise as we believe we do participate in government.

      I think we focus too much on the structure of the 99% — it’s the structure of the 1% that needs to be fully rooted out and forced into the fold of the commons. Before that can happen though, the salaried need to realize that they are not an exceptional 10% but just another part of the 99%. Sadly, it might take global warming to do the trick.

    2. Eureka Springs

      Progressives wanted and needed Obama. They were his biggest enablers and he was their biggest distraction from who they are and what they do. All are Democrats through and through. No accountability. No actual representation.

      Just take a look at the recently published ‘peoples budget’ by the prog caucus. It’s doesn’t demand nor budget Single Payer, specifically H.R. 676, it gives more federal lip service to a public option from the get go.

      It doesn’t promote or budget debt free college and trade school education.

      Tax measures still protect the rich rather than define the breadth of disparity allowed.

      It doesn’t end wars or dramatically cut defense.

      Nearly everything one hopes progs are supposedly FOR is compromised from the get go into neoliberal oblivion or half measures at best.

      Prog people need to look at themselves and their so-called reps first.

      Side note: I noticed Pelosi is no longer on the prog membership roll, and Sanders is now listed as the only Senate member.

      1. dontknowitall

        This makes me think Sanders is just a fig leaf in this progressive caucus exercise, otherwise HR676 and the other policy choices would be prominently in evidence. The man is being used and he has to stop it before they destroy his reputation.

    3. hemeantwell

      Re whether Standing’s class structure map is useful, I hold the usual reservations. Standing nods in passing to the objection that the lives of proletarians have tended to be precarious — after all, Marx himself stressed that an industrial reserve army was integral to capitalism. That some proles could obtain long-term stable employment could be seen as a feature of a “Fordist” phase of capitalism that is now over and so it’s back to the norm.

      What’s more interesting in his piece but remains undeveloped is the emergence of an identifiable transnational, or supranational, elite. Not only are they something like Beasts of No Nation, they are also seen as parasitic, living off hot money flows like a strange form of bacteria instead of organizing production. Instead of ideologically fortified captains of industry, we see pirates and their hirelings. As the reserve army grows and as the austerians savage the state-supported safety net, supranational elite networks will be relatively easier to organize against. The outcry against supposed Russian influence in the Trump administration, with Tillerson as one anchor point of the criticism, is an example of what will become more frequent.

    4. jrs

      What if it’s cause and effect and the reason this is so is because labor has less power, and one follows the other? The amount of income a class gets directly follows the power it has. That’s pretty far from mainstream economics isn’t it?

      If so “progressive” Obama supporters are fairly irrelevant to anything, they are mostly a distraction in every sense. They surely aren’t the solution, but they aren’t the cause, the cause is the lack of labor bargaining plus political power.

      1. Eureka Springs

        How does one or many bargain when their so-called prog reps don’t even begin bargaining from a point they say they want?

        In my small tourist town there are about 80 restaurants. Among the most lucrative service jobs service staff get at most 4 bucks an hour plus tips. The best (professional, attractive, work every double they can get with no mention ever of OT) pull in less than 30 k gross. Most of these peeps are in their 40’s. The amount of taxation on their income is among their greatest stress, followed quickly by rent and the financial impossibility of playing by the ACA mandate. Out here in flyover deplorable-ville they don’t dare bargain for more… when even a couple missed shifts in protest would be disastrous.

        This problem is systemic and far more than just labor need representation.

    5. kgw

      “Therefore I must say that, as I hope for mercy, I can have no other notion of all the other governments that I see or know, than that they are a conspiracy of the rich, who, on pretense of managing the public, only pursue their private ends, and devise all the ways and arts they can find out; first, that they may, without danger, preserve all that they have so ill acquired, and then that they may engage the poor to toil and labor for them at as low rates as possible, and oppress them as much as they please.”

      Thomas More, Utopia

  5. Linda

    …Huma Abedin forwarded Clinton email (including classified email) to her then-husband Anthony Weiner (!) so he could print them out (!!) for Clinton to read (!!!).

    Comey said there is no problem with Huma sending classified emails over unsecured lines to an unsecured computer to someone without classified clearance because there was no “intent” and she didn’t understand it was something she shouldn’t do.

    1. Pat

      Want to make a bet if you weren’t attached to a Clinton, a Bush, an Obama, a McCain, etc and did this your intent would not even be a consideration, see just the usual examples of people prosecuted we got over the last few years. The fact that Abedin and Clinton were not prosecuted makes it very clear that justice is not blind.
      And I am sure there is no need to point out that there is no caveat about intention in the laws covering this, and how often have we been told ignorance of the law is no excuse either.

      1. hunkerdown

        Intent is not relevant to strict liability crimes, such as 18 USC 793(f).

        (f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—

        Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

        Clearly, the only operative principle here is the ability to extra-judicially discipline the enforcers.

    2. Jane

      Comey must be the new Kreskin; he’s read Abedin’s mind as having no bad intent and Assange’s mind as being full of evil intent. Now if he could only read Trump’s mind….

      1. Antifa

        Anyone can read Trump’s mind.

        The problem is you’ll just have to read it all over again a few minutes later . . .

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      So, having gone to all the trouble of setting up a private server to maintain secrecy, and having a preference for reading emails on paper, not one of the resident geniuses thinks to suggest purchasing your own $50 printer? She had a billion dollars, fer chrissakes. Even the ink refills shouldn’t have been a problem.

      Once again, a reasonable person would have to conclude that there’s more going on here than anyone’s willing to say. No wonder her campaign was such a hot mess.

    4. DJG

      Here are the paragraphs from the article:
      –In defending his decisions, Comey offered some new details about what FBI agents found last fall, after they realized a laptop belonging to former New York congressman Anthony Weiner (D) contained thousands of work emails involving Clinton. At the time, Weiner was married to Huma Abedin, who was a senior aide to Clinton. Agents were looking at Weiner’s laptop because he was under investigation for possibly inappropriate communications with a minor.

      –“Somehow, her emails were being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information,’’ Comey said, adding later, “His then-spouse Huma Abedin appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to him for him to print out for her so she could deliver them to the secretary of state.”

      To put this in Chicagoese:
      What kind of jamokes are these? They could screw up a two-car funeral.

      [And the idea that Clinton was the most qualified candidate for the U.S. president in the nation’s history becomes more laughable by the day. I feel “mildly nauseous” (and unable to use the correct term). Clinton makes Mary Todd Lincoln look like presidential timber.]

