Links 12/6/17

Christine Keeler, the former model at the heart of the Profumo affair that rocked British politics in the 1960s, dies aged 75 Daily Mail. The companion long profile of Keeler is sad, the one at the Guardian (hat tip John L) more upbeat.

Archaeological Enigma Resolved: Meteorites Were the Origin of All Things Iron Predating the Iron Age Haaretz (Kevin W)

Chinese man repaints road markings to make his commute quicker South China Morning Post

La Mothe-Chandeniers – the French chateau now with 7,400 owners Guardian (Kevin W)

Arctic sea ice melt to exacerbate California droughts: study Reuters (EM)

40 Percent of America Will Cut the Cord by 2030, New Report Predicts Motherboard

Feds shut down allegedly fraudulent cryptocurrency offering ars technica

CryptoKitties craze slows down transactions on Ethereum BBC

How brands secretly buy their way into Forbes, Fast Company, and HuffPost stories The Outline (Chuck L)

Why a cooler climate makes you more likely to get cancer: Genes of people from colder nations put them at greater risk of the disease Daily Mail. Not persuaded. This is still a correlation and the discussion re the causal mechanism seems weak. We now have new data suggesting that regular consumption of alcohol increases cancer risk. People in cold climes drink more on average to get through the winters. That is pronounced in some cultures (the Finns, for instance). People in cold climates are also likely to eat higher fat diets (to fend off the cold, plus the native fish and animals will be fattier than those in hot climates). Toxins build up in fats and the higher up the food chain you eat, the more exposed you are (like tuna having high mercury levels by virtue of being 4-5 steps up in the food chain). People in cold climates also likely eat more meats as a total % of their food consumption due to the shorter growing year.

Gates Foundation Hired PR Firm to Manipulate UN Over Gene Drives Independent Science News (Jonathan L)

‘I beat type 2 diabetes with 200-calorie drinks’ BBC. This is huge if it pans out, and the results took place in a pretty large-scale trial. Here is the study: Primary care-led weight management for remission of type 2 diabetes (DiRECT): an open-label, cluster-randomised trial Lancet. Seems extremely promising.

India-Russia Multi-Modal Transportation Route All Set to Open Next Month Sputnik (Chuck L)

EU blacklist names 17 tax havens and puts Caymans and Jersey on notice Guardian

German pilots ground 222 flights after refusing to deport asylum seekers Independent (UserFriendly). Would never happen in America.

Greek debt crisis: ‘Of all the damage, healthcare has been hit the worst’ Defend Democracy

Brexit

“It Would Only Cost £3bn To Sink Northern Ireland Into The Sea” May Casually Tells Cabinet WaterfordWhisperers (PlutoniumKun)

I’m your prime minister now Daily Mash

Tory Brexit truce cracks: PM told to walk away from talks by her own Eurosceptic MPs over ‘intolerable’ demands as she cancels trip to Brussels today after failing to do deal with DUP leader Daily Mail. I must confess to not regularly reading DM, but yesterday it had the best account on the negotiation breakdown, and was the only paper I read (of quite a few but not all) that had the key detail right, that May was proposing aligning regulations in several sectors important to cross border commerce in Ireland across the entire UK, not just Northern Ireland.

David Davis promises no special Brexit status for N Ireland Financial Times

Staring the economic gift-horse in the mouth Slugger O’Toolen (PlutoniumKun)

Inquiry’s conclusions about Manchester attack are damning for MI5 Guardian (JTM)

Syraqistan

Trump’s Costly Jerusalem Blunder American Conservative. Resilc: “Great for Russia and China.”

Germany warns US against Jerusalem recognition DW

Geopolitical Standoff In Post-ISIS Middle East Vineyard of the Saker (Kevin W)

The Qatar Crisis in an Age of Alternative Facts LobeLog (resilc)

Slapstick In Kiev Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Explains Why Nuclear Holocaust Is Now Likely – but still can’t help being economic with truth about causes OffGuardian (JTM)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Smile, you’re on hidden webcam Airbnb TV! Naked Security (Glenn F)

Jeremy Hunt attacks Facebook over app aimed at children Guardian. UK health secretary on the offensive.

Germany Preparing Law for Backdoors in Any Type of Modern Device Bleeping Computer (Chuck L). Help me. “Force manufacturers to include backdoors”? How about “tell German authorities about the backdoors that already exist.”

Trump Transition

Is Donald Trump winning? BBC

Why Don’t Sanders Supporters Care About the Russia Investigation? New York Times. UserFriendly: “Wow, shocked nyt published this. They actually admit some points even if they are trying to convert.” Moi: Still disingenuous. Fails to correctly identify Masha Gessen as a prominent member of the Moscow intelligensia and a fierce Putin critic.

Trump Dumps Plan to Prevent Banks From Seducing Regulators Bloomberg

Democrat plans to force impeachment vote against Donald Trump this week Guardian

Sources in Trump’s White House report meetings to assemble a network of deniable wetwork/black ops spooks to target Trump’s political enemies in the US and elsewhere Boing Boing

White House Press Secretary Issues Bizarre Non-Denial of Private Spy Network Plans, While White House Official Confirms It Intercept. So do they just want to mess with people’s heads?

Right scrambles GOP budget strategy The Hill

Tax “Reform”

The Tax Bill Compared To Other Very Expensive Things StateStarCodex (Plutonium Kun). “Although it’s not quite enough money to solve world hunger, t’s enough to end US homelessness four times over or fund nine simultaneous Apollo Programs.” Ignore the rest of the narrative and focus on the chart.

