Links 10/26/17

Photos of Cats Doing Martial Arts PetaPixel (David L)

Newsbud Exclusive- CFR Article Calls for Sabotaging Alternative Media!! Newsbud (Chuck L). This looks to be official validation of what is already well underway.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak: There’s ‘way too much hype’ around Elon Musk’s Tesla CNBC. See comment on self-driving cars.

Google’s Sentiment Analyzer Thinks Being Gay Is Bad MotherBoard

Has North Korea copied Soviet ICBMs with help from Ukraine? Asia Times


India’s coastal law is being altered in public interest – by bypassing the public Scroll (J-LS)

India’s Banks Need More Than a Bailout Bloomberg

As US Presses Against Price Cap on Medical Devices, India Needs to Hold Health Above Trade The Wire

Europe’s high-stakes weedkiller decision goes to the wire Politico

„Schäuble hat ganz Europa gegen Deutschland aufgebracht“ Die Welt (Mark P)

Schauble has reduced Europe to rubble’: Cabinet colleague takes parting shot at outgoing German finance minister Telegraph (Mark P)


Junqueras Tells AP Only Option Is To Proclaim Republic Spain Report


Brexit transition period likely to be limited to 20 months, EU officials say Guardian. Remember: the only “transition” that can help the UK is a standstill. And note:

The Irish government has publicly called for a longer period, of up to five years, to allow businesses to prepare for changes in customs procedures, a proposal that has the support of many in the UK.

David Davis buckles under the reality of no-deal Ian Dunt (Richard Smith). Also discussed in today’s post.

Transitional Brexit deal must be agreed this year, City warns government Guardian

UK ‘screwed’ in Brexit negotiations, says ex-ambassador Politico

Rent rooms to hospital patients for £50 a night The Times


That ‘Israel Lobby’ Controversy? History Has Proved Us Right Defend Democracy

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

DOJ Subpoenas Twitter About Popehat, Dissent Doe And Others Over A Smiley Emoji Tweet TechDirt

Imperial Collapse Watch

Congress Owes Our Servicemembers an Authorization for the Use of Military Force WarontheRocks (resilc)

SpaceX Keeps Lining Up Covert Military Launches Wired (resilc)

Trump Transition

Hundreds Face Conspiracy Charges For Actions Of A Few During Inauguration Day Protests Intercept (resilc). This is really ugly.

Republicans Just Caved to the Big Banks and Exposed Trump’s Sham Populism New Yorker (resilc)

GOP seizes on new Clinton revelation The Hill

Why doesn’t Hillary’s ‘dossier’ trick count as treason? New York Post (J-LS) v. It doesn’t really matter who funded the Steele dossier. New Republic. Resilc: “It does to 38-45% of Merika.”

Political rhetoric in the age of Trump Fabius Maximus

Report: John Kelly Said He Wants to Admit Zero Refugees Daily Beast. Resilc: “USA USA just creates refugees, we don’t take responsibility after. Just like the almighty fetus. AOK before birth, you get zero support after….”

The blood on George W Bush’s hands will never dry. Don’t glorify this man Guardian (resilc)

Under Trump, Neocons Push for Massive Military Spending and Global Domination TruthOut

Ben Carson refuses to answer questions on HUD budget cuts MSNBC (furzy)

Will Democrats Lose Their Last Tool to Block Trump’s Worst Judicial Nominees? New Yorker

Dual Frauds: Flake-ism & Trumpist Populism American Conservative (resilc)

Tax “Reform”

Republicans are starting to notice another big problem with their tax plan Business Insider. Seems like Republicans assume many of their “small businessmen” aren’t doctors, lawyers, accountants, and consultants, when I’d bet a lot are.

Tax Kickoff Threatened by GOP Members Defending State Break Bloomberg

Washington Resumes Talking About Nuclear War Atlantic (resilc)

There is no 1st Amendment right to speak on a college campus Vox


Single Payer Myths: Removing People From Employer Plans Matt Bruenig, People’s Policy Project. Important.

Judge won’t force Trump to keep making ObamaCare payments The Hill

Bipartisan Senate Health Bill Would Reduce Deficit by About $4 Billion Over Decade Wall Street Journal

Thousands of US companies face healthcare penalties Financial Times

Why opioids are such an American problem BBC

Secret corporate cash funded posh convention hideaway for Paul Ryan, GOP lawmakers WisconsinWatch (Dr. Kevin)

Democrats in Disarray

Steven Rattner, Kickback Hack Jacobin (resilc)

Do Democrats Really Need Wall Street? Bill Moyers (John Z)

Will Democrats Like Trump in 2029? Probably! Vice (resilc)

Democrats in denial The Week (resilc). Important. Lambert linked to it in Water Cooler but it is worth reading in full.

NY Faces Demand For Election Reforms After Illegal Primary Voter Purge Real News Network

New Documents On World War II-Era Leak Prosecution Of Journalist Shadowproof (UserFriendly)

Will This Trump Move Trigger A Coal And Nuclear Buying Spree? OilPrice

Lawmakers Urge DOJ To Consider Prosecuting Pipeline Activists As Terrorists Shadowproof (furzy)

The Morningstar Mirage Wall Street Journal. I don’t mean to defend Morningstar, but anyone who knows bupkis re investments will tell you that funds in any asset class do not show persistence of outperformance. So the question is to what extent Morningstar subtly or overtly played up popular misperceptions.

Wall Street wins big on arbitration, and consumers are mad CBS (J-LS)

Leon Wieseltier Admits ‘Offenses’ Against Female Colleagues as New Magazine Is Killed New York Times (Donald G)

Class Warfare

The Disruptors: Finance isn’t just an industry. It’s a system of social control. Jacobin (resilc). Note it does not have to be that way. As Michael Hudson points out, the German model in the 19th century was one of industrial capitalism, with banks playing a subordinate role. Even in the US, prior to ~1980, people in financial services had the same average wages as those of the economy as a whole.

Ask Slashdot: Where Do Old Programmers Go? Slashdot

The Pitfalls of Privatization Washington Monthly (resilc)

With business booming under Trump, private prison giant gathers at president’s resort Washington Post

The Real Story of Automation Beginning with One Simple Chart Medium (Larry H). One chart I question is the one showing manufacturing production versus manufacturing jobs. The reason is that the “manufacturing production” chart almost certainly values production as the wholesale sales price. The problem is that in many industries, particularly cars, manufacture of many components takes place overseas with only final assembly with perhaps some other minor value added activities in the US. So those parts have embedded labor cost in them which is not at all reflected in the US job count. Not saying that a properly done chart would not show some displacement of labor by capital, but I suspect it would not be dramatic (ie, this chart reflects the impact of offshoring more than automation).

Antidote du jour (Chet G):

And a bomus from Richard Smith:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.


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  1. fresno dan

    Dual Frauds: Flake-ism & Trumpist Populism American Conservative (resilc)

    It’s also worth asking why is it that, if Trumpism is such a challenge to the GOP Establishment, so much of his agenda is supported by Republican establishmentarians. I mean, look at what happened last night:

    In a move that Senator Elizabeth Warren called “a giant wet kiss to Wall Street,” the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate just pushed through a bill overturning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) making it extremely difficult for consumers to sue banks for their wrongdoing.
    Pence cast the deciding vote, and the White House applauded the move? On what deranged planet is this populism? Is this standing up for the little guy? Is the only thing that matters to Trump voters is the fact that the legislation made Pocahontas cry?