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Don’t you just love the use of the word “somehow?” Great “evidence” gatherers, those fbi guys.

        1. DJG

          KE: Somehow, mistakes were made. Somehow, they couldn’t afford a printer. Somehow, an e-mail message was sent using the forwarding function. Somehow, the private e-mail server ended up in Clinton’s basement next to the yoga mats.

          Trump is no intellectual. But with rivals like these, he was a shoo-in.

          The obvious question: With an elite this rotten, what prevents us from pushing down the whole rotted structure? I’m reminded of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia: The demonstrations began, and the demonstrators discovered that the country in effect had no functioning government. Result: The sound of air escaping a deflating tire. What terrifies Americans, though, is that the urgency of our situation hasn’t led to cobbling together Plan B. After Nancy Pelosi, le deluge.

        2. JohnnyGL

          LOL, nice catch. As with everything the Clintons touch, the ‘agency’ just melts away. Things just…..happen.

    5. salamander

      There’s something here that the general public doesn’t understand…a lie so grotesque and blatant that it must be remain in the background as part of the framing to be slip past the masses.

      In all agencies, the military… classified systems are air-gapped from the internet. Of course they are. Imagine if, in a moment of carelessness, you could simply forward a classified email to your gmail account, like the time you copied the boss on that embarrassing email.


      Abedin couldn’t “forward” classified emails home to her husband. She didn’t have a classified terminal with crypto gear there, safeguarded in a Classified Access space.

      No. She’d literally have had to transcribe the materials into an unclassified system… or print, scan, and send PDF.

      Judge Comey’s “no intent,” guess-she-didn’t-know-better, whoopsey argument in that light.

      1. salamander

        In other words… you’re all correct that intent doesn’t matter in this case. But you’re mistaken that there is really any honest doubt about intent.

        EVERYBODY in the U.S. government who works with classified information knows this. And that’s a lot of people.

        Yet the lie marches on.

  6. allan

    Little-Noted Provision of GOP Health Bill Could Alter Employer Plans [WSJ]

    Many people who obtain health insurance through their employers—about half of the country—could be at risk of losing protections that limit out-of-pocket costs for catastrophic illnesses, due to a little-noticed provision of the House Republican health-care bill to be considered Thursday, health-policy experts say.

    The provision, part of a last-minute amendment, lets states obtain waivers from certain Affordable Care Act insurance regulations. Insurers in states that obtain the waivers could be freed from a regulation mandating that they cover 10 particular types of health services, among them maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health treatment and hospitalization.

    That could also affect plans offered by large employers, health analysts said. …

    Under the House bill, large employers could choose the benefit requirements from any state—including those that are allowed to lower their benchmarks under a waiver, health analysts said. By choosing a waiver state, employers looking to lower their costs could impose lifetime limits and eliminate the out-of-pocket cost cap from their plans under the GOP legislation. …

    “Waiver state”.
    Thus starts a new race to the bottom – just like Delaware and South Dakota for credit card operations.

    1. jrs

      And it passes. People say it won’t pass the Senate, but I suspect they may be in for an unwelcome surprise. It’s kind of “it can’t get any worse” reasoning, oh yes it can get worse, worse than the ACA.

      Now it could be a “worse the better” situation that drives everyone into demanding single payer as those F-ers sure are courting blowback. Only .. how to get any power at the Federal level when R’s have advantages at present.

      States might have some leeway for single payer, if that leeway isn’t outlawed by the idiots in Congress soon as well (I wouldn’t be surprised, it can ALWAYS get worse afterall).

  7. fresno dan

    If Progressives Don’t Wake Up To How Awful Obama Was, Their Movement Will Fail Medium (KH).

    Four hundred thousand dollars. For a former President of the United States. To give a speech. At a healthcare conference. Organized by a Wall Street firm.

    Why are Wall Street firms organizing motherf*cking healthcare conferences, one might understandably ask? And why are they hiring the man who just completed an eight-year war on progressive healthcare policy and a torrid love affair with Wall Street criminals? These are extremely reasonable questions that might be asked by anyone who is intelligent and emotionally masochistic enough to look straight at this thing, and the answer, of course, is America. That’s what America is now. The man who continued and expanded all of Bush’s most evil policies, created a failed state in Libya, exponentially expanded the civilian-slaughtering US drone program which Chomsky calls “the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times” to unprecedented levels, facilitated the Orwellian expansion of the US surveillance state while prosecuting more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined, and used charm and public sympathy to evade the drastic environmental policy changes we’ll need to avert climate disaster and lull the progressive movement into a dead sleep for eight years now gets paid nearly half a million dollars an hour to continue bolstering the exploitative corporatist nightmare he’s dedicated his life to. American University has compiled data indicating that the already extremely wealthy Obama family may end up being worth as much as $242 million in their post-White House years, and if Barry keeps whoring himself out like this, he might exceed even that.

    The country is all branding and advertising all the time – with the same regard for reality. Imagine a photograph, and Trump is a perfect negative of Obama….

    I saw a news story about how the “wall” is really a fence, and how it really was funded and authorized by Obama. Than of course there was a panel “discussion” with half of the participants going on about how terrible walls or barriers or fences (call them what you will) and the other half about how great they are. Apparently verboten from the discussion is that if walls are so terrible, why was Obama building and funding them? And of course, the pro wall group unable to acknowledge that if you REALLY want walls, Obama was IN FACT MUCH more effective and efficient at it….than Trump.

    1. David Carl Grimes

      This article got me banned from some democrat online groups. It’s a very in your face sort of article delivering a message that some Democrats don’t want to hear.

  8. Uahsenaa

    A bizarre article in the Boston Globe on why Haiti should cede its sovereignty to… Canada?

    This moment nonetheless offers an opportunity to transform Haiti for the better. Instead of settling for mere tinkering with their constitution, Haitians should demand an altogether new one that can help to finally bring the peace and prosperity they have lacked for over 200 years of independence since driving away their French slavers in 1804.

    The new Haitian Constitution should do something virtually unprecedented: renounce the power of self-governance and assign it for a term of years, say 50, to a country that can be trusted to act in Haiti’s long-term interests.

    Of course, not once does Albert mention that the wealthy nations of the global North have been interfering in Haitian politics for some time, actively preventing a recognizable democratic process from taking hold. No, apparently, the problem with Haiti is the people’s unwillingness to choose a dictator abroad.