Liberals need to get a grip about the GOP tax bill The Week (resilc). Not on target. The big issue is that the liberulz have had the histrionics meter at 11 since Trump took office, producing outrage fatigue and dulling responses on those occasions when there really are egregious offense being perpetrated. And the tax reform bill is super terrible, not just in and of its own, but because, as Sanders is stressing in his rallies, it is intended to set up the gutting of social safety nets, with Medicare and Social Security the biggest orders of business.

Chief Senate Tax Writers Prefer AMT Repeal Bloomberg

Republicans need Roy Moore to pass their tax bill Vox (UserFriendly). Matty needs to do his homework. The Republican plan is to pass a bill by year end. If Jones won, he’d be unlikely to be seated before January. If Jones won, the pressure to get the bill passed by year end would be intense. The best hope is for a shutdown to throw an additional wrench into the works.

EDITORIAL: How about a military tax? Military.com (resilc)

Tax Bill Provision From Texas Senator Would Enrich Pipeline Giants International Business Times (UserFriendly)

Mercers vs. Kochs vs. Adelsons: The three ultra-rich families battling for control of the Republican party Quartz (resilc)

Conservatives Balk at Christmas Shutdown Deadline Atlantic (resilc). Keep your fingers crossed. Radicals overplaying their hand.

A Weekend with Bernie Vice

DC has highest percentage of heavy drinkers WTOP. BC: “To be fair, DC probably NEEDS the highest percentage of heavy drinkers just to make it through the day.”

Meet the progressive Democrat taking on one of her party’s most conservative Congress veterans Independent (JTM)

GEORGIA’S BIGGEST DEMOCRATIC BASTION MAY HAND DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR A BIG DEFEAT Intercept (UserFriendly)

New McCarthyism

How Russia-gate Rationalizes Censorship Consortiumnews (UserFriendly). Long but important.

Class Warfare

The Ballot and the Break Jacobin

Aetna’s Outgoing CEO Set to Reap About $500 Million if CVS Deal Closes Wall Street Journal

Antidote du jour. A candy crab, courtesy A New Kind of Human:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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108 comments

  1. Abigail Caplovitz Field

    In re Trump declaring Jerusalem Israel’s capital.

    I fear this extraordinarily provocative, wholly unnecessary act will increase the risk of a mass casualty terrorist attack on US soil by (an) order(s) of magnitude, not least because it might enlist state-sponsors in the cause.

    I fear if that first fear comes to pass, the Trump administration will respond with overt police state action within US borders, in addition to the velvet-glove big brother watching you watch stuff that’s been going on for a decade (or more).

    I fear a significant slice of Americans, already terrified beyond reason, will welcome this.

    In paranoid moments, I fear that some in the Trump administration actually understand the increased risk of domestic terror and want it because it then enables the overt police state. I have zero information or idea of who these people would be, so I call it paranoia rather than fear.

    May none of this come to pass.
    Amen.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Fay

      Abigail, “I fear that some in the Trump administration actually understand the increased risk of domestic terror and want it because it then enables the overt police state.” Hasn’t that been an operating hope for our government since the George Bush administration?

      Reply
      1. Darius

        The Second Amendment drama queens would welcome it, as well, as it offers the exciting possibility of war in the streets. An even more militaristic society also would increase the vulnerability of poor people to state violence. So, what’s not to like?

        Reply
        1. tony

          GW Bush was apparently informed of a major terror plot in the US soil before 9-11. They took no action. One wonders if they purposefully failed to act.

          By May of 2001, says Cofer Black, then chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, “it was very evident that we were going to be struck, we were gonna be struck hard and lots of Americans were going to die.”

          What the CIA knew before 9/11: New details

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            I always feel a little queasy when this charge against Bush is brought up. The “warning,” insofar as it has been revealed to the public, was so vacuous, so lacking in content, that it was as helpful as saying, “We have reason to believe that somewhere in the United States it is going to rain tomorrow.” Really, what was Bush supposed to have done? From the stories I’ve read I can understand why he was annoyed at wasting his time on a useless “warning.”

            Reply
      2. Abigail Caplovitz Field

        I don’t think so. I think the velvet glove version was the longstanding operational hope, which is why much of the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act was apparently off-the-shelf stuff. I think in general people like to exert control softly, so that the controlled are relatively unaware. You can do all sorts of scary stuff with the mass surveillance state. You only need the overt police state for things like internment camps, or treating neighborhoods/categories of people as explicitly undesirable, legitimizing and expanding the distinction between the people who are protected and served and those who are policed, and more. Overt can also disrupt elections (now I’m getting extra paranoid).

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          He only smells strong. Besides, remember what happened when the original Samson had his curly locks shorn? Todays Masters of Everything can’t afford to have their Mammonite Edifice overthrown again. They’ll keep his “hair on,” even if only to keep their Golden Idols safe.

          Reply
    2. timbers

      IMO, in response Iran should declare London the capital of the United States. The American revolution wasn’t (entirely) legal after all.

      Reply
    3. SOD

      I think this is classic Trump negotiation tactic.

      1 – open with an outlandish huge position (Jerusalem as capital, 6 month waiver for “negotiations”)
      2 – at negotiation, put position #1 on the table in exchange for something else he (Israel) actually wants – i.e., settlements in disputed territories, or whatever
      3 – make trade
      4 – get something you want for backing down on outlandish position. Win.

      Who cares that this inflames and worsens an already terrible situation. He (Israel) gets what they want.

