Links 6/28/17

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A Bizarre New Form of Liquid Water Is Discovered Live Science (original).

IMF cuts US growth forecast as prospects for fiscal stimulus fade FT

EU Crackdown Threatens to Return Google to `Ten Blue Link’ Era Bloomberg. I remember that era; I could actually find stuff I didn’t already know existed.

Redesigning Google News for everyone Google. I think it’s horrible. Just give me a list of links and let me swipe or scroll, for pity’s sake. I can’t be wasting time clicking open stupid “cards,” and the interface forces me to click, because I don’t want to assume that the few links presented to me on the front of the card by the algo are the ones I want. I tried turning off JavaScript to make the web designer cruft go away, and you know what happened? The cruft remained, but the scrollbar disappeared (in Opera). Demonic. Maybe I should install Lynx and work from the command line. The 1995 web is looking better every day.

A Mystery Fed Candidate Won a Seat at the FOMC Table, Then Walked Away Bloomberg

Federal Bill Attempts to Silence Investors Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation

Samsung set to eclipse Intel as world’s number one chipmaker FT

Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy Dean Baker, Counterpunch

As Uber Stumbles, Lyft Sees an Opening, and Bites Its Tongue NYT

Global ransomware attack causes turmoil BBC


Cherry Picking Intelligence For War in the Middle East? Here We Go Again Defense One

Tight circle of security officials crafted Trump’s Syria warning Politico

White House Says It Will Fake “Chemical Weapon Attack” In Syria Moon of Alabama

More Reasons Have Emerged To Doubt The Official Narrative About Syria Caitlin Johnstone, Medium (grizziz). The Hersh story.

Tillerson and Mattis Cleaning Up Kushner’s Middle East Mess The American Conservative


Tory divisions emerge over Brexit as Cabinet Ministers openly row over plans to leave the EU The Mirror

Pinning Hopes on Hammond Handelsblatt

Grenfell Tower cladding scandal could cost councils millions after Government says no guarantee of extra funding Independent

Prince William and David Cameron caught up in Fifa corruption scandal Telegraph

The Centre Can Hold Perry Anderson, New Left Review (Sputnik Sweetheart). 9,169 words (I did count) on the French election, but interesting as always.


China fake travel spending masks capital flight, warns Fed FT (original).

Elderly flight passenger throws coins into engine for ‘luck’, delays take-off for hours South China Morning Post

Our Famously Free Press

The Washington Post’s New Social Media Policy Forbids Disparaging Advertisers WaPo. Pinboard: “So the WaPo policy boils down to ‘don’t say anything in public critical of any company whose ad might win a real-time auction on our site'”

CNN Journalists Resign: Latest Example of Media Recklessness on the Russia Threat Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

Sarah Palin files convincing lawsuit against the New York Times editorial board WaPo

New Cold War

Feds won’t release redacted intelligence report on Russian election meddling Politico

Is Russiagate Really Hillarygate? Forbes (Stephen Tynan). Well worth a read. It does seem like the wheels are coming off this wagon, which is sad, because so many people invested very heavily in it.

Podesta Meets With House Intelligence Panel Behind Closed Doors Bloomberg

Health Care

American Health Care Tragedies Are Taking Over Crowdfunding Bloomberg

* * *

The Bill Lives Salon

McConnell loses big in health vote delay, but can the master tactician bounce back? McClatchy and Crunch time for McConnell as Senate GOP is forced to delay vote on healthcare bill LA Times

Republicans eye billions in side deals to win Obamacare repeal votes Politico. And that’s before we get to the tax bill!

Postcard From Capitol Hill: Doubts, Dissent Over Health Care Bill Rescue July 4 Holiday KHN

Pro-Trump group pulls ads against Dean Heller over health care bill, says he’s ‘back to the table’ Nevada Independent

Emboldened industry lobbyists try to scale back Medicaid cuts Politico

The Meaning of Republican “Cuts” to Medicaid Dean Baker, CEPR

‘Repeal and replace’ was once a unifier for the GOP. Now it’s an albatross. WaPo

Actuarial Value And The Importance Of Bipartisanship In Health Care Reform Health Affairs. A good discussion of actuarial value marred by a ludicrous appeal to bipartisanship.

* * *

California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again Counterpunch (joe6pac).

Warren Buffett Makes The Case For Single-Payer Health Care HuffPo

A Plan to Win Universal Health Care Jacobin

Democrats in Disarray

Tom Perez Stumbles on Pledge to Eliminate Unpaid Internships at the DNC PayDay Report. Perhaps Perez should consider this alternative?

Nancy Pelosi can’t be beaten CNN

Elizabeth Warren Tries to Win Back Voters in Trump Country WSJ

Democrats Need More Than the Working Class Dissent

Can This Donkey Be Saved? Slate (tongorad). “Seven smart, terrified liberals ask each other how to fix [the Democrat Party].” Best quote: “Whatever candidate is going to be running in 2020 for Democrats, they have to have big ideas for little people.”

Third time lucky! Hillary claims her new memoir is ‘my most personal’ yet as she tells of turning to books to make up for losing Daily Mail

Imperial Collapse Watch

American Special Ops Forces Have Deployed to 70 Percent of the World’s Countries in 2017 The Nation

New Staff Officer Chow Hall Serves Nothingburgers, Self-Licking Ice Cream Cones Duffel Blog

Class Warfare

Immigrants Boost Wages for Everyone Richard Florida, CityLab

A New Farm Worker Union Is Born In the Pacific Northwest New America Media

STAT forecast: Opioids could kill nearly 500,000 Americans in the next decade STAT

Petrified Forest Lapham’s Quarterly (Re Silc). “Fear itself these days is America’s top-selling consumer product.”

Why Not Have a Randomly Selected Congress? Current Affairs. Sortition. Why not?

Tattoos and IP Norms LawArXiv

Newfoundland’s Hydroelectric Megaproject Is a Disaster 500 Years in the Making Vice. If nothing else, this is a splendid rant.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. bwilli123

    Disrupt the Citizen. Against ride-sharing.

    “What Plouffe and the ride-sharing companies understand is that, under capitalism, when markets are pitted against the state, the figure of the consumer can be invoked against the figure of the citizen.Consumption has in fact come to replace our original ideas of citizenship.
    As the sociologist Wolfgang Streeck has argued in his exceptional 2012 essay, “Citizens as Customers,” the government encouragement of consumer choice in the 1960s and ’70s “radiated” into the public sphere, making government seem shabby in comparison with the endlessly attractive world of consumer society. Political goods began to get judged by the same standards as commodities, and were often found wanting.

    The result is that, in Streeck’s prediction, the “middle classes, who command enough purchasing power to rely on commercial rather than political means to get what they want, will lose interest in the complexities of collective preference-setting and decision-making, and find the sacrifices of individual utility required by participation in traditional politics no longer worthwhile.” The affluent find themselves bored by goods formerly subject to collective provision, such as public transportation, ceasing to pay for them, while thereby supporting private options. Consumer choice then stands in for political choice.”

    1. neo-realist

      From my optics in the northwest, I suspect that challenges to support public transportation come not from boredom with the means of it, but rather from insufficient provision of it and increasing widespread sources of taxation on citizens to fund increases in public transportation, e.g., higher cost car tabs in the State of WA to fund light rail.

      If people believe they’re not getting enough transit for the buck they’re paying, or they believe they’re paying too much, they’ve been willing to fight back against public transportation.

      1. Anon

        Doesn’t Washington state have no (progressive) income tax, but relies essentially on (regressive) sales taxes (and Federal funds) to support it’s governing expenses?

        1. neo-realist

          No, we, unfortunately, don’t have a state income tax. Too many republican goobers and Vichy blue dog democrats from suburbs and small towns to make it happen. As a result, WA state voters get dinged in a variety of other ways, such as the regressive sales tax, and state/city/county votes on initiatives for transportation spending.

        2. neo-realist

          Specifically, the goobers and the vichy dems in the WA State legislature keeping down progressive taxation and giving corporate welfare to Boeing.

  2. vlade

    Muahahah re Sortition – it’s something I was advocating for a very very long time.
    In fact, anyone who knows anything about Ancient Greece knows that what we have now would be deemed an oligarchy, not democracy by the Greeks.