    It’s Klein’s shock doctrine in a nutshell: we’ll ruin your country, so that you have no choice but to let us run things.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      One US dynasty, johnny come latelys, not one of the old families (to paraphrase Miss Marple), has received money from an Irish magnate who has invested in the West Indies. One of said investor’s firms used to sponsor the West Indies cricket team. Said team is, sadly, no longer the pride and joy of the anglophone Caribbean.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Witters.

          I can see Australia coming back, but not the Windies, unfortunately.

          There are many cricket fans on this blog….

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            Quite a while back I read that West Indian youngsters who could possibly step into the shoes of that genial giant, Curtly Ambrose, were now opting for basketball rather than fast bowling for obvious financial reasons.

              1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

                My mistake, I actually meant Joel Garner who I remember at Old Trafford, patiently & with a large grin, signing autographs for a huge gang of kids.

                I have trouble with names of late.

      1. I Have Strange Dreams

        In the case of a certain Irish telecom magnate’s fortune, a great crime lies behind it.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you.

          I was not aware, but could, like Balzac, guess. I will have a look online.

          1. nobody

            Not sure Balzac would have guessed…

            QI believes that this adage was inspired by a sentence that was written by Honoré de Balzac, but the expression has been simplified in an evolutionary process… Note that Honoré de Balzac did not pronounce a general rule that larceny was at the root of all large fortunes… Balzac did write a statement linking large fortunes to crime, but it was a nuanced remark about a subset of great fortunes…

        2. Uahsenaa

          Never satisfied with the ruin they create in gaining (read: stealing) their wealth, they then have to use said wealth to cause further ruin. It almost makes you wonder whether it’s really a matter of greed and not the simple destructive impulses Freud identifies in Civilization and Its Discontents. In other words, havoc is not a means to sustain the capitalist order but rather capitalism is the means to facilitate creating havoc.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      “we’ll ruin your country, so that you have no choice but to let is run things”

      Isn’t that what happened to Greece?

      1. Uahsenaa

        Very similar situations, yes, though I do think this represents a marked shift in the trajectory of neo-imperialism. While the Germans may have taken an untoward interest in the particulars of the Greek economy (and thereby, though the imposition of austerity measures, the degree to which the Greeks could determine their own economic fate), no German academic ever suggested Greece become a colony of Norway, because the Norwegians are better long term thinkers.

    3. jo6pac

      I guess we now know were the money for the clinton foundation will come. The little island formerly known as Haiti now known as Clintonville.

  9. RenoDino

    Why Do North Koreans Hate Us? One Reason — They Remember the Korean War

    If that was the one reason, then the South Koreans would hate us too. Turns out there is another reason that is rarely discussed. The North Koreans consider themselves a master race. Their racial purity doesn’t make them superior; it makes them vulnerable. Without a strong paternalistic leader to protect them, they will be corrupted. It’s not a cult of personality as widely portrayed. It’s a national psychosis. It makes negotiations virtually impossible.

    1. paul

      I’m not sure the South Koreans are mad about having 26-100 US military bases on their soil.

      I remember Chalmers Johnson writing that US servicemen in Seoul had to go off camp in disguise to avoid getting beaten up by the locals.

      They weren’t exactly throwing petals in front of the thaad anti-missile missiles the other day.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        South Koreans are some of the most highly educated OECD citizens according to PISA results.

        They cannot have failed to notice what happens to a country when the u.s. cavalry rides to its rescue.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you. The quality of what goes into the PISA process is open for debate.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Oh no, the wogs in alI subsumed states all just LOVE us… And those Koreans, many of them, are pretty good at “beating up” the highly trained (sic?) US Warriors.

        I was sent to Chu Lai, Vietnam in I think December 1967, there to fix and fly around in UH-1s, do KP and guard duty, live through Tet ’68, and otherwise participate in the activities of Empire that Wilkerson talks about in other links today. The 3rd ROK Marines had a “rest and recreation” facility there, right on the beachfront and adjacent to our temporary billets but separated by obstacles at least as threatening as those forming the Green Line outside the US base, to keep “Charlie” and the NVA in their place.

        The R&R site was a place right on the beach, for South Korean troops to unwind from their pretty relentless scorched-earth operations across South Vietnam.

        There was a small town that ran parallel to the coast, just west of the long northern tongue of the military base that we and the Koreans billeted on. The Koreans would go down into the “ville” to get drunk and get laid. At first, US GIs were also allowed the same privileges, but there was a steady drumbeat of “incidents” where US and ROK troops would “conflict” in the tribally segregated bars and “establishments.” The ROK dudes, with their martial arts skills and training much more advanced than the GI’s, would kick the sh!t out of the GIs. So the ville was divided too, though US military police as I recall would (between taking bribes and so forth) try to maintain order. And even the beg tough MPs, they told me, would not go into “Korean” bars when things got rowdy, after regularly getting their butts kicked by their “allies.”

        Why were there 50,000 ROK troops with boots on the ground through the whole active idiocy period in Vietnam? Some 300,000 run through the place, maybe 5,000 killed, and how many also-Asian “gooks” did they “bust caps on” and “waste?” Gee, I wonder… too many pieces in the puzzle for me to come up with “an” answer.

        Want to know what gives our Rulers restless dreams at night?

        It is a lot of work, keeping the lid on though one’s perfect life, evading collapse and anomie and pitchforks and other implements until one expires sweetly, cradled in the lap of luxury… Good thing the Erik Princes of the world will subcontract the effort.

        1. RabidGandhi

          Why were there 50,000 ROK troops with boots on the ground through the whole active idiocy period in Vietnam?

          I was going to answer this but then I realised that my irony filter in English is often faulty and it may be a rhetorical question. Is that the case?

        2. Tom_Doak

          I was getting driven around South Korea last month and was amazed at all the expensive infrastructure in place [highways, tunnels, etc.]. When I asked who funded it all, my guide replied, “you did.” American aid built much of that infrastructure fifty years ago, in return for South Korean support in Vietnam.

    2. oho

      -Why Do North Koreans Hate Us? One Reason — They Remember the Korean War The Intercept

      Ugg, North Korea is not an existential threat to the US—-an damn good excuse for a Pentagon budget increase. And the US is a damn good excuse to the NK regime on why everything in NK stinks—even though the NK are so genetically awesome, blame the Americans and not NK kleptocracy.

      But NK (and SK) does have some legitimate historical gripes against the US—-(arguably) Teddy Roosevelt gave the green light to Japan to conquer Korea post Russo-Japanese War (Treaty of Portsmouth). And of course splitting Korea post-1945

      1. Sutter Cane

        Speaking of legit historical gripes, read Mcarthur’s plan to “win” the Korean War – by nuking the hell out of them, and a large part of China. It makes the North Korean’s distrust of the USA look rational by comparison.