      Reply
      1. Byron the Light Bulb

        Trump negotiation tactic: 1) Open with a position that diminishes US standing in the world, alienates allies, and retreats from the Middle East. 2) Push down a notch reporting on Deutsche Bank’s subpoena document production including Deutsche Bank Frankfort’s forbearance of Trump debt contemporaneous with Deutsche Bank Moscow shoveling money into Trump’s mammoth suit pockets. 3) Move on to the next capitulation and collapse under another personal pressure point.

        Reply
      1. Abigail Caplovitz Field

        Well, I phrased it as I fear, because that’s what I was venting–my fears. It’s not precisely a prediction. It’s just such an enormously provocative thing to do that I fail to see the upside of, I’m having a really hard time with it. I mean, all of the anti-U.S. radicalization propaganda just got more effective; all the crusade/war on Islam framing. My nightmare needn’t be created by a state-sponsor or al Qaeda/ISIS type attack; it could just be a really competently destructive American lone wolf for whom the announcement is one bridge too far.

        I simply feel genuinely less safe today than I did yesterday, a kind of unsafe which I haven’t felt since the NYC crime wave I grew up in subsided. Though in truth I feel safer today than I did back then, at least on a day to day leaving my house basis.

        Reply
        1. andyb

          I have few concerns over a “genuine” external terrorist attack. The neocons embedded in the USG create enough false flags to enable a constant paranoia.

          Reply
    4. The Rev Kev

      I don’t imagine that the Saudis will be happy about this. They have been trying to form an Arab NATO and to get the Arab League to go all in to go after Iran and forget the Palestinian issue. Now with Trump moving the US embassy that has completely blown up these plans I should imagine. It brings the Palestinian issue front and center and shoves Iran into the background. Those Arab countries which try to ignore this move will have tremendous dissent from their own people and I am guessing that there is lot of anger on Arab street.
      The only person to benefit is Netanyahu who wants a “legacy” for his career that might also help keep his a** out of the slammer for criminal charges that he is facing but puts Israel in a really bad place. The ultra-orthodox would also be celebrating but I am thinking that this may turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory. And would Netanyahu really throw Israel under a bus to further his own personal gains? Maybe put Israeli lives in danger and at risk of death? His past record says in a minute.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        MbS’s latest coup kind of undermines all prior claims to foreign policy goals. His past actions have all been about getting other countries to fight KSA’s wars for them. He’s put everything on hold until it becomes clear what KSA is going to look like in a few months’ time.

        Reply
    5. Jon Cloke

      All Trump has done here, as in so many other areas, is strip away the mask of pretense that the US has chosen to live with since 1945.

      In drawing a line in the sand and saying “Here’s us and Israel on this side, the rest of you go f*** yourselves, especially you muslims!” Trump has just brought out of the cupboard what has always been the case – that the US has never been an ‘honest broker’ in the Middle East; that the US is always 100% on Israel’s side whatever atrocities Israel commits, that there is no such thing as a ‘peace process’.

      For all of you living in the US, your Middle Eastern Peace Process Emperor has *never*had any clothes. The stress from the cognitive dissonance of doing whatever you like whilst pretending to be doing it for the global good must have been enormous. Kick back, open a beer and just accept your real selves… Trump is the very epitome of US self-delusion, the bare, exposed, white racist pysche of the US, the unapologetic soul of US capitalism.

      Trump is the portrait hidden in an attic room, upon which the liberal US dare not gaze..

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        This is historically inaccurate. We don’t do sweeping generalizations here.

        The US did attempt to play the “honest broker” role in the Middle East through the 1960s. And it was the USSR that was Israel’s sponsor. Wikipedia has some revisionist history and dates the serious distancing from Israel and then promotion of the Arabs as taking place earlier than it did. Most historians depict 1967, the Six Day War, as when the USSR supported the Arabs and the US backed Israel, as the real role reversal.

        Did you forget Aramco was an American company until the Saudis demanded a profit share and then gradually took it over? One of my McKinsey colleagues grew up in the Middle East because her father was chairman of Aramco. That predated the US becoming best buddies of Israel in the 1960s.

        Reply
        1. vlade

          Indeed. the Soviet block provided Israel with weapons and training in the critical time just after it’s independence (I know people from the Soviet bloc who trained Israeli pilots in late 1940s, and they tell me that Israelis believe they would not have survived w/o it).

          Reply
  2. allan

    “Aetna’s Outgoing CEO Set to Reap About $500 Million if CVS Deal Closes”

    Hasn’t he earned every penny of it?
    After all, he’s a progressive mensch who’s empowered his employees
    by bringing meditation and yoga to the workplace:


    For this CEO, mindful management means yoga for employees
    [PBS]

    For Mark Bertolini, CEO of health insurer Aetna, a near-death experience led him to make big changes in his personal life and at the company. Living with pain from a skiing accident inspired him to take up yoga and meditation, which made him wonder if it could also help his employees. Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports. …

    It’s too bad about the Byzantine, death-by-a-thousand-phone-calls, claims-denying business model.

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      There’s no hope for America. Millions of people will be sitting at the kitchen table, wondering how they can possibly pay this month’s shiny new ACA bill in order to stay alive. Meanwhile, sitting on top of the same table is a newspaper with the headline stating that one single solitary man, who ran the company that reaped billions of dollars from said ACA, will personally retrieve half a billion dollars for performing the difficult job of not running the company any more. And our hapless Americans, good people that they are, make no connection between the two.

