Links 12/2/17

New York City Has Genetically Distinct ‘Uptown’ and ‘Downtown’ Rats Atlantic (Pat)

Truffle the puppy from York sees snow for the first time BBC

Giant West Antarctic iceberg disintegrates PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Germany removes Tesla from subsidies list as too pricey Reuters

Controversial Study Claims ‘Smartphone Addiction’ Alters the Brain Inverse. A junk study trying to confirm a popular hypothesis. Sample size too small on top of the other problems noted in the write up.

Bitcoin loses over a fifth of its value in less than 24 hours Reuters (furzy)

Bitcoin: an investment mania for the fake news era Financial Times


Short Sellers May Be Fueling China’s Worst Bond Rout in Four Years Bloomberg

The US Opium Wars: China, Burma and the CIA Counterpunch

Assessing ‘the China factor’ in Kenya and Zimbabwe Asia Times

Trump administration escalates threat to “utterly destroy” North Korea Defend Democracy


EU holds hard line as Brexit talks enter frenzied weekend Politico

Tusk vows Irish border veto The Times


151 UN states vote to disavow Israeli ties to Jerusalem Jerusalem Post (Kevin W)

Putin Is a Force in the Syria Talks, With Trump on the Sidelines Bloomberg

Exclusive: Mideast nuclear plan backers bragged of support of top Trump aide Flynn Reuters (furzy)

New Cold War

Cheap dignity of the Ukrainian revolution Oriental Review (Chuck L). Important. Summarizes an Italian documentary that challenges the US/orthodox narrative about the snipings in Maidan.

Western Nuke Nations to Boycott Nobel Ceremony Defend Democracy

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The Underground Uber Networks Driven by Russian Hackers Daily Beast (Chuck L)

Apple is sharing your face with apps, and you should be worried Sydney Morning Herald (Kevin W)

US ‘orchestrated’ Russian spies scandal, says Kaspersky founder Guardian (Chuck L)

This Interview Was Conducted on an Anonymous, DIY Cell Phone Network Motherboard. I don’t see how you can regard any phone service that uses smart phones as anonymous or secure. The Android OS spies on you and I assume Apple’s does too.

Who Was the NSA Contractor Arrested for Leaking the ‘Shadow Brokers’ Hacking Tools? Brian Krebs (Bill B)

L’affaire Flynn

The Scalp-Taking of Gen. Flynn Consortium News (Chuck L, furzy). Important. Key section:

What is arguably most disturbing about this case is that then-National Security Adviser Flynn was pushed into a perjury trap by Obama administration holdovers at the Justice Department who concocted an unorthodox legal rationale for subjecting Flynn to an FBI interrogation four days after he took office, testing Flynn’s recollection of the conversations while the FBI agents had transcripts of the calls intercepted by the National Security Agency.

Flynn plea brings Mueller closer to the White House The Hill

Flynn’s Devastating Confessions: Trump Colluded With Israel, Tried To Fulfill Campaign Promises Moon of Alabama

Analysis: Despite Flynn, Trump not done yet DW

Tax “Reform”. I am bummed that the Senate passed this garbage barge. If you are a voter in a state of one of the Senators that was on the iffy list, like Susan Collins, call or write their office and give them hell for not sticking to their guns. The bill still has to go through reconciliation. The other hope, which is looking thin, is that Doug Jones wins in Alabama.

Senate passes tax overhaul, securing major GOP victory The Hill

GOP’s List of Economists Backing Tax Cut Includes Ghosts, Office Assistants, Ex-Felons, and a Sprinkling of Real Economists Intercept

Senate GOP repeals ObamaCare mandate The Hill

History Suggests Democrats Unlikely To Repeal Unpopular Tax Bill If It Passes Shadowproof (Darius)

Lambert calls this “beta whinging”:

But we have this (hat tip JohnnyGL):

A Capitol Hill Scorekeeper Eviscerates the G.O.P.’s Tax Math New Yorker (furzy)

Trump Transition

‘Abused’ Tillerson loses clout on world stage, diplomats say Politico

Dasvidaniya, Donna Brazile, the Dismal Dollar Democrat Counterpunch

Sex in Politics…Not!

She Says She Quit Her Campaign Job After He Harassed Her. Now He’s In Congress. BuzzFeed

Democrats Call For Rep. Ruben Kihuen To Resign After Sexual Harassment Claim Huffington Post

Why women fear a backlash over #MeToo BBC. See the discussion of the “Pence rule”. Lambert, when he was working in Corporate America and became a manager (late 1990s), adopted an even more stringent version: never be alone with a female staff member at his firm.

Pittsburgh’s Water System Is Why We Shouldn’t Run America Like a Business Nation (furzy)

Only in Suburbia. Bob recommends the comments too:

Global manufacturing hits multiyear high Financial Times

Will Uber Ever Stop The Bleeding? Bloomberg. More than a year after Hubert Horan’s series, is Uber’s top reporter finally coming around?

Uber legal chief warns staff not to spy on rivals Financial Times

The 92-Year-Old Woman Who Is Still Shaking Up Wall Street Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

How the upper middle class keeps everyone else out YouTube PBS (Kevin W). From August, still germane.

Why the UN is investigating extreme poverty … in America, the world’s richest nation Guardian

Work Halts at NYC Condo Tower After Council Rules It’s Too Tall Bloomberg

Inadequate Equilibria Slate Star Codex (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (Stephen L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. timotheus

    Re Pence rule: As a medical interpreter, I was taught never to be in a room alone with a patient as the only way to guarantee no he said/she said accusations. We were not to engage in small talk of any sort either. Medical staff didn’t get it at first but eventually saw the logic. Of course, this is a highly sensitive setting (patients are undressed, vulnerable, worried, etc.) Nonetheless, it clarified boundaries and kept everyone focused.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I was reading a sequel to the famous book “Doctor in the House” and in it he said, and this was decades ago in the UK, that if he was with a woman patient and she so much as lowered her voice that it would be wise to call in the nurse/receptionist to attend.

    2. ambrit

      It’s funny that the underpinnings of the ‘Pence Rule’ look a lot like the Middle Eastern cultural idea that men and women, when left alone together must always be assumed to be “up to no good.”
      It brings to mind some of My Lord of Rochesters’ more salacious verses. An updated version of “Sodom…” would be very appropriate for todays’ Court and Times.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        FWIW, my eldest son (ex Marine NCO) said they had the same policy wrt female enlisted marines, for the same reasons (he said/she said).

    3. Enquiring Mind

      The battle of the sexes, with more or less fraternizing with the enemy, takes on aspects of Wall Street finance. There is an element in the country that looks at divorce as a type of call option to be exercised at will to grab half or more of some spouse’s stuff. That options model (stocks, bonds, calls, puts) concept may be applied after the fact to describe employability, starting in the media business, where you let them grab your career. Think of it as putz-call parity. ;p

    4. E B

      I already have heard from someone I know in the entrepreneurial/VC/investment sphere to the effect of him just not being willing to do business with any women at this point. In terms of hiring, even partnering with someone. Says “too much downside – if I hit big on idea X am I going to get shook down 15 years from now?”

      It’s unfortunate. I think all harassment is abominable and should be punished appropriately and never tolerated. I just put this dynamic down to “human behaviour doing what human behaviour will do.”

      The guy I know also always keeps his hiring activities small so that none of the quota police ever come sniffing so there is that.

