Links 9/19/17

Cat in mourning refuses to leave master’s grave in Malaysia SCMP

The Week My Husband Left And My House Was Burgled I Secured A Grant To Begin The Project That Became BRCA1 HuffPo. Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

Fierce debate roars to life over grizzly bear hunt The Conversation

Why Nobody Wants the Olympics The Wire

Climate change might make South Asia uninhabitable by 2100: Study Scroll.in

SUSTAINABILITY NOW: PLASTIC IN YOUR BEER, TOXINS IN YOUR AIR, AND HEAVY METALS ON YOUR DOORSTEPS JSTOR (micael)

China?

Chinese sex doll sharing service suspended after police order ‘vulgar’ displays to be removed SCMP.  Limits set on the sharing economy.

Western contempt for China turns to panic Asia Times

China hit by financial scam ‘epidemic’ BBC

Opioid boom in China as patients lose addiction fears FT

North Korea

IS THE MEDIA OVERHYPING THE NORTH KOREA MESS? Vanity Fair. resilc: “if i was kim i’d be full bore on developing a nuke to save my position of power too.”

China calls for peace talks to halt ‘vicious cycle’ in North Korean nuclear crisis SCMP

Trump Will Call for Action on North Korea, Iran in First UN Address Bloomberg

Pentagon chief says he was asked about reintroducing tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea WaPo

How Party Bosses, Not Voters, Pick Politicians in New York NYT

India

Google Launches Digital Payments Service in India The Wire

The Breathless Hours Indian Quarterly

Brexit

Phytosanitary requirements for entry into the EU (wooden packaging). Medium. Richard Smith: “This is the formal requirement. But who knows what will really happen, on the big day?”

Equifax

The Equifax Way Jacobin

It’s Already Time To Apply ‘Son Of Sam’ Doctrines To Equifax, If We Can Above The Law

Equifax Stock Sales Are the Focus of U.S. Criminal Probe Bloomberg

Apache Struts Vulnerability: More Than 3,000 Organizations At Risk Of Breach International Business Times

US launches criminal probe into Equifax breach FT

What retirees should do in wake of Equifax data breach MarketWatch

Equifax Work for Government Shows Company’s Broad Reach WSJ

The $5 billion battle for Amazon’s new HQ is getting even more heated Business Insider

In Climate Fraud Case Against Exxon, Many Waiting for California’s Big Move Climate Liability News

New Cold War

RUSSIA INVESTIGATION TURNS UP THE HEAT ON FACEBOOK Vanity Fair

Exclusive: US government wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman CNN

Syraqistan

Yemen’s Appalling Cholera Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse American Conservative

Anti-Assad nations say no to Syria reconstruction until political process on track Reuters (RevKev). Wonderfully petty.

Obama Goes From White House to Wall Street in Less Than One Year Bloomberg. UserFriendly: “I for one am shocked, shocked!”

Trump Transition

Defying Trump, Pentagon Moves To Protect Bases From Climate Change DeSmog Blog

Trump view on Paris deal unchanged, says White House FT

Trump admin wants to allow seismic study of Alaska refuge for oil drilling Ars Technica

How British colonialism ruined a perfect cup of tea Al Jazeera (micael)

Class Warfare

 CFPB Settles With Owners of Wall Street’s Worst Student Debt Bloomberg (UserFriendly)

Britain’s debt time​bomb: FCA urges action over £200bn crisis Guardian

Attorneys General in 37 States Urge Insurance Industry to Do More to Curb Opioid Epidemic ProPublica

11 percent of the world’s population is undernourished, says new U.N. report Stat

We’ve hit peak injustice: a world without borders, but only for the super-rich Guardian

College in the U.S. Is More Expensive Than in Any Other Country in the World AlterNet

While the rest of the world invests more in education, the U.S. spends less Hechinger Report (micael)

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

US cross-border data deal could open surveillance floodgates Open Democracy

Health Care

After single payer failed, Vermont embarks on a big health care experiment WaPo (resilc)

Republicans Really Could Repeal Obamacare This Time FiveThirtyEight

Hurricane Alley

Florida Power and Light lobbyists made it illegal to use solar during outages Boing boing (resilc)

Hurricane Maria batters Dominica as category five storm BBC

Despite Rising Seas and Bigger Storms, Florida’s Land Rush Endures NYT

IF IT KEEPS ON RAINING Oxford American

Beyond Harvey and Irma Tom Dispatch

Imperial Collapse Watch

Safety Experts: Some F-35 Ejections Pose ‘Serious’ Death Risk Roll Call

Democrats in Disarray

Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight The Hill

Clinton won’t rule out challenging legitimacy of 2016 election Politico

The Real Reason Hillary Can’t Just Shut The Fuck Up And Go Away Medium. UserFriendly: “bingo.”

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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113 comments

  1. Bill Smith

    “Exclusive: US government wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman”

    The word “wiretap” is used here. Some of the reports claim the wiretap has Trump on tape. Manafort lived in Trump Tower.

    Pretty funny.

    Should we go back and review all the articles and comments from in response from Trump’s March 4 tweet about wiretapping on the following days? What where Comey’s words in response to this? And Clapper? And most of the mainstream press?

    1. Sid Finster

      I am far from a Trump fan, but I have no doubt that from the moment they realized Trump was a realistic candidate, the Deep State went looking for some dirt, any dirt on him.

      1. JerseyJeffersonian

        Sid Finster,

        Oh, I am sure that, similarly to newspapers having obituaries on file (and periodically updating them) for notable individuals, Our Surveillance State keeps tabs on high-visibility citizens.

        The particular surveillance of Mr. Manafort may have had its origin from his interactions with former Ukrainian leader, Yanukovich, subsequently overthrown with the help of Hillary Clinton and her sidekick, Victoria “Cookie Monster” Nuland, and replaced by a mixed bag of oligarchs and Ukrainian Nazis.

        But the surveillance was subject to “periodic updating”, and I guess Mr. Manafort becoming a member of Mr. Trump’s campaign may have served as a convenient pretext for such a “periodic updating”. More abuse of FISA warrants? Well, having surveillance available of the inner workings of the opponent of Hillary Clinton, ultimate insider and friend of the surveillance state, was an opportunity not to be lost; so going beyond the reason for the authorization of the surveillance from national security to political gain for their asshole buddy, Hillary, was a done deal.

        Some intelligent commentary on this is available at Sic Semper Tyrannis, Col. Patrick Lang’s blog:

        LINK

        Some Obamabots, no doubt fearful that their hero’s integrity (as it is hard to see how this was not authorized by him) might be tarnished, advanced some twisted reasonings as to why this was all unexceptionable. But Col. Lang and other commenters to the post had some answers to these.