    3. RabidGandhi

      I was glad to see Hasan pull US massacres out of the memory hole. I was also glad to see him citing Bruce Cumings’ The Korean War. I was disappointed, however, to see him recycle the US line about “who started it”, presumably as a troll prophylactic:

      For the record, it was the North Koreans, and not the Americans or their South Korean allies, who started the war in June 1950, when they crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded the south.

      Yet on page 64 of Cumings’ book, after clearly showing that it is not clear which side crossed the 38th Parallel first, he demolishes the entire logic of asking “who invaded first” in a civil war between people on both sides of the parallel with differing ideologies:

      Ever since 1950, this civil war analogy has been like a Rumplestiltskin for the official American view: say it and the logic collapses, the interpretation loses its power… For Americans a discrete encapsulation limits this war to the time frame of June 1950 to July 1953. This construction relegates all that went before to mere prehistory, June 25 is original sin, all that comes after is postbellum. It also presumes to demarcate the period of active American involvement; before June 1950, it is Syngman Rhee against Kim Il Sung backed or controlled by Stalin and/or Mao; after July 1953, it is Rhee against the same people, his fledgling republic ever under threat. This construction focuses the bright glare of our attention on the question of who started the war, on the presupposition that the correct answer to this question furnishes answers to all the other questions. What is highlighted here obscures all that went before and all that came after, placing it in the shadows of irrelevance. In this manner a wrongly conceived and never-known civil conflict disappears before our very eyes, as an American construction that only an American would believe; but American amour propre remains firmly intact. The American focus on “who started it” is a political and often an ideological position, a point of honor that abstracts from and makes easy and comprehensible the politically shaped verdicts that began with Washington’s official story on June 25,1950. The Korean War was (and is) a civil war; only this conception can account for the 100,000 lives lost in the South before June 1950 and the continuity of the conflict down to the present, in spite of assumptions that Moscow’s puppets in Pyongyang would surely collapse after the USSR itself met oblivion in 1991.

      While I truly enjoy his interviews on Al Jazeera, this is not the first Hasan Intercept article that has been factually flawed.

      The Intercept needs fact checkers.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Why Koreans might hate the US empire: One reason among so many, if one looks around a bit —

        Like a schoolyard bully who takes the little kids’ lunches and milk money, and rubs their faces in the snow or dirt, and twists their arms up behind their backs until they satisfy his (or her, let’s be fair) sadistic demand to “Say UNCLE!” as in what, “uncle sam”?

        “Bullies need to be understood and comforted, not punished and excluded…”

        And pour encourager les autres, this partial, vanilla-pudding-coated “Chronological list of some covert operations supported or initiated by the U.S. since late 1940s,” from Voice of America no less,

        And briefly, from the commie side of the spectrum, there’s this, that will easily key to lookups of other predations to be exceptionally proud of,

  10. RenoDino

    From Ancient Greece, Lessons On The Risk Of A Modern, Accidental War NPR.

    The professor takes great pains to avoid the one defining characteristic of the Thucydides trap as it applies to America and China today. Maybe because he’s on state controlled radio, he avoids mentioning the essence of the comparison to Sparta and Athens. It’s when a declining power confronts a rising power that very bad things happen. The whole trap per se rests on the over reaction of the declining power to its challenger. By refusing to mention American in decline, NPR and the professor engage in a false narrative.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From Ancient Greece, Lessons On The Risk Of A Modern, Accidental War NPR. The Thucydides Trap (and how I wonder if there’s a parallel case from the Chinese literature).

      Probably many such parallel cases. Here is one, from Wikipedia, on King Wen, the founder of the Zhou dynasty:

      At one point, King Zhou of Shang, fearing Wen’s growing power, imprisoned him in Youli (present-day Tangyin in Henan).[1] However, many officials respected Wen for his honorable governance and they gave King Zhou so many gifts – including gold, horses, and women – that he released Wen, who subsequently planned to overthrow King Zhou but died before he could accomplish it. His second son, King Wu, followed his father’s wishes and crushed the Shang at Muye, creating the imperial Zhou dynasty.

      Here, the rising power is known for ‘his honorable governance.’

      When we see that in a rising power in this world, today, then, the declining power would really have something to fear.

      Until, no fear of any Chinese Thucydides trap.

      1. Olga

        Maybe… on the other hand, to the extent China pushes its expansion via economic development from which all involved can benefit (to varying degrees) – as opposed to by guns and neo-liberal strangulation (as pushed by the diminishing US empire) – that is probably as honourable as we can all hope for in these times.

    2. Dirk77

      I’ll need to reread the history again, but I don’t think Ellison understands the Peloponnesian war. In my read, Sparta was the adult and Athens was the democracy that eventually fell apart due to its own delusion and hubris. Sparta = USA and Athens = China hardly holds up – unless you live in DC.

  11. Christopher Fay

    My experience is the Koreans are highly cohesive and nationalistic, loyal to fellow Koreans. Is that the same as hating us? Some Israeli groups consider themselves the master race. Chinese consider themselves the master race. Don’t we Americans consider ourselves the master race? Do professional dems, lawyers, consider themselves the master race?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “American exceptionalism” as voiced by Obama was always an updated “white man’s burden.”

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Everyone is above average.

      Every man: “You’re the prettiest girl in the world.”

      Every mother: “You’re the greatest kid in the world.”

    3. Olga

      Good points, but…
      Having spent time in Korea, I’ve not detected a master race meme (except, perhaps vis-a-vis Japanese)

    4. ewmayer

      One of the reasons I prefer Korean historic dramas to Chinese ones is that the former, steeped in a history of being in the shadow of Imperial China and invaded several times by Imperial Japan, have a distinctive “scrappy underdog” vibe. Nationalistic, yes, but that need not translate to Master Race groupthink.

      1. georgieboy2

        Sorry, Koreans are about as racist as we humans come. Slang for black people is “rocks in the head.”

        They keep genealogy records dating back 6+ centuries, because family pride demands it when marriage is considered.

        This ties in to the Thucydides thread too — the “rising and honorable” power versus “aging and cruel” power meme will sell just fine for rising China in much of Asia. American “diversity and democracy” screeching makes little sense where long-standing “family and nation” cultural demands get pounded in over the dinner table at home.

