Links 7/31/2017

Bristol teacher’s end-of-term gift – the sweetest present ever? BBC

7 mighty benefits of writing by hand Treehugger

Save Snow Leopards World Wildlife Fund Watch the enbedded video, and please consider signing the petition to save the snow leopard— Naked Capitalism’s iconic animal.

The schools that teach parents as well as children Economist (Emma)

U.S. government ordered to solve ‘Case of the Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat’ Reuters

Robot cracks open safe live on Def Con’s stage BBC (Chuck L): But enquiring minds want to know: did it crack it faster than a “professional” safecracker would have done?

How the search for mythical monsters can help conservation in the real world The Conversation

Refugee Watch

Why offshore processing of refugees bound for Europe is such a bad idea The Conversation

Class Warfare

Chelsea and Me: On the politics—or non-politics or pseudo-politics—of engaging a power player on Twitter Corey Robin Corey Robin. Follow-on from yesterday, which attracted lots of chatter in comments. (With the original, for those who missed it: Yesterday, I got into an argument with Chelsea Clinton. On Twitter. About Hannah Arendt. Corey Robin.)

After Meg Whitman’s exit, Uber’s CEO search is down to only male candidates — as its board struggles and Travis Kalanick meddles  Recode

Journalists at the Financial Times ‘preparing to strike’ over gender pay gap Independent

Opinion: 5 ways to tell if you belong among the new elites — the ‘aspirational class’ MarketWatch. Decisions, decisions: Does this belong here or in Guillotine Watch?

Free Lunch at the Library NYT

‘Overworked’ lecturers who sleep in their offices threatened with disciplinary action Daily Telegraph

Of money and morals Aeon (Emma)

Bankers Ditch Fat Salaries to Chase Digital Currency Riches Bloomberg

Guillotine Watch

Want to Be Happy? Buy More Takeout and Hire a Maid, Study Suggests NYT

Unpaid internships damage long-term graduate pay prospects Guardian (Chuck L).

Kill Me Now

Joe Biden still wants to be president. Can his family endure one last campaign? WaPo

High Court blocks bid to prosecute Tony Blair over Iraq War Independent


We won’t be a tax haven after Brexit, says Hammond The Times



Nuclear Diplomacy: From Iran to North Korea? NYRB

North Korea

Trump and Japan’s Abe talk about ‘grave and growing’ North Korea threat Reuters

Vietnam’s role in North Korea: a ‘friendship’ endures? Asia Times

Urgent Warning: Time to Hit the Reset Button on U.S.-Korean Policy AlterNet


Xi’s show of force declares China’s battle readiness to the world SCMP

China shows off military might as tensions flare over North Korea Independent

Hostile border dispute with India could damage China’s global trade plan, experts warn SCMP


It Makes Little Sense to Blame Students for India’s Growing Loan Default Problem The Wire

New Cold War

Sanctionstein: What is the real cause of America’s latest sanctions regime? The Duran (Micael)


A Country Divided: How it affected me BBC. Some victims of Partition share their stories, seventy years after the fact.

Mysterious craters blowing out of Russia could mean trouble for the whole planet CNBC

China’s ageing solar panels are going to be a big environmental problem SCMP

Why electric cars are always green (and how they could get greener) Quartz

Democrats in Disarray

Trump had ‘The Art of the Deal.’ Now Democrats say their economic agenda is ‘A Better Deal. WaPo (MF). Money quote: “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) agreed, explaining in a separate interview that the new focus “is not a course correction, but it’s a presentation correction.” “ So, Democrats double down on their position that there’s no problem that cannot be fixed with better propaganda.

We Don’t Need No “Moderates” 34Justice (Emma)

Readers, click through to follow Stoller’s whole rant– it’s worth it!

Britain’s Imperial Follies Bloomberg (Emma)

McCain’s Brain Cancer Draws Renewed Attention to Possible Agent Orange Connection ProPublica

Big Brother IS Watching You Wtach

While you’re watching Disney’s films at the cinema, Disney can now watch you Quartz. It’s enough to make me want to don a mask the next time I go to the cinema. Guy Fawkes? King Kong? Groucho Marx? Yogi Berra?

We Can’t Live in Fear of Our Own Intelligence Community American Conservative

Google’s new program to track shoppers sparks a federal privacy complaint WaPo

Trump Transition

Trump’s new weapon? His Cabinet The Hill

Sally Yates: Protect the Justice Department From President Trump NYC. Classic pearl-clutching harangue, completely oblivious to how the DoJ’s reputation plummeted as prosecutors eschewed corporate crime, antitrust, and other white collar prosecutions– save for Preet Bharara’s pet parking ticket priority: insider trading.

PBS CEO warns that federal cuts will sink some stations AP

Health Care

Jimmy Carter Calls for Single Payer The Nation (Emma)

Lawsuits could force feds to pay Obamacare insurers Politico

Double-Booked: When Surgeons Operate On Two Patients At Once Kaiser Health News. A couple of weeks old. Still timely. Wowsers.

Centrist lawmakers plot bipartisan health care stabilization bill Politico

Get ready for the next big health care fight. This one’s all about kids Stat

‘I died in hell’: sacrifice of war dead remembered at Passchendaele Guardian

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. voteforno6

    Re: Centrist lawmakers plot bipartisan health care stabilization bill

    The Problem Solvers’ Caucus? Ugh, I just wish those people would go away.

    1. Darius

      It’s time for the party of the millionaires and the party of the billionaires to put aside petty partisan differences and do what’s right for the only people who really matter, the billionaires!

      1. a different chris

        Yeah, well this makes sense once you understand that an American millionaire is simply a temporarily embarrassed billionaire.

        1. edmndo

          And millionaires are the Democratic Party’s most likely nominees for governor in New Jersey, Colorado, California, Illinois, Florida and Pennsylvania. See, they are the “people’s party” if you consider millionaires “just folks”.

          1. Vatch

            One of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Illinois is an actual billionaire. Does anyone know whether any of the candidates in other states are also billionaires?

    2. lb

      The bipartisan working group also wants to change Obamacare’s employer mandate so that it applies only to companies with more than 500 workers. Currently companies with at least 50 workers can be hit with a tax penalty if they don’t provide coverage to their workers.

      I looked up the Small Business Administration’s statistics on firm size to quantify (using 2014 numbers) about how many people would be affected by such a change. A responsible journalist might have provided context on this, given we at least occasionally hear numbers on the Medicaid expansion and Medicaid enrollment…

      In 2014, firms between 50 and 499 employed 25.4 million people (of a total accounting of 121 million employed by firms/establishments). So it’s “moderate” to increase the insecurity of 21% of working Americans while punting further down the road attempts at single-payer because the system was “fixed”.

      But wait, wouldn’t this crimp the money inflows of the precious health insurance industry by billions of dollars?

      The group also wants to create a federal stability fund – dollar amount unspecified — that states can tap to reduce premiums and other costs for people with extremely expensive medical needs. Both the Senate and House repeal packages contained similar pots of money.

      Oh, ok, then. Pots of money. So, let’s say an expensive need is epi-pens, and now Martin Shkreli or his ilk can cash in on this federal fund. Awesome, the system works! And any attack on this will find that “people with extremely expensive medical needs” are human shields.

      Maybe these congresspeople can run the fiscal effect of this bill all the way up to nearly no net savings (the insurers must not be harmed), pass it by reconciliation, claim to be the “Adults in the room” and never alter the fundamental flows of money which entrench and reinforce the power of the insurers, all the while hurting millions of workers but “helping” about 600k employers provide fewer benefits. Because “small business” and “tweak” and “stabilize” all test well for these “moderates” I imagine.

  2. Antifa

    Regarding China’s coming flood of worn out solar panels — recycling them will have to be figured into the cost of recovering the material, and also be included in the cost of new panels from new material.