    Now, here’s an idea for those who don’t like the luck of the draw. Instead of making voting compulsory, make voting registration compulsory.
    Then, at election time, allocate no-show votes randomly to eligible candidates.

    This way, both parties and people would have an incentive to get people out to vote.

    1. Uahsenaa

      I would certainly appreciate having an ostracism now and then. Only way to get rid of the riff raff is to exile ’em for a few years. Even Themistocles was ostracized at one point.

      Of course, Athenian “democracy” only worked insofar as it was limited to native men and was buttressed by a massive slave population that kept things running, while citizens pursued their business and leisure activities. Spartans could only be “spartan” so long as they sat atop a massive foundation of brutally repressed helots.

    2. Matthew G. Saroff

      The problem with sortition is that it pitts inexperienced legislators with experienced lobbyiests.

      A sort of a real life experiment occurred when California implemented term limits, and basically the entire legislature turned over at once.

      The first major legislation was electricity deregulation, which had Enron and others manipulating energy prices, giving 1000% price spikes and blackouts.

  3. Roger Smith

    WaPo Social Media Policy: Democracy Dies in Darkness… and Advertisers Keep the Lights On.

  4. Ed

    “Why Not Have a Randomly Selected Congress?” Current Affairs.

    Without reading the article, randomly selected legislatures are a key element in the plan I came u with for the next version of democracy, after representative democracy goes away and is replaced by whatever.

    First, a randomly selected legislature would be more reflective of the popular will than an elected one, for the exact same statistical principal of how opinion polls of randomly selected samples of several hundred people are accurate barometers of public opinion as a whole.

    What you lose with the randomly selected legislature is whatever expertise long serving legislators bring, since there is no way to do it without turning over the entire legislature every few years. Sitting legislators can monitor and discipline executive branch officials. There is also the ability for voters to send a message by dumping a legislator running for re-election. In legislatures with single member constituencies, there is probably a benefit to localities to having their own legislator elected from and representing them.

    However, I think representative democracy has run its course. The first version of democracy, the one used in the classical world, had all citizens vote (sometimes with randomly selected magistrates) if they all showed up in town on voting day. This proved functional only in city states that did not expand, for obvious reasons.

    The second version of democracy emerged in the Middle Ages and is the representative democracy we know today, with voters from smaller geographical units electing representatives to a larger Parliament.

    What will wind up killing representative democracy is that it turns out you can bribe or blackmail a majority of the representatives, particularly if they are all under surveillance by the intelligence agencies. If the voters elect new representatives to replace them, they can also be bribed or blackmailed. At the same time, advances in communications technology makes it much to just have referendums or plebisites. The latter has proven to work well in practice, except for the public’s tendency to lower taxes and increase spending on themselves more than prudent, so can be held for all non-budgetary legislation.

    Version 3 of democracy would go back to the Version 1 practice of making the citizenry as a whole the legislature, at least on non-budget items, since advances in technology means everyone doesn’t have to assemble in the center of town on a particular day for this to work. But there would still have to be a standing legislature for the budget, to oversee the executive branch, and to also oversee the referenda (you would also want a civil service with high amounts of independence and expertise). But since legislative authority would rest with the citizens as a whole, this oversight-only legislature could be selected randomly.

    1. Ed

      This is a reply to myself, but I noted above that you still need a legislature to monitor the executive branch, and a potential problem here with a randomly selected legislature.

      Since the randomly selected legislature would have to completely turn over every few years, to a new group of randomly selected citizens, there would be limits on the expertise about the workings of the government the legislators could accumulate. This is a problem with term limits proposals. In this case the term limit would be a single term.

      However, the randomly selected legislators would be doing no town halls and no fundraising, and be providing no constituent services. There would be no home districts to keep in touch with. They could stay in the capitol full time until their single term is up, and concentrate on watching the magistrates. This could well make up for being term limited.

      Modern term limits proposals all have the problem in not being ambitious enough, they all still allow for re-election at least once, and allow for running for other offices, so they still wind up putting the legislators into the modern electoral system.

      1. Roger Smith

        As a fix for the constant turnover this would create, what if there was some sort of middle ground plan instituted. Congress at large is randomly selected to 2-4 year terms, but there is a new, typically elected panel of “specialists” that are bound by the rules/flow of our current style. These people could help be facilitators but wouldn’t necessarily have to be sought out by Congress in order to attempt to pass legislation. They could be more administrative, transition and records focused.

      2. Toske

        Since they’d be randomly selected and no elections would be required, you wouldn’t have to replace them all at once. You could replace the current longest-serving one with a newbie every X days so that there would always be some seasoned veterans around to teach and lead the newcomers.

        1. Toske

          In addition: You could select each newcomer some period of time in advance of the start of their term, during which they would be trained by the last person to leave office.

        2. Anonymous2

          Another problem with plebiscites is you have to have a properly informed electorate. This was an obvious deficiency with the UK referendum last year where it was very obvious a large part of the electorate were inadequately informed on the relevant issues.

          Perhaps one should make lying, or providing inaccurate information as part of a political campaign, a criminal offence punishable with a mandatory minimum jail sentence of one year.

      1. witters

        The sortition idea was first properly developed – and in a far more sohpisticated and plausible way than mooted above – in my old teacher’s John Burnheim’s great book “Is Democracy Possible (Polity, 1985). He gave it the name “Demarchy.” The first critical essay on the idea was my first academic publication (in Economy & Society, just after). I think I was a bit unfair on John and Demarchy, but he encouraged me to publish it.

        Here is John’s wikipedia entry:

    2. reslez

      > The latter has proven to work well in practice, except for the public’s tendency to lower taxes and increase spending on themselves more than prudent

      On the contrary, I can’t think of an instance where this was ever tried with a monetarily sovereign government. Maybe you’re worried about things like California’s Prop 13 where voters limited the rise in property taxes for incumbent homeowners. But California is a currency user, not an issuer, with all the risk that entails, and given all the hot and cold running property bubbles in that state I wonder if they were on mostly the right track.

      Given all the budget chicanery and deficit scaremongering we’re currently subject to, from people with zero understanding of the basic underlying principles, I honestly think average voters would do a better job if given a chance. But so might your average lichen or paramecium. The bar is pretty low.

  5. Ed

    “Can This Donkey Be Saved? ”

    I have the same response I always give to these articles, that the alliance of the American left with the Democrats, historically the more conservative of the two parties, was a major strategic mistake and in fact one of the key reasons the American left is so weak. They should have stuck with the Republicans. Even after FDR.

    1. Dikaios Logos

      I cringed my way through this article. What I thought was even worse than what Lambert highlighted about “little people” was this:

      “Michelle Goldberg: I think people who weren’t around in the ’90s, forget that everything that we hate about Bill Clinton was done to appeal to the white working class, and it worked.”

      Um, not exactly.

      1. Uahsenaa

        I cannot see how she managed to say this with a straight face. NAFTA/China in the WTO/trade liberalization was vigorously opposed by trade unions (and, ahem, his own party). Welfare reform was passed in a deal with the Republicans and mostly opposed by the Democrats. And the list goes on. After the death of his zombie healthcare bill, Clinton’s biggest legislative achievements came straight out of the Republican agenda. People hate Clinton because he was an R with a D after his name, who, much like his wife, thought that the future of his party lay in trying to siphon off votes from the Republicans rather than rebuild the Democratic base.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          “Big ideas for little people” — this is almost directly out of “The Thick of It”, isn’t it?

          At one point either Hugh Abbott (or, actually, according to Google, Nicola Murray) says “It’s all about empowering ordinary people to do extraordinary things.”

          Life imitates art.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Every one of you has greatness within.

            Monetary sovereignty rests with the people who are up to the extraordinary task of spending money into existence.

    2. Mike

      I don’t buy it, Ed. Then it would be the Republicans turn to be the graveyard of movements. Yin-yang.

  6. RenoDino

    Pro-Trump group pulls ads against Dean Heller over health care bill, says he’s ‘back to the table’

    My guess is that the White House will play the Nuclear Dump Card. If Heller plays ball, then no dump.
    If he wimps out, then it’s Dump City. The resort industry, that runs the state, loves more medicaid for its underpaid workers, but it hates the idea of the dump even more. Heller will probably cave in the end, pointing to billions in promised Federal subsidies for Nevada infrastructure, but it will be the Dump and the promise of tens of millions in campaign contribution from Sheldon Adelson for Heller’s 2018 run, that no one mentions, that finally convinces him to vote yes.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s viscous that Medicaid is used by corporations to underpay workers.