  12. Bugs Bunny

    Re “If you like the euro, why not just call for a global gold standard?”

    Am I thick or is this post just pure sarcasm? The commenters seem to be taking it seriously.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I’m just guessing (to try to see the connection to gold here) – if new money is not getting, or trickling down, to the Deplorables, even the global reserve, the Dollar, is, in effect, on a gold standard…yes, even with the Fed buying up everything furiously or madly.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      The argument is that fiscal policy in Euro countries (on things that would benefit others than global finance) is constrained by not having fiat currencies (rules and policies of EU and ECB) and the Euro also prevents suffering Euro countries from benefiting from currency devaluation. So similar situation to being on gold standard.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Thanks Left in WI – I get that argument but is this an opinion piece truly suggesting that the whole world should go that way? That’s why I thought it was sarcasm in “A Modest Proposal” type of way.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Even here there are at least a few regular commenters that see the gold standard as the way to go. To paraphrase: everything went to hell when we went off the gold standard.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            “The Americans can be trusted to do the right thing,” said Churchill “after exhausting all of the other possibilities”.
            The gold standard is highly imperfect…it’s just better than the alternatives IMO. We can re-learn this again…and again…and again…after the next bonfire of the vanities…

            And the article talks about “suffering Euro countries” not able to devalue. Um, uh, but I thought we had a capitalist system? You know, where inefficient enterprises get punished by “creative destruction”, and are forced to get back to a healthy balance? A few years of severe pain for citizens, then back to the races…surely that’s better than the endless Chinese Water Torture of metastisizing impoverishment we have today?

            And if countries insist on smoothing the variations they could do it on the fiscal side…why sling everybody around on the money side?

            1. Grebo

              The amount of money should track the amount of wealth or prices will change.
              Fixing the amount of money will either strangle growth, or cause deflation, or both. Not the outcome goldbugs expect or want.
              At present the Fed etc. are still trying to pretend they are on a gold standard. Greenspan admitted this explicitly. Things have gone, and will go, much better when they abandon this foolishness.
              The IMF project that Greece will continue in its downward spiral for the next 70 years. Then it will be back to the races, they feel sure. How many Greeks will be left then they don’t hazard to guess.

    1. Olga

      Thanks for posting it… there is a story ab how his truck/RV was stolen. Definitely worth a read…

  13. Science Officer Smirnoff

    Lambert couldn’t resist a swipe at David Dayen’s characterization of today’s Republican healthcare “reform” as single-payer for dummies, but here it is. You may need it at the cocktail hour:

    This is single-payer for dummies. In a single-payer system, the government picks up the health-care costs for the population, paid for through progressive taxation. The market power of having one insurance payer can work to lower overall health care costs, making the system sustainable. In Trumpcare’s single-payer for dummies, the fragmented private-insurance middleman remains intact. But taxpayer dollars still pick up the health-care costs for those who cannot afford it. Instead of acquiring market power, they just give those taxpayer dollars to the private middlemen, which tells the private middlemen they can charge whatever they want and always get paid.

  14. allan

    House GOP Eyes Fast-Tracking $500 Billion in Federal Budget Cuts [Bloomberg]

    House Republicans are considering an ambitious target of about $500 billion in cuts to so-called mandatory spending in their fiscal 2018 budget resolution, according to two people familiar with the plan.

    The House Budget Committee is considering instructing Congress to pursue the cuts to a rarely-touched slice of the budget that totaled $2.4 trillion in 2016 and which includes spending on safety-net programs like Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits and food stamps.

    If agreed to by the Senate, the instructions in the budget resolution would set up a fast-track process to make the spending cuts over 10 years, bypassing any threat of a Senate filibuster by Democrats. …

    … A bill to rewrite the tax code is the primary objective of a reconciliation package for fiscal 2018 that lawmakers are trying to use in order to ease passage in the Senate. Lawmakers say their goal is to make the tax overhaul revenue-neutral, so the changes would be permanent under Senate rules. …

  15. Katharine

    This is a terribly curmudgeonly comment, but I do wonder about the intelligence of people who think like this:

    A colleague whose friend recently decided to open a health-savings account was forced to upgrade to a premium version of TurboTax in order to fill out the proper forms, which cost her $25 more than she had managed to put away during the previous year.

    Forced? By whom or what? This suggests that the conservative case for single payer is that filling out forms is just so hard.

  16. Optimader

    Prince Phillip… a landmark, multi-generational human physiology experiment takrn over by the NHS for how the body responds to no activity beyond eating , drinking, voiding and very light ambulation… is nearly complete.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      To be fair, he is reported to do more than his grandchildren, including making the long suffering UK taxpayer wince at his insensitivity.

      1. Dead Dog

        Why on earth should anyone be fair about this cockroach, Colonel?
        All that stolen land and wealth being paraded around in plain sight.
        And, the very people who had their land and wealth stolen – they love the German aristocrats. Can’t fathom it myself, and I’m a Liverpool lad.
        When he goes, I hope a lot of people turn their backs like they did for Maggie

  17. allan

    CNN’s Van Jones signs with Jay Z’s firm for activism [AP]

    … His activist goals explain the new affiliation with Roc Nation, where he hopes to give more attention to work that isn’t talked about much on cable TV. He works on several initiatives: helping young people from underrepresented backgrounds find work in the tech sector, helping train San Quentin inmates for media work, fighting pollution to water supplies and other areas that affect families, and seeking to reduce the prison population. He’ll soon announce a national tour for his “Love Army” movement. …

  18. aletheia33

    correction: the piece in john laurits’s blog is a guest post, by guy standing.
    his bio:

    Guy Standing is a Professor of Economics, SOAS, University of London, and author of the book, A Precariat Charter.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      Standing was on RT late last year and reckoned that a few more years of what is going on will lead to insurrection in the west. Some UK police officers have concurred.

  19. petrel

    Regarding the John Laurits link: his structure really isn’t that different from Paul Fussell’s from 30 years ago. Comparing Laurits’s levels to Fussell’s:

    Plutocracy = top-out-of-sight
    Elite = upper class
    Salatariat/Proficians = upper middle and middle
    Proletariat: high proles and some middle proles
    Precariat: lower and some middle proles
    Lumpen-Precariat: destitute, bottom-out-of-sight

    (No room in Laurits’s model for Category X, the people who withdraw from the class system and live independent, bohemian lives. Fussell had this category as part of his argument was that it wasn’t just money that determined your class placement but your behavior. People from uppers to the destitute could simply abandon their class and go Category X.)