    There are thousands of modern industrial products that are still being thrown away even as the materials to manufacture them grow scarcer. Solar panels are just one of these.

    In most of the remainder of this century, the passengers on this round globe will more and more have to realize a state of sustainability: if you take elements out of the environment to build something useful, you have to build it so that it can be dismantled to be used again and again, since there will be no ready supply of “new” materials. Price won’t matter if it’s a matter of killing our biosphere.

    What we’ve got is what we’ve got, and we’ve got Earth. Flying asteroids back here for their iron and nickel, and human colonists fleeing to other planets is not going to solve the supply crunch already coming our way. We have two gigantic pools of floating waste in the Pacific, each larger than Texas. That’s just the stuff that floats.

    As this century progresses (declines?), governments will have to step in and force all industries to give up environmental rape as a viable business model: “If you make it, you get to unmake it someday, or pay for its unmaking. If you can’t, won’t or don’t, then you don’t get to make it. We cannot afford to do that any longer.”

    1. Charger01

      No no no. The key problem with solar panels are they fail a TCLP sample test for metals. They’re too high for silver and cadmium, and are treated as a hazardous waste once they’ve been used. If anyone can write a business plan and come up with a way to recycle ’em, they should be rolling in clover for the next 30 years.

      1. Antifa

        Yes, solar panels as currently manufactured are a horror to bury, and a horror to process and recycle. There are less polluting materials coming along, but the bulk of the world’s solar installations are going to cost us all incredibly to phase out.

        The point is that solar is just one waste stream that shouldn’t have been created and left to the public to clean up. As the coming decades arrive, governments everywhere are going to have to step in and tell industries across the board that their profits don’t matter compared to preserving our biosphere. Things like oxygen, soil, water, weather. Stuff that no amount of private profits or wealth can replace.

        Industry will get to make what it can invent, but there will be no waste stream at the other end. The rule will be, ‘You built it, you get to clean it up, take it apart, recycle it. Put that in your business plan or don’t even start.’

        Hey, maybe adding in these currently-ignored recycling costs will inspire Whirlpool to make a washing machine that lasts for a century, instead of a decade. Our local landfill has about two acres of home appliances on any given day. People wander around the place taking them apart, and big trucks come get the separated pieces, but there’s always two acres of appliances waiting.

        It will take government policy to get the invisible hand of the free market to sort this stuff, or start making stuff that doesn’t end up here as garbage while the paint is still gleaming white.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          Industry will get to make what it can invent, but there will be no waste stream at the other end. The rule will be, ‘You built it, you get to clean it up, take it apart, recycle it. Put that in your business plan or don’t even start.’

          Will we get ponies, too? I’m curious as to what sort of politics you imagine bringing about this outcome.

        2. oh

          I recycled a coffee maker last week. It had to be recycled thru a separate facility and it cost me $5.00 ($0.39/lb vs $0.79/lb for TV and other electronics). I think this cost should be borne by the manufacturer since they do not make it out of easily recyclable plastic and removable electronics. We all need to look before we buy these appliances to see what they’re made of and whether they can be easily recycled.

      2. barefoot charley

        The article ends with the passing thought that old panels still produce juice at lower rates. Places with plenty of space can still use them for decades to come. I have several sets of 40+-year-old Arcos, the original retail panels that put out a rated 35 watts each (in their prime). They’re still good for 20-25 watts apiece–a 30 percent decline is predictable–but no one knows for how long they’ll keep pumping electrons. That’s how long I’ll keep using them.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, I was wondering about that. Surely the cheapest and easiest way to extend their life is just use them as roofing materials for agricultural buildings, sheds, anti-evaporation covers, etc., its not too expensive just to wire them up so even if their output is very low its better than nothing.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Yes, they keep the rain off quite well. Our co-op has a bike shed roofed with them. That was a new installation, but it isn’t any more.

            It’s always been questionable (and wasteful) to mount them OVER roofing, as is usually done. For one thing, the shade causes terrible moss growth, which isn’t good for the roof. It makes sense as a retrofit, but not if it’s a new building or just a shed. Tesla has come up with solar panels that look like roofing, but all that was really needed was water-shedding connectors.

      3. mpalomar

        New thin-film solar-cell technology is moving away from silicon and toxic rare earth metals and processes. Cadmium chloride remains a toxic component in thin film but a breakthrough in 2014 using safer more abundant magnesium chloride is likely to change that.
        Globalization, offshoring manufacturing and technology is contributing to the problem as Europe and the West have developed better recycling and environmental regulation than China where a lot the problems are occurring.

  3. MoiAussie

    As the MSM seem to be having a little trouble covering this story adequately, here, direct from Venezuela:

    What Mainstream Media Got Wrong About Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly Vote

    Venezuelans voted Sunday for representatives of the National Constituent Assembly, amid what the government has called a targeted media campaign to destabilize the country and destroy its sovereignty.

    International media outlets rushed to discredit the vote, sharing grossly misrepresentative accounts of the historic electoral process.

    [WaPo] said Maduro “defiantly followed through Sunday with his pledge” to hold the election, “creating a critical new stage in a long-simmering crisis that could mint the Western Hemisphere’s newest dictatorship.”

    These inflammatory comments, however, do not acknowledge that the right to call a National Constituent Assembly is included in the country’s Constitution and supported by several articles of its text. Indeed the absolute independence of the members of the Constituent Assembly to make changes to the Constitution is protected under these articles.

    So it seems consitutional democracy in action must be feared and reviled.

    1. Uahsenaa

      Lying about Latin America is standard operating procedure for Western media and is one of the clearest signs that what TPTB truly fear is the left, not the right. Heaven forfend people should be allowed to vote to determine the fate of their country. That doesn’t leave much wiggle room for the kind of technocratic rule the US and European nations always seek to impose on others.

    2. edmondo

      Is it really a “democracy” when only your supporters are allowed to appear on the ballot?

      OTOH – after the choice we had in November 2016, USAians don’t have the right to talk to anyone about elections.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Fake news.

        The 545 delegates are elected by each municipality, state and sector (+ 8 reps from indigenous communities). Any Venezuelan citizen can be a candidate, regardless of political affiliation, so long as she or he is of legal age and resides in or works in the area or sector to be represented (5+ years), and candidates must receive at least 3% of the votes from their municipality, state or sector to be on the ballot.

        I assume the origin of the bogus claim of ‘closed ballots limited to PSUV members’ is due to the fact that the right-wing opposition (MUD) is not on the ballot because they are boycotting the constituent assembly. But then again this is an official US enemy, so as usual when it comes to the MSM, anything goes.

        1. oh

          There is so much propaganda against the the government of Venezuela since Chavez (after the failed CIA coup) and many ignoramuses buy off on the false statements.

    3. Frenchguy

      Come on, the spirit of the constitution is violated if not the letter, you don’t write a new constitution after losing an election usually. Official numbers (which are very unlikely to be underestimated) are for a turnout of 42% whereas it was 74% in the parliamentary elections of 2015. Clearly, the constituant assembly has a legitimacy problem.

      1. RabidGandhi

        “Spirit of the constitution”? Venezuela’s 1999 constitution specifically stipulates that constituent assemblies may be held, just as the current government is doing.

        Article 347: The Venezuelan people are the depository of the power originating the constitution. In exercise of this power, they may convene a National Constituent Assembly in order to transform the State, create a new legal framework and draft a new Constitution.

        Furthermore, there is ample precedent, as there were two previous constituent assemblies held along the exact same lines, one in 2007 and one in 2009.

        As for the turnout, the right-wing opposition front (MUD) called for a boycott of yesterday’s referendum, and this explains the low turnout. Back in 2015 they did not call for a boycott of the legislative elections because they (correctly) saw that they had a chance at winning the National Assembly. This explains the discrepancy in turnouts that you cited.