    Nearly every Republican Senator — including Trump foes McCain, Flake, Corker, and Sasse — voted for this bill. Only South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, voted against it. Trump and the GOP say that they blocked an onerous regulation, a regulation that was a bonanza for trial lawyers. OK, but the fact is, this was a win for big banks, who are in a vastly stronger position when they are accused of defrauding consumers
    Right. Populism in our time. I’m glad Jeff Flake and his kind of Republican are receding. But I wish Donald Trump were an actual populist with real ideas and vision, instead of a loudmouth who practices a crude populist style, but in substance usually behaves like a typical old-guard Republican.
    Is this just all professional wrestling, where the two wrestlers pretend to hate each other but meet after the fake hostilities to have a drink? How in fact is Trump different from George Bush? Immigration??? I don’t know about Bush, but Trump is deporting fewer than Obama

    Is the truth its not so much what you do, but what you say? You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time…..and that’s all you need to do

    1. Carolinian

      For some of us Trump was the un-Hillary, and despite backtracking on his somewhat vague populism it’s still true that had she won the TPP would be very much alive and continuing confrontation with Russia far more active. Plus the unhinged Dem response to the election was also a lost opportunity. Trump–an opportunistic Republican at best–could have been nudged into a far more moderate direction since his true goal is personal glory. As should be obvious by now the Democrats are not the party of reform any more than the Republicans are. The duopoly is the real reason nothing seems to change very much.

      1. RUKidding

        I didn’t vote for Trump and dislike him intensely.

        That said, I completely agree with you about the unhinged Dem response. WTF are they DOING really?? Other than bitch about Russia, that is, and that’s turning into a real political football, as could have been predicted.

        While some get really mad about Both Siderism, I agree that both parties are beholden to a very tiny minority of mega-rich Oligarchs. Neither party works for the interests of any of their constituents. It’s just that the rightwing has a bigger megaphone with Fox, Rush, Sinclair Broadcasting, Regnary Press, Breitbart, etc. So they can daily toss red meat to their base, who seem very satisfied as long as they perceive that Democrats are unhappy.

        Dems hide behind the skirts of Fox/Rush/etc but saying to their constituents: oh look how terrible they are. At least we’re not like that!!! Yeah, thanks for the weak tea, which now tastes like polluted water.

        Sigh. What. A. Mess.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I don’t dislike him much.

          And I don’t like him much.

          What I see is that he is not getting everything he wants. Maybe not even 50%.

          To me, he’s only one person…albeit one powerful one, with many other powerful players. It’s ever changing, so we can’t say beforehand if one such powerful person will prevail over groups of other powerful players, singly, or combined.

          As such, the mess is much bigger than one guy.

          Nor does it manifest itself on politically, but also emotionally, culturally, socially, economically, etc.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      ICE became particularly nasty under Bush as they were made “warriors” in the war on terror and increasingly militarized. 43 desired an immigration policy that would allow guest workers who could more or less be terminated and deported whenever they became a problem (unions, whistleblowing). Ted Kennedy and John McCain were proponents of this plan, so you know it was terrible. The various civil rights and Hispanic groups recognized what a fraud 43 was and worked against it. Between the Congressmen who aren’t completely heinous and the no-no migrants ever bloc, they stopped Shrub, a genuinely evil man.

      The phrase being banding about was “the creation of a permanent underclass.”

      Churches would be required to check legal statuses of people before helping them. Kennedy, McCain, Bush.

      1. Ned

        Ted Kennedy was the senator mainly responsible for the upsurge in immigration when L.B.J.’s so called “Great Society” program” was forced upon an America that did not have a housing shortage and enjoyed a vibrant Middle Class with high rates of unionization and income.

        Importing lots of Irish Catholics through family reunification was Kennedy’s goal, of course Latin Americans were cool too and look how that turned out.

      2. Wukchumni

        “Churches would be required to check legal statuses of people before helping them. Kennedy, McCain, Bush.”

        Why is that churches tend to have amazing artistic freedom in their construction, and yet amazing constriction within, as far as the doctrines go?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          This would be the U.S. government LIMITING who churches could provide services to. Usually, governments fight with the churches over the opposite, but George W. was a special kind of monster.

      3. Gary

        I grew up in Texas. There were always “illegals” but that was not what everyone called them. The thing is, not just anyone could employee them with out getting fined. There was a large rancher that used them with impunity because of his political clout. There was also a stone mason that did all the work for the local churches so his laborers were magically invisible. Once GWB became governor, everyone knew “the fix” was in and suddenly they were everywhere. Once he became the president* and China became a permanent favored trade partner and they began closing the maquiladoras and moving them to Asia, where else could they go???

        1. Wukchumni

          Imagine you were in the Mexican middle class in the late 1970’s, with a thriving business and 100,000 pesos ($8,000) in the bank, and everything was going great, and then a dozen year long bout of hyperinflation came calling and your business went to hell along with your savings, which now amounted to a princely $10 U.S.?

          You’d think about greener pastures up north, no?

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From above:

      Do Democrats Really Need Wall Street? Bill Moyers (John Z)

      Until they don’t, the D’s will have to out-work the R’s after this CFPB vote.

      “Master, I can do more.”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I have a suspicion its a media class project of some sort to see how quickly fake news can travel.

      In this case, its presented as being passed by the mother’s acquaintances. A college class was responsible for a Back to the Future Host two or three years before Marty went to the future.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you.

        That includes my employer.

        Our CEO and CFO, a member of the Moltke family, wrote about our latest results on the intranet today, saying that “it is now time for us to attack”. I am sure that our clued up French and Belgian, Greek even, colleagues were amused by that line, especially from a Moltke.

        1. H. Alexander Ivey

          Yes yes, but which version of Molte? The 1870s version who stampeed France, winning a relatively quick and bloodless war, or the 1914s version who poorly understood a questionable war plan, panicked, and mired Germany into a war they could not win?

  2. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    Further to Sigmar Gabriel’s parting shot at Schaueble, it’s a bit late in the day for Gabriel and the worse than useless SPD, or paillassons as we call people like that in Mauritius, to say so.

    Two friends and colleagues, one former and the other still current and both SPD activists, say that Gabriel and Andrea Nahles were warned about the impact of Germany’s approach to Greece, especially how in the long-term Germany would become isolated, but Gabriel and Nahles, brushed aside such concerns, seemingly not able to think beyond parochial German politics.

    I first came across Schaeuble in the autumn of 1994, when observing the German elections with my university. His ordoliberalismus and Germany first attitudes were well known then, something that put off even some CDU supporters when the issue of who would succeed Kohl arose. The fortnight was divided between Bonn, Baden-Baden and Strasbourg, where I would soon return for study. The CDU stronghold of Baden-Wuerttemberg, in particular, has done well from the immiseration of much of the EU. Many of the firms based in B-W, not just the car manufacturer based in Stuttgart, but the Mittelstand, too, have earned that return on their investment in the CDU.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Crunch time in Caracas:

    Caracas’ unpaid bills to $586 million this month, just days before the nation must make a critical principal payment. BofA sovereign debt analyst Jane Brauer writes that “the probability of a short term default has increased substantially with coupon delays.”

    Default could come as soon as this Friday, when an $842 million PDVSA principal plus interest payment is due. Unlike typical bond payments it does not have a 30 day grace period but instead is followed by a second $1.1 billion PDVSA coupon on Nov 2, also without a 30 day grace period.