        BTW, here is a link to the Wikipedia article on Col. Lang, just so you are aware of his bona fides:

        LINK

  2. UserFriendly

    Here is some more about the CFPB ruling on private student loans. Looks just like the Robo Signing scandal except they might not actually get away with it.
    https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/cfpb-takes-action-against-national-collegiate-student-loan-trusts-transworld-systems-illegal-student-loan-debt-collection-lawsuits/

    I sent a request to my loan servicers via the CFPB to provide proof of appropriate documentation in the hopes they messed it up.

  3. Quanka

    “Support the Troops” = Propaganda. For $1mm and 9-12 months of testing, the Air Force can eliminate the known and stated risks of deaths of up to 22 pilots from the ejection seats, and they “non-concur” with the test plan and won’t do it.

    Go watch George Carlin “shell shock”

    Its sadistic the way those Generals talk about the “low probability” of having adverse conditions during an ejection — what they mean is the plane has been shot or disabled and is plummeting to the ground. EXACTLY THE MOMENT YOU WANT AN EJECTION SEAT. But it only happens “rarely” so we don’t need to worry about it? WTF and who is in charge in the DOD? Good Grief charlie brown.

  4. UserFriendly

    Urgh the top story on the hill is pure fantasy.

    The Federal Reserve is setting America up for economic disaster

    so many lies

    Workers lost because their spending power diluted drastically over the past ten years. The costs of housing and energy have continued to rise in areas where the highest concentrations of jobs are located. For example, a young college graduate who wants to earn a high salary in the tech industry has to live in Silicon Valley, where even a base salary of $100,000 won’t enable them to afford to purchase a home there. Home prices are so out of line with average salaries that cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles are seeing an epidemic of homelessness never experienced since the Great Depression of 1929.

    Savers have lost because the interest income they were counting on earning from their lifetime of saving has dwindled to less than nothing. These days, in most cases, you actually have to pay the bank to keep your money there. And so many retirees have had to tap into their home mortgages or take on additional consumer debt merely to survive. As America faces the largest retirement boom in its history – the retiring baby boomers – more than two-thirds of them do not have enough savings to retire comfortable. And on top of that the Social Security system that was to be a back-stop against poverty for older Americans is practically insolvent.

    The unwieldy national debt also causes friction for entrepreneurs. Governments have sought to increase taxes, regulations and fees on entrepreneurial activity in order to service the ballooning debt. This has sucked critical capital out of the system that entrepreneurs need in order to grow businesses and drive employment. With consumers still reeling from the great recession, demand for goods and services is lagging employment growth by a significant margin, further constraining opportunities for entrepreneurs.

    1. johnnygl

      I’d argue this is the inevitable consequence of the fed’s refusal to accept and admit the screamingly obvious limits to its own ability to influence the economy. They should have said, “we can do no more, congress, please put fiscal policy to good use.” Instead, they launched their campaign of endless QE experiments.

      On the plus side, the evidence is in on QE and the MMT crowd was overwhelmingly correct, while the monetarists look like fools for constantly hyperventilating about ‘hyperinflation’.

        1. JohnnyGL

          You’re quite right that they likely would have resisted. After all, bi-partisan budget balancing is the highest achievement possible in Beltway circles.

          However, it changes the dynamic if a revered Beltway institution like the Federal Reserve (not so revered outside the Beltway, of course) comes out and says “d@mn the fiscal responsibility mantra, full stimulus ahead!”.

          This is what the Fed should have done. They would have rapidly been accused of “playing politics” and that statement would be correct. But, of course, the dirty little secret is that the Fed is ALWAYS playing politics.

          1. UserFriendly

            What the fed should do with it’s balance sheet.
            https://medium.com/@UserFrIENDlyyy/how-should-the-fed-use-its-balance-sheet-383bde3f954c

            How should the Fed use its balance sheet? It should offer to buy muni bonds with zero interest and infinite maturity (then just write them off) in an amount sufficient to cover the hiring of any citizen that is ready, willing, and able to work at $15/hr plus benefits from any city willing to set up such a program. The program would be counter cyclical and the jobs could be doing much needed things like repairing infrastructure, installing green energy, or child/elder care. That would eliminate the racial unemployment gap and help the long term unemployed reintegrate into the workforce. Besides, the current policy of handing money to big banks because they were incredibly irresponsible and blew up the economy really isn’t going over so well with the public.

            Just about as likely as Bernanke screaming about fiscal policy.

          2. WobblyTelomeres

            Instead of QE, Bernanke should have hired 2-3,000,000 field statisticians spread across the country to count stuff. Trains. Cars. Trees. Potholes. Bibles in hotel rooms. Make up some ludicrous defense about why they were needed (“verify economic robustness through examination and tabulation of known unknowns”). Problem solved. Big time. Certainly would have bettered his rope pushing.

      1. Darn

        Simon Wren-Lewis often makes this point re the Bank of England, that it should publicly state low interest rates and QE aren’t enough and that everyone should understand that fiscal stimulus is needed.

    2. Wukchumni

      I’m continually gobsmacked every time i’m in the environs of LA, by how many homeless I see sequestered in every available nook and cranny, and in places you would have never seen them a decade prior.

      They’re for all intents and purposes, our ‘untouchables’ in that aside from law enforcement rousting their encampments once in awhile, nobody really wants to have anything to do with them, and if the coppers do dismantle their ‘jungles’, all you do is disperse them into polite society piecemeal instead of having them all in one location.

      Hobos during the great depression were highly dependent on wheeled railroads, whereas the current version is almost hapless without wheeled shopping carts, and here in California they’ve all got George Hamilton-like tans from being out in the sun all day.

      I was walking a 60 mile stretch of the PCT from Big Bear to Interstate 15 with a friend in May, and we went by Deep Creek hot springs, which i’d been to on numerous occasions-but not recently, and I saw my very first wilderness-homeless interface, in that 5 people were obviously long term residents of the place now, and the place was a gawdawful mess, with trash strewn everywhere, and they’d almost swarm around you hoping for handouts.

        1. tegnost

          what about bond purchases? Dean Baker gets into that zirp thing enough to make me uneasy there, as in what would higher interest rates achieve, but the bonds, the backstopping securities, and other QE related operations, what about those?

    3. Sid Finster

      To paraphrase Ian Welsh – price discovery and letting inefficient businesses fail are two of the things an unfettered capitalist system does do well.

      However TBTF does not allow these things to happen.

      1. jonhoops

        TBTF is unfettered capitalism. They are so unfettered they have taken over the political space and now control the game.

    4. LT

      I was just thinking after reading the Asia Times article about America’s “contempt” for China: China has an ace in the hole – America’s contempt for its own workers is greater.