        This whole play is quite the gamble on Maduro’s part, since if it were to backfire, the constituent assembly could ostensibly curtail his power tremendously. If the MUD had the popular support they could have used the assembly to neuter the executive branch. But the ruling party knew MUD does not have that support, so that is why we are where we are: with the right-wing boycotting, and the Bolivarians raising the flag of popular support. Call it Maduro’s Gambit Declined.

      2. MoiAussie

        The constitution being violated? Hardly. According to it, the president has a perfect right to initiate a National Constituent Assembly, and cannot overrule the decisions of that assembly. Democracy in action, if in a form unfamiliar to most in the west.

        As for the turnout, in the first round of recent French Parliament elections it was less then 50%. In the second, it was 42%, a record low. So the French government also has a legitimacy problem, non?

        And wasn’t Mélenchon proposing to bring in a new 6th Republic? And aren’t 30+ Republican states in the US salivating at the idea of a Constitutional Convention? People love democracy except when it leads to a result they dislike, then they claim it was somehow illegitimate. DNC, anyone?

        1. Frenchguy

          I completely agree that the current French Parliament has not the legitimacy to change the constitution.

          And once again, the letter of the law is respected, not the spirit of it. If you are going to get that legalist then you would certainly agree that Macron has the right to declare a state of emergency under article 16 of the French constitution and order the arrest of all his political opponents including Melenchon and that would be, by your standards, democracy in action. Thought not… I don’t have a horse in this race so if Maduro wants to lead of revolution (which it is) then fine but I don’t get why his supporters have to defend that it is not that but just a very banal political manoeuver…

          1. MoiAussie

            Most political manoeuvers are banal, particularly in US politics. Australians have been required to vote on referenda to change the constitution 41 times since federation, and this can be done essentially at the whim of the Prime Minister of the day. Problem with that?

            What is blindingly obvious is that the MSM is lying in its portrayal of political events in Venezuela in support of the elite opposition.

    4. John k

      Their constitution also allows a vote to remove maduro, which gov did not allow.
      Plus no access to press for gov opponents, this point is not democratic, though same happens here.

      1. RabidGandhi

        “Gov did not allow”. Translation: the Venezuelan Constitution offers the possibility of a recall referendum if a valid petition is filed with the Electoral Commission. Not only did the opposition miss the filing deadline to have Maduro removed (due to overconfidence after winning the majority in the National Assembly) but also:

        Of the 1,957,779 signatures submitted during the first phase [of the recall referendum], over thirty percent—or 605,727—had irregularities, including signatures from over 10,000 deceased persons.


        Secondly, with regard to the point about “no access to press for gov opponents”, this is just nonesense. The top private media channels by viewership are Venevisión and Globovisión, both of which not only gave lopsided coverage to opposition candidates in the last presidential elections, but were also caught red-handed manipulating videos to support the anti-Chávez coup in 2002. nevertheless, as the Carter Centre reports (pdf):

        Regarding the tone of the coverage in public media, the monitoring found 91 percent positive coverage of candidate Nicolás Maduro. Candidate Capriles had no positive coverage in those media (91 percent of the items registered were negative, while the remaining 9 percent were neutral). In private media, candidate Henrique Capriles received 60 percent positive coverage (with 23 percent negative and 17 percent neutral), while candidate Maduro had 28 percent positive (with 54 percent negative and 18 percent neutral).

        So there is indeed a bias in public broadcasting toward the government (Venezuela must be the only country where that happens), but as the report notes, 74% of viewing time is spent watching private TV stations. So this idea that government opponents have no access to media is 100% grade AAA baloney.

        Really, there are so many salient reasons to criticise the Chávez/Maduro governments (manipulation of the judiciary, exchange rate fiasco, favouring oil over industrialisation…), it surprises me to see these recycled right-wing talking points here.

    5. Lambert Strether

      > defiantly

      One of those words you always want to watch out for. Ask yourself “Who is being defied?” Generally you will find that “elite consensus” is being defied. Then ask yourself why…

      1. MoiAussie

        Duly noted, thanks. I excerpted enough to give a sense of the piece, but in this case the “defiance” seems to have a more specific object – Trompe himself. In full context:

        The Washington Post also insisted the nation’s 2.8 million state workers “risked losing their jobs if they did not vote.”

        The media outlet went even further, claiming the internal and democratic election represented “a direct challenge” to the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump after it demanded that the government cancel the vote.

        It said Maduro “defiantly followed through Sunday with his pledge” to hold the election, “creating a critical new stage in a long-simmering crisis that could mint the Western Hemisphere’s newest dictatorship.”

        And so the immediate imposition of personal sanctions. What’s not clear is who in the admin is leading Trompe on this. Tillerson, perhaps?

  4. craazyman

    When I’m in the wilderness searching for mythical monsters handwriting is the only form of communication with Contemporary Analysis headquarters in Magonia. You can’t get drunk and type out here. There’s no AC and no Youtube. You have to face a blank page in camp with only a fountain pen and whiskey. You choose your words carefully. No interminable screedlike political pukes of what could only charitably and with the most sublime humanist sensibilities be politely called “prose”! No. Here in camp you think first, compose and edit in your mind — ruthlesslessly excising your logoreah without a trace of sentimentality — then and only then, encode it in the craft of an almost calligraphic perfection. This is the way a Gentleman hunts for mythical monsters and relates the expedition’s adventures. Try it with lined paper first! Then when you get good you can write on a completely blank page. Discipline! That’s our watch word.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      You may not believe this, craazyman, but I assure you, it’s true. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m a frequent traveler, and I go nowhere without my trusty fountain pen– which I fill from a bottle. Since one can’t take liquids in one’s carry-on, I always pack ink in my checked luggage– a certain recipe for future disaster. But I do it anyway. Currently using Diamine amethyst.

      1. Lunker Walleye

        “Do? Why, you must learn to form your letters and keep the line. What’s the use of writing at all if nobody can understand it?” asked Caleb, energetically, quite preoccupied with the bad quality of the work. “Is there so little business in the world that you must be sending puzzles over the country? But that’s the way people are brought up. I should lose no end of time with the letters some people send me, if Susan did not make them out for me. It’s disgusting.” Here Caleb tossed the paper from him.
        Middlemarch, by George Eliot

      2. Uahsenaa

        You mean you don’t gather your own oak galls and gum arabic? Amateur! /sarcasm

        I could never give up the convenience of cartridges, though they do make a pump cartridge for my Lamy now. I suppose I could try it out.

        1. Ivy

          Goose quills, the only way to fly, er, write! Keep one in the back yard, pluck as needed, hope it doesn’t fly away at an inopportune time :)

          1. Uahsenaa

            Turkey feathers also make excellent quills, but I don’t want one of those wackos hanging out in my backyard.

      3. craazyman

        It sounds like you’re living a life out of “The English Patient” with Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas as the “hot babe”. Are you the Kristin Scott Thomas of NC? She was pretty hot in English Patient!!!!

        I saw Bigfoot last night in a dream. No foolin. this must be a synchronicity. There was a road and he came out of the woods and looked surprised to see a person. Maybe I was a bigfoot in his world. That’s a deep thought. hahahah

        1. Carolinian

          Some would say Binoche was the hot one but I’m with you.

          KST has recently taken to making French movies where she speaks the speaks the language quite fluently.

        2. jonboinAR

          Bigfoot is always supposed to smell really bad. He/she also causes a terror reaction. I guess that’s what Hunter Thompson was talking about. Did you experience that? Yes? Bigfoot.

    2. craazyboy

      So true. But most of us can’t get out on location to get our muse up in the morning, so we have to rely on “The Playground Of The Mind”. Then just wait and see what today brings, and have your breakfast and coffee!

      So, I wrote this to go along with your Morning Joe.

      Go MSNBC!