      The same perversion food stamps are used to subsidize many who toil for our billionaires.

    1. The Rev Kev

      What the hell, man? Now Google News shows only a fraction of the headlines that they use to show – and the page takes much longer to load! Chocolate and vanilla? More like a turd burger!
      Under this setup, it would be much more easy to miss or not be even allowed to see news articles that Google did not want you to see such as, I don’t know, maybe that Syria is being threatened about using chemical weapons – the same ones that they got rid off two years ago!
      Even using the search function on Google News is now taking much longer to load up the results. As they say, we now have technology when all we wanted was stuff that worked.

      1. Light a Candle

        Wow Google continues to circle the drain by becoming increasingly less user-friendly and an establishment tool.

        Fwiw, I stopped using Google for news in 2013 when their choice of Snowden “news articles” consistently favored the NSA. Google even went so so far as to omit the Guardian’s Snowden articles and the Guardian had broken the story.

        It’s not only what we see it’s also about what we don’t see . . . thank goodness for NC!

    2. LaRuse

      I hate the brand new GoogleNews. It pains me to say so, but I have relied on GNews for years for outside access to all types of headlines (much like I rely on NC’s daily Links and WaterCooler). The new version is absolutely crap. Barely readable, hard to navigate crap. My biggest complaint?? At least as of last night, when you clicked on a link, it didn’t automatically open in a new tab, thus navigating me away from GN instantly. I know that sounds like a minor complaint, but 80% of the time, I click links just to scan them and then go back to GN and see what else is out there. Maybe they have fixed that bug as of today; I haven’t checked. I am too disgusted with the new format to want to bother.

  7. Benedict@Large

    Anyone who thinks “… Bipartisanship In Health Care Reform” is even possible needs to read “Democracy’s Critics,” a review of the work of GOP guru James McGill Buchanan, which includes an explanation of just how far Republicans are expected to go to force their (lack of) social policy on our country. When your opponent openly advocates lying, believes in violence against dissenting citizens, and exhibits a complete disregard for even their own constituency, you just aren’t going to make any compromises with them that are worth anything. And health policy was just the sort of political issue that Buchanan and his followers would be most likely to go to their extremes to force their ideas upon.

  8. Roger Smith

    In the Daily Mail article on Hillary’s third book (Third times the charm? More like 3 strikes, your out) there is a photo with this caption:

    Hillary Clinton held up the new version of her 1996 book, It Takes a Village, which is now illustrated and intended for young people

    Does that mean we can read about AND see the slaves she and Bill used to keep around their southern mansion?

    1. flora

      Good article. Thanks. I understand why the neoliberal new dems discarded the New Deal programs and kicked the working class to the curb. I can’t understand why they thought (and think) this would win them any more middle class votes than they already had.
      Most middle class income and benefits like health insurance and retirement savings come from paid employment. The income and benefit levels of the working class create a floor for the wages/benefits of the middle class. Kicking the working class to the curb lowers the floor the middle class stands on. It doesn’t pull the middle class up, it pushes them down, and most middle class workers realize this on some level.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Many neoliberals simply aren’t smart, and they actually thought Republican women with gay stylists would join their side.

        They don’t understand how deeply embedded racism is in the upper classes (the reaction to rap music) or even their own racism. House slaves who know they are house slaves can be okay, but ones who start to think they are part of the family aren’t overly popular (ex. Token black republican versus Michael Steele when worked to change the GOP or Obama). The neolibs often don’t understand tribal attachment to the GOP which is odd because the neolibs are often attached to Team Blue for similar reasons. They could be a force to moderate the GOP, but the grew up as “Democrats.”

        The description of “front row kids” is a good one. “Front row kids” look and act like what society envisions smarts kids acting like. Smart kids can resemble “front row kids,” but they aren’t the same. “Front row kids” play a part, and they throw fits or cry when confronted by smart kids who do make them feel insecure because the former don’t choose to think but to seek to appease their parents, teachers, professors, employers, investors, and on and on. The difference between the “front row kids” and the plebes they look down on is luck and a bit of training. Deep down they know this.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Agree. From the article:

      The danger that the Democratic Party and elite liberalism now face is that they cannot conceive of the American working class as it actually is, insisting instead on addressing a specter from decades ago. The right-wing hard-hat, the eternal Reagan Democrat—such anachronistic images provide a way of not engaging with questions of class inequality. So long as these ghostly figures are what “working class” means, there can be no working-class force in political life, and the cycle of programmatic dilution and mass demobilization can continue, with increasingly horrifying consequences…

      While Democrats have been pleading for the votes of suburban college graduates, a new working class has been in formation all the while…its features are, on their own terms, familiar. We can reduce them down roughly to feminization, racial diversification, and increasing precarity: care work, immigrant work, low-wage work, and the gig economy. There’s also a host of interlinked forces shaping working-class life from outside the workplace: policing and punishment; housing insecurity; indebtedness; the costs of education; and the difficulties of caring for the young, the disabled, the sick, the addicted, and the old. A set of shared experiences coheres here, and a potential set of shared enemies: landlord, lender, bill collector, manager, cop. Racialized and gendered unevenness in exposure to these forces is real, but that portion of experience that is shared appears, quite clearly, to be growing year by year at the intensifying intersection points of race, gender, and class. This, the growing stock of common experience, is the process called “class formation.”

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        After “class formation” comes “class consciousness”, and heaven help the lords of the manor when that metastasizes. Realization that none NONE of the people they are supposed to bow to (especially politicians) have anything like their interests in mind. Realization that none NONE of the institutions they are supposed to bow to (including every manifestation of the State but certainly also the organs of media and the custodians of crony corporate socialism masquerading as capitalists) operate for their benefit or protection.

      2. Spring Texan

        Thanks, ChiGal. Good sense! Why can’t they see what’s right in front of them and that they doubtless encounter all the time! instead of stereotypes . . .

        And the lack of respect! Too many Democrats think anyone who has a poor-in-their-eyes appearance is stupid. That’s one reason Sanders and Corbyn do as well as they do, they have GENUINE not faked respect.

    3. johnnygl

      Agree with your view that the original article was better than the one featured in links.

      Michael Kazin’s list of pro-worker accomplishments was so paper thin as to be laughable. Yes, obama made a few positive moves that were clearly too-little, too-late. Was kazin asleep when obama shoveled limitless bailout money at banks, including protecting executive salaries and bonuses. This same obama refused to provide aid to states which had to implement brutal budget cuts, laying off thousands of employees. He cut deal after deal with republicans to implement austerity, including sequester cuts, yet the prez yearned for more! He never quite pulled off the grand bargain he so desperately wished for and was willing to threaten the integrity of the federal debt to get it.

      Obama also pushed the loathsome TPP, TISA, and TPIP deals and kept almost all of the gw bush era tax cuts.

      I could go on, but kazin should very familiar with all of this as a magazine editor. That he conveniently leaves it out suggests he’s just happy to carry water for the dem parrty establishment.

      winant’s article was much better

  9. RenoDino

    American Special Ops Forces Have Deployed to 70 Percent of the World’s Countries in 2017

    “We operate and fight in every corner of the world,” boasts Gen. Raymond Thomas, the chief of US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM or SOCOM). “On a daily basis, we sustain a deployed or forward stationed force of approximately 8,000 across 80-plus countries. They are conducting the entire range of SOF missions in both combat and non-combat situations.” Those numbers, however, only hint at the true size and scope of this global special-ops effort. Last year, America’s most elite forces conducted missions in 138 countries—roughly 70 percent of the nations on the planet, according to figures supplied to TomDispatch by US Special Operations Command. Halfway through 2017, US commandos have already been deployed to an astonishing 137 countries, according to SOCOM spokesman Ken McGraw.

    Please show a little pride and appreciation for the job the Empire is doing on your behalf around the world and realize that your paltry social umbrella is but a small price to pay for this grand and glorious enterprise that will never stop expanding its reach for total global domination.

