Links 7/25/2017

We’ve screwed up the coasts so badly that an invasive species is a plus Ars Technica

Climate change might prevent airlines from flying full planes The Economist

Sea level fears as Greenland darkens BBC

Protecting the Polar Seaways World Policy (Re Silc).

European banks struggle to solve toxic shipping debt problem Reuters (Richard Smith).

Barney Frank: Clear There Will Be ‘No Significant Rollback’ on Dodd Frank The Street

U.S. Regional Banks Take on Wall Street Bloomberg. “Atlanta and Cleveland are far from Wall Street, but regional banks in those and other U.S. cities are mimicking their bigger competitors by plunging into capital markets.” What could go wrong?

Wall St banks’ borrowing premium hits lowest since financial crisis FT

He Investigated Dubious Firings for U.S. Then He Was Fired Bloomberg

Creating the Uber-Yahoo Reuters

As Self-Driving Cars Near, Washington Plays Catch-Up NYT

Won’t allow driverless cars that take away jobs: Nitin Gadkari Hindustan Times


Russia Registers Three Ceasefire Violations in Syria Over Past 24 Hours Sputnik

De-conflict deals show Syrian rebels know victory is out of sight Asia Times


Brexit Disarray Points to Disaster Clive Crook, Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank Getting More Deutsche By The Minute Dealbreaker

Is this the Brexit banking exodus Theresa May told us couldn’t happen? Guardian

Jeremy Corbyn stokes fears moderate MPs could be deselected Sky News. Sweet.

Poll shows France no longer so sweet on Emmanuel Macron Deutsche Welle. That was fast.

Germany fails to honour its part of the Greek bailout deal Bill Mitchell

Mariano Rajoy drawn into court case as corruption woes hit party FT. As a witness.

Poland’s President Vetoes 2 Proposed Laws Limiting Courts’ Independence NYT


Wang Qishan: China’s enforcer FT. The Hand of the King?

Xi tears up succession script with Chongqing shocker Nikkei Asian Review

China Focus: And so it begins – Robo-shops taking over China’s retail sector Xinhua

Health Care

McCain to Return to Senate for Key Health Care Vote Roll Call

Whip count:

The Senate’s evolving health care plan Axios.

The wild Senate health care debate is hurtling toward an unpredictable finish Vox

Senate Health Care Legislation Would Grant HHS Unprecedented Power Over States Health Affairs. Important:

Perhaps inevitably, exceptionally broad delegation of policymaking authority has become a defining feature of the Senate Majority Leader’s quest to restructure one-sixth of the American economy without hearings, expert testimony, committee consideration, or other safeguards of regular order. The President famously observed that health issues are “incredibly complicated.” Resolving such issues with careful attention to detail is too high a bar for most legislators to clear while moving at breakneck speed. For Republican leaders in Congress, the almost inescapable solution has been to structure legislation so that HHS will eventually answer policy questions that Congress currently lacks the time to resolve. Wholesale delegations of lawmaking power to Executive-branch agencies will almost certainly be larded throughout proposed legislation if the Senate approves this week’s expected “motion to proceed,” which would allow passage of a final bill after just 20 hours of debate on the Senate floor.

* * *

It’s time to see if Democrats are serious about single-payer Vox

The Conservative Case for Universal Healthcare The American Conservative

The sky-high pay of health care CEO Axios. “The CEOs of 70 of the largest U.S. health care companies cumulatively have earned $9.8 billion in the seven years since the Affordable Care Act was passed, and their earnings have grown faster than most Americans’ during that time.” Thanks, Obama!

Obamacare is hurting these people—and Congress is doing nothing about it Yahoo Finance. Some go to HappyVille, some go to Pain City…

My son’s death, like tens of thousands of others, could have been prevented under the Affordable Care Act, so why are Republican senators still pushing to dismantle it? Scalawag

How to Restructure Venezuelan Debt (with Spanish translation) (PDF) SSRN

Brazil’s Corruption Fallout CFR

New Cold War

‘I did not collude with Russia’ Kushner insists in statement for Senate panel McClatchy

STATEMENT OF JARED C. KUSHNER TO CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES (PDF) WSJ. The case for the defense, on several levels.

Intel Vets Challenge ‘Russia Hack’ Evidence Consortium News. Leaked, not hacked. Hoisted from Water Cooler because it’s important.

Poll: Americans split 42%-42% on impeaching Trump USA Today

Newly Disclosed Clinton-era Memo Says Presidents Can Be Indicted Charles Savage, NYT

Trump Transition

Make America Wait Again: Trump Tries to Delay Regulations out of Existence Scientific American. This matters a lot more Trump’s tweets. Why, it’s almost as if he’s trying to distract people….

The fast-approaching defense budget ‘train wreck’ Politico (Re Silc).

Trump’s Slide into Endless-War Syndrome Consortium News

Boos for Obama as Trump speaks at Boy Scout jamboree The Hill

Trump Has Averaged 50% or Higher Job Approval in 17 States Gallup. “Approval below 40% in 17 states.”

Democrats in Disarray

Democrats to unveil “Better Deal” economic agenda Axios. Here are Schumer’s white papers: Better Deal overview; Jobs plan; Drug prices; Corporate monopolies.

Democrats Mix Politics With Policy Rollout in Virginia Roll Call

Dems pitch ‘a better deal’ with populist new agenda after 2016 election disappointment AP

Progressives Actually Like Democrats’ New Message HuffPo. A compilation. HuffPo missed this one:

The Democrats: A party that wants to die but can’t pull the plug Corey Robin

Democratic donors still think they can anoint rising stars in the Hamptons Guardian

The Democrats Are Re-learning Populism Washington Monthly. After editor Clara Jeffrey spent 2016 throwing the kitchen sink at Sanders, the approving nod for Schumer.

WNY fairgrounds asked to delay tornado cleanup until Cuomo arrived, fair CEO says Syracuse Post-Standard (Bob). Classy!

Class Warfare

Mississippi Nissan workers hope for historic win in 14-year fight to unionize Guardian. Good to see the newly populist Democrat leadership out there walking the picket line. Oh, wait….

NBER. Mitchell to Burns about Friedman. 1945 Economics in the Rear-View Mirror

On Stubborn Facts and Partisan Identification Ian Welsh

Nobody Cares About the Discourse Jacobin. But all is not lost–

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 30: Thought Leader The Age of Austerity. Fun site!

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. vlade

    Re Corbyn deselecting moderate MPs. Be careful what you wish for. Monoculture is bad not just in nature, and a dissenting voice helps to have a bit of humility.

    1. David Creamon

      I believe dissent is the job of the opposition. There is nothing wrong with having a party that speaks strongly and in unison on behalf of workers. Big Business already has enough advantages.

      1. vlade

        ah, unison. Which unison, pray? or, as I wrote below, there is only one revealed way?

        I’ll give you an example.