      You Really Got Me – The Kinks

      On waking and sunrise
      Our eyes still a unfocused
      The Haggies on offer
      But we asked for the toasted

      Like toast and peanut butter,
      One lonely egg and jelly,
      Like we want that crap
      Floating in our belly

      Not peanuts at all!
      Exclaim the Scottish
      And go on to Embelish
      With Tales Of Giant Haggies,
      On Giant Scottish!

    3. craazyboy

      Spaking of Scottish mythology, here’s an expose of an ancient Scottish Druid Clan, thought to have been visited by the Loch Ness Monster – the first Space Alien visitor to Earth!

      The alien came straight to Scotland to trade prose with the Scottish, being the only Earth language the Space Aliens could fathom.

      Eventually, they had a falling out, and the Scottish high stepped it up to the Highlands, quickly as possible.

      They realized their softball sized, turgid, Giant Haggies looked very much like large, round, Reese’s Peanut Butter cups – this being the favorite desert candy of most Space Alien Species, even the carnivore kind.

      They attempt to keep the folk legend alive still, today, using a paper mache Loch Ness Monster assembled on the last British submarine they stole from a British Navy dry dock on the Thames.

      They affectionately call it the Maggie Thatcher.

    4. Lambert Strether

      I use a digital pen on my iPad as part of my photography workflow, but also for outlining, note-taking, brainstorming, and so on.

      And I went to a lot of trouble to figure out how to write legibly in that medium. As a result, my physical handwriting completely deteriorated, to the point where signature matching can be a problem!

  5. Alex

    Re: “Lawsuits could force feds to pay Obamacare insurers Politico”

    This gave me an idea; pass TISA, repeal Obamacare, have foreign re-insurers sue for lost profits through ISDS, government pays out enormous settlements, everything collapses, single payer finally results? Or perhaps this is a little too complicated of a plan for using neo-liberalism against itself….

  6. Hana M

    So Amazon is now a bank and I have to admit the model is brilliant.

    On an invitation-only basis, Amazon offers short-term business loans from $1,000 – $750,000 to micro, small and medium-sized businesses that sell products on the Amazon platform. Amazon does not disclose interest rates, but they tend to be lower than credit cards.

    Merchants can be approved for a loan within 24 hours, and tend to use the loan proceeds for inventory financing and business expansion.

    Unlike traditional lenders that may have lengthy loan applications that require all types of documents, Amazon uses internal algorithms to invite sellers to the program based on the popularity of their products, inventory cycles and other factors.

    Loans are typically repayable in less than one year, and borrowers use sales generated on the marketplace to repay Amazon in fixed monthly payments, which are deducted from the borrower’s Amazon account. There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties.

    1. Christopher Fay

      Amazon orgonrithmatically tracks the borrowers’ sales and determines what they can easily replicate with direct collaboration (not collusion) with Alibaba. Enters same market with AmazOMG product, raises short term interest rate to borrower eliminating a direct competitor. Boom, efficiency, lowered costs to the greatest consumers ever, Wash Post editorials, symposia with DC thought leaders and representatives. Melting carved ice sculptures.

      1. bronco

        I tried my hand at selling on Amazon back when the big shakeup happened at Ebay in 2010 or whatever.

        Amazon began undercutting me pretty quickly so I bailed.

        I can easily see them loaning you money then pressuring your business to get you to default on the loan.

        1. a different chris

          Yeah except that Amazon is so big I can’t even imagine them noticing “your business” if it is much smaller than, say General Motors.

          It’s more likely that the left hand neither knows nor cares what the right hand is doing. So you got undercut in the most completely impersonal fashion possible, if that makes you feel any better. Your number simply came up.

          1. bronco

            They have the ability to just steer traffic away from your listings as though they don’t exist . Its simpler and more profitable than undercutting you. They could price higher than your listing and sell just as many because you are invisible . Use small sellers to do the market research for them and even make them pay for for the privilege .

            Its the old company store business model updated for the 21st century. The legbreakers have been digitized . Innovation means they will loan you money to buy the knife they cut your throat with.

            1. a different chris

              Lordy like the evil character in the best movies, you basically can’t help but admire them. They are what they are.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Wake me when the nation remembers the evil of monopolies. Or maybe we just want retail bankruptcies to accelerate even more, and for the richest man on Earth to get even richer? While 9 of 10 of his new job openings are part-time?
                The American political weal has become a self-basting turkey of infinite stupidity. What do you do to a set of institutions that do nothing but kick own-goals? I say you need to start over.

    2. begob

      Worldpay offer similar credit to their merchants – no doubt based on data from credit/debit card sales.

    1. Carolinian

      NPR is the pits but just a word to defend PBS which gives us lots of good stuff when they aren’t broadcasting the atrocious Newshour. Last week they partnered with the BBC to provide Wild Alaska Live which was quite enjoyable.

      1. Mike

        PBS can and does offer quite good semi-scientific programming when it does not have to cover current events, politics, economics, etc. Since the reorganization of all public media under pressure of Koch Bros. Inc. and the religious right, even science programming can be questioned regarding its presentation of any theory that can be labeled “contentious” or “controversial”. Following wild animals is easy compared to following wild humans (‘tho they will follow inner-city poor, but leave policy prescription to mainstream pundits and reactionaries who restate TINA in unique ways, but endlessly).

      2. David

        According to the show’s website, the show was produced by BBC Earth.

        BBC Earth is one of the brands under BBC Worldwide. According to Wiki,

        The company monetises BBC brands, selling BBC and other British programming for broadcast abroad with the aim of supplementing the income received by the BBC through the license fee.

        This allows the BBC to pay private sector salaries to people profiting from the sale of public funded assets (BBC programming). By being a private company, BBC Worldwide escapes the annual handwringing that occurs when the BBC publishes it’s salary list.

      3. neo-realist

        As far as the Plutocrat Broadcast Service is concerned, A Ken Burns documentary is usually the most crucial programming I find on the station—Baseball, Jackie Robinson (as great a documentary as there ever was), Central Park 5, and the upcoming Vietnam War one.

  7. Alex

    Re: Why offshore processing of refugees bound for Europe is such a bad idea

    Surely it’s better than the current situation with the asylum seekers having to go to Libya and the cross the Med. And getting every one of them to Europe for the processing is (whatever you think about how great that idea is) politically impossible as long as EU consists of democratic countries

  8. ProNewerDeal


    Have you covered this news on the ” #People’sPlatform ” of 8 House bills? It is supported by ex-Sanders supporters’ groups like Justice Democrats & Our Revolution, other groups like Democratic Socialists of America, & apparent non-political party issue-focused social movements like Healthcare Now & Fight For 15.

    Any take on this People’sPlatform, as the policies themselves, or as a tactic to improve US public policy to benefit the 99% (or 80%)? As far as I can tell, perhaps People’sPlatform or support of a social movement like Healthcare Now may be the best use of individual activist time/money, although the lack of a public campaign finance & anti-imperial war & Surveillance State bills (e.g. cut the broadly defined MIC by at least 50%) are important absences in this platform. I detest Clinton0bamaesque Establishment neoliberal Ds. I like the Green Party’s policies & voted for Dr. Jill Stein in 2012 & 2016, but am skeptical on their effectiveness in impacting the US policy status quo.

    What do ya think? (c) Ed Schultz

    1. Carla

      I think the items on the platform are all important and to be desired, but certainly not sufficient. As I see it, though, we will never get there (nor to public campaign finance or reining in the military-industrial complex) as long as corporate entities can claim Constitutional rights and enforce them through the legal system. In a democracy, the People make the rules by which corporations (for- and non-profit, and unions) may operate. The state (which is supposed to be governed by the People through their duly elected representatives) charters corporations, and must be able to legislatively, via statute, decide which privileges corporations may enjoy, for how long, and what the consequences for abusing those privileges may be. But this must be done through statutory, not Constitutional, law. There is a proposed 28th amendment to the Constitution that could put us back on the path to controlling corporations, rather than having them control us:

      Before people get all bent out of shape that denying Constitutional rights to corporations somehow would endanger a free press, it does NOT. The press has 1st Amendment protections because it is The Press, not because it may take a corporate form. There is an NY Times editorial on this topic that I will post a link to it in this thread when I can find it.