      1. Lee

        Bingo! Trump, Bannon et al understand this very well as do Sanders et al. I see more angry populism in our future. Will it be of the left or the right is the question.

  5. Wukchumni

    About a decade ago in our local museum, I held the rifle that killed the last grizzly bear in California, which was dispatched just inside of Sequoia National Park near Hospital Rock, in 1926.

    It was weird juju holding it in my hands, the deliverer of extinction.

      1. Wukchumni

        Sadly, there’s not many black bears left here either in the Southern Sierra, on account of the lengthy drought where we were largely ground zero for it…

        Year in and year out for many decades i’ll have 30-35 bear encounters per annum-either on the road or trail, almost like clockwork, but that was then and this is now. Last year I had 3 bear encounters, this year not a one yet. Seeing a bear is largely happenstance, you can’t count on it, but that said, i’m not seeing any scat anywhere either, and every summer I walk 200-300 miles in the back of beyond, so their calling cards aren’t even there.

        The drought was really punishing, as a good many things they’d usually eat in terms of berries, etc. never ripened and dried out, and the tree die off has in particular effected the sugar pine the most, and the pine nuts from a sugar pine cone are the most nutritious of any nutmeats in the area. Also add in the idea that bears would wake from hibernation in January to little or no snow on the ground in the worst of the drought years, but also no food. I was hiking with the park biologist last year, and he was telling me what I think was a 2 year old bear, is probably a 4 year old bear, so malnourished they were.

        Any bear 5 years old or younger only knew droughts in terms of preparing for hibernation, and the snowfall this year was immense, and the thought is that a good many bruins perished in their dens.

          1. Wukchumni

            What puts it in sharp contrast, is many other species are in excess of their normal numbers, as with the bountiful winter this year, it’s as if they were spring loaded to multiply after suffering through the 5 year drought.

            I’ve seen hundreds of deer this year, and there has been about a dozen mountain lion sightings, which is highly unusual.

            1. Kevin

              I have not seen nearly the deer I usually see in our nearby 800 acre Forest Preserve here in Illinois. I am hoping it is not related to disease. On the plus side, I have never encountered acorns like I am now, and the squirrels are abundant. Those black walnuts would about knock you out if one hit you on the head!

              1. Wukchumni

                You don’t want to get hit by a white fir or red fir pine cone, which are now falling in the forest for the trees.

                They’re quite heavy and to give you an idea, one knocked off the side view mirror on a friend’s Suburu last fall about this time…

                1. Ficus

                  I believe all true fir (Abies) cones disintegrate into their component scales and seeds when mature, they do not fall intact and cannot harm anyone/thing below. Pines on the other hand – look out!

  6. The Rev Kev

    Re: Defying Trump, Pentagon Moves To Protect Bases From Climate Change
    This is no joke. There is a good page at http://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/global-warming-impacts/sea-level-rise-flooding-us-military-bases which specifically lists the effects of sea level rises on 18 major military bases. You can also download the full report from this page but the short story here in my own opinion is that if they want to save these bases, that they had better start saving their money now. Either that or start issuing kick boards to anybody that lives near these bases.

    1. cyclist

      Isn’t the military the largest source of burnt hydrocarbon emissions in the US? And they are notoriously cavalier when it comes to polluting the environment. Screw them, hope their bases wind up underwater, although they will probably get all the money they need to prevent that from happening.

  7. Kevin

    Regarding Grizzly Bear Hunt.

    I had the privilege of salmon fishing on Kodiak Island amongst Grizzlies for a week. After one day of fishing ( and overcoming my initial hair-raising fear) I put my rod down and spent the remaining days taking photos and videos of these magnificent animals, a move I will never regret. They were so close it was quite unnerving, but in the entire history of the camp, they never had an incident and the guides never carried a fire arm.

    I will never understand what would lead someone to want to kill them.

    1. barefoot charley

      People in the Alaskan bush say (or said 30 years ago) that there are two types of people: those who take arms into the bush, and those who don’t. Each side thinks the other side’s crazy, but that’s normal Alaska.

      1. Kevin

        I can believe that.
        I was told the bear that are in the low country fishing for salmon tend to be young ones and females with cubs. The older grizzlies are loners and tend to head up into the hills. The younger bear tend to be non-confrontational, whereas the older bear are quite a different story.

        1. Cat's paw

          That might describe a rough geography of grizzlies–larger dominant males tend to be loners– but where cohorts of bears are and how much they mingle is very dependent on local conditions. Dominant males will not avoid a good salmon stream just b/c younger bears and sows with cubs are using it. Depending on the tolerance levels of big males, and the volume of the run, they might feed downstream amongst smaller, younger cohorts–with others giving them a wide berth–or they might run the others off to have the stream alone.

          Younger bears are certainly less prone to confrontation with older, larger bears and usually with people, but (big but) young bears are quite analogous to teenagers. They are overly curious and can be inclined to bravado, while being generally anxious, nervy, and uncertain of the world’s do’s/don’ts. This can make them dangerous in particular situations. Not unlike a pack of teens with too much free time and access to a fast car.

  8. Wukchumni

    Ever notice how Worlds Fairs went away with hardly a whimper?

    That’s kind of how I feel in regards to the Olympics, it’s turned into a boring corporate themed event, with occasional human bean accoutrements to make it less boring.

    1. JTMcPhee

      There’s a certain category of people who will be missing the bezzle opportunities that the thing formerly known as the Olympics could provide… “Never give a sucker an even break.”

      I’ve read the recent NC stuff on humans and agriculture with my usual jaundice — if the revisions are anything close to right, it looks like humankind has pretty much encoded its demise into its sociobiology. That limbic-system drive to pleasure and dominance plays out in so many realms, including the entire shenanigans surrounding the corrupt bidding up and operation of the “world games…”

      And another random bit on ejection seats: In January 1968, during that Tet thing, My unit was billeted in tents on the beach at the end of one of the runways at Chu Lai airbase. The jet jockeys flying munitions-overloaded A-4s liked to buzz low over us on takeoff and landing, the wingtip vortices would rattle the tents and the exhaust noise was incredible. One day an A-4 carrying a full load of 250 and 500 pound bombs to go tear up the landscape and kill Wogs experienced a flameout of its single jet engine as it passed over the runway threshold at maybe 200 feet. The plane stalled, rolled inverted and the pilot ejected straight down into the ground. We Troops joked that he “spoiled his whole day.” The jet crashed into the water a little way offshore with a huge explosion.