        Post-election polls show that about one third (yes 30+%) of Labour voters voted Labour as an opposition to Tory Brexit (i.e. that being the top issue for them). More than 80% of Labour MEMBERS consider staying in single market an important feature, more important than immigration.

        Yet, as far as I can tell, Corbyn and his team will be fairly happy with hard Brexit. Is that the unifying view of the Labour party? I can’t actually tell – which is why I wrote “as far as I can tell”. Because Corbyn and Labour are still ambiguous on this. Which is ok as a spoiling tactics now, but is a very high risk strategy to run, especially in a party which actually has a quite clear view on this issue.

        Moderate is an adjective, and it’s not a synonym for Blairite.

        1. bugs

          How do you figure that Corbyn favors a hard Brexit? From everything I read, he wants to preserve the common market. There was a reason UKIP backed the Tories in the last election.

        2. Yves Smith

          I don’t see Corbyn as favoring a hard Brexit. If anything, he’s trying to stay away from it and let the Tories shoot themselves in the foot, or to let the opposition grow before he does anything. His current position amounts to “We need to respect the results of the referendum.”

          1. Terry Flynn

            Yeah Corbyn historically has always been anti-EU, although not necessarily saying enough to suggest he wants Hard BREXIT. He made some conciliatory remarks to REMAIN supporters during the election campaign (reported in the Independent) which he quickly had to row back on in order to stay in line with the official Labour manifesto (respect the referendum). I don’t know if this was an accident or deliberate – I suspect the latter: whilst Corbyn maintains the image of being ‘authentic’, he *has* made compromises that a leader must make. I know his remarks were influential (though not essential) in ensuring his ‘army’ turned out on election day (BREXIT was not ‘THE’ issue, but was a fairly major one), but as you say, I think he is trying to keep his powder dry to let the Tories destroy themselves and exploit whatever results.

    2. Chris

      Actually, vlade, Corbyn isn’t “deselecting moderate MPs”. He’s just not planning to interfere when local party members democratically select the candidate they want as their representative.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Of course, all he said is that local parties have the right to select who they want, which is of course as it should be.

      But he does have to steer a very sensitive course. Its right and proper that as a proven leader he should tighten his grip on the party and keep a tight lid on the Blairites. But there is also a real threat of a centrist party arising (either a renewed Lib Dems or a Social Democrat type split), and this could be disastrous given the nature of the political system. If I was a 1%er blob member establishment type in the UK, given the chaos in the Tory party I’d be looking seriously at supporting some sort of spoiling party of the centre to stop Corbyn getting a majority.

      1. vlade

        The centrist party is very likely to come up, especially in case of hard brexit, where I suspect Tories will split. And, if there is a disastrous hard brexit which most of Labour members oppose, but party ignored, it’s not unlikely that you’d get a Labour civil war again. To me, both Tories and Labour pretty much ignore Remainers assuming they will just roll over and do whatever, but 48% votes was remain, and for the leave there was a plethora reasons, because there was a plethora of ideas of what it would mean.

        Hard Brexit will invalidate most of those, yet this is not a voice that is much heard in Labour at the moment.

        For example, Corbyn at best misled (because he didn’t know, which in itself is a problem), or at worst lied on the single market being available only to members of EU in a recent interview.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We scorn conservative morons.

        Until we run into smart neoliberals.

        “I stay away from smart people, whenever possible.”

        And give help with those with learning disabilities (One doesn’t choose one’s family members).

        1. Adam Eran

          T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) observed that the Arabs preferred monarchy because it meant their rulers couldn’t be clever or ambitious

    4. JohnnyGL

      To indulge your weird analogy….

      Would you suggest that apple trees are problematic because they don’t fix nitrogen? Of course not, because that is the job of a different plant.

      Likewise, the Labor Party’s job is to push an agenda for labor, much like the apple tree’s job is to produce apples, not fix nitrogen.

      1. vlade

        So you mean there can be only one, revealed true agenda for Labour, which doesn’t bear any internal scrutiny? Thanks..

        But can you please tell me whether it’s Marxists, Leninist, Trockyist, Stalinist, Swedish social-democractic, or something yet entirely different?

        All I said is that monoculture is bad. If all the apples we have are granny smith, we’re likely not have any apples in no time at all – look at bananas for an example.

        1. Lee

          Apple trees do not throw true, i.e., their seeds produce trees widely dissimilar from their parent plant and from each other. All commonly available apple types are the result of grafting. What that might mean politically, culturally or metaphorically, I have no idea.

    5. timbers

      vlade, I think you are describing the Labor Party in Britain under the Blairites and the Democratic Party in the U.S. under the Clintons/Obamas. It is the Blairites and Clintonites and Obamites that are arrogant and do not tolerate dissenting voices.

      Not the Labor Party under Corbyn.

      1. vlade

        Blair allowed Corbyn to be selected. It’s questionable whether he could have stopped some of the better know leftist MPs, but he had enough power – especially after the first election – to get Corbyn out, pronto. He didn’t.

        1. timbers

          That’s not the same thing as the very public intolerance the Blairites and Blair himself showed toward Corbyn and his followers and their views, nor is it the same as their horrible efforts to rig the game against Corbyn and his supporters from joining the party and enacting their policies – those efforts being much more blatant that what the DNC did to Sanders.

          Also IMO you’re cherry picking. One instance where Blair didn’t transh Corbyn…what about all the other evidence? There were many articles here on NC regarding how Blairites where aghast at the prospect of Corbyn rising in Labor and their dirty efforts to stop him and the many who sought to purge him and sabotage him in the Shadow Cabinet, etc. Blair refusing to take an unpopular move to go against the popular support that Corbyn so clearly had may well have been his nod to reality of the neoliberal losing game.

          Blair not de-selecting Corbyn is sorta of like the Queen refusing to certify the PM.

  2. Jim Haygood

    From Politico’s article on the defense spending train wreck:

    Lifting the Budget Control Act’s caps for defense spending would require the consent of Democrats, who insist that any such hike be accompanied by increased domestic spending — a no-go for GOP budget hawks.

    Or lawmakers could stash the extra military funding into the Pentagon’s separate war account, as Congress has done repeatedly in the past six years.

    America’s vast negative-return military empire makes the D party’s “Better Deal” the equivalent of reupholstering the Titanic’s deck chairs even as the lifeboats are being deployed.

    Our de facto Soviet economic model — pumping funds into overseas bases and gold-plated armaments, while domestic infrastructure crumbles, our rent-extraction health care industry sheds unwanted customers, and public pension plans teeter toward default — makes policy-wonk tinkering around the edges wholly irrelevant.

    The D party has no intention of changing this broken system since it is bipartisan. Certainly the most recent D party nominee, Hillary Clinton, was completely on board with the dysfunctional status quo.