      Finally, ProNewerDeal, I’m with you: I voted for Stein in ’12 and 16, but see no real future for the Green Party in US politics. Is it possible that party politics have no future and we have figure out something entirely different?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        What would replace party politics?

        Would you need groups of fairly like minded people uniting around an organization to help run, pressure, or remove politicians depending on the goals of the like minded people? Whenever I hear politicians especially decry “party politics”, I know the next phrase out of their mouth will be so horrible they can’t convince the party members to support it.

        Single issue structures are fine, but ultimately, they win, become self begetting, and aren’t necessarily viable structures for the next fight where you have to start over all over again. One of the issues with Obama’s shutdown of the 50 state strategy is the Democrats have to start from scratch instead of building on what was already there. The celebrated and mythical Obama volunteer list is eight years old. It might as well be 800 years old. This is the problem with single issue organizations. They collapse or become corrupt when they win.

        Parties are just a thing. They are innocuous and naturally exist. It would be so wonderful if everyone could show up and arrive at the proper decision through…osmosis…diffusion since it wouldn’t be water…and that can work at a PTA meeting over a single issue such as uniforms. What else can it work for? Do non-parents and people who don’t work in education and people who aren’t child predators go to PTA meetings? I as an individual don’t have time to participate this way. No one does. Even the PTA is an organization of like minded people, parents and teachers. Single people don’t go, childless couples don’t go, seniors don’t go (maybe for entertainment), and parents with kids out of school don’t go.

        Political parties will exist at some level, even when people decry “party politics” because it will always exist.

        1. Carla

          Okay, NTG, we need parties. NEW ones. And many more than two. BTW, Independents are now the largest bloc of registered voters — 42%.

  9. allan

    “Double-Booked”: Both my wife and I have had numerous physical therapy sessions (in a gym-like facility) where the PT was clearly “seeing” two or three patients at once. Not nearly the same level of danger to the patient as double-booking in a surgical setting, but doing PT with the right form can make the difference between it being effective or not, so leaving a patient alone to do 30 repetitions unobserved
    is less than optimal.

    In either setting, it’s consumer fraud. The fact that it’s apparently not insurance fraud
    (at least for Medicare or Medicaid) is appalling.

    1. kurtismayfield

      It was like that decades ago as well.. when I had PT after a surgery the therapist would get me started and then go to check on another patient. Once you verify that they are doing it correctly checking bg back in to reinforce good form is probably all that is needed.

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Double-Booked: When Surgeons Operate On Two Patients At Once Kaiser Health News

    Indiana’s Rickert and Britt say they are troubled by what they regard as a double standard: Very few surgeons would consent to the practice for themselves or a relative. “This happens to the Medicaid patient,” Rickert said, “not the partner’s wife.”

    First, do no harm. I guess it’s pretty hard to do any harm when you’re not even there. As good an argument as any.

    1. Bob

      When I saw that article I immediately thought of the OBGYN this past week who achieved a moment of fame; she was in labor herself when she heard the cries of another patient. She put on shoe covers and another gown (over the one she was wearing) and went into that patient’s room to deliver that child before going back to her room to deliver her own. Now, that’s double-booked.

  11. Marco

    When my Trump voting 75y/o mother starts talking about Medicare-For-All I know that the times are-a-changing. She hesitantly supports it but with the ever present caveat “How do you PAY for it?”. She says single payer items have surfaced on her Facebook feed (she stopped watching FoxNews). Is Zuckerberg fiddling with the knobs on his memetic-mind-infection-machine in prep for his presidential run?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A lot of conquered nations will ask for MMT money as well

        “Why do you need our oil? And why don’t you give us more money?”

        Mexico: “Just occupy us. And send money, so our people don’t have to go norte again.”

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          MMT for all! Just materialize so-called “money”, as much as needed, anytime you want. Or else base the materialization quantity on some economic indicator that cannot be accurately measured, let alone forecasted.

          I’d think MMT works fine if one nation does it, and if other nations continue to believe in the “price” of their scrip. But if other nations want to get in on the action, before you know it you have a full-blown MMT currency war. But how would you know if someone was winning? Would the best strategy be a Costanza-like “opposite” strategy, slowing the flow of money creation so your citizens get richer, not just endlessly diluted?

          Deus Ex Machina

      2. Vatch

        I don’t think there’s any need to muddy the waters with MMT. For most people, the insurance is already being paid for, either by their employer, themselves, the government, or a combination of those. So if there needs to be more tax revenue to pay for Medicare-for-All, there will be a corresponding drop in the health insurance premiums that people and companies currently pay. For the people who don’t have insurance yet, we can pay for it quite simply: stop spending so gosh darned much money on the Defense Department.

          1. Vatch

            It’s a theory of how money works, and some people disagree with that theory. What’s clear to one person is translucent or opaque to others. And the person who thinks that he or she is thinking clearly might actually be the one who is unable to see the truth, whatever that might be. If you want to pass Medicare-for-All, keep it relatively simple. If you want to reconfigure our monetary system, then you can introduce theoretical complexities.

        1. Oregoncharles

          @ Vatch: “paid for, either by their employer,” – and there, I think, lies the rub. Those people are likely thinking of it as “free,” or at least something they’re entitled to – as they are, having a contract. If you’re going to suddenly relieve those employers, politically you have to require them to pay the savings, or some large part, to the employees.

          It reduces the cost overall, but partly by transferring personal or business expenditures to the government. At the right time in the business cycle, you could just print the money (2009 would have been a really good time); at other times, that might not be wise. Politically, again, I think people will have to see where the money’s coming from. I would favor a surtax on the income tax, AND on the corporate tax. But corporations often get out of that, so a payroll tax might make sense, so much per person. I don’t like those because they discourage hiring people, but it might be necessary in this case, unless you can reform the corporate income tax, which comes out of profits and is much better.

          1. JTFaraday

            “If you’re going to suddenly relieve those employers, politically you have to require them to pay the savings, or some large part, to the employees.”

            If someone’s employer finds a cheaper means of acquiring / attaining X good or service, it is not obligated to give employees the money saved– and it don’t.

            So don’t load up legislation you claim to want to see with additional requirements just because the government is somehow involved. It’s not their personal babysitter.

    1. John k

      Point out that we pay more now than others pay to cover everybody… no need for MMT, just have corps and individuals pay less than they do now, everybody gets full coverage.
      It’s a problem of allocating costs, not affordability.

    1. Massinissa

      I didn’t like the movie. Not for those reasons, but I didn’t like it, and neither did many of my friends, though our complaints were mainly that the movie fell apart at the end by adding a completely pointless, overlong fight scene at the end (15+ minutes) that was so extremely overdone it became tedious and boring. The plot wasn’t much better, what little there was fell apart at the end similarly.

      Its really overrated, even as a popcorn film. In addition to that, as your article suggests, it fails on a deeper analytical level as well. Watch it on TV maybe, though I’m not sure I even liked it enough to recommend even that.

  12. Carolinian

    Re Corey Robin follow up on Chesea–what a thumbsucker of a defense! His points are all valid but as he himself says would anyone be remotely so defensive after snarking over the Trumps or any other public figure for that matter. It’s almost like he’s worried the Clinton mafia will start calling him a Putin fellow traveler.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      One, he likely is worried the Clinton mafia will come after him.