    As Brauer writes, Venezuela has been in a similar situation of payment uncertainty in the recent past. Just before a big principal payment was due in April 2017 Venezuela received a $1bn loan from Russia one week before the due date. At that time Ven 27s dropped 16% in a month (from $52 to $45) and recovered completely within a month. Now the Ven 27 bond has fallen to $35, as Venezuela has demonstrated that it will be a challenge to make all payments on time.

    Text descriptions really don’t do justice to the extent of Venezuela’s financial pathology. A chart at shows an inverted yield curve from hell, with a 2-year yield of 65% sloping down to 30% at 20 years. As ol’ Romeo Santos is wont to say, “That ain’t normal.”

    1. Wukchumni

      Perhaps the hope here is that the Bolivar is such a basketcase, that the Venezuelans will go to the U.S. Dollar for their currency, as Ecuador, Liberia and Panama have done?

      That would lock up their grimy oil into the petrodollar camp…

  4. Quanka

    Hubris or Hypocrisy? John Kelly openly pitying (insulting) Americans because we don’t understand the sacrifice that men and women in uniform make — simultaneously denying same said Americans from making a choice, to make a sacrifice, and take in a refugee caused by actions from those same angels in Uniform frollicking around in the desert under orders from people like John Kelly.

    1. ambrit

      My Dad, who was a Londoner, would have called Kellys’ attitude, “pure bloody mindedness.”
      It’s all in the associations involved.
      It also matters what kind of refugees. For the NYT to blithely assert that Kelly agrees with Trump about stopping all refugees and immigrants flies in the face of the general big business love affair with cheap labour. How else are you going to keep the wage slaves down on the farm without a reliable stream of cheap replacement labour?
      (This cheap labourer must scuttle off, like a good crustacean, to toil in the back rooms of my local Temple of Mammon.)
      In honour of Mammon, a little bit of one of steve Martins King Tut. (SNL must have the ‘official’ version copyrighted off the alr.)

        1. ambrit

          Thank you, thank you, good sir. My favourite part is the “golden idols” given to the saxophone player, as in a blender! A better send up of commercialism I haven’t seen in many a year. (Back when SNL was good.)

      1. Ned

        “How else are you going to keep the wage slaves down on the farm without a reliable stream of cheap replacement labour?”

        More at “how are you going to keep wages at slave levels” without a cheap stream of immigrant/refugee labor?”

        Until our homeless veterans and our own poor formerly Middle Class citizens living in R.V.s and traveling from slave pit to slave pit are housed, we should not admit refugees and hand them housing, small business administration loans and SSI benefits for life.

        Or, if you want to admit them, then guarantee the same level of benefits to all veterans and U.S. citizens.

        How to pay for it? How about an excess tax on
        defense contractors, but only in times of war, like now? U.S. senator Hiram Johnson proposed that 100 years ago.

        1. Oregoncharles

          To clarify: excess PROFITS tax on war profiteers (long past time to bring back that excellent term).

    2. rd

      We are seeing a repeat of the Vietnam War at home, although most Americans have learned the lesson not to blame the soldiers.

      Americans get 100% behind wars they understand. I think that was the case with Afghanistan after 9/11 but the narrative was lost once Iraq was invaded and it became quite vague about why American soldiers were getting blown up around the world in other countries. This kafuffle was about deaths of soldiers in combat in a country that Americans didn’t even realize we had a significant military presence in.

      The major issue I had with all of this is when Trump turned consoling Gold Star families into a competition with past presidents about who can do it better. We want our presidents to make tough military decisions competently and then deal with individual families privately and appropriately. Occasional after the fact information about how they visit Walter Reed or Dover etc. is fine, but we don’t expect minute-by-minute, blow-by-blow tweets or press statements. The public debate should be about the policies, not the consoling. We need to be supportive of the privacy of grieving families, not dragging them through a PR nightmare.

  5. Wukchumni

    “Three months later, the extent of America’s opioid culture was seen at half-time of the Superbowl – the country’s most expensive advertising slot.”

    “A 60-second ad was devoted to opioid-induced constipation. The advert – paid for by AstraZeneca – advised sufferers to visit their doctor and “ask about prescription treatment options”.”

    Sadly, for a good many Americans backed up in such a manner, it represents their only savings.

    1. rd

      That was my wake-up moment on the opiod crisis. I wasn’t even aware there was one until then, but when I saw that ad I was baffled about why this was something that would displace the typical Viagra/Cialis ads logically targeting middle-aged males who are a major target audience of Super Bowl ads.

      It had never crossed my mind that lots of opiods were being prescribed to the point that it required prescription laxatives. It had clearly moved from the underground heroin scene that I saw in the late 60s/70s into the mainstream population. This was something completely new and unprecedented. We appear to have returned to the 1800s when laudanum was being handed out to much of the population by doctors and pharmacists.

      1. Oregoncharles

        “Been Down so Long it Looks Like Up to Me” – Richard Farina, clear back in the rocking 60’s.

  6. Darius

    The Damon Linker piece on Democrats in Denial goes off the rails in the last two paragraphs. He cites Ross Douthat to say the Democrats essentially need to meet the Republicans halfway on abortion, immigration, and healthcare. This is the Obamaism that got the Democrats where they are today. “We don’t have an agenda so you tell us what you want and we’ll meet you halfway.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are they in denial?

      Are they suffering from Dunning Kruger?

      Are they acting out their Kabuki?

      11 dimensional?

      Incompetence or evil?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re right…in Flatland, you get two separate dots, but when you move up to more dimensions, it’s a circle. That Flatland world just happens to cut it at two points.

    2. RUKidding

      There’s been a small rash of “editorials” coming out recently from these handsomely rewarded Beltway courtiers, like Douthat and Brooks, whereby they adjure us dirty hippies that, REALLY, what needs to happen is that we awful horrid creatures on “the left” should just start making nice with Trump fanatics; meet them halfway; give them some (yeah right, as if that’s even possible) of what they want, and then Et Voila! We can sit around the camp fire holding hands and singing Kumbayah.

      So I guess that’s the rightwing think tank talking point this week.

      On another blog, we noted these “suggestions” – which also included the idea that it was Democratic voters’ fault that Trump voters are so mean and nasty (actually said that), and if only Democratic voters could approach Trump voters and be nice to them, all will be well. Clearly propaganda meant to victimize Republican voters to the alleged perfidies of Democrats. IOW, same old divide and conquer b.s.

      Go figure.

    3. dcrane

      the party has shown no willingness at all to adjust its message to appeal to conservatives in the South who would like to see Democrats stake out a more moderate position on abortion, or to Trump voters in the Midwest who are anxious about immigration, or to centrists who are skittish about promises to impose a single-payer health-care system.

      Yeah, that last bit bothered me. Arguments for “imposing” single payer have yet to be seriously pushed by the national Democratic Party in an election, unless 2008 counted – and how did that turn out?

      1. John k

        The writer is an elite dem in denial.

        Both sides need indies, never more so as both parties lose supporters.
        Dems would ask, ‘what do indies want?’ If they wanted to know.

    4. willf


      Linker is correct to note the time that has been wasted on the Trump/Russia connection, but then he writes:

      We know that this is what they’d prefer because, as Ross Douthat recently pointed out, the party has shown no willingness at all to adjust its message to appeal to conservatives in the South who would like to see Democrats stake out a more moderate position on abortion, or to Trump voters in the Midwest who are anxious about immigration, or to centrists who are skittish about promises to impose a single-payer health-care system.

      Instead, the party has doubled down on its long-term pro-choice absolutism, its more recent drift toward rejecting any and all immigration restrictions, and its post-2016 conviction that advocating some form of socialized medicine is a winning idea.