  10. fresno dan

    Is Russiagate Really Hillarygate? Forbes (Stephen Tynan). Well worth a read. It does seem like the wheels are coming off this wagon, which is sad, because so many people invested very heavily in it.

    “The most under covered story of Russia Gate is the interconnection between the Clinton campaign, an unregistered foreign agent of Russia headquartered in DC (Fusion GPS), and the Christopher Steele Orbis dossier. This connection has raised the question of whether Kremlin prepared the dossier as part of a disinformation campaign to sow chaos in the US political system.
    Former FBI director, James Comey, refused to answer questions about Fusion and the Steele dossier in his May 3 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
    Satter writes, however, that “after the publication of the Trump dossier, Mr. Steele went into hiding, supposedly in fear for his life. On March 15, however, Michael Morell, the former acting CIA director, told NBC that Mr. Steele had paid the Russian intelligence sources who provided the information and never met with them directly. In other words, his sources were not only working for pay. Furthermore, Mr. Steele had no way to judge the veracity of their claims.”

    If Steele disappeared for fear of his life, we must suspect that he feared murder by Russian agents. The only secret he might have had to warrant such a drastic Russian action would be knowledge that Russian intelligence prepared the dossier.”
    I am not going to say I told you so….uh, that’s actually a lie – I did tell you so!

    fresno dan
    June 22, 2017 at 3:15 pm
    So if there is some BIG Putin conspiracy to “undermine” America, and it involves electing Trump, wouldn’t logically the second part than be that Putin himself orders the Russian conspiracy*** exposed to foment a constitutional crisis in the removal of Trump???

    If your Russia, and your REALLY trying to undermine elections back in 2016, wouldn’t logically you think that Trump didn’t stand a chance? And as Trump was already saying American elections are rigged, wouldn’t a Russian work to try and make it appear that the (Clinton) administration was working to do that (cheat Trump out of a victory)?
    And again, if Russia is working to undermine American democracy, it works almost as well if Trump is elected, and the Russians SAY they helped Trump…but the Russians can’t lose, because if it turns out they were really helping Hilary, and THAT is exposed, what does it say about America’s preeminent political couple for the last 30 years??? And vaunted American democracy?

    1. VietnamVet

      With Russiagate, America has jumped into Wonderland. Up is down. Anything is possible. Nothing is substantiated. Take your pick. Hillary Clinton – Donald Trump are Russian agents of influence undermining American democracy. It is becoming clear that the intelligence supporting the inquisition is Christopher Steele’s dodgy dossier. Wet Moscow sheets are the basis of the media & intelligence community’s coup to get rid of Donald Trump. This sorry tragedy is related to the sarin false flags. Together they are ramping up the Syrian conflict into a shooting war with Russia that will destroy the world.

    2. uncle tungsten

      Thanks fresno dan, almost spat my beer out at those lines “If Steele disappeared for fear of his life, we must suspect that he feared murder by Russian agents.”

      Now that is a really funny point in the story. Could it be that Steele is also in fear of what the Clinton machine might send to him for not succeeding in dumping on Trump? I think Paul Roderick Gregory lives in a echo chamber.

      I was intrigued how after all the BS and rabid hysteria about Russia hacked the election and Trump is a puppet, they are now peddling the same theme by twisting the story to “raised the question of whether Kremlin prepared the dossier as part of a disinformation campaign to sow chaos in the US political system”.

      Still blaming Russia I see. They are f**king morons.

  11. craazyboy

    Locomotive Breath II – Jethro Tull
    -A Tale of Rebirth –

    Reprinted without permission from “The Anals Of Thomas”.

    The Insect Overlords took over
    We lost the battle on Day One.
    Insects aren’t much on banter
    The noise they make is just for fun!

    But Pollinating is serious
    And serious they do.
    The Human Race been pollinated
    Right to pollen stew!

    Dividing as they conquer
    Our power they do split
    Smaller and smaller pieces
    Until it’s all just bits.

    We fight ’em with the Freedom
    That exists within our thought.

    …And we all slow down.

    [Guitar refrain]
    Dum, dum, dum ,dum, dum…dum, dum
    Cha, cha, cha, cha, cha, cha

    It dissipates for naught
    As they seek to dis-empower.
    And we’re shackled to a Hell
    That is their nefarious plot!

    I write these words in parody
    I borrow a melody.

    Locomotive Breath
    Is public transport
    That ran into the sea.
    Steaming with the clarity
    Only Thomas L. Friedman can see.

    As Thomas likes to tell us
    Fish out there are many.
    These fishes… are all swimming
    Swimming individually!

    They need to join there consciousness
    They should seek diversity
    The path to equality
    The Path of Equality
    Leads to Meritocracy.

    A goal so strong
    It takes 6 months to see!

    Progress is critical
    To navigate this path.
    The driving force, of course, is curiosity!

    They Came, They Saw, They Conquered
    Tho some did seem quite Bonkers.

    They climbed to land from sea
    To quote a scientist named, “Darwin”
    A Metaphorsaurus, we’re told, took a Century!

    They needed legs and arms
    A different way to breath.
    A breath, of Automotive
    The self driving image, please!

    As Darwin he will tell us
    And “The Anals of Thomas” agree,
    The Fittest Evolve among us,
    Pledging to propel us…
    Are the most Free around us,
    Quite Naturally.

    With Freedom and all money
    And power, secondarily.
    The right to Rule
    And Govern you and me!

    [Guitar refrain]
    Dum, dum, dum ,dum, dum…dum, dum
    Cha, cha, cha, cha, cha, cha

    …And we all slow down

    They say that they will lead us
    To where we know so well…
    To Heaven
    But stopping first, for Duty Militarilee!

    They say we need resources
    And slaves, we need them too.
    It’s all for our standard of living
    And entertainment too!

    We’ll Shock and Awe to victory
    Our place in Heaven earned.
    The enemy, destroyed on Earth, has a Godhead too!

    [Guitar refrain]
    Dum, dum, dum ,dum, dum…dum, dum
    Cha, cha, cha, cha, cha, cha

    …And we all slow down
    …And we all slow down

    A Win-Win for our Leaders
    Harvard says ,”So True”
    The Council of Foreign Relations Announces
    “The President, He has a Medal for you!”

    The Country gives their thanks
    From the TV way above the Ranks.
    The General, on TV, makes Patriotic Rants!

    The Good Feelings, they keep growing
    Recruitment is ever flowing.
    Bring the gunz, the girls
    And soon we’ll all be going!

    To lands, far away
    We’ll all be going.
    Many never to return.
    Our blood, like beer flowing, and profits, they are growing!

    Our soldiers all fall down…

    [Guitar refrain]
    Dum, dum, dum ,dum, dum…dum, dum
    Cha, cha, cha, cha, cha, cha

    …And we all slow down
    …We all slow down!
    We all slow Down!

    [Guitar refrain]
    Dum, dum, dum ,dum, dum…dum, dum
    Cha, cha, cha, cha, cha, cha

    Forever War goes on!

    1. Jim Haygood

      Feeling alone, the army’s up the road
      Regime change a la mode and a cup of tea
      Stoltenberg*, my friend, don’t you start away uneasy
      You poor old sod, you see it’s only me

      — JT, Aqualung

      *Secretary General of NATO

  12. justanotherprogressive

    I see WaPo is now defending Sarah Palin. I thought the article is typical of WaPo puts out today, but it does make me wonder: Which billionaire is giving Sarah Palin the money for this suit against NYT? Peter Thiel? Adelson?

    1. Roger Smith

      I think it is funny that NY Post has gotten so bad that Palin is able to have the upper hand in a suit against them. Can’t say they don’t deserve it. It is a shame this isn’t a war crimes charge.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        It’s also pretty funny that you wrote NY Post instead of NY Times!

        The difference can now be measured with a cigarette paper.

        1. justanotherprogressive

          All true, but there is a bigger point here…..why should a select cadre of billionaires be able to control the press and determine what we read? If it were just Sarah Palin suing the NYT, who cares? But the fact is that there are billionaires out there who would consider it a feather in their cap to bring down the 1st Amendment (for which they have no use)…….

          1. jrs

            “All true, but there is a bigger point here…..why should a select cadre of billionaires be able to control the press and determine what we read?”

            because they own in unfortunately. I know, I know, but it is the logic of oligopoly capitalism.