      Come the F-35, and its ejection seat issues (and other failure modes), and the end of the notion that the generals and war profiteers give a sh!t about those expensively trained pilots (as opposed to their career boosts and bonuses from moving the Turkeys along from “in procurement” to “operational deployed status”). I used to get off on those first-person recollection books by WW II and Korea and WW I Fighter Aces (on all sides) — “knights of the Air,” Real Manly Heroes who were valued for their skills at getting behind other pilots and shoving hot lead or missiles up their a$$es. The tour in Vietnam and subsequent learning cured me of that adolescent affectation. Any more, who cares if hotshot Top Guns come to their ends via spinal cord or other injuries from expensive rocket rides that let them survive to shove missiles up a$$es another day, or thanks to one or a bevy of missiles? No one with any power over “doctrine” is in the business of asking whether any of theses trips are necessary. More of the same, more of the same — more “spoiled their whole day” moments, for intrepid pilots, and of course Wogs on the ground, all “in service” to what goal(s), again?

        1. Wukchumni

          I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far, leagues better than anything else i’ve ever seen on tv in regards to the conflict.

          And those of you that think it’s sugar coated, perish the thought.

        2. JTMcPhee

          Re Burns’ Vietnam: Interesting that people say they are “enjoying” the production. I may tense up and wade through it at some point. I stopped having recurrent nightmares a couple of years ago, after some psych help and finding an older blood pressure med that was found to fortuitously mitigate those dreams/- it’s called prazosin, for anyone interested. FWIW, the various “high points ” of recent imperial idiocy– Beirut, Grenada, Panama, the Bill Clinton European adventures, Iraq, Notagainistan, and the various “surges of futility and corruption” each ramped up my personal nightmare train. Getting older and losing acuity of memory has helped fade the bad stuff too.

          So I am not rushing to possibly repeat the stuff I experienced on taking in “Full Metal Jacket.”

          And it bothers me, the effect that condensing to the confines of time and the borders of a big or small screen has on what ought to be a warning and halt to the idiocies of war and imperial violence. War, with all it means, becomes an oeuvre to discuss as art, rather than the complex horror that armed violence is.

          How many people among us will take in Burns’ oeuvre, and then take to the streets and act effectively to shut down the banal horror that is the MIC in all its parts? Hey, it’s 20 percent of “the economy, stupid!”

          It was bad enough to read the book, indeed all the material I read and studied to try to grasp how these things we call “wars,” which are so painfully typical and apparently ineluctable parts of “what makes us all too human,” happen. And how I could get suckered into enlisting in the imperial “war is nothing but a racket, Milo Minderbinder Enterprises” military, back in 1966.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Try listening to the pleas of people desperate for a passport, not because they want easy passage through an airport or seek business advantages, but because to stay put means repression and possible death.” — Hugh Muir

    Corrected link for “We’ve hit peak injustice: a world without borders, but only for the super-rich” —

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/18/peak-injustice-world-without-borders-super-rich-buying-citizenship-migration

    Mandatory passports are a product of World War I and its pumped-up, rampaging nation states. Before then, migrants who could afford passage could go where they wanted.

    Now the flows of human cattle are regulated according to their economic status. The United Nations declaration in 1948 that “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country” is purely theoretical. It needs a footnote, *with government permission.”

    As Muir points out, obtaining legal residency and a second passport is a more exclusive tier (though less so in Latin America, where a rich country pension qualifies one for residency). The Caribbean island of Dominica sells legitimate second passports for $100,000. They’re going to need that revenue after Hurricane Maria wrecked the place last night.

  10. Darius

    If Obama is just another private citizen, why is Wall Street giving him $400,000 a pop? I’m a private citizen too.

    1. Oregoncharles

      It’s what he planned all his policies around. They have a debt to pay – and as voteforno6 said, it sends a necessary signal to present and future office holders.

      I predicted this repeatedly when he was president.

    2. JustAnObserver

      Just another ~30 speeches to go & he can buy that “parcel” in Martha’s Vineyard mentioned in links the other day … subsequently denied so it must be true … unless the denial wasn’t official.

  11. gsinbe

    The Medium piece on HRC is well worth a read. I liked this,

    “Anyone who’s looking at the situation clearly can see that Trump isn’t extremely awful because of the few ways he’s differed from other recent presidents, he’s extremely awful because of the things he’s got in common with them.”

    1. JTMcPhee

      The salient quote from that article for me was this:

      “This is not the first time the propagandists have used fear to try and manipulate the public, and it won’t be the last. Until we learn collectively to cease succumbing to this vile tactic and start pushing toward what we want instead of running from what we fear, our world will remain dominated by manipulative tyrants. Don’t let them scare you. Take the wheel and steer toward what you want.”

      NC comments occasionally include (by inadvertence or design) a ration of “fear, uncertainty and doubt” messaging — like the many reasons why “we” can’t expect any improvement in provision of health care to all of us…

      Not that I have any great comfort that enough of us mopes are listening or can overcome their nature and conditioning… baby steps, baby steps…

    2. jrs

      well actually he’s kind of awful in both ways. And very often he’s awful by being more extreme in bad policy than other recent presidents even if they were not what one would want either (ie anti EPA ).

    3. Annotherone

      Yes, Ms Johnstone’s piece at Medium is a real breath of fresh air! There’s an excellent long comment beneath it too – from Ron Carey.

      It’s hard to believe, though, that this long after November 2016, we’re still having to
      go over, and over, and over the same ground. I guess it’s because that ground is putrid, so these blasts of fresh air are valuable.

  12. BoycottAmazon

    Medium Piece:

    Hillary wrote 4 biographic books, three before this election. She can’t stop talking because she is a narcisist talking about herself. Her election wasn’t platform based, or rather the platform was Hillary. Thomas Frank Nails It.

      1. DonCoyote

        Looked like two copies of Econned, different sizes, yes I noticed that when I first watched. Great minds (TF and Yves) think alike :-)

  13. petal

    Thank you for the article about Dr. Mary-Claire King. I sent it to my academic research group. What a story!

  14. Jim Haygood

    Trump does the UN today:

    In his speech, he will seek to rally the world to help the United States … pressure Iran to rein in everything from ballistic missile launches to interference in Syria.

    Trump has set U.S.-Iran relations on a far more confrontational path than the detente Iranian President Hassan Rouhani enjoyed with Obama.

    Trump’s rhetoric against Iran, coming as he appears to be leaning against recertifying the nuclear deal by a mid-October deadline, prompted a retort from Rouhani on Monday.

    Rouhani told CNN that exiting the Iran nuclear deal “would carry a high cost for the United States of America, and I do not believe Americans would be willing to pay such a high cost for something that will be useless for them.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-assembly-trump/in-first-speech-at-u-n-trump-to-single-out-north-korea-iran-idUSKCN1BU0B3

    America’s ceaseless whingeing about Iran is a script written by the Lobby. Europe was about to break with the US on Iranian sanctions before it cajoled America into the nuclear deal with Iran.