      Funny thing is – in the 90s when Lambert was a manager I knew an attorney who defended sexual harassers. She said the number of variations of “boss calls secretary into office/secretary sees junk hanging out” was utterly mind-blowing. Like you’d expect to see this happen once in a great while but she had a whole portfolio of active case files at all times dealing with exactly this fact pattern.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        The ‘not doing any business with/hiring women’ seems almost reasonable given the current climate and the potential risks for a ‘he said-she said’ shakedown down the road. I suppose if one were an exclusively gay man, it might make sense to only do business with or hire women too. If accusers are presumptively to be believed, there’s almost no safe defense possible against potential false accusations.

      2. jrs

        So rich white males don’t want to play with anyone who isn’t the same. Same as it ever was, but I suppose we are supposed to think it’s new as the rationalizations have changed. But then we remember the term “good old boys club” has been in the cultural vocabulary for a very long time. Same as it ever was.

        1. JTFaraday

          Yeah, we see demonstrated right here (and not for the first time) why so very many women think that they need other women to be in managerial positions and other positions of authority, why they are willing to make that their number one political priority– bar none, and why they don’t care to take on today’s (so-called) left’s morally self righteous class war against said “elite” women, why it’s not “economics first” and gender issues never because that’s just an “unimportant distraction” even though all these man-babies with their victimization fantasies– project much?!!– show how central an *economic* issue gender really is, etc, etc.

          1. Darn

            How many women really do have promoting women as their number one priority though? I think those women who voted Hillary in the 2008 primaries and McCain in the general would only be partly like that, for example. Hmm, now I wonder if we have a gender breakdown for Hillary-to-McCain voters. And there was a 10 point difference in male and female support for Trump in 2016, but that’ll be a combo of the policy issues, female revulsion at Trump’s sexism, female desire to get a woman into office, male approval of Trump’s sexism, etc etc.

    5. DJG

      BBC article. The Pence rule. And how anyone can have a career, especially a woman, without one-to-one meetings.

      I would also point out that Yves Smith has posted several articles on the breakdown of social trust. It is as if we are seeing the complete atomization of what passes for society.

      At the same time, I will admit that I haven’t worked in an office in some 25 years. I went free lance after working for a toxic organization where every kind of discrimination and harassment was on technicolor display. Yet, and this is mentioned in the BBC article, everything was hushed up. So that major crimes had no consequences–this is one of the goals of the whole white-color “ethos” these days. (Witness the behavior of the DNC or of Amazon or of Well Fargo: complete impunity.)

      So women have no recourse because there is no rule of law (as we know from the treatment banksters). Many of the charges that we have read about are actionable (in the true sense of the term: you have a legal case). Yet when does Harvey Weinstein go to jail?

      And at a more practical level, considering that I have worked in publishing for years, and in most of those years, the heads of the departments or imprints where I have worked have been women. Women are very powerful in book publishing. How can you do a performance review? (I certainly want confidentiality.) How can you plan a project without snooping from competitors and from those not part of a project? And with publishing houses being so thinly staff, how do keep around a witness? Is that what some poor editorial assitant is for? (Instead of being taught the business and cultivated–and given counseling and encouragement privately)?

      We are indeed in that Gramscian interregnum in which many morbid symptoms appear.

      1. Wukchumni

        Of course there’s no chance the $metoo types won’t want their 15 minutes of fame and/or 30 pieces of silver, and reveal doctored exposes that must be real, because we saw them on the internet.

        What a tangled web, and all that.

  2. Wukchumni

    I felt as if I was watching an old Perry Mason episode in the Senate, as Bernie confirmed my future fade accompli in terms of what’ll happen to my ‘entitlement’, you know that thing you get yearly that tells that $xxx,xxx.xx was taken out of your earnings over the course of your working years, and you can expect $x,xxx.xx per month in three score and two.

    A few days ago i’d mentioned the potential of a new Bonus March, triggered by those needing their SS payments, and if I know this particular breed of white elephants makings habit, i’m the 55 year old waiting out my sentence that Sanders is talking about, to be able to get back what I put in, and i’m not counting the days till i’m 62, but a good many are counting on the money being there, and the GOP will deliver a lesser-later package i’d suspect, 80% of what we were promised, starting @ 65.

    But, thankfully Rubio’s mom will not be effected~

    1. Pat

      Oh she will be affected. There are always more Medicare cuts. And ever more means to make sure current beneficiaries ‘ benefits don’t begin to keep pace with inflation. Sure it is better then you or I or any body younger than 66 years old is going to see. But it is a nice piece of misdirection. The only people who will not be screwed in coming days are those who don’t need SS or Medicare for anything and those who don’t make it past another year.

      And yes I blame Clinton and Obama and a whole lot of other representatives of both Parties who talked about protecting these programs while working hard to make them vulnerable.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Rubio’ mom will be affected? What, the little brat has disowned her and will not share any of the gelt that is raining down on his little patch of perfectness?

        I expect that Rubio’s mom is going to be just fine, get all the medical care (“medicare”) she wants or needs, and will never have to choose between food, fuel, shelter and medications…

        Do the frogs jump out of the kettle with weapons in hand?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It seems to be a law of nature that when an animal has its way with another animal, the former will always go back to have its way, again and again, with the latter.

        2. Pat

          I should have said Rubio’s mother will be affected if Marco doesn’t take up the slack left by the continuing back door and even front door cuts to her benefits. My bad.

          Although I will lay odds that unless Mrs Rubio is sheltered from others her age she will still find out how much her spawn has s*() all over them. The real question is whether his portrayal of her was in any way accurate or more bull. In reality she may not care about her fellow seniors, etc.

          1. JTMcPhee

            She may care about fellow seniors *of her class*. I doubt it goes beyond that. Any more than does Barbara Bush.

    2. LD

      Depends on how long she lives. The initial play is to make cuts for those entering the system. Eventually, the new entrants will be big enough in number to return the favor on benefit cuts at a time when they’re most needed (to really, really old people).

      Divide and conquer. Killed the unions. Now it looks like they’ll get Social Security and Medicare.

  3. johnnygl

    I really enjoyed the ‘how to neuter a walnut tree’ tweet. That cracked me up.

    Please, find a way to stop nature from showering me with a regular supply of nutritious food!!!

    1. Wukchumni

      For whatever reason, Visalia, the big city of 130,000 to the west of us, is awash in walnut orchards, and unlike all other nut trees around these parts in that they have high canopies combined with trees 20 feet apart and presto-shaded urban forest. A friend that has a cabin in the NP has an orchard of some 1400 odd trees, and I asked her how much she got per pound, and she told me 85 cents a pound in the shell, and I mentioned that was chump change compared to the glamour nut being planted all over the place-almonds @ $3 a pound, and she laughed and told me that if you have the wrong walnut type, it’s 35 cents a pound. There are 3 or 4 different varieties, and all of the orchards are mature, and nobody is planting new ones.

      Oh well, that’s nuts for you. Almost all of the almonds end up in the far east, and it wasn’t so long ago before overseas markets opened up the demand for then, that the almond industry was pleading with us to eat a can a week via tv commercials, as they had more supply than demand domestically 20 years ago, and production has tripled since then.

      1. JohnnyGL

        It seems like pistachios are in oversupply, lately. The supermarkets shelves seem to be packed with them all year round. Which hints at the real usefulness of nuts….stable shelf life!

        Luckily for me, I enjoy pistachios!

        1. Wukchumni

          I too love pistachios, and @ $10 for 2 pounds of roasted & salted goodness-yum.