        2. Roger Smith

          OOPS! I thought I double checked that too! I guess my brain is auto-situating them based on quality.

          In regards to JAP above^: How is that any different that the billionaires are publishing these stories daily anyways? NYT just yesterday published an article of false claims about Syria. The Cadre is already in charge, just not the ones potentially suing.

          Maybe if they had kept honest and didn’t fork over their integrity they wouldn’t have these issues in the first place. Or at least they’d have a legitimate defense. It is a precarious situation generally.

          1. craazyboy

            With Carlos Slim – Lever firmly in Hand
            The story is Montezuma’s Revenge will Land
            Upon our shores
            And Inland goes
            Ravaging what we do most bold.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      I can no longer read the WaPo with my ad blocker turned on as of the past few days. Thank you WaPo for saving me from reading your propagandistic dreck. In fact, I have come to appreciate having access blocked from sites because of my ad blocker. If you don’t want me reading your content, fine then, I won’t. Good luck with that strategy of discouraging and blocking readers and limiting your audience reach, no I won’t be whitelisting your site. Wired tried that tactic for a few weeks than wisely relented. Remember when people actually *wanted* readers for their content?

      1. Blennylips

        I also find a RequestPolicy browser extension useful to see what a site is in business for (deliver news, or advertising plus tracking). It gives you a list of all the other sites it wants to access and you decide on a one-by-one basis what you allow. Not unusual to see half a dozen or more tracking and ad sites pulled in.

        Add in noscript for another eye-opener.

        But yes, it seems these days the non-news deliverers would just as soon not have your visit if you get in the way of their true business. Fine with me.

      2. marieann

        I have a problem with many sites besides WaPo. Business Insider, Forbes, Observer.

        I also keep the ad blocker on…..partly because I don’t know how to turn it off :)
        I usually find the stories I can’t access on other sites after a few days

  13. grizziz

    Re:Politico article on the tight circle of security officials

    Finally, pushback against Sy Hersh’s article from an obscure surrogate in the loose circle of security officials who still get invited to Georgetown cocktail parties, Jim Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and Iraq and deputy national security adviser for President George W. Bush is quoted in the very last sentence of the piece.

    “He’s very undisciplined,” said Jeffrey. “He does this all the time. That’s a separate problem. But what’s clear is that in the end, he goes along with what his top advisers tell him.”

    Trump listen’s to adults!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Here is a case against fate and determinism. He is, as the last sentence describes, highly suggestible.

      Beware of politicians who just determine (fate) that because they erroneously think he can not be persuaded, never bother to make him ‘go along with’ their advice ‘in the end.’ These guys buy into determinism. They oppose just to oppose.

      The ‘ask what you can do for your country’ and the ‘I will give 110%” approach would be get in there, be the last politician to see him before any decision.

      Make yourself his top adviser, his Svengali (How? That’s the art about being a politician, a non-dogmatic deal maker,, meeting the other person away from your ideal position).

      Unless, he doesn’t go along with what his advisers tell him.

      1. Mike

        There are many who say Trump listens to the last one to get his ear. Hopefully, that would not allow Dennis the Menace to be last, if adults ruled the WH.

        Overgrown children, however,…

  14. craazyboy

    STAT forecast: Opioids could kill nearly 500,000 Americans in the next decade STAT

    current rate 50,000/year
    decade = 10
    10 years cum total = 10 X 50,000

    Numeracy is a powerful thing!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Any man’s death diminishes us all.

      One single death is a tragedy; a million, a statistics.

      That’s the irrational humans for you.

    2. Alex Morfesis

      Sadly, methynx this number will become the annual number of deaths…al-bykr has replaced al-queda as the number one threat to americans…

      with the red chinese army openly allowing production and exports to the west of fentynal (etc), zombification of 25% of the population will replicate what was done by the west to the middle kingdom 150 years ago…

      1. dontknowitall

        The drug epidemic is just a symptom, the real disease is despair and hopelessness in the flyover states, or the colonies as Lambert calls them, and in the inner cities. Drug use epidemic is just the symptom of the abandonment of our working class, and not only, by the elites. People do not feel valued and invested in by society and, live or die, they don’t count for anything.

        The feral rich do not have any sense of nobles oblige and give back as little as possible. I don’t know why. Self-preservation would dictate some investment but it is not happening. I imagine it is the ease of travel and digital movements of funds means you can escape your troubles or maybe the national security state has such an overwhelming control of the public sphere that it did not have even in the 70s that the rich feel they can do as they please and so far they are right.

        When Dems and Republicans fail to create jobs with a living wage, and the top 10% make most of the income, and when single payer healthcare options are ‘taken off the table’ by supine politicians who think themselves ‘worth the trouble’ this hecatombe is the price.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Good point about Chinese revenge, suggest “Generalissimo” about Chiang Kai-Shek and “Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom” about the Taiping Civil War for chapter and verse, we think of China as isolated and later “opened” by Nixon but the West has had its bloody fingers in the pie there for centuries.

        The British and the French invaded in 1860, put the Emperor to flight, and destroyed his entire Summer Palace (3.5 square kilometres) including hundreds of structures, such as halls, pavilions, temples, galleries, gardens, lakes and bridges, including the “Courtyard of Universal Happiness” and including hundreds of examples of irreplaceable Chinese artwork and antiquities along with unique copies of literary works and compilations, some 3,600 years old. “You can scarcely imagine” one British soldier noted, “the beauty and magnificence of the places we burnt”. Victor Hugo railed in the French press at the time “may as well burn down the Taj Mahal”.

        This and the estimated 20-40 million who died in Taiping have been airbrushed away…so you can imagine that revenge might be on the minds of Chinese fentanyl and ephedrine manufacturers

    3. curlydan

      I had the same thought–a linear trend? Maybe they think the Dems or Repubs will actually do something. Step out of DC, STAT forecasters, and maybe you all will see exponential deaths more likely instead.

    1. roxy

      “If a unicorn dies in the forest, should anyone care?” Only in the context of clapping and giggling as this idiotic waste of $ circles the drain before it even makes its debutante appearance as a sparkly pony that will surely become profitable if enough smart investors buy in.

      I also use a flip phone.

      1. tegnost

        I like to show off my flip phone to the techies around me by showing them how it does square roots! “Have you seen this thing?…It’s awesome!…takes pictures,too.”

    2. fresno dan

      June 28, 2017 at 8:56 am

      I had a non flip phone – A tracfone. First cell phone I ever had – didn’t get it until 2012 – the last tentacled being on earth to have a cell phone. I could never figure out how to hold it so I could hear and the person (or cephalopod) I was talking to could hear me….so I got a trac phone flip phone.

      FLIP PHONES rule!

    3. Kurt Sperry

      I had to retire my ancient Moto flip phone just last year because it was using 2G comm tech that Verizon were phasing out, meaning it would stop working. I reluctantly got a mid-range “smart” phone to replace it with and it is frankly a far better general purpose tool than my old flip phone. I know downsides exist, but for me personally the upsides outweigh them. Having a GPS, level, flashlight, star map etc. in my pocket is nice.

  15. DJG

    The estimable Lewis Lapham on fear-ridden America. It is hard to get a group of people who think that they are all terribly nonconformist, deserve to be armed, wildly edgy in their supposed nonjudgmentalness, the elect of a monotheistic god, and “these colors don’t run”-ish to understand that they have turned into a bunch of fear-ridden mobs, shrieking slogans and dissolving into their cellphones.

    But Lapham, who never minces words, explains why. Worth a read.

    1. cocomaan

      I haven’t regretted subscribing to Lapham’s Quarterly. The whole issue on “FEAR” was excellent. My wife read it cover to cover!

  16. doug

    I take it all back about liking google news. Had not been there this am. Holy crap. give me back the old version. My very slow bandwidth (.4mips down) makes it even worse.

    1. diptherio

      According to WDRB-TV , a small Kentucky town has, for the fourth time, elected a dog to be its mayor. Jordie Bamforth says her 3-year-old pit bull Brynneth Pawltro beat out a cat, a chicken and a donkey, among others, to become the next mayor of Rabbit Hash, 78 miles (125 kilometers) north of Lexington.