    Is the Lobby more influential in the US than Europe, with a population fifty times larger than Israel’s? Stay tuned to this sordid real-life drama.

    1. sleepy

      Does the Trump administration not give two seconds’ thought to the impact ripping up the Iran nuke deal would have on any possible negotiations with North Korea?

      Why would North Korea enter into a nuclear deal with the US after witnessing the unilateral revocation of the Iran agreement?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Given the implications of knocking over Libya, do you really think Trump is going to reach a better conclusion than Obama?

        The Iranian deal was only possible because the Russians are on the side of Iran and Europe threatened to change their Iranian policy without U.S. permission. Without those changes, the Iranians would never have made a deal after Iraq and Libya, both countries without WMDs.

        This applies to the entire foreign policy establishment. On what planet would anyone go to David Frum for advice is the relevant issue.

  15. Livius Drusus

    The Sanders vs. Clinton conflict represents a real divide in the Democratic Party about policy so it is definitely not going away. Opinion on trade agreements, for example, represent a major policy divide between the two camps that cannot easily be smoothed away.

    The Republicans seem to have a similar problem between the Trump wing and the establishment wing of their party although the divide doesn’t seem as contentious, perhaps because the Republicans have been winning elections so often that it smooths things over. It probably also helps that the GOP coalition is more racially and culturally homogeneous than the Democratic coalition.

    But the big division in American politics does seem to be between those who are basically happy with the collection of policies often called “globalization” and those who are not and are variously called populists, protectionists and nationalists.

  16. JTMcPhee

    Looks like the NC “secret word of the day, or longer” has become “GOBSMACKED!” And what are we all supposed to do when someone uses the Secret Word? That’s right — SCREAM REAL LOUD! Here’s the video instruction: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3c5E9OyrjpI

    …of course there are good reasons why that secret word is getting the play it has had of late…

    1. fresno dan

      JTMcPhee
      September 19, 2017 at 9:19 am

      fresno dan
      September 29, 2016 at 6:42 pm
      dcblogger
      September 29, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      I need a more powerfully word than gobsmacked…..

  17. JohnnyGL

    My unsolicited advice….

    Don’t read the Dem consultants whining in the Hill about how Dems need ‘party unity’. We don’t want unity, we need a purge of the ‘centrists’, including the consultants. It’s a long process, much as it was to beat down the New Dealers 30ish years ago.

    Do read this piece advocating for better planning and management of natural barriers to storm surges.

    http://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/351260-natural-barriers-are-a-key-defense-against-storms-like-harvey-and

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        Distant relative? Wow, every time I see your moniker in a post I was always reminded of John McPhee, but of course assumed it was just a coincidence.

        John McPhee is one of my chosen Literary Deities! (along with Sun Tzu, Edward Abbey, JRR Tolkien, Ernie Pyle, John Keegan, and a few other lesser demi-gods/goddesses)

        ‘Coming Into The Country’,’Basin And Range’, and…well..heck…every other damn book he has ever written! :)

        1. polecat

          An Excellent read, I would agree … as are his geology-based vinettes … starting with ‘In Suspect Terrain, up to, and including ‘Assembling California’

          1. Wukchumni

            I too so enjoy McPhee’s work and have read most everything he’s written. After reading Uncommon Carriers, every time I see an 8 or 9 numbered lozenge on the back side of a large truck, I make haste and pull away from them as quickly as I can, as whatever they’re carrying, it’s quite dangerous.

      2. Eureka Springs

        Thank you. His work meant so much to me as youngster in the seventies. Stalking the Wild Asparagus, Giving Good Weight, In Suspect Terrain, to name a few. I’m still savoring the dive into Annals of the Former World

  18. NotTimothyGeithner

    About Hillary not retiring gracefully, I think much like her Presidential run its not about Hillary but about her friends. Loyalty is a two way street, and the Clintons love their loyalists who don’t have the charisma or celebrity of the actual Clintons. Given the support for Obama in 2008 and now Sanders who had no support from the Democratic establishment, I can imagine Hillary has a cadre desperate for her to work her magic to support the Democratic courtier class which is in desperate need of being removed from the body politic given their track record. I expect Hillary is the type who is easily flattered, but I suspect she is being driven into it more than its about her.

    In her book, she claims she wanted to run for President because thought she was the most qualified, yada, yada, yada instead of presenting a moral vision of where she wants to lead. The focus on the 65 million general election votes and the 4 million more votes in the primary is to prevent focus on the Robbie Mooks of the Democratic establishment who more or less delivered President Donald Trump.

    1. John k

      What charisma? If Hillary had any of that she’d be pres now.
      What she did have was the press, the 10%, the banks, pharma, MIC contractors, Saudis, Israel, and bags of their money, which didn’t really go up in flames but provided useful sustenance to many courtiers.
      And she’s still pissed. No power, and who pays to hear her reminisce about gaddaffi these days? That money is now going to big o because he was so useful, what with the pitchforks and all. Who buys her books? Sad.

  19. PlutoniumKun

    Opioid boom in China as patients lose addiction fears FT

    From the article:

    As the US government tries to tackle the epidemic by discouraging physicians from prescribing painkillers for chronic pain, companies are seeking growth in emerging markets such as China.

    Mundipharma, which produces OxyContin — a drug blamed for intensifying the addiction crisis in the US — has launched a large-scale campaign in China involving cartoon videos aimed at both doctors and patients.

    So far staff from more than 6,000 hospitals across China viewed online lectures hosted by Mundipharma’s platform to promote pain treatment some 64,000 times, according to the company’s website.

    This isn’t going to end well.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’ve a relative who is involved in research into the topic of opiate prescribing. He says that the industry is slowly but surely undermining protections everywhere, including Europe. The ‘trojan horse’ is pain clinics – they invest heavily in persuading the profession that doctors aren’t doing enough to deal with pain – its hard for a doctor to say ‘well actually, I think its better to leave someone in pain than make them an addict’.

        Its a very slow, incremental process, it just works faster in those countries with weaker controls. And China has a notoriously freewheeling medical system where pretty much anything goes.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Doctors don’t have a lot of options for dealing with pain.

          1. Euthanasia
          2. Physician assisted suicide
          3. Opioid painkillers
          4. Marijuana
          5. Accupuncture

          1. JTMcPhee

            Short of euthanasia, there’s an expanding set of players in the pain business: “interventional pain management specialists.” Here’s a kind of overview of the field: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6420933_Evidence-based_interventional_pain_management_Principles_problems_potential_and_applications The clinics and facilities offering these procedures include a lot of MDs that formerly just called themselves “pain specialists,” and did tend to prescribe a whole lot of opiods — from university hospital clinics, down to the level of the “pill mills” that catalyzed and facilitated the addiction/destruction problem. Here’s one of the many pitches that flood the search pages: https://precisionpaincare.com/faq/ One business-model problem with “medical” approaches to pain is that the narcs, and profit-driven and risk-avoiding UNsurance companies, and workers comp providers, are looking more closely at opioid prescribing. Too bad for the many people who actually benefit from controlled administration of opioids, and who are returned to much better function and living as a result. The bad ones always spoil it for the rest, eh?