      Linker apparently hasn’t heard that Nancy Pelosi herself has said that abortion shouldn’t be a litmus test, the “restrictions” on immigration (Trump’s racist travel ban) are being blocked by judges, not the democrats, and the DNC’s “conviction” about single payer is a block long and an inch deep.

      But Including Douthat is the tell that Linker doesn’t really have the DNC’s best interests at heart. Ross Douthat is about the last person I’d go to for advice on how the Democrats can regain some political clout.

    5. Synoia

      We don’t have an agenda so you tell us what you want and we’ll meet you halfway.

      Oh, interesting. What is halfway between a point (what you want) an nothing (don’t have an agenda)?

      Appears the democrats are bidding against themselves, just for the sake of bidding.

  7. hemeantwell

    Re the Week article on the collapse of the Dems, I don’t believe we should take as important the views of someone who believes that necessary tough policy choices amount to an embrace of right wing positions. The author draws on the Times bench for a recipe that not only deep sixes policy positions that do have broad support, but also, in talking about the avoidance of “hard electoral work,” ignores the obvious: that the Dems will not be credible until they purge the Clintonites and make it known that they have. There’s a lot of mileage to be had in taking seriously the antipathy to the Clintons, and the costs of acting on it would be trivial, aside from some overdue career terminations.

    1. diptherio

      You beat me to it. I was thinking there might be some good advice in there…instead, I got this:

      And that brings us to where we are today, with large numbers of elite Democrats preferring to rant impotently on Twitter about the president and the GOP agenda instead of doing the hard and at times painful work of overcoming that impotence at the ballot box.

      We know that this is what they’d prefer because, as Ross Douthat recently pointed out, the party has shown no willingness at all to adjust its message to appeal to conservatives in the South who would like to see Democrats stake out a more moderate position on abortion, or to Trump voters in the Midwest who are anxious about immigration, or to centrists who are skittish about promises to impose a single-payer health-care system. Instead, the party has doubled down on its long-term pro-choice absolutism, its more recent drift toward rejecting any and all immigration restrictions, and its post-2016 conviction that advocating some form of socialized medicine is a winning idea.

      “Imposing” single-payer health care? How about “providing”? No suggestion that they maybe focus on bread-and-butter economic issues. Interesting, no? And the “recent drift toward rejecting any and all immigration restrictions” must be pretty dang recent, given the Obama administration’s record.

      Who is this guy kidding? The way for Dems to win votes is not to become (even more) Republican-lite. Duh.

  8. Jim Haygood

    Uranium One scandal reaches critical mass:

    Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores confirmed to The Hill a deal had been reached clearing a former FBI informant to talk to Congress for the first time, nearly eight years after he first went undercover for the FBI.

    His work helped the Justice Department secure convictions against Russia’s top commercial nuclear executive in the United States, a Russian financier in New Jersey and the head of a U.S. uranium trucking company in what prosecutors said was a long-running racketeering scheme involving bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering.

    Congressional committees are keen to learn what the informant knows about any Russian efforts to curry favor with Bill and Hillary Clinton, to win Obama administration approval for Moscow’s purchase of large uranium assets in the United States or to secure billions in new uranium sales contracts with American utilities.

    Quite simply, this is our last best chance to take down the Hildabeest and lock her up. :-)

    1. johnnygl

      Comrade Haygood, don’t get your hopes up. Trump always under-delivers and the swamp won’t let one of their top members get hauled off in handcuffs.

      Trump is getting himself some impeachment insurance in case dems take back house in 2018.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Even more remarkable is yesterday’s FBI letter to the witness’s lawyer Victoria Toensing:

        Your client is hereby authorized to disclose to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as one member of each of their staffs, any information or documents you have concerning alleged corruption or bribery involving transactions in the uranium market, including but not limited to anything related to Vadim Mikerin, Rosatom, Tenex, Uranium One, or the Clinton Foundation.

        So a half dozen Members and a half dozen staffers get to interview the witness in camera. But he’s not authorized to testify in public hearings. What’s up with that?

        1. JohnnyGL

          Yup, the fix is in. No handcuffs, no answers, just more material for the right-wing noise machine. This is the new Benghazi.

          However, it is certainly possible that some congresscritter goes rogue or some piece of news breaks that cranks up the pressure from the Repub base that forces their hand. I think this is possible, but unlikely.

            1. JohnnyGL

              Couple of important questions….

              1) Does Bannon really want to ‘lock her up’?

              2) If the answer is yes, does he have the support of important congressional reps to be able to force the issue? Airing serious dirty laundry to create public pressure would probably be the way to force the issue.

              3) If yes to #2, can they force Sessions (whom I’d suspect is more comfortable locking up guys who stand on the corner peddling dime bags of weed. I don’t think he’s ready to take down big fish like the Clintons, or am I wrong?) to bring charges against the Clintons? Or even others close to them who may be involved?

              I don’t think factions in the elite are ready to escalate and genuinely go to war with one another, but it’s not impossible, either.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                One of her options is, of course, to claim we are now just another banana republic for going after political adversaries.

              2. John k

                Senate is very close, and maybe getting closer. Some reps see this as sufficiently damaging to dems to affect 2018.
                Might have legs…
                Politics is getting more and more cutthroat… and nowadays, short term benefits outweigh long term risks…

    2. Synoia

      Quite simply, this is our last best chance to take down the Hildabeest and lock her up. :-)

      There is more than Uranium under the Clinton carpet.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Reminds me of the Nazca drawings, but the lines aren’t laser-straight, like the Nazca ones.

  9. Hana M

    File this one under Class Warfare

    From Reuters this morning:
    How an American company made a fortune selling bodies donated to science

    Part 3: Science Care reaps $27 million in annual revenue by recruiting body donors through hospices, funeral homes and online ads. And to ensure quality of body parts sold, it found inspiration in a legendary model of efficiency: McDonald’s.

    “It was all about quality,” [former quality assurance director John] Cover said in a recent interview. “When you get a Big Mac, it’s going to taste like a Big Mac, whether you’re in Louisiana or San Francisco.”

    According to testimony and interviews, during its first decade Science Care spent more than $1 million on marketing and branding to attract donors.

    “With what we do, you don’t sell it,” Rogers said of body donation in his testimony. “It’s educating people and allowing them to make an informed decision. And then we combine that with all the branding and the touch points and the look and feel.”

    1. JTee

      Even if you just donate your organs to non-paying science, aren’t the doctor and the hospital are still profiting off your gift?

      1. Hana M

        Or learning. Donated organs play a critical role in research (think about the studies on concussion in NFL players). Medical student really do need to do dissections on actual human bodies as part of their training. It’s just too bad so few of them learn to listen to actual live human beings.

  10. Larry

    The links include this: “Newsbud Exclusive – CFR Article Calls for Sabotaging Alternative Media!!“. That headline is fake news — and successful clickbait (it will get hundreds of clicks from NC today). It is inflammatory and false.

    It’s gated, but there is enough shown to evaluate the headline. Opening of the Newsbud story:

    “Foreign Policy, the house organ of the Council on Foreign Relations, has reposted an article by Daniel Byman, a government insider and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. Byman’s article, Should we treat domestic terrorists the way we treat ISIS?: What works—and what doesn’t, calls for a police and surveillance state focus on domestic “rightwing terrorist” individuals and organizations.”

    Click thru to Byman’s article, scroll to his conclusions. Bold emphasis added.