          From what i’ve read, pistachio trees are going to have problems as temps go up, as they need so many chill hours to produce nuts. This link is from 2006, and worldwide temp averages have gone up since then…


          What was dying pistachios red all about? Your hands would be a mess after eating a little bag of them when I was a yout.

          1. Lona

            Nowadays the nuts are mechanically harvested and never touch the ground and shells stay nice and pretty. In the old days the red dye concealed discolorations on the shells.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          A friend’s mom used to bring back pistachios from Iran flavored with salt and lemon juice. Fabulous.

      2. ambrit

        I’ve read that almonds are an intensely water requiring crop to grow. So, from an ecological standpoint, how much water does an average walnut tree need to make a crop versus an almond tree. Even better, how much water per pound of walnut meat versus per pound of almond meat.
        In a perverse way, I’m glad no new walnut orchards are being planted now. Heaven forbid we get a GMO walnut tree! Those tennis balls could end up as cannon balls.
        The leaves of the walnut tree, in pictures, look exactly like the leaves on our pecan trees here Down South. (Does walnut fed squirrel taste as good as does pecan fed squirrel?)

        1. Wukchumni

          Walnuts are the one tree perfect for automation as it turns out, and worry not, as no human shaker jobs were replaced by the hydraulic arm on a vehicle that shakes the trunk of the tree just so, that the bounty mutinies the mast overhead and surrenders to the ground below…

          During the drought, almost 100% of all fruit/nut trees were watered with groundwater from down under, usually it’s 40-50% in average years. We’re exporting fossil water to the far east via almonds faster than the aquifer can replenish it, in essence robbing the future for payment now. It’s nuts.

          Most people only see the central valley via the 5 or 99, and it’s a good drive-by @ 75 mph, but when you drive the backroads aimlessly, it’s a never ending food forest that stretches into the far reaches, on just the other side of nowhere.

          1. visitor

            The almond is a typical tree in the mediterranean region, where it has been grown for thousands of years precisely because it is frugal in its water requirements (contrarily to, say oranges).

            The Californian plantations are located in what constitute desert or subdesert areas, and manage to thrive only because of massive watering.

            1. Wukchumni

              Another thing about almonds is they must be continually watered throughout the year, no dormancy period where just a little water is all you need-as is for most other bare root trees.

              1. visitor

                The traditional (pre-industrial) almond orchards in the mediterranean were watered only by rain — which falls in Autumn and Winter. No rain at all in Summer and rare showers in Spring. Almond trees had no problem with that pattern — and this is why they were appreciated.

                The watering requirements of almond trees in California are due to the unsuitable nature of the environment for such plantations. In the same manner, the Saudi managed to force a substantial agriculture (in the desert!) by depleting their aquifers.

                1. Ignacio

                  You are quite rigth. Almond culture has traditionally been without watering and almond trees can produce in the mediterranean with as little as 300 mm rain annually. Unfortunately there is a tendency now to grow them in more intensive culture. Higher tree density and watering up to 600 mm annually to increase productivity. Not sustainable in Spain, specially in drougth years like this.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Black walnut and the other walnuts are in genus Juglans. Pecan and the hickories are in the genus Carya. One could technically think of pecan as being one of the hickories, though it sure doesn’t seem like it. Both genera are in the family Juglandaceae. So it would make sense that they all have similar leaf-systems, basically similar-concept nuts, etc.

          About the water needed, most of the water “used” in growing the nuts evaporates right back into the same environment from which it came to begin with. And that water then resumes moving all around the Water Cycle. As long as a crop in a particular place does not demand more water in that particular place then is available as needed in that particular place, then there is not a water-overdraft problem for that crop in that place. The water does not disappear from existence. It goes right back into the water cycle by which it was delivered to the crop in the first place.

          Now . . . if California almonds demand more water than California can supply, California has a problem. And so do the almonds. And so do the customers. If dwindling water supplies in California force almond reductions in California, almond customers will have to get used to regarding the almond as a rare delicacy. The beluga caviar of the nut world.

          Suburban homedwellers can sidestep that problem their own personal selves by growing the type of northern-hardy almonds which have been developed by tree breeders in Ukraine.

      3. Stephen V

        I have a friend near Chico with Olive orchards who tells me entire groves are being pulled up to replant with…walnuts! For the China market. He has replanted a number of trees at significant labor and expense. Insane.

        1. Wukchumni

          The citrus belt is right below me, and dominates the perfect growing area for navels & valencias where the foothills end and the valley begins stretching out often flat as a board. Most citrus only last 40 years, and during the drought a good many older orchards were pulled out mechanically, one day 15 foot trees were there, a week later there were piles of orange wood ready for the torch, a week after all evidence was gone that an orchard ever existed, aside from black scorch marks on the ground.

          They wasted little time putting in new citrus trees and it made sense from the timing of the drought, and the idea a young tree needs little water in comparison to a fully grown tree, but it trots around the threat that Hunaglongbing (HLB) has laid waste to citrus orchards in Florida, Mexico and Brazil, and they keep finding HLB psyllids in traps around here, and so far nothing has happened, but it’s just a matter of time before they do their thing, and an orchard takes 10 years to be productive, so it seems like they are rolling the dice putting in anything citrus.

        2. Lona

          It’s partly, or even mostly a labor issue. Almonds are mechanically harvested and olives are picked by hand.

          1. ddt

            There’s varieties of olive that can be mechanically harvested much like grapes or even walnuts (the latter being a trunk shaker).

    2. JohnM

      You might not feel this way if you were familiar with black walnuts. Yes they are edible but the work involved in extracting the meat is significant. I have a friend who spent hundreds for a specialized hydraulic press for opening the nuts, which only comes after you’ve spread them in your driveway and smashed the outer husk off and washed them.

      I’m an avid forager, even having spent hours collecting the lowly winkle, but even i won’t waste my time with black walnuts. This year we had a bumper crop in central NY and we’ll be glad when the squirrels have gotten to the last of those nasty ankle twisters.

      1. Wukchumnij

        Like all orcharding around here on a large scale, it takes an amazing amount of upkeep by mostly Mexican immigrants to keep them in fine fiddle, and seeing as young trees are akin to children in that you can’t expect much out of them early on, they’re teachers whose progeny pays off as they mature into productive upright members of soilciety.

          1. bob

            As is common in the anglo-saxon ruled world of the west, English nuts are the most productive, and the only commercially viable nut-

            “Numerous walnut cultivars have been developed commercially, which are nearly all hybrids of the English walnut.”

            Not the biggest nuts, but the best

          2. skippy

            Always enjoyed the black walnuts on my grandparents farm. Old tree out front of the original farm house, not to mention the pear, cherry, and the never to be forgotten grandfather joke of the green persimmon.

            Never had any dramas with opening them, 5lb persuader and walnut pick. Half the fun was learning how to give them just the right whack without smashing them to smithereens.

            A walk from the new farm house down to the barn and older buildings was always a movable feast, quarter acer garden and then what the trees had on offer.

            disheveled… in a pinch one could always nibble the ends of the sweet clover….

      2. bob

        The description of the nuts by Mr. Coffey, the nut expert, is pretty good-

        Tennis ball sized, won’t let anything grow within 50 feet

        Not a fan of the trees, per se. But, the humor — pure adolescent joy

        How do I keep my neighbors nuts off my deck?