    1. JTMcPhee

      C’mon, Jim — you know the “military empire” has a yuuuuge positive return, if you just look to the actual framing and function — a vast unaudited and unauditable flood of MMT dollars, climbing stock prices and “compensation packages,” and body counts,, and enormous wealth transfer —

      You don’t seriously contend or believe that the cloaca labeled “defense,” the muscular arm of Empire, was evolved to produce anything other than what it currently does, do you?

      1. Jim Haygood

        No, of course not. But mainstream economists, politicians and media are totally silent on the largest value subtraction activity in the US economy. They are the dogs that didn’t bark in the falling night.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And here, for mainstream economists, politicians and media, silence is what they are to produce.

          “You do your job, and the muscular arm will do his.”

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Yes, clearly the best use for $486 million dollars we had lying around was to buy 22 planes for the Afghani air force and then sell them as scrap metal because they never used them. You (the chump US taxpayer) got $32,000 back.
          If somebody started an anti-war movement and kept talking only about exactly this (no, not LGBT bathrooms or sanctuary cities or Russia or impeachment) they would be swept into power in an historic landslide.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Continuing with the tongue-in-cheek, that $486 million got injected into the US econonbombomy (and some to Italy, China, and Israel, and Britain and so forth), went to “US” corporations that design, build, supply, maintain, transport, fuel, arm and yes, eventually, turn said aircraft into scrap metal (maybe — I don’t see pictures or video of said scrapping, and the Aeritalia G222 is such a wonderful aircraft, a little brother to the estimable and long-lived C-130! Read about it here:

            C’mon, man, there’s a CONSTITUENCY to keep in mind here! And half a billion is as they say in Milbabble, chump change! And the thing was featured in all the Mil Mags, and I think even in Popular Mechanix! No way USians will think twice about such high-flying profligacy! /s/s/s/s

      2. ewmayer

        Indeed, this is how our Dear Leaders™ have already long been doing MMT in practice. The fact that “MMT done right” requires the kind of government we haven’t seen since FDR is something the “MMT is teh awesome” shills hereabouts like to conveniently forget. Given our current system of crooks. liars and grifters in DC, encouraging same to “use the power of fiat money creation” even more liberally than they’ve been doing for decades is worse than useless – it’s downright immoral. You think giving them political cover to mint multiple $trillion coins every year is gonna suddenly make them want to pt the money to altruistically useful ends? Dream on.

        “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they’re different.” — Yogi Berra

        1. Tim

          This is why conservatives want a balanced budget, not because MMT can’t be done, just that they don’t trust MMT to be implemented by bad government actors in any way other than to destroy the currency as inefficiently as possible.

          Give yourself a target/requirement even if it’s artificial enforces discipline on acting as efficiently as possible.

          All that QE was MMT at work too. That’s all they let happen was printing money to give to the banks to take a cut of profits off it. Money direct to the taxpayer, or a public bank? No way.

          Until we have a government that works functionally for the majority, MMT will only be implemented as an opportunity for grifting at the expense of the majority.

    2. timbers

      David Stockman has an interesting theory on how this situation of built in spending constraint and debt ceilings might play out.

      He says the Freedom Caucus types won’t allow the debt ceiling to be raised to fund higher spending. So, Trump will need to turn to Dems to get things passed.

      Trump needing Dems to pass spending bills might give us more Obamacare in exchange for the military spending Trump wants – it’s a win win!

      But something tells me there’s still a decent chance U.S. life expectancy may continue to fall even with a better funded Obamacare as CEO pay at healthcare outfits explodes. That’s a win win, too.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In Sparta, everyone (male) was in the military.

        With a Spartan model, we ought to be able to cover everyone’s, including his family’s, health care needs.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        (Not an exact duplicate comment)

        In Sparta, everyone (male) was in the military.

        With a Spartan model, we ought to be able to cover everyone’s, including his family’s, health care needs.

  3. epynonymous

    – A parody, in the style of Phil Collins

    I can feel it Comey in the air tonight, oh Lord
    And I’ve been pushing this agenda for all my life, Oh Lord
    Can you feel indictment Comey in the air tonight, oh Lord

    O Lord

    Well, if you told me proof was coming
    I would not watch fake news
    I’ve seen your face before you hacks
    But I don’t know if you know who I am
    Well, I was there and I saw what you meme’d
    I saw it with my own two eyes
    So you can wipe off that grin,
    I know where you’ve been
    It’s all been a pack of lies….

    *ba-dump bad-dum dah-dump da-da-da-Trump*

  4. Jim Haygood

    Trump goes off on Hillary in 6 am tweets this morning:

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers! 6:12 AM – 25 Jul 2017

    Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife! 6:21 AM – 25 Jul 2017

    Looks like Trump’s leaning toward firing Sessions. And surely Trump must realize that Robert Mueller as special counsel is a ringer served up by the FBI/intel axis that wants to take him down.

    Firings are like Lay’s potato chips … bet you can’t do just one. Sessions, Rosenstein, McCabe, Mueller — everything must go!

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Agree that he fires them all. Because he can, and because he believes the Republicans in Congress won’t lift a finger to stop him. It makes his appointment of Elaine Chao as transportation secretary seem somewhat inspired, putting Mitch on a leash.

      1. RUKidding

        Frankly, that’s what I thought when Trump nominated Chao for that position. Although it looks sort of like nepotism, it makes McConnell very beholden to Trump. Not that McConnell or his wife really need her to have that job, but imagine the embarressment if Trump Fires Chao.

        Much as I dislike Trump and think he’s pig-ignorant about many things, he definitely has chops in certain areas of how to run things.

    2. ambrit

      “Everything must go!” Why, this is almost like a Reichstag Fire Sale!
      After, of course, the Democracy Bankruptcy auction.
      Auctioneer: B. Badinov
      Assistant: N. Fatale
      Facilitators: N. Pelosi, C. Schumer, H. Reid, etc. etc.

      1. polecat

        “We will NOT be undersold !” …. uh … hold on a moment ….. my shoes are smoking ..

    3. JohnnyGL

      Haygood, combine your link above with this one…

      How do these sorts of things fit together into a larger puzzle? Well, it looks like an overt threat to the establishment. “If you impeach me, I’m going to take a couple of your biggest fish down with me”

      Watch out for those poll numbers, if Trump fires Sessions and gets an AG who actually has the courage to prosecute Clinton and launch an anti-trust case against Amazon, then Trump’s poll numbers will start to rise. He’ll then be able to claim he’s draining the swamp.

      Don’t underestimate the appeal to the electorate of seeing SOMEONE, really ANYONE from the elite in this country held accountable for SOMETHING. The Dem platform does NOT have any prosecutions listed in it. It talks about anti-trust, but if Trump actually DOES anti-trust, then Trump has clearly stolen it away from the Dems and it’s now useless for them to campaign on because no one believes the Dem establishment, anyway.