    “This thought exercise shows how profoundly things might change if the terrorism label were applied more broadly — and that’s probably why we should do so cautiously. Many of the current measures to fight domestic terrorists, such as arrests, work well. In addition, most Americans probably don’t want their government to be treating legitimate political movements with suspicion or making banks or Internet companies suppress free speech. …

    “Many of the measures described above would represent too much of a change, and any legislation should factor in counterterrorism measures we don’t want as well as ones we do. …”

    He then lists his recommendations, which include nothing about “sabotaging alt media”.

    This reminds me of a great “Bloom County” comic strip.

    Bedfellow: “Hello, Bloom Beacon! This is Senator Bedfellow! What’s with this headline? … There’s no story, just a headline!”

    Milo: “Which headline?”

    Bedfellow: “The big headline on the front page! ‘BEDFELLOW: THE SECRET LIFE OF A WIFE-SWAPPING ATHEIST’”

    Mile: “Oh, that’s just a typo.”

    1. JTMcPhee

      Down in the Newsbud story is mention of the shootings by Stephen Paddock as a ‘sentinel event’ to be factored in to “policy.” What kind of fish or fowl was that event, one wonders? “Right-wing” or “ISIS” terrorism? “Lone shooter?’ Or something else?

      My thought is that like a lot of other episodes of mass violence, it’s a clinical case of a person “running amok:” “Amok” and its related construct “beramok” are listed in DSM-IV as recognized psych conditions (though so are just about every other bit of human activity and experience.) There’s this from Wiki:

      Contemporary syndrome

      “Running amok” is used to refer to the behavior of someone who, in the grip of strong emotion, obtains a weapon and begins attacking people indiscriminately, often with multiple fatalities.[9] An episode of amok may be triggered by a period of depression or highly aggressive behavior. The slang terms going postal or going ballistic are similar in scope. Police describe such an event as a killing spree. If the individual is seeking death an alternate method is often “suicide by cop”.

      Amok is often described as a culture-bound (or culture-specific) syndrome,[13][14] which is a psychological condition whose manifestation is strongly shaped by cultural factors. Other reported culture-bound syndromes are latah and koro. Amok is also sometimes considered one of the subcategories of dissociative disorders (cross-cultural variant).

      Officially classified as a psychiatric condition

      In 1849 [sic], amok was officially classified as a psychiatric condition based on numerous reports and case studies that showed the majority of individuals who committed amok were, in some sense, mentally ill.[8] However, DSM-IV does now break amok down into two official categories; beramok and amok. Beramok is considered to be the more common of the two and is associated with the depression and sadness resulting from a loss and the subsequent brooding process. Loss includes, but is not limited to, the death of a spouse or loved one, divorce, loss of a job, money, power, etc. Beramok is associated with mental issues of severe depression or other mood disorders. Amok, the rarer form, is believed to stem from rage, insult, or a vendetta against a person, society, or object for a wide variety of reasons. Amok has been more closely associated with psychosis, personality disorders, bipolar disorder, and delusions.

      One of the Wiki sources gives a much more complete picture, and indicates that the incidents are more widespread than one might imagine, and likely to become more frequent in our “[de-]industrialized society:”, characterizing amok as a culture-bound syndrome ignores the fact that similar behavior has been observed in virtually all Western and Eastern cultures, having no geographical isolation. Furthermore, the belief that amok rarely occurs today is contrary to evidence that similar episodes of violent behavior are more common in modern societies than they were in the primitive cultures where amok was first observed.

      Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind…

    2. Lambert Strether

      I read through the Foreign Policy article, and it’s hard to know whether it’s truly a “thought experiment” (i.e., written in good faith) or the equivalent of the “just asking questions” trope used by, say, holocaust deniers.

      What’s worrisome to me is the demand for groups/factions to “police their ranks” (as if civil society were identical to the state). On what basis, one might ask? The simplest way to do that would be on the basis of a list of bad actors, and I’m sure there are willing providers of such lists (PropOrNot, for example).

      The “If you see something, say something” mindset pervades the article. It’s disturbing.

      NOTE The CFR’s house organ is Foreign Affairs, not Foreign Policy. That’s even more disturbing, since Foreign Policy was heavily pro-Syrian intervention, and heavily pro-Clinton; that is, heavily in favor of the Democrat faction that’s ginning up a Red Scare and its consequent McCarthyism.

  11. Linda

    Washington Post: Picture at link.

    I want to comment, but what to say? Laugh? Cry? Need to add an orange Pop playing miniature golf? Not a bad change, however.

    Novelist Saladin Ahmed was looking at the back of a Corn Pops cereal box when he noticed a small but jarring detail.

    The colorful illustration on the box depicted a chaotic scene of little yellow-colored corn pop characters frolicking through a shopping mall.

    But in the middle of the drawing, Ahmed spotted a lone non-yellow corn pop. The character looked as if he had brown skin. It also happened to be the only corn pop in all blue, and appeared to be waxing or scrubbing the mall’s floors.

    On Wednesday morning, Ahmed tweeted to Kelloggs: Why is “literally the only brown corn pop on the whole cereal box the janitor?”

    Within five hours, Kellogg’s responded. The artwork has been updated and will be in stores soon, the company tweeted.

    “Kellogg is committed to diversity & inclusion,” the tweet read. “We did not intend to offend — we apologize.”

    The Corn Pops debacle drew outrage of all sorts on Twitter — some of it directed at the cereal company, and some directed at Ahmed.

    “My son woke up in the middle of the night, and asked me ‘will the corn pops be okay?’” read another. “I didn’t have an answer.”

    1. bronco

      Twitter and 97% of the people who use it should just go away . What started as an interesting concept has been obliterated by people who appear to have no purpose in life . The personal peak has been reached by this individual who outed the brown corn pop and he can drive to the nearest bridge and leap from it secure in the knowledge he has informed the world of a great injustice.

      Replace the word Twitter with instagram or snapchat or facebook if you like .

      I pine for the day when people were able to notice something in the universe and just keep it to themselves.

      1. Lambert Strether

        This was stupid and insulting by Kellogg and it’s hard to imagine the manager who signed off on Twitter is looking very good right now.

        I tend to reserve my outrage at mobs on Twitter for people who mob other people — especially for doxxing — and not, ya know, for people who point out the stupidity of ginormous corporations (or, to put this another way, give them the opportunity to avoid a public relations fiasco). I don’t feel much empathy for Kellogg…

  12. Carolinian

    Re Wieseltier

    But it was perhaps the now-scuttled new magazine that exemplified both Mr. Wieseltier’s intellectual ambition and the loyal roster of high-powered collaborators he accumulated over the years. Contributors to the first issue consisted of longtime New Republic contributors, including the historian Timothy Snyder, the law professor and former Obama regulations czar Cass Sunstein, the foreign policy writer Robert Kagan and the dance historian Jennifer Homans.

    Clearly the cancellation of Idea a crushing loss for us all.

  13. Linda

    Re: Leon Wieseltier Admits ‘Offenses’ Against Female Colleagues as New Magazine Is Killed New York Times

    We’re going to need a bigger rehab facility.


    Mark Halperin “sexually harassed women while he was in a powerful position at ABC News,” OliverDarcy reports.

    Veteran journalist Mark Halperin sexually harassed women while he was in a powerful position at ABC News, according to five women who shared their previously undisclosed accounts with CNN and others who did not experience the alleged harassment personally, but were aware of it.

    “During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me,” Halperin said in a statement to CNN Wednesday night. “I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize. Under the circumstances, I’m going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation.”