            But it is a “growth industry,” http://journals.lww.com/spinejournal/Abstract/2013/01150/Growth_of_Spinal_Interventional_Pain_Management.9.aspx and not unnoticed by concerned practitioners: http://www.beckersspine.com/spine/item/25022-an-updated-assessment-of-utilization-of-interventional-pain-management-techniques-in-the-medicare-population-2000-2013.html

            And the pricing and profit for just an office visit and a script has gotten pretty slim. But lay out the patient on a table, fire up the fluoroscope or the ultrasound machine, stick the needle in hopefully just the right place, and blast with chemicals, or radio frequency energy or whatever, the supposedly offending nerve, disc bulge or possibly spasming bit of muscle, and you can bill and up-code all day long. (Botox is often used, along with a bunch of caustics and anaesthetic substances). And MEdicare (whether for the current cadre, or when it’s available for all) will pay a pretty penny for these procedures and their risks, until the cost-watchers catch on — which because of bureaucratic slowness and heavy obscurant lobbying, takes a while.

            And for a significant number of people, IPM is not only ineffective, it makes their condition worse. http://www.pmr.theclinics.com/article/S1047-9651(12)00022-8/fulltext

            Let me add that for many people, one or more of the many IPM treatment modalities has provided pain relief and quality-of-life benefits. As with anything, “your experience may vary.”

            1. kareninca

              Like you say, most of these things are covered by Medicare. But not Botox. My mom has a combo of scoliosis and spinal stenosis and she has tried everything. Regular painkillers, ointments, patches, acupuncture, yoga, chiropractic treatment, sacrocranial manipulation, injections of various sorts, a traction to lie in, herbs, a vibrating platform, and on and on. A few days ago she finally had botox injections, and we’ll see. They were $625, which (if they work, which I am skeptical of, but we have to try) will cover three months.

              The weird thing is that each of these things will work for about a week, and then stop working (and never work again). The other weird thing is that the pain (which is hideous) is intermittent. I don’t get it – how is it that she can go without any pain for a couple of weeks, and then for months it will be daily agony? She does take opioids, as few as possible. But they don’t work all that well, really; they are a “better than nothing” kind of thing. They take forever to kick in, and they don’t do as much as you’d think.

              She’s 74. Multiply that by millions of people. I hope that a cure is found. Her religious friends suggest prayer, which they find helpful for their pain, but I guess she hasn’t gotten that desperate yet, haha.

              1. JTMcPhee

                So sorry for your mom and what she is experiencing. The physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors I worked for had and have a lot of chronic pain patients. Pain is a massively complex phenomenon, as I’m sure you know. Might I suggest, if you have not tried it, to speak with a “physiatrist,” NOT a psychiatrist or podiatrist– a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist? Many of them have sixth senses about the sources and treatments for pain. And my two bits’ worth is if anyone is thinking of surgical interventions particularly for spinal issues, a neurosurgeon might be a better consult than an orthopedic surgeon, as a general matter.

                1. kareninca

                  Thank you very much indeed. I had never heard of a physiatrist. It is possible that the pain specialist doctor she sees is one, but I’m not sure. I will start investigating. No-one has suggested surgery, which seems strange to me; I thought surgery was often pushed, but no-one has. This is southeastern CT, and most of her doctors are in Westerly, RI, and I think that they are a pretty reputable lot, and very conservative in their suggestions, so they are not going to try something that might be hazardous. It would not have occurred to me for her to consult a neurosurgeon, I will look into that, too. Thanks again; I know that you have a lot of experience in this area so I especially appreciate your suggestions.

            2. ChrisPacific

              Many people don’t realize how subjective, context dependent and error-prone the experience of ‘pain’ in practice actually is (i.e., the classification by the brain of nerve impulses as collectively representing harm or imminent danger of harm, followed by an urgent alarm to do something about it). In cases of chronic pain or pain without an obvious underlying treatable cause, I think the most promising solutions are often variants of pain psychology – meditation, biofeedback, reconditioning and so on. The brain is a remarkably flexible organ and it’s quite capable of learning new behaviors or unlearning old ones, even down to the autonomic level.

              If I was a chronic pain sufferer, this would probably be my first line of attack. If I lived in the US though, I’m sure I’d be fighting off opioid pushers every step of the way.

              1. kareninca

                ChrisPacific, I just copied your post and am sending it to my parents. My mom has not tried biofeedback yet. She has tried hypnotism without luck, and she definitely does not have the attention span for meditation, but biofeedback is something different. If it just helped around the edges that would be worth it. Thank you.

        2. Solar Hero

          Bingo! Pain, Addiction; Addiction; Pain? I know which I’d choose! I feel too much of the Puritanical war on (some) drugs in the current OPIODS MZOG! reaction.

    1. bronco

      Stay tuned for the upcoming Third Opium War . Its been over 100 years so you know the sequel is going to be a blockbuster.

  20. JohnnyGL

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/09/18/immigrant_rights_protesters_shout_down_nancy_pelosi_this_is_our_democracy.html

    Well organized and executed. No respect for Pelosi because she doesn’t deserve any.

    You reap what you sow, Democrats. Really, what did Democrat leadership expect? They spent over a year calling Trump Satan, then, suddenly, they try to pivot and cut a deal with Satan and we’re all supposed to act like everything is fine?

    Immigrant rights groups are rightly treating Pelosi like a collaborator, because that’s what she’s doing under the narrative the Democrats themselves have crafted.

    Single-payer activist crowd could learn a thing or two from this, in my view.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Obama protected the Democrats for the last eight years and then Hillary during the election, but without the celebrity defenders who are like moths to a flame, the Democrats will continue to face these kinds of events and not come off well as they have no idea how to behave anymore when you consider it was sixteen years of blaming Bush and hiding behind Obama.

      The reactions of Democrats to questions about their support for trying to criminalize boycotts is telling. They are astonished voters might make demands of them. The celebrity worshippers aren’t showing up for the average elected Democrat anymore.

  21. Wukchumni

    Americans have long had a love affair with ostentatious wealth, the showier the better. It seemed to me that one of Dolt 45’s selling points in the election was that he was really rich…

    What would a backlash against the likes of this look like?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Right, and Republicans like rich people, thus it was ever so. The Clinton campaign strategy was to mock Trump for not being a billionaire and note the billionaires who supported her in her effort to win “suburban moderate Republicans.”