      If an awareness does begin to penetrate their overworked and confused brains, they might look to the opposition political party, maybe they can do something? Alas, they soon learn that A.) they are the ones who caused this mess in the first place, and B.) they are currently utterly consumed with supposedly finding Russian boogiemen under every bed, and with witch-hunting every man in public life who ever told a woman “why, you look nice today”.

      And we’re surprised opioid use is skyrocketing?

      Reply
  3. Darius

    I see Democrats joining Republicans in the destruction of Social Security and Medicare and hailing it as a model of bipartisan cooperation.

    Reply
      1. Eureka Springs

        What kind of friend votes for those those who rob you and deny millions care whilst charging everyone else far more than the rest of the world?

        Friends don’t let friends vote Dem with peace of mind.

        Reply
  4. Clive

    Re: Brexit, the DUP, the walked back deal that never was, oh my.

    It’s worth recalling that, while a lot that Arlene Foster says and does is risible, the republican militia did try to kill her father when Arlene was very young. And they also hit a school bus she was travelling on and severely injured a fellow pupil and it was just luck it wasn’t her who got the worst of it. These sorts of things would, I imagine, shape your view of the world. Anyone who hasn’t had those things happen to them should be a little circumspect in glibly handing out advice about how everyone should carry on like nothing had happened.

    All of which begs the question that when dealing with “legacy issues” (gosh, I do loathe that phrase — it reduces awful, cruel and barbarous histories to the trite equivalence of your new shoes not matching you old handbag), but, when dealing with “the past” (almost as bad but I am unable to think of a better short phrasing right now) whether you are better off with a new generation of political leaders who don’t have that kind of back story to anchor them or else you need those kind of characters to have a proper understanding of everything that went on and to not succumb to the Disney Movie let’s-all-just-move-on within the 24 hour news cycle alternative, which is to me equally bad and just as potentially damaging in the long term.

    Reply
    1. vlade

      This is something I spent quite some time on thingking. Is it better to have someone who can never connect or understand, or someone who can never move on? My take on it now is – as long as you’re willing to learn, it doesn’t matter. And here the former have a very slight advantage, because while lack of understanding will hamper learning, it does not necessarily stop it. Inability to move on, on the other hand, IMO pretty much stops it dead-in-the-water style.

      Reply
      1. Clive

        Yes, look back, but don’t stare, is my philosophy. And you’re right to say rigidity in one’s thinking is the real enemy. Easy, of course, to say you’ll be truly open minded, more difficult to do. I think we’re incredibly blessed if we can shift our opinions on the big stuff even slightly in one lifetime.

        I can count on the fingers of a single hand the number of issues where I have moved a significant amount on a significant question. And then only because I had personal experiences which moved me through a cycle of revisionism.

        Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    Smile, you’re on hidden webcam Airbnb TV!

    Actually, that could get a lot worse. Imagine going on holiday with your wife using Airbnb and then a few weeks later have a mate say that he saw a clip of you and your wife on an adult site. Yikes! It is only a matter of time. And remember that what goes out on the internet stays there forever.

    Reply
  6. DJG

    The U.K. diabetes trial is interesting because it relies on minimal calorie intake to encourage weight loss and to get the body to “reset” itself. I recall reading an article in Harper’s Magazine several years back about fasting as an alternate treatment for cancer. The article described a couple of clinics in the U.S.A. (one in California, I believe) that relied on long fasts during which the body reused resources and succeeded in starving the cancerous growth.

    So the U.K. study relies on something similar: Minimal calorie intake while the body gets a rest from digestion and is allowed to rework internal channels (I don’t have a better word).

    Reply
    1. Goyo Marquez

      There’s a documentary about it, The Science of Fasting. It’s pretty interesting. Its about 60 minutes long. It’s available for free right now on Amazon for Prime members.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        The Lancet article gives an idea. Sounds like 4 200 calorie drinks a day with vitamin supplements in them. Sounds like some were in soup form to make them less boring, in that they look to have had some variety in the drinks/soups.

        Reply
    2. swangeese

      Dr. Jason Fung, not affiliated, has a clinic in which he treats diabetic patients with just plain fasting.

      Personally I’m insulin resistant and I eat a ketogenic diet which agrees with me. I don’t fast ,but avoiding carbs/sugars allows my body to be satiated. Which also helps with weight loss.

      Reply
  7. DJG

    What amazes me about the stories coming out about the secret spy network being contemplated by the Trump administration is that we already have a secret spy network. Only the CIA seems to have a real legal status, regularized after WWII. Isn’t the FBI a private spy network? Defense Security Agency (almost never mentioned)? NSA (hardly mentioned till Snowden fled them)?

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps like the country is divided, so are the mandarins, who are supposed to be non-partisan.

      So, maybe it is a symptom reflecting something deeper – that internally or behind the scent, there are huge partisan struggles going on. For example, many among the rank and file not agreeing the Comey last year.

      Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Interesting comment from “Valerie” on The Intercept article that the Boing Boing link references:

      This is an odd coincidence (or maybe it isn’t. You tell me.), but I didn’t know who or what was Amyntour Group- the intelligence contractor who allegedly employs John Maguire. So I looked it up and Google said that it is located in Whitefish, MT. That sounded familiar. Wasn’t Whitefish Energy that bogus utility company that only had two employees, but got the contract to repair the Puerto Rican electrical grid? I looked that up too. Sure enough. They are also from Whitefish MT which is also Ryan Zinke- the Secretary of the Interior’s hometown. Wikipedia says that Whitefish, MT has a population under 7,000 which makes it about the size of the small town I live in. That seems like a lot of heavy hitters and intrigue for a town that small. What else stinks in Whitefish. Might be a story there, Intercept team. I’d read it.