        1. bob

          Another use, from the link above-

          Uses in Chinese culture

          In China, pairs of walnuts have traditionally been rotated and played with in the palm of the hand, both as a means to stimulate blood circulation and as a status symbol. Individual and pairs of large, old, symmetrically shaped

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            There are some beautifully and intricately carved walnuts. It’s a traditional art in China.

            You maybe find them at many Chinese antique auctions all over the wold.

          2. blennylips

            Thank you bob…that cued a memory from a few years ago…the Chinese equivalent of the Dutch Tulip Mania:

            Money grows on trees with great walnuts of China

            Li once sold a prized pair for 160,000 yuan, but added: “Even a relatively ordinary pair of walnuts can be more expensive than gold, in terms of weight.”

            Nuts! The Bursting of the Chinese Walnut Bubble

            The price of walnuts in China exploded between 2008 and 2013, driven by demand not for the edible meat, but the outer shell. Big, symmetrical, colorful shells became prized items.

            Humans! They crack me up sometimes.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        The black walnut is indeed a tough nut to crack. Different people at different times have tried inventing and devising black walnut crackers. One can search the web and find various things advertised as black walnut crackers. I haven’t tried them and just don’t know. Each one of them that I see advertised has the weakness that it cracks one nut at a time and then the next nut must be carefully placed and positioned and adjusted within the cracker before one can then crack that next nut. And then the third nut must be carefully placed and positioned and adjusted within the cracker before one can then crack that third nut. And then off we go with wild abandon to crack that fourth, fifth, sixth and even seventh nut! And then time and patience run short.

        Here is a website which offers what it hopes are helpful hints for happy walnutting.

        In hospitals, nurses have available something called the Silent Knight Pill Crusher. Just watch it crush them pills! And imagine it scaled up to the size of crushing ( or just cracking) walnuts!

        Maybe if anyone from the Silent Knight company is reading this comment, they could look into upsizing their pill crusher into being a walnut cracker. The Silent Knight Walnut Cracker! A whole new market area for their thing-crushing expertise.

        1. bob

          They are can be very valuable trees. Black walnut especially. Notice how they describe the thieves as driving out into a field?

          Their commercial value is all about where they are grown. If they are anywhere near houses and humans, most mills won’t buy them. Too high a chance that there is metal in them, which could break the sawmill blade, as well as ruining the veneer quality of the wood. The cost of replacing the blade can be many times that of the very high value trees.

          Without a buyer, they’re not “worth” anything.

          I didn’t see the trees in question, but the value of 150k a piece is highly questionable. If they were all veneer quality trees, the milled end product may have sold for that, but it’s extremely unlikely. That value would include the trucking and handling, as well very specialized milling equipment and marketing.

          Lots of people see these numbers and believe their yard trees are a retirement plan. They aren’t, and will most likely cost you a few thousand dollars, at least, to get rid of them, if it comes down to that.

          1. bob

            “Veneer” blades are different that normal saw blades. Veneer logs are turned, against a fixed, very sharp blade. They “peel” the log, into very thin strips that can be “unrolled” into lengths that are tens, if not hundreds of feet long.

            1 nail, from 30 years ago means it’s not veneer quality anymore. Even if the blade survived, there would be a hole, and a rust stain, that would repeat itself on every turn.

  4. allan

    “How the upper middle class keeps everyone else out ”

    An even-the-liberal-Brookings fellow talks his book.
    In the last year there has been a wave of pieces like this (David Brooks was on the case as well).
    Focusing on the top 20% distracts from who actually runs the country, as we saw last night.

    Aggregating economic stats for the 80-89, 90-94, or even 95-99 percentiles, with the top 1%,
    or even the 99.0-99.9 percentiles with the top 0.1%, is public policy three card monte.
    Any charts or factoids based on economic quintiles are agitprop intended to avoid the real issues.

    During the long, deeply deliberative run-up (say a week) to last night’s vote on the tax cut churn,
    I posted several third party analyses of its effects.
    Being at the 80 percentile ($117,000) means you – along with everybody below you – are roadkill.
    To think that these are the people running the country is fantasy.
    To think that alienating them from the lower 80% while trying to gain political power is self-defeating.
    Unless your last name is Koch, Mercer or Adelson.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Yeah, that segment was iffy. How much agency to the 20%ers have? Enough to defend their class position, but not a heckuva lot more than that.

      As you point out….it’s the oligarchs that call the shots and make the decision to shrink the size of the lobster tank so that we’re stuck climbing all over each other.

      1. Pat

        They may not have been gored as much as others in the current tax bill, but if you don’t think a huge segment of the 20%ers are going to get hit by the loss of property tax, state &local tax deductions and loss of mortgage deduction…well.

        They may do damage trying to protect what they have but they are not running the show.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Yes, I thought the CNN debate the other day was telling. There was a 20%er from NJ on there who appeared to be hopping mad with Ted Cruz having the audacity to raise his taxes in order to pay off his donor class, and then lie to his face about it.

          Lots of people on this site ask if the Dems really want to ‘win’ elections. It’s worth asking the same of Republicans, since they’re clearly putting their own base right in the crosshairs with this tax bill. Both parties look like they favor ‘scorched earth’ strategies, at this point.

          The Dems are probably going to make some real progress on their dream of swinging those educated white suburbanites (at least for this election cycle). If for no other reason than, “throw the bums out”

          The real question is how this blue wave shapes up. It’s clear there are going to be a lot more Dems in office…but of course….what KIND of Dems are they going to be???

          1. lyman alpha blob

            …what KIND of Dems are they going to be???

            They will be right wingers who realize the Republican “brand” is past its sell date.

        2. jrs

          yes they might be hit, the top 20% are at this point the ONLY ones that can afford property in blue states and they will miss that deduction. Meanwhile for the bottom percentages frank homelessness just keeps on increasing.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Fear not, the wholesale looting of everyone else by the .01% will continue apace. Why would they stop? It’s not as though people are complaining. At all. Last time I looked there was not a single person in the street with a placard or a brick in their hands.

            People falling over themselves to make the world’s richest man even richer by borrowing to get their hands on more useless sh*t they don’t need. Good times.

      1. ambrit

        Hah! Being in the ‘income bracket’ is not the same as being in the class. Temporary riches are just that, a temporary boost. Slow and steady wealth accumulation does the trick. That or defending what you inherit from Grandad Deep Pockets from the Wealth Redistribution Fairy will work nicely. Notice how we don’t hear much, if anything about raising the Estate Tax?
        (Some of us pine for the Eisenhower Tax System. Back when Republicans really were lower case ‘c’ conservatives.)

      2. Sid_finster

        Most likely, usually as the result of selling a house, I suspect.

        Anyway to say that barely half of all Americans reach that income level at least once probably isn’t all that impressive, although I don’t know how many standard deviations that is from the median.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          This, probably.

          As for whether it’s impressive or not, the statement, 51% spending a year in the top 20%, is a statement that can be check against any society at any income/capita level, and the its distribution curve.

          Any wealth-distributed nation will still have its top 20%, top 10%, top 1%.

          The problem is with how much the top 1% or 20% own.

          We might say, a well distributed economy the difference in wealth between those in the 20th percentile is not too much than those in the 50th percentile, such that, with annual fluctuation, one can end up on either end.

        2. jrs

          and if they reach it at least once and spend at least a year unemployed at another point in their life (what are the statistics for the number of Americans who have spend at least a year unemployed anyway?), it will average out in terms of any possible savings as well. Average out to frankly very little net gain, job insecurity will do that.