      The whole episode is illuminating not because of Chelsea’s willful ignorance on display but the way Chelsea would engage an effectively random twitter account. She brought in a powerful man to help defend her at one point. If she said nothing, no one would remember it.

      Arguments could be made of the precise meaning of the “banality of evil” and Arendt’s desire for the phrase to be applied to other spheres, but Chelsea didn’t use the phrase in a way that was incorrect or not perfectly accurate (Arendt’s works over the years would indicate she would support a fluid usage*) but used the phrase in a way that demonstrated she doesn’t understand what “banality” means. When she was corrected by effectively little person in comparison to Chelsea, she declared she went to a public Ivy and therefore knows stuff. This is bizarre, and its important to look at what is occurring.

      The doubts about the meritocracy within the meritocracy are bubbling through. I believe the “technocrats” are reaching a point where criticism can be their undoing. Chelsea needed to stamp out this criticism especially if it didn’t come from a Republican. What if Hillary isn’t as wonderful as her supporters claimed? What does this say about her supporters? I think one of the chief selling points for many Democrats on Hillary and Clinton Inc is the perception they know how to win or are brilliant politicians. The simple fact is they have one contested race to their name where Bill wound up with 42% of the vote after polling near 60% over the Summer against 41 who was under pressure Perot. What if Clinton Inc and the “technocrats” aren’t the best and brightest or even particularly very smart? And if that perception spreads…

      This singular event is demonstrative of the weakness of the political elite, not just Chelsea’s pride in her poor vocabulary.

      A strong, secure ruler can tolerate a jester and possibly even enjoy them. A weak leader has to have the jester hanged. Chelsea couldn’t handle a Princess Bride reference.

      *Arendt lost friends over this book. She wasn’t welcomed at Temple or invited to Seders after this book despite being Jewish because the book goes on about the process of Eichmann’s arrest and trial.

      1. s.n.

        Arendt lost friends over this book. She wasn’t welcomed at Temple or invited to Seders after this book despite being Jewish because the book goes on about the process of Eichmann’s arrest and trial.

        My memory of the book (or rather the New Yorker article) is vague, and i’m too lazy to take the 60 seconds required to google it on wikipedia…. but wasn’t the real controversy sparked over ” Eichmann in Jerusalem” Arendt’s assertion- not widely if at all known at the time– that the Zionist movement had collaborated closely with the Nazis?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The efforts of collaborators or people surviving (which is more accurate; the camps sound like they were dog eat dog) is known. I don’t recall any references to official Zionists making any deals with the Nazis from Arendt. Didn’t Elie Wiesel describe one loathsome fellow in particular who was more than happy to earn the praise of the guards? This is what she was referring to. I don’t remember Arendt making those kinds of accusations about official Zionists, but there is nothing controversial about being aware there were Jews on the local level who would sell out other Jews in hopes of ingratiating themselves with other Jews. Isn’t this a “Curb Your Enthusiasm” insult hurled at Larry David?

          Arendt hit Ben Gurion hard and accused him of conducting a show trial and using Eichmann because he was convenient which echoed her own views of the Nazis view Jews which was Jews were a convenient scapegoat the Nazis where the regime could demonstrate tangible actions, the ghettos, carving up Jewish property as rewards to good Germans. If they picked left handed Poles born on Fridays, it would be more difficult to make an example to show the regime’s strength and rewards their followers.

          The events of Bin Laden’s death would be comparable to Eichmann’s trial or Obama’s drone policy.

          1. s.n.

            The efforts of collaborators or people surviving (which is more accurate; the camps sound like they were dog eat dog) is known. I don’t recall any references to official Zionists making any deals with the Nazis from Arendt.

            well you’ve forced me to use google to check the accuracy of my vague impressions:

            In the first decades after its publication, Eichmann in Jerusalem provoked readers primarily over what it had to say about Jewish cooperation with the Nazis. Arendt cast her eye on everyone from the Zionists who negotiated with the Nazis to the Jewish Councils that provided them with detailed lists of Jewish property for dispossession, helped Jews onto the trains, administered the ghettos, and helped Jews onto the trains again. She concluded, “The whole truth was that if the Jewish people had really been unorganized and leaderless, there would have been chaos and plenty of misery but the total number of victims would hardly have been between four and a half and six million people.” It was a sentence for which she would never be forgiven.

        2. Craig H.

          I thought the biggest embarrassment was that Mossad went into Argentina and kidnapped Eichmann which is done all the time by everybody but it is like the most top secret stuff ever and if you talk about it you are offending the perpetrators and the perpetrators’ most staunch supporters. Arendt was guilty of rudeness for writing any book about Eichmann at all.

          Not relevant but I find fascinating: in The Cultural Cold War by Frances Stoner Saunders, Arendt is in the all time top-five favorite CIA authors for projecting their soft power.

          1. jrs

            Yes there was likely CIA funding, but maybe that is neither here nor there. I mean the CIA funded a lot of liberal intellectuals back in the day, and I wouldn’t write them all off as *just* CIA mouthpieces either.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Like my mother said, “just because everybody is doing it, that does not make it okay” or smart. If you’ve read the book and followed the depredations of our Security State masters since, oh, Wilson and even way before him, and of course the Dulleses and Kermit the Roosevelt etc, it looks all of a very horrific piece that is guaranteed not to end well — for the most of us.

              On the other hand, the predators and spooks are well organized, well funded and replete with impunity… So lie back and enjoy it, right?

          2. Craig H.

            On further review I have figured out how to force fit relevance into this Naked Capitalism thread. One of Arendt’s fellow travelers in the CIA’s great project to destroy Communist art was Peter Matthiessen, author of, drumroll, RrRrRrRrRrRr, The Snow Leopard.


    2. Lambert Strether

      > Corey Robin follow up on Chesea–what a thumbsucker of a defense!

      I think he’s probably getting pushback from the 10%-er social circles of which he is a (class traitorous) part. He describes them as follows:

      Second, there’s a related element that’s worth noting. And that has to do with the politics of intelligence/education, social class, and partisanship. The Democratic Party and its supporters like to think of themselves as the party of the smarties. Obama, Clinton, Clinton, Clinton: all so smart, all so well educated, all so well spoken. That’s why they’re entitled to rule, their supporters think. (Believe me, I’ve had these conversations many times.) And that’s not just about politics; it’s also about social class, or at least the culture and style and markers of a particular kind of social class. Unlike the Trumps and other vulgarians of the right, these are people who know how to carry on a conversation at a cocktail party or on Charlie Rose. (Is that show still on, by the way?) Indeed, a well educated liberal person on Twitter—a professor of political science, in fact—made a point of noting to me that none of the Trump kids had read Hannah Arendt. That Clinton didn’t seem to get Arendt didn’t matter. It was enough that she had read Arendt. Or knew to show that she had read Arendt.

      Straight out of Thomas Frank. I don’t see this as thumbsucking at all, particularly when you remember it’s directed at his peers.

      1. Carolinian

        i just meant he seemed to be over analyzing the twitter exchange. Old timey journalists used to call deep think pieces thumbsuckers. I did agree all his points were valid.

        Around here Chelsea is usually the butt of Haygood’s jokes.

  13. dcblogger

    I thought that the MarketWatch article was just plain snide. And all those references to breast feeding, you know who breast feeds? women.

  14. Huey Long

    RE: Aspirational Class

    Class Warfare or Guillotine Watch?

    After reading this article I nearly vomitted in my mouth, ergo it is squarely in Guillotine Watch territory.

    1. paul

      The article was a bit odd.
      I’m baffled how this bollocks could be spun out to the length of a bookalike.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > baffled how this bollocks could be spun out to the length of a bookalike

        Since the Times is axing all the reporters, and also axing the copy editors, they’ve got to fill the space somehow, hence the drivel.