    The real difference between life back in the 1980s when Fussell wrote his book and life today is that back then the low proles and middle proles could get factory jobs. Now, they can’t.

    Not trying to make a serious argument here, just pointing out some similarities.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “The real difference between life back in the 1980s when Fussell wrote his book [CLASS: A Guide Through the American Status System] and life today is that back then the low proles and middle proles could get factory jobs. Now, they can’t.”

      A second difference is that proles trying to elevate their status through higher education didn’t end up with crippling levels of debt, which forever rake off the payoff (if any) from increased educational attainment.

      A good Home Economics course could alert prospective victims to the trillion-dollar flimflam of academia. :-(

    2. Albacore

      The so-called Laurits link is a guest post by Prof Guy Standing who has defined the precariat. Originally at the ILO Standings books include The Precariat and The Precariat Charter, with his latest The Corruption of Capitalism. The Precariat is the product of the era of finance capitalism as the proletariat was of the era of industrial capitalism. Potentially dangerous to finance capitalism which is why so much effort goes into suppressing it.

  20. Vatch

    Tillerson faces his toughest audience yet: The State Department Politico

    I read the article, but there was no answer to my biggest question about Rex Tillerson. Are State Department employees still forbidden to make eye contact with him?

  21. Vatch

    Super-rich private equity stars rue ‘lousy’ reputation, say they are misunderstood Reuters

    What a bunch of crybabies. They have billions of dollars, and they destroy companies and the lives of employees in those companies, and yet they complain that they are misunderstood. They’re not misunderstood, and this paragraph from the article is a good summary of what they are:

    Private equity has been criticized by some for saddling companies with debt only to sell their assets, cut jobs and take out profits. Private equity executives are some of the wealthiest people on Wall Street, deriving most of their income from fees paid by their fund clients, including keeping a cut of investment gains when companies are sold or go public. The founders of most of the biggest firms are billionaires.

    1. RUKidding

      No kidding. Didn’t Jamie “Presidential Cuff Links” Dimon and some of his other richy-rich Wall Street/Banker types have a crybaby fest a few years back about how they all had big fat old SAD at how misunderstood they were by the very horribly ungrateful rubes whom they had ripped off.

      So unfair.

      Hope they all rot. Lousy crooks.

      1. polecat

        Rotting is too good for them ! Fine Hemp Neckties for All those crybabies ….
        … and as things continue to go south for the public, deplorable or otherwise, ‘Private Equity’ and their ilk, in their cluelessness, just might find themselves wearing them !

  22. Colonel Smithers

    Apparently, Obama has just made another endorsement of Macron, his second in a month. Are the neo-liberals and neo-cons worried? Apparently, this does not count as interference. Only Russi / Putin interferes.

    Treeza May blasted the EU’s interference yesterday, richly ironic after some of her ministers, amongst many idiots, had warned about Russian interference.

      1. David Carl Grimes

        I think he just jinxed Macron. Obama has a lousy track record of endorsements. He endorsed Remain, then Leave won. He endorsed Hillary, then Trump won. Maybe the third time’s the charm?

        1. EmilianoZ

          It’s gonna work here. 0bama knows what he’s doing. The French love it when the world pays attention to them. Having a mega superstar like 0bama caring about them and telling them how important they are, they must be in heaven right now. This is gonna boost Macron 2-3 points. If the race is tight and won by Macron by a slim margin, he can send the big 0 a nice bottle of champagne: thanks 0bama!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Hi, my name is Ivan Obummerski. I’m here to help, to interfere.”

    2. Jim Haygood

      Putin asks derisively, “How many hackers does Obama have on his team?

      Having Valerie Jarrett living in his guest room is not going to cut it.

      1. Alex Morfesis

        Unless one has actually sat across the table from valjar(aka beria/darth vader)…well maybe you could just remember to start your car with the doors and windows open from now on…

        Macron wanting or needing an obama endorsement does seem to bring into question what is percolating behind the polls…

    3. Prufrock

      I came here to comment on this. On top of all the recent crying about outsiders interfering in elections, and the $400k speaking fees, this is Obama signaling again that he’s with the bankers.

      Plus, the details of Democrat fundraising on bank deregulation as the motivation for Regan to get rid of Volker for Greenspan in the Intercept article on purchasing politicians, is making me feel ill.

  23. Linda

    Washington (CNN)

    Former US President Barack Obama is wading into the closely watched French presidential election to endorse Emmanuel Macron, the centrist politician widely backed by the establishment in his run against far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

    “I have admired the campaign that Emmanuel Macron has run,” Obama says in a video, which Macron shared Thursday. “He has stood up for liberal values, he put forward a vision for the important role that France plays in Europe and around the world. And he is committed to a better future for the French people. He appeals to people’s hopes and not their fears.”

    “Because of how important this election is, I also want you to know that I am supporting Emmanuel Macron to lead you forward.”

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      There are very many out there, who I wish could taste their own verbal diarrhea.

  24. financial matters

    The Trump challenge

    H. A. Goodman and The Bern Report liked


    #AHCA is a giveaway for pharma & ins companies on the backs of the people. Congress must #VoteNo & pass real health care reform for the ppl

  25. nowhere

    “…given that Republicans are so stupid they now control all three branches of government.”

    As a logical proposition, I’m not sure that these are mutually exclusive.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe it’s time for ‘Do It Yourself’ politics.

      Or ‘All You Can Participate for $19.99’ politics, if politicians cost too much.

      That has been the standard American response for the last few decades.

      1. HopeLB

        SusantheOther’s post from yesterday proposes we all form a giant corporation. It is posted under the War, Morality..” essay.

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    High-risk pools won’t match Obamacare’s protections for pre-existing conditions CNN

    If you are insured now, and most are, except those paying a penalty for not being in an insurance plan, your pre-existing conditions have become currently-existing-conditions.

    The ‘pre’ as in ‘before you can be insured’ is gone.

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    High Ground Is Becoming Hot Property as Sea Level Rises Scientific American

    A money opportunity – submersible homes.

    “It comes with fantastic underwater views.”

    1. Anon

      When, as the coastal geologists in the article point out, the infrastructure (water, sewer, electrical, roads) is on low ground, high ground has only escape value and not “hot property” (sustained) value. (With fewer taxpayers new infrastructure won’t be forthcoming.)

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump order to ease ban on political activity by churches Reuters

    From the Dailybeast, circa 2012:

    Mar 23, 2012 – Shmuley Boteach, the orthodox rabbi, reality-TV host, and self-help guru now running for Congress as a Republican in northern New Jersey, …

    It seems to be a pre-condition already…political activity by religious organizations.