        3. Summer

          “Most likely, usually as the result of selling a house, I suspect.”

          Or a small inheritance, job that doesn’t last long, contract deal that doesn’t last…this isn’t surprising many have stories of their big or lucky moment: the one-hit wonder.

        1. Summer

          Boom and bust, pump and dump economy.

          53% at least one year in the top 20% and 60% at least one year in poverty.
          That’s the reason for the safety nets.

          However, it also shows how economists’ focus on numbers in model environments are so often political narrative manipulations.

        1. clinical wasteman

          One year in the upper bracket means nothing, but one year in poverty means a lot, because it’s not like you have a guaranteed release date at any moment during that year. (Nor, for that matter is there any reason to assume that the hypothetical “one year” happens all at once.) One cumulative year — maybe spread over many years — of the desperation, overwork, strain on personal relationships and all-round constant fear generally associated with poverty is easily enough to wreck one or several lives. Now multiply that by many millions, then by many millions again when the rest of with reference to the whole world.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      As long as the top 20 identify with the One Per Cent against the bottom 80, the top 20 will be a problem for us.

      As long as the top 10 identify with the One Per Cent against the bottom 90, the top 10 will be a problem for us.

      The top 10 and the next 10 will have to lose and lose and lose some more before they identify with us against the One Per Cent. If we see them suffering so much that they question their loyalty to their Social Class Betters, then we can be ready to lay out our terms for accepting their co-operation with us on our social class agenda pursuits.

  5. Pat

    So I think I figured out where the jobs are in the Republican tax bill, they are in the Alaskan wilderness where they will now be drilling. Maybe a few more teachers sides in religious private schools.
    If I were a better analyst and had an outlet I might opine how much everyone in the bottom 99% is going to be paying in increased taxes per job And how many private jets and yachts for the 0.1% and top corporate management.

    Meanwhile the Democrats whing about process and Russia as per Lambert. And I would add fail to notice this was possible because of huge Democratic losses under the same party leadership they fought to keep in place.

  6. David, by the lake

    Re entitlement cuts

    At least as far as SS goes, I’m fully expecting cuts. When the trust fund runs out (currently projected 2032 IIRC), we are all going to take a ~25% haircut. I’m assuming from the get-go that I’m getting no more than 75% of what my statements indicate, and probably less than that. Plan ahead — there will be no Congressional fixing of the problem.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Think like a criminal Kongress Klown: politicians loathe hard default, because it would cost the party in charge their majority — maybe for a generation, as in 1932-1952.

      Social Security can be rescued by simply borrowing its now-eternal annual deficit. But by the early 2030s, unconstrained borrowing is likely to prove inflationary.

      A truly diabolical bipartisan deal would be tie Soc Sec’s rescue to capping COLAs, so that beneficiaries would be slowly pauperized by a rising cost of living even as benefit promises are nominally honored.

      As in the former Soviet Union — where ruble-denominated pensions were duly paid, though they would barely purchase a packet of smokes — the soft default of the American empire will be financed through depreciation of the dollar.

      1. JTMcPhee

        My recollection is that the meme about the 2030 or 2025 or 2015, or whatever scary year one cares to pick, demise of the SS “Trust Fund” has been repeatedly debunked, not only in this space,, but elsewhere.

        Of course “economists” have different standards of proof. But IIRC, simply removing the deductions cap on SS WAGES, would ensure the SS guarantee on into the foreseeable future.

        And yaas, if only the mandatory withholdings we wage-earning mopes have to pay, how many billions would that involve again, would be stuck “at the right time” into “the casino market,” for sure the wealth of all of us would now be comfortably assured, “going forward,” less fees and costs and effects of “redeeming” any of those “investments” to pay current beneficiaries… It’s all about timing, eh wot? Or riding the wave of death and decimation of the “undeserving poor” and “useless eaters” up onto the beach of privilege and ownership, neh?

        1. Brian

          Isn’t it time to wonder with incredulity on the issue of borrowing? The debt has gone up 3/4’s of a trillion since they settled the debt negotiations a month ago. Is it still within the realm of beggaring disbelief that there is any money left at all until it is printed?
          Is it reasonable to believe what is told you when you know it is bunk. Is it reasonable to eat what is fed you when you know it is poison? Compare and contrast is not much help when the data is corrupt. One walnut tree feeding many creatures is reality but its so icky dropping free food like that. We have lost our way, and our minds.

          1. JTMcPhee

            That, of course, assumes a lot. Like that the Reds don’t strip out and default on the SS “promise” and just steal all the wages deposited into that prepaid retirement fund (that as you so repeatedly point out, does not pay any “interest” on the forced savings. And also that if the New Robber Barons don’t manage to get away with that looting right soon, that nothing is done to address the “drawdown,” like by removing the cap on wages beyond which SS withholding is now required. And the other approaches that have even made it into draft legislation that prior to the Grand Victory of the Kochians in the passage of the current “tax and jobs” wealth transfer bills, have been introduced with “bipartisan” support. On the Red side, of course, that’s probably just eyewash and gaslight for the voting mopes back home.

            But it’s likely that you know all that. Maybe the missing /sarc tag is in your comment? Since of course the NC link I gave and so many others on the subject cover the reality that SS works pretty well, is vastly safer than the stock market, and can be “fixed” at a cost that is puny relative to just one War Machine program — F-35, sinkable aircraft carriers, take your pick.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            The Trust Fund Reserves are suPPOSED to be depleted by 2034. The whole point of those reserves is that they are being built up by double-taxing the boomers in advance now for their own Social Security paybacks later was the whole point of the Great Reagan Rescue of 1983. And that Trust Surplus is what is being embezzled against by the Upper Classes through their officeholder supporters. And the Upper Classes don’t want to have to pay back later what they have been stealing up till now. Hence talk of ” bankruptcy” and “unsustainability” and “the disappearing surplus.”

            The surplus is supposed to be disappeared just as the last boomer dies. Then SS goes back to pay-go.

            I notice that Jim Haygood is free to restate this fake talking point over and over and over again, even though it has been debunked over and over and over again.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Another way is to push back the eligibility age.

      “One’s 70 to 80 age years are too precious to waste on retirement.’

    3. jrs

      Yea we plan, goddess laughs, and so it goes. A mark of really quite extreme privilege is being able to plan entirely. For all else sure some may try to plan the best they can, and meanwhile fate has a will of it’s own, and goddess laughs her head off at the best laid plans of mice and men, and the wheel in the sky keeps on turning.

      1. jrs

        Basically this is why a SOCIAL SAFETY NET exists period, not just to help those who have always been poor (although it is certainly unjust not to do so) and certainly not just to help the “irresponsible” as right wing nutcases would have it, but because perfect planning is not actually possible for anyone in the modern world.

        So no planning is not a replacement for the social safety net, the social safety net is the only thing that makes anything work. When it’s gone, there is nothing. Pretending there is an alternative is about like trying to build an alternative to top soil when it’s gone or the ozone layer when it’s gone. No there is nothing. This is it.

        1. Wukchumni

          For the first time they’ve chipped away @ something previously sacrosanct-Social Security, and the debasement of the disbursement. It’ll be a raze to the bottom.