    1. JTMcPhee

      Just got to love the insincere “strategic apologies” now flooding ‘public spaces…’ There’s lots of Bernays disciples happy to take lots of money from malefactors to help them escape all or significant liabilities by “emitting” a carefully crafted “strategic apology…”

      The debasement of everything proceeds apace…

    2. Carolinian

      Perhaps the final demise of the overclass will be their inability to keep it in their pants. I’ve been reading a biography of Lord Byron where he runs the gamut from child molestation to incest. Seems that being a lord had something to do with his lack of inhibition. Here in the US we got rid of the king but kept the droit du seigneur….at least until they are found out.

    3. JerseyJeffersonian

      Linda, et al,

      Translated from German into English, Wieseltier means “Weasel Animal (or Beast)”. Seems as if he took this to heart, and acted accordingly.

      He’s got company, so it would seem.

      1. Oregoncharles

        The difference is that weasels are very cute, as long as you aren’t a rabbit.

        What a very strange name.

    4. mk

      I wonder if sexual harassment was different before viagra… or does the urge continue even if the plumbing is not working…

  14. Potato Guy

    Hundreds Face Conspiracy Charges–begrudgingly they probably should. There were a lot of masked Hooligans (coordinated black masked mob) who were itching for a fight. You had to be ready to rumble if you were a Trump supporter just in case the Mob surrounded you and started to pummel. If there were only one or two pummellers enabled by a sea of masked enablers then how will you prosecute only the pummellers?

    Fortunately I was not required to use my super powers of self defense.

    Unfortunately the gates to the National Mall were clogged with Disrupt J20 folks so we were only able to watch the inauguration in a bar. The biggest insult was that they watch CNN and not Fox News.

    1. marym

      From the link:

      Stokes and Wood said hundreds of protesters — including journalists and legal observers — were caught in the kettle. “It was indiscriminate,” said Wood. A group of around 100 made a break for it and escaped, but the remaining group of over 230 were all arrested and locked up through the weekend. “Joterrested, and charged with felony riot,” said Stokes.

      Good thing the bar wasn’t on the march route, or you would have risked getting kettled and arrested too.

      I unbegrudingly hope neither you nor anyone you care about is ever kettled, arrested, prosecuted, or punished for something you/they didn’t do.

  15. Wukchumni

    “Overseas buyers will no longer be allowed to purchase existing homes in New Zealand, Prime Minister-elect Jacinda Ardern said Tuesday, as she unveiled a raft of policy deals made with her coalition partners. The move to tackle soaring property prices was agreed during lengthy negotiations between the Labour Party leader and populist powerbroker Winston Peters to form a new government that also includes the Green Party.”

    So, you take a housing bubble that’s gone off the boil, and then force foreigners to only buy newly built homes (at least that’s how I read it) and in so doing, you create a 2 tiered market in which only New Zealanders can buy used homes @ around 20x the average annual salary.

    That’ll be interesting to watch play out…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The loophole, I think, is still there, for existing foreign owners (of existing homes) to sell – even if they can no longer buy – to the natives at less than 20 times.

      Maybe 10 times, if they, the existing foreign existing home owners, want to.

      And, depending how the new policy idea is implemented, if existing foreign existing home owners are forced to divest of existing homes they own at this time, maybe 5 times the average annual salary.

      1. Wukchumni

        The PPP per capita income in NZ is $37,860, versus $58,030 here.

        Now imagine a country where there are few and far between homes valued @ less than $400k anywhere?

        It’s so bubbly, you could bottle it and sell it as fancy champagne…

  16. HotFlash

    Kellogg: “We did not intend to offend — we apologize.”
    Halperin: “I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain.”

    They didn’t even consider that what they did was offensive, and *that* is the problem.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > It seems like the dam is breaking on an entire class of bad behaviors, and I’m so so glad.

      I’m not unglad, but when the dam breaks for all classes of people, in addition to behaviors, I’ll be both glad and impressed. To put this another way, #FightFor15 not only empowers women in the restaurant industry by letting them escape abusive employers (assuming arguendo that exploitation is not in itself abuse) it pays the bills

  17. Meher Baba

    ‘Borgen’ Danish TV series . people love politics here, wished to recommend this fantastic series. Only a few years old. About a woman whom has just become prime minister and is forced to compromise her idealism and family with the realities of office. It is very politically oriented and intelligent tackling real issues and recognisable personalities. Yet very warm. The interesting thing about Danish parliament is that all the parties share power. It is a genuine compromise. ‘Borgen’ ( she is very attractive too ;-) ) oh the show was a MASSIVE success internationally.

    1. RUKidding

      I LOVE this show, and I have forced myself to wait a bit for the pleasure of viewing the third and last season of it. I borrow it on DVD for free from my wonderful public library.

      I heartily encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it to do so ASAP.

      All of the actors are great, but the lead actress is, indeed, quite wonderful.

    2. elissa3

      I’ve recommended this wonderful series to a good half dozen friends. It gives Americans a view as to what it might be like to be a citizen of a very small, non-imperial country. Some of the political figures are as nasty as our own, but their ability to do harm outside Denmark’s borders is limited.

    3. VietnamVet

      I really liked “Borgen”. It even tried to address how in the world did a small Scandinavian country or a large city, Copenhagen, end up with troops in Afghanistan and if they should continue to stay there.

      As a side note; Danish airplanes bombed Syrian government soldiers at Deir ez-Zour. The siege there recently was broken by Syria with help from Russia concurrent with the capture of Raqqa by Syrian Kurds after the city was destroyed by Western bombing.

  18. Jim Haygood

    Big fail for Inbev’s Belgian crêpe-mangeurs of St Louis, Missouri:

    Looks like patriotic cans haven’t saved Bud from declines in the U.S.

    The world’s largest brewer sold 14.4 million barrels of Budweiser in the U.S. last year, less than one-third of the volume at the beer’s peak in 1988, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights.

    Even America-first packaging, such as designs featuring military-inspired camouflage, hasn’t helped.

    Rebranding their flagship brew as America was stupid and desperate, particularly when it’s not even US-owned. Chug it, poseurs!

      1. GF

        They are buying many craft beers now. The big one here in AZ was Four Peaks Brewery. Kilt Lifter was their signature Scottish Ale, that was actually very good.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Nice that you speak of Kilt Lifter in the past tense, though it’s still ubiquitous.

          I thought it was good, too. :-)

      1. JTMcPhee

        I think the PE and VC vultures have already landed and picked over the carcass… “Never let a crisis go to waste…”

        All us mopes that just want to live our lives and are satisfied with “a modest competence” or bare survival simply lack either the reflexes or the opportunity to swoop down on the injured and dead like the “Owners” can… but of course thus it has always been, thus it will continue to be until the carrion-eaters go full predator and kill us all off… “In the end, there can be only one.”

        1. polecat

          It might behoove one to learn the basics of water catchment, and, additionally, learn to brew one’s own .. cuz you just never know when those kindly PE & VC’ers, at the behest of some fraudulent politician or clueless city council, decide they’re going to somehow f#ckup your local water supply, all to extract a profit !
          Plus it’s way cheaper then buying retail !

      2. polecat

        Speaking of ‘beverages’ … just yesterday, racked into bottles polecat’s ‘mars’ pyment (a mead utilizing grapes in the batch) … Dry and bubbly, but with a hint of honey sweetness. It’s a winner !!

    1. HotFlash

      Even America-first packaging, such as designs featuring military-inspired camouflage, hasn’t helped.

      Well, no wonder — customers couldn’t find it.