      Valerie also notes that “white-supremacist” Richard Spencer has connections, through his parents, to Whitefish, MT, and provides this link:

      http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/richard-spencer-parents-selling-montana-property-article-1.2915951

      Valerie’s right. Curiouser and curiouser.

      Reply
      1. Comrade

        Whitefish is indeed interesting. It has more than its share of millionaires and billionaires for such a small place.

        Mike Goguen is one of the more interesting cases. He was fired by Sequoia Capital in California where he was a partner after he was sued by a woman he ‘rescued’ from a bar who was a part of a sex trafficking ring that he had nothing to do with – he just happened to be there at the right place at the right time to do his good deed. After keeping her for over a dozen years, she accused him of sexual and emotional abuse and he settled with her to the tune of $40 million, but then he stiffed her for part of it. So she sued him for breach of contract.

        He also owns Two Bear Air, a helicopter search and rescue company and pilots and rescues people himself sometimes, even showing up in Las Vegas at the recent shootout at the Mandalay. He immediately sent SELFIES to the local paper, the Flathead Beacon, stealing the headline from that tragedy and they ran it for several days because he’s our philanthropist Batman hero who selflessly does so much for others.

        Reply
        1. Comrade

          To make clear that it didn’t happen here in Montana, billionaire Goguen ‘rescued’ the young woman while he was hanging out at a bar in Texas and she arrived fresh off the bus from Mexico. Special Delivery, I assume.

          Reply
    3. neo-realist

      I’ll bet past administrations, particularly republican ones w/ past personal connections to intelligence, had such spy networks, plumbers, what have you. But they were smart enough to keep them on the down low so that even those few Americans that actually pay attention to politics didn’t know about them.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        It’s the sheer brazenness of the reign of error to not care 1 iota how obvious the scam is, that’s troublesome…

        How hard would it have been to form a dummy electric company in Florida, and have your buddy in Whitefish, Mt run it for you from there?

        …nobody would have noticed

        Reply
  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Archaeological Enigma Resolved: Meteorites Were the Origin of All Things Iron Predating the Iron Age Haaretz (Kevin W)

    Perhaps there were stories, legends or fables associating celestial iron (and not bronze, for example) with gods???

    Reply
  9. Vikas Saini

    Re: Diabetes study. Results not at all surprising, but getting such a study done is incredibly difficult in the US, because it really requires a publicly-oriented national R&D operation. For example, the recent ORBITA trial (showing coronary stenting no better than sham stenting) could not have been done in the US because it is so against the grain in terms of views of “science”.

    I’ve been waiting for the randomized trial of statins vs an intense Mediterranean diet like the one used in the PREDIMED trial. Not holding my breath!

    Reply
    1. Kurt Sperry

      How does one make billions on cures based on good dietary advice? The point of for-profit medicine isn’t health or outcomes, it is profits. Curing stuff actually is counterproductive!

      Reply
  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chinese man repaints road markings to make his commute quicker South China Morning Post

    There is a precedent, kind of.

    DRAWING A CAKE TO ALLEVIATE HUNGER – CHINESE IDIOM (from Foodragon dot com)

    画饼充饥 is an ancient Chinese proverb which literally means to draw a cake to solve hunger. First let’s read it character by character:

    画 – huà – to draw, a drawing

    饼 – bǐng – flat Chinese bread or cake. (see also jian bing)

    充 – chōng – to fill

    饥 – jī – famine, hungry (archaic)

    Reply
    1. diptherio

      So apparently that political ploy has been around for quite awhile…and good to know that it’s not just an American thing: confusing rhetoric with reality.

      Reply
    2. Mel

      In the British TV comedy Coupling, Jane (the beautiful sociopath)’s job was for a radio station, doing the rush-hour traffic reports from a helicopter. If she had something vital to do after work, she would fictionalize her reports to make people leave her a clear route home.

      Reply
  11. makedoanmend

    I suppose we can invoke the circumstances of the past as some sort of mitigating factor on the actions of those this week. I’m sure nationalists and especially Sinn Fein members can invoke the horrors of living in the North before and after the civil rights movement. Gerry Adams was, as were his family members before him, interned. He was shot himself in the early 1980s by an organisation still in existence today and whose leader Ms. Foster informally met. She says they should disband and I believe her, but that still hasn’t happened. And of course a few DUP leaders and members were part of Ulster Resistance, which teamed up with UVF and UDA to import illegal arms into the North that resulted in deaths. I’d imagine the 55.8% of voters in the North who voted to remain, not to mention the nationalists now caught up this situation and who view another hard border with horror, could also bring up events from the past to support their viewpoints. I suspect most don’t think they can tell others that they can’t see history from their own viewpoint, even if their viewpoints don’t dovetail with the histories of other individuals.

    The Good Friday Agreement was supposed to allow people to get on with their lives by freeing themselves from the past.

    Membership of all parties in the Agreement was largely facilitated by their presence in the EU. It made the border a political non-entity; allowing those which chose to ignore it to do so, and comforting those who decided to acknowledge it to be comforted. Brexit changes that and recalling history or restricting history to only a vaunted few doesn’t alter the situation.

    However, there does seem (and no one speaks about it in polite circles) a section of the North that views the Agreement with continuing abject horror. Having been unable to do anything about it before, they now sense the opportunity leave it behind and “fully integrate” the North into the UK on a economic and political basis; stranding nearly 50% of its population in a situation they do not want, and many fear. I hope, very much, that I’m proved 100% wrong.