  7. The Rev Kev

    Cheap dignity of the Ukrainian revolution

    In one way it is strange that it has taken all these years for this story to start to enter main stream reporting, though we are talking about Italian main stream reporting here. I was heavily following the Ukrainian putsch back in 2014 and the subsequent Russian retaking of Crimea as well as the brutal attacks on the Donetsk & Luhansk Republics by the Ukrainians. One of my main sources of information at the time was that of a Russian military blogger named Colonel Cassad (self proclaimed ‘Bullhorn of Totalitarian Propaganda) and it gave me a view of events there that was in stark contrast to what I was seeing in local news.
    I remember some of the analysis that was featured on his and other English versions of Russian articles. It was pointed out that at the Maiden that rifle fire came from just one building that was under the control of the rioters. Another interesting fact that after the fight was over, great care was taken to ‘sanitize’ the area of any bullet marks that would give forensic clues which even included trees there as well. The Russian reporting included the interesting fact that those Maiden rioters were not just enthusiastic amateurs but had been transported previously in batches to a Polish police training facility to do a course in rioting, fighting, barricade building, weapons, etc and that they were paid at the riots (I think that it was $100 a day and $500 for leaders but don’t quote me).
    Could I have been deceived by Russian propaganda? Perhaps, but they made a damn compelling case that was liberally littered with photos. Can I prove it 100%? Not with western sources which hardly covered this at all. In the end, when I saw how we in the west were treating the whole thing, I was reminded about a three minute clip that I saw at the time which included quite a valid question. If you want to see it, it is at

    1. Sid_finster

      I lived most of my professional life in Ukraine, or at least longer there than anywhere else, I know personally some of the politicians involved and people who fought and died on both sides.

      I moved to Ukraine a more or less orthodox member of Team R. Now I can say that I near 100% endorse the Russian position.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Please write more about the Ukraine — your on-the-ground impressions from the times you lived there.

    2. Juliania

      Soon after the event a German newspaper (Der Spiegel?) had an excellent in-depth analysis of the angles of trajectory and statements from the caregivers on the scene that the bullets of many victims came from the same type guns. I was convinced by that article back then.

      The rest of the world’s news media did not want to know.

      Good piece, this. Thanks, Yves.

      1. visitor

        There was also a report on German TV about it several months after the events.

        The German reporters interviewed the new Ukrainian minister of justice who was supposed to investigate what happened and determine who were the culprits. Nothing had been done. There was a suspiciously high number of policemen who had been wounded or killed by bullets during the events, but nothing was done to determine who shot at them. They also remarked that trees that had been impacted by bullets showed a firing direction coming from the hotel Ukrainia (they were subsequently cut down). Everything had the look of a cover-up.

        All in all, the information is there, but it is presented so discreetly that this cannot overturn the official “narrative”.

  8. Meher Baba Fan

    Australian news the other week had story about US court declaring Big Tobacco had to pay for advertisments in print and TV in prime time, every day for a year, declaring their bproducts were designed to be evil. This ruling took about 8 years to reach. No comment on NC ?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They should do that for a lot of products.

      My house was built in 1989, but I had mine tested for asbestos, as I am doing repiping (the test came back clean). In many houses, even those built in the 90s and 2000’s, it’s still there, and as long as you con’t cut into the walls, the government has not requireed any action.

      But many don’t know that, not even contractors.

      This is one area, for example, crying out for paid publicity.

      1. SpringTexan

        I doubt your claim. I think anything built after 1979 or so is OK on asbestos. Or that’s my understanding. Now on earlier houses, yes. Especially on ceilings and some forms of siding.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Here in Southern California, the cut off is if you disturb less than 100 square feet of surface material.

          The Cal/Osha rule says not to expose workers to more than 1.0% fiber per cubic cm for 8 hours, and 0.1% fiber per cubic cm for 30 min. (California title 8, section 1529).

          Most people probably refer to the AQMD rule. But unless you work on it yourself, you have meet Cal/Osha regulations.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It should be

            Here, according to the Southern California AQMD (Air Quality Management District), the cut off is if you disturb less than 100 square feet of surface material (per their rule 1403).

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Doing it yourself – only if it’s your own residence and you live in it.

            You put renters at risk, if you do it yourself, whether it’s your house or your apartment. Don’t chance it, even if your family members

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s written (the section 1529) so that it’s up to the employer of the workers to make sure those two criteria are met.

          Basically, you have to test…even for less that 100 square feet of surface area…for building of any age.

          The only exception I see if if the workers are there for less than 30 minutes.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            And as you’re in Texas, you should check Texas/OSHA, as the rules may be different.

            And many people are not aware of it; that’s why I think the public should be informed via paid publicity.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            By the way, that 30 minute exception is my own interpretation. Anyone should do their own research.

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          During the course of my research, I found that asbestos is still not banned in the US. It was in 1989, and but a court struck that down.

          Joint compounds containing it have been banned since the late 70s, among some other products. But most of us don’t see it more often simply due to the threat of the law suits, insurance, etc. (private sector, and not government, doing it).

          But with globalization, anything (bad) is possible. We have seen drywall panels from other countries not up to par.

          That’s a good reason why the age of a building doesn’t matter.

          1. JTMcPhee

            The Star Trek crew had those marvelous “tricorders,” sensor gadgets that could detect and measure practically anything — all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, chemical analyses, apparently even the various constituents and functions and state of health or disease of the human (or non-human) body.

            I wonder: Will the Techies come up with a Trekkie gadget that will let one sniff one’s foods and fluids for poisons, check for asbestos in our linoleum flooring and other ‘consumer products,” and tell us how many tiny particles of amosite and crhysotile asbestos and less-than-10-micron bits of diesel soot and fly ash are in our ambient air, stuff like that? Could be useful, if one is actually well enough off to “buy a house” in the future, and since such a gadget is likely to be costly, it of course would be marketed to those who could afford it. Since Star Trek economics sure are not going to come to a USS Enterprise or planet near you or me, any time soon…

            But if one had access to such a gadget, one might have a prayer of avoiding and averting all those nascent and ongoing disasters of exposure to profit-generating externalities? Maybe even an app to sum up the exposures by corporate source, print off a bill of particulars, and send it to said corporation for a payment of blood money in lieu of litigation? Since the Rentiers are billing us for breathing “their” air over “all your planet belong to us…”

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Inspectors could add such a tricorder to their battery of inspection tools. Then tricorder inspections would be available to us, even if tricorders won’t be. Once tricorders have been invented.

        4. Enquiring Mind

          Asbestos building supplies were still being used by unscrupulous contractors into the mid-1980s. Some were borrowers of a bank where I worked at the time. Double down with T1-11 siding that rotted away for real fun. The only silver lining, at a stretch, was that at least there wasn’t a lead paint problem. We had to test for everything.

    2. beth

      Meher Baba Fan
      We would all like to go to only one website to get all of our news. You could go to the NYT for your news & get

      All the News that is Fit to Print


      Yves has been very clear that Readers do not get the right to tell her what more she should do on this site.
      It is not possible with only a very small # of people, but that is where Readers come in.

      Now you go and read all the articles about this issue, chose the best, then come back and post it here for us. And thanks for doing this.

      We all will appreciate it.

  9. Lynne

    Query, how many abc employees and Mueller minions bought stock yesterday before abc got around last night to making its “clarification”?

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    New York City Has Genetically Distinct ‘Uptown’ and ‘Downtown’ Rats Atlantic (Pat)

    And it might been mentioned here before that it’s likely that one day, billionaire (and trillionaire) humans are genetically different from the rest of us (or our descendants).

    If it hadn’t been mentioned before, I, for one, had that idea-object penetrated the brain part of my body involuntarily some time ago.