      1. Wukchumni

        I notice with the big barley soda manufacturers, that their tv commercials are always about some new innovation in cans or bottles, but they rarely talk about the rat piss within.

    2. Jen

      Here on the west coast of the granite state I use the roadside detritus to evaluate the popularity of big brews. On my stretch of the road, LaBatts is a clear favorite, followed closely by PBR.

  19. allan

    Georgia election server wiped after suit filed [AP]

    A computer server crucial to a lawsuit against Georgia election officials was quietly wiped clean by its custodians just after the suit was filed, The Associated Press has learned.

    The server’s data was destroyed July 7 by technicians at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University, which runs the state’s election system. The data wipe was revealed in an email — sent last week from an assistant state attorney general to plaintiffs in the case — that was obtained by the AP. More emails obtained in a public records request confirmed the wipe.

    The lawsuit, filed by a diverse group of election reform advocates, aims to force Georgia to retire its antiquated and heavily criticized election technology. The server in question, which served as a statewide staging location for key election-related data, made national headlines in June after a security expert disclosed a gaping security hole that wasn’t fixed six months after he reported it to election authorities. …

    Like with a cloth?

    The difference of course will be the absence of Congressional hearings,
    or any interest from the voting fraud commission.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      The article you linked says they wiped at least 2 back ups of the server at the same time. It really look like they were trying to obstruct discovery. I guess that’s legal in Georgia. Bet the FBI’s copy is never made available to the plaintiffs either.

      Meanwhile…… I’m sure we will get to read a few more hairs-on-fire articles about the nefarious Russkies in our major papers over the next few days. In lieu of covering this kind of down-home, at home malignancy. Be nice if at least The Atlanta Constitution covers this, but probably too much to hope for.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > Kennesaw State University

      Here is an interesting history of KSU.

      I’m not sure how wiping the server (with a cloth?) and the backups comports with the ethical standards of the Kennesaw State University Center for Election Systems, particularly this one:

      I am accountable for maintaining public confidence in honest and impartial elections which are conducted in a fair, efficient and accurate manner;

      Storage is cheap, after all.

      Here is the history of the Center for Election sytems, which contains this nugget:

      In April, 2002, the KSU Center for Election Systems was created and charged with the responsibility of ensuring the integrity of voting systems in Georgia through training, research, auditing, and testing of voting systems. The Center maintains an arms-length working relationship with the Secretary of State and the vendor, ensuring both independence and objectivity in its work.

      Hmm. “The vendor,” singular? A cynical sort of person might read that page and think “phishing equilibrium.” Especially given this:

      Produce compact flash cards with state voter registration rolls for distribution to all counties (159), prior to each election.

      I don’t think James Madison (“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary”) would think much of the Center’s institutional setup… .

  20. Jane

    The trouble with NLP and AI is that they need to understand context to be useful and context is, as far as I can tell, currently limited to surrounding text hence the bias. Context is far more than just the text.

    It is funny that they go on about biased data leading to biased sentiment ratings; isn’t that exactly how we grow up biased? By feeding on the data our culture niche feeds us?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If being is to be a life long process, then, one must always doubt (therefore, one is).

      Then, being a progressive is not a destination, but a journey of doubting, including doubting progressive ideas themselves.

      It also means daily exposure to information from the extreme left, through the center, to the extreme right, in order to doubt them.

      Just because, for example, your spouse has always bothered you with this or that, it doesn’t mean he or she will again today, for each day is a new day. We must be open-minded to every new page in the calendar. We must see the world as new every time the sun rises.

      That is, we must resist our Inductive Reacting (and its There-You-Go-Again) in our daily gathering of information across the spectrum.

      Then, we can feed ourselves a variety of data.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Until every car is a self-driving one.

              Then, all passengers are finally free to practice meditation or philosophize in transit.

              1. WobblyTelomeres

                WT: Hey, Beefy, we’re almost there. Can you check the map to see if we need to take the 101 or the 405?

                MLTPB: I would, but you should know the map is an aggregate.

                WT: Wha? Did it evaporate while you were holding it? No? Then check the *&*^ map. I need to know in 2 miles.

                MLTPB: You only think you need to know. That thought, too, is an aggregate. You know this, right?

                WT: Okay, okay. I _TEMPORARILY_ think I need to know if I need to take the 101. Got it.

                MLTPB: Thank you.

                WT: Well????

                MLTPB: I’m thinking. Or not (evil grin).

                  1. WobblyTelomeres

                    Well, I’m now thinking I need to just skip over to La Brea, take it up to Wilshire, so I can show him that the past is a bit sticky.

                  2. JerseyJeffersonian

                    Or maybe…

                    “Antelope Freeway North. Do I wanna go north, or do I wanna take the-let’s see-the Gomorra Expressway West?”

                    [Extracted from this classic side from Firesign Theater]

              2. HotFlash

                Perhaps it is better to stay in one’s own village and when you hear a cok crow in the distance, never wonder about the place where it is.

                Or take a bicycle.

    2. Anonymous

      The problem of AI becoming racist is a genuine and serious one. We, as good people, know that it is wrong to evaluate people based merely on their physical appearance, but AI doesn’t have morals. AI exists to make money. It will be tuned to maximize profits/minimize losses. If AI is racist, sexist, or in any other way prejudiced we will never know. It will infer these characteristics through the data, without ever knowing them explicitly.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You can be attracted to someone for his/her/its intelligence.

        You can also be attracted to someone for his/her/its heart.

        So, that is another problem to work on – artificial love.

        And they (the smart people) can develop AL (Artificial Love) to feel like real love.

        Then, love should be cheaper and more affordable.

        “I thought you loved me only for my money or my body. But this feels like real love!!!!”

        1. JBird

          And really the horror of what you’ve said is that there’re certainly “smart people” actually working on TruLuv™

    1. nippersmom

      The characterization didn’t really match up for me, either, nor did it put me in the group I think reflects my ideology.

      1. homeroid

        They put me as Disaffected. I think the Dem party has an effect that wont go away for some time.

    2. Lambert Strether

      “Market Skeptic Republican” here.

      I’ve gotta say, the questions were so obviously leading I answered a few perversely, just to mess with their heads, something a “back-row kid” would do, I guess.

    1. JerseyJeffersonian


      A good point, to be sure. But don’t forget that we all owe our lives to not just one, but two Russians.

      It is hard to grasp the stupidity of the U.S. Navy commanders who ordered the destroyers to drop “practice” depth charges on the Soviet submarines that day, chancing that they would not think them to be the real deal on that day during the Cuban Crisis. Thank God for Vasili’s cool head. And also to Stanislav Petrov a few years later…

  21. Bill

    I just heard about this the other day:

    Brickley says their patients will need to keep their insurance for catastrophic coverage care and long term chronic medical care.
    He admits the new payment model is an investment, and a bit of a leap of faith, for the doctors and the patients.
    “I’m used to seeing a patient and having to come up with a certain number of diagnoses so that I can then meet the needs of the insurance system that says we need to be treating a certain number of illnesses,” Brickley says. “This is a different way of looking at that, and it’s an adjustment for all of us.”
    Brickley says direct primary care is a little bit like a co-op, where the community pools its resources to support a local medical office.
    The two doctors have been reaching out to their patients to give them time to ask questions about the new system.
    At the beginning of the new year, they’ll serve only patients who sign on to the direct care model.
    (empahsis mine)

    I am interested to see how this works out. I seldom (maybe once a year) go to the doctor, and this would not really be for me. I am wondering how people would get along with only catastrophic care insurance which I understand to be high-deductible with low monthly payments. If something terrible happens, you are screwed. Who benefits the most from this direct primary care model?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      What is the Doctor’s time worth? His staff? His paper work? Blood tests? Rent. It does add up. It probably just makes more sense for the government to hire doctors directly.