      1. Antifa

        Der Donald doesn’t need to suffer these low approval ratings. It’s easily fixed. For the masses of struggling workers, under-employed, and despised, Trump could push through a jobs program. Simply pay $15 an hour to anyone willing to work for him.

        Issue each such employee a brown shirt, brown hat, and perhaps a Sam Browne leather belt with a holster for their, um, iPhone. Have these employees focus all their efforts on political canvassing, spending all day every day out on the streets, vigorously debating and persuading non-Trump supporters to support him. Let them use whatever means are necessary to win over his detractors.

        It’s such a simple idea — has no one tried this before?

      2. Carolinian

        if Trump fires Sessions and gets an AG who actually has the courage to prosecute Clinton and launch an anti-trust case against Amazon

        Cool. Wouldn’t hold my breath, but one danger of the press and Dems going to the mattresses against Trump and his family is that he may eventually decide to fight back. They are launching their cannonades from glass houses.

      3. sid_finster

        Taking on Amazon would have the added bonus of taking Trump’s fight to the CIA for a change.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Who will be the acting persons in charge at the Justice Department and the FBI if Trump should fire them all?

      Need to make sure we are not jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

  5. voteforno6

    Re: The Conservative Case for Universal Healthcare

    This article conveys some of what I have suspected. A not-insignificant chunk of the Democratic Party has hardened its position on healthcare into a full-throated defense of the ACA, including fighting off attempts at single payer. This presents a tremendous opening for the Republicans. Can you imagine the disarray among Democrats if Trump came out tomorrow in favor of Medicare-for-all?

    The commentariat is intellectually lazy; it’s so much easier to lock people into strict Red-vs.-Blue terms than to actually provide any in-depth analysis. That’s why you occasionally see stories like this one:

    North Dakota’s Norway Experiment

    Sure, North Dakota is very Republican. That doesn’t make them bad people, though. Also, I don’t see them giving up on their state-run bank. It works very well for them. Not for nothing, a lot of Norwegians live there (along with a lot of Germans / Germans from Russia), so they’re not going to dismiss out of hand everything that comes out of Norway (including, disturbingly, lutefisk).

    All those Clintonistas who claim that single payer will never, ever happen because of the Republican control of government are incredibly short-sighted. Just because they don’t support it now, doesn’t mean that they won’t in the future. People can change their minds, and only the most rigid of thinkers allow ideology to get in the way.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “The Norwegian principle of “dynamic security” posits that warm relationships between inmates and staff reduce the potential for violence. American prisons typically try to create safe conditions by means of oppressive rules, random searches, and the threat of additional punishment.”

      Says it all about the mentality of the US empire and its domestic Gulag — oppression, threats, force and punishment are the modus operandi.

      How’s that workin’ out for us?

      1. JTMcPhee

        I took part in a clinical program in law school, in the mid 70s, as student prosecutor in prison disciplinary hearings at Walpole prison in MA. I was also part of the Washington State Bar Association’s Corrections Committee for a couple of years in the 80s. I’m guessing, from what I read and remember, that the sentence you cite, “American prisons typically try to create safe conditions by means of oppressive rules, random searches, and the threat of additional punishment,” just begins to capture the sociology and pathology of the prison.

        The guards at Walpole were very clear about the institutional power structure: Even then, when there were many more guards and staff per inmate, they recognized that their “control” was totally on sufferance from the prisoners, and that violence was around every corner. Actions to enforce rules were very carefully weighed as to effects on the flux of relationships and debts among the stake- and shank-holders. The economy of the prison was based on favors and exchanges that mostly were in complete violation of the foam of “rules&regulations.” And of course the Norwegian (and Scandinavian) penal structures are altogether different in goal and detail from the US version (borrowed, like whole chunks of our legal system, from our British models, at the worst possible point in penal history.) As I recall, the Scan model was actually all about “habilitation” and re-integrating the convicted person back into decent society, as quickly as possible. The opposite of the US Gulag.

        The Rulers (the ones in uniforms, and the convict bosses too) in the prison system pretty much understand in their guts that their upper hand is weak, and only moments away from dissolution into “prison riots” and anomic collapse. I guess that all the upheaval in the world occasioned by the long violence of Empire might be analogous? And of course, given the vast corruption in both “systems,” there are carrots to induce behaviors in the equivalent of “prison bosses,” not just cudgels to beat the mopes with?

    2. cocomaan

      I think that “Trump Care,” ie medicare for all, is coming. Trump knows it would cement his legacy forever.

        1. JTFaraday

          Yeah, that’s too bad. If I were a lowly Congressional representative, I would want a strong man too. Someone to get the corporate vampires off my neck so I can govern the country.

          Of course, if my real purpose (this is a former slave state), is to punish the peons, then I guess I’m good.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Brexit Disarray Points to Disaster Clive Crook, Bloomberg

    This seems to be the desired outcome of a lot of the UK establishment now:

    To avoid any crashing out of the union in 2019, Britain and the EU need a transitional agreement: Britain would be out of the EU, with no say in its future direction, but would retain essentially all the rights and obligations of membership while a permanent arrangement is worked out. That would take as long as it takes — no more pressure of a stupid deadline. And this longer-term arrangement would in turn be a liberal, trade-promoting accord between close friends and allies, recognizing Britain’s desire to be, and remain, a sovereign state.

    It’s important to understand that this can be done — a point that gets remarkably little attention. It isn’t asking the impossible, and it isn’t asking anything that a self-confident EU needs to oppose. But this good outcome can’t come about by accident. Both parties to the negotiations will have to pursue it deliberately. That’s the problem.

    The obvious hope is some sort of never-ending ‘transitional’ deal which would be EU membership in all but name. There is though one huge problem with this – the ECJ. If a transitional deal were to work, the UK would have no option but to accept the ECJ as the final arbiter, as there is no other judicial body that could do it. Leaving to one side the absolute objection of Brexiters to the ECJ, such a transitional deal would inevitably have to deal with the first high profile trade, legal, or environmental dispute which ends up with the ECJ.

    If the ECJ rules against Britain, then all hell would break loose with the Brexiteers if the government accepts the judgement. And if it doesn’t, then there is no chance of EU members accepting that as a fait accompli.

    So any transitional deal without a very strict timetable would have this ticking clock buried within it. It might last 12 months or so, but I really don’t see how it could be extended further than this.

    1. Anonymous2

      Might it not depend on the circumstances at the time? Public opinion could easily change in a year or two.

      Thinking about this a bit more, given that the UK government is in control of so little, arguably not even itself, with leadership challenges still being talked about, might the Government be trying to plan for a variety of different possible scenarios: hard brexit, soft brexit, train crash brexit, LINO?

      It cannot control what other EU member states do, nor events, nor the newspapers, possibly not even backbenchers. In those circumstances, I would not be surprised if senior civil servants (who probably have better brains and sounder judgement than the politicians) have advised their Ministers to allow for a variety of different possible outcomes.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        What I mean is that the ‘transition period’ everyone is talking about is inherently difficult – so much so that I doubt if the EU would agree to anything more than a short one with a fixed time period.