    1. HotFlash

      Specific, traceable DNA isn’t different *species*. Perhaps different races would b e closer, different ethnic groups or even different tribes/families. Or even paternity, as in paternity test. It’s not so much to be wondered at — rats don’t travel that far if they don’t have to.

  11. rjs

    re: The 92-Year-Old Woman Who Is Still Shaking Up Wall Street

    how is this genre not sexist? where’s the article about the 92 year old man who’s still shaking up wall street?

      1. ambrit

        Speciesist as well. Where’s the article about the 92 year old Zeta Reticulan who’s shaking up the human genome?

  12. John k

    Seems like what I’ve read of medieval societies… lords of high finance have total power, not just above the law, they write them… or dictate to the eager scribes that nominally represent the people… as if…
    Yes, trump is a con man… but the only one even willing to speak to the deplorables… his jet even briefly stopped in flyover… noblesse oblige from one candidate… gulling just enough of the deplorable masses…
    Who might now be regretting… or not, would she have been any better? Don’t forget Tpp, or confront Russia… F35’s showing their skills in dog fights over Syria… or lack thereof…

    Dem party regrets re Bernie? Absolutely not, granted though, donor money has slowed… a puzzle, that… they did their main job, kept progressives out of power… donors don’t see the need for dems because reps doing such a great job? Careful now, Bernie lives…
    that problem has a solution, hope Bernie is careful…

    1. Wukchumni

      “F35’s showing their skills in dog fights over Syria… or lack thereof…”

      One of the cheap thrills of Saline hot springs in Death Valley NP, is the flyovers by F-something jets at about 500 mph coming from Edwards or Miramar. Last year we had 21 overflights 700 feet or lower over us in 3 days, the lowest being 200 feet overhead, as we were soaking.

      This year was disappointing, in the same 3 day stretch we had 3 low fliers, and there was traffic and dogfighting 2-5k feet up, but not as much on the deck.

      It’s a hot springs with an airshow. You feel almost as if the MIC is earning it’s keep when you’re there, being entertained aloft.

      This would have replicated our lowest pass 10 days ago…

        1. Wukchumni

          I was waiting for it to crash forever it seemed like, and then it dashed off into the ether, ha!

          Best Saline encounter was on the way in one time when my wife was driving and said “look at those big birds” which were a couple of F-18’s coming at us and broke over our car 100 feet above us splitting away in opposite 45 degree angles, wheeeee!

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Dem party regrets re Bernie? No. I think the Dem party resents Bernie for not being dead yet. Bernie Sanders is every Macbethocrat’s “Banquo’s Ghost”.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Oliver Darcy tweet.

    It is naughty to ‘find ways to repair relations with Russia and other world hot spots?’

    You can’t say that during a political campaign?

    And also bad, every bad, ‘to contact Russia on issue including working together working together to fight ISIS.’ Here, it’s bit more murky, since the incoming administration was not in charge yet. Perhaps, the full context is, ‘to contact Russia, with the consent of the current administration,’ or perhaps not. Who knows or recollects, for even those personally there, if it was verbal?

    I know any candidate can go to the Vatican and meet foreigners, even foreign officials, and if possible, the Pope, the head of that state, and have no issues at all these day (but perhaps not, during some of the more anti-papacy days in the past).

  14. Altandmain

    Re: How the upper middle class keeps everyone else out.

    The question of the top 10%ers is often discussed here on NC.

    I think that we may find that the top 10%ers are as big a barrier as the 0.1%ers that hoard enormous amounts of wealth, much of it in offshore tax havens like the Caymans, Bahamas, etc.

    The issue is that even they are kicking down the ladder for us at work. They seen to be socially liberal and economically very conservative (Ex: these liberal types have more in common with right wing libertarians than anything else).

    – They both oppose Sanders and economic egalitarianism
    – They oppose any reforms or programs that might close the lower middle class/working class to upper middle class income gap
    – Seem to see their “globalism” and cosmopolitanism as a source of superiority
    – They also see their degrees from prestigious schools and professional credentials as making them superior
    – Indifferent to problems like gentrification
    – Indifferent to the decline of manufacturing and may very well have benefited by it

    The great writer Thomas Frank in his book Listen Liberal captured the problems very well. Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton voters are very much two faces of the same coin. As Frank notes, the 10%ers largely accept the ultra rich arguments about meritocracy. They also have some of the capital gains feeding inequality.

    This demographic, although not super rich, is still very guilty. Economically their outlook is oriented towards the 0.1% versus the rest of us, whose interests are shared with the poor.

  15. Comrade

    Can we just dispense with using the term ‘donor’ or ‘donor class’ unless we’re talking about organ donations? These people are Rulers and they are the Ruling Class, high priests of Capitalism.

    These people don’t donate anything, even to charity, because they always get something in return such as tax deductions, credits, exemptions, and policy. The duopolist Ruling Class can’t control our votes outright, so they work around it by tallying votes with electronic voting machines and stacking the deck with yet more superdelegate lobbyists. They lost control during this last election, NOT due to alleged Russian hacking but to widespread public disgust with the status quo. However, you can take it to the bank that they aren’t about to let that happen again, ever. No more wild/Trump cards being slipped into the deck. At Casino Capitalism Royale, the Ruling Class house must always win.

    They now they own all 3 branches of government while the rest of us are stuck with taxation without representation. Truth be told, the Rulers did buy it fair and square through decades, no, centuries, of grooming, funding, and advancing the careers of their ‘public’ servants; by rigging the rules, and by building on 200 years of case law and precedents to finally breathing the spark of Life into the legal fiction called corporations to transform them into persons with rights. And we thought only God could do that!

    It’s been a patient winning strategy taking far less time than the eons it took to make flesh and blood humans. When the midwife U.S. Chamber of Commerce helped deliver that Rosemary Baby 100+ years ago after nearly 100 years of labor, it was just a matter of time before that baby would grow up to become the adult monster that would swallow us up.

    Oh well. Water over the damned. We do still have some political power. So which political flavor do you prefer to cast your vote for in the next election? Classic War and Money Vanilla? Or Money and War Vanilla Bean Vanilla? It’s so hard to choose.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      The sooner people realize this is a Class War the better. From now on chez moi the term is Ruling Class

      As you say, the term “donor” is waaaay too generous and that is something these smug feudal hyper-tyrants most certainly are not

    2. Enquiring Mind

      Centuries ago, would-be Kings, Dukes, Barons and variations thereon did not get to their positions by being the shy, retiring types. There was not-infrequent combat or other ordeal to survive, somewhat beyond being tutored for the SAT or ACT. Why expect that much change in human nature over a few centuries?

      1. JBird

        There has always been some class warfare, and geed and stupidly.

        Still the current bunch of elites is special.

        Some of the highest causality rates in the First World War was among the nobility especially British. Since being given all the wealth, privilege, and authority come at the cost of noblesse oblige which meant serving.

        The usually most dangerous rank in a war is that of lieutenant which are usually held by young men often of a society’s upper classes…

        If you read about the elites, even Americans, it was not uncommon to see that they served, or at least some of their close relatives. Plenty of exceptions but still common. Even with the Old Gilded Age, the Robber Barons often had some small sense of paying back. Self preservation also got people like the Germany Chancellor von Bismarck, or Presidents like FDR or TR to make it better for the lower classes. I am not seeing that now in the New Gilded Age. It’s steal everything and burn the rest as I get mine!