    One sometimes wonders if history isn’t coming full circle. History is a hard task master. No one immune from it.

    Reply
  12. Eustache De Saint Pierre

    The Greek healthcare crisis article is I believe from 2015. Here is a more up to date version in PDF form written by an American of Greek origin. The article also covers the refugee crisis on the islands & how it appears that at least to some extent it is the Greek sense of community that is staving off the worst effects.

    I suppose that it is good to be part of a large political grouping as Fintan O’Toole noted, but most likely only as long as your elites have the same interests at heart, which appear at least in my opinion not to coincide with that of the majority of the people. Nevertheless this arrangement has proven very useful in isolating a weak & recalcitrant member of the club & forcing it to toe the Neoliberal line – it is not something that I would celebrate in such a gang.

    http://www.publichealth.northwestern.edu/docs/nphr-docs/2017-1/NPHR-Feb2017_Papalambros2.pdf

    Reply
  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Tax Bill Compared To Other Very Expensive Things StateStarCodex (Plutonium Kun). “Although it’s not quite enough money to solve world hunger, t’s enough to end US homelessness four times over or fund nine simultaneous Apollo Programs.” Ignore the rest of the narrative and focus on the chart.

    The corporate tax reduction is simply perverted MMT, another government deficit spending or incurring, like the money spent to bailout big banks, because the government is not a household (when it’s crunch time for the rich, they remember that).

    On the other hand, a functioning government for the people could actually reallocate spending to achieve all the expensive programs mentioned…homelessness, nine Apollo programs and more…while reduce deficit spending (or not, the point here is about allocation).

    This is just one more time that the government-can-spending-as-much-as-it-wants descriptive fact is used on the rich….and only on them.

    Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Yeah, but in the 60s we got them all back alive, even the men on Apollo 13. If we send them to Mars now the radiation will screw them over badly on the way there and it will be a one-way mission with the result being the first interplanetary graveyard.

          Reply
    1. Kurtismayfield

      The comments from Grassely and Hatch this week has been a huge tell about who they really care about..

      Grassely comment

      “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” Grassley (R-Iowa) told the Des Moines Register, “as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

      So the Poor’s are poor because they are spending their money on alcohol and women..not lack of economic opportunity. And the people that get the estate tax cut, with estates over ten million, are “investing”.

      Orrin Hatch shows his sensitivity training worked

      I happen to think CHIP has done a terrific job for people who really needed the help. I have taken the position around here my whole Senate service. I believe in helping those who cannot help themselves but would if they could. I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything.

      The children did this to themselves.

      Again, it’s more “the rich are better, more deserving, and more godly than the poor”

      Reply
  14. Wukchumni

    In regard to rural hospitals, we lost one in October, putting pressure on the other 2 in the surrounding area, one of which has had to set up a mobile tent waiting room outside, to be able to somewhat handle the excess.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Tulare Regional Medical Center and clinics will not be open for patients beginning midnight Sunday, leaving the city without a hospital and health workers potentially without jobs.

    The district issued a notice Thursday afternoon stating it is voluntarily suspending its license with the state of California to operate the 112-bed hospital, clinics and other outpatient facilities.

    http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article181180026.html

    Reply
    1. Goyo Marquez

      Kind of surprised you hadn’t mentioned the hospital situation before. From down here this looks like a situation where the Administrators, who, as I understand it, ran everything, including all hospital employees, through their consulting firm, were looting the hospital.

      There is a whole lot of selling and buying and private equity stuff going on in the California hospital business right now. Is it the same everywhere or is this a particularly California phenomenon?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Yes, that’s the gist of it, thievery everywhere…

        As a funny aside, this is in Devin Nunes hometown, how fitting?

        Reply
      2. JTMcPhee

        Our local Level 2 trauma hospital, Bayfront, has been bought and sold (out) several times in the last few years. The corp that owns it currently, along with some 200 other hospitals, is likely insolvent, I believe because like Rick Scott’s HCA, the arrogance-and-greed-driven thrusts to acquire, acquire, acquire, acquisitions were by debt and some fraud. The corp’s share price has dropped steeply as real numbers overcome ambitious projections.

        The latest corp boo boo came about 10 days ago, when corp IT “rolled out” a revision/upgrade (sic) to the electronic medical record and billing and management software. Nobody apparently checked seriously to see if the code would work, just whammo! Presto changeo and instantly, none of the important patient medical records, radiology or lab or treatment, were accessible to the staff.

        This transition apparently occurred while surgeries were being performed, and of course while nurses were trying to deliver medications and treatments to their patients, with no access to the orders without which they can’t act without facing loss of license and civil and criminal liability. Not known is how many patients may have suffered or died as a result of this idiocy, that has still not been made right. Litigation futures, indeed.

        And God bless the nursing staff and doctors and techs and other actual care providers who are still doing what they can to “do no harm” and create workarounds, while the bosses seek to avoid blame and keep the lid on. And try to keep the revenue coming in, since I hear that they are struggling to even meet their debt service, let alone pay for current operations and expenses. It seems the media are complicit in not reporting much on this, or maybe I’m just not using the right search terms.

        There are lots of ways for a community to “lose” a hospital. Greed and carelessness and stupidity among them.