        Just to give an example of what I mean, suppose just after the transition period a member state decided to make a formal complaint to the Commission, or a case to the ECJ, that the UK was in breach of an EU Law. Lets say, for example, they claim that the UK is not upholding labelling rules on wine, and allowing UK sparkling wine to call itself ‘Champagne’. If the complainant wins, then the UK government has a choice – enforce the ruling, and face howls of protests from the tabloids and Brexiters, or ignore it, and face the fury of the EU. Either way, a simple case like this could cause the entire transition period to collapse. And it is entirely predictable that for all sorts of reasons, many different interest groups would seek to provoke just that collapse. For this reason, I simply can’t see the EU agreeing to any kind of an open ended transition period.

        1. Anonymous2

          I agree your scenario is entirely plausible. I guess I am partly indulging in a bit of thinking ‘out loud’, given that the situation now seems to me to be utterly chaotic. I wonder, as you probably realise, whether the Government has any clear idea now what it is trying to do, assuming it is united enough to have a single, agreed policy line. Apart of course from delivering Brexit, whatever that might mean.

          The UK government now seems to be suggesting it will need transitional arrangements, but I read on a comment thread on another site that that could give rise to WTO problems.
          Could it be that the UK has to obtain something which is impossible? That would fit in with the rest of the insanity that has been so much on show this last year and more.

          Maybe the UK is well and truly f*****.

        2. Synoia

          The Germans and French will not agree to a “transition arrangement.”

          There is much historical animus there, historically both nations wanted the UK to become a small island off the coast of Europe, without much influence.

          With the EU that was happening. Without the EU it might not, because the UK could take a different path.

          In all these discussions there is no talk of the EU’s future, or what the EU could aspire to become. It appears the EU is currently destined to to become the German Empire. of course, like all empires, the Germans have shown wonderful imperial kindness to help other nations as they benefit for the Euro.

          The EU members seem intent on punishing the UK (the stick), without offering any form a carrot (benefits or vision).

          It is not unreasonable to say we’ll try on our own in that environment.

          1. Anonymous2

            Well the UK will continue to be a small island off the coast of Europe, whatever happens.

            More influential outside the EU? Sorry,I think you are deceiving yourself.

            For a start it will be poorer. It already is – see what has happened to the pound since June 2016. Money buys influence. Less money, less influence.

            The UK has been very successful over the years in using its EU membership to leverage up its influence. This has strengthened its position in Washington because the US has been able to use the UK to influence EU lawmaking. The UK has played a very significant role in developing EU law – not that you would ever realise that from reading the UK newspapers who have almost entirely glossed over UK activity in this area in Brussels.

            Elsewhere, for example in Africa, the UK has been able to take a leadership role by leading the EU efforts in African countries.

            Both these sources of influence go once the UK leaves the EU.

            No sensible suggestions have been made to improve the UK position economically or diplomatically relative to the position it has enjoyed as a member of the EU. A trade deal with the US will not replace the loss of single market membership. The UK as a European country will always find it easier to do business in its own backyard, simply because of proximity and time difference issues. A US trade deal will not necessarily address non-tariff barriers even if it does address tariffs. Trade deals with China and India have been proposed by the Brexit camp but it is pretty clear neither country is interested. The rest of the non-EU world is small potatoes by comparison.

            You also IMO (and I have negotiated in Brussels for many years) attribute far too much hostility to the Germans. The UK has generally been a friend and ally to Germany in Brussels. I firmly believe they will be sorry to see the UK go as they will very often have fewer votes on their side when it comes to determining EU legislation in future.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            The EU is too large and unwieldy to have adult conversations about the EU’s future or how it should be arranged. One, the Germans and their French puppets don’t want to change the arrangement.

            Two, who has the standing to speak? On tv, Le Pen and an anti-German economic occupation voice will seem similar. The advent of the current U.S. Constitution was a peaceful transition, but the men who were behind that change were veterans of the Revolutionary War and Washington’s surrogate sons.

            We just had an election where people backing Hillary Clinton (does anyone remember when her husband suspended his campaign to execute a mentally handicapped black guy) had no problem accusing Sanders supporters of racism. This is what will happen in the EU. You don’t like the EU. “How does Frau Hitler sound to you, Comrade Putin?!?!?! Arble garble!” This is the first thing the “centrists” will do.

  7. MoiAussie

    McCain may be temporarily sidelined, but the US let’s-have-war-in-the-Ukraine brigade are doing their best to move things along.

    US considering arms to Ukraine, says envoy Volker (BBC)

    The new US special representative for Ukraine says Washington is actively reviewing whether to send weapons to help those fighting against Russian-backed rebels. Kurt Volker told the BBC that arming Ukrainian government forces could change Moscow’s approach. He said he did not think the move would be provocative. Russia warned that anything that heightened tension could jeopardise a solution to the conflict. Mr Volker, a former US permanent representative to Nato, was given the role in Kiev earlier this month.

    Given his role by Tillerson. The Beeb has little to say about Volker’s connections to other war hawks. From RT:

    Volker, who is a former adviser to US Senator John McCain and a former US ambassador to NATO, previously described the conflict between Donbass rebels and Kiev as a “hot war” and an “immediate crisis,” as opposed to a frozen conflict. Volker visited Ukraine on Sunday […].

    “Hot war” and “immediate crisis” sounds a lot like wishful thinking. With Syria going quiet, there’s a pressing need to engage elsewhere.

  8. Darius

    Cuomo is a bleeding sore lying on the highway. Someone could take him out in a primary. New York Democrats are way too lame to seize the ripe opportunity right in front of their faces. Cuomo is such an asshole that he’s just begging for it.

    1. Jim Haygood

      From Bloomberg:

      Cuomo, who faces re-election next year, said during a July 20 news conference, “New York City is solely responsible for funding the capital plan for the New York City subway system.”

      “The state of New York is responsible for making sure our subways run,” [NYC Mayor DeBlasio] said. “It has been decades and decades that the governor of the state, whoever the governor is, has named the head of the MTA and has effective control over the MTA.”


      Squabbling Democrats: they can’t make the trains run on time. Cuomo 2020!

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Don’t worry about Cuomo except for the damage he can cause to New York. He might hold onto out of some bizarre hope people in New Hampshire will vote for him because “new” is a word in the names of both states, but he will be out by South Carolina. The only Democrats who will vote for Cuomo are the types who loved Hillary but didn’t like her gender.