      Pretty good: getting elected 4 times in only 3 years. Maybe the DNC should recruit this pup to run for national office. I bet he’d be a better campaigner than Clinton was…

  17. Michael

    Looks like Calpers will get a shot in the arm from the new CA budget. UC employs 103,000 people?

    “The state budget signed Tuesday allocates $11.2 billion in payments to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System — a combination of the regular payment and an extra $6-billion contribution — and $2.8 billion to the California State Teachers Retirement System.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      Twelve billion, woohoo! Don’t mean to be no buzzkillah … but with Calpers holding $302 billion in assets and 69% funded [even at a wildly overstated 7.5% discount rate, but let’s set that aside], we can work out on a cocktail napkin that Calpers needs a modest $136 billion top-up.

      A piddling $12 billion ain’t even a ten percent down payment on that astronomical (and understated) $136 billion shortfall.

      Ultimately Cali don’t slide into the sea as in Hollywood movies. Financial implosion is invisible from a satellite, at least till impoverished retired public servants hit the highway.

      Well, thousands of folks out west, they say
      Are leavin’ home most ev’ry day
      And they’re beatin’ the hot old dusty way
      To the California line

      ‘Cross the desert sands they roll
      A-gettin’ out of that raisin bowl
      They think they’re goin’ to a sugar bowl
      Here’s what they find

      The police at AZ port of entry say
      You’re number fourteen thousand for today

      If you ain’t got the do re mi, boy
      If you ain’t got the do re mi
      Well you’d better go back to your beautiful Irvine
      Petaluma, Burbank, Glendale, Newport Beach

      — Woody Guthrie, Do Re Mi

      Nobody ever nailed that song like Ani Difranco …

        1. fresno dan

          June 28, 2017 at 11:50 am

          He constantly amazes, surprises, and delights me….

    2. John Wright

      This is an indication of the group that pays when Calpers does poorly, it is not the Calpers pensioners but the California taxpayers.

      CA taxpayers may have a greater interest in having Calpers run well than the Calpers pensioners do.

    3. Enquiring Mind

      There is still hope in the Golden State. Brown and gang are redoing the State Board of Equalization due to well-publicized failures. If they finally got pushed into addressing that then there may be an increasing chance of positive action at CalPERS and CalSTRS.

      Please, Jerry, do it for the kids, since nothing else seems to have gotten action from you on those two yet.

  18. Frank Shannon

    Lambert- This is from yesterday, but it bothered me. HRC wasn’t the one who made the standard ‘quid pro quo or no corruption’ that was Chief Justice John Roberts when he was ruling campaign finance laws unconstitutional.

    1. Alex Morfesis

      “Justice says that Somebody has to pay” told the judge to “aldo vanucci” in “after the fox”

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      It was the Clinton campaign that took that standard and made it the “norm” for their faction of the political class. I mean, why accept Roberts as an authority, for pity’s sake? He’s wrong!

  19. grayslady

    A friend who is not tech savvy called me last night to complain that something had happened to his Google News page, and that he found the new layout completely useless. A few hours later the same thing happened to my Google News page. I wrote to Google immediately to tell them how unprofessional and worthless the format was. Not only is it cumbersome, it seems to be desperately trying to seek more personal data than to provide news. Yahoo tried something similar a number of years ago, and so many people complained that Yahoo went back to offering the old format as an option for awhile. Between an increasingly useless search function and a useless news page, Google is quickly becoming something I want to avoid.

    1. Mark P.

      it seems to be desperately trying to seek more personal data than to provide news.

      You say that like that’s a bad thing.

      1. grayslady

        Have never been a FB user, but from what I’ve read about their dalliance into “news”, that thought occurred to me, also.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      if you are looking for something fairly esoteric, google is still probably the best though with bing second. Everyone focuses on search ranking, ($$$$, so yes obvs) but one thing google has done as well or better than anyone else from year dot is indexing. Their bots consistently find more total pages, so you get more results containing the keywords/phrases. Sometimes, that’s huge.

      Google is evil, no doubt, but it also does a few things better. Google web search is such a market dominator that it should either be super tightly regulated like a private infrastructure utility, or perhaps better, nationalized and treated as a well-funded, well-staffed national library with profit completely absent from the management priorities. It’s time to give up waiting on the search market to produce a competitive threat, apparently the entry barriers are massively, astronomically higher today than when google web search began. Of course the physical internet infrastructure should probably be nationalized as well. It makes perfect sense. I’m a long way from a commie but all natural monopolies, near monopolies, and critical infrastructure should be publicly owned for the benefit of the many. But yeah, I know.

  20. jfleni

    RE: EU Crackdown Threatens to Return Google to ‘Ten Blue Link’ Era. Not a problem.

    Big problem: ONE search engine! ONE operating system! Pay no attention to the much better alternatives available.

    If it were a biological system, sudden extinction would be imminent; microswift and GIGGLE down the tubes together!

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    CNN Journalists Resign: Latest Example of Media Recklessness on the Russia Threat Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

    We can’t reform politics without a more responsible and objective media. The guard needs to be guarded.

  22. Julia Versau

    I loved the Current Affairs piece on SORTITION. Basically, people who think this idea is too crazy — but say nothing about U.S. foreign policy, warmongering, and torture, or the GOP “healthcare” plan — are the crazy ones.

    And think what it would mean if the people selected were actually neighbors and accessible for grabbing by the collar! Do you think our emails to congress people mean a damn thing? Are you tired of the boilerplate responses you receive that say nothing (well, they basically say “fuck off,” but in vague language)? Are you tired of signing petitions which are meaningless and which ultimately go to Petition Hell, a large dumpster in the middle of D.C.?

    I agree with the authors, who conclude: “Nobody is suggesting that randomly-selected citizens would make especially capable congresspeople. (Nobody, after all, suggests that randomly-selected citizen jurors make especially capable arbiters of forensic evidence, but we let them do it anyway.) The only question is: could it possibly be worse? We posit that it could not.”

    1. grizziz

      Add sortition to your wish list at the constitutional convention brought to you by ALEC.
      I would like to add a single payer for legal work if that could be possible, along with sortition for counsel in court cases.

      When I pinch myself I realize that I live in an empire and not some republic with democratic bunting. The empire runs on its own logic and the empire is not about to let me actually turn a knob or flip a switch which could effect the machinery. We live in a Playskool democracy and the randomness which has been introduced into the system is Trump.
      Many commentators ruthlessly attempt to find a casual relation or narrative to explain the Trump victory. They give comfort to themselves that they inhabit a linear cause and effect world and that their will matters when entering a stochastic system like voting. Like rolling dice, have enough elections and you are bound to end up with Trump.

      1. Romancing The Loan

        I do public defense work and have often thought that an “everyone gets a free lawyer but of course you can go hire your own if you want instead” rule would be much fairer at least for criminal cases where life and liberty is at stake.

        Right now the income limits (~20k) mean that my clients are the working poor, gig economy/SS/disability, and deep poverty/homeless. The rich in the rare cases they are indicted (always for very serious crimes) receive the same quality of representation, often by the same lawyers (since it is difficult to impossible to get good experience working only for the relatively rare private pay criminal clients), and even pay around the same fees as the state would compensate the lawyer to represent the same person if poor (around $50-100k total for a serious felony that goes to trial – this takes a year or more.)

        As you can imagine, the large portion of the middle class is completely screwed and will end up getting a second mortgage on their house, innocent or guilty, if they or their child is accused of any kind of serious crime.

  23. jfleni

    RE: Global ransomware attack causes turmoil;

    Naturally, news reports indicate that this atack is caused by microswift’s op system, which we all know and love so much.

    When will we learn that using “Typhoid Billy”, rather than the hundreds of excellent alternatives out there is like shooting yourself right in the computer!

  24. grizziz

    Dear Richard Florida,
    Please read the abstract:

    Theory and evidence suggest that people born in different countries complement each other in the labor market. Immigrant diversity could augment productivity by enabling the combination of different skills, ideas and perspectives, resulting in greater productivity. Using matched employer–employee data for the USA, this paper evaluates this claim, and makes empirical and conceptual contributions to prior work. It addresses the potential bias from unobserved heterogeneity among individuals, work establishments and cities. The paper also identifies diversity impacts at both city and workplace scales, and considers how relationships vary across different segments of the labor market. Findings suggest that urban immigrant diversity produces positive and nontrivial spillovers for U.S. workers. This social return represents a distinct channel through which immigration may generate broad-based economic benefits.