    2. oh

      Such junk of an article and then I noticed that it was the NYT. The message before I closed the tab “Come for the Investigative journalism; stay for the travels”. Right! Such investigative rubbish!

    3. Plenue

      Once they start using terms like “coalition of the ascendant”, there’s really no choice left but to get the flamethrower.

  15. The Insider

    Matt Stoller’s take on Big Law is right on the money. Even more than the Ivy Leagues or the Wall Street Banks, Big Law is the real nexus of power in the U.S. (though there are plenty of connections between those institutions). If you were to go through government and remove every graduate of Davis Cravath Skadden Gottlieb Latham & Ellis from the ranks of the political appointees, there wouldn’t be anyone left. And if you were to go through corporate America and do the same, you’d empty out half of the boardrooms and executive suites in the country.

    Big Law is where people go to learn to see things from the establishment’s perspective, and it’s become a virtual stamp of approval for those with political or corporate aspirations. Lawyers are very good at seeing things from their client’s perspective (and virtually nothing else), which makes them perfect for the conformity of the inner circle of leadership in America.

    How to break out of it? Well, start by putting in place leaders who aren’t a bunch of former lawyers, and who are confident enough in their own leadership that they don’t automatically defer to advisers with shiny legal resumes. For better or for worse, the recent election may be a step in that direction.

    1. Ivy

      People used to worry just about that pernicious Goldman Sachs influence, and now have another Cthulhu to join the fray with the addition of Big Law. Big Media must be getting jealous.

    2. Mike

      I have imagined a very good answer. First, take control of government (I know, details lacking, but it is a first step); then, after freezing their bank accounts and foreign holdings, relieving them of credit cards and cell phones, proceed to, surreptitiously and quickly, round up the top 5 million citizens by total net worth; arrange flights to Timbuktu as quickly as possible, holding those waiting in pens in the Arizona desert; fly them over to the Sahara; attach parachutes; drop them. They may organize any rescue with anyone who will do it for free.

      Confiscating their wealth will not add much to the coffers, but that, along with a law stating all professions are represented by unions with no lawyers, and a 75% reduction in the defense budget, should do wonders to bring the rest of the corrupt and beguiled into line.

      I can dream, can’t I?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I think it’s much simpler than that. A few tweaks to the tax code for incomes above $5M. Enforcement of anti-trust statutes on the books. Force Congressmen to take whatever health plan they vote on for the rest of us.

    3. Cujo359

      I’ve been somewhat aware that there was a group of lawyers who were very influential within the Democratic Party, but this is the first time I can recall anyone spelling out who they are and how they influence.

      Definitely worth a look.

    4. Lambert Strether

      > Even more than the Ivy Leagues or the Wall Street Banks, Big Law is the real nexus of power in the U.S.

      Not the intelligence community?

      I guess I’m quarreling with the nation of “the” (singular) “real” “nexus of power”…

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        I agree with you Lambert– and nearly added a qualification in that regard when I posted Stoller’s excellent rant. I wouldn’t promote Big Law as primus inter pares. I think it’s not-so-well known, and certainly significant but not “the real”– aka one and only– “nexus of power”.

  16. MoiAussie

    Of money and morals Aeon

    Takeaway quote: The public criticises bankers for their ethical failings, but the bankers too have been failed by our ethical authorities

    Right. Our ethical authorities should have jailed them and stripped them of their assets. Didn’t happen.

    1. JTMcPhee

      IIRC, “our ethical authorities” by and large are made up of banksters and their retinues… Good luck laying blame for failure of the stoat to curb its appetite for chickens…

  17. nechaev

    might have been noted here earlier, if not, then worth a read:

    100,000 Pages of Chemical Industry Secrets Gathered Dust in an Oregon Barn for Decades — Until Now

    She moved to a house in the Siuslaw National Forest in 1974 to live a simple life. But soon after she arrived, she realized the Forest Service was spraying her area with an herbicide called 2,4,5-T — on one occasion, directly dousing her four children with it as they fished by the river.

    The chemical was one of two active ingredients in Agent Orange, which the U.S. military had stopped using in Vietnam after public outcry about the fact that it caused cancer, birth defects, and serious harms to people, animals, and the environment. But in the U.S., the Forest Service continued to use both 2,4,5-T and the other herbicide in Agent Orange, 2,4-D, to kill weeds. (Timber was — and in some places still is — harvested from the national forest and sold.) Between 1972 and 1977, the Forest Service sprayed 20,000 pounds of 2,4,5-T in the 1,600-square-mile area that included Van Strum’s house and the nearby town of Alsea….

    In 1977, her house burned to the ground and her four children died in the fire. Firefighters who came to the scene said the fact that the whole house had burned so quickly pointed to the possibility of arson. But an investigation of the causes of the fire was never completed….

  18. Grumpy Engineer

    Ergh. The Quartz article (headlined “Why electric cars are always green“) assumes that people never run their air-conditioner (or even worse, their heater) while driving.

    The following article shows that the Nissan Leaf can pull 5 kW of power simply to run the heater: This will drain a fully-charged 30 kW-hr Leaf battery in six hours. And that’s without accounting for any miles driven.

    The Leaf is unquestionably “greener” when driven in temperate climates in traffic that is flowing reasonably well. This is even true when the bulk of the electricity used to charge the battery comes from a coal-fired station. However, if you’re averaging 3 MPH in the middle of a traffic jam caused by a snowstorm, your heater will consume 4X as much power as your drivetrain. Your 70-mile nominal range capability will drop down to about 14 miles, but you’d still be responsible for 70 miles worth of CO2 production. It’s hard to claim “greener” under such circumstances.

    Electric vehicles make a lot of sense in certain circumstances. [Stop-and-go traffic in temperate climates is where they really shine.] But in other circumstances (high-speed driving, especially with long, steep grades), the efficiency gains are modest. And in traffic jams in really cold weather, they’re flat-out dangerous. During a heavier-than-predicted snowstorm two years ago, a friend of mine needed nearly 7 hours to complete her 20-mile commute. If she’d been driving a Nissan Leaf, she wouldn’t have made it home.

    1. Cujo359

      In winter, I try to make sure that I always have at least half a tank of gas in my vehicle. When it snows where I live, traffic slows to a crawl. Sometimes half a tank is barely enough. When people say they only need a forty-mile range on their electric vehicles, I don’t think they consider scenarios like this.

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        Aye. Keeping a minimum of a half-tank during wintertime is an excellent policy. Even though most cars can idle for 3 to 5 hours per gallon of gas, you can still get pinched if you start your day with a tank that’s nearly empty.

        My friend who got caught in the snowstorm saw evidence of that. When she went into work a couple of days later, she saw over eighty cars that had been abandoned on the shoulder because they ran out of gas. If most of the cars out during the storm had been 40- to 70-mile electrics, there would have been thousands of them abandoned.

        And the clean-up would have been awful. Rescuing an out-of-gas car takes a two- or three-minute fill from a 5-gallon container of gas. Rescuing an out-of-charge electric car requires 30+ minutes of charging from a truck equipped with a high-power 240-volt generator. Or a tow to a charging station.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Oregon Highway Dept. has “incident response” trucks, primarily signboards, I think. In future, they will have to carry generators – probably internal combustion! – for the purpose of rescuing stranded BEVs. And so will tow trucks, which now carry cans of gas.

    2. Old Jake

      I scanned through the article, spending time on some details but skimming others. I did not see any analysis of disposal costs. Old auto engines are full of recyclable materials, though the electronics may have some exotic materials that are less so. Electric motors are also full of recyclables, but batteries? I’d like to see that taken into account.

      As weight premiums become a greater consideration, cars may be constructed with ever greater amounts of composites, as the aircraft manufacturers lead the way in developing manufacturing techniques. Though techniques that are cost effective for ten thousand $30M aircraft may need considerable tuning to be cost effective for three million $30,000.00 automobiles. I’m not sure how this kind of material can be recycled. Metals are far better characterized.