      One might consider the widespread dissatisfaction with both parties to be an early stage of the revolt. Jeb is certainly rich and represents the traditional blue blood class of the GOP versus Trump who had difficulty raising money. Then of course, there was Bernie Sanders.

      The Democrats seemed to do quite well pushing the message about how Obama wasn’t taking money from lobbyists, and then of course, they started to take money from lobbyists and started losing elections.

  22. PlutoniumKun

    Western contempt for China turns to panic Asia Times

    As so often, the China bears have probably got it wrong – at least for now.

    Not since the British garrison at Singapore surrendered to Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita in 1942 has Western opinion of an Asian power changed so fast. When China’s 2015 stock market bubble popped, prevailing Western opinion held that China’s economic boom would flame out in a debt crisis comparable to America’s subprime disaster of 2008 or the near collapse of Europe’s southern tier in 2013.

    Now that China’s tradeable stock market has risen by 43% during 2017 in US dollar terms (with the MSCI-based ETF as a benchmark), Western opinion is melting up. Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund, is raising money for a China investment vehicle. Bank of America now predicts Asian stocks will double in the present bull run. “Hedge Funds Used to Love Shorting China. Now, Not So Much,” declared a Bloomberg headline Sept. 12.

    Its true that the problems in China last year were probably overstated. But something in that article reminds me of some of the hubristic writing from Japan in the 1980’s. I can’t recall where I read it, but one prominent Japanese writer in the mid 1980’s talked about Europe as being ‘worth little except as a place for Japanese people to go on holiday’. So when I read articles like the above, I wonder if it is a sign of chickens coming home to roost.

    From the most recent Michael Pettis article (a long time bear on China, but a thoughtful one).

    If you assume, as Grenville clearly seems to believe, that there is no relationship between the growth in economic activity and the growth in GDP, then he is right to describe China’s current GDP growth as “still-outstanding.” But that seems a pretty astonishing assumption. If GDP growth had not been artificially boosted by credit expansion, then it is hard to understand why Beijing has been trying urgently to get credit growth under control for over five years but has not even been able to prevent it from accelerating.

    In fact, I would argue that “the end of China’s stellar growth story” has already occurred, and occurred quite a long time ago. Growth in the Chinese economy has collapsed, but growth in economic activity has not collapsed (let us assume, with Grenville, that somehow the reduction in GDP growth from over 10 percent to 6.5 percent does not represent a slowdown in economic activity). The growth in economic activity has instead been propped up by the acceleration in credit growth and by the failure to write down investments that have created economic activity without having created economic value. In that case, high GDP growth levels simply disguise the seeming collapse of underlying economic growth in a way that has happened many times before—always in the late stages of similar apparent investment-driven growth miracles.

    I’d recommend reading his article through in detail, he explains very clearly why he believes that China’s growth miracle has already run out of steam, and all it is doing is generating unplayable debts.

    1. John k

      He sounds more pessimistic than ever. Probably doesn’t sell well in china… particularly as they prepare to coronate Shi. wonder if he’s still there.

  23. John Wright

    Re:Florida Power and Light lobbyists made it illegal to use solar during outages

    From my understanding of some of the solar panel systems recently installed on peoples’ homes, they are microinverter based (inverters convert from the direct current of the solar panels to 60HZ AC as supplied by the utilities).

    These systems have no way to store converted solar energy (in batteries for example) and depend on pushing excess developed AC power back on the utility grid (effectively the power meter will run backwards when the solar owner has excess power).

    So these solar systems need an intact utility grid to function, which is, of course, not present in an outage.

    The article should have asked how many of the installed solar systems that COULD function of the grid were actually shut down (some newer systems do allow off the grid operation from what I’ve read).

    The number of usable solar systems might have been very small, given the “working electrical grid” dependency of many.

    1. Anon

      A solar PV system can be readily set up in a number of ways: stand-alone (off-grid), net-metered (grid-attached), automatic or manual control. While net-metered PV systems can be a danger to FPL (electrical system) workers, it appears the intent of the FPL promoted statute was to limit installation of off-grid solar PV systems.

      Most solar PV systems invert the direct current (DC)12v/24v PV panel derived electricity into typical house current (120v/60Hz) alternating current (AC). ( The electron resistance in wiring is inversely related to the magnitude of the current: 12v is high; 120v is lower; and most appliances/lighting is AC oriented.)

      Most modern micro-inverter based PV systems can sense the condition of the electrical grid and shunt power to a local (home) battery bank for later use. Elon Musk’s Nevada lithium ion battery enterprise (outside Reno, NV) is hoping to satisfy this potential market. Using the distributed batteries of homes (including electric vehicles in the garage) has the potential to modulate power surges in the overall electric grid AND provide limited power during outages (like Florida).

      1. John Wright

        If your posting is somewhat confusing to some I suspect it is related the statement “Electron resistance in wiring is inversely related to the magnitude of the current”.

        The electrical resistance of copper wiring does vary with temperature (higher temps result in higher resistance), but I believe you are trying to infer “The power loss in wiring is given by the formula I x I x wire_resistance (I-squared times R)” so running 10 amps through a wire at 10 volts will result in a greater power loss, in the distribution wire, than supplying the same net power at a higher voltage (say 1 amp at 100 volts).

        In fact, one will have a supply wiring power loss 100 times greater in the 10v at 10 amp case vs the 100v at 1 amp case through the same sized wire, assuming the resistance is constant.

        That is why AC power is distributed at very high voltages, up to 765000 volts per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_power_distribution.

        Here is more on the topic of PV utility during power outages.

        http://blogs.edf.org/energyexchange/2014/08/04/what-we-can-do-to-ensure-solar-panels-work-during-the-next-sandy/

        “It is a common belief that simply installing solar panels is enough to keep the lights on during a blackout, but the truth is the majority of PV systems today lose all functionality when the grid goes down. Currently, most on-site PV systems are so-called “grid-tied systems” that interact with the wider utility grid through an inverter. While it’s commonly understood that the grid supplies and absorbs excess energy from the PV system, it is less commonly known that it also serves the critical function of balancing the output of the PV system. More specifically, the PV system and inverter rely on the electric grid to constantly maintain voltage and frequency within appropriate limits as sunlight intensity fluctuates throughout the day.”

        1. BoycottAmazon

          More specifically, the PV system and inverter rely on the electric grid to constantly maintain voltage and frequency within appropriate limits as sunlight intensity fluctuates throughout the day.”