    Bold claims require bold evidence and referencing a pay-walled academic article makes you sound like a carnival barker at a peep show.

    1. A1

      While Richard Florida often has good things to say on urban design he is an open borders advocate and he should not be taken seriously on immigration.

    2. John Wright

      This could also be a case of assuming only one variable need be optimized, that being higher wages.

      If there are offsetting costs such as increased strain on public schools, the healthcare system, increased insurance for uninsured motorists, increased infrastructure costs caused by crowding on roads, the spillovers to US workers from these effects could well swamp out the alleged higher wages they will receive.

      Then there is that little matter of climate change, in which higher economic activity leads to more CO2 production. One could argue that pushing for ever more high consumption Americans only brings climate change effects about earlier.

      Furthermore, one might ask whether the descendants of these new immigrants might out compete the descendants of native workers.

      The native locals could be taking longer view of new immigration effects than these academic researchers.

    3. bdy

      There’s a chicken/egg question fer sure:

      …their models find that a one-standard-deviation increase in a workplace’s immigrant diversity is associated with a 1.6 percent rise in the wages of the average worker there. And that effect is more pronounced on a larger scale: a one-standard-deviation rise in a metro area’s immigrant diversity is associated with a 5.8 percent increase in that area’s wages.(emphasis mine)

      One spin: immigrant diversity makes workplaces so productive that grateful capitalists shower employees with big paydays.

      More likely: cities and firms where wages are higher attract a more highly skilled, more diverse cross section of workers.

      …leads definitively to the point that “immigrant diversity in U.S. cities and workplaces has an independent positive influence on worker productivity.”

      Uh, not convinced at all that greater “productivity” means better pay. However I am convinced (and the NC conversation hasn’t changed my mind on this) that any wage suppression immigration might or might not cause is a drop in the bucket compared to the global disorganization of labor, outsourcing and austerity.

      Immigration is not the fight here. It’s a big problem only insofar as it takes the political foreground over the rights of workers, wealth disparity, financial fraud in all its forms, the constitutional extent of “the general welfare,” and the means at our disposal to support it. Climate change too, yo.

      Strong unions and a State that recognizes their importance will protect wages from downward forces. Empowering a police state to take draconian measures against the poorest and most precarious, not so much.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Is Russiagate Really Hillarygate? Forbes (Stephen Tynan). Well worth a read. It does seem like the wheels are coming off this wagon, which is sad, because so many people invested very heavily in it.

    Which, if true, is unfortunate for the Democrats, as now a vindicated Trump can only be stronger for them oppose.

  26. neighbor7

    Re Google search and “ten blue link era”: a while back Yves mentioned not being able to write a particular book now because of search degeneration; Lambert refers to formerly finding things he didn’t already know about.

    Does anyone know of objective reports/knowledge about changing search algorithms and the deficiency of current Google for effective, penetrating noncommercial research? Alternatives?

    Could an element of randomness enhance search algorithms for certain purposes? (Kind of like being in a physical bookstore v, Amazon.)

    1. grayslady

      Here are some of my observations about searches:

      1. I do a lot of horticultural research online. If I put in a search term with the scientific name of the plant, disease or pest I receive much better search results than if I put in the common name.

      2. Recent efforts at genealogical research online have confirmed for me that much of the web now requires site specific searches, not general searches. For example, when I search the Dutch National Archives, I can access information on an individual that will not appear if I just type the individual’s name into a general search box.

      3. The general boolean search rules no longer seem to apply. In the 1990s, knowing when to use quotes, or commas or plus signs pretty much determined that you would receive a decent response to a search. Now, not so much or not at all.

      1. dontknowitall

        Interesting. Did you try Google Scholar or Duckduckgo and if so did you get better results?

        1. grayslady

          I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Google Scholar. Search results with DuckDuckGo are not bad, just incredibly limited, regardless of topic.

          1. neighbor7


            Google Scholar does delve more deeply, though most results are abstracts of subscription journal articles. JSTOR helpfully offers access to many of these for free–a maximum of three on your “shelf” at once, fair enough.

            What I’m thinking (imprecisely) of is a more general search with more conceptually adventurous or fluid, less Google-centric targeting. (I don’t need Wikipedia and IMdb links, for instance, can bookmark things like that myself.)

            1. Blennylips

              This gives you control over the sites that get searched:

              Google Custom Search

              Google Custom Search enables you to create a search engine for your website, your blog, or a collection of websites. You can configure your search engine to search both web pages and images. You can fine-tune the ranking, customize the look and feel of the search results, and invite your friends or trusted users to help you build your custom search engine.

  27. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: A Plan to Win Universal Health Care Jacobin

    In 2010, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, over one-fifth of all American health care spending was concentrated in 1 percent of patients, the sickest of the sick, and half of all spending was concentrated in 5 percent of patients. Contrast that to the least expensive 50 percent, who accounted for less than 3 percent of total medical costs.

    Every time I read this statistic the numbers blow me away. Considering that in 2016 the u.s. spent $3.2+ trillion on “healthcare,” and the pool of patients is some 20 or 30 million less than the population, it’s almost almost impossible to believe. 5% of 300 million is 15 million patients consuming $1.6 trillion worth of “healthcare.” In one year. There would hardly seem to be enough hours in the day.

    Having said that, I think the idea of expanding Medicare to children and adults under age 26, an idea the author credits to Matt Bruenig, is positively brilliant. Not only does it “more than triple” the size of the Medicare risk pool by adding relatively low-risk members, it deprives the private insurance industry of those same coveted “lives,” on whose mandated participation that industry and the success of obamacare so heavily depends.

    The establishment of a “loyal constituency for federal healthcare” is also a valuable “disruption” of the current line these young people are being sold–that Medicare will never survive to benefit them–as a way of weakening the program now.

    It would also make allies out of two large, age-related groups that are currently being pitted against each other in an attempt to justify weakening the social safety net generally.

    The image of young people and seniors coming together to demand that the establishment “Keep your hands off my Medicare” is almost too tasty to contemplate. I’m putting this in the there’s-more-than-one-way-to-skin-a-cat category. Rhetorically, of course.

  28. financial matters

    Interesting comment at MoonofAlabama

    “”On the other, he (Trump) seems to be making headway with China, and may soon with Russia at G20. These people (Putin and Jinping) are grownups, and it may be that he can absorb some of their perspective. People here will chuckle, but I continue to wait to see if Trump can fulfill some of his promise.

    This whole Syria thing is a storm in a teacup, a propaganda play rather than a false flag preparation, and with Russia loudly condemning it, will come to nothing. But it reveals the amazing paralysis and confusion in US policy instruments and institutions. Trump has been useful to help expose this. I remember that we used to talk in terms of the US pretending to be confused simply as a pretext to wreak havoc. But it seems increasingly real nowadays.

    Posted by: Grieved | Jun 28, 2017 10:26:48 AM””

    1. fresno dan

      “Will I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? No, probably that would be going too far. But I do think we’re much safer and I hope that it will not [happen] in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will,” she said.
      I am assuming they failed to add that the FED chief had been speaking at a hospice…..

      There is a great scene in “The Simpsons” where Chief Wiggum and his wife are with a financial adviser who asks the chief what his plans for retirement are:
      Financial planner: You haven’t set aside anything for the future.
      Wiggum: Well, you know how it is with cops. I’ll get shot three days before retirement. In the business, we call it “retirony.”
      Planner: Well, what if you don’t get shot?
      Wiggum: What a terrible thing to say! Now look, you made my wife cry!

      1. fresno dan


        Yellen said the architecture of the financial system has changed in ways that has made it safer for all parties involved, citing a number of factors including the Fed’s annual stress testing practices that simulate a crisis-like situation including significant swings in the stock market, a decline in home prices and a decline in the unemployment rate.

        UH, I am hoping that is a misquote and Yellen meant to say a “increase int he unemployment rate” – but nowadays, you never know….

        1. Jim Haygood

          As a lifetime member of the PCC (Phillips Curve Cognoscenti), J-Yel knows that a 1 percent unemployment rate would send inflation spiraling into double digits, as militant workers demanded unconscionable wage increases.

          It’s this awful, busy-beehive nightmare scenario that keeps J-Yel and her sidekick Stanley Mellon Fischer awake at night, until their New York Fed colleague William Dudley Do-wrong can shrink the balance sheet and hike the policy rate safely back to three percent.

          Under his gray biz suit. no one can see Dudley Do-wrong’s “made man” tattoo:

  29. John Beech

    This Central FL registered Republican supports single-payer. It’s obviously the end game so let’s just get on with it so we can turn to tax reform and figure out how to pay for it.

    Also, if both Republicans and Democrats oppose it, then maybe it’s time for them to go. Macron did an end around of the establishment in France, then stuffed Parliament with his allies, and has plans to fulfill his agenda of embracing Europe. As for us, it’s not like Republicans and Democrats are the only parties that have ever existed in the United States so maybe their time has passed. Regardless, let’s get on with it because it’s obvious the Democrats are going to continue stonewalling Senator Sanders so he may as well form his own party.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > This Central FL registered Republican supports single-payer.

      Good for you! I’ve made the case to other Republicans, too; it’s something even a small government should do. Then we go on to talk about military spending…

    2. Toske

      Anyone who considers himself fiscally conservative should support single payer as a matter of course. It’s a shame our “conservative” (and “liberal”, respectively) party isn’t actually conservative, but corporate.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Any fiscal conservative will say it’s wasting for a cardiologist to own an S600.

        So, there is work on that front as well. It won’t be manna from heaven, but with our own labor, the Single Payer fruit is quite affordable.

  30. Jim Haygood

    Illinois — the “mainland Puerto Rico” — loses the lottery:

    Powerball sales end tonight while Mega Millions will follow on Friday.

    While the Illinois lottery will continue to hold drawings, anyone who wins more than $25,000 will have their prize payments delayed.

    Without a state budget, there’s no appropriation to pay the multi-state lottery agency that runs Powerball and Mega Millions. There’s also no authorization to pay local lottery winners.

    “Players should be confident knowing the Illinois Lottery has the money to pay these winning claims,” Illinois Lottery Acting Director Greg Smith said in a statement. “That means the General Assembly needs to approve a truly balanced budget that includes Lottery funding in order to ensure all prize payments will occur.”

    Read carefully the contradictory first and second sentences from Acting Director Greg Smith — this is straight-up fraud from a flimflam artist with a badge, promising money that hasn’t been appropriated.

    You won the lottery … sucker. Now get in line with the other unsecured creditors. :-)

  31. dontknowitall

    Just would like to leave here a note of appreciation for Lambert’s work and as a sign of support I have made today my contribution to the Water Cooler fund. Thank you.

  32. rich

    The Cost of a Cardiac MRI
    June 27, 2017

    Earlier this year I had a cardiac MRI. You slide down the MRI tube and they inject gadolinium through a vein in your left hand. There’s a cold sensation that runs the length of the left side of your body, which is fine until it reaches your head (brain). You sort of want to cry out, but you also don’t want to be a wimp about it, and it passes.

    Here’s the bill: $7,056. I always think about medical bills in terms of Mercedes payments.

    You can see that my cardiologist pays about $2,846 a month for his S600, so the cost of the cardiac MRI will make almost exactly two and a half car payments for him.

    Guess who doesn’t want a Single Payer healthcare system in America?

    1. fresno dan

      June 28, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      FIRST, I hope everything turned out well for you.
      One thing about having good insurance, and having a cardiologist, is the number of expensive tests they can do. I once asked my cardiologist what they would have to find to operate, and he told me that unless I am feeling bad, they aren’t doing anything. Testing and car payments….

      1. JTMcPhee

        Re medical “chargescosts:” When I first went off to college, I bethought myself to become a physician (this was 1964). Work in some small town, get paid in chickens and barn-raising. Did not have the STEM chops to make it through to med school, so lost that idea after the first year. But I used to dream, by reading the New England Journal of Medicine. I ran across an exchange of letters to the editors. First one was the wife of an OB-GYN, whining that hubby just did not make enough to support the lifestyle she thought she signed on for.

        The response, a month later, which I recall did not strike me at all as being tongue-in-cheek or anything but deadly serious, was from the wife of another OB-GYN, who told #1 to stop complaining, and just get her hubby to do a few more Caesarians a month — would more than cover the club membership, and the new Cadillac…

        I had surgery around that same time. Included on the bill was a pregnancy test (the rabbit did not die, thank goodness) and a number of other arbitrary and totally inappropriate and unnecessary things that drove my mother (who had a masters in endocrinology) absolutely into a rage. (That and the fact that she had expressly told the surgeon and anaesthesiologist that they were in no way, never, not at all to use a spinal anaesthetic for the surgery. Which of course they went ahead and did, leading to my acquaintance with the kind of headache one can get from reduce spinal fluid pressure when the tap site “leaks…”)

        Just one anecdote among the flood of others — does that make up into a trend?

        1. bdy

          Arrogance is endemic to expertise. Dad’s a doc. Talked shit about his patients for as long as I remember. Hating the patient and blaming the sick eases the nagging doubt that maybe he isn’t really right all the time, and that people can die on account.

          Blaming the patient also makes it easier to think of procedures as being lucrative rather than necessary.

  33. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Immigrants Boost Wages for Everyone Richard Florida, CityLab

    Does it follow that to boost wages further for everyone, we bring in even more immigrants?

    Why don’t we bring in the rest of the world? Wouldn’t that boost wages the most?

    Let’s attract more foreign cardiologists. That will allow the native ones even more Mercedes S600’s.

    1. newcatty

      Me too. We just planted, not too long ago, plants that bees, butterflies and hummingbirds love. Penstemon(red flowers for the birds), lavender for the bees and butterflies, sage and rosemary for the people, too. All are either native or drought tolerant that are beautiful and appropriate for our high AZ enviroment. We also planted wild flower seeds from a local nature preserve center. More food and joy for our nature friends. Just wanted to share how doing these simple things, including caring for our two cats(both from humane societies) can be daily antidotes to keep our spirits and to remind us of what goodness there is…

  34. Swamp Yankee

    FWIW, before I quit twitter a while back, I went on a tweetstorm about how Warren had to get outside 128 and hit places like Lowell and Ware (and Plymouth and Pittsfield) if she wanted to win. Okay, limited credit due there.

    But it is a) transparently done to keep her job; b) perhaps too little too late; and c) focused on a nationalized agenda, not things like opium or cod or cranberries that are the life and death issues for communities outside the metropole here in the Bay Commonwealth.

    I just went to her website to see if she would be making any appearances down here in Swamp Yankee Country — and you can’t even find an active upcoming Events section! It’s really bad, full of threadbare platitudes, crappy overpriced Warren swag, and constant injunctions to “donate to fight Trump!” Like Lambert says — always fighting, never winning.

    She’s just another yuppie who’s not from around here* and couldn’t really give a damn about us. We’re just props and pawns for her, we can tell, and people don’t like that. They don’t like being treated like morons by arrogant Harvard colonists like Warren. I’d say her seat remains extremely vulnerable, despite gestures towards hiding her condescension towards the People of Massachusetts.

    * According to my “Vowel Theory of Massachusetts Politics”, a significant portion of MA voters instinctively tend toward the politician who, though perhaps having elite markers in their speech otherwise, retain the Eastern New England dialect’s vowels (Charlie Baker’s a good example). Coakley was from N. Adams, which is Inland Northern, and her weird attempts to imitate the vowels of Medford read as kind of “uncanny valley” to people (or New York English, which is worse!). The way Warren pronounces the word “worry” — Upland Southern “war-ee” instead of Eastern New England “wuhh-rry” — is a dead giveaway that she’s not local. This may not matter in Cambridge, but in the semi-peripheral parts of the state that have been in opposition to the metropole since at least the 18th century, it does and will.

  35. Mike

    Hmmm… I did not see one post about Greenwald’s piece on the Russia scandal.

    My only point would be that he should say something about the Intercept’s rotten tomato regarding the southern belle’s leak about Russia hacking voting systems. Did he stayed silent during the hub-bub?

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