        Reply
        1. Alex Morfesis

          Jtmcphee…just finished reading some financials on bayfront st pete for the st pete business league…1.2 billion taken in…15 million profit…20% owned by the hospital/health conversion foundation now known as:

          Healthy st pete

          in trust for the people (ha) of the city of st pete…said 20% now being gifted apparently for a chump payment of 25 million under the silly fake and shake noise that even though the foundation should have gotten a 3 million payment as a dividend, somehow the tall building law firm manipulating the st pete chamber of commerce had the nerve to suggest(i was allowed in the meeting…foolish mortals…) the sale was needed to save some strange 1.5 million dollar payment the health conversion foundation is purportedly

          “paying”

          bayfront…

          Bayfront st pete is the actual crown jewel of Community Health Systems mish mash of clinics they argue are hospitals…

          Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I mentioned yesterday, that the ambulance administrator for the county told us @ a town hall meeting, that nationwide, there is typically a 1-2 hour wait for patients that arrive via ambulance to the emergency room, if the situation isn’t critical.

        They essentially get put on the end of the waiting list after those that arrived earlier in their own vehicles…

        Reply
        1. anontexas

          Not necessarily. The ED I work in rooms patients based on acuity (severity of illness/injury), not mode of transportation.

          Reply
  15. Byron the Light Bulb

    The US recognition of an un-shared capital, Jerusalem, is a cynical stunt by an admin consumed by scandal. Although the Knesset has its capitol building there, the decision is fully within the portfolio of a particular son-in-law [“SLOTUS”, if you will] associated to whom is, dare I say, a shanda of a telephonic nature.

    Reply
  16. John D.

    That Teresa May quote about sinking Ireland into the sea should certainly help the remaining Brexit negotiations go more smoothly, eh?

    Reply
  17. PKMKII

    Senate Republicans Made a $289 Billion Mistake in the Tax Bill

    When Mitch McConnell & co. revived the AMT, they absentmindedly left it at its current rate of 20 percent, the same as the new, lower rate of the corporate income tax that the bill included. As a result, many companies won’t be able to use tax breaks that were supposed to be preserved in the legislation, including the extremely popular credit for research and development costs.

    Reply
  18. Meher Baba Fan

    Diabetes drink cure study : wish to contribute , a lot of serious research indicates the ketogenic diet as a possible cure for diabetes, cancer amongst other things. Its quite remarkable. Diabetes patients off their meds in six weeks. Ketogenic diet resource dot com is a useful place to learn about it. Not affiliated its just the site various experts suggest

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      My brother cut out carbohydrate mostly and he got much better (and also some weight), though he’s still taking his pills.

      Reply
      1. Meher Baba Fan

        Thats great news. Intermittent fasting is the other practice to look at. Either stand alone or in conjunct with ketogenic diet. the benefits of fasting “autophagy’ without muscle loss are said to be best achieved with a 16/8 ratio. 8 hrs of feeding 16 of fasting. is quite manageable. coffee is allowed in the fasting period. well worth reading about. there are many ways to implement it though . as for low calorie drinks, i don’t believe processed foods are sustainable for actioning health issues.

        Reply
        1. kareninca

          It looks like men and women may respond very differently to fasting: http://paleoforwomen.com/shattering-the-myth-of-fasting-for-women-a-review-of-female-specific-responses-to-fasting-in-the-literature/. Women who do intermittent fasting may not improve their insulin sensitivity, and may actually end up with worse glucose tolerance. Hormones may make a difference. Be very careful, especially if you are female, before you take up intermittent (or any) fasting. The topic is very, very complicated.

          Also, things that lower your blood sugar (and consequently look great) may do so by increasing your insulin levels in ways that are not good or sustainable. For instance, meat raises blood insulin levels dramatically. That can make your glucose level go down, but over the long run the wear and tear on your pancreas may be a problem. Also it is argued by some that the free fatty acids that the body uses instead of glucose, permanently make glucose-burning cells unable to use glucose (and thus insulin resistant).

          Losing weight to cure diabetes? Well, about ten percent of diabetics are not overweight. There seem to be at least three different forms of type 2 diabetes: http://sciencenordic.com/slim-and-healthy-people-also-get-type-2-diabetes. It is really confusing for those of us who are slim yet pre-diabetic or diabetic, but it is not rare, and it is not clear what to do in that case.

          I have no axe to grind here; I’m still trying to figure this out.

          Reply
    2. JohnM

      You don’t have to go full keto to get impressive results. My wife cut the carbs (no potato, pasta, rice, bread) and lost 25 pounds and got off her BP meds. Hypertension is one of the markers of metabolic syndrome which is just the halfway house to full blown diabetes.

      Reply
      1. kareninca

        There are people who do not have metabolic syndrome at all, but who are pre diabetic or diabetic (ask me how I know, ugh). There are all sorts of subgroups.

        Reply
  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Democrat plans to force impeachment vote against Donald Trump this week Guardian

    This and all the premature attempts of crying-wolf would immunize Trump.

    That’s how immunization works. Small, but non-lethal dosages.

    And they make you stronger. Is this the goal?

    Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      Perhaps this is why the Repubs couldn’t repeal Obamacare? :)

      Instead of ‘practice makes perfect’, they’ve pre-inoculated the public to tune them out?

      Reply
  20. JohnnyGL

    For those occasional Brazil watchers….a real enjoyable twist in the ‘Lava Jato’ ongoing saga….