          +1

          just add it impacts on grid operational costs, maintenance costs, and above a signficant threshold, the operational costs of non-solar power producers. Solar pannel owners get these services and expenses subsidized by non-solar grid customers, (often the poor and voiceless) small retail/home owners.

    2. Oregoncharles

      The solar arrays I’ve seen make excellent sails and would not survive a hurricane. They might have sturdier ones in Fla., but they’d cost more.

      I wonder about the Tesla solar roofs: how well secured are they? You could use extra fasteners in hurricane country.

  24. MayM

    Regarding latest effort to repeal the ACA:

    I’m not sure whether this link will work, but on Sept. 6, Jeff Stein of Vox raised the concern on Twitter that the deal between Pelosi, Schumer and Trump on the debt ceiling actually made Graham Cassidy much more likely because it cleared an otherwise crowded legislative calendar. I haven’t seen anybody raise this but him, but his concern sure seems prophetic now. Rather than “rolling” the Republicans on the debt ceiling deal, it looks like Pelosi/Schumer gave them the time and space they needed to bring Trumpcare back from the dead.

    https://twitter.com/JStein_Vox/status/905508463802974208

    1. Biph

      On the flipside getting rid of the ACA is a political loser for the GOP, the ACA isn’t very good, but it’s better than (even if only marginally so) anything the Republicans are proposing and the moment Trump signs a GOP healthcare bill he and the GOP own healthcare in the U.S. lock, stock and barrel regardless of when particular parts of said bill may actually come in to effect. The public writ large will view them as responsible for any cost increases or loss of coverage from the moment of signing.
      A highly unpopular healthcare bill pushed by a highly unpopular Trump might be just the thing to coalesce the center and left around single payer.
      I won’t accuse Schumer and Pelosi of anything more than the law of unintended consequences if their actions lead to this, but I’m in favor of most anything that makes the burden of passing single payer lighter.

  25. beth

    The Real Reason Hillary Can’t Just Shut The Fuck Up And Go Away

    Do you think that this explains what the NYTs has been doing since the election,i.e., protecting HRC and themselves?

    In opting for this risky gamble of telling Democrats that something uniquely horrible would happen if Trump won, and then losing,

    1. Harold

      She was paid a $24 million advance for the book, I understand. That’s a pretty significant incentive to keep writing.

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From “While the rest of the world invests more in education, the U.S. spends less Hechinger Report (micael):”

    While the rest of the world invests more in education, the U.S. spends less
    Years of disinvestment could affect the future U.S. labor force

    The emphasis is on the labor force. That’s the reason for education, not for one’s enlightenment, but how productive a graduate can generate money for his/her corporation, or how inventive he/she can come up with the next killer weapon, to defend the empire.

    And so, all must learn geometry, because it’s better the military can draw on the best at working out parabolic curves from a pool of one million students, instead of from a smaller pool of, say, 1,000.

    Why not let those interested in geometry learn it like many who, for example, learn plumbing, by going to a plumbing school, or real estate school, after high school graduation?

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    College in the U.S. Is More Expensive Than in Any Other Country in the World AlterNet

    That is a separate issue from free college tuition, and we are not doing much to make college cost less (state or city taxpayers paying, instead of students, even with free college tuition, so we can still speak of expensive college).

    And this also answers a question someone asked here recently – is there anything, other than health care, that was more expensive (or that more was spent on) in the US than in Switzerland?

  28. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: Equifax Breach: I have several questions and concerns about this breach and I am not seeing any reasonable answers.

    1) What information did Equifax “lose”?
    2) What can a sophisticated large-scale attacker do with that information and how?
    3) How can I protect myself?

    My concerns:
    1) I suspect much more than Name, Address, Social Security Number, Place and Date of Birth, Phone Number, Mother’s Maiden Name may have been lost by Equifax.
    2) Although Equifax security hardly deserves that name, and no remarkable expertise would be required to execute an exploit against Equifax or any other of the estimated 3000 other unpatched apache servers the scale of the attack and lost data suggests the work of much more than a garage grins-n-giggles hacker. Even if the hacker(s) were small time 144 million IDs is not small time and now those IDs are probably in the hands of big time criminals — probably including our criminal government agencies in Homeland “Security” [though they probably already had much or most of the data — it might not have been as nicely organized and accessible].

    I have no idea what kinds of attack this data exposes us to. Any speculation? I keep remembering the scene at the end of the Swedish version of “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”.

    3) We are advised to Freeze Our Credit at all three credit bureaus. But the Freeze is managed by the very agencies which have proven less than secure. The Freeze is controlled and protected by information those agencies keep safe. [I have had my credit frozen for several years following exploits against DoD’s Security Clearance databases — two separate exploits at different sites and spaced a couple of years apart!]

    I lack confidence in the advice to have my credit monitored with daily reports. That might catch slow penny-ante uses of my ID but 144 million does not suggest the threats posed are penny-ante. The article suggesting that we share our Social Security Number only when absolutely necessary — and do not give it to your doctor — is at best execrable.

    After recalling “Dragon Tattoo” I keep hearing echoes of Patrick McGoohan in “The Prisoner” yelling as Roover drives him back to the village.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I just finished reading the Krebs link you pointed to. Thanks.

        I did not feel any more comfortable after reading what Krebs had to say. Based on Equifax disclosures as represented in that link I am not sure Equifax knows what data was breached and if they know I have little confidence they are telling all that they know. The other shoe has not fallen yet.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Free credit monitoring? That is not enough. Knowing the day after I was ripped off does little to protect me from being ripped off. Cybercrime can execute close to the speed of light — a day’s notice? How does that help?

        I am not a number!

    1. Tooearly

      I too think we don’t know the half of this. I suspect this might just be the cover for something far worse being planned though I don’t want to get too tinfoil on this.
      It will be interesting to see what crops up in the MSM as to suggested fixes…required biometric identification?

  29. curlydan

    WaPo’s headline, “After single payer failed, Vermont embarks on a big health care experiment”, is total BS. First, not a word was mentioned in the article about how or why single payer “failed” in Vermont.

    Second, single payer cannot fail in Vermont because Vermont never had single payer. The governor got cold feet and killed the bill. That headline is like saying a high school graduate dropped out of college even though he never attended.

  30. Ping

    Re: Fierce debate over Grizzly hunting ban…”The Conversation”

    Yves, with NC’s reverence toward animals, a respectful suggestion.

    “The Conversation” usual coverage on wildlife preservation is disgusting, in the name of neutrality presenting unbalanced pablum to legitimize the most egregious forms wildlife slaughter to the point where I wonder if they are accepting donations from the horrific political lobbyist “Safari Club International”.

    “Alternet” Environmental category is a great accurate resource on wildlife issues and often publish articles by Wayne Pacelle Humane Society president and passionate defender incorporating sound science.

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