  9. Myron

    Honestly surprised at the 42% impeachment number. The guy hasnt even done anything yet…

    Hope he fires Mueller just to watch these people’s heads explode. Joss Whedons twitter love letter to Hillary tells me Trump may as well go scorched earth at this point and drive these people into a hypertension induced breakdown

    1. Vatch

      Honestly surprised at the 42% impeachment number. The guy hasnt even done anything yet…

      I agree that there’s no justification for impeachment yet. There was far greater justification for impeaching Bush II over the weapons of mass destruction fraud, and that impeachment never occurred. As for Trump not doing anything yet, though: he’s done a lot. His cabinet level appointments are among the very worst in a very long time. Scott Pruitt, Betsy DeVos, Jeff Sessions, Steven Mnuchin, Tom Price, Mike Pompeo (formerly the Congressman from Koch Industries), Rick Perry, Ben Carson. Sure, all previous Presidents would have a few cabinet members as bad as these, but I can’t remember an administration with so many bad cabinet level officials.

      Then there’s Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court — a clone of the abominable Antonin Scalia.

      1. Pictboy3

        You don’t think that all the conflicts of interest and emoluments issues are grounds for impeachment? I mean it will never happen with this Congress because they’re all so corrupt anyway, but whether or not he’s going to be impeached is an entirely separate question of whether or not he deserves to be impeached. I read the poll question as touching on the latter.

        1. Vatch

          You have some good points. Maybe I’m subconsciously so frightened by the mere concept of President Mike Pence that I have trouble supporting valid grounds for impeachment. Come to think of it, I’m also consciously scared by the thought of President Mike Pence!

          1. Vatch

            That article clearly states that impeachment is the only reasonable option for a violation of the emoluments clause. So if there is a violation of the emoluments clause, then impeachment is the proper course of action. The article also points out practical reasons why impeachment is very unlikely — we have a Republican President and a Republican Congress. So one can make the argument that impeachment should occur, and simultaneously acknowledge that it ain’t gonna happen, and in the extremely unlikely event that the House impeaches, the Senate won’t convict.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump has now entered the game with other gladiators and very hungry lions.

      And the people at the stadium are either thumbing up or down, in place of the emperor.

    3. Edward E

      Makes sense that a man who acts like a playground kindergartner would want to do recess appointments. I just can’t get why anyone would want the opportunity to be thoroughly humiliated by Trump. Magnates Are Governing America again…

  10. voteforno6

    Re: Progressives Actually Like Democrats’ New Message

    Interesting quote:

    A senior aide to a House Democrat credited Schumer’s political instincts for the party’s populist pivot.

    “Chuck Schumer knows which way the wind is blowing. Can’t say that for other members of leadership,” said the aide, who requested anonymity to comment.

    Schumer has always struck me as being a hack, more than an ideologue. He’s going to do what he needs to do to stay in power. If that means actually supporting legislation that supports the working class at the expense of the donors, well, his affections may be a bit more malleable than most. I don’t necessarily like him, but I suspect that he will be much less of an impediment to real change than, say, Nancy Pelosi.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “…..political instincts……”

      barack obama had pretty much preternatural “political instincts,” and all it got the country was eight years of a rotten-to-the-core failed presidency.

      At this point, when you even smell evidence of “political instincts,” let alone hear their existence flat out declared, you should run the other way. If you plugged “political instincts” into google translator, you’d come up with “I’ll say anything to get your measly vote.”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Err..I use to believe defeating Hillary was an accomplishment, but recent events have really taken the sheen off the wind. As for John McCain, the breaking news that he has a brain was stunning.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          ……..the breaking news that he has a brain was stunning.

          Ha! No kidding.

          I’ll confess to wondering why cancer even bothered. I guess it could have been one of those deplorable, undereducated, low-skill cancers whose jobs are never coming back.

      2. voteforno6

        There’s nothing wrong with having good political instincts, as long as they’re put to good use. Bernie Sanders, for example, seems to be a very talented politician – he’s had to be, just to get as far as he has. In Schumer’s case (or really anyone with a malleable ideology), those instincts can be put to good use, with the proper encouragement.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Schumer knows jack. “The actual progressives” appear to be Democratic Party elite think tank employees. Nina Turner noted every issue that matters isn’t mentioned.

      Teachout and Stoller make an appearance supporting the “anti-trust” language, but there is no actual policy there. Schumer’s grand presentation is hollow as presented by a Wall Street toady.

      Much like Tywin Lannister noting if you have to say you are the king, you aren’t (cough Cersei and Danaerys) cough). If you need to say, “actual progressives” like your positions you can be sure the people listed aren’t progressive or didn’t actually embrace the proposals.

    3. JohnnyGL

      Agreed, regarding Schumer being malleable. Let’s take out DiFi and/or Pelosi in a primary and Schumer will very quickly get the message. Watch how quickly he gets on board with whatever Bernie’s pitching.

      Pour encourager les autres!

  11. JCC

    The more I read pieces like “Intel Vets Challenge ‘Russia Hack’ Evidence”, the easier it is to believe (true or not) that Seth Rich was intentionally silenced with extreme prejudice.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Ditto for the more Rich’s death is explained away as a “robbery” gone wrong where nothing of value was taken.

      1. sid_finster

        But apparently Rich’s laptop was seized as “evidence” immediately after the murder.

    2. voteforno6

      That’s quite a leap to make. What in those emails was so explosive that would lead someone to such an extreme act? At the worst, they were really embarrassing. The risk involved in offing him was way more than whatever benefit they could hope to gain.

      1. Romancing The Loan

        Oh I don’t know. I’ve actually seen more than one murder for hire case and the people who did the ordering didn’t come off as terribly sophisticated even if there was lots of $ involved. “Really embarrassing” is, imo, absolutely sufficient justification for the sort of person who would hire an assassin in the first place. The lawsuit over the primaries was a direct result of that leak – proving they can get away with the murder of someone in Rich’s position might be seen as a valuable enough example to discourage others to make it worth doing.

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        There was nothing explosive in the emails, but if someone were to step up in public and say “I did it, not the Russians” the entire narrative being used to finalize an intelligence community coup would go out the window. I know it’s become the thing to dismiss anyone who embraces the idea our spies are willing to go to any length to achieve their ends as being off their meds, but the whole Seth Rich thing stinks.

        1. JCC

          True, not to mention that it would show that many on Clinton’s election Team were flat out lying, including HRC herself and many of her high-level supporters like Schumer and the rest. Politicians would easily consider blatant loss of personal integrity a legitimate reason for assassination in order to make sure their past, present, and future stories held up publicly. Their income (including graft… whoops, I mean election funds) depend on it.

          I’m not saying Seth Rich was or wasn’t a victim of some D.C. deep dark plot… how could I? But what I am saying is that it is stuff like the above mentioned article that makes this sort of thing easy to believe. Even for those who believe everything is a conspiracy theory and therefore not true will always have that question lurking in the back of their minds.

          D.C. politics breeds the distrust of its citizenry by not telling the truth, whether it’s the Kennedy Assassination, Saddam’s weapons of Mass Destruction, or the DNC leak.