    Sergio Moro, himself, is now touched by the scandal….couldn’t happen to a bigger scumbag! :)

    http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20646:Brazil%27s-Corruption-Scandal-Ensnares-Anti-Corruption-Judge

    Additionally, it looks like Lula’s lead in polls is stronger, now.
    http://markets.businessinsider.com/news/interestrates/BRAZIL-Lula-Has-The-Largest-Voter-Support-For-The-2018-Election-Says-Poll-1010335951

    For a clear message on how the oligarchs feel….the headline speaks volumes…
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2017/11/21/market-will-not-be-pleased-if-lula-becomes-brazils-president-again/#6b58745624c8

    Unfortunately, the PT (lula’s party) has become a shell of its former self and even if Lula wins, he’ll have little base of support in Congress and he’s already saying nice things about the others in the race instead of beating the drums and screaming “throw the bums out and lock them up”. Lula, at his core, is a deal-maker on behalf of the poor, not a warrior for them.

    Reply
    1. centralscrutinizer

      The coup didn’t take place only for Lula to sweep back into power merely a couple of years later, you’d think? He’ll be judged soon on corruption charges and then the ‘Superior Electoral Tribunal’ (TSE) will disallow him to run for office.

      Reply
  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Conservatives Balk at Christmas Shutdown Deadline Atlantic (resilc). Keep your fingers crossed. Radicals overplaying their hand.

    It’s surprising that Christmas is still a public holiday, and it should play such an important role here in the politics of the state.

    People, especially government workers, should be working that day.

    Reply
    1. Harold

      There should be a five-day winter break. Preferably spanning Christmas and New Years. People need time to renew family and social ties. Christmas was always a secular holiday, anyway.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        New Year, I can understand.

        Make it 5 days, if that’s what we need, but from January 1 to January 5.

        Why have anything do to one particular religion?

        Personally, I am partial to spring…make it 10 days centered around the spring equinox.

        Reply
      2. Chris

        Something like this happens with many ‘non-essential’ workers in Australia. Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day are all public holidays, leaving a three-day work week in between. Workers are required to take those three days as annual leave (out of their total of 20), giving them a break between 24 Dec and 2 Jan.

        And this in Summer.

        Doesn’t apply in retail or hospitality, though.

        Reply
  22. ProNewerDeal

    I recall reading a few weeks ago that the Rs tax bill might eliminate or reduce to ~$2400 the annual contribution limits to Roth IRA & 401K type accounts.

    I haven’t read about the R tax bill effect (if any) on IRA-type accounts recently. Does the R tax bill maintain the IRA account status quo?

    Reply
  23. allan

    USDA Promises New SNAP Flexibilities to Promote Self-Sufficiency [USDA]

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is promising increased cooperation with states in the operation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to promote self-sufficiency, integrity in the program, and better customer service. To make these improvements, USDA intends to offer state agencies greater local control over SNAP, the safety net program that serves millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families. Specifics on such flexibilities will be communicated to state agencies in the coming weeks.

    George Orwell’s literary executor really needs to come down hard on these people.

    File under Night is Day, Up is Down, Black is White
    Cuts are Improvements, Starvation is Self-sufficiency, Phone Tree Hell is Customer Service.

    Reply
  24. lyman alpha blob

    RE: 40 Percent of America Will Cut the Cord by 2030, New Report Predicts

    The article refers to people giving up cable TV, but with TPTB rapidly turning the internet into cable TV only on a smaller and harder to see screen, I wouldn’t be so sure.

    Reply
  25. Chris

    “Why a cooler climate makes you more likely to get cancer: Genes of people from colder nations put them at greater risk of the disease Daily Mail. Not persuaded.”

    Another explanation for this finding could be that cancers could be less fatal in colder climates. Genetic lines that predisposed to tumour development might be progressively weeded out if the individual died earlier.

    Reply
    1. Tim

      A lot of people forget that evolution only happens from the time you are born to the time you give birth.

      Anything after that is off the record.

      It’s why I think the older and older age when people are having babies should have a profound impact on evolution of the species (not the pace, the nature of the evolution), but I haven’t seen or heard anyone try to put their finger on exactly what that impact will be.

      Reply
  26. Expat

    Re: DC drinking
    I went to school in DC. Our school pub was the single largest client for Miller and Miller Lite in the area. Of course, that was when the drinking age was 18.
    Hoya Saxa.

    Reply
    1. audrey jr

      Back in 2009 one of my sons and I were driving from North Carolina up to New Jersey to see another of my sons who was in hospital. We hit DC on a Wednesday night at approximately 9 P.M. I was driving and my son was riding shotgun and neither of us – I have traveled extensively – had ever seen so many obviously drunk drivers in any one place ever. We were literally dodging careening cars coming at us from all directions. It was absolutely the most surreal driving experience either of us has ever had.
      On the way back from NJ to NC we purposely left NJ in the middle of the night in order to reach DC around 3-4 A.M.
      I will never drive through that place again as long as I live. L.A. is a dream drive compared to DC.

      Reply
  27. Procopius

    The big issue is that the liberulz have had the histrionics meter at 11 since Trump took office, producing outrage fatigue and dulling responses on those occasions when there really are egregious offense being perpetrated.

    I agree absolutely, and I have wondered if it was intentional. I am particularly baffled by the large number of people (trolls?) who say things like “there is plenty of evidence” or “there is evidence everywhere you look” that Russia completely controlled our election process and that Trump is now destroying America to pay them back. This level of hysteria is reminiscent of the Palmer Red Scare of 1918-9 and the McCarthy Era. No evidence is ever cited, just accusations. Many of the things asserted as being treasonous are, at worst, innocent actions being intentionally misinterpreted. Trivial errors are cited as impeachable offenses. It’s very strange. I feel there’s a massive conspiracy to gaslight me.

    Reply

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