      I do think if there is a population in need of reliable and regular monitoring this makes sense.

      1. Bill

        This is the doctors trying to cope the best way they can with the mess being created with no end in sight, IMO. It does make a lot of sense for people who need regular health monitoring without having to do a dance with the insurer.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I understand. I think it makes sense for many patients and the doctors involved. For an entire community, it ignores too many people.

          The price is likely great for an every other month visit or quarterly visit for both sides especially if a minor procedure such as blood work needs to be done.

  22. annie

    The NYT Book Review just lost its favorite go-to hitman in Wieseltier’s fall. If I had a nickel for all the leftist books he shredded on their page 1…

  23. allan

    To celebrate the House having passed the budget resolution today,
    we have this piece of not-quite-nobel insight:

    Richard H Thaler‏ @R_Thaler

    Unpopular observation: reducing the limit on 401k contributions is massively progressive.

    As bad as 401k’s are, capping contributions, with no advance notice, to workers who have had traditional pensions replaced by 401k’s, to help pay for a massive tax cut for the rich is not exactly what would be considered progressive.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Men of Thaler’s stature tend to be acutely aware of who they truly are in competition with. I.e. junior professionals, who can max out their 401(k) every year, but who aren’t household names, and who don’t yet have tenure-like sinecures, or listed speaking fees.

      Late middle aged, ~$5-10 million net worth types with public platforms love calling guys who can save $18,000 a year “rich”. It takes their readers minds off of what rich really looks like.

    2. Matthew G. Saroff

      The 401(k) and IRA are savings plans in which the government subsidizes part of the cost.

      The richer you are, the bigger the subsidy.

      Mr. Thaler is correct.

      The first thing to do though, is to limit the expense ratios and loads of such plans to Vanguard levels.

      1. allan

        Just as government subsidizes Walmart and McDonalds through food stamps and other benefits to their underpaid employees, through 401k’s government subsidizes companies that used to provide defined benefit pensions (as well as the Wall Street firms that nickle and dime with fees).
        Capping contributions at $2400 per year, as has been proposed, to fund massive income tax and estate tax cuts is a wealth transfer from the top 20% to the top .1%.
        Anybody who wants to call that progressive can own it.

  24. Bill

    In their “rebranding” efforts, perhaps the Dems should look to Ms. Danielle Gibson for inspiration:

    Consistency is key. Every piece of content I put out in the world is an ad for a brand, whether it’s a picture of me just waking up (next to a tub of delicious Jif) or a story ranting about slow walkers (who would be walking much faster if they bought Skechers, like the ones I’m always wearing!).
    No one cares about your personality or point of view!! I can’t stress this one enough. People don’t come to my page to see my unique take on fall fashion or overnight oats. They come to my feed to be whisked away to a gorgeous, magical world where they don’t have to wonder, Is this an ad? Because the answer is always yes! These are all #ads!!
    Shame is for the weak!!


    You’re NOTHING until you’ve [voted for the Dem Candidate]!!

        1. JBird

          Butter is made by butterfat churned or beaten out from buttermilk. Done by hand it’s done by using a butterchurn and I guess the flutter of a butterfly reminded them of a woman’ back and forth fluttering the buttermilk.

  25. John

    Ugh, the information this week – here and on AE – seems unusually bleak.

    Might be time to stick my head in the sand…

  26. allan

    The Gray Lady slips beneath the waves:

    … Fox News contributor Jehmu Greene … recalled that she was weighing going public with her O’Reilly experiences, and contacted [Lisa] Bloom at the suggestion of a New York Times reporter who advised that having Bloom as her attorney would enhance her credibility. …

    Wildly inappropriate for a reporter to do this, and wildly wrong in the recommendation.

  27. Matthew G. Saroff

    Two notes:
    First, the article from Newsbud is from a former senior staffer for Infowars, so look for additional confiamation.

    Second, the bar length: I don’t like the graph, but they do include the broken symbol (looks like a heartbeat) which is the standard for such things.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > the standard for such things:

      No, it isn’t. Here are two versions of the chart:

      A chart needs to be visually informative, not merely numerically informative. That’s why it’s a chart and not a table. The Economist chart subtracts important visual information. The revised chart, on the right, is crystal clear. (Or to put this another way, the Economist chart is crystal clear, just not in the way one would think at first sight it is.)

  28. rjs

    one stupid hand and the other…

    Indonesia’s military chief barred from entering US | TheHill:

    The head of Indonesia’s military was denied entry into the U.S. on Saturday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection as he and his wife were preparing to leave for Washington, D.C.

    General Gatot Nurmantyo was invited to attend a conference on combatting violent extremism on Monday and Tuesday by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford.

    The general and his wife were preparing to board a flight heading to the U.S. capital when they were informed of the U.S. government’s decision, CNN reported.

  29. Kim Kaufman

    Hundreds Face Conspiracy Charges For Actions Of A Few During Inauguration Day Protests Intercept (resilc). This is really ugly.

    Not that I go to any protests these days but I definitely wouldn’t if any of the so-called antifa groups were doing the planning.

  30. flora

    re: Ask Slashdot: Where Do Old Programmers Go? – Slashdot

    Very enjoyable read. The terrible/funny puns are an added bonus. thanks.

  31. D


    PG&E violated safety rules, was late on thousands of Wine Country electricity inspections and work orders<

    PG&E violated electricity-grid safety regulations at least 11 times in the North Bay in the years prior to the ferocious wildfires in that region, state audits show.

    What’s more, the state Public Utilities Commission’s newly released audits from 2015 and 2016 show that PG&E failed in thousands of instances over a five-year period to conduct timely inspections and work orders required by the state’s regulator in Sonoma and Napa counties.

    From August 2010 to September 21, 2015, one PUC document concluded, a total of 3,527 work orders were completed past their scheduled date of corrective action. September 2015 is the last time the state agency audited the utility’s electricity systems in Sonoma and Napa counties, audit records show.
    In one instance, the audit revealed that tree branches or foliage were found to be less than 18 inches away from a primary electrical line for a power pole in the Sonoma division. Other violations in the Sonoma-Napa region included the failure to inspect 61 lines, power poles and other overhead facilities; improper record-keeping; vegetation growing too close to one power pole and completely surrounding and obstructing the climbing area of another pole; and anchor lines in contact with wires on some poles. ….
    Overall, the audit concluded, PG&E violated PUC rules — governing maintenance, safety and inspections of the electricity system — 85 times across its service area in the five-year period. That included 17 times in the Campbell, Sunnyvale and Los Altos area; 10 times in the San Jose area; 13 times in the Peninsula area, which includes San Mateo County; six times in the Hayward, Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin area; and seven times in the Central Coast area, which includes Monterey County.

    Not sure of the extent of construction going on in other counties, but the above paragraph does not ‘inspire’ as to the frighteningly rapid and massive Condo (Condos made for transient renters – no sunlight, green space, parking, etcetera – not for owner residents) Apartment Home™ construction that’s been going on for quite a few years in Silicon Valley/Santa Clara county, possible faulty gas lines/connections and multi-storied human residences slapped up in no time, to accommodate Facebook, Google and Apple (the rest of the residents be damned, or end up homeless, given the astonishing rent increases). If a disaster happens in one of those buildings, the death toll might read like London’s Grenfell Tower crime.

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