          Citing speculation as fact by MSM and D.C.politicians does the Govt or the People no good at all and just adds to both media distrust and Govt distrust.

          I, for one, believe it was leaked by an insider, though not necessarily Seth Rich. I also happen to believe that HRC had, and has, enough fanatical supporters (just like Trump) that would not hesitate to shoot “a traitor” in the back (not to mention some politicians/agencies doing some long-term planning in case Trump won), so… until MSM and both the Democrat and Republican Parties can show definitive proof of anything, speculation will run rampant guaranteeing nothing but more long-term mis-trust.

      3. JCC

        I’m not saying Seth Rich was or wasn’t a victim of some D.C. deep dark plot… how could I? But what I am saying is that it is stuff like the above mentioned article that makes this sort of thing easy to believe. Even for many of those who believe that anything that counts as a conspiracy theory is therefore not true will always have that question lurking in the back of their minds.

        D.C. politics breeds the distrust of its citizenry by not telling the truth, whether it’s the Kennedy Assassination, Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, or the DNC leak.

        Citing speculation as fact by MSM and D.C.politicians does the Govt or the People no good at all and just adds to both media distrust and Govt distrust.

        I, for one, believe it was leaked by an insider, though not necessarily Seth Rich. I also happen to believe that HRC had, and has, enough fanatical supporters (just like Trump) that would not hesitate to shoot “a traitor” in the back (not to mention some politicians and/or agencies doing some long-term planning in case Trump won – eliminating Rich early on would help to guarantee results), so… until MSM and both the Democrat and Republican Parties can show definitive proof of anything, speculation will run rampant. And basing policy on speculation, which is exactly what is happening right now, will guarantee nothing but more long-term mis-trust by US Citizens, and possibly far worse than that.

    3. Bill Smith

      The metadata dates being talked about are those is a zip file?

      “A study has been added which analyzes the file metadata in a 7zip archive file, 7dc58-ngp-van.7z”

      if so, it doesn’t mean anything unless it can be shown where the file was created.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump Has Averaged 50% or Higher Job Approval in 17 States Gallup. “Approval below 40% in 17 states.”

    It’s as if there are two countries here…

    And Indians and Pakistanis will point you to their histories, when the empire, the British empire collapsed there, people migrated to be with their own. Religions did their work, over hundreds of years.

    Here and now, the main stream media, multinational corporations and partisan politics are doing the heavy lifting to further making a molehill a mountain.

    1. JohnnyGL

      The British worked to create enmity and division over hundreds of years because divide-and-rule is how empires work.

      Much like Sunnis/Shias in Iraq didn’t murder each other in massive numbers BEFORE the US invasion, Muslims and Hindus didn’t have such massive problems with communal violence BEFORE the British poisoned relations.

      Don’t blame religion where colonialism/empire are CLEARLY the culprits!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Sometimes religions do the work on their own.

        The fighting, among themselves, Buddhist monks on the streets of Nara, before the Yamato aristocrats had to relocate to Kyoto. And even there, they continued to war, until Nobunaga burned down one of the big temples at Mt. Hiei.

        It couldn’t be too different with other religions, with the support of many other power centers.

      2. sid_finster

        Mahmud al Ghazni and Tamerlane, among others, would disagree.

        Neither was British, but boy howdy did they ever slaughter Hindus, destroy Hindu temples, fill ritual water tanks with cow blood, etc..

        And yes, very much because the Hindus were Hindus.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We could say other interests manipulated us or fanned tensions among the groups.

          But we are also responsible for our own actions.

          It is what Hillary said – it takes a whole village.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When the British empire collapsed there.

      And, I should add, with the tireless work of the no-violence Mahatma.

      Was it to continue to suffer the insult to man’s dignity under the colonialists and steady, low frequency massacres, or immediate, instant deaths of many in the aftermath of the end of imperial rule?

      Could Gandhi have foreseen that?

      Maybe not.

      What would he have said if asked (or what did he when asked) whether he would it all over again?

      Short term pain but long term gain, or any life is precious?

      Normally, the human brain is more focused on the immediate, instant, visible violence, and less on the low intensity (or less visible), long duration kind. Here, it seems to be reversed….Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!!!

      1. Gaianne

        What is the point you are trying to make here?

        Mohandas K. Gandhi ( a hindu) himself tried to reconcile the muslim/hindu split. He was killed for it by a hindu nationalist from a precursor of the current Hindu Nationalist Party.

        His success of his independence movement depended on several things, including these three: 1) The dedication and enthusiasm of his non-violent followers, 2) a–by 21st century standards–extremely free and honest press and the need of the British Government to appear less than wholly evil, 3) the existence of violent and extreme independence movements that–if Gandhi’s movement were sidelined–would be obviously less palatable for the Brits to deal with.


        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That there was forces beyond one’s control, and every decision involved various, including opposite, considerations.

          And if one couldn’t foresee the many costs beforehand, would one still have done it looking back, knowing how costly?

          As well, the lesson for the future, should we encounter similar dilemmas – short term pain for long term gain, or to risk a certain deaths in order to save greater number of people from dying, or liberty (or other causes) is worth dying for, etc.

  13. a different chris

    I have, besides the obvious objections, a different take on the “cashless” society — it may well be way more problematical than cash (and yes, I carry hardly any cash and whip out a card for barely more than a cup of coffee even if I do have the cash):

    >First-time customers sign up by scanning a QR code at the entrance, choosing a password, registering their phone number and submitting a selfie.

    How many passwords does the average person on here have? I am beyond counting – work (multiple), bank, paypal, ebay, kids college accounts (#of kids x bank loan app(source) x college bursar(recipient)), phone, credit cards 1&2, and I bet I could double that with a few more minutes thought.

    Even if I could* use the same password I of course wouldn’t, if somebody steals** it I am truly f’d. I certainly wouldn’t use my bank password for a Chinese kiosk! But a lot of the time it takes some thought and often I simply can’t remember. And then what do I do in the middle of the night away from home?

    *Funny story, actually not that funny: we all tried to just have a single work password when our company was bought by what turned out to be a shell of shells, and we all gave up because as we worked our way thru the 7(!) different sites, the password rules kept changing. Now there was likely an uber-password that would satisfy all the rules but with all the other new login things by the end you had no desire to go back so you just kept a sheet of all your passwords…

    **Stealing passwords being 99% of the way people got and still get hacked, regardless of all the crap about whiz kids in their parents basements or Russia

    1. MoiAussie

      Stealing passwords being 99% of the way people got and still get hacked

      Dictionary based attack (trying candidates from a list, ie guessing) is far more likely to succeed. Shamelessly lifted from the net and not new, here are the top 25 commonly hacked passwords from 2016.