    (Wll have to look if there are, were any Zen monk politicians).

  29. Jim Haygood

    Avocado trouble (not the interior decorating kind; the fruit):

    Avocado prices have spiked to a record high, an average of $1.25 a pop, according to theHass Avocado Board. As recently as January, the average selling price was just 89 cents, and in February, it hit a low of 77 cents.

    The reason is a sharp rise in demand for the creamy fruit. U.S. consumption grew to 7 pounds a head in 2014, the last year for which data is available, from 1.1 pounds in 1989.

    The U.S. imports most of its avocados from Mexico, followed by Chile. California produced $328 million worth of the fruit in 2014, producing 164,000 tons, or 83% of total U.S. volume. The fruit is also grown in Florida and Hawaii.

    Found some avocados on sale for $0.99 yesterday. But they go for $1.99 each in a convenience market closer by.

    Unfortunately avocado trees don’t grow in our climate zone. Maybe with a little greenhouse, though …

    1. Anon

      Well, the greenhouse would need to be quite large as the standard avocado tree grows to 40′. The ‘Wurtz’ variety, however, is a dwarf version that tops out around 10′. But only fruits from May to September.

    2. curlydan

      Even Aldi can get below the $0.50 mark on avocados recently. Their baseball-hard ones used to go for $0.29 apiece around the Super Bowl.

      Lord only knows what environmental damage I’m doing stuffing my face with them.

  30. marym

    Not necessarily

    At first glance, it might appear that the community rating waivers allowed under this amendment would only allow insurers to charge premiums based on health status to people with a recent gap in coverage. Even that approach would significantly weaken community rating since coverage gaps are common, including for people with pre-existing conditions. In fact, however, the framework created by the waiver would allow states to effectively eliminate community rating protections for all people seeking individual market coverage, including people who had maintained continuous coverage.

    In brief, healthy people would have a strong incentive to “opt out” of the community-rated pool and instead pay a premium based on health status. With healthy enrollees opting out of the community-rated pool, community-rated premiums would need to be extremely high, forcing sicker individuals—including those with continuous coverage—to choose between paying the extremely high community-rated premium or being underwritten themselves. Either way, people with serious health conditions would face prohibitively high premiums. As a result, community rating would be eviscerated—and with it any meaningful guarantee that seriously ill people can access coverage

    1. marym

      GOP’s Obamacare replacement bill would protect just 5 percent of people with pre-existing conditions: Analysis

      •The Republican bill would potentially allow insurers to charge sick people higher premiums.
      •To offset those costs, the bill also allocates funding for financial aid for sicker people.
      •High-risk pools in states before Obamacare tended not to cover enough people.

      The Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare does not allocate nearly enough money to protect people with pre-existing health conditions from potentially higher insurance premiums, an analysis finds.

  31. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Dear Mr. Khanna, everything you get from the government is free, currently, if taxes don’t fund the government.

    Ro Khanna Wants to Give Working-Class Households $1 Trillion The Atlantic (UserFriendly). Interestingly, a shout-out from Khanna to Stephanie Kelton. This paragraph caught my eye:

    People want to be useful. I think it would be very patronizing to go to folks who are coal miners and say, “Look, here’s your check because all the productive work is going to be done on the coasts.” These are hard-working people who believe they’ve contributed to the country, whose dignity and sense of self-esteem is linked to work and productive work. I think a better argument is to say, “Look, we’re going to help prepare these areas for diversification, so they can succeed economically.” Then boost wages through the EITC.

    Give that money, with or without work.

    The key, I believe, is that everyone gets or is given the same amount of money.

  32. freedeomny

    The fact that so many use crowdfunding (and that it is on the rise) for medical expenses…I find beyond sickening (unfortunate pun).

  33. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    North Korean state media lashes out at main ally China Al Jazeera

    Perhaps XI schooled Trump in negotiation, or perhaps it was not so simple, as North Korea and China go at each other through their media outlets.

  34. Francois

    Re: Vox insane article

    It is mind boggling to this poster that after all these decades, some outlets in the Western media STILL fall for the North Korean propaganda.

    Let’s be blunt here: One word was totally missing from the piece: FAMINE. Every “economic recovery” or “economic good news regarding NK was, is and for the foreseeable future, will be a show centered in Pyongyang whereas the countryside will suffer immensely from cut food rations.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Except for the part where the ‘insane’ article stated:

      In the 1990s, when North Korea endured a famine that killed more than 2 million people, black markets sprang up across the country.

  35. John Morrison

    “One could easily make the case that he not only killed off hope for change, but that he meant to — that the whole thing was deliberate from the start and that he meant to magnetize any hope left in the bruised and abused population, and suck it into the vortex forever, leaving everyone despondent and without hope.” From the Caitlin Johnstone article.

    That’s a variation on my own views about the two leading candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination of 2008. I questioned from the start why Obana and Clinton were leading before a single primary or caucus was held. My first theory: the establishment was pushing them hard, setting them up for the Fall — at which point they would crash and burn. (Clinton was a woman, subject to the Clinton rules. Obama was a black man, with the worst post-9/11 name one could have.)

    But the economy fell through. My second idea was that if some random lefty Democrat were nominated and actually won, certain persons from the Bush Administration and the mainstream establishment media would wind up in prison or dead. That could not be allowed to happen. And also, as the author put it, have them work hard, give money they couldn’t afford, and work themselves to death to oust the Republicans and put Obama in office — and then betray them.

    Recall the two “Bad at losing” articles, and one article (linked by the first “Bad at losing” article) questioning why Obama kept from using his huge mailing list and base to push progressive policies.

    1. John Morrison

      Shorter version: he was there to poke his base in the eye.

      “Nyeah-nyeah. Look at what we can do, and you can’t do damn thing about it.”

    2. Olga

      It seemed to me already in late 2008 that – had BHO not appeared on the scene, the system (blob) would have had to invent someone like him. The electorate wanted change – and change we got! An articulate, black guy… what a change from the bumbling whitey W. It fooled a lot of us – but everything was really just a show (the names of Summers and Geitner were leaked in early Nov. ’08).