      Nevertheless, very interesting.

    3. jonboinAR

      The Chevy Volt runs on electricity for commuting, that is, by far the most common driving situations. In special circumstances such as what you illustrated, it seamlessly switches to a gasoline engine. It thus mitigates that real and significant limitation of the electric car. For some reason I can’t fathom, this fact gets almost no press.

      Oh, and sporting a smaller battery, mitigates somewhat the anti-environmental processes involved with manufacturing and eventually disposing of that battery.

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        Agreed. The hybrid approach of having a fuel-powered generator on the vehicle mitigates most of the cold-weather risks associated with purely electric vehicles. It also makes long trips go a lot faster.

        But there are downsides: There is additional complexity, cost, and weight associated with that engine, generator, and fuel tank on the vehicle. And you still have to maintain a network of fuel stations, which I suspect is why hybrids get less press these days. A lot of environmentalists want petroleum-based fuels to go away entirely, and hybrids are a “half-baked” solution that won’t get us there. The fuel-free, purely electric vehicle is their goal. And the unattainable perfect becomes the enemy of the good.

  19. Oregoncharles

    I feel sorry for Chelsea Clinton. She’s had a very weird life. I remember when she was a 12 year old kid entering the White House – and there were a few personal attacks on her even then.

    Granted, she’s now a full fledged adult, and she’s been drawing attention to herself. But it’s a dispute I’d rather stay away from.

    1. B1whois

      At some point, it would seem appropriate to lift “the protected status of a child” from someone who is 40 years old. So she had a rough childhood because her parents were famous. I had a rough childhood because my parents were poor, but nobody worries about that. I know you’re just trying to be kind. And I support kindness, I really do.

      But someone with millions and millions of dollars may not be the best recipient of that concern. Frankly, there are so many better opportunities. And I think the comments here are really about the legitimacy of the meritocracy, and Chelsea Clinton is only an example.

      1. jrs

        Yea but even then the answer is that noone should own that many millions of dollars.

        The meritocracy as a “just desserts” theory justifying many people being poor etc. would be unjust even if the ruling class WAS entirely meritocratic. Because really it’s accidents of birth and opportunities and so on (and especially in the U.S. where even slightly leveling “equality of opportunity” doesn’t happen – everyone knows a kid growing up in Flint is screwed etc..).

        Dem liberals must indeed be a strange alien species if they think our politicians got there by merit, because come on, almost noone, not even those who think rich businessmen are more special than everyone else, thinks that.

      2. Oregoncharles

        I don’t think she’s worth the attention. If she actually runs for office, fine.

        1. JTMcPhee

          More attention to this whelp, please — ‘pour décourager les vouleuses idiotique…’

  20. Oregoncharles

    From “We Don’t Need No Moderates”: “Importantly, there’s also no reason to believe Tomasky’s assertion that “moderate” candidates will improve Democrats’ electoral prospects.”

    Peter DeFazio, a prominent liberal and my rep., represents a “purple” district. There are two lessons there; Peter is very good at populist noises, and sometimes even comes through. OTOH, he’s bad on enough things (forestry, lately, a crucial issue here) that a Green consistently runs against him. At the least, he’s proof that very-liberal candidates can win in mixed districts, if they’re also populist.

    And the contrast: Kurt Schrader, representing the district just to the north, also purple, is an announced Blue Dog. He doesn’t have the sinecure or the prominence that DeFazio does, but his seat seems pretty safe. It may be the Republicans just haven’t come up with a good opponent – that happens here.

    The other two Dems essentially represent Portland, which is very blue indeed. Conclusion? A populist liberal is safer in a mixed seat than a Blue Dog, at least if he’s a skilled campaigner.

  21. joe defiant

    chelsea needs to listen to better music. “Destroy! – Banality of Evil”

    Destroy – Banality Of Evil Lyrics:
    A number, a uniform, and anonymity
    Rank, a gun, and vague authority
    Yesterday’s victim, today’s armed bully
    Sadistic revenge against society
    Banality of Evil
    No ****ing excuse
    Commit your vile atrocities
    When your crimes are exposed for all to see
    You utter some shit about evil’s banality
    Doing your job, doing your duty
    Uniformed thugs with power, obsessed
    try to pass the buck for your excess
    acted under orders, under duress
    you loved every moment, why don’t you confess
    Those were days of glory, your finest hour
    Reveling in your newfound power
    But your taste of domination shall soon turn sour
    The past catches up with every hour

  22. Linda

    Seeing reports that Scaramucci is out as comm director. New chief of staff requested it.

    Maybe his job was done: Priebus and Spicer gone.

    1. Edward E

      I see a little silhouetto of a man
      Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will NOT do the Fandango?
      Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very fright’ning me …

  23. ewmayer

    o “McCain’s Brain Cancer Draws Renewed Attention to Possible Agent Orange Connection | ProPublica” — My dad died of Glioblastoma Multiforme back in 2002 at age 64. Never served in ‘Nam, no out-of-the-ordinary chemical exposure as best we could tell. These kinds of non-genetics-associated cancers that tend to hit later in life are a lot like cyberhacks in that way – attribution is very, very hard. People seem to have a hard time accepting that as we age, many of the same cellular mechanisms which allow us to grow, heal and reproduce simply go awry and often end up killing us. Evolution simply didn’t select for people to live much beyond the age of 50 or so, i.e. what would have been the grandparenting stage of life, way-back-historically speaking. Which is not say we shouldn’t strive for better cancer treatments and improved outcomes (focusing on quality of life at least as much as duration), but IMO this incessant desire to “find the cause” too frequently becomes a fool’s errand, and is the root of much related pseudoscience which can actually do harm.

    o “We Can’t Live in Fear of Our Own Intelligence Community | American Conservative” — Oh yes we can. But we shouldn’t have to.

    o “PBS CEO warns that federal cuts will sink some stations | AP” — Given the extent to which PBS has become just another neolibcon exceptional-nation propaganda-spew outlet like the rest of the MSM, ‘some stations’ sounds to me like it might be a fine start. But whatever shall we do without those charming dramas about the British upper crust?

    o “‘I died in hell’: sacrifice of war dead remembered at Passchendaele | Guardian” — I detest the ‘noble lie’ of words like ‘sacrifice’ applied to the appalling charnel house of WW1 trench warfare. And what did all that ‘sacrifice’ accomplish, praytell? It only served as the prequel to an even worse horror a generation later on. “Senseless slaughter in service of European imperial inanity” is more like it. To put things in poetic terms, as the propagandists of the day so often did: Less “In Flanders Fields”-style warmongering claptrap and more Wilfred Owen, please. How about we start using such remembrances as counters to the imperial hubris which is still blowing up the world one regime-change adventure at a time? Ah, but that wouldn’t be ‘patriotic’ now, would it, Guardian twits?

    1. oh

      Oh C’mon I say to the article. McCain did not fight in the vegetation that was sprayed with Agent Orange. He crashed his plane in North Vietnamese territory and spent time “singing like a canary” to get better treatment. We need more heroes like him, /s

      I shan’t miss PBS at all.

  24. Propertius

    I think Robin misdiagnosed Chelsea’s issue. I don’t think that her problem is that she didn’t read Arendt deeply or at all (or at most skimmed Eichmann in Jerusalem to satisfy a course requirement).

    That’s not it at all.

    I think that, in spite of Sidwell, Stanford, and all her expensive credentials and prestigious “jobs”, she just doesn’t know the meaning of the word “banal”. Furthermore, I think once she got called on it, she wasn’t smart enough not to try to bluff her way out of the situation.

  25. ChrisPacific

    I had to chuckle at the last line in the Uber CEO search article:

    One silver lining: Anthony Scaramucci is currently busy with another gig.

    Not any more!

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