      1. 123456
      2. 123456789
      3. qwerty
      4. 12345678
      5. 111111
      6. 1234567890
      7. 1234567
      8. password
      9. 123123
      10. 987654321
      11. qwertyuiop
      12. mynoob
      13. 123321
      14. 666666
      15. 18atcskd2w
      16. 7777777
      17. 1q2w3e4r
      18. 654321
      19. 555555
      20. 3rjs1la7qe
      21. google
      22. 1q2w3e4r5t
      23. 123qwe
      24. zxcvbnm
      25. 1q2w3e

      Bonus points to anyone who can explain 15 and 20 without a web search.

      1. Gaianne

        Number 15 and number 20 seem to me to argue against the official claim that these accounts were phished. If these are indeed bot accounts, they must have turned up as the result of a data breach.

        By the way, I am disappointed that “incorrect” did not turn up on the list. Too logical for humans, I suppose!

        A: What is your password?

        B: I don’t know. Let’s just try something. (Types: 1234)

        Computer: Your password is incorrect.

        B: Of course! That’s it! (Types “incorrect”)

        Computer: You are logged on.


  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Time is of the essence.

    Make America Wait Again: Trump Tries to Delay Regulations out of Existence Scientific American. This matters a lot more Trump’s tweets. Why, it’s almost as if he’s trying to distract people….

    More time is of the essence.

    Newly Disclosed Clinton-era Memo Says Presidents Can Be Indicted Charles Savage, NYT

    (Why had it been undisclosed for so long?)

    Healthcare delayed is healthcare denied. (“Where is that ambulance?”…”When can I get an appointment with the doctor?”)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As for potential indictments of sitting presidents, can we already see all future commanders-in-chief will have to be infallible, objects of total worship and submission?

      Otherwise, a way can always be found to indict, with or without (partisan) FBI investigation prior to, or subsequent to, taking office.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Someone came up with the idea to brief a bipartisan group of Congressional leadership about torture policies (Gang of Eight) to avoid future prosecution. Maybe it was this guy?

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “You know, as someone who hasn’t been to a doctor in 35 years, limiting future prescription cost increases to 15%/year really speaks to me.”

    That’s called ‘solidifying and legitimizing one’s wealth.’

    “Your billions will grow only at the most15% a year from now on, Mr. Bill Ionaire (just call him Bill).”

    Lucky for us, it’s only 15% per annum.

    1. Vatch

      Here’s the document:

      And here’s the quote:

      Drugs with a significant price increase will also be required to submit to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) a justification for the price increase at least 30 days before the price increase takes effect. A drug with a significant price increase would be defined as:

      1. A drug that is at least $10 and had a price increase of at least 300 percent over five
      years or 100 percent over one year; or

      2. A drug that represents the top 50th percentile of drug spending in Medicare or
      Medicaid and had a price increase of at least 50 percent over five years or 15 percent
      over one year.

      What’s the official inflation rate? Something like 1% or 2% per year? How about defining a significant price increase as any increase that exceeds the inflation rate by 2%? Let’s interpret that like this: if the inflation rate is 3% in one year, anything greater than a 5% increase is excessive. If there’s zero inflation in a particular year, then anything greater than a 2% increase is excessive. If there’s 3% deflation, then if the price does not drop by at least 1%, it is considered an excessive increase.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Independent of the current inflation today, many drugs should be cheaper already now.

        The current prices should not be used as bases.

        First, get those prices down.
        Then, set future increase rates.

      2. Burritonomics

        Here’s how that’s gonna play out –

        HHS: Hey, GloboPharm, we need to know why you are significantly increasing the price of this drug

        GloboPharm: Because markets

        HHS: Cool

  16. Tom Stone

    The people who criticize the pay of Healthcare CEO’s can’t seem to acknowledge that these men are doing God’s work by sending so many more poor people to Heaven!

  17. SKG

    While I appreciate that it completely stinks that this person is paying $15,000 per year for ACA healthcare, regular employees are in the same boat.

    If you make $30,000 / year and get healthcare with your job, your total compensation (including healthcare subsidy) might be $40,000 and you could be spending $10-12k for family coverage + out of pocket costs. They’re not protected for total costs at all under the ACA (other than the “affordability” requirement which hides their costs in the “employer contribution.”)

    Healthcare costs 18% of GDP. That means 18% of everything has to go to pay for healthcare until we fix the cost side.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Democrats Are Re-learning Populism Washington Monthly. After editor Clara Jeffrey spent 2016 throwing the kitchen sink at Sanders, the approving nod for Schumer.

    Perhaps a refresher course in acting in addition to re-learning populism.

  19. Mel

    The comment software is at it again. Entered a comment under the Bill Black article. Was it accepted? That was neither confirmed nor denied. Instead I got bounced to the first article listed on the home page, the John Helmer. Happened just before this comment.

  20. Anon

    RE: Screwed up the Coasts…

    And, if we’re going to keep Gracilaria around, we probably will want to control its population levels so that it doesn’t lead to overgrowth and oxygen depletion. But the authors found that different population levels are needed for specific ecosystem functions. So any management efforts will have to take that into account.

    So, after upsetting a self-regulating ecosystem we now have a littoral system that not only needs deep research, but also money to implement the intervention. What is it about natural ecosystem *benefits* these folks misunderestimate? (h/t: GWBush)

    1. Oregoncharles

      Algae are photosynthesizers. Why would an excess cause oxygen depletion?

      Usually, it would be because they’re decaying on the bottom, but so would seagrass.

      1. Anon

        Because algae only produce oxygen (during the photosynthetic process) while there is an energy source (usually the sun). During the night the process of respiration (oxygen consumption) predominates.

        The issue is ecological balance. Natural systems have found that balance. To upset it is to incur the wrath of unintended consequences.

  21. Oregoncharles

    From “He Investigated Dubious Firings for U.S. Then He Was Fired Bloomberg”:
    ” Troubled by that, he took his concerns to superiors all the way to the top of the Labor Department. Then, in May 2015, he was fired.
    Investigator’s Complaint

    Like the workers whose claims he handled, Whitman says his own dismissal was retaliatory. In an administrative complaint to a U.S. watchdog for federal employees, he also alleges that the Labor Department dismissed complaints in deference to influential companies, a practice he said flowed from the top.”

    2015. Obama. Who was Labor Sec. then? What was it Obama said about protecting Wall St. from “the pitchforks”?

  22. Plenue

    >Keywords for the Age of Austerity 30: Thought Leader The Age of Austerity.

    You don’t even have to go back to the 19th century to find a connection between the TED Talk model and religion. I can tell you from many miserable, wasted Sunday mornings that the insipid, rote, forced friendliness style of TED is basically copy-pasted from what thousands of American Pastors do every week. They all have the same basic style; they literally go to schools to learn this approach to public speaking. TED does have less of the “TALKING LOUD, GETTING A BIT LOUDER, suddenly I whisper” than that Pastors employ though, and so is actually a mild improvement on the style.

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