    3. oh

      Agree that there is no donor class only briber class. The electorate has been divided every which way by the two crooked parties who block the emergence any independent third party. It’s a waste of time to vote because one’s only endorsing one of these two fraudulent parties.

  16. Summer

    History Suggests Democrats Unlikely To Repeal Unpopular Tax Bill If It Passes Shadowproof (Darius)

    The only way out is to end the duopoly that is the electoral system – while there are still remnants of an electoral system. And no – that won’t be through the military. Much of the reason the country is in this state is due to going down the rabbit hole of war culture, with all its militarism..

      1. JBird

        Don’t be silly. They are doing exactly what they are supposed to, which is to enrich the MIC and their patrons, and it is not to actually win as that would interfere with the revenue stream.

        (The older I get, the more cynical, conservative, and economically socialist I become. I’m just about ready to bring out the tumbrels)

        1. a different chris

          Yeah I finally woke up to that “we’re the good guys!! we kill the bad guys and then support democracy!!”…

          No. You wreck the f’ing place and then build a ginormous base and hide in it. If you were Real Men/Women, you would at least have the guts to literally take over the government. 51st state, 52nd state… would that be worse for Iraq, Afghanistan, etc than the nightmare they are living in now? Don’t think so. Alex the Great is rolling over in his grave.

          Oh — hmmm, Puerto Rico is on my phone. They want to talk to me…hold that thought.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Democrats unlikely vs. the Democratic Party unlike.

      The key is, even if you take over the party, those Democrats are still there. It’s an eternal struggle (where nothing gets done…that kind of struggle…internal struggle)….that will drain all your energy, dissipating it into nothingness.

      It’s not like Mao’s party or the one in the USSR where you can purge or expel members, easily or not easily.

    2. Vatch

      The only way out is to end the duopoly that is the electoral system . . .

      I respectfully suggest that this won’t happen in the near future. I understand and concur with your sentiments on this issue, but realistically, our only chance for change in the next few years is to support and elect good candidates in the Democratic primaries, and then support and elect them in the general election. Here are some candidates worth considering (there’s a lot of overlap between the two lists):

      If there isn’t a candidate for your Congressional district or your state on the lists, ask the Democratic candidate(s) in your district/state for their position on issues. Some candidates might already have taken good positions, even though they aren’t on the lists that I provided. Ask them there positions on important issues. Here are some sample issues:

      1. Pass a constitutional amendment ending corporate personhood.
      2. Prohibit the routine use of antibiotics in agriculture.
      3. Pass Medicare for all.
      4. Eliminate the carried interest loophole. (I don’t what effect the pending tax changes will have on this)
      5. Separate investment banking and speculation from savings banking. That is, pass a 21st century Glass Steagall Act.
      6. [Choose your own issue.]

  17. Jason Boxman

    “Newt: My mommy always said there were no monsters – no real ones – but there are.” – Newt, Aliens

    And predictably, Republicans are talking about whacking social spending now. And plenty of the Democrat party wanted to be a willing participate when Obama was president, as you all know.

  18. Pelham

    Sanders is impressive in that little video clip.

    It will be fascinating to see how the Dems maneuver to sweep him out of the picture next time round. Although judging from a TRNN clip linked here a few days ago, I’d say they’ve already laid the groundwork for doing so by expelling every Sanders supporter from the party structure.

    Elizabeth Warren, unfortunately, backtracked from her flat-out statement that the 2016 primaries were rigged. They were. Then she went on to say that it’s up to the party to ensure a fair process in 2020. But this was just days after Perez conducted his purge, ensuring no such possibility.

    In other words, 2020 is already rigged. From a Clintonite perspective, this is really smart — rig before most folks are paying attention. But some of us are paying attention. So what do we do now?

      1. JBird

        You do realize, you anarchist brick thrower, that some algorithm/AI/Agent in the Department of Homeland Security (somewhere in the Stasi-Didn’t-Go-Far-Enough Bureau) you’re now marked as a terrorist?

        You’re probably on some checklist for a DHS SWAT team.

        I am joking.

        I think.


      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        If enough people throw enough bricks through enough windows, the window industry will invent the Playtex Living Window.

        “Behold the incredible Playtex Living Window! Bricks bounce right off!”

  19. Summer

    “At the end of our conversation, he launched into an appreciation of rats—their ability to thrive on nearly anything, their prodigious reproduction, and their complex social structure, in which female rats will give birth all at the same time and raise their offspring in one nest…”

    Guess that’s how they can live in large numbers and not kill each other. One rat isn’t killing the other rat to feed their special rat.
    Probably should re-think the term “rat race.”

  20. John Zelnicker

    @Yves – Bad link: The Defend Democracy link on boycotting the Nobel ceremony goes to the Moon of Alabama post on Flynn’s confessions linked further down the page.

  21. WJ

    The Nation article on Pittsburgh comes up blank for me on this link and on the link via Google search. Anybody have a live link? (I can load and read other Nation pieces just fine, but not this one.)

  22. D

    Re: Why the UN is investigating extreme poverty … in America, the world’s richest nation

    I’d love to see the Investigation blueprint (such as manpower, detailed itinerary, time schedules), and just prior US Poverty Policy Wonk {1] conversation and recommendations for the Tour which stemmed from s) and prior for this investigation which kicked off on Friday morning [yesterday – D], will make stops in four states [only – D] as well as Washington DC and the US territory of Puerto Rico; of which Philip Alston’s findings [of fourteen days only – D] will be announced in preliminary form in Washington on 15 December. Seems to me they could spend at least two weeks on Puerto Rico’s nightmare alone; especially given the destroyed infrastructure there.

    Wonder if they plan to visit the massive new San Diego hepatitis A Outbreak Homeless ‘Tent’which resembles an utterly windowless prison more than it does a shelter for 350 people – which will be followed by two more massive tents. The orange worker clothing theme, amidst an utterly sterile , windowless backdrop certainly don’t help, since it’s the same color as prison jumpsuits; I suspect that prison whiff is a feature and not a bug.

    [1] was it only David Grusky, director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Stanford, (which, do a search on and he Mentors: Ending Poverty with The same Technocracy which created itTechnology).

  23. D

    My second paragraph above should have read:

    I’d love to see the Investigation blueprint (such as manpower, detailed itinerary, time schedules), and just prior US Poverty Policy Wonk [1] conversation[s] and recommendations for the Tourwhich kicked off on Friday morning [yesterday – D], will make stops in four states [only – D] as well as Washington DC and the US territory of Puerto Rico; of which Philip Alston’s findings [of fourteen days only – D] will be announced in preliminary form in Washington on 15 December. Seems to me they could spend at least two weeks on Puerto Rico’s nightmare alone; especially given the destroyed infrastructure there.

  24. mk

    Democrats Call For Rep. Ruben Kihuen To Resign After Sexual Harassment Claim Huffington Post
    Why should Kihuen resign if Franken, Conyers and Trump have not and will not?

  25. mk

    Why women fear a backlash over #MeToo BBC. See the discussion of the “Pence rule”. Lambert, when he was working in Corporate America and became a manager (late 1990s), adopted an even more stringent version: never be alone with a female staff member at his firm.
    In the late 1980s, early 1990s I worked for an oil company, those male execs (and they were all male) were sexually harassing all the time and the HR department knew how to protect their male execs. I think good looking women were hired as execs to improve their stats with the gov’t, but they didn’t last long, less long the more good looking they were. The execs received porn catalogs at work and organized sex workers for themselves and clients when they were traveling. No Pence rule here.

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