  36. rich

    Student Loans and Healthcare – Two Issues that Will Define American Politics Going Forward

    Societies work when people think the system is fair enough and have genuine opportunity for success and standard of living improvement. Societies work when the people who become fabulously wealthy are individuals who have created a product or service that benefits society at large. In contrast, people shouldn’t become wealthy by preying on their fellow citizens and driving them into destitution and debt bondage, but that’s precisely what is happening in many industries today. Our society rewards the worst sort of behavior, and as we observed in the aftermath of the financial crisis, protects and further empowers white collar criminals for destroying the global economy.

    Now, everyone please take out the kleenex for poor misunderstood Stevie.

    Super-rich private equity stars rue ‘lousy’ reputation, say they are misunderstood Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive and co-founder of the Blackstone Group, touted the fact that companies owned by his private equity business employed about 600,000 people and had grown 50 percent faster, on average, than the S&P 500 Index.

    “The idea that you can do all that and have great success and be perceived at best in a marginal way in terms of contribution to society, you’ve got to really wonder who’s doing the PR,” Schwarzman said during a panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference at the Beverly Hilton hotel.

    “People mistake us for financial people. I don’t know exactly why,” said Schwarzman – worth some $12 billion, according to Forbes – drawing a distinction between private equity investors which own businesses and mere financiers. “If you had 600,000 employees, you might be a company. A responsible company. And that’s what we are.”

    Financial “people” or did he mean plunderer?

    ‘Government Sachs’ Thrives at Milken as Billionaires Talk Trump

    Mike Milken looks to Schwarzman for guidance on tax policy

    “Ah, Government Sachs!”

    That’s the quip David Solomon encountered at the Milken Institute Global Conference this week, when another attendee realized he was speaking with the co-president of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

    This year’s event, for which 4,500 of the world’s most influential people gathered in Beverly Hills, California, to swap notes on global economics and policy, made Wall Street’s political connections abundantly clear.

    Investors, government officials and entertainment moguls convened at the storied hotel this week for the event, now in its 20th year. While ringmaster Mike Milken packs the schedule with panel sessions, many attendees also flock to meetings in private suites upstairs and evening cocktail parties at mansions in the hills of Los Angeles.

    “This is like a mini World Economic Forum — like a mini Davos,” former Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday, hours before President George W. Bush addressed a lunch crowd.

    It’s always nice when a felon holds a get together to set policy. And both parties are there to bless them. Don’t you think?

  37. Oregoncharles

    “The six Brexit traps that will defeat Theresa May Yanis Varoufakis, Guardian”
    Yanis has his own suggestion, which might work (I didn’t quite follow his logic), but the implication of his experience is that May’s best bet is to make threats. Probably the biggest one is sending back all the EU immigrants. Not nice, not a good solution, but a real threat. I suspect there are others that I don’t know about.

    If the other side is going to not really negotiate, which is what Yanis is saying, then the logical response is to throw whatever bombs you have. That means both sides cutting off their noses to spite their faces, but it’s the only response they leave an opponent with. Greece was too weak for that option, but Britain is not.

    Let’s hope self-interest eventually prevails.

    1. Oregoncharles

      then I read the Portes article next to it (they reverberate – nice choices); from the conclusion:

      “But there is absolutely nothing to stop the UK from saying, today, that it is prepared to accept a comprehensive deal, as proposed by the EU-27, that would guarantee all rights – except, that is, the fact that the UK government is neither ready nor willing to make good on its promises.” First, the caveat: I think he just said they had, certainly by calling for it. And I didn’t hear anywhere else that anything so concrete had been proposed. (After reading Yanis, I’d be checking the fine print very carefully.)
      But now I see why Britain might be holding out: it’s one of their few points of leverage.

    2. Anonymous2

      The problem is the UK needs these people from other EU member states for example to work in its hospitals and universities. Yes the UK could throw them out but the effect on the working of the UK would be very noticeable – some hospitals are 20% staffed by EU nurses. It would also of course make the UK a pariah in the eyes of many in Europe and discourage many from ever considering moving there. There has already been a dramatic fall in the number of nurses applying for jobs in the UK.

      Part of the problem is that the UK, with an aging population and below replacement rate level of births, needs immigrants to arrive to maintain the numbers in the workforce. They could look for them from elsewhere than the EU but that brings other sorts of problems as they may come from other cultures that do not make them as satisfactory as recruits.

      The UK wants to reduce immigration but it may have already achieved that too well by sending the message that foreigners are not welcome.

        1. Yves Smith

          5% of NHS employees are EU immigrants, including 10% of its doctors.

          You can’t replace that overnight or even in 5 years.

          I gather people in the UK who get educated want to work in the City, not do anything good for their fellow citizens.

  38. Michael Gruso

    So Lambert your logic is – don’t work with the Democrats to defeat the latest Trumpcare iteration from passing the senate because a) you are still fighting the battles of 2006 and b) if they work with Republicans, they might , what, get all that extra money for the EPA, Planned parenthood etc they got last week, which was a terrible failure for the Dems!

    In the meantime 24m plus will lose coverage and implode the healthcare system.

    Probably an easy argument to make if your healthcare is unaffected by the passage of this bill.

    1. Yves Smith

      Thank you for so clearly identifying yourself as a troll, and potentially a paid one too. I’m letting your comment through only to be further shellacked by the commentariat and to tell you I am banning you. Any further comments if you somehow manage to get them through will be expunged. You’ve violated our written comments policies in multiple ways, not just the ones listed below.

      You’ve never commented before and make flagrant misrepresentation of what Lambert has said, not just here but in general. Another Dem hack tell is to conflate “health insurance” with “healthcare”

      Then you further try to depict him as somehow having “healthcare” not affected by the ACA and insinuate he must be well off despite the fact that he has repeatedly let on that he lives in the poor part of Maine. Please tell me what corporate payroll Lambert is on, since he blogs here well more than half time and I don’t give contractors health insurance.

      So you’ve presented him as being selfish. That is an attack on him and on me. You can go to hell and I am actually pretty confident you will. You are rapidly accumulating bad karma with this sort of faux righteous dishonesty.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > if your healthcare is unaffected by the passage of this bill.

      Pro tip: If you’re going to deploy an ad hominem, try to make sure it’s not ludicrous on its face. Do you really believe that I have a Cadillac insurance plan, complete with Corinthian leather upholstery with very nearly gold-plated hood ornament? Because my plan to blog and grow rich worked out?

      Smarter trolls, please.

    3. skippy

      Can you show me on the back of a napkin how this hole logic ™ thingy works [supply and demand curve stuff].

      disheveled… 24M people will lose crapified coverage used to back door bail out the health insurance and private medical industry complex…. the horror – !!!!!!!

